Villains. Gotta hate them, gotta admire their tenacity – and got to love them all the same, right? No superhero would be complete without the perfect villain to challenge them and keep them on their toes. After all, what’s the point of a superhero without some bad guys to push around? They’ve got to be at least as smart and powerful as the good guys, so they always catch our attention. Sometimes we may even secretly root for them!
Who are your favorite bad guys of the many comic book universes? Today we round up some of the best of the worst and look at what makes them so memorable and compelling.
Batman’s villains have a way of always making these lists, and it’s pretty clear why – each one is uniquely crafted, with their own personalities, quirks, and life issues that can be oddly relatable. The Joker may well be the most iconic Batman villain, and he’s also arguably the evilest. He’s insanity personified. He has no wish to play by human rules: he’s a crazy clown and proud to be one. All he wants is mayhem, and he doesn’t even disguise it under a set of twisted ideals. It’s this lack of clear motive and unapologetic evil that makes him one of the most compelling villains of all time.
He’s not the hottest villain to behold, but Doctor Otto Octavius is a fantastic foil to Spider-Man’s plans all the same. He’s come the closest to defeating the boy wonder and leverages powerful mechanical arms to offset his physical shortcomings. Clever, skilled in nuclear physics and cybernetics, and capable of tackling even the Avengers, he’s a force to be reckoned with for sure.
Ra’s Al Ghul
Ra’s doesn’t see himself as a villain, and sometimes that’s hard to argue with. All he wants is a better world, right? However, the fact he’s willing to slaughter en masse to achieve that rather ruins the argument. Bathing in the Lazarus Pits to stay youthful and vigorous, he has a massive following in the League of Shadows and agents everywhere.
While R’as may be one of the bad guys, he’s still an honorable and interesting figure and the grandfather of Batman’s Son. Interesting family dinner nights are a given.
Once a skilled supersoldier, this ex-black ops fighter is one of the best there is. If only he hadn’t been subjected to a secret government experiment that made him stronger, smarter, and more tactical than anyone else alive. Now one of the very best mercenaries in the world, he’s a terrifyingly strong villain we can almost empathize with. After all, he left the army after being forced to massacre civilians. Hard to argue with that, right?
Where would our list be without the Marvel Universe Big Bad himself? Yes, you can argue he’s a knock-off Darkseid, but he’s also developed into his own terrifying villainous self. Driven by an obsession with death, all he wants is to eradicate life. Simple goals, right? He’s a powerhouse with delusions of achieving godhood, even though he knows he’s not worthy of it. If he ever defeats those demons, let’s hope the Avengers have something powerful up their sleeves.
Who else can say they’ve matched Superman blow-for-blow? With a vast army to back him up, he’s well powerful enough by himself. An utter megalomaniac who wants to conquer the universe, a master of indoctrination, and the possessor of the Omega force, this is not someone to get on the bad side of. He wants nothing less than the eradication of free will and has the strategic chops to chase his plans with determination.
Is there a trickster more beloved than villainous Loki? because we can’t think of one! Mastering manipulation and lies on a cosmic scale, stronger in magic than Doctor Strange, and an expert at a host of exciting twists and tricks, he’s tough enough to stand up to anyone and tricky enough to be unfathomable.
All he wants is to be the supreme ruler of the ten realms, and he doesn’t care what havoc he causes getting there, either. He’s a man- or rather god- out for himself, and even other villains find him untrustworthy.
Can you get more evil than wanting to eat a whole planet? Galactus is the personification of hunger, insatiable hunger that will stop at nothing and cares nothing for who it hurts. While he was once Galen, the member of a doomed society who escaped, turning from a mere mortal into a near-omnipotent being that cares nothing for anyone, his hunger crushes.
Superman’s ultimate nemesis proves that evil can be rich, charismatic, and charming. In fact, Lex was once the President himself! With no superpowers to his name, he still manages to make a scary villain that’s come close to defeating the man of steel a time or two. Incredibly intelligent, he uses it for evil, but you have to love him anyway.
Magneto presents us with an interesting moral conflict. There are times it’s hard to see him as a villain at all, given he’s just defending his own against the attacks of people who won’t accept their differences. While this brings him into constant conflict with Professor X, he doesn’t want to be evil but always seems to manage it anyway. He’s a classic case of when “the ends justify the means” goes too far.
Is there even a Marvel universe without Doctor Doom? The for of the Fantastic Four, he’s evolved to take on the Avengers, too. With brash technological genius, and magic oozing everywhere, he’s a classic evil villain with a sad story. Scarred by an accident that drove him mad, resentful of the easy acceptance extended to other super-geniuses, he set out to become the monarch of Latveria – and then the world.
And there you have it! Did we miss anyone off the list? Who do you love to hate most among the comic book villains? Be sure to let us know below!