Debuting a few years ago on Cartoon Network is a Canadian show produced by the best-named studio I have come across to date: Nerd Corps. Based on the planet Atmos, Storm Hawks centres around a group of rag-tag young adults who wish to gain the same respect that a previous iteration of the group had.
The premise of the show is that the planet is composed mainly of atmosphere, with various rocky “islands” as the only areas where people live. Each island or group of islands are considered different countries or kingdoms. As with most shows, there are good and bad ones with the show focusing on the confrontations between the two.
Kids shows generally seem to keep within a fairly narrow range when it comes to villainy. Evil businessmen, dark wizards and overbearing authority figures are all the standard fare. However, the vast majority of them are male. Exceptions generally include shows aimed at girls or with girl leads. Which makes Storm Hawks the exception, it’s a fairly gender-neutral show with a mixed group of lead characters and plenty of variety in the supporting cast.
Of interest today is the leader of the ‘bad’ side, collectively known as Cyclonia, headed up by Master Cyclonis. The reason for focusing on her is that she is a rare character, a female baddy, and a fairly heartless one at that. The official description is as follows:
Diabolically intelligent and a master of crystal transformations, the Queen of Cyclonia is hell-bent on extending her new kingdom by force. Extremely paranoid, she only trusts her shadowy henchman, the Dark Ace. Her Talon thugs are in constant fear of falling into her disapproval, which happens a lot.
Master Cyclonis is unique in that she is the same or of similar age to our protagonists. She is not some wrinkly old hag who is clinging on to her throne, she is very much the opposite, looking to widen her influence and consolidate her control over Cyclonia, the lands she rules and beyond.
Often seen wearing a cape and hood, Cyclonis appears dark, in effect concealing her powers from those around. Such a disguise of sorts could be seen as an attempt to subvert or trick the unwitting. When in battle or angered, the hood retracts into a headdress-like set of petals that emphasize her heightened mood. Her comparatively tall stature reinforces her position over others.
While some people have speculated that Cyclonis embodies the ‘goth’ style (see above), I would have to disagree. Yes, she dresses dark clothes, wears what appears to be heavy amounts of eye shadow and has pale skin, such features only serve to contrast her appearance with others and to indicate the dark nature of here character.
Master Cyclonis (like all the characters in Storm Hawks) displays a lot of emotion through her eyes. They’re large size are put to good use as they narrow to convey anger, displeasure or both and widen to illustrate her surprise. Her heavy eyebrows emphasize these emotions.
As a character, Cyclonis displays all the hallmarks of a classic villain including a lust for control and power, a careless attitude towards those who serve her, a demanding attitude and a lack of tolerance when it comes to failure.
- Repton: I couldn’t care less about your plan, Cyclonis! What’s in it for the Raptors?
- Master Cyclonis: Untold riches to start.
- [Cyclonis zaps Repton]
- Master Cyclonis: And I’ll promise not to crush your measly little Terra Bogaton.
Much more than your usual bone-headed bad guy, Cyclonis is conniving and clever. She is not just a skilled fighter but is also intelligent enough when it comes to her style of attack. While physically she is comparable to the Storm Hawks, she is also crafty enough to engage in psychological warfare. In one particular episode, she plays on the fact that Piper is the lone girl in the group and is only thwarted because of Piper’s superior intellect.
While her character inspires a lot of fear, it does draw upon pity. Ultimately she is a lonely character not unlike Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter. Yes, he has untold power and people at his disposal, but as Harry points out in The Order of the Phoenix, he is a lonely figure who has been and will continue to be isolated because of his demeaning nature and his unquestionable evil nature.
Master Cyclonis adds a lot of complexity to an otherwise decent series. The fact that she is a female adds to the unnerving nature of her character, the fact that she is also quite ruthless is belied by her age and her level of skill and mastery in the art of fighting is proof of her stature.
If you have not already, she is well worth checking out as a villain.