For those of you who haven’t yet seen Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, this is full of SPOILERS and you should definitely go watch it right now. Then come back and read the article. And comment, if you want. No pressure or anything. It’s not like I’m gonna cry, much.
The politics of Dr Horrible are quite interesting.
On the one hand you have Dr Horrible, the protagonist and wannabe member of the Evil League of Evil. Yet he has a social conscience. Even when being evil he sings about the decrepit nature of the world and how he would want to run it, for the better.
One the other, you have Captain Hammer. He is the good guy, though is an insensitive buffoon who cares for nothing other than his own personal satisfaction. The use of his power for good comes from the idea that it is how he can benefit the most. He has no higher goal, no noble purpose.
Penny is the only one of the three who is not a superhero, yet she is the only one working specifically to make the world a better place. She is the one putting in the legwork to actually help people. Captain Hammer provides assistance only to achieve a greater sense of self-gratification whilst Dr Horrible rejects the approach because he cannot see beyond the bigger picture.
Dr Horrible and Captain Hammer are two sides of the same coin, both consumed to fulfilling their own desires, regardless of the damage to all else. This is why ultimately, both must take responsibility for Penny’s accidental death.
Dr Horrible started with the express purpose of killing Captain Hammer, but could not bring himself to do it. Whilst in contrast, the supposed hero had no qualms about killing his nemesis, even though he was clearly defeated. If he had not tried to kill Dr Horrible, Penny would be alive, Dr Horrible would be out of the Evil League of Evil and Hammer would still be a hero.
Instead, he pulls the trigger, kills Penny, gets Dr Horrible into the Evil League of Evil and turns Hammer into an emotional wreck. As soon as he feels pain for the first time he completely abandons his superhero work, exposing him to be little more than a self-interested bully.
This is what makes the characters so interesting, they aren’t black and white. Here, the good guy is bad and the bad guy is good, almost as if they were switched at birth and given the wrong environments in which to develop.
I can’t wait to see how the characters are developed in the sequel, whenever that arrives.