Is it possible to have a great hero without having a truly great villain for them to play off against? That's one of the longest burning questions amongst comic book aficionados.
Without a genuinely fantastic bad guy or gal to bounce off of, so often a hero can feel flat or readers can be left with an undoubted sense of predictability.
But it's one thing to be a great villain, and it's totally something else to be a heartless, clinical, brutal rogue who does nothing if not relish the evil antics they find themselves caught up in.
The world of comics is one brimming with great villains, and so many of those villains are ones who truly embrace their twisted mindset and evil intentions. Brutality is merely a day-to-day occurrence for these sorts - akin to making a coffee in the morning, or taking the dog out for a stroll - and that means horrible acts are carried out on eerily scary basis.
With all of that in mind, then, here are ten of the most outright brutal villains to have graced the comic book medium.
While it's hard to separate the sheer power of some of the more intergalactic and otherworldly beings in the realms of comic books, what gives Thanos the edge over so many similar villains is the cruel and twisted measures he's willing to take in order to get the job done.
Many often compare Thanos to Darkseid or Galactus, yet the Mad Titan has a brutal side to him that makes him stand out above those peers. Not only is Thanos intent on domination and voyages of conquest, he is utterly ruthless as he looks to achieve these goals.
This is someone who has wiped out countless thousands of innocent people across the galaxy and someone who dropped a whole bunch of nuclear weapons on his home planet of Titan. Thanos is also responsible for killing his mother and father, and for causing such pain and suffering for his many children.
And while it may be easy to think of the torment and agony Thanos has caused for Gamora and Nebula, that's not taking into account the countless other offspring who Thanos has brutally murdered.