- “I'm really not sinister, just misunderstood.”
Dr. Reginald Bushroot is a recurring supervillain in Darkwing Duck. Once a renowned leading botanist, Reginald Bushroot became a half-plant/half-duck through one of his failed experiments. Eventually, he ended up as one of the Fearsome Five.
In contrast to his fellow villains who mostly are driven by sadism, sociopathy, greed, insanity, erratic mentality, or professional occupation, Bushroot is driven by emotions and loneliness and is not completely evil. By far the most complex and sympathetic character on the show, Reginald wants nothing more than love and companionship and is only doing crimes for what he believes to be good reasons. He is lonely and longs for acceptance, creating a sidekick to keep him company, a wife to love him, and numerous other projects. With the exception of Spike, all his creations have turned on him, resulting in an even stronger desire for companions.
He is a villain bent on doing things due to being misunderstood by society. As a scientist, he was shunned, and as a plant, he does bad things for what he assumes are the right reasons. Unfortunately, he can take things too far, such as when attempting to get revenge on the Dean of St. Canard University, he decided that because Darkwing and Launchpad were getting in his way, they must be out to get him, and thus he attempted to dispose of them.
Despite still being a villain, Bushroot has displayed some heroic qualities throughout the series. For example, in the episode Twin Beaks, Bushroot worked together with Darkwing Duck and the alien cows to protect the entire planet of Earth from evil plant mutants.
Spike is Bushroot's plant sidekick/companion, who behaves much like a dog and resembles an overgrown Venus flytrap. A recurring theme involves Spike to be chemically altered making him either smaller or larger than usual. In The Incredible Bulk, he secretly helped Darkwing and Launchpad because he was jealous of the attention Bushroot was giving Daisy instead of him. Bushroot later remarked in that episode that he found Spike dependable, much to the plant's pleasure.
Powers and abilities
Before his transformation, Reginald was a brilliant botanist and scientist, and this did not change after his transformation. A certified genius by the Academy of St. Canard, it is unknown if his Ph.D. has been suspended (now that he is a criminal).
After blooming into a plant-duck hybrid he gained mental control over flora, the ability to accelerate their growth and metabolism, to make them do his bidding. With the power to make mighty trees and thorny vines strike at his enemies, this would make him one of the most dangerous beings in Saint Canard. However, his personality, largely being that of a pacifist, renders the potential violence of these powers near non-existent. Only once has he used them in a genuinely lethal way, and aimed at long term tormentors of his.
He is figuratively immortal, as he can abandon one husk and transfer his mind into a fresh one and simply regrow his body, allowing him to survive fatal accidents like being chopped to pieces, drying up, etc.
Role in the series
According to the episode "Beauty and the Beet", Bushroot was once a renowned scientist, but his funding for his experiments was about to be cut. To prove his theories were correct, Bushroot performed an experiment on himself and was permanently transformed into a half-duck half-plant creature.
He used his newfound powers to pursue revenge on rival scientists Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson who bullied him. After, Bushroot seemingly killed off Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson (issues #7 and 8 of the Joe Books comic would later reveal that they had survived and turned into half-plant hybrids themselves, but their brains had been reduced to mush as a result) and attempted to woo Dr. Rhoda Dendron, who had previously defended Bushroot from bullies. Rhoda was dismayed by Bushroot's lack of scientific ethics and shunned him when he appeared before her. Heartbroken and more than a little insane, Bushroot took her hostage, intending to perform the same experiment on her, but was stopped by Darkwing Duck.
In later episodes, Bushroot mainly commits crimes to fund his experiments, though sometimes he acts in a manner reminiscent of an environmentalist (a la Greenpeace). Bushroot has the ability to control any and all forms of plant, though some seem to obey better than others. He sometimes has to use chemicals or fertilizers to make a plant useful in a fight. In one episode, he attempts to create a mate for himself, but mistakenly used the wrong seeds and creates a giant slobbering mutant potato named Posey. He also has a pet plant named Spike, which resembles a Venus flytrap.
Bushroot has dark green feathers, vines for arms, ivy leaves for hands, and shaggy magenta foliage for hair. He has the ability to regenerate himself when cut and is therefore virtually impossible to kill. He has also been known to fake his own death by leaving dried dummy husks behind and regenerating through various methods. Aside from his many plant cohorts, Bushroot was also allied as a member of the Fearsome Five, acting as one of Negaduck's henchmen. In the Negaverse, Bushroot's counterpart is a member of the Friendly Four. In the episode "A Star is Scorned", Bushroot is portrayed as a less-than-intelligent actor (along with the rest of the Darkwing Duck cast) for "Dizzy" (Disney) studios.
- Bushroot is likely based on the Batman villainess, Poison Ivy, since he has the ability to communicate with and control other plants.
- Ironically, despite being one of the more sympathetic Darkwing Duck villains, he is also one of the few who ever seemingly murdered people.
- He is stated by Tad Stones in this interview to have been modeled after Swamp Thing.
- According to a conversation Tad Stones on Twitter, Bushroot has a higher body count than Negaduck.