The 20 Greatest Comic Book Villains of All-Time

DC and Marvel villains Halloween

One of these villains in this melee brawl is the vilest villain in comic books! Who is it? (Artwork property of Wizard Magazine)

By: Jacob Elyachar

Happy Halloween, everyone!

In honor of this holiday, Jake’s Take concludes its tribute to the bad guys!

Today, we are honoring the nastiest villains in comic books!

They range from dangerous homicidal clowns and egotistical businessmen to mutant terrorists and omnipotent gods.

So without further ado…here are the 20 vilest villains from the comic book world.

20. Poison Ivy (Created by Robert Kanigher & Sheldon Moldoff)

The Vixen of Vines kicks off our deadly countdown. Dr. Pamela Isley was a brilliant botanist who would do anything to protect the environment.  However, that obsession and a combination of an injection of chemicals and toxins transformed her into an eco-terrorist.  Ivy locked horns with the Caped Crusader, his allies and numerous superheroes.  After a stint on the Birds of Prey, Poison Ivy is currently scheming to take over Gotham as a part of Forever Evil: Arkham War.

19. Kingpin (Created by Stan Lee & John Romita, Sr.)

Marvel’s ultimate crime boss remains a force to be reckoned with on Earth-616.  Wilson Fisk has made numerous enemies that range from Spider-Man (who order the hit on Aunt May after Civil War) and Daredevil (see “Return of the King” and Shadowland) to the X-Men and Captain America.  Fisk’s brutal methods always leave his opponents unscathed.

18. Norman Osborn (Created by Stan Lee & Steve Dikto)

For almost 50 years, the Green Goblin has plagued the Amazing Spider-Man and his allies! While he handed Spidey big blows with the deaths of Gwen Stacy and Ben Reilly, Osborn was not satisfied with his victories. Stormin’ Norman went up the political totem pole and became the director of the Thunderbolts Initiative and later, the Director of H.A.M.M.E.R.  While Osborn was defeated twice at the hands of the Avengers, Osborn and his Goblin Cult will start to mount a comeback in the pages of Superior Spider-Man.

17. The Rogues (Created by various creators)

Captain Cold, Heat Wave, the Trickster, Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang and Weather Wizard are some of the deadliest individuals in the DC Universe.  When you put them together, they become one of DC’s greatest threats: the Rogues! They have plagued numerous generations of speedsters for nearly eight decades.  Despite their despicable crimes, the Rogues have honorable qualities to them that make their opponents sometimes respect them.  The Rogues will continue to go against the grain as they go up against the entire Secret Society in Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion.


Cheetah DC Comics

The Cheetah is more vicious than any “Werewolf in London.” (Artwork property of DC Comics)

16. Cheetah (Created by Len Wein & George Perez)

There have been multiple Cheetahs in the DC Universe. However, the most dangerous and deadliest Cheetah is Dr. Barbara Minerva.  Introduced in 1987, Minerva was an ambitious archaeologist who wanted more than just fame…she wanted power! Once the plant god Urtzkartaga possessed her…. Minerva became the monstrous Cheetah fans loved to hate!  Some of her nastiest crimes included the murder of the Freedom Fighters, the creation of Genocide and duping Wonder Woman in the pages of Justice League.  Cheetah will target the Amazon Princess’ friends in Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.

15. Mystique (Created by Dave Cockrum & Chris Claremont)

The deadliest assassin in the Marvel Universe is Raven Darkholme. Since her debut in 1978, the mutant mastermind has plotted to harm the human race in various schemes.  From planning assassinations to causing grievous harm to her loved ones, Mystique’s crafty schemes always keep the readers guessing! 2013 was a busy year for Mystique as she was featured in both All-New X-Men and Wolverine & The X-Men.

14. Sinestro (Created by John Broome & Gil Kane)

Since the tyrannical alien’s debut in the late 1960s, Sinestro has played a vital part in the Green Lantern mythos. From causing his archrival’s downfall (and resurrection) to spreading chaos and fear across the galaxy as the once-leader of the Sinestro Corps, the former Green Lantern never gave his enemies a chance to recover.  After absorbing Parallax at the end of Geoff Johns’ final Green Lantern issue, he disappeared from the universe.  However, Sinestro was featured in promos for Forever Evil…that could lead to his possible return.

13. Ultron (Created by Roy Thomas & John Buscema)

One of the Avengers’ deadliest opponents was accidentally created by a founding member.  Hank Pym, Marvel’s Scientist Supreme, created Ultron to help with his work.  Unfortunately, the robot developed both intelligence and homicidal tendencies and menaced numerous incarnations of the Avengers.  He was recently featured in the Marvel crossover: Age of Ultron.


Black Adam is definitely one character that you do not want to meet inside a haunted house. (Artwork property of DC Comics)

Black Adam is definitely one character that you do not want to meet inside a haunted house. (Artwork property of DC Comics)

12. Black Adam (Created by Otto Binder & C.C. Beck)

Since his creation in the 1940s, there has been one opponent who could physically go on par with the Shazam Family.  His name…Black Adam! While he was the original champion of the wizard Shazam, he became corrupted and his power was taken away. Years later, the menacing figure returned to face not only the Shazam Family but also the Justice Society of America.  Currently, Black Adam is in the fight of his life against Ultraman in Forever Evil.

11. The Mandarin (Created by Stan Lee & Don Heck)

What would you do if you had 10 rings of power? Would you do good deeds or commit vile acts? For Iron Man’s longtime opponent, he chose the latter.  He was master manipulator on the global stage and in the boardroom.   While the character met his doom at the end of Invincible Iron Man, it seems that the Mandarin could always come back and plague the Armored Avenger anytime in the future.

10. The Crime Syndicate of America (Created by Gardner Fox & Mike Sekowsky)

Earth-Three’s worst villains are the mirror images of DC Comics’ greatest heroes! Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick and Power Ring plagued the Multiverse for nearly 50 years.  Currently, they are turning the DC Universe upside down in the pages of Forever Evil.


Cassandra Nova Marvel

Cassandra Nova only wants to see the X-Men suffer! (Artwork property of Marvel Comics)

9. Cassandra Nova (Created by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely)

DC’s greatest heroes are not the only ones with evil twins.  The late Professor X’s parasitic twin sister unleashed wild Sentinels onto Genosha and annihilated 16,000,000 mutants.  She also drove the Sh’Iar Empire to its breaking point as she tortured longtime X-Men ally and its ruler Lilandra to the brink of insanity.  Recently, she returned to the blight the X-Men in the pages of the second volume of Uncanny X-Force.

8. Red Skull (Created by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby & France Herron)

Speaking of annihilation, the Red Skull has constantly been calling for the deaths of Captain America, numerous superheroes and (more recently) the mutant race.  Over the Skull’s 72 years of existence, he masterminded numerous plots ranging from the assassination of Captain America to hi-jacking the late Charles Xavier’s brain.  He can be currently seen in Uncanny Avengers.

7. Ra’s Al Ghul (Created by Denny O’ Neil & Neal Adams)

The Demon’s Head is one of Batman’s greatest opponents. In his quest to continue his own immortality, Ra’s schemes often involve cleansing the planet and always take a psychological toll on the Caped Crusader and his allies. Recently, Ra’s blamed the deaths of his daughter, Talia, and his grandson on the Caped Crusader, vowed revenge in Batman &… and is currently terrorizing Red Hood & the Outlaws.

6. Lex Luthor (Created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Schuster)

The Metropolis businessman has done it all: own a giant business empire, create ways to protect humanity and had a short term in the White House.  However, once a certain Man of Steel entered the picture…Lex Luthor began to descent to the dark side and became DC’s resident xenophobic jerk! Currently, Luthor is trying to remove the Crime Syndicate from the Earth in Forever Evil.

5. Doctor Doom (Created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby)

Dr. Doom is one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest bad guys! The Fantastic Four’s arch-nemesis has plagued the House of Richards multiple times.  His drive to outwit and outlast his opponents has led Doom to become a powerful figure in both the political and mystical worlds. In addition, Doom has faced nearly every single superhero in the Marvel Universe.  Doom’s latest antics can be seen in both Fantastic Four and FF.

4. The Joker (Created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger & Bob Kane)

What countdown would be complete without the Clown Prince of Crime? The Joker has done unthinkable crimes from murdering Sarah Essen Gordon and Jason Todd and crippled Barbara Gordon (the latter two got better) to nearly jokerizing the world and caused the break-up of the Batman family.  While Joker is currently M.I.A. after his defeat in “Death of the Family,” recent events in Forever Evil could make him resurface soon.


The God of Mischief and Evil's vile schemes puts him at number three in my countdown (Artwork property of Marvel Comics)

The God of Mischief and Evil’s vile schemes puts him at number three in my countdown (Artwork property of Marvel Comics)

3. Loki (Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby)

The God of Mischief and Evil can cause both planetary and intergalactic damage. As Thor’s stepbrother, he constantly pushes the envelope with the Asgardians and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  From his schemes in Acts of Vengeance to Siege, Loki always has been stirring up trouble, which affects everyone in the Marvel Universe.

2. Thanos (Created by Jim Starlin)

Marvel’s most omnipotent villain is Thanos, the Mad Titan! Since his introduction in the pages of Iron Man, Thanos has been at the center of multiple storylines including The Infinity Gauntlet. The Annihilation Wave and most recently…Infinity. Thanos’ grand schemes nearly lead to the annihilation of the Marvel Universe…mostly to get the attention of Mistress Death.

1. Darkseid (Created by Jack Kirby)

Darkseid is comics’ greatest villain! He just wants one thing: Galactic domination! His constant search for the Anti-Life Equation often left him at odds with the DC Universe’s greatest heroes.  While he nearly got a taste of victory in Final Crisis, Forever Evil and Earth-2, the Justice League is always ready to take him down!

Who are your favorite comic book villains?

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar