Retired Super Villain
REAL NAME: Kip Babbage
PERSONALITY: Kip is not really evil or even bad, he just isn’t very bright. If had had an ounce of brains he could have easily used his illusion abilities to make a new life for himself. But he loved the rush of thwarting the police too much to stop so he got caught in the same stupid cycle so many other paranormals do.
POWERS: The Baffler is able to create illusions that affect sight, sound, hearing and touch. Over the years he learned to create multiple illusions and to have them do a host of complex actions simultaneously while using another illusion to hide himself.
APPEARANCE: Kip is a very normal looking man. He stands five foot seven, has prematurely thinning brown hair and surprisingly gentle eyes he hides behind a pair of glasses. As The Baffler he often wore a tuxedo like costume and made his facial features appear more dramatically handsome, as well as contacts.
“Behold the Baffler, Master of illusions!” At least that is what the poster said. In truth Kip Babbage was a lousy illusionist. He lacked the dexterity and charisma and he almost invariably left a stage under indifferent applause or outright boos. He thought he would give anything to be a great illusionist, to learn real magic.
What is that old maxim? Be careful what you wish for.
Babbage was approached by a sorcerer who needed a distraction, and what better piece of misdirection than the use of an illusionist? He carved runes into Kip’s chest that would grant him the ability to create illusions and asked him to help him rob a bank. Kip agreed and entered the bank with the sorcerer. Things were going well until the bank chain’s hero Wild Bill showed up. The sorcerer-who had actually been across town preparing to rob another bank of the same chain-disappeared, leaving poor Kip all alone. At this point the patsy’s powers were supposed to fade as well, but surprisingly enough they remained, which allowed him to confuse Bill long enough to make his own escape. Thus began a life of so-called crime.
Now known as The Baffler, Babbage committed a daring series of crimes, using his new illusion abilities to confuse police and super heroes alike. He was captured several times but was able to use his powers to effect and escape. At last his luck ran out when he ran afoul of Grimoire. Grimoire’s solution was simple; he told The Baffler if he did not give himself up then he would sic his sidekick Felisomballa on him. Kip dropped the illusions immediately and let himself be cuffed.
Over the years The Baffler has exhibited a singular ingenuity at escaping from numerous prisons, but ultimately he gets caught again. He escaped from The Hole during the EDI, but new charges were not pressed against him when he helped The Vindicators stop Mauler’s latest rampage. He later was able to escape and became employed by Dr. Hades when the mad scientist took over a nuclear reactor in Toledo. He was re-captured by the Vindicators and sent right back to The Hole.
For a time Kip had been recruited by an American government sponsored super hero team on a sort of work release program. After being accused of mind controlling several members of the team into attacking The Vindicators Kip escaped custody and was on the run for some years. Ultimately he was cleared and he wrote an autobiography, Vanishing Act, Confessions of a Super Villain, along with a follow up book, Sleight of Man. Both books turned out to be remarkably popular as Babbage was seen less as a loser and more of a guy who was too stubborn to quit. Kip has remained on the straight and narrow and for a time was a regular at Supercon. There was also a popular comedy series on Netflix showcasing his greatest “misses” over the years. In the end Baffler has learned to turn his failures into post retirement success, which is more that can be said of many of his peers.
These days Baffler, now well into his sixties, is mostly retired and is living a quiet life in Science City. There was a recent incident where he used his illusions to talk a potential suicide off the roof of a building and it temporarily through him into the public spotlight, much to his chagrin.