IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN…the worst of the worst. The final installment of “The 25 Greatest Comic Book Villains of All-Time.”
5. Galactus (Silver Surfer/Fantastic Four)
The “Devourer of Worlds”…a lot of bad guys throw around phrases like this to intimidate or to emphasize their realm of influence. For Galactus, it’s not hyperbole. He literally eats planets. While he may not be a villain in the purest sense, because he has to eat the life force of planets in order to survive, the amount of sentient life he has taken is immeasurable. Despite his destructive nature, there have been several instances where he has helped stop beings who meant to conquer and/or destroy the universe. He has even made pacts with the Fantastic Four to not attempt to eat Earth, but whenever they seek his help, breaking that pact is always his payment…apparently Earth is tasty.
4. Lex Luthor (Superman)
One of the most famous villains in the history of comics. He has been the foil of Superman for over 70 years worth of stories. While his background and origin has changed multiple times, the one constant element is his hatred for the Man of Steel. Originally Luthor was a scientist who would have to be saved by Superman in order to keep his inventions from hurting others or Luthor himself. This caused Luthor to resent Superman for humiliating him. Then he was re-envisioned as a corrupt and egomaniacal businessman who is jealous of Superman receiving the adoration that he believes he rightfully deserves. Lex Luthor bankrolls fellow villains against other superheroes, and eventually moved into politics…where the American people were dumb enough to elect him President.
3. Magneto (X-Men)
The Master of Magnetism is possibly the most powerful mutant on the planet. Had circumstances been different, he probably would have been a powerful ally of Charles Xavier instead of being his team’s greatest enemy. His Jewish family was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp during World War II. It was here that a young mutant named Max Eisenhardt witnessed firsthand the cruelty of mankind towards those that are different. He would eventually escape, but the horrors he lived there would shape his view of humans forever. He grew to hate and fear humans. Where he failed to protect fellow Jews from the Nazi “Final Solution”, he desired to protect his mutant brethren by any means necessary. This has put him at odds with the X-Men, who work to erase fear of mutants and create a peace between them and humans. Rarely are the fundamental ideals of a hero and villain so diametrically opposed. While Professor X and Magneto both want whats best for mutants, their views of what is best for them are complete opposites. The two, however, remain close friends and care for each other deeply…both hoping to rally the other to his cause.
2. The Joker (Batman)
The Dark Knight’s arch-enemy and probably the most iconic villain in all of comics. The Joker is pure mayhem. He finds humor in causing pain and suffering to others. The Clown Prince of Crime is the epitome of chaos…even within his own mind. Sometimes he is very calculating and will create extremely complex and elaborate schemes and traps for Batman…yet other times is prone to fits of rage and madness. While most villains have desires for power and/or authority, the Joker is singularly obsessed with his nemesis, the Caped Crusader. His every move is to cause pain to or corrupt Batman or his allies. The Joker tortured Commission Gordon…paralyzed his daughter Barbara…and killed Jason Todd, the second Robin… all in an effort to hurt Batman. In The Dark Knight Returns it is established that so deep is The Joker’s obsession that he is virtually catatonic without his adversary there to motivate his insanity.
And now…the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The Greatest Villain in the History of Comic Books!!!
1. Dr. Doom (The Marvel Universe…primarily The Fantastic Four)
Victor Von Doom is the quintessential villain. Not content to be the ruler of merely one country (his home nation of Latveria), he desires ultimate power and authority. He is one of the most intelligent and brilliant scientific minds that has ever lived. He uses this brilliance to create suits of armor that allow him to fly, shoot lasers and electricity, and go toe-to-toe with heroes like The Hulk and The Thing in hand-to-hand combat. His force of will is the greatest of not only all villains, but possibly of all comic characters period…he has resisted mental attacks from the likes of Emma Frost, and withstood unbelievable torture without so much as a groan, all on sheer will and focus. He is a master strategist, a world-class sword fighter and marksman, one of the most powerful sorcerers on the planet, and has an army of “Doombots” that are basically robotic clones of himself that are nearly indistinguishable from the actual Dr. Doom. One of the most intriguing things about Doom is the fact that since he is the ruler of his country, he is protected against punishment for his crimes by diplomatic immunity. The only real flaw Doom possesses is arrogance. He believes that there are none on his level in intelligence and ability. He even wears a mask to cover his face because even though he only has a small scar on his cheek, he considers it to be horribly disfigured. Anything less than perfection is failure. It is this arrogance that always leads to his defeat. While he is the arch-enemy of The Fantastic Four (Mr. Fantastic in particular), Doom has faced off against practically every major (and some not so major) hero in Marvel Comics. His realm of influence outside of comics is unmatched by any other villain. He is the at least partial inspiration for the majority of James Bond villains, and was the major inspiration for the greatest villain in all of pop culture: Darth Vader.
There you have it, folks. The best of the bad. Hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the most despicable and dastardly baddies in comicdom.