When I was counting down the Top 50 DC Comics superheroes, someone said I should count down the Top 50 super villains next. So, here we go … I will say that this list was a lot harder because, honestly, a number of the bottom 25 could change places with each other – depending on the heroes they are normally villains of. However, if anything, this list will show that there are some great villains in DC Comics.
Top 50 DC Comics Super Villains, 20-11
He was the last survivor of Earth-Prime. For those who may not remember, Earth-Prime is a lot like our Earth, where the superheroes were just comic book characters. The first time Earth-Prime showed up in the comics was in Flash way back in 1968. However, over time, it was shown that this wasn't actually our Earth when Kal-El was transported to Earth-Prime when Krypton was destroyed and was found by a couple named Kent, and given the name Clark Kent after the character of Superman from the comics. His super powers manifested themselves when he was a teenager and he, at one time, teamed with Earth-1's Superman. Then, when Crisis on Infinite Earths combined all the Earths into one, Alexander Luthor of Earth-3, Superman and Lois Lane from Earth-2 and Superboy-Prime lived on in a pocket dimension.
This was all well and good until Infinite Crisis when Earth-2's Superman went a little crazy when Lois Lane started to die and he wanted to re-create the perfection of Earth-2 thanks to Alexander Luthor's manipulations. Sadly, not only was this very honorable Superman manipulated but Superboy had become mentally unstable after years alone in the pocket dimension. At this time, Superboy-Prime killed a number of the Teen Titans including Conner Kent. He was sent into the Phantom Zone, but kepy coming back, stronger and more angry each time. Now, it is true that he was overused for years, but the original material made him not only a great villain, but a really sympathetic one.
Heading over to the world of Watchmen, Ozymandias was a hero whose own arrogance and narcissism turned him into one of the most horrific serial killers in the world. He was the son of wealthy parents who gave up his fortune after his parents died and went on a quest. When he returned, he became a costumed hero and was considered the smartest person on the planet. Because he was so smart, he retired as a costumed crime fighter two years before laws were passed banning them and became wealthy again. When someone began killing some of his former teammates, Rorschach starts to investigate and soon discovers that it was all a plan by Ozymandias to set up an attack on New York City, which he accomplished, killing millions of people. In an ironic twist, his attacks caused the world to stop fighting each other and world peace resulted as they prepared to defend themselves against the attackers that the world thought were aliens. As a result, he gets away with murder.
18. Harley Quinn
Rarely is a character created outside of comics, but is then later added to comics to become one of the most popular characters in all of comics. The most popular to ever reach this level was easily Harley Quinn. Her first appearance was in the animated series "Batman: The Animated Series" and was just supposed to be a one-shot minor role. There was then a graphic novel written in 1994 that was in the style of the animated series that told her origin, and how she fell for The Joker and became his sidekick. While she was hugely popular in that role, Harley Quinn has developed into a more complex character and can stand on her own today as well as with The Joker when the need arises.
We are getting more and more Batman villains as the countdown continues on. Up next is The Penguin. While he has been seen as a joke thanks to some of his earlier appearances – a diminutive man with a strange laugh and a series of umbrellas that he uses as weapons, the Penguin in the comics is so much more than that. While most of Batman's villains are insane nut jobs, Penguin is completely sane and is actually put together enough to build his own criminal empire as a kingpin and an entrepreneur. Hell, over time Batman let him get away with running his criminal empire as long as he didn't hurt anyone and remained an informant to Batman. There is a lot more to Penguin than just a funny walk. In the New DC 52, he actually became the mayor of Gotham City in the Forever Evil storyline.
16. Black Manta
Aquaman. Many consider him one of the biggest jokes in comics, but as I said in my hero's countdown, I consider him a fantastic hero who gets a bad rap. That brings me to Black Manta on this countdown, the villain who is Aquaman's main nemesis. There are different stories about his origin, but the fact remains that Black Manta is one of the most dangerous villains in Aquaman's stories. He also pulled off one of the most heinous acts in comic books when he murdered Aquaman's baby son. It was a shocking moment and almost ended with Aquaman murdering Black Manta in revenge.
You can't really get more evil than Parallax. When Hal Jordan was considered the most dangerous and lethal villain in DC Comics (and all comics to be honest), it wasn't him but Parallax controlling Hal. It started when Parallax took over Jordan after the destruction of Hal's home city and had him fly to Oa and murder all the Guardians except for one, who happened to get away. He killed the very popular Kilowog and snapped Sinestro's neck, killing him too. Jordan finally freed himself by sacrificing his own life to save Earth, but Parallax lived on, the embodiment of fear that has existed since the world began.
14. Professor Zoom
A lot of people felt that I ranked members of the Flash Rogues Gallery too low, Maybe I did, but I feel the best Flash villain is The Reverse Flash, who is also known as Professor Zoom. Eobard Thawne is from the future and was a huge fan of The Flash, so he found a way to travel back in time to meet his hero but arrived after Barry Allen died and learned that he would become the Reverse Flash and the greatest enemy of his idol. That snapped his mind and drove him insane. He became the most hated of Flash villains when he killed Barry's wife Iris, leading Barry to murder Zoom years later when he thought history would repeat itself. Zoom returns about the same time that Barry came back from the dead, and years later he was the key villain in the Flashpoint miniseries which led to the New DC 52. This means that Professor Zoom is responsible for the New 52.
Hey, look – it's another Batman villain. Two-Face is one of the most tragic villains in comic book history. Harvey Dent was the district attorney who wanted to clean up Gotham City, and unlike Batman, do it by the books. However, when mob boss Sal Maroni throws acid in his face, it disfigures the left side of Dent's face and he goes insane. He has a coin that he uses to decide his actions – whether he will do good or evil things – and he changes his goals at the random flip of that fateful coin. He was then made into one of the best villains in comic book movie history when The Dark Knight really showed the white knight as he fell into the villain that he was destined to become. "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
12. Saint of Killers
This might be controversial. Honestly, who was the villain in the Preacher comics? Was it Herr Starr, the horrible terrorist? Honestly, the biggest villain in the entire series was God, after he left his children to run into hiding, letting the evil run rampant over the Earth. However, the best villain in the series was the Saint of Killers, a man who was not so much a villain as he was a force of nature. He was a soldier in the Confederate Army with a bloodlust. He went on after the war to make his living scalping and killing Native Americans. He softens up and gets married and has a child. When they are murdered by a ruthless gang, he slaughters almost all the killers and an innocent hostage before running out of bullets and getting killed himself. He is so evil, that his appearance causes Hell to freeze over so The Angel of Death then claims his soul and offers him the chance to return to Earth and collect the souls of those who die by violence. In the series, he murders The Devil and God. What other villain can make that claim?
How about another Batman villain? The villain was created for the simple purpose of being the one bad guy who was finally powerful enough to beat Batman. He was created in Knightfall, which was where Bane actually broke the Bat. He set up a series of battles with Batman's villains, the Caped Crusader getting weaker and weaker as the battles wore on. Finally, when he was at his weakest point, Bane struck and broke Batman's back, taking him out of action for well over a year. He is still really the only villain to actually defeat Batman. Bane takes over the criminal underworld of Gotham City and soon finds a new Batman (Azrael) fighting crime. It is the new Batman that finally defeats Bane.