A superhero is only as good as his villain, and the DC Universe is stocked with some terrific bad guys for our heroes to defeat over, and over, and over again. Unfortunately, it seems like Hollywood thinks that when it comes to DC Comics, the villain cupboard consists of Lex Luthor and the Joker, and not much else. Look no farther than Batman v Superman and the forthcoming Suicide Squad, which have brought us these characters yet again, for the third time each in the past 40 years of movie making.
But villains and anti-heroes are all the rage these days, with Deadpool destroying at the box office and the aforementioned Suicide Squad generating solid buzz leading up to its release. If Suicide Squad is able to do strong business, it might open people’s eyes to the plethora of outstanding villains at DC’s disposal, including these 10 truly underrated (and, when it comes to Hollywood, underutilized) baddies.
Mongul was once the ruler of his race, but due to a revolution, he was exiled into outer space. Ever since Mongul has had an incurable hunger for power. Mongul is stronger than Superman and almost totally invulnerable to harm. Superman has defeated him by foiling his schemes, but only once has he defeated Mongul in hand-to-hand combat. Mongul also has the ability to teleport, has limited telepathy and telekinesis, and can project blasts of energy from his eyes, hands, or chest.
Mongul can also use advanced alien technology to shrink his enemies and place them in dimensional-inversion cubes designed to prevent escape by warping their interior reality and absorbing any power used against them from within. Superman once said that Mongul is about as strong as Darkseid. That is quite the complement.
Superboy-Prime is from a parallel Earth called Earth-Prime. There, Superman and the other comic superheroes were fictional characters only seen in comic books. The Earth-Prime universe was erased during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Superboy-Prime ended up in a “paradise” dimension where he slowly lost his edge and became insane. Over time, his convictions and morals became twisted and warped, and he came to believe that Earth-Prime is the only proper Earth. Prime firmly believes that becoming Superman is his calling despite the fact that he has become a psychotic and murderous villain. Superboy-Prime has all the basic abilities of any Kryptonian except at a much higher level. Like Superman, Prime loses his powers when exposed to a red sun.
Because of this, Prime built a power suit based on the one worn by the Anti-Monitor (we’ll get to him shortly), that collects and feeds him yellow solar energy so he can maintain his power levels even when exposed to a red sun. Where most versions of Superman have a weakness to magic, Prime does not. He also has no weakness to Kryptonite due to the fact that he is from another universe. Prime has a fear of the Flash Family though, due in large part to them pushing him into the Speed Force, where they imprison him under red sunlight to depower him for several years until he eventually breaks out. Massive amounts of quantum energy have also been shown to injure Prime, as seen in his battle with Monarch.
Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Elliot was a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, and was also born into a wealthy family. Tommy despised both his parents and, driven by his desire for independence and wealth, severed the brake line of his parents’ car, causing a crash that killed his father and injured his mother. When Bruce’s parents were murdered, Tommy resented him for inheriting the Wayne family fortune, just as he had hoped to do with his parents’ money. Later, Tommy killed his mother by smothering her with a pillow so he could inherit the family fortune. Although he went on to Harvard University and became a successful surgeon, Tommy continued to harbor an irrational grudge toward his childhood friend. Hush has spent most of his life honing his skills enough to be a match for the Dark Knight.
Elliot has an incredible, genius-level intellect and is also a master planner, with tactical skills rivaling those of Batman. Hush’s greatest asset is his talent for thinking like his opponents and using their abilities against them. Hush is also an expert marksman, able to shoot two batarangs out of the air and set off C4 explosives using twin M1911 pistols, his weapons of choice. While not possessing the kind of martial arts training that Bruce Wayne acquired, Hush has proven his ability to fight hand-to-hand and is almost on par with Batman. One of the finest surgeons in Gotham, Hush is also able to perform plastic surgery on himself, using minimal anesthetic and sheer force of will. He has the ability to grant himself the appearance of someone else, such as Bruce Wayne, using only a long series of planned surgeries on his own face, and the aid of a simple mirror.
Anti-Monitor was the product of a universe creating experiment gone wrong by the scientist Krona, who is one of the Guardians of the Universe. Anti-Monitor is one of the most formidable foes ever faced by the heroes of the DC Universe. He is directly responsible for more deaths than any other known DC supervillain. He was powerful enough to kill a distracted Supergirl. He consumed thousands of positive-matter universes to increase his power, and was able to personally battle scores of the multiverse’s strongest heroes simultaneously. Anti-Monitor was also responsible for the death of Barry Allen (the most famous Flash, for those who don’t know).
In addition to possessing vast size, extreme superhuman strength, extraordinary durability (he is able to effortlessly withstand blows from Superman, and even survive a blue star going supernova), he also has the ability to project destructive bolts of energy, and absorb another being’s powers. Anti-Monitor also possesses reality-warping abilities and commands an army of Qwardians and shadow demons, and has access to highly advanced technology capable of shifting, merging, or destroying entire universes. Anti-Monitor is not immortal, however, but may be ultimately indestructible so long as the anti-matter universe exists. He is one highly powered badass.
Following the complete destruction of his home town Coast City by the villain Mongul, Hal Jordan descended into madness, and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps, killing his friend Kilowog and all of the Guardians except for Ganthet. After this, Jordan assumed the name Parallax and became a supervillain. While Kyle Rayner became the primary Green Lantern of Earth for the next decade, Hal Jordan terrorized the DC universe as the villain Parallax. It was later discovered that Parallax was actually a parasitic entity dating back to the dawn of time and born from the yellow of the emotional spectrum. He was the cause of Hal Jordan’s destruction and insanity and took over his body and mind when he was devastated by the destruction of his city. The parasite is the sentient embodiment of fear, traveling from world to world and causing entire civilizations to destroy themselves out of paranoia.
Parallax has immense fear-casting and mind-control powers and can take possession of someone’s body when they feel even the slightest fear. It is strong enough to easily frighten and control the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, and even someone like Spectre. However, he is not able to control those who are capable of understanding and conquering inner fear such as Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, or Batman. Parallax is also capable of creating solid light constructs, such as creating a convincing duplicate of Sinestro. Parallax can also create both green and yellow objects or creatures. As a being of pure energy, Parallax has no true physical form of its own and it generally changes into forms that will instill fear in its victims.
The android Amazo was created by the scientist Professor Ivo, who became obsessed with immortality. The Justice League discovered that their powers had been drained and appeared to be used in the theft of certain long-lived creatures. Attempting to guard the remainder of the creatures and discover the perpetrator, the League was defeated by Amazo.
Amazo is capable of duplicating any of the powers of metahumans, including members of the Justice League (such as the strength of Superman or the speed of the Flash). The android retained the abilities of the Justice League and is capable of simulating other characters’ weapons, such as the power ring of Green Lantern and the Nth metal mace of Hawkgirl. He is, however, eventually defeated by the Justice League and has actually helped them a few times.
Lobo is a Czarnian with exceptional strength and fortitude. He enjoys nothing better than mindless violence and intoxication. He is arrogant and self-centered, focusing almost solely on his own pleasures. Lobo is the last of his kind, having committed complete genocide of his own people by unleashed a violent plague of flying scorpions upon his home world (and, good lord, that is a crappy way to die). Despite him being a psychotic asshole, Lobo has a strict personal code of honor in that he will never violate the letter of an agreement. He possesses extraordinary strength of undefined limits. Throughout the comics his powers have varied: in some instances, he is depicted as being barely stronger than a human while, in others, he demonstrates physical strength on a similar level to Superman. Lobo also possesses superhuman durability, which varies greatly as well.
Lobo is depicted, in some situations, as being injured by conventional bullets while, in other situations, he has the physical resiliency to stand toe to toe with Superman, survive unprotected in deep space, and withstand powerful explosive blasts without sustaining injury. Lobo is pretty much immortal. After he died and went to hell, he proved too much for the demons, and when he was then sent to heaven, he wreaked so much havoc that he was permanently banished from the afterlife. Not even Hell can deal with him. If Lobo sustains injury, his accelerated healing factor enables him to regenerate damaged or destroyed tissue with superhuman speed and efficiency and little pain, and he is immune to the effects of aging and disease. He can also regenerate out of a pool of his own blood by recycling the cells. Lobo possesses an amazingly developed sense of smell, which allows him to track objects between solar systems, as well as a separate tracking ability, enabling him to track an individual across galactic distances. He also has a sweet motorcycle that he flies through space on.
Nekron is an embodiment of Death and ruler of a region much like Hell, known as the Dead Zone. The Dead Zone seems to border on Limbo and Purgatory within the DC Universe. It is where the souls of the dead await passage to their final residence in either the Silver City or Hell. Nekron draws his power from the souls and spirits of all those who have ever died. The limitations of Nekron’s powers are unknown. Geoff Johns, DC writer, has described him as the most powerful dark force in the DC Universe.
He has the ability to raise the dead, kill with a touch (even Guardians), fire bolts of black lightning and grow without limit. He is also capable of fighting against universal forces like the Life Entity. The Spectre was even powerless against Nekron, as Nekron has no soul. Nekron also has incredible durability and reality warping powers, as was able to withstand a blast from the Anti-Monitor and send him back to the anti-matter universe. Also, he will probably give you all nightmares tonight. Sorry about that.
2. Black Adam
Teth-Adam is the son of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II. The wizard Shazam gave Teth-Adam the power to become the superhero, Mighty-Adam, by speaking the name “Shazam”. Mighty Adam served as Egypt’s champion for many centuries, but became corrupted by the charms of a mysterious woman. The bewitched Adam was convinced that he and his mistress should have ruled Egypt, so he killed the Pharaoh and appointed himself as ruler. The wizard learned of this and striped him of his powers. The wizard buried him along with a scarab necklace that held his powers inside a tomb.
Thousands of years later, during the late 20th century, an archaeological aide named Theo Adam found himself assigned to an expedition financed to excavate the tomb of Ramesses II. Adam uncovered Teth-Adam’s tomb in a secret passageway, and lead his superiors, C.C. Batson and his wife Marilyn (parents of Billy Batson, who is the current Shazam), to the discovery. Upon first sight of Teth-Adam’s scarab, Adam became obsessed with the artifact, and killed both Batsons in order to steal it. When Theo says the magic word “Shazam”, he is transformed into Black Adam and is granted super strength, speed, flight, the works, from ancient gods. He has recently acquired the Power of the Goddess Isis, making him stronger than ever. When Black Adam utters the magic word he not only gains his usual powers but all of his original powers are greater in strength because of the extra power he gains from Isis.
Bruce Gordon was a scientist specializing in solar energy. While in the African jungle to view a solar eclipse, Gordon was attacked by a tribal sorcerer. Before plunging to his death, the sorcerer wounded Gordon with a black diamond. Afterwards, Gordon would be transformed into the villainous Eclipso whenever an eclipse occurred. A blue-gray or purple circle would cover the rightmost two-thirds of his face, resembling a partial eclipse. Gordon would experience many Jekyll-and-Hyde transformations. Eclipso was not simply Bruce Gordon’s dark half, but a vengeance demon who had possessed Gordon. His soul had originally been bound inside a giant black diamond called the “Heart of Darkness”, and he is the manifestation of God’s wrath and a magical being of incalculable strength.
Eclipso has the powers of flight, immortality, invulnerability, super speed and stamina, advanced intellect, and the ability to emit deadly rays of dark light from his left eye and a powerful burst of paralyzing black light from his right eye. Eclipso possesses vast magical powers that allow him to perform godlike feats such as manipulation of the weather and seas to cause natural disasters, increase his size to that of a giant, absorb the powers of the Spectre, and project powerful energy from his hands that can stun or kill opponents. Eclipso is able to possess anyone who touches or comes into contact with the cursed Heart of Darkness gem, controlling the host’s powers, behaviors and memories. Despite his power, he is still bound by the divine laws of the Presence and is subject to even greater punishment from the Presence himself if these bounds are crossed.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.