February 29, 2024

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #355: Roulette

A supervillain who likes the odds forever in her favor thinks her grandfather was a Golden Age hero.

I mentioned in last week’s entry on Richard Dragon that the name had become something of a legacy, surprisingly going from a hero to a villain.  It turns out there is at least one more of those, though the legacy part is a little less clear.  That would be in the case of the DC Comics villain Roulette who believes herself to be the granddaughter of Mr. Terrific.

First, a bit on Mr. Terrific:  created in 1942 for Sensation Comics #1, Terrence “Terry” Sloane was a rich man who was, well, basically good at everything.  He had no special powers, per se, but he was an Olympic level athlete with a photographic memory and a genius intellect.  Going out to fight crime in a costume with the words “Fair Play” written on it, Sloane’s Mr. Terrific mostly seemed to want everything to work out in a way that was fair for everyone.  He would eventually join the Justice Society and die at the hands of his old nemesis the Spirit King after that disembodied goober possessed the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick and killed Sloane.  And then, thanks to magic and whatnot, Sloane even helped solve his own murder before moving on to whatever comes next.

So, all things being equal, not a bad Golden Age hero.  Nothing fancy but a good, even somewhat memorable gimmick.  Sure, unlike a lot of Golden Age heroes, Terry Sloane has more or less died and stayed dead, but there’s been at least one other Mr. Terrific in the form of another genius bazillionaire named Michael Holt.

By the by, I am aware that there was an evil version of Terry Sloane, spelling his name “Sloan” in the New 52’s Earth-2 title, but we don’t need to worry about that guy right now.

Regardless, Terry Sloane was a hero through and through.  Victoria Sinclair, AKA Roulette, runs a gaming house where she forces metahumans and sometimes brainwashed heroes to battle each other for the entertainment of her patrons.  She believes herself to be Terry’s granddaughter and even took offence when Holt showed up as she believed he wasn’t worthy of the name “Mr. Terrific”.

She’s nothing like her grandpa, but she thinks she knows who is and isn’t worthy?

Oh, there was one small problem there:  Terry wasn’t her grandpa.  Her other grandpa may have been one of Terry’s enemies, a guy called Roulette who ran a casino, but in reality, Victoria’s grandfather wasn’t Terry Sloane but Terry’s unlucky brother Ned.  Ned was a guy who tended to screw up a lot and only exists because novelist Michael Chabon apparently is a Mr. Terrific fan and contributed a story to an anthology issue that introduced Ned.

But as for Roulette, her M.O. is often kidnapping superheroes or superhero teams and forcing them into combat, having done so with both the modern day JSA and the “Super Buddies” group made up of former Justice Leaguers working for Max Lord.  She runs a casino, called the House, where these brawls often take place, and even had a wall dedicated to heroes who died in her arena.  Sure, they weren’t big name heroes, but they may have been mildly recognizable to anyone doing a particularly deep dive into DC’s extended universe.

Given DC has not had a JSA title in a while, it would stand to reason Roulette hasn’t been seen as much.  This is more or less true.  But she didn’t quite go away.  Roulette made a pair of appearances in Justice League Unlimited with voice work by actress Virginia Madsen for starters.

Those hair pins act as daggers for fighting purposes.

And, in live action, she appeared in both Smallville as an assassin played by actress Steph Song and later on the live action Supergirl, there played by actress Dichen Lachman.  I’ve seen Lachman play a character who got her head twisted on backwards in Torchwood and play a body-hopping assassin who kept attacking a character while naked on Altered Carbon, but I don’t really recall her time on Supergirl.

Regardless, she thinks she’s doing things to honor Mr. Terrific by having good guys fight to the death.  That doesn’t sound like fair play to me…