Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: The Crooked Man, the main antagonist of “The Wolf Among Us.”
I did a previous article on Bigby, the main character of “The Wolf Among Us”, but I’ll do a story recap again just for the sake of it. “The Wolf Among Us” follows the story of Sheriff Bigby Wolf as he tries to solve the murder of two prostitutes. In trying to solve these murders he comes across various opponents and red herrings that make his path more difficult. As he gets closer to the answer, he finds out that the Fables of New York are being manipulated. The master behind this manipulation is the Crooked Man. If you want to know more about the world itself, I talk about it more in my article “The Good, The bad, and What The?: Sheriff Bigby from The Wolf Among Us.”
The mastermind that is the Crooked Man. In the beginning of the game, you aren’t even aware of this man’s existence. He works so much from the shadows and send out so many minions that he leads Bigby around by the nose for quite a while. This is the first aspect to his genius. He is a man able to control his opponents without laying a hand on them or going anywhere near them. Bigby never even gets an idea of who he is for most of the game. The Crooked Man has a way of controlling people and they don’t seem to realize they are being controlled. He throws Bigby off the trail and keeps moving around so that even you as the player aren’t really sure who is pulling the strings. The game makes you try to guess who the killer is and you really have no clue. There are too many things up for debate to make a solid assumption, but you try anyway. This is because of the Crooked Man’s manipulation. One of the best parts to his power of persuasion is the way he makes people work for him and they think that it is right.
One of the first signs of the Crook Man controlling the innocent is with Beauty from “Beauty and The Beast.” You find her leaving your apartment building and saying to you “Don’t tell Beast.” You eventually find her working at the desk clerk for a whore house. She explains they are in debt and are trying to deal with the money trouble. This first time you kind of wave it off as no big deal. At this early point in the game, the Crooked Man doesn’t even exist. You later come back to find out that Beast is doing some shady work also. The Crooked Man has them both under his thumb and no one is the wiser. As time goes on, you find more and more signs of his influence and eventually you hear about him and go on the hunt. Hunting for this man, however, is no easy task.
The Crooked Man, because of his money and power, is very good at dodging his pursuers. He has a spell so that the door to his lair is constantly moving around. On top of this spell, he is good at cutting ties and making sure his minions are quiet. Even the people who are simply doing work for him because of the state they are in stay quiet about his whereabouts. He has the control of fear on his side, but money also plays a huge role. He acts like he is very kind and is taking care of people out of the goodness of his heart. This leads into the best part about him. It shows just how evil and demented he really is.
To start off, his symbol is that of a torture device known as The Breaking Wheel or Catherine Wheel. It is a torture device that breaks your limbs and literally leaves you a crooked person for life. As far as I can tell he uses this as his symbol because it implies physically controlling a person as well as causing them pain. This is my own personal kind of interpretation. Beyond his symbo,l his main cronies are some pretty awful people. His main muscles are Bloody Mary and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Blood Mary as in the the evil murderous ghost that comes out of your mirror and kills you if you say her name three times. The Tweedle twins are the exact ones you are thinking, and they are pretty awful people in the Fables world. They’re basically hired guns. He also employs a monster called The Jersey Devil. I don’t know which fairy tale he comes from, but he is some sort of Satan-like Fable with a knack for killing. These aren’t the kind of people a normal person would have hanging around. The Crooked Man himself is one of those villains who seems to really think he isn’t evil. When you finally bring him before trial, he claims he is helping people. He is giving the money to all the Fables who are in debt and helping them live, the catch being they are under his thumbs completely. He controls people because they have no choice and if they were to step out of line, Blood Mary or the Tweedles could easily deal with them. The town is entirely under his control. As the Jersey Devil says to Bigby, “‘Cause he ain’t in your town. You’re in his. And he sure as shit is ready for you.” It’s clear that this is a criminal who deserves the name of mastermind. Some of the Fables even almost start to agree with his points in the end of the game. He is one of those villains who truly seed your mind with his cunning.
The verdict on the Crooked Man is Good. He is a evil mastermind who can’t get easily caught and controls a whole town without lifting a finger himself. You despise his guts, but at the same times seem to almost wish you were working with him. A villain who doesn’t seem like a pure evil enemy all the time is a villain well written. If you debate his evil he is doing something right. As I said in my other article, this is a fantastic game for anyway who loves some good story in their games.