Top 10 Comic Book Villains

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Comic books are more popular than ever and with so many media options to see our super powered heroes and villains it is likely their popularity will only increase. And while the superheroes get the lion’s share of the attention, it is often a fact that the comic villains get a bigger spotlight than the heroes themselves. In a way, this makes sense as the villains are often more far more interesting than their good-two-shoes counterparts. So who are the “best” comic book villains? Well, this is a very subjective list but here is the criteria I used to build this list. How important the villain was in the life of “their” hero, how powerful were they (raw power and brain power), are they interesting to read about and how much to you love to hate them. In the end it came down to this: Would I want to read a story with this comic book villain if there were no heroes in the story. If the answer was yes, then they probably deserve to be on this list.

10. Kingpin

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-man #50, Marvel Comics

Image result for kingpin marvel

Wilson Fisk is a criminal mastermind who is involved in extensive illegal activities such as drug-running, smuggling, murder, and extortion. Despite this, he has no criminal record and an army of lawyers to keep it that way. He is a criminal financial strategist without parallel. Fisk has no superhuman powers, but the majority of his 400-plus pound bulk is solid muscle. He has battled heroes such as Captain America, Moon Knight and Daredevil, but his most despised antagonist has been Spider-Man. While you may not give the Kingpin his due, he has destroyed the life of Daredevil in a way few other heroes have been brought down. Recently he sparked the whole Spider-man New Day fiasco.

Most heinous crime: Ordered a hit on Spider-Man’s Aunt May.

9. Galactus

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #48, Marvel Comics

Image result for Fantastic Four #48

Sole survivor of the universe existing before the Big Bang, Galactus is perhaps the most feared being in the cosmos. Considering he devours planets, he has killed more beings than any the villain on this list or even all combined on this list. Although some may consider him a “force of nature” and a natural part of the universal order, the fear he elicits easily ranks him in the top ten of villains.

Most heinous crime: He has tried to devour Earth many times and his most famous feeding came at the expense of the Skrull home world, leaving the planet a lifeless rock.

8. Thanos

First Appearance: Iron Man #55, Marvel Comics

Image result for thanos iron man #55

Considering he has courted death as his lover, that should give you an idea about how impressive he is as a villain. If only Death will do, you are setting your sights high (or low). What kind of gifts do you offer Death? A lifeless universe according to Thanos.

He has controlled some of the most power objects in the universe such as the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gems and became god-like himself. He has defeated Galactus to add to his legend.

Most heinous crime: His villainy was seen at an early age when he attacked his home world with nuclear weapons, killing thousands, including his own mother. Now that is cold.

7. Doomsday

First Appearance: Superman: The Man of Steel #17, DC Comics

Image result for doomsday comic villain

Doomsday was created and evolved through cloning an infant and having it killed over and over again in one of the harshest habitats in existence, prehistoric Krypton. In other words, he was bred to be nasty.

Image result for The Man of Steel #17, DC Comics

Many may complain that Doomsday was a marketing ploy but you gotta give him his due becasue he did kill Superman and killing the Man of Steel has to count for something. If you are a one-trick pony, killing the greatest superhero in comic book history is certainly a good place to start. He also defeated the entire Just League, with one arm literally tied behind his back, before killing Superman.

Most heinous crime: He killed Superman. Really, he killed Superman.

6. Dr. Doom

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #5, Marvel Comics

Image result for Fantastic Four #5,

Victor Von Doom suffered an accident that caused his face to be scarred. After this accident he made matters worse when he then attached a hot steel mask to his face, further scarring him, physically and mentally. That takes commitment.

He has controlled various forces of the universe, much like Thanos, such as the Power Cosmic which he stole from the Silver Surfer. He has also usurped the powers of Galactus and a all-powerful being, the Beyonder. In other words he is crafty and smart.

Most heinous crime: He actually sent Franklin Richards, the child of Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four, to Hell seeking to torment his parents

5. Green Goblin

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-man #14, Marvel Comics

Image result for Amazing Spider-man #14

While not one of my favorite villains, he did cause the 2nd most defining moment in the career of Spider-Man. He murdered Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacey when he dropped her from Washington Bridge. He has caused Spider-Man more problems and heart-ache than any other villain and had knowledge of Spider-man’s secret identity as Peter Parker. Considered to be Spider-Man’s most dangerous villain the Green Goblin’s insanity and lust for revenge only makes him that much more deadly.


Most heinous crime: Killed Gwen Stacey in front of Spider-Man.

4. Venom

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #300, Marvel Comics

Image result for Amazing Spider-Man #300

Venom is actually a team-up between two beings, one an alien and one a human, who both hate Peter Parker/Spider-Man intensely. Venom is an alien symbiote that has bonded with a number of different hosts who all share its hatred, most notable Eddie Brock.

Venom has all the powers of Spider-Man but does not trigger Spider-Man’s early warning abilities, his spider sense, which gives him a crucial advantage over Spider-Man. Venom also has knowledge of Spidey’s secret identity and kidnapped Peter’s parents in an effort to lure him into trap. Although he has had a tendency to fight for good by protecting the innocent he started out as a villain and always comes back to his evil-doing roots. His extreme popularity guarantees him a place on this list.

Most heinous crime: Pushed Spider-Man in front of a train and turned Peter Parker into a ultra-violent vigilante while trying to bond with him.

3. Magneto

First Appearance: Uncanny X-men #1, Marvel Comics

Image result for xmen magneto

One of the first mutants to appear on the planet and also one of the most dangerous, Magneto has deemed that mutants or homo-superiors are homo sapiens’ successors as rulers of the planet. He is more than willing to sacrifice every human to achieve his ultimate goal of mutant domination on Earth.

His control of all magnetic forces him a good shot at this, especially when he leads his team of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or any army of misguided mutants. Not letting his past friendship with Charles Xavier get in the way, he has attacked the X-men throughout their history and knows their strengths and weaknesses.

Most heinous crime: He ripped Wolverine’s adamantium metal skeleton from his body and physically reduced the X-men to the level of a two-year old while leaving their minds in tact. Oh, and he killed Jean Grey.

2. Joker

First Appearance: Batman #1, DC Comics

Image result for first appearance of the joker

Update: Also read our list of the top 10 best Joker stories.

The maniacal Joker is Batman’s most dangerous foe. Unpredictable, murderous and surprisingly cunning, the Joker is a threat to all human life. Heath Ledger commented on his role, describing his character, the Joker as a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.”

While Joker is a skilled inventor and chemist, the reason he is on this list is due to his purely evil actions spurred by his insanity. Nothing is beyond him and no life holds any value in his warped reality. With a maniacal intensity his focus is usually on destroying Batman while having a laugh doing it. Killing innocents isn’t only his plan, it is his desire.

His most heinous crime: He is a mass murderer killing hundreds of people. He killed the 2nd Robin, Jason Todd, Sarah Essen (Commissioner Gordon’s second wife), and crippled Batgirl.

1. Lex Luthor

First Appearance: Action Comics #23, DC Comics

Image result for lex luthor first appearance

Lex Luthor may be one of the most gifted persons alive in every facet of his life, but he is also a sociopath without regard for the suffering of others. His hatred for the Man of Steel drives him and makes him Superman’s greatest foe.

Becoming President of the United States and knowing that Kryptonite is the one weakness of Superman has given Lex advantages when trying to destroy Clark Kent’s alter ego. Lex’s disregard for everyone, believing himself superior to all others, has placed him at the top of the list. It has to be noted that he is more intelligent than Superman and has often out-smarted him. Add to the fact that nothing is too low or too vile for him, he has an advantage over the moral limitations of Superman. Being calculating, cool and a master manipulator puts Lex at the top of the comic book villain list.

Most heinous crime: Lex activated a “Doomsday Plan” to destroy Metropolis and burned the city to the ground killing thousands. He also had an affair Perry White’s wife, fathering a child.

There were many honorable mentions such as Doctor Octopus, Dark Phoenix, Sinestro and Apocalypse. Do you think any other comic book villains were overlooked? (Editors note: Red Skull and Darkseid deserve at least honorable mention.)


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133 Comments

  1. Doom deserved high (maybe 2). Luthor pretty much sucks and has a horrible design to boot. Green Goblin also deserves a spot higher than Venom, I mean Goblin has done way worse things to Spidey than Venom ever imagined.

  2. This should be the top 10 marvel villians

    Oh and how the hell does LEX LUTHER beat out THE JOKER???????????

  3. Good list, wouldn't have had kingpin and make Joker number 1

    couple names for consideration

    Deathstroke (best most kickass killer)

    Sinestro (drove Hal Jordan to destroy green latern corps)

    Bullseye (killed 2 of daredevils girlfriends, he should be there over kingpin, who fyi is more a daredevil villian than a spiderman)

    Bane (broke Batman's back)

    Dr Light (raped Elongated Mans wife, took down all of the teen titans witht he exception of Cyborg and nearly killed Green Arrow and Speedy

  4. What about Bane? He broke batman's back, he freed all of the arkham patients, He knows where Batman lives, He figured out his secret identity, did I mention he BROKE BATMAN'S BACK!

  5. I judge comic villains based upon how difficult they would be for ANY super hero to deal with. Thus Lex Luthor can be removed from the list. Beyond Superman, kryptonite… doesn't do much to deal damage to other super heroes. Galactus… eats planets, and deserves to be #1. The Dark Phoenix deserves to be #2 because she has limitless power, and can just about do anything to anything she sees. #3 is debatable, but I have to go with Apocalypse. He managed to alter history, and make it fit to his design. #4 Scarlet Witch… having the capability to alter reality ranks high on the difficult to deal with list. Dr. Doom gets #5 if you add up all of his accumulated capabilities. #6 goes to Loki, he's a god, enough said. #7 goes to Onslaught, you should need no explanation here if you know who and what Onslaught is. I'd award #8 to the Shadow King because other than a mutant with psionic powers, he'd be almost impossible to take on. Magneto is #9 for obvious reasons. And #10 goes to Deadpool, he just never stays down, sometimes good, sometimes bad, still just can't be kept down. That being said, apologies to DC. DC villains are often some of the most interesting and entertaining to read about. But they just don't pose great threats in comic books which have basically no base in reality. DC villains are excellent, just not quite as powerful and difficult to deal with as Marvel's since Marvel tends to stretch reality just a twinge more… For super-villains who are the most significant, or most entertaining, this list I have isn't adequate. That list would look like:

    1. The Joker

    2. Green Goblin

    3. Lex Luthor

    4. Dr. Doom

    5. Red Skull

    6. The Riddler

    7. Venom

    8. Magneto

    9. Carnage

    10. Apocalypse

  6. Arachnid Adventures on

    It's got to be Dr Doom for me – though I've always had a soft spot for Nebulon from the old Defenders comics.

  7. Joker rules all the way! Didnt anyboy knew that he had killed Lex Luthor bcoz he wasnt invited to join the group of supervilians of the Justice League & took over the leadership of supervillains. How can anyone 4get how he almost killed superman if it wasnt for the batman who had to save his kryptonian a**.

    Joker + Harley Quinn = The Genocidal Couple. This deadly duo can wet pants of all supervillians combined single handedly. They dont need any special powers. All they have to do is Smile! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Ultron should be on the list.

    Ultron He hates humanity, mamed a entire country in front of the Avengers, and trying to appeal to Ultron is a fool's errand with the exception of one version. He's so deplorable that he makes Joker look like Mr.Rogers. Think of the worst possible kind of robot, and you get the brutal ruthless Ultron.

  9. Two-Face?
    Doctor Octopus?
    Lizard?
    Bane?
    Deadshot?
    Electro?

    At least one of them should be on the list. But good list nevertheless

  10. Your list may be appropriate until the release of The Dark Night…

    i know this is a list of Comic book villains and not other media…

    but still the potrayal of The Joker by heath Ledger affects the nature of the whole character…

    It Makes The joker not only number one of this list but also the Greatest Villain of all time…

    in all media…

    in all world…

    in every place in this world or hypothetical…

    no one stands infront of the joker…

    Do you know, what supervillains do when they want to scare each other?

    they tell each other stories of The Joker…

    • Agree with you all the way you need to take into concideration the link between the heroes and villains at which the joker batman relationship is best. However lex Luther doesn’t have much to cope with because though superman is a good superhero he isn’t the best.

  11. we love with some villains. especially for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.

    Here the list of villains from us.

    01. Doomsday

    02. Apocalypse

    03. Dr. Doom

    04. Lex Luthor

    05. Mr. Sinister

    06. Proteus

    07. Shadow King

    08. Master Mold

    09. Galactus

    10. Marvel Divas

  12. Gotta get Vandal Savage on this list. Immortals make for really interesting super villains.

  13. I'm torn. Magneto is, in my estimation, unassailable as a character in comics. There is to my mind not greater character ever created by any comic than Magento and when he is involved in stories within the Marvel world he dominates them and his power can be adapted through electro-magnetism and diamagnetism to effect any material in existence. Yes dispite this it is debatable whether or not he truely is a villain. I'd argue he's more of an anti-hero because his goal has never just been world domination, he has never just acted out the desire for personal power or wealth or done something jsut because he could, his actions have always been governed by his desire to protect his own kind and get the best for them and he has never been just a black-and-white villian. So if I count him as a villian I'd count him as the best but I not sure whether he in a super-villian in the true sense of the word.

  14. Weak list. Doomsday was a crappy Bane-type character and a poor contrivance. Luthor should have been the real instrument of Superman's alleged design instead of another steroids freak. Speaking of Luthor, how does he ever make #1? Almost all of his popularity comes from arching Superman, which has routinely pushed him into leadership positions in evil organizations despite really lacking merits as far as villains go. Yes, he's a super-genius and a criminal mastermind, but he's really not on par with the super-geniuses like Doctor Doom who are combat-ready or the masterminds like Kingpin who can hold their own in a fight.

    Not sure why Magneto makes so many lists, as he's had numerous hero runs including heading the X-Men at times. But I guess you'd have to include him, as the list is incredibly mainstream and has no real distinct flavor.

  15. lex luther is NOT number 1… To be honest i thought Dr. Doom should come before Venom and Green Goblin… and where's sandman???

  16. Harley_Quinn27 on

    yes poison ivy, the joker should be number one deffo and although shes not one of the best harely quinn is pretty epic you actually havnt got one female villan on tht list

  17. Why is Lex Luthor in 1# place, he is top 10 material but not #1 It should be Joker or someone else Worthy but Am I the only one who thinks Deadpool should be there or Bane, he did brake Batman’s Back.

    • Deadpool, is more or less an antihero. So I don’t think they considered hjim for this list due to that technicality

  18. Lex Luthor deserves to be #1 because while nobody was looking, he took forty cakes. He took 40 cakes. That’s as many as four tens. And that’s terrible.

  19. Just one:

    Hal Jordan/Parallax He is the second Green Lantern in the earth…

    Almost Destroy the DC Universe in Zero Hour:Crisis in Time(1994)

    Move the entropy Destroying the Universe and time by centuries

  20. I am shocked that there is only one Batman villain on this list. there are many who were overlooked, such as Scarecrow, who made Batman piss himself on several occasions, mentally scarred most of the city, and was almost declared a God of Fear by the city. True he hasn’t done as many physically destructive things as alot of the people on this list, but he has done more mental damage than any other Batman villain, save the Joker. Also Ra’s al Ghul for being freaking IMMORTAL. Bane, for breaking Batman’s spine and indirectly causing more damage to the city than any other villain. I think you can see where I’m going with this

  21. If doom is a mega villian den joker is a super ultra villian i mean doom is smart and rich and in d marvel universe d mean powerful bad guys attack the earth alot so dat’s y doom is able to find a weakness and access d alien tech but in dc universe a mean powerful bad guy often appears so keepin track and findin a weakness is a prob yet people lik lex always steal alien tech so without further writin or babblin here’s the top ten most powerful villian:
    1.galactus eats planets 4 lunch
    2.anti monitor anti reality anti-everythin when he’s on the roll his unstoppable
    3.superman prime
    4.mr mz… The master reality warper whatever his name
    5.imperiex
    6.the void
    7.onsalught
    8.juggernaut
    9.apocalypse dont hav anythin on dis guy but i heard he’s real powerful
    10.valdilus cant remember but my spelling is close i think And the main event Top ten most insane wicked cruel evil obsessed villains
    1.the joker kills wit laughter
    2.doom reed richards must suffer
    3.loki thor must die
    4.lex kill superman and he makes u a billionaire
    5.thunderbolt ross insane about hulk
    6.magneto wants only mutants on earth
    7.venom where’s spiderman
    8.green goblin
    9.ares god of war
    10.red skull

  22. Venom is the worst spider-man villain and the Green Goblin is the greatest comic book villain of all time.