Every hero needs a great villain. After all, if the villain isn't an even match for them, then why would anyone care? Great stories need a villain who can face the hero and give them a real challenge. Throughout history, there have been hundreds of memorable villains in literature, film, and television. However, some of the greatest villains of all time, the ones that almost everyone knows, came from comic books.
Whether they were battling the Avengers or the Justice League, comic book villains have shown that they have a place in the pantheon of great villains. Obviously one of the most famous villains is Batman's Joker. Not only is he the complete opposite of the hero, but he is villainous in a way that few can match.
He's the kind of villain that would set up a challenge like naming fifty of some of the greatest comic book villains of all time in under five minutes. After all, he would want people to break a sweat trying to figure it out. It would be a joke to him! So maybe it would be best to just jump right in and try to name all fifty of these comic book villains (otherwise the Joker wins)!
1Who is this powerful Justice League nemesis?
This incredibly powerful villain has put up a fight against the Justice League numerous times. He is one of the most powerful beings in the universe and is identifiable by his huge stature and rock-like skin. His main power is being able to fire omega beams, which can erase objects and living beings from existence. One of the only people who can withstand these beams is Superman, and even he feels a great amount of pain when they hit him.
2Who is this puzzling villain?
This villain is often seen wearing a green suit adorned with question marks. He is very intelligent and often likes to play games with his adversaries by having them solve puzzles that he leaves behind. In another lifetime, his name was Edward Nigma. He turned to a life of crime after he discovered that his mastery of puzzles and brainteasers could be profitable to him. He frequently challenges the world's greatest detective with his difficult and often bizarre mind games.
3Who is this shape shifting villain?
This Batman villain is not someone you would want to run into in a dark alleyway. His towering and frankly monstrous appearance would be enough to make anyone run in the opposite direction. However, they might not get far, as this villain is able to form his body into hammers, maces, and any other kind of blunt object. He is also able to imitate people exactly by shapeshifting into their form. He started his life as Basil Karlo, an actor, before turning to a life of crime.
4Who is this planet eating cosmic being?
This classic Marvel villain has existed since the beginning of the universe, and he must absorb planets to continue living. To find new planets, he sends out his heralds, one of which was the Silver Surfer. However, the Surfer eventually turned against his master and became a hero. This being is one of the most powerful in the Marvel universe, and his power is immense. He does not have a singular form, instead appearing to others in forms they are able to perceive and understand.
5Who is this fishbowl-headed villain?
This Spider-Man villain used to be a stuntman and special effects wizard named Quentin Beck. However, after he could no longer find work in the film industry, Beck turned to a life of crime. He utilized what he knew to become a villain, using his knowledge of special effects and move magic to create illusions that would confuse people and allow him to get away with the crimes he was committing. His distinctive appearance is marked by the glass helmet he wears to cover his head.
6Who is this genetically altered villain?
This villain stated his life as a human scientist named Nathaniel Essex. He was studying evolution with Charles Darwin, but believed that humans were about to undergo a massive evolutionary shift. He was looked down on by his scientific peers for his unorthodox and unethical practices. However, his potential was recognized by a powerful mutant who imbued him with physical and mental powers. He was also granted with longevity and eventually became one of the greatest enemies to the X-Men.
7Who is this feline-themed thief?
This Batman villain started her life as a kid on the streets. She was always left to fend for herself, which led her to a life of petty crime. However, over time she set her eyes on bigger and bigger scores. She had always led a rough life, but never gave up or let people take advantage of her. Her relationship with Batman is complicated. Sometimes they work together, and sometimes she works against him. The most important item that she utilizes is her trusty whip.
8Who is this musclebound villain?
This villain spent his childhood years in jail for a crime his father committed, so it's almost as if he had no choice in becoming a bad guy. Eventually, he escapes and makes his way to Gotham City with the goal of taking down Batman. He is incredibly strong and intelligent, and his physical strength is enhanced by a substance known as Venom which is pumped into his veins continuously through a series of tubes. His fight with Batman went down as one of the most iconic moments in DC history
9Who is this mischievous otherworldly villain?
He's been featured in a number of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he started out as a villain in Marvel comics, where he is the brother of Thor, the god of thunder. He is the god of mischief, and he uses that power to his advantage whenever he can. He was the first enemy that was ever faced by the Avengers, and he has continued to cause all kinds of problems on Earth and in other realms of the universe.
10Who is this giant-headed villain?
This villain with an absolutely giant head often poses a threat to members of the Marvel universe. He began his life as a computer scientist named George Tarleton. However, after the creation of the cosmic cube, he was experimented on and turned into a half-human, half-machine supercomputer. He turned on his creators, though, and took control of Advanced Idea Mechanics. He is incredibly smart and also possesses psionic powers which make him a formidable foe for heroes like Captain America and Iron Man.
11What is the name of this arctic-themed Gotham villain?
This villain's real name is Oswald Cobblepot, but due to his physical appearance, he is often referred to by his animal-themed nickname. He does not possess any superpowers, but due to his intelligence and ruthless nature, he has become one of the biggest crime bosses in Gotham City. Still, he is sometimes mocked behind his back for his appearance, but no one would dare say anything to his face. He was portrayed by Danny Devito in the film "Batman Returns."
12Who is this dangerous Spider-Man villain?
Mac Gargan was no more than a private detective when he started becoming obsessed with Spider-Man. He became the subject of an experimental procedure which gave him the powers of a specific arachnid to combat Spider-Man. However, the procedure, as well as the suit he wears, begin to alter his mind, driving him mad and turning him into a supervillain. He is known for targeting the family members of people he works against, which makes him one of Spider-Man's most dangerous foes.
13Who is this plant-loving villain?
This Batman villain started her life as a botanist named Pamela. After she was given experimental toxins and substances which altered her DNA, she gained control over plant life. One of her signature powers is her ability to put someone down with just a kiss, due to her lips being coated with a toxin that she naturally produces. She is obsessed with Batman, as he seems to be the only man that she is unable to put under her spell.
14Who is this particulate-based villain?
This villain started his life as a petty criminal named Flint Marko. While Marko was running from the law after one of his crimes, he fell into a nuclear test site where his DNA bonded with the surrounding area. His body eventually developed the characteristics of the substance he fell into, and he essentially became a man made of small, movable particles. This gave him powers that allowed him to transform his body into almost any shape and to dissolve and rebuild himself at will.
15Who is this ageless, mystical villain?
This villain may be one of the greatest foes Batman has ever faced. He is thought to be over 600 years old, but keeps himself alive through the use of healing pools of mystical fluids known as Lazarus Pits. He is a master swordsman and a highly skilled fighter. Every time he is brought back to life, he becomes even stronger. He is one of the only people to have learned Batman's true identity but keeps it secret out of respect.
16Who is this cold-hearted villain?
This villain is constantly leaving Batman in the cold. After involved in an accident with cryogenic chemicals he was using to prolong treatment for his seriously ill wife, he turned to a life of crime. He used his knowledge to build a freezing ray, which can instantly turn anything (or anyone) into a block of ice. His superior intellect also allowed him to build a life-sustaining suit for himself, as he needs to keep his body at below-freezing temperatures at all times.
17Who is this Hooded, metal-faced villain?
He may be one of the most prolific and well-known villains in Marvel history, and he often finds himself up against the Fantastic Four. He is the leader of a nation known as Latveria, and his intense hatred for Reed Richards led him to become a supervillain. He is very intelligent, and his suit of armor (which is permanently grafted to his body) gives him super strength. He has proven himself to be an incredibly formidable foe for almost every hero in the Marvel canon.
18Who is this flying, grinning villain?
He is Spider-Man's arch nemesis, and for good reason. He began his life as Norman Osborn, the father to Peter Parker's best friend Harry Osborn. As the founder of Oscorp, he was already driven to be successful, at the cost of his personal life. However, after taking an experimental formula that increased his strength and intelligence, he was driven mad and became a supervillain. He is often seen riding on a glider and throwing explosives shaped like pumpkins, wreaking havoc throughout New York City.
19Who is this magnetic mutant?
Erik Lehnsherr, as he was once known, grew up during the Second World War, and faced persecution based on who he was. He eventually discovered that he had mutant powers, specifically the ability to control and manipulate metal objects. He eventually became the leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants, which seeks to establish mutantkind as the dominant species on Earth. Despite his position on where mutants stand, he has on occasion teamed up with Charles Xavier and the X-Men to stop bigger threats.
20Who is this planetary Marvel villain?
It is a being that is almost as old as the universe itself known as a celestial, and it has a great amount of cosmic power at its disposal. While it was just an intangible consciousness floating through space, it was able to learn all the secrets of the universe and build a body around itself, essentially becoming a living planet. It has the ability to control all aspects of its planetary self, including the weather, the surface terrain, and the temperature of its core.
21Who is this enemy of the Green Lantern?
He used to be a part of the Green Lantern Corps and could have been a hero to the universe. However, he used his power ring to do the opposite if what the Green Lantern Corps was meant to do, and was exiled for his actions. IT was during this exile, that he would start his own corps to battle against the Green Lanterns using yellow power rings, knowing that the green lantern power rings could not affect anything that color.
22Who is this giant, helmeted villain?
He is the half-brother of Charles Xavier, and though he is often thought to be a mutant, he actually gained his powers through other means. After finding a giant ruby in a temple, he is granted the powers of Cyttorak, which grants him immense strength and the ability to essentially become an unstoppable force. Due to his jealousy of his half-brother, he becomes an enemy of the X-Men, working against them many times. His helmet also makes him invulnerable to psychic attacks.
23Who is this nightmarish Batman villain?
Dr. Jonathan Crane was often made fun of in his younger years for his appearance. He realized that by using people's phobias against them, he could get his revenge. He grew up to be a psychologist, working at Arkham Asylum and using a gas he developed which brings people's deepest phobias to the surface. He eventually adopted a costume which gave him the appearance of his namesake. His obsession drove him to a life of crime, and he constantly finds himself up against Batman.
24Who is this powerful mutant villain?
He is thought to be the very first mutant to ever exist on Earth. When he was born, his appearance made his people decide to abandon him. However, he was raised by people who practically worshipped him. He has lived for thousands of years and has only become stronger over time. His mutant powers are seemingly endless, and he is able to manipulate the X gene of other mutants, augmenting their powers and making them stronger. He is one of the most powerful foes ever faced by the X-Men.
25Who is this electric villain?
He is one of Spider-Man's most powerful foes, and he often puts up a huge challenge for the wall-crawler. He began his life as an electrician named Max Dillon. However, after an accident involving a lightning strike, while he was working on power lines, Dillon developed electrical powers and eventually turned to a life of crime. He is a formidable foe to Spider-Man and is able to manipulate electrical fields and hurl bolts of electricity. He can also mentally control any electrical machinery when he touches it.
26Who is this super villain with no super powers?
He may just be a normal man, but he is considered to be Superman's greatest foe. His high intellect, plus his access to wealth, allow him to devise plans to take down the Man of Steel on a regular basis. Upon discovering Superman's weakness, Kryptonite, he immediately began using the substance in much of his research. He is obsessed with being more powerful than Superman and built a suit that enhances both his strength and agility in order to fight Superman himself.
27Who is this incredibly accurate villain?
He is one of the greatest foes of Daredevil, and it's easy to see why. He has perfect aim and is able to turn almost any object into a lethal projectile. He began life as a pitcher playing minor league baseball, due to his talent for being able to make the ball go wherever he wanted it to go. However, after throwing an overly aggressive pitch, he was kicked out of the league and turned to a life of crime.
28Who is this World War II era villain?
He began his life as a German officer named Johann Schmidt. He was given the super soldier formula in its earliest stage before it had been perfected enough to turn Steve Rogers into Captain America. This resulted in the transformation of his face, giving him the appearance of having no skin on his head. However, it did also grant him the same strength, speed, and agility as Captain America. He was the first enemy the Captain ever fought, and like Steve Rogers, was able to survive until being found decades later.
29Who is this monstrous enemy of the Hulk?
Emil Blonsky, like Bruce Banner, was exposed to high levels of gamma radiation. However, he did it on purpose and gave himself a much higher does than Banner. The result was that Blonsky became a giant, scaly monster that was twice as strong as the Hulk. This villain defeated Hulk in their first fight, and since then has become even more powerful. His powers range from super strength and stamina to being able to breathe underwater. He is one of the only villains to give Hulk a real challenge.
30Who is this nursery rhyming villain?
This villain is one of the oldest creations in DC comics. He began his life as a regular criminal but eventually fell into an enchanted swamp, where he was swallowed by the mud and water. He was reborn as an entirely new entity, one that was caught somewhere between living and being no more. He speaks only in a repeated nursery rhyme, the last thing he heard before being swallowed up by the swamp. He has enhanced strength and is virtually impossible to put down permanently.
31Who is this eight-limbed villain?
Doctor Otto Octavius was a brilliant scientist, whose greatest achievement was building a set of four mechanical limbs that he could .control with his mind. However, after an accident in the lab, the metal arms are fused with his body, and their programming begins to seep into Otto's mind. He became a supervillain, one who regularly fought against Spider-Man. He also became a regular member of the Sinister Six, a group of villains who regularly worked to defeat Spider-Man once and for all.
32Who is this villain?
This villain is similar to another DC villain, in that he utilizes a freeze ray to carry out his crimes. The difference is that this criminal does not need to utilize any technology to keep himself alive, as he is just a regular human. He regularly finds himself facing off against the Flash, using his freezing ray to slow down the ultra-fast hero or create patches of ice that cause him to slip. He has made many modifications to his ray over the years, giving it a number of different freezing applications.
33Who is this infinity gauntlet-wearing villain?
He is one of the most powerful villains in the entire Marvel universe, and he has utilized his main tool, the infinity gauntlet (complete with infinity gems) to accomplish many of his goals. He is the last of his kind and is sometimes referred to as the Mad Titan. He eliminated half of all life in the universe with a snap of his fingers, and he did it just to impress a woman with whom he had fallen in love.
34Who is this large and in charge villain?
He is one of the primary villains of both Spider-Man and Daredevil, and he is the most prominent crime boss in the city. However, he is able to keep most of his criminal activities under wraps, lending him an air of authenticity that often only superheroes can see through. Although he usually has his henchmen and enforcers do his work for him, he does possess great strength due to his massive size. He is often seen wearing a white coat and looking very well-dressed.
35Who is this robotic villain built by a hero?
This mechanical villain was the creation of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. It started its life as an artificial intelligence, and slowly learned enough to turn against its creator. It reprogrammed and rebooted itself five times until it gained complete sentience. It built itself a body out of the fictional alloy Adamantium (the same metal that coats Wolverine's skeleton and claws) and took on the Avengers again. It has been rebuilt a number of times by different villains throughout comic book history.
36Who is this part alien, part human villain?
Eddie Brock was a reporter for the Daily Bugle with a serious grudge against Spider-Man, who got him fired from the newspaper. After Spider-Man separates himself from a black alien symbiote, it finds Eddie Brock and bonds with him. The resulting villain has a number of Spider-Man's powers, including the ability to shoot webs and stick to walls. However, it also has a monstrous appearance, often shown through its sharp teeth and giant tongue. Though he is a villain, this character does sometimes work with Spider-Man to fight crime.
37Who is this opera loving barnyard-themed villain?
This villain, whose real name is Lazlo Valentin, is a gifted surgeon and chemist. However, he is also completely mad. He wears a pig mask and often sings to himself while turning people into what he calls dollotrons, mindless, semi-robotic automatons that are under his control. He is probably one of the weirdest and yet most villainous people that Batman and Robin have ever come up against. He has his own crime syndicate which he calls the Circus of Strange.
38Who is this fifth dimensional villain?
This impish villain from the fifth dimension often proves to be a lot of trouble for Superman. When he finds himself in the third dimension, he is able to warp reality in any way he sees fit. This has included turning the Daily Planet building into a moving creature. His name is nearly impossible to say, but he can be sent back to the fifth dimension if he is tricked into saying it backward. While he is maybe Superman's most powerful foe, he is not quite bad enough and far too gullible to be a real threat to Earth.
39Who is this Joker superfan?
She began her life as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, but after many interviews with the Joker, she became obsessed with him, eventually falling in love with him. She threw away her old identity and adopted a new one, working as Joker's sidekick and confidante. Even though he doesn't always give her the respect she deserves, she stays by his side. She is often seen wielding a giant mallet and has as much of a dangerous sense of humor as her boss, whom she calls "Mister J."
40Who is this red and black symbiotic villain?
This villain was created after the black symbiote gave birth to a new symbiote which bonded with Cletus Kasady, a mad criminal who could have been in jail for the rest of his life. Unlike the previous symbiote and its host, Kasady and this symbiote were far more dangerous, committing crimes just because they wanted to. This symbiote grants far more power to its host, allowing him to create sharp objects at will and stretch his tendrils for miles. He may be Spider-Man's most dangerous enemy.
41Who is this elderly flying villain?
This Spider-Man villain is far older than any of the other foes he faces off against, but his power, derived from a specially designed flying harness, is greatly enhanced. Enough so that he constantly poses a real challenge to the webhead. He has enhanced strength and flight capabilities, and at one time was also able to steal youth from people, giving himself a much younger appearance and youthful energy. He was portrayed by Michael Keaton in the film "Spider-Man: Homecoming."
42Who is this dark, skeletal villain?
Roman Sionis grew up the only son of a wealthy couple. However, they often neglected him and cared more about their own social standing than raising him right. After he was forced by Bruce Wayne to give up control of his family's cosmetic company, Roman turned to a life of crime, donning a mask made of ebony wood and carved into a skull. He swore revenge against Bruce Wayne. The mask was permanently burned onto his face in a fire.
43Who is this reptilian scientist villain?
Dr. Kurt Connors was a military surgeon who served in the war. He lost his arm during combat and worked tirelessly to find a way to regrow it. He eventually came upon the idea of using reptile DNA to replicate his arm. The process worked, but it also turned Dr. Connors into a giant, reptilian creature that plagued New York City. He came up against Spider-Man on numerous occasions and has often been reverted back to his human form only to turn into the creature again and again.
44Who is this hero-imitating villain?
Superman has his share of strange and powerful enemies, but this one is probably the most difficult for him to face. this version of Superman comes from another dimension, one that is practically the opposite of the real world. Because of that, this version of Superman commits crimes and bad deeds. However, he really believes that he is the real Superman, often repeating the phrase "Me am Superman." He has a craggy, gray appearance, and his chest is adorned with a backward "S."
45Who is this faceless yet familiar villain?
He began life as one of Batman's most classic villains, but many people have held the identity since. However, the most prominent person to take on this name and identity is actually someone very close to Batman. He does not have any superpowers, but he is a criminal mastermind and is fuelled by a need for revenge against Batman for not saving him from the Joker. The reveal of his identity was one of the most surprising moments in DC comics history.
46Who is this coin flipping former lawyer?
Harvey Dent was a prominent district attorney working in Gotham City. He was a valuable ally to Batman and Commissioner Gordon until a criminal threw acid in his face during a trial. The corrosive fluid burned half of Harvey's face, completely altering his appearance. This event drove Harvey to madness, and he became another one of Gotham's criminals. The tragedy of Dent's story is that he could have been one of the great heroes of Gotham, but became what he was trying to stop.
47Who is this mentally superior villain?
He is one of Superman's greatest enemies, and his intellect is far beyond that of anyone in the entire universe. He is known for having trapped the last surviving Kryptonian city in a glass bottle, to be part of his collection. He tried to do the same to Metropolis but was stopped by Superman. He views almost every lifeform in the universe as being beneath him, yet is oddly fascinated by other living beings. He often describes his intelligence as a "twelfth-level intellect."
48Who is this hard-charging Spider-Man villain?
This classic Spider-Man villain is known as being not too bright. However, what he lacks in intelligence he makes up for with brute strength. After he is fused with an artificial hide, he gains superhuman strength and durability. He is able to easily crash through walls, throw cars around, and overpower almost anybody (except for the Hulk, who famously wins against him every time they meet). He may not be smart, but if he is charging at someone, it's definitely best for them to get out of the way.
49Who is this animalistic mutant villain?
This mutant is one of the greatest enemies of Wolverine. He has similar powers, including heightened senses, increased strength and agility, and predator-like fangs and claws. His senses are so acute, he can see in almost total darkness. He also has an advanced healing factor, which, like Wolverine, means that his age is impossible to determine. His real name is Victor Creed, but much of his backstory beyond that is not reliable. He often works with Magneto and is a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants.
50Who is this ultra-powerful Superman villain?
He may be one of the most infamous villains in DC history, considering how he completely ended Superman for a time. He has a giant, rocky appearance, and is one of the strongest foes the Justice League have ever faced. He was part of a race of beings that populated Krypton hundreds of thousands of years ago, before modern Kryptonians. This villain's origin might also be one of the most interesting (and not in a good way) stories of any supervillain, and would explain why he became such a force for villainy.