Not much I can say about Quinn that hasn’t already been said. She started out as the Joker’s “girlfriend” and right-hand women, but quickly became one of the most popular villains in Batman’s rogues gallery, arguably even more popular than “Mr. J”. Initially appearing in B:TAS, Quinn would eventually make the transition into the comics, video games and soon the big screen.
Honestly, there are times were Harley doesn’t even act like a true villain. She’s more like a happy, jovial and energetic girl who wants nothing more than to have fun. However, like many villains in Batman’s world, she has gotten darker over the years, especially since DC rebooted their line four years ago. As a fan of the character, I think they made her too psychotic and too dark. I don’t mind giving her an edge, but it has to feel natural and not forced. It reminds me of something out of the 90s.
But, getting back to the character, Harley came close to succeeding where others have failed. During the definitive Harley story Mad Love, she captured Batman, hung him over a pool of sharks and would have dropped him in if the Dark Knight hadn’t manipulated her into calling the Joker. Joker’s girlfriend came THIS close to killing Batman, something her dear sweet “Puddin” has never been able to do.
As mentioned before, Harley’s popular because she is too sweet to be a villain, but if I could think of one moment where she came close to true villainy, it would be the above moment from Mad Love.
Riddler is one of the most iconic villains in comics. Yet, on paper he is one of the weakest villains. From his look to his obsessions with riddles only Batman can solve, Edward should really be a more obscure bad-guy. However, its thanks to the popularity and acclaim of Frank Gorshin’s portrayal in the Adam West Batman and his later revision in the 90s animated series, Riddler has persisted and thrived ever since. Honestly even if it weren’t for Gorshin and his cackle, I think the riddler is a great character. Like most of Batman’s rogues, he is ruled by obsession, in his case it’s riddles. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t resist leaving clues at the scene of his crimes, even though it can incriminate him and lead to his arrest. It has been hinted that this obsession stems from a bad childhood, as well as his ego. In the Riddler’s mind, Batman is his only intellectual equal and he won’t rest until he has beaten and humiliated him, both physically and intellectually. It’s this obsession that has made Riddler the most persistent villain in Gotham and the most dangerous as he will go to extreme lengths to prove his genius to everyone….especially the Dark Knight.
The latest villain to appear in the MCU this Summer, the twisted and demented robot known as Ultron has tormented the Avengers since 1968. Ultron was created by founding member Hank Pym. Originally meant to be a force for good, Hank’s great dream turned into a nightmare as Ultron went rogue and vowed to kill every single human on the planet and replace them all with his fellow robots. Out of all the villains the Avengers have faced over the years, Ultron is by far their deadliest adversary, as he is always upgrading himself into new and more powerful forms and has come close to achieving his vision of a world populated with his robot brothers. The mad robot’s most notable acts include creating two robotic followers, the Vision and Jocasta (who would defect and join the avengers), slaughtered an entire Eastern nation and even tried to conquer the entire universe!
The one thing that appeals to me is that there is more depth to him then just his obsession with wiping out humanity. He is equally obsessed with proving his superiority to all humans, including his “Father”. For all of his hatred towards humans, Ultron has very real human flaws (anger, madness, sadness and even love), and he doesn’t even realise it.
Many people have said that Luthor is Superman’s arch-foe, but while I like Luthor, there is only one villain in the man of steel’s rogues gallery who will forever be a thorn in his side.The mad alien genius, Brainiac. Originally from the planet Colu, Brainiac travels across the universe, collecting knowledge by shrinking the cities and destroying the worlds where they originated. In his twisted mind, as long as he has the cities of these worlds and their histories, the actual planets themselves are inconsequential and meaningless. Because of his obsession with knowledge, Brainiac has destroyed countless worlds across the galaxy. One of the cities that Brainiac has shrunk is Kandor, the capital of Superman’s home-world, Krypton, which has made their rivalry more personal. In some continuities, Brainiac is the cause (both directly and indirectly) of Krypton’s destruction. Their rivalry got even more personal when one of Brainiac’s attacks led to the death of Clark’s adopted father, Pa Kent.
Brainiac is one of the greatest minds in comics, possessing an intellect of 12 and making him one of Superman’s smartest foes, perhaps even smarter than Lex luthor. Brainiac has been one of my favourites for years and for good reason. He doesn’t hate life, as more that he is indifferent to it and sees everything other than gathering all the knowledge in the world as pointless and unnecessary. To him, knowledge is power.
I’m going to cheat here and include two villains at No. 11, but honestly, these villains roles in DC comics have been greatly expanded and fleshed out thanks to Geoff Johns, so I felt it’s right to have them share a position on my countdown.
Most villains wants to take over the world, but for Len Snart, he just wants money and woman. As Captain Cold, he is the first of flash’s rogues, and the most dangerous, despite his look. Unlike Mr. Freeze, Cold has mastered absolute zero with his cold gun, able to stop the molecular motion of any object in motion, including the flash’s speed. On top of that, he is also very cunning and a stern leader among the rogues, always looking out for them and making sure they stay focused on their goals (he once beat Mirror Master for his drug addiction). Despite his name, he is not always “cold-hearted”.
Out of all of DC comics villains, Captain Cold is my absolute favourite. I love the simplicity of the character, from his costume to his motivation: he want to steal what he wants, when he wants and isn’t afraid to battle someone who moves at the speed of light. And while he doesn’t have any powers, cold has managed to hold his own against the flash for years and while they are not friend, Cold has a begrudging respect for Barry.
For one of comics “silliest” villains, Captain Cold’s leadership skills, cunning and ruthless nature has made him one of comics most enduring and complex villains.
Sinestro on the other hand was once hailed as the greatest of the Green Lantern corps, until his obsession with order led him to take over his own planet. Once stripped of his ring, Sinestro forged his own from the anti-matter universe and waged a one man war against the guardians and his pupil turned arch-foe, Hal Jordan. Like cold, Sinestro was given an overhaul, but took it a step further by creating his own Corp, the Sinestro Corps and started the war of light. Over the years, Sinestro has continued to play a pivotal role within the green lantern franchise, from one-note bad-guy to one of comics most compelling villains.
Both of these villains have risen to become two of comics best rogues, and will continue to be a force to be reckon with in their respective corners of the DC universe.