In the Netflix show Jessica Jones, Krysten Ritter plays Jones, a superhero who is traumatized by Kilgrave (David Ten­nant), a villain who once held her captive. Kilgrave commits twisted acts of violence, and in the second episode we learn that he has stolen the kidneys of a young man. Now disabled, the young man must live with his mother, who seems perversely pleased by her son’s dependence on her and attributes it to God’s will. Jessica Jones disagrees, and tells the young man, “God didn’t do this. The devil did. And I’m going to find him.”

Kilgrave has a superpower that lets him overcome any person’s will with a command of his own. When he tells someone to do something, that person must do it exactly and literally. So he tells people to put their hands in blenders. He tells them to let him into their apartments and to cook him dinner. He tells children to lock themselves in closets, and he tells Jones’s neighbor to stalk her and send him pictures of her.

This horrific villain is obsessed with Jones. Most comic-book villains want something abstract, like world domination. Kilgrave wants to dominate Jones, and he acts with random but stunning cruelty, using other people as weapons and putting innocent bystanders and Jones’s loved ones into danger as he tries to manipulate her.