Creating supervillains can be a tricky business. Most superheroes have been fighting crime for decades and things can get stale if they’re just beating up the same few bad guys again and again. The pressure is always on for writers to come up with new and exciting adversaries to overcome, ones that match up to the hero’s classic rogues’ gallery.
Unfortunately, they don’t always hit the mark; for every Joker or Doctor Doom, there are invariably dozens of Killer Moths and Stilt-Men. Losers destined to be forgotten, unceremoniously slaughtered or doomed to the back of crowd shots for the rest of time.
However, some villains get lucky. Sometimes another writer will come along and see a spark of potential buried amongst the rubbish costumes and ridiculous super powers and give them a second chance. They’ll brush off the cobwebs and reinvent the character, taking a living punching bag and turning them into a true force to be reckoned with.
Here are ten of the worst villains who great writers rescued from the rubbish bin.
10. Maxie Zeus - Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth
Maxie Zeus turned to a life of crime after his wife left him. While most men in his position would probably just buy a flashy car and start wearing double denim, Maxie instead slapped on a toga, declared himself to be the god Zeus and tried to take over Gotham’s underworld.
Unsurprisingly, he failed and Maxie and his amazing beard were left to rot in Arkham Asylum, destined to be forever remembered as a complete loser.
That would all change though when Maxie appeared in Grant Morrison’s phenomenal Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.
Batman is trapped inside the madhouse and as he makes his way through the metaphorical (and possibly literal) Hell on Earth, he finds Maxie strapped to an electric chair. It’s a haunting scene, filled with religious imagery and brought to life by Dave McKean’s ethereal art. As the electricity cascades over him, Maxie Zeus genuinely seems like the god he imagines himself to be. He is equal parts benevolent and terrifying, even as he clings to a bucket of his own faeces.
Maxie Zeus doesn’t play a huge part in Arkham Asylum, but his appearance is sure to give him a starring role in your nightmares.