Evil Does Pay
Who are the best supervillains from the comics? The best of the worse (or is that the worst of the worse?).
There is a Spanish saying, “el mal no paga” (evil does not pay). However, when it comes to comic book villains, evil does pay.
Indeed, some villains are as popular as their rival heroes.
Moreover, a few have managed to get top billing and become a part of pop culture–even their own films.
They are grotesque, scary, menacing, greedy, remorseless, powerful, ruthless, and irredeemable.
Conversely, some of them are charming (Lex Luthor), good-looking (Killmonger), sexy (Catwoman), regal (Doctor Doom), even friendly (Harley Quinn).
If you talk to them, they are not the bad guy, just misunderstood.
Some of them are truly tragic figures. Those are perhaps the most sympathetic (The Lizard, Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, Clayface). They did not set up to become villains. They lost a loved one or got turned into monsters.
They may want to conquer the world, profit from crime, kill and kidnap, or just right a wrong through force. Regardless of their motives, their purpose is to oppose the heroes we love.
We previously looked at the top ten female heroes and the top ten male heroes. We also debated what makes a good villain. Now is the time to rank them.
By the way, making these lists do not get any easier.
For this list, I am looking at three things:
fear factor- how scared I will be if they were real and show up
achievements – for example, what is their biggest claim to fame?
How they interact with their respective archnemesis.
There seems to be a trope in comic books about having villains that are dark versions of the hero.
For example, villains like Zod or Bizarro (evil Superman), Venom (evil Spiderman), Black Adam (evil Shazam/Captain Marvel), and Sabertooth (evil Wolverine). I have excluded most evil versions of heroes as fun as they are.
The following villains would give you nightmares.
Not because they are evil but because they are unnerving. As in they may kill you without a second thought, or worse, you may agree with their agenda (although not their methods).
Top Ten Supervillains
Doctor Doom– The nemesis of the Fantastic Four is arguably Marvel’s best villain. Forget that he rules Latveria as a beloved monarch. Forget he was the inspiration for Darth Vader. Forget he is as smart as Reed Richards. His combination of science and sorcery makes him unstoppable. The movies have not made him justice. Yet.
The Joker– from his terrifying laugh to his ability to not die. A true agent of chaos who is the perfect antithesis to the methodical and OCD Batman.
Magneto– Misunderstood freedom fighter? All he wants is for mutants to be free and accepted as equals by humanity. Killing is just a necessary by-product. And who can forget when he extracted all the adamantium from Wolverine‘s body?
Darkseid– the leader of Apokolips is not only the most menacing of the New Gods, but not even Superman can stop him. Nothing can escape his Omega beams. He will stop at nothing to find the anti-Life equation. Remember, Darkseid is!
Green Goblin– Spiderman has arguably the best rogues gallery after Batman. Nonetheless, Green Goblin stands out among his iconic villains because with him is personal. He murdered his girlfriend. He is also his friend Harry’s dad.
Ra’s Al Ghul– The immortal leader of the League of Assassins would be a forgettable Batman villain if not for two facts: he is the grandfather of Batman‘s son and current Robin, Damian Wayne; and he is an eco-terrorist hell-bent on saving endangered species and the planet from humans.
Deathstroke, the Terminator– Slade Wilson was the inspiration for Deadpool. He has fought the Justice League. He is a mercenary. And he has a love-hate relationship with the Teen Titans. Their history is… complicated.
Kang the Conqueror– Sorry Thanos, Ultron, and Loki. Everyone knows the Avengers’ number one villain is the time traveler from the 41st Century. His advanced futuristic weaponry allows him to stand toe to toe with the Avengers. Did I mention he is related to Reed Richards?
Black Manta– Besides having one of the most frightening and recognizable designs, Black Manta (David Hyde) is one of the few black supervillains. He earns a spot on this list not only by being Aquaman‘s greatest rival but by being the man who killed his son.
Zoom/Reverse Flash– At first glance, Hunter Zolomon seems like another misunderstood person. All he wants is to make the Flash a better hero. By murdering everyone around the Flash, including his unborn twins. Sick.
These are the bad guys who barely made the list.
Galactus– More like a force of Nature. He is a skyscraper-size planet eater.
Bullseye– He never misses and in his hands, anything is a weapon.
Taskmaster– he trains supervillains for a living. Don’t be afraid of the villains, beware of their teacher.
Catwoman– Batman is attracted to her. She just wants to change her aways but diamonds are so shiny.
Sinestro– A frenemy and opponent of Green Lantern. His yellow ring of fear is strong against green willpower energy.
Harley Quinn– The Joker‘s sidekick has come out of Mr. J‘s shadow and become a prominent villain in the DC universe.
Vandal Savage– an immortal caveman with the intelligence and cunning to defeat the Justice League.
Mr. Mind– Shazam has many enemies but there is something creepy about the mind-controlling alien caterpillar.
Gorilla Grodd– a strong and smart telepathic ape you don’t want to mess with.
Ultron– An android without a soul. Calculating, almost unbeatable.
These are my selections, readers, what is yours? Who is your favorite super villain and why?
I have always enjoyed the Legion of Super-Heroes so I recommend the Fatal Five as super villains.
To complete the list I would add Lex Luthor and Brainiac.
Great suggestions KD. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I almost put Lex Luthor. Although a businessman in a suit with lots of money and intelligence makes him basically evil Elon Musk.
Not necessarily the most threatening villain.
here is something chilly about Brainiac. He is the embodiment of our collective alien abduction nightmares except he kidnaps whole cities. Yes, he is my biggest omission. Although I could not think of a standout story featuring him. At least Lex was US President (evil Trump?) for a while.
I love the Legion more than any other superhero team. I flirted with them (I love Mano and Persuader) but I rather include The Fatal Five in a list about the best Supervillain teams.
Speaking about the Legion, Universo, Mordru, Computo, and Time Trapper could easily make the list. However, arguably their best storyline remains The Great Darkness Saga featuring Darkseid as the villain who did make the list.
Again, great suggestions.