Everyone and their mother knows about heavy hitters like the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid - but how about the great recent DC comic villains who don't get their proper due? Yeah, yeah... we've all seen the Dark Knight take on everyone from Poison Ivy to Mr. Freeze about a billion times, so throw Punchline into the mix to make things interesting!
Upset the status quo with behind-the-scenes baddies like the Court of Owls or Perpetua! Terrify the pants off of grown adults with the Upside-Down Man! The comic book industry is always looking for the hot new thing, and these supervillains just might fit the bill. So, get ready to start scheming with the best of them as we run through some of the best modern comic book antagonists DC Comics has to offer.
- 1384 VOTES
The Court Of Owls
How would writer Scott Snyder, the man taking over the Batman comic during the New 52 era, put his mark on the character hot off the heels of Grant Morrison's genre-defining run writing the Caped Crusader? How does introducing a Gotham City-altering clan of secret villains sound? Snyder (and penciler Greg Capullo) kicked their time on Batman off with a bang, bringing the Court of Owls into the fold from the beginning. While the vast majority of New 52 titles were rewriting the origins of DC's most famous characters, Batman got to keep most of his continuity intact and take on something new and exciting right away.
For hundreds of years, the Court of Owls ran Gotham City from the background. Think about that. Over hundreds of Batman and Detective Comics issues throughout the many decades, the Court of Owls has always technically been there. The nursery rhyme that sprung up around them tells their story better than we ever could: "Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed. Speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send the Talon for your head." You know, just a happy little poem for kids!
- 2270 VOTES
The Upside-Down Man
James Tynion IV may be responsible for writing the Justice League Dark storyline that brought the Upside-Down Man into existence, but credit must go to penciler Álvaro Martínez Bueno for bringing such a horrific villain to life. There is something so unsettling about his character design. Just a scaly, shirtless man in black pants hanging upside-down with nothing on his face but a sharp-toothed grin oriented the wrong way. The design is curiously abnormal in a way that would make it perfect for a horror film.
It helps that the Upside-Down Man is about as powerful a magical supervillain as there has ever been in DC Comics. He is purely made of unfiltered Source magic and, as such, can do all sorts of diabolical things. If the evil Hecate is afraid of him, you just know he's bad news. His simplistic name is great, too. It brings to mind the "Bent-Neck Lady" from The Haunting of Hill House.
- 3413 VOTES
The Batman Who Laughs
Let's face it, barring Superman from the equation, there probably aren't two characters more popular in the pages of DC Comics than Batman and the Joker. They've been around forever, they've been in multiple famous movies together, and people just straight-up love them both. How many other comic book supervillains have their own billion-dollar-grossing feature film? Especially one that is rated R? The bat and the clown will seemingly never fade from the limelight. So... how does putting them together in one character sound?
The Batman Who Laughs is Bruce Wayne from Earth-22 of the Dark Multiverse. And, as his name would suggest, he is a Jokerized version of the Dark Knight. This Bruce Wayne was pushed past his brink by the Joker and ended up snapping his neck, unaware that the villain had poisoned him with Joker toxin as he passed. As he slowly but surely succumbed to the toxin, Batman became the Batman Who Laughs and did away with the majority of the Bat-family with machine guns in the Batcave. It would only get worse from there. Imagine combining the intelligence of Batman with the insanity and personality of the Joker and you've got the basic idea. He even became a cosmic entity in Dark Nights: Death Metal!
- 4281 VOTES
Everybody loves Darkseid, yeah? He's got the cool name, he's got the cool attitude, he's got cool, red eyes. Darkseid is kind of the ultimate badass of DC Comics (if we're not throwing cosmic entities into the mix). "Darkseid is," after all. Though the Ruler of Apokolips has biological sons in Orion and Kalibak and an adopted one in Scott Free, it is his daughter, Grail, we'd like to talk about. Scott Free is incredible, Orion has his fans, and Kalibak is, um, certainly there, but Grail is the only one of the three born of an Amazonian assassin.
Being the daughter of a New God and an Amazonian, it's safe to say Grail can handle herself in a fight. During the "Darkseid War" storyline, Grail took out the Justice League as if they were nothing more than insects. Read that again: Grail wiped the floor with the freaking Justice League in an instant. She teamed with Mobius the Anti-Monitor to kill Darkseid in that very event! Grail will probably never reach the heights of popularity her father enjoys, but that doesn't mean she isn't awesome in her own right.
- 5230 VOTES
Look, there is no shortage of speed-based villains for the Flash to go toe-to-toe with. If your main superpower is running really fast, chances are you're going to have a lot of antagonists who can do the same. It just makes sense. Eobard Thawne, Zoom, Inertia, Black Flash... the list goes on and on. But one of the best, and certainly one of the newest, is Godspeed.
Introduced in 2016's The Flash: Rebirth #1, August Heart serves as a sort of flipped coin to Barry Allen. Both men work for the CCPD, both men have familial tragedy in their backgrounds, and both men were given superpowers by the Speed Force. However, while Barry uses his powers to help people, August uses his to become a dangerous vigilante and serve out justice however he sees fit. Anytime someone willingly refers to themselves as "judge, jury, and executioner," well, that's usually a pretty bad sign. Godspeed has become an interesting character that toes the line between good and evil, being mostly reformed since spending time in Iron Heights and teaming up with Barry during the massive "Flash Age" storyline. Also, his character design is pretty dang cool. So, there's that, too.
- 6234 VOTES
For those not in the know, Damian Wayne is kind of on the outs with the rest of the Bat-family. After years (in real-life time, at least) of training under his father, Batman, Damian has found himself growing tired of being lenient on criminals. He did try to lock up a bunch of baddies for good, without telling anyone, in Teen Titans for a while there. That didn't go so well when his superhero buddies found out. In the ongoing Robin series that began in 2021, Damian found himself taking part in a League of Lazarus death tournament and met a girl around his age named Flatline.
Flatline, AKA Nika, has a power reminiscent of Marvel's Rogue: She can absorb the powers of other people. The catch? Said people have to perish for her to take their power. As such, she trained under the hilariously named Lord Death Man and became a lethal fighter in the process. How lethal? Well, she technically killed Robin during her first appearance by ripping his heart out. That's pretty lethal. He was quickly resurrected and, wouldn't you know it, the two have been flirting with each other ever since!