Dr. Horrible a supervillain who aspires to join the Evil League of Evil. Dr. Horrible, the name by which he is commonly known (especially by the public), is the alter-ego of Billy (his everyday name). Billy is primarily motivated by a desire to make a drastic social change in the world by putting the power in his own hands. His image opens and closes, in both instances, showing him sitting in front of a web-cam recording content for his blog, where he talks both of his villainous exploits and of his experiences with Penny. Dr. Horrible has a friend and henchman, Moist, with whom he discusses his evil plans, and his crush on the girl from the laundromat, Penny, to whom he has yet to even say hello. Dr. Horrible's nemesis is Captain Hammer, a vain, prideful superhero, described by Dr. Horrible as a "corporate tool". Dr. Horrible has many inventions to help enact his plans, including a Transmatter Ray, a Horrible Van Remote, Freeze Ray, and Stun Ray that is later upgraded into a Death Ray. His costume consists of an eggshell coloured lab coat, khaki pants, white boots, light grey gloves, and silver welding goggles. When Dr. Horrible eventually joins the Evil League of Evil, he changes to a red lab coat and black gloves and pants.
Dr. Horrible was given a letter from Bad Horse, the leader of the Evil League of Evil, who indicates that his application for this year is under consideration. In the meantime, the League is watching his actions, and Bad Horse suggests that a committing a major crime would help his application. Due to his earlier failed applications for entry, however, this will be his final chance for entry into the League. Dr. Horrible comments that he will be stealing wonderflonium from a poorly guarded courier van soon to power his Freeze Ray, and this is the perfect opportunity to show off for the League.
During the attempt, he meets Penny by coincidence and the two are properly introduced, though he is preoccupied with his heist and cannot pay much attention to her. He wonders why she chose to talk to him at that moment, and briefly debates following her to continue the conversation, until he resolves to follow through with his plan. The heist goes well at first, until Captain Hammer arrives, and crushes the receiver for the van remote. Dr. Horrible is unable to control the van, and it runs wild through the city. The van closes in on Penny, who does not see it approaching. Dr. Horrible manages to re-establish control and stop the van from hitting Penny. Emerging from hiding, Dr. Horrible furiously scolds Captain Hammer for putting Penny's life in danger. Hammer responds by shifting blame back to Dr. Horrible, and briefly strangling him. Penny (who was pushed into a pile of garbage by Captain Hammer before the van stopped), assumed that Captain Hammer saved her and begins to fall in love with him. With Captain Hammer distracted by Penny, Dr. Horrible angrily makes off with the Wonderflonium, lamenting over the romance that he is indirectly responsible for.
Dr. Horrible later manages to perfect the Freeze Ray with the Wonderflonium and talks in his blog about his next crime, at the Superhero Memorial Bridge. This fails however, due to the fact that his Freeze Ray takes some time to charge up, and also because Captain Hammer and the LAPD are watching his blog. This earns him a phone call from Bad Horse who tells him that he must now either kill to gain entry to the Evil League of Evil or else be killed for his failure and public humiliation. Dr. Horrible has difficulty with this, as he personally dislikes murder. Moist suggests that he kill someone easy, such as a child or someone very elderly, but Dr. Horrible is even more disgusted with this idea.
At the same time, as Billy, he has become close to Penny, with the two bonding with each other over conversations in the laundromat. Captain Hammer unfortunately meets him in his identity as Billy, who reveals that he knows that he is Dr. Horrible and he plans to sleep with Penny just to humiliate him. Hearing this, Dr. Horrible loses his aversion to killing and resolves to murder Captain Hammer to secure his entry into the Evil League of Evil. Dr. Horrible throws himself into perfecting his Freeze Ray, and using his Wonderflonium to turn his Stun Ray into a Death Ray.
As Penny's relationship with Captain Hammer grows, Dr. Horrible is busy in his lab working to perfect his Death Ray and planning how he is going to kill Captain Hammer. Penny sits in the laundromat with two frozen yogurts, watching the door as she waits for Billy to show up.
During the opening ceremony of Penny's new homeless shelter, Dr. Horrible interrupts a speech by Captain Hammer by shooting him with his Freeze Ray. Emboldened by his iminent victory, Dr. Horrible begins to gloat and taunt the audience while firing madly with his Death Ray. As he approaches Captain Hammer, he hesitates to fire, which gives the Freeze Ray time to power down (something Dr. Horrible was not aware could happen). Captain Hammer is unfrozen and punches Dr. Horrible. Dr. Horrible is knocked down by the blow, and loses grip on the Death Ray, which bounces onto the floor. Captain Hammer picks up the Death Ray, and decides to use it on Dr. Horrible. Dr. Horrible tries to warn that it is now broken, as Wonderflonium must not be bounced under any circumstances, but Captain Hammer ignores him, causing a massive explosion as he fires. Captain Hammer is launched across the room, and runs off crying in pain. Dr. Horrible is unscratched, but he discovers that two stray pieces of shrapnel have impaled Penny, the handle of the death ray below her ribs and a piece of the barrel in her chest. Penny dies in Dr. Horrible's arms and, with her last breath, she tells him that Captain Hammer will save them. The media assumes that Dr. Horrible defeated Captain Hammer and killed Penny intentionally, and he is lauded as the most feared supervillain in the world. With Captain Hammer in seclusion after Penny's death, Dr. Horrible and Moist are able to go on a crime spree. On the strength of these crimes, Dr. Horrible is invited to join the Evil League of Evil, giving him everything he ever wanted though he is left emotionally crushed by Penny's death.
While physically unimposing, Dr. Horrible possesses a genius-level intellect and an understanding of technology that far surpasses that of most of the world, enabling him to invent seemingly impossible items like the transmatter device, freeze ray, stun ray, death ray, and remote control device (which allows him to operate a vehicle from a handheld device). Many of his inventions have failed to work as planned. The transmatter device DID transfer matter, but it arrived in a different form, and the freeze ray took a few seconds to warm up, leaving him vulnerable. The death ray worked, but it was quite fragile, and the remote control device worked fine until Captain Hammer damaged the receiver on the van.
Also he can take a car to the face and walk away.
Positive Characteristics and Beliefs
To his credit, Dr. Horrible seems to be one of the sole people in the world who seems to realize the media's views on heroes is hopelessly inaccurate. Despite all the praise and love lauded for Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible knows from personal experience that the very hero defending Los Angeles is a callous, vain, selfish womanizer who enjoys using reputation to sleep with women and earn further praise.
In real life, Billy is very shy and cautious, an almost polar opposite of his internet alter ego. At the laundromat, Billy acts very respectfully and kindly to Penny; buying her frozen yogurt (though calling it a crazy, random happenstance), being gentle with her both physically and emotionally, and treats her like an actual human being; as it is, Billy is torn by a moral dillema whether to take a stand against Captain Hammer or find a way to live life without him interfering; he knows that Hammer is obviously the wrong choice for Penny, as proven during Hammer's selfish speech, but refuses to hurt Penny's feelings. Despite this seclusion, he is able to build a steady relationship with Penny, even beginning to awkwardly flirt. This relationship adds to the cruel twist; had Billy focused less on his villanious persona, Penny would have seen Captain Hammer's selfish nature and could possibly have gone to Billy.
Unlike the other local villains, Dr. Horrible is more or less an aspiring one at best. He always seems to feel particularly remorseful; when ordered by Bad Horse to murder, Billy shows hostility and uncertainty to actually killing; his style is no more than well-organized theft and building impressive technology. "Killing isn't elegant... or creative, it's not my style." This merciful nature more or less adds to the tragedy of Dr. Horrible; at heart, Billy has no true desire to go beyond small, secluded feats. Even when the day comes to kill his victim for the ELE - Captain Hammer, at first - Dr. Horrible is hesitant to actually kill Hammer and seems as if he may not actually go through with it. However, when Penny tragically dies at the end by accident, Billy's whole world seems to crash down on him, seeming to actually know that at heart he never was a good villain, and after so many years of trouble and hurt at the hands of the media and Captain Hammer, all his troubles are both gone and raining down on him at the same time; at the end of the day, all Billy seemed to really think Dr. Horrible was, was just a thing.
Politically, however, Horrible's ideology is flawed to say the least. He believes (and knows) that so-called superheroes are incapable of correctly controlling peace, and that the only way in order for the world to be controlled correctly is by the benign goals of "anarchy that he runs"; to remove forms of government and to put the power in his hands, but also allowing anarchy under his rule, seeing that the status quo of the normal world is "not... quo. The world is a mess and I need to rule it." This is an obvious oxymoron.