DC is launching Villain’s Month in September with 52 one-shots each featuring a DC super-villain, some great like Lex Luthor, some not so great like the gimmicky Joker’s Daughter(!). In anticipation of a month of villainous comics, let’s take a look at the greatest comic book super-villains in all of comics and what makes an awesome comic book bad guy.
Also, if you’re looking forward to Villain’s Month, check out the forthcoming 7 issue DC mini-series Forever Evil where the DC super-villains take over the world in the absence of superheroes. Hmm… kinda giving away what’s going to happen at the end of Trinity War, eh DC?
It’s fair to say that a superhero only achieves greatness when paired with a worthy and memorable super-villain. Our most famous superheroes often have equally famous counterparts, and through these moral opposites, we’re treated to the exciting and entertaining stories that keep us coming back for more.
So what makes a great super-villain? A lot of qualities – and I am aware this next part might sound like I’m writing an application for an insane dating website, but bear with me!
A good super-villain (an oxymoron, I know) has to have a great look to them – an iconic appearance that’s memorable, eye-catching and instantly recognisable. They should be powerful – as powerful as the hero, if not sometimes more so. They should be cunning and intelligent, in order to challenge our hero’s wits beyond mere strength and will. They should also present fear, both in the characters and the reader. They are villains who’re frequently looking to kill people, so mass murderers should be portrayed as the monsters they are.
More importantly, looking at them from the readers’ perspective, a great super-villain should become their own character, that is they become more than simply a nemesis for the superhero. They must be enigmatic and interesting in their own right, where the reader looks forward to seeing the villain – “love to hate” is applicable to many of the characters on this list – beyond the confines of that superhero’s story to feature in their own books. A great super-villain enhances a story, enriches it with their presence, in a way that without them, the story loses its edge, and some of its energy.
Enough intro! It’s time to gaze into the abyss and see what looks back.
This article was first posted on August 26, 2013