We talk about the heroes all the time, how they save the day, and how they’re awesome. They would be nothing (nothing!) without their evil counterparts, though. It’s their villains who make things happen, who call forth the forces of chaos and disrupt people’s lives, so heroes have an excuse to actually go out and give us some adventures to enjoy. Some villains take it further than others. It’s impossible to get terrified at Spider-man’s Shocker or Batman’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee, so let’s forget about them for a second. We want to tribute the great ones, the real evil geniuses.
Now, keep in mind, in order to keep this list interesting, this is going to be spoiler-heavy, so read at your own risk, and enjoy. This is 10 Comics Villains We Love To Hate.
The most beloved Batman villain, and a pop-culture favorite ever since Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s interpretations, the Joker is exactly the type of character we enjoy reading of. There’s no hidden or crazy motivation, but sheer insanity behind each and every one of his actions: life is hilariously tragic, and it pisses him off that no one else seems to see it. He’s also obsessed with Batman, his polar opposite: too serious and “crazier than [him]”, in his own words.
The Joker was reimagined from goofy villain to evil mastermind and Batman’s arch-nemesis, earning each and every fan in the process. If you ever read a comic with the Joker, you know stuff is gonna go down.
Greatest Triumphs: Crippling Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and driving Commisioner Gordon almost insane, “killing” Jason Todd (the second Robin, he was dead for about 20 years), taking over Arkham (“A Serious House on a Serious Earth” storyline).
Green Goblin (Spider-man)
Marvel’s equivalent to The Joker is definitely the Green Goblin. Norman Osborn, father of Harry Osborn (one of Spider-man’s classmates) has made life almost impossible for Spidey.He’s a millionaire who created a serum to enhance his strenght and mind to super-human levels, but drove him to insanity in the process. These skills added to his wide arrange of gadgets (goblin glider, explosive pumpkins and razor boomerangs) and almost unlimited money make him a dangerous enemy, and the fact that he’s absolutely obsessed over Parker doesn’t help in the slightest. Behold as he flies the skies of New York, unstoppable.
Greatest Triumphs: Figuring out Peter Parker’s secret identity, killing his girlfriend Gwen Stacy, killing Peter’s clone Ben Reilly and kidnapping Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s daughter after making her pass off as dead after birth. In the “Ultimate” universe re-imagination, he even kills Peter Parker himself.
Let’s stop taking her for an anti-hero: for each good deed Elektra does, she does 5 horrible things. She’s a killer for hire, highly trained in martial arts and use of the say. The gorgeous Greek assassin is a love interest-enemy of Daredevil, but has also been seen in action along and against Spider-man or Wolverine. She’s dangerous and can change her allegiance mid-fight, evening the odds for whoever is willing to pay the most.
Greatest Triumphs: Her death toll is one of the highest in the entire Marvel universe, having taken “hundreds of S.H.I.E.L.D. amongst many others.
Magneto is sort of different from the other villains on this list: him and the X-men leader Charles Xavier were created to resemble Martin Luther King and Malcolm X takes on minorities and discrimination, applied to mutants, and Magneto advocates for armed resistance against the people that fear them. He’s a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp in World War II, and fears that eventually mutants might face the same fate if he doesn’t take up arms.
His powers involve the use of magnetism, but also his charisma has been enough to recruit a seemingly endless horde of mutant henchmen to carry out his plans. Although dangerous, his powers are no match for his mind. And this is what makes him fascinating: he’s not mindlessly evil, in his eyes, he’s doing the right thing, and it’s the world that is wrong.
Greatest Triumphs: Removing Wolverine’s adamantium with his powers, killing his own son, Quicksilver, and creating many separatist havens for mutants, one of which was even an asteroid in Earth’s orbit.
Galactus (Fantastic 4, Avengers)
Galactus is another “villain” that we don’t know if we should call him that. He’s just a cosmic entity whose main source of food are planets themselves: it is beyond the point if he’s good or evil, he needs to survive just like any other life form in the universe, and it just so happens that he feeds off of planets. In one of those many trips he tried to have Earth and had to face the Fantastic 4, and even his own herald, Silver Surfer.
Greatest Triumphs: Eating countless planets, creating all-powerful heralds (Silver Surfer being the most well-known one) who find planets for him.
Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman is a thief and burglar of Gotham City. Like most DC Characters, she had her origins re-imagined and updated, and now we know she used to be a prostitute who feared for her and her sister’s life, so she starts training in martial arts. Eventually, she gets inspired by Batman’s aesthetics and modus-operandi, so she becomes Catwoman, a sort of Robin Hood-esque figure. She’s had a love-hate relationship with Batman, and it was eventually was hinted that they had a child together.
Greatest Triumphs: Killing is against her own moral code, but being a match for basically every super-hero in the DC Universe is a feat on its own.
It’s hard to talk about what makes Ozymandias special, or even a villain, without discussing Watchmen. Watchmen, one of the most highly praised comics of all time, is a gritty take on Superheroes, and what would the real world be like if we really had them. The comic discusses vigilantism, and the pressure the heroes would have to endure amongst many other topics. Ozymandias himself, called the smartest man in the world, and a physical athlete capable of stopping a bullet with his hands, retired from vigilantism and marketed his image becoming a millionaire in the process. He uses this wealth to set a plan in motion that would enable him to change the very basis of the politic system of the world.
Greatest Triumphs: Actually succeeding in “taking over the world”: he creates a utopia/dystopia, and the heroes in the comic actually question if it’s the right thing to fight it, or if they should just embrace it.
Dr. Doom (Fantastic 4)
How could we not include Victor Von Doom in this list? For god’s sake, he even has Doom in his name! He doesn’t have any particular super-powers, but is a brilliant scientist capable of building stuff such as a time machine or to imbue people with super powers, as well as being in command of Doombots, perfect replicas of him that obey his will. He covers his face after having it disfigured, and his armor enhances his physical strength and endurance. Besides the Fantastic 4, he has also taken on the Avengers, Spider-man, Punisher and X-men.
Greatest Triumphs: Conquering the nation of Latveria, not one but many times throughout his publication history, almost killing Black Panther, killing the Marquis of Death.
Venom & Carnage (Spider-man)
Venom and Carnage are two of Spider-man greatest foes, but are also each other’s enemies. Venom is Eddie Brock, who obtains Peter Parker’s old symbiotic suit: both the suit and Eddie hate Peter/Spider-man, Eddie for feeling his life had been ruined because of Peter, and the symbiote, out of spite for having split. Eventually, the symbiote produces an offspring which merges with murderer Cletus Kasady, who uses it to break havoc all along New York. Venom and Spider-man eventually have to put their differences aside in order to stop him.
Greatest Triumphs: Countless killing sprees, both of them. Most times, Spider-man is not enough to stop either of them, and further help by the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Fantastic 4 is required.
David Haller is Xavier’s own son, also a mutant, who suffers of a multiple personality disorder. He is extremely powerful and resents his father for having abandoned him (Xavier didn’t even know he had been born). Legion manifests his powers after being amongst the victims of a terrorist attack in Israel, and the trauma summed to the minds he burned/absorbed in the process originate his fragmented psyche.
Greatest Triumphs: Having killed Destiny, and originating the Age of Apocalypse after trying to murder Magneto to please his father, but killing Xavier instead.
To see more comic-related articles, check out 8 Super Heroes That Should Get Their Own Video Game and 10 Super Heroes That Will Never Get Laid.