The List: Top 10 Greatest DC Villains

So, we had a much lower turn out this time compared to our other recent polls. To compare, when we did Marvel's greatest villains a while back, the vote count broke 300. For DC we barely scraped 200. Maybe it's because of how obvious the winner was for this poll (spoilers, just in case you couldn't work out who was going to win). But that doesn't mean that the poll didn't throw a few surprises up along the way, including one character that I'm sure is going to raise a few eyebrows. So let's get into the results.

Dishonourable Mentions: Black Adam, The Riddler, Anti-Monitor, Captain Cold

10. Sinestro (Thaal Sinestro)

So we kick off our list with the arch-nemisis of pretty much every person to have donned the Green Lantern ring (with the exception of Alan Scott). A former Green Lantern himself and, in many retellings, Hal Jordan's mentor and friend, Sinestro was sent down the path of villainy by his desire for order in the universe. This, unfortunately, led to him using his Green Lantern powers to become the dictator of his home planet, something which the Guardians Of The Universe didn't take kindly to, so they banished him to the anti-matter universe. After forging a yellow power ring to combat the Green Lantern ring, Sinestro became a recurring thorn in the corps side, always finding new ways to bring fear into the universe, culminating in his founding of a self-titled yellow Lantern corps whose rings were powered by the ability to instil fear in others, thus sparking the war of light. Since then he has been an on again off again ally and member of the Green Lanterns, but he always falls back on his villainous ways in the end.

9. Brainiac

This is what happens when you abuse science too hard. Brainiac is an alien mastermind who has augmented himself with cybernetics, because why not, and has an obsession with shrinking cities and collecting them in bottles, because it's nice to have a hobby I guess. Amongst his collection in the city of Kandor, the capital city of Krypton, which has been interpreted in some different continuities (because this is DC we're talking about) to mean that Brainiac was the cause of Krypton's destruction, although this is heavily disputed. Either way, he's probably Superman's second greatest adversary and is often even a Justice League sized threat. Although, nobody thought to tell any of this to Brainiac 5 from the 30th Century, who decided that he didn't really like the bottle city collecting and went and became a good guy instead alongside the Legion of Super-Heroes.

8. Catwoman (Selina Kyle)

Ah, the complicated one. Batman has a lot (A LOT) of bad guys. But none of them can claim to be as long lasting as Catwoman (except for one we will get to later and that's a tie, they debuted in the same issue), which does also make her one of the longest tenured female characters in comics (after Lois Lane, but longer than Wonder Woman). Now, the thing that makes Catwoman "the complicated one" is that her moraility is like Two-Face's coin, it's constantly flipping from one side to the other. She's Batman's most enduring love-interest and will often help out the Bat-Family, but she just can't keep her hands of those shiny, shiny jewels too long. Now-a-days she's more likely to be seen teaming with Bats than fighting with him, mainly due to her popularity (see also: Quinn, Harley), but when you have near 80 years of moral grey area under your belt, it's never to hard to foresee some sort of betrayal or heist coming in the future.

7. Bane

One of the most recent characters on our list, Bane was a product of the 90's and the obsession with the big, status quo destroying event that both major publishers had at that time. Coming off the success of The Death Of Superman, DC decided to replicate the formula, create a new bad guy who can out match the hero and has some previously unknown grudge against them to set the ball rolling, then have them beat the hero in question, in this case Batman. So we got Bane, the son of F-List Batman baddie King Snake (who is so F-List I bet nobody here actually remembers him), who was put into prison in Santa Prisca to serve his father's life sentance after dad did an escape. Obviously, growing up in prison surrounded by hardened criminals did wonders for the boy and he grew up to be fantastically well adjusted. Sike, he learnt basically every criminal trick in the book, basically took over the prison and then was forced to take an experimental drug known as venom (no, not the symbiote), which made him super-strong, as long as he took it every 24 hours via pump straight to his brain. OH and then he broke out of prison, went to Gotham, broke everyone out of Arkham and then broke Batman. Literally, he snapped his spine across his knee. Safe to say he made an impact and, unlike Doomsday, he wasn't so stupidly overpowered that the writers could use him again and again without the crippling diminishing returns or damaging the original story (honestly, Doomsday beats Superman to death and then about a decade later can be beaten by one punch from the man of steel, what is up with that? Think I might have gone off track here).

6. Black Manta (David Hyde)

So, say you're the king of Atlantis right. You've got a half brother who wants to kill you and take the throne he believes is rightfully his. You've got hoardes of underwater monsters at the gates of the city trying to get in and you've got humans above the surface over-fishing and polluting the ocean. So, who is your greatest enemy? Well, it's a guy with an oversized oval on his head, who once tried to create a utopia for black people under the sea (no, don't sing the song). So, why is he the big bad? Well, he did kinda kill Aquaman's son and nearly cause the king of Atlantis to have a divorce. Oh and he keeps helping Ocean Master with his coup attempts and he tried to kill Aqualad (both versions) a few times. You know just the sort of general quality of life things that only the most vindictive and sadistic villains like to do. Oh and did I mention he killed Aquaman's son. He went and suffocated a baby purely to provoke the kids father into a fight. That's cold.

5. The Batman Who Laughs

Now this is the one that I think will raise a few eyebrows. A very new villain, only debuting in 2017, the character has made quite an impact, being pushed to the forefront hard by DC during their Year Of The Villain storyline. An alternate version of Batman who was exposed to the same chemicals that cause Joker to become, well, The Joker. So you basically have a hybrid of Batman and his worst enemy, a ruthlessly intelligent stratagist with no qualms about killing and an outlook on life that can best be described as chaos, oh and he wants to destroy all of reality, because why not.

4. Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne)

And now back to characters everyone would expect to be on this list. It's often said that the best supervillains are just dark reflections of the heroes they fight and nowhere is this point more obvious than with the Reverse-Flash. Like the Flash he has super-speed (well, reverse Super Speed, whatever that is) and a near genius level intellect (not reverse intelligence, that's Bizarro) and he wears literally the same costume (he got it from a Flash Museum in the future) with the colours inverted. Though the character has many origins, the basic concept is the same, Eobard Thawne is a man so obsessed with Barry Allen that he essentially wants to become him or replace him as the Flash, right down to pursuing (and killing when rejected) all of Barry's love interests. He's also the first villain to manage to get so deep under their protagonists skin that they are killed by the hero, with Barry Allen snapping Thawne's neck to save the life of his then-fiance Fiona Webb. And when you can convince a do-gooder like The Flash to kill you with their own hands, not by accident or failing to save you or any of that, you know you're a pretty bad guy.

3. Darkseid

Ok class, feel free to take the rest of this time off, because we all know what's coming up from here on out. I predicted the top 3 when I posted the poll and I was dead right. Anyway, Darkseid. A Jack Kirby creation, he's the most powerful of the New Gods of Apokolips and his driving goal is to wipe out free will in the universe so he can control all of creation. I mean, that's pretty much all you need to know. He's the be all and end all of DC villains, nobody is higher on the totem poll in terms of threat level. He's the guy that the Justice League have to call in all of the cavalry for and even then it's a close fight. He's the guy that can beat down Superman, even when the big blue boy scout is using all of his immense power. And he's a pretty scummy Dad too, just ask Orion or Mister Miracle.

2. Lex Luthor

Superman's arch-nemisis, Luthor is pretty much everything that Superman isn't. A human with a privaleged upbringing and a vast superiority complex that almost demands worship from others, Luthor wants nothing more than to be in control and to have power. Whilst Superman would like nothing more than to be out of the limelight, Luthor craves it, often setting up scenario's where he puts the world in danger, just so he can be seen to be the one saving the day. He envies Superman and needs to knock him off of his pedestal so he can climb atop it. Oh and he once ran for the office of President of the USA just so he could use the power of office against his enemies and enrich himself, which he did when he won. And I'm sure we can all agree, that's a pretty villainous thing to do right?

1. The Joker

Yup, it's that obvious. I mean, he got a quarter of the vote on his own, even with 26 other choices and the option to add your own suggestion. He got three times as many votes as Lex Luthor and he got the same amount of votes as the rest of the top 5 combined. And if you're surprised by this, why? He always wins these sorts of polls. He always wins polls even if it's expanded to all comic book villains. Heck, he's even up there if you ask about villains in pop-culture in general, including TV, Movies, Books and Games. I mean, last time out we had Batman Wins LOL, now it's Joker Wins LOL. Dunno what else you want me to say.

JR19759

About JR19759

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4 Responses to The List: Top 10 Greatest DC Villains

  1. Not surprised nor disappointed that Joker won. Even if it gets kind of annoying when he overshadows the rest of Batman’s fantastic rogues gallery, there’s a reason he always does: when done right, he really is just that good. He’s a fantastic foil to and dark reflection of Batman, and because Batman is such a malleable hero, Joker is also an extremely malleable villain. Joker is a very basic concept which can be molded into basically any shape the author wants – which has led to some great takes on the character. So, not to sound like a psychopath, but congrats to the Joker.

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  2. Avatar The Atomic Punk

    Okay, I am stumped as to why The Batman Who Laughs is #5 let alone even in the poll. The picture of TBWL and the clown Robins on a leash is more Necromonger and hellhound from Chronicles of Riddick meet Judge Death from 2000 AD comics fanfic. If you want a mashup villain, Savitar from The Flash or even Hyena from Amalgam. The best hybrid alternative story is still Marshal Law. Yes, better than Watchmen.

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  3. Rekulhs Nathe Rekulhs Nathe

    Wow, I’m pretty sure I’m the one that added Batman Who Laughs to the poll, but I never expected him to get so far, I just thought he was a great idea and concept for a bad guy that has done some pretty f-ed up stuff since his introduction!

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  4. Avatar The Atomic Punk

    Rekulhs Nathe:
    Wow, I’m pretty sure I’m the one that added Batman Who Laughs to the poll, but I never expected him to get so far, I just thought he was a great idea and concept for a bad guy that has done some pretty f-ed up stuff since his introduction!

    I’m getting the multiverse / 52 vibe. Something that DC is trying to do. It just runs flat to me. Gotham by Gaslight was engaging. Crisis on Infinite Earths was even shocking as a reboot. That DC later rebooted.

    The best way that I can express is Into The Spider-Verse. It had everything for every fan and Spider-Ham.

    Just… what a non-character and Todd McFarlane art throwback.

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