Mr. Fish

Mr. Fish
The comic book history of Mr. Fish, an enemy of Luke Cage, from Marvel Comics.

If you're a villain, and you have to keep telling people not to laugh at your core concept...maybe you're in the wrong business. Like, Magneto, Green Goblin, or Mr. Sinister never have to tell their victims not to laugh at them. That's because they're too busy tearing out people's skeletons or killing their loved ones. Yeah, all their names are kind of silly, but that goes with the territory of putting on a costume to go out and do evil. Mr. Fish, though, was working with what he had. Not well, but adequately.

The marketing on this cover doing a LOT of heavy lifting with Mr. Fish being described as "The Most Frightful Villain Ever." Image copyright Marvel.

Like taking radioactive isotopes from a baby

Mr. Fish began life as Mortimer Norris, a low-level street criminal just trying to make ends meet running jobs for the mafia. He and his crew got wind of some dangerous radioactive isotopes that were being driven by truck through Manhattan for some reason. And this wasn't like, some guarded, shielded transport requiring intelligence and a crack team to get. This was one normal truck sitting down at the docks on the East River, waiting for a ship. Maybe. We don't know what the one driver was doing other than, yes, sitting there with the window down reading Playboy. I would say stealing this radioactive material was like taking candy from a baby, but babies probably try harder than that.

Since the driver was so distracted by his, quote, funny-book, he didn't notice Mortimer come up and blast him in the head with a handgun...ever. The crew quickly went to work raiding the shipment, and they found it.

I don't know, maybe put it down if it makes you feel hot and dizzy and is also radioactive. Image copyright Marvel.

They knew they found the dangerous radioactive materials when Mortimer just...opened up the protective case and looked at it, washing his body in so much radiation.

Starting to stagger and saying he felt dizzy and hot, Mortimer, still holding the isotope and now glowing, dove into the East River to cool off.

His crew was loyal. More loyal than I would have been. I would have been so out of there. I've seen the HBO Series Chernobyl. You don't mess around with radiation. But, they found a row-boat and, despite having just blasted a truck driver in the face a few hundred feet away, spent the next couple of hours combing the bay for their buddy.

Super fish powers

And they found him when he emerged, swamp-thing-like, from the water - the radiation, instead of melting him, having turn him to the nearest creature in the river: a fish. He also, apparently, gained the trait that fish are most well-known for, super-strength.

I wonder how he knew he would never be the same again. Was it being underwater for hours? The green skin? Image copyright Marvel.

Anyway, you get turned into a giant fish? That's a speed bump. Mortimer changed his name to the very snappy and intimidating "Mr. Fish," and resumed his petty crime.

Mr. Fish's problem was that he didn't dream big enough. He didn't try to go for any bigger scores after his accident. The name even feels like just an afterthought. At least go with Piranha or Moray or something. Mr. Fish just feels like a fish that's...kind of overly polite?

Anyway, Mr. Fish fell prey to that classic bad guy crutch - monologing. He spoke too long, giving his captive, Luke Cage, time to think of a plan of attack. That isn't even Cage's fault. Cage begged Mr. Fish to just kill him rather than make him listen to Mr. Fish's boring origin story, but Mr. Fish couldn't help it. Mr. Fish's life ended the way so many fish lives end: by being tossed off a skyscraper.

Mr. Fish going as so many fish do: being flung from a skyscraper. Image copyright Marvel.

Mr. Fish 2: Fishier

Despite being a fully terrible name, if you have a shot at superpowers, no matter how bad and nonsensical, you take it. At least, that's what Bill Norris, Mortimer's brother thought. He recreated the exact series of events leading up to Mr. Fish's creation...probably not the porn-reading truck driver murder...but bathing himself in way too much radiation and jumping in the East River. He emerged...looking exactly like his brother, and the only name worse Mr. Fish, Mr. Fish 2, was born.

Unlike his brother, he used the "No one laughs at Mr. Fish," as a threat's kind of hard to threaten people if you start off with the assumption that they're laughing at you. He wasn't quite as unsuccessful as his older that he lived past his first fight...but, after getting beaten up time and time again, he lived to prove himself wrong, because everyone laughed at Mr. Fish.

Want more of the worst villains of comic book history?

Disclaimer: Mr. Fish and every other character mentioned in this post are owned by Marvel and all images are reproduced for educational and historical purposes. "Best of the Worst" (the blog and podcast) and Nextpod are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, any publisher or media company.

Concerned that this infringes on your copyrights or trademarks? Please contact us using the following form: