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.
It's time for the finals – BUT FIRST – here are two people I inexplicably left off the countdown that probably deserved a spot: MONGUL and Vandal Savage. But, hindsight it 20-20, so here is the Top 10 of my countdown.
Top 50 DC Comics Super Villains, 20-11
10. Black Adam
At one time, Black Adam was a pretty crappy villain. He was just the nemesis for Captain Marvel and brought little to the table outside of that. However, in the 52 storyline, he skyrocketed into one of the most complex and awesome villains in the DC Universe. He proved during that time to be one of the most powerful characters, hero or otherwise, in the DC Universe and became a good guy for a short time. However, when the governments of the world, in fear of Black Adam's powers, caused the death of his wife, Adam went crazy and started World War III. Adam's people still worship him, as he is one of the few who have stood up for them and he can be the deadliest villain or the greatest anti-hero.
9. General Zod
Before Superman 2, General Zod was pretty much a nobody in the Superman mythos. After the movie, he was one of Superman's greatest villains, although he still was never used effectively in the comic books. He is someone that lived and died by his one movie appearance. However, that all changed in "War of the Supermen." Zod and Superman became uneasy allies on New Krypton and actually develops a respect for each other, fighting on the same side. This all changes when General Sam Lane destroys New Krypton with a missile and Zod declares war on earth. While Zod will always be defined by the movie, he has become quite interesting in the comics as well.
Green Lantern's greatest enemy is Sinestro, a former Green Lantern who allowed his power to help him instill fear in his followers, one of the Green Lantern's biggest no-no's. He was one of the greatest Green Lanterns and when he was banished, he created the Sinestro Corps and become one of their greatest enemies. He has evolved into a true force of evil and in some ways might be compared to an intergalactic Adolf Hitler. In the new DC 52, Sinestro was made even stronger, starting out as a Green Lantern again and once again showing how great his character could become.
Yes, I had Catwoman on my Heroes list, but she has been both. While she has been a hero and anti-hero, she had stood the test of time as one of Batman's greatest antagonists. She was immortalized in the old Batman serial by three different actresses, and in movies by three others. Even more distressing is the fact that, outside of Talia Al Ghul, Selina Kyle is the closest thing to love that Bruce Wayne has ever experienced. She serves herself and no other cause or master. She'll clash with Batman if she's executing her latest heist, but isn't afraid to exact her revenge on anyone who hurts someone she cares for, including Batman.
And, just like Catwoman, Deathstroke is an anti-hero and was on my heroes list (for those who are still confused at the definition of anti-hero, in professional wrestling Steve Austin was an anti-hero – someone who fought villains while having all the traits of being a villain himself, but was considered a hero.) In the Deathstroke comics, he fights a lot of villains and that made him a very fringe hero in my eyes. However, he is also one of the deadliest villains in comics. He kills a lot of people (kind of like that Marvel anti-hero Deadpool). But, while Deadpool is funny, Slade is just a merciless killer – although one with a sense of honor. Even Batman respects Deathstroke's code of honor, which is always interesting.
Out of all the Superman villains, there are only two that are truly awesome and Brainiac is one of them. Brainiac has had multiple incarnations over the years, some similar and some very, very different. Geoff Johns finally explained everything that saying that every version came from one master, never before been seen. This original Brainiac's goal was to capture cities (such as Kandor) and assimilate knowledge in order to gain power. This new origin also made General Zod more interesting than he had ever been, as he tried to defend Krypton against Brainiac. Brainiac is also one of the few beings that can actually fight Superman, toe-to-toe.
4. Ra's al Ghul
The Joker is Batman's most popular enemy and Bane one of his most deadly, but Ra's al Ghul can easily challenge either villain for their title. He is an immortal, international terrorist whose goals are to destroy society and rebuild it until it is perfect. Al Ghul is brilliant but insane, thanks to the side-effects of the Lazarus Pit, which keeps him immortal. What makes Al Ghul and Batman interesting is the same thing that fuels the Joker's meetings with the Caped Crusader. Ra's al Ghul believes Batman is his only worthy adversary. He also happens to be the grandfather of Bruce Wayne's son Damien.
Darkseid is DC Universe's version of Apocalypse but is a lot better developed. Darkseid has one goal: conquer and control all life by unlocking and solving the Anti-Life Equation, something he achieved in "Final Crisis." Darkseid has also crossed over well, appearing as a major bad guy in DC's animated universe as well as the big bad guy in the final season of Smallville. One of his most interesting traits is that, despite his immense strength, endurance and eye beams that can disintegrate, teleport, or torture opponents, he prefers to remain in the background and manipulate others to do his grunt work. It also looks like he will be the bad guy when Warner Bros. makes their Justice League movie.
2. Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor is one of the most dangerously intelligent men on the planet, both a super-villain, brilliant scientist, a billionaire industrialist and Superman's greatest enemy. This combination makes him an extremely powerful opponent - ruthless, efficient and creative. In addition to his personal vendetta against Superman, he despises the alien Man of Steel from an ideological standpoint for contradicting his human achievements. The fact is that Luthor would be a great man if not for Superman, and Lex knows it. Luthor has also always been a controversial figure in the public eye due to LexCorp's corrupt business dealings but retains political popularity thanks to his rebuilding of Gotham City.
1. The Joker
There is not much to really say here. The Joker is the definition of a scene-stealing, wicked character, and might be more interesting than his superhero counterpart, Batman. With Batman as his greatest enemy, it is clear that Joker will always rank high on the super villain charts as well. The Dark Knight, The Killing Joke, Joker and Batman R.I.P. might be the greatest Batman stories ever created and perfect examples of why the Joker is the quintessential comic book villain. He exists because of his enemy, and without creatures like the Joker, there would be no Batman.