50 best comic villains ever

Comic-Con 2011 is ruling but who could threaten its future? Here are the baddest bad guys in no particular order

The Joker

Despite wearing make-up, praising chaos and loving competition with his enemy too much, The Joker is one of the few super villains to have bested his superhero nemesis. He killed Batman.


One of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, as he's partially comprised of the alien symbiote that once lived on Peter Parker’s skin and knows all his deepest secrets. Okay, you might need to look up the meaning of all that for yourself. But it also means Venom can sneak up on Spider-Man without his spider-sense alerting him.

Cyborg Superman

Also known as Hank Henshaw or The Cyborg, he's graduated from being an enemy of just Superman to foe of all the Green Lantern Corps. After Doomsday killed Superman, Cyborg impersonated him to destroy his reputation.


One of the most powerful mutants and villainous of all baddies. His mutant power lets him control metal, most notably when he sucked the adamantium out of Wolverine and left him for dead. Oh, and he looks like Sir Ian McKellen.

Poison Ivy

Irresistibly sexy, Ivy uses her control over plants to exude pheromones and lure her prey before administering a killer poisoned kiss. Played by Uma Thurman in the awful Batman & Robin movie.

Doctor Octopus

A mess of mechanical arms and at its centre a diabolically genius brain bent on destroying Spider-Man. But unable to get a decent haircut, it seems.

Dark Phoenix

This character is another side of psychic powerhouse and X-Men member Jean Grey. She is of intergalactic fame and virtually unstoppable. So, er, don't try to stop her.


An upbringing in prison, where he managed to attain a classical education and a reliance on a strength-enhancing drug, makes Bane one of Batman’s most dangerous foes. He proved as such when he broke the Dark Knight’s back in Knightfall. He's also to be the main foe in the forthcoming The Dark Knight Rises film, played by Tom Hardy.

The Lizard

One-armed surgeon Dr Curt Connors tried to re-grow his limb but instead turned himself into a Jekyll & Hyde-style Lizard monster. His greatest strength is a friendship with Peter Parker that prevents Spider-Man hurting him too badly. Isn't that sweet?

The Riddler

Insane genius and master of puzzles. Batman is taxed to his absolute mental limit when fighting to survive the Riddler's flamboyant traps. Another villain in desperate need of a wardrobe refresh.

Green Goblin

Many have donned the costume and glider to launch pumpkin bombs at Spidey, but the original was Norman Osborne, the father of Peter Parker’s best friend. A super serum gave him the strength and ability to compete with our favourite webhead but also sent him insane. Win some, lose some.

Herr Starr

The Preacher series managed to combine jokes and harsh violence and in Herr Starr that combination was distilled perfectly. Even having his head disfigured to look like a penis and losing his balls to a dog are funny moments when they happen to Starr.


This weirdo uses a special-effects career background to baffle his victims. The fish bowl for a helmet might help to explain his skewed view of the world.


Not the loveable guy that sends kids to the land of nod, but a super-villain made of sand. Sounds like he could be beaten with a bucket and spade but can shape-shift into huge crushing monoliths. He eventually reformed as a goodie alongside Spider-Man.


An offspring of the Venom symbiote that lives in the blood of deranged killer Cletus Kassidy and releases itself when he's cut. Okay, this symbiote business sounds more complicated than it is... Anyway, he has a sharpened tooth so he can always draw his own blood even when in a straight-jacket – a killing spree usually follows.


A recent creation of Garth Ennis in the Punisher MAX series, Barracuda is intelligent, strong and resourceful. He also has a strange optimism that stands in harsh contrast to the Punisher. A real threat.


After the Comic Code Authority lifted a ban on Vampires in 1971, Morbius the Living Vampire was spawned. He's alive but has the powers of a vampire, making him a threat to both Spider-Man, against whom he first appeared, and Blade (aka Wesley Snipes in comic form).

Lex Luthor

Criminal mastermind and arch nemesis of the Man of Steel, this bald DC Comics veteran has managed to floor Superman twice using a super suit and kryptonite knuckle-dusters. In Red Superman, Luthor turns out to be a hero and delivers humanity to a higher plane of existence. Boo to benevolent Lex.


A green-skinned extra-terrestrial android of immeasurable intelligence. He’s appeared in different forms over the years but always has Superman as a target and isn't much liked after he shrunk and stole an entire city from Superman’s homeworld of Krypton. His name's based on the early computer ENIAC.

Red Skull

Arch enemy to Captain America himself and a former soldier of Hilter. He has a hideous red skull of a face after his attempt at taking a super serum like Captain America’s went a bit wrong. Also the murderer of Peter Parker’s parents – not a nice guy.


Harvey Dent – attorney scarred by a criminal armed with acid. Crazed, he became Two-Face and based life and death decisions on the flip of a coin – usually ending in death for the innocent.


God of Apokolips and one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe, this rock-skinned war monger is one of Superman’s greatest threats. His son Orion and the New Gods battle him regularly.


A cyborg with former criminal John Byrne’s brain and, most importantly to Superman, a Kryptonite power source. His Krypton rays pretty much disable Superman. Metallo's ability to absorb any metal object he touches can make him literally a giant threat.

Mister Mxyzptlik

Or to his friends it’s Mxy. He doesn’t have many of those as he’s a trickster unbound by third-dimensional laws – meaning he can be really creative. Get him to say his name backwards and he will be banished to his home dimension, but only for 90 days.


After an upbringing with his bitter aunt who spent his dead parent’s fortune on training him in science and combat, The Mandarin uses technology and his ten rings of power, which he found in a spaceship, to attain world domination. Iron Man is his biggest problem, constantly thwarting his efforts.


The latest of several incarnations of this electric-whip-wielding maniac is Anton Vanko. After this talented engineer’s village is murdered by someone in the Iron Man armour, he vows to avenge his father and kill Tony Stark (the man in the Iron Man suit).


Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing is this charming floating head’s full name, and killing folk after defeating Captain America is his game.

Iron Monger

Obadiah Stane is a cold manipulator who tried to take Stark Enterprises from Tony Stark. He constructed the Iron Monger suit as a means of defeating Iron Man and regularly tests its limits with his evil-doings.


Once the greatest in the Green Lantern Corps and mentor of Hal Joran, Sinestro was consumed by the yellow power of fear and started his Sinestro Corps to destroy the Green Lanterns. We're tipping him to start the Unimaginative Naming Convention Corps next.


Previously imprisoned in the Central Battery that powers the Green Lanterns, it controlled Hal Jordan – Earth’s Green Lantern – and went on an intergalactic killing spree using the yellow power of fear to render Green Lanterns useless. Damn that yellow power of fear.

Fin Fang Foom

An alien from Kakaranathara, Fing Fang Foom landed in China and has been bent on world domination ever since. With a few Mandarin cross-overs, Iron Man and the Justice League have gone head to head with this dragon-like giant more than once.


Son of a Frost Giant and adopted brother and arch enemy of Thor, Loki is a powerful sorcerer who is constantly trying to overthrow the Gods' home of Asgard to make it his own.


Stan Lee created this character after picking the name first – hence the hideous green beast. The creature was Emil Blonsky, a KGB agent who used gamma rays to become the scaly beast so he could defeat The Hulk – which he did in their first encounter.


This beast killed Superman with its bare hands. Can’t be killed. Banished to another dimension. Pure evil.

The Kingpin

Chubby bald crime lord ruling over Hell’s Kitchen and consequently getting all up in the grille of Daredevil and Spider-Man. To tackle this huge problem he famously called together the Sinister 7 who almost took down Spidey. Almost.


A millennia-old immortal mutant with God-like power who has constantly caused upset to the X-Men and the rest of the Marvel world. His only threat is the future grandchild of Cyclops. But that’s a whole other time-travelling tale.

Omega Red

He’s radioactive, hence the Omega. He’s Russian, hence the red. His tentacles are made of carbonadium, the Russian’s attempt at adamantium, which makes him a regular foe of Wolverine – unlucky for Omega Red.


Brother of Charles Xavier, who also has a big shiny head. But it’s clear this one didn’t get the brains, as he uses his mass to take down anything in his path – he’s virtually unstoppable when up to speed. Embarrassingly, he was portrayed by Vinnie Jones in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Dr Hugo Strange

This is one psychologist you wouldn’t want delving into your brain. With a genius-level intelligence and highly trained combat skills, Hugo Strange often creates machines and monsters to beat Batman. He features in the Batman: Arcam City game.


Victor Creed has the same healing power as Wolverine but chooses to embrace his animal side and wreak destruction. His sharp claws, hyper agility and super strength make him a tough enemy to Wolverine, who he attacks each year on his birthday.

Doctor Doom

Victor von Doom is the leader of Latveria and recurring enemy of the Fantastic Four, but has fought most of the Marvel world in his attempts to attain more power with his intellect, armour and scientific creations.


A cosmic giant who goes around consuming worlds. He even used the poor old Silver Surfer to scope out suitable snacks for him. The Fantastic Four usually thwart his best efforts to get Earth down his gigantic gullet.

Emma Frost

Apart from the power of being super sexy and seductive, Emma Frost has telepathic abilities and can shape-shift into diamond, making her virtually indestructible. Played by Mad Men's January Jones in the recent X-Men: First Class movie.


What a power – the ability to hit anything he aims at. A dart into a gnat’s nads at 400 feet? Not a problem. Quite a problem for Daredevil, though, who's constantly having to put this dude down.

General Zod

Although he appears in many variations across the ages, he's always been a Kryptonian who posed a great threat to Superman. He was played by Terence Stamp in Christopher Reeve's first two Superman films.

Judge Death

Enemy of Judge Dredd and humanity in general. He leads his undead law enforcers from his other dimension, where all life is outlawed and must be ended, as only the living commit crimes.

The Saint of Killers

The Patron Saint of Murderers and Assassination, this ex-Confederate Army soldier and generically Western-looking badass is the Preacher comic's answer to Death. Be warned, spoiler coming up… His most notable acts are that he killed the devil and ultimately God Himself to sit on the throne of Heaven.


It wouldn’t be a bad guy list without the Teenage Mutant Hero (Ninja) Turtles' evil opponent, Shredder. A Japanese Ninjitsu master and head of the footclan who wears a mask to cover his face to appear more badass. It works.

Kraven the Hunter

Pretty much summed up in the name – a master hunter who comes to the big city to catch a very big Spider we know and love. He likes to use only his bare hands – probably why he rarely succeeds.


A genius beyond measure who thinks he has humanity’s best interests at heart when, in Watchmen, he attempts to start a nuclear war.


Comic-Con 2011 – what to expect