For any hero to achieve true greatness, he has to be pushed to his limit by their opposite number. The villain, the bad guy, the antagonist. This character’s actions ultimately reflect back on the hero as the protagonist’s response will either make him or break him. With that in mind, here are who we think are the top baddies in comics.
Batman’s “rogues gallery” features such great villains as Two-Face, The Riddler, The Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Mister Freeze. However, each and every one of these bad guys pales in comparison to “the Clown Prince of Crime” himself, The Joker. No character is as willing to attack Batman and those close to him both physically and psychologically as this madman will. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that Batman refuses to kill the clown, thus every life Joker takes weighs ever-heavily on the Bat’s tortured conscience.
Getting a boost care of Tom Hiddleston’s performance in the Marvel films, Loki is front and center for more than just his oversized horns. The God of Mischief’s hatred for his adoptive father Odin and brother Thor make for a great tragedy in the classic dramatic sense. Loki’s incessant desire for the throne of Asgard stems from a twisted desire to prove worthy of Odin’s love, making this villain all the more tragic.
More than simple jealousy of his former colleague Reed Richards, Victor Von Doom’s desire to rule over his countrymen in Latveria makes him the poster child for “superpowered dictator.” Don’t let the green hood and skirt fool you, Doctor Doom has long been a foe not just of the Fantastic Four, but also of Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, and almost all the Marvel heroes. Possessing mastery over both science and magic as well as a perennial desire to rule over all makes Doom an all-time superstar baddie.
From the firepits of the planet Apokolips emerges the overpowering presence of Darkseid. Modeled by comics legend Jack Kirby after Adolf Hitler, Darkseid has risen in the ranks of comic villainy from someone on the fringes to being an archvillain for Superman, the Justice League, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and every hero in the DC Universe. In his search for the Anti-Life Equation that will give him total control over the thoughts and feelings of all beings, Darkseid has used both propaganda and force to advance his universe-spanning agenda.
Whether it be Terence Stamp’s cool, British-accented portrayal or Michael Shannon’s physical, evil goateed turn, General Dru-Zod always resonates with fans of Superman. With his military background in contrast to Superman and his father Jor-El, Zod is a Kryptonian without the humanity and morals that Kal-El was raised with. Lex Luthor may have been around longer, Brainiac may be more malevolent, and Bizarro may be creepier, but Zod is a match for Superman in both brains and brawn. Now kneel before Zod!
First appearing in the very first issue of the X-Men back in 1963, Erik Lensherr has evolved over five decades as he’s straddled being both villain and hero several times. With an origin story seeped in the bigotry of Nazi Germany, Magneto absorbed the anger and fear faced by his people and promised his fellow mutants that they wouldn’t befall the same fate. Often seen as both a terrorist and messiah, he’s much more than just a mutant who can move things with metal in them.
Sure to rise in popularity once the second Avengers movie hits the big screen, the tragedy of the robot known as Ultron is that he was created to help humanity and represent artificial intelligence that is almost human. Instead, what should have been Hank Pym’s crowning achievement has become one of the Avengers’ and the human race’s greatest foes, as well as a reminder of how technology and things people create can easily go astray.
Out of Spider-Man’s extensive gallery of rogues and enemies, Otto Octavius should be just one of many names that include the Green Goblin, Venom, the Sandman, the Lizard and more. But no other villain has done what Doctor Octopus recently did: exchange bodies with the superhero and completely take over his mind and his life. Already possessing a brilliant scientific mind, Doc Ock gave up his dying body with its four tentacles for the younger and more powerful body of Peter Parker. Now trying to prove himself a “Superior Spider-Man,” Doctor Octopus finds himself in the unfamiliar role of superhero.
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