|May 2012 Featured Article Winner|
Mysterion is the super hero identity of Kenny McCormick who appears in the episodes "The Coon", "Coon 2: Hindsight", "Mysterion Rises", "Coon vs. Coon & Friends", and "The Poor Kid". He is one of Mr. Garrison's fourth grade students at South Park Elementary masquerading as a vigilante under the pseudonym 'Mysterion'. He unveiled himself after the Coon persuaded them to for the good of the town. Due to the way the characters' facial characteristics are—their eyes, lack of noses, and mouth—it was initially unclear who Mysterion was to the audience, but the townspeople recognized him immediately.
Originally, Trey Parker and Matt Stone intended for Mysterion to be a one-time character and had not planned for his identity to ever be revealed, or even intended for him to be a particular character and intended him, like Eric Cartman's father, only to cause debates among fans. However, during Season Fourteen, Mysterion returned in a story arc beginning with "Coon 2: Hindsight" as a member of Coon and Friends, and in the follow-up "Mysterion Rises" his identity was revealed to be Kenny McCormick, and he possesses a superpower - his familiar inability to die.
Mysterion was first introduced in "The Coon", when he appeared near Cartman (as the Coon) on the roof of Walgreens. Cartman tried to find out his identity (a process largely relying on Mysterion "tripping up" over his own speech), but he fails. Mysterion leaves and reports to the local police station the next night to report various crimes - mostly just public order offenses (however, the police are quite impressed). Upon leaving, he is confronted again by the Coon, who feels that he is being ripped off. Mysterion, rather than enter an argument, uses firecrackers to distract the Coon while he escapes. While Mysterion recruits Kyle Broflovski to gather intelligence for him, Cartman teams up with Professor Chaos (Butters Stotch) to take down Mysterion - Chaos lays a trap to reel in Mysterion by threatening to blow up a hospital. The plot is successful, but instead of a clean take down, Mysterion - despite coming close to death at one point - comes out on top in a fist fight with Chaos and General Disarray (Dougie). Afterwards, though, Cartman convinces him to reveal himself to stop these attacks from happening. Mysterion reluctantly agrees, and reveals himself at a press conference (although it is still unclear to the viewer). A deleted ending shows Kyle in prison for vigilantism, when the real Mysterion turns up and asks why Kyle did that - Mysterion reveals himself to Kyle in private.
In "Coon 2: Hindsight", Mysterion is a member of the organization called Coon and Friends, headed by Cartman, which fights crime together. Mysterion seems to be an unofficial leader, since everyone respects him over Cartman, and he tries to convince Cartman that there are bigger things to worry about (such as the Gulf Oil Crisis) than the appearance of a new superhero, Captain Hindsight, who doesn't actually do anything to stop catastrophes but instead explores what could have been done to prevent them. When Cartman beats up Mosquito and Mint-Berry Crunch (Clyde Donovan and Bradley Biggle), two fellow heroes, Mysterion and the others vote Cartman out of Coon and Friends, and Mysterion takes unofficial command as the group leaves to help confront the Dark God Cthulhu, released by the irresponsibility of DP (formerly BP) in drilling.
In the continuation, "Mysterion Rises", Mysterion has decided to keep the group name Coon and Friends, simply because it annoyed Cartman (who has left to track down Cthulhu and ally up with him), and he found it extremely funny. The group are running a lemon bar stall to raise money to help with the crisis, but on return to their HQ (Cartman's basement) they find that the place has been trashed by Hindsight, who had been trying to find pictures of "him" having sex with Courtney Love (actually Butters in makeup). He threatens the group with a gun - Mysterion, after trying and failing to reason with Hindsight, pushes his head against the barrel and tells him to fire. The Human Kite (Kyle) tells him to chill out (revealing him to be Kenny in the process), but Mysterion asks the others to go. Hindsight tells Mysterion his "perfect 20-20 hindsight" is a curse - Mysterion manages to push that into insignificance with his own curse: his inability to die, worsened by the fact that nobody remembers his dying.
Later, the group meet in Clyde's room researching the "cult" of Cthulhu on the internet, where they stumble across a newspaper article about Kenny's parents being arrested for cult activity, at which point Kenny's surprise causes him to drop his Mysterion voice and express his shock using his true voice (while Kenny's real voice was featured at the end of the movie, this is only the second episode to feature Kenny's true voice, the first being The Jeffersons). He questions his parents as Mysterion, and they reveal where the meetings take place to him - as well as that they only went along for free beer, which Kenny doesn't find very hard to believe. The group go and spy on the meeting, where a particular passage from their book, the Necronomicon, interests Mysterion. Having seen the Goth Kids at the meeting (since millennia of suffering and darkness "sounds pretty Goth"), Mysterion confronts them. They don't take him too seriously, but before he gets anywhere the cult leader turns up and tells them to kill him. Despite the rest of the group trying to intervene, the leader stabs Mysterion - who promptly wakes up in his bed. The others turn up, and Toolshed (Stan Marsh) asks Kenny why he "ran away". Kenny cannot answer, since they will not take him seriously - instead, he sighs in resignation.
In the conclusion, "Coon vs. Coon & Friends", Mysterion ponders where his power came from, while the others discuss what their "powers" are. The others don't take him too seriously when he tries to convince them that he actually can't die - he begins to lose his temper when Kyle says he thinks it would be cool to not be able to die - it actually "fucking hurts". He then begins listing different ways he has died. Eventually, he resorts to shooting himself through the head in front of them, much to their shock. Later, the others are once again discussing their "powers" and where they came from, at Mysterion's (serious) suggestion that he should explore where his immortality came from. Cartman then reappears, and seems to be remorseful - but nobody takes him seriously. When he convinces them to come outside, he has Cthulhu banish them to the Sunken City of R'Lyeh (aside from Mint-Berry Crunch, who fled). Mysterion finds some spikes in a pit and purposely falls on one in order to die and be transported out of R'Lyeh to wake up in his bed at home in South Park, so that he can find a way to rescue everyone else. The improvised teleport works, and he returns to the Goth kids, who are gathered in Goth kid Henrietta's bedroom, for information on the cult. Bradley (who is the younger brother of Henrietta) passes by the bedroom door, sees Mysterion inside, changes into his Mint-Berry Crunch costume, and he chases after Mysterion after he leaves through the window. The two eventually track down Cthulhu after Mysterion reads that it takes an immortal to kill an immortal.
Cartman had been using Cthulhu to kill various people he didn't like - synagogues, hippie festivals and the city of San Francisco had all fallen prey to Cthulhu. Mysterion arrives and confronts Cartman, who has misinterpreted the idea of being a hero and thinks that it involves making the world a better place for himself rather than other people. Mysterion eventually demonstrates true heroism and offers his own life to Cthulhu in return for his friends - before this can happen, though, a message arrives from space for "Gok'Zarah." At first, Mysterion believes the message is for him, but it turns out that the message is for Mint-Berry Crunch. Mint-Berry Crunch subsequently uses his powers to defeat Cthulhu and rescue the remainder of Coon and Friends. After the group puts Cartman in the holding cell with Butters, Mysterion gives up on trying to convince the others that he can't die. After saying that he is tired and wants to go to bed, he commits suicide once again to return home. Shortly after, Kenny's mother, Mrs. McCormick, is seen in her own bed, with a rapidly expanding stomach and in pain, saying that "it's happening again." We then see her and Kenny's father, Stuart, wrapping a baby up in Kenny's orange parka and placing the baby in Kenny's bed. Mrs. McCormick then remarks, "We should've never gone to that stupid cult meeting."
In "The Poor Kid", Kenny is shown to have kept his alter ego. While he is not seen fighting crime, he has been protecting Karen McCormick. After being moved into foster care, Karen becomes distraught and cries in her sleep. Mysterion, or as she refers to him, "guardian angel", appears at the window to reassure her that she would be okay. Later, when Karen is being bullied in the school playground, Mysterion arrives, clinically dispatches Jessica Pinkerton, and warns everyone to keep away from Karen. He lights a few fireworks and escapes without further incident. Finally, he distracts the agnostic foster parents by drawing question marks on the bedroom walls, leading them on a merry-chase. He then escaped out of a window, left a note on the window, where he left a can of Blue Ribbon. After consuming the beer, the Weatherheads are arrested and Kenny was reunited with his family and friends at school.
Despite everyone's insistence on how important Mysterion was to the town, he appeared to stop relatively small crimes. The only crimes we saw him stop were public disorderly conduct and graffiti, by reporting them to the police. He also beats up Professor Chaos and General Disarray to stop them from blowing up a hospital and his dialogue with Chaos indicates that he has probably stopped his "evil" plots before.
The town's insistence on Mysterion's importance could be an example of their stupidity, as they might believe that Professor Chaos really may be capable of destroying the world.
In "Coon vs. Coon & Friends", he is seen toting a handgun, although he never uses it for his vigilante activities, but only to shoot himself on two separate occasions. The only tool we had seen Mysterion to use was a strand of firecrackers, which is illegal in the state of Colorado, in order to escape from the Coon. Mysterion uses firecrackers to distract the school students at Greeley when He takes Karen away from her tormentor and the crowd around them.
Mysterion uses a Mysterion Logo on a spring, like the one on his head, leaving it on a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, as a sign that he was there.
Before Mysterion was revealed to be Kenny, Cartman had named Craig, Kyle, Kenny, Stan, Clyde, and arguably Wendy as suspects, and during the unmasking Cartman claims he'd "knew it all along; [he] even said so before!" However, Mysterion is shown confronting Kyle in private, which ruled him out. Mr. Garrison pointed out Mysterion is a member of his class. No female had been listed as a suspect on Professor Chaos and General Disarray's wall of Mysterion suspects, which implies Mysterion as a male, and in addition, the amateur drawing of Mysterion shows a clearly male character with a masculine form and jaw, as well as a very deep voice. Also, the underwear worn are 'male' underwear, even further ruling out Wendy or any other female student as a suspect.
He is able to move around without aid, so he could not have been Jimmy or Timmy. Also, he remained extremely calm under pressure and did not twitch, making Tweek extremely unlikely and it couldn't have been Token because Mysterion is clearly white. Clyde was shown sleeping in class during the presentation of Cartman and that was the day before Mysterion and the Coon (Eric Cartman) met, which some fans claimed he was tired from his activities as Mysterion. However, other students are shown also tired, so it may have simply been to illustrate disinterest in the Coon's identity. Furthermore this could be interpreted in another way; when Cartman announced that The Coon would be on the roof of Walgreens, Clyde and the others did not seem to pay attention at all while Stan and Kenny were all awake listening to him, and Mysterion confronted the Coon at the place Cartman mentioned in the class.
In the Season 13 DVD, the deleted ending of "The Coon" reveals that the boy unmasked at Town Hall was Kyle, and he was arrested as a result. Mysterion, however, appeared to Kyle outside his cell and revealed his face, repeating the gag again. While this would also dilute both Garrison and Cartman's clues, it is a general rule of thumb in fiction for deleted scenes to be non-canonical.
In "Coon 2: Hindsight", the Mysterion suspects are narrowed down to two people: Kenny McCormick and Clyde Donovan. Kenny and Clyde were called out by Eric Cartman and he said "I even said it was you", unlike Bradley Biggle, who was not even on Professor Chaos' suspect list, nor accused by Cartman. Stan Marsh is shown as a separate hero within Mysterion's presence, ruling him out, and Craig does not appear in the episode.
Allusions to Superheroes/Supervillains
Mysterion seems to share similar characteristics with various other superheroes, particularly those from DC Comics' Batman franchise. Matt Stone and Trey Parker state on the commentary for "The Coon" he was intended as a parody of modern "dark' superhero films, using The Dark Knight and Watchmen as examples.
Some of Mysterion's quotes are very similar to those of The Spirit. One such example is the quote, "The city needs my help. It cries for protection, and I will answer the call to save her".
Immortal Man & Resurrection Man
Immortal Man and Resurrection Man are similar heroes from DC comics who, like Kenny, are resurrected when they die.
Batman, the alter ego of Bruce Wayne, often uses a low voice to disguise himself. Mysterion did this as well so that none of his classmates, or the people he knew as a regular child, would recognize his voice. The contact that Mysterion had with the police was similar to that of Batman's partnership with the police commissioner of the city of Gotham, James Gordon; both of them report to their respective informants for relaying information about crime. Also, Mysterion's manner of disguise and choice of words allude to Batman's, for they both hide their defining features, especially around the face, and consider themselves symbols of their cities/towns. They both speak only when necessary and tend to spend more time alone, prowling the streets for crime. His reluctance to work with other heroes is also similar.
Rorschach, one of the central characters of the graphic novel and film Watchmen, is mentioned by Stone and Parker in the DVD commentary as a major inspiration, along with Batman, for Mysterion. Like Batman, Rorschach has a deep, throaty voice similar to Mysterion's. Also in one scene, Mysterion speaks directly to the viewer via inner dialogue, and his inner dialogue is similar to Rorschach's journal throughout the film and graphic novel.
The RiddlerOne of Batman's most prominent foes, The Riddler, shares his question mark icon with Mysterion, who wears it atop his cloak. While question marks mean different things in regards to each, they are similar in appearance, with the exception that Mysterion's is bright green and Riddler's are many colors.
A member of the Teen Titans. Both Raven and Mysterion share the following: They are the darkest members of their respective teams. They share an origin that involves demonic entities, Raven being Trigon's daughter and Mysterion being related to the Cult of Cthulhu. To top it off their attire is comprised of a hood and robe like cape of similar color spectrums. Raven's being a dark blue and Mysterion's being a dark purple.
Mysterion looks very much like a child superhero, as he wears a pair of white underwear briefs over his base suit, which is an off-lavender and has a bright green 'M' on the front of it. Around his waist, there is a plain, thin black belt with a dark grey, standard buckle. Brown boots adorn his feet and olive-green gloves adorn his hands. There is a dark purple cloak that drags on the ground wrapped around his neck and provides a shield for his hair or any defining features. This cloak has a bright green question mark made of some type of sturdy material attached to a spring that juts out from the top of Mysterion's head. Finally, he wears a black half-mask that covers his face from the bridge of the nose up.
Unfortunately, there are little clues as to what features Mysterion possesses that makes him distinctive. Like most children in South Park's animation style, Mysterion has a perfectly round head, an averagely sized body, two tilted oval eyes with black pupils, and a mouth. He is extremely agile, and can run away quickly enough to disappear while a string of fireworks are blowing up.
When he shows his face in "The Coon", that is Kyle, not Kenny, as shown in a deleted scene, where Kyle is in jail, and Mysterion walks up to him. The real Mysterion then shows his face. However, deleted scenes are non-canon in most television shows, so this may not hold true.
- To see images of Mysterion, visit Mysterion/Gallery.
Mysterion is the embodiment of the anti-hero character archetype. Much of his attitude and view of the world stems from his experiences as Kenny, from his poverty, his willingness to help others in a time of need, as well as his inability to convince his friends of his inability to stay dead, which he views as a curse. Most of the time he is calm and calculating, making him an excellent strategist. However, there are times when, usually when people fail to take him seriously or in discussions with the Coon, that his temper gets the better of him - he came very close to lashing out violently at Kyle when he said that not being able to die would be "pretty cool". On another occasion he said that he finds pissing Cartman off "extremely funny" - possibly the only time Mysterion has laughed. He also displays a different persona than his real-life self, coming off as more gruff, intense, authoritative and grounded, whereas Kenny (usually) tends to be more lighthearted, easily amused and annoyed, also tending to play more of a supporting role with his friends.
Despite being the near-exact opposite of the Coon, Kenny has used his alter ego to improve his own life to an extent - he convinced his parents to stop beating each other up and abusing their kids, stop doing drugs (although he has only been semi-successful with both of these demands) and give their children allowances.
Mysterion seems to be more of a hand-to-hand combat fighter, as we see when he fights with Professor Chaos and General Disarray. Mysterion has great agility, as he made it to the top of buildings without the use of ladders, stairs, or elevators. In "The Poor Kid", he effortlessly beats up a school bully while protecting his sister.
In "Mysterion Rises" we are to discover Mysterion possesses a superpower - he is unable to die, always waking up in his bed every day as if nothing ever happened, with nobody remembering his death. He has died "countless" times, and is unaware of why himself. It is implied however, it has to do with the Necronomicon and the cult of Cthulhu. In "Coon vs. Coon & Friends", it was also revealed that he may use his immortality as a sort of improvised teleport: Since he will go back to his bed after he dies, he kills himself to be sent back there. He uses this technique to escape the sunken city of R'lyeh.
Mysterion has an unconscious ability to manipulate the memories of others; whenever he dies, witnesses forget the memory quickly. He seems unable to control this power, as he constantly tries to have his friends remember his deaths, but with little success.
Mysterion is able to change from his normal clothes to his hero suit at very short notice - between hearing that Karen McCormick was about to be beaten up and the bully in question advancing, he was able to change clothes, find firecrackers for a later distraction, and have enough time left to get onto the roof of the school.
Mysterion is shown to be able to jump high enough to kick a taller girl in the head in " The Poor Kid ". He also shows great strength, able to carry Karen McCormick on his shoulders and climb up a gutter without struggling.
Mysterion can jump from great height and not be hurt, or at least not be phased, by the pain that a normal person would feel. He jumps off a building and in front of The Goth Kids in ' Mysterion Rises ", and in " The Poor Kid ", he jumps out of a second floor window in his foster parents house. It is possible that since Mysterion is always able to come back alive, he has been training himself to perform various dangerous tasks, and killing himself in the event he gets a crippling injury.
- "I’m an angel keeping watch over the city at night. As violence and darkness take over the streets, I work to rid the city of crime. I’m the symbol this town needs."
- "I might be Craig, and then again, I might not be. My identity must remain a secret. You cannot know."
- [Inner dialogue] "I could no longer sit by and watch as my city became a cesspool of crime. I have lived in South Park all my life. I decided it was up to me to keep this town safe. Nobody at school knows my double life. To them, I’m just another fourth grader, but tonight, I am Mysterion."
- "The city needs my help. It cries for protection, and I will answer the call to save her."
- "I am Mysterion. I have joined forces with other superheroes in my neighborhood to help save the Gulf. Even the other heroes do not know that unlike them, I do have a power. A power they will now begin to understand. And all will know who and what I truly am."
- "Pretty cool? Do you know what it feels like to be stabbed? To be shot? Decapitated? Torn apart? Burned? Run over? It's not pretty cool, Kyle! It fucking hurts!"
- "No, Stan, I'm being serious! I really really can't die!"
- "Pull the trigger, you pussy!"
- The name Mysterion and the power to regenerate are a reference to the 1960s television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. The main character Captain Scarlet has the power to reincarnate/regenerate from any injury, fatal or otherwise - a power unintentionally granted him by a race of aliens referred to as the 'Mysterons'. It may be notable that this user had believed the name of the aliens to be the Mysterions, possibly due to the pronunciation by the British vocal cast.
- Mysterion can be seen on the front page of a newspaper held by Marvin Marsh in the South Park Title Sequence for Season Seventeen.
- Those who pre-ordered South Park: The Stick of Truth for Xbox 360 also received an exclusive "Mysterion Super Hero" pack based on the episode. The pack included the Mysterion Special Attack, Super Hero Costume, and the Dagger of Cthulhu used to kill Mysterion in the twisted classic "Mysterion Rises".
- "The Coon" - First appearance. Becomes idolised by the town and hated by Cartman
- "Coon 2: Hindsight" - Mysterion is in part of Coon and Friends.
- "Mysterion Rises" - Mysterion is seen part of Coon and Friends again, However he took Cartman's place as the leader.
- "Coon vs. Coon & Friends" - Mysterion is part of Coon and Friends. However, he wanted to know his powers come from and wanted to know how to fight Cthulhu.
- "The Poor Kid" - He comforts his sister (without her knowing his true identity), protecting her from Jessica Pinkerton, and getting the Weatherhead couple arrested for drinking and abusing kids.