January 24, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #344: Savant

Ever meet a jerk who was good at everything and knew it? That would be Savant.

If you’re watching a movie that James Gunn had something to do with, there’s a good chance that certain actors are going to appear somewhere, most notably Michael Rooker.  Sure enough, he’s in the new The Suicide Squad as DC bad guy Savant.

So, who’s Savant?

Savant is one Brian Durlan.  First appearing in Birds of Prey #56 in August of 2003, Savant was a master criminal genius who was basically physically and mentally adept to a master level in many different skills.  Essentially, he was good at everything, and he decided to challenge the Birds of Prey, particularly their leader Oracle, with only his large Russian sidekick Creote to help.

As it was, Savant has one glaring weakness:  his mind has a hard time telling how much time passes.  Something that would have ended years ago could feel like it was only minutes for him or he could be easily convinced that more time passed than it has.  As weaknesses go…well, that one’s new.

As it is, writer Gail Simone must have been having fun with this guy because he never really went away, giving her the opportunity to really dig her metaphorical teeth into him and, to a lesser extent, Creote.  Savant eventually admitted he had briefly tried being a vigilante superhero in Gotham City, a trial that ended when he met Batman only for the Dark Knight to (accurately) point out that Savant lacked any empathy for anyone, making him a poor choice to be a hero of some kind.  As such, Savant tried his hand at crime instead.

That said, Savant didn’t stay on the side of the devils, becoming something of an ally for the Oracle and the Birds, even possibly being considered a member of the team.  It helped that Creote found himself there first, and Creote was essentially a large, muscular gay man deeply in love with Savant, something that was apparently picked up on by, well, everyone but Savant and the time lost Birds of Prey pilot Lady Blackhawk since she tried hitting on the guy repeatedly and wasn’t sure why he wasn’t reciprocating.  To Savant’s credit, once he learned Creote was smitten with him, he did return the affection and the two became a couple.  Savant would even act as a double-agent for Oracle in a sting operation to bring down her supervillain counterpart the Calculator.

Then the New 52 happened.

Now, to be fair, Savant has appeared since the New 52 happened.

Like, this apparently is his New 52 look.

But this Savant’s whole deal is a little…hard to define.  He may or may not be the same character.  He appeared in the first issue of the New 52’s Suicide Squad series as part of a team try out to see if anyone on this group would betray the program under torture.  Savant, and only Savant, failed, only to be dragged away to…well, maybe die, but it was vague and he came back later.  All that in-depth backstory?  Well, it might still be true.  Or it might not.  Who knows?

But Michael Rooker played him in a movie!

If you’ve seen the movie, you know how that all goes.

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