Thursday 3 February 2011

The Top Ten worst super-villains of all time.

It seems there's nothing like a good old-fashioned Top Ten list for engaging reader interest and fermenting rabid debate of the kind that all good blogs thrive on. Therefore, Steve Does Comics enters an exciting new phase of humanity as I launch my first ever Top Ten.

As I've always fancied myself as a bit of a super-villain - and not a very good one - it seems only right that I start with my Top Ten worst super-villains of all time. Now, I must admit that, like most posts on this blog, nothing that resembles research, knowledge, planning or insight has gone into the compiling of this list and it can therefore not be deemed definitive or even worthwhile. It is however reflective of my feelings at the instant of writing.

So, let's kick off:

10. Forgettable Aliens.
We all know there's been a whole slew of memorable comic book alien races. The Skrull, Kree and Shi'ar leap instantly to mind but during Marvel Comics' early years it seemed like every hero had to come up against at least one bunch of totally forgettable aliens who usually had some unlikely plan for world conquest. Who can forget the aliens in Iron Man who tried to take over the world by using a robot hypno-neanderthal? Then there were those aliens who tried to defeat Daredevil by firing a Blinding Ray at him, and I think that none who saw him will ever forget the Hulk's early foe Mongu the gladiator from space who was so useless an alien it turned out he wasn't even from space.

9. The Jester.
Cursed was Daredevil with a set of foes that most Marvel heroes wouldn't even cross the street to fight but I always had a special loathing for the Jester, possibly because, unlike most of DD's worst foes, he had the gall to keep coming back. He was clearly meant to be Daredevil's answer to the Joker but his shambolic costume and endless bags of annoying tricks meant he was more like the Green Goblin with the good bits removed.

8. The Mole Man.
There was nothing Stan Lee liked doing more in the early 1960s than endlessly recycling the same ideas. And so, in the pages of The Incredible Hulk, we got Tyrannus, king of a subterranean kingdom, who wanted to conquer the surface world. In the pages of Iron Man we got Kayla, queen of a subterranean kingdom, who wanted to conquer the surface world.

Not in their class was the first of this gaggle to appear - the Mole Man, ruler of a subterranean kingdom, who wanted to conquer the surface world. Needless to say, being the least impressive of the three, he was the one they kept bringing back most but it didn't matter how many times Sue Storm declared, "Reed how can we hope to stop him? He seems so powerful!" we could all spot he was just a short, blind man with a stick. Admittedly he had an army but it was an army of stupid, unwell-looking people.

7. The Boomerang.
He was an early foe of the Hulk. He had some boomerangs. How could even the Incredible Hulk hope to stand against such power? Well, quite easily as it turned out, which is why the Boomerang was dead by the end of the issue and the Hulk wasn't.

6. The Beetle.
I know this long-standing crook has his fans but I could never get into him. His costume was so dull and I could never work out how he could fly with solid steel wings. I can't remember him ever featuring in an interesting story or ever having anything that resembled an interesting plan.

5. Mister Mxyzptlk.
An annoying little leprechaun who caused nothing but mischief and could only be defeated by making him say his name backwards. This would've been fine if his name was Tub or Tab or something but how could anyone be so stupid as to be tricked into saying kltpzyxm without realising he was saying it? How my heart'd sink whenever I opened a Superman comic and discovered Mister Mxyzptlk was the main villain of that issue.

4. The Hatemonger.
He first showed up in Fantastic Four #21 and, with his power to make everyone violently hate each other, had the potential to be a great villain. The trouble is that at the end of the tale he dies and is unmasked as... ...Adolf Hitler! Suddenly a potentially great villain enters the realms of total stupidity.

3. The Purple Man.
Another of Marvel's mind-controlling villains to add to the likes of Mr Doll, the Puppet Master and the Ring-Master. I actually don't remember that much about him from his first appearance in Daredevil #4 and he might've been fantastic but I'm putting him on this list purely because he was called the Purple Man, which has to be up there with "Paste Pot Pete" when it comes to hopeless super-villain names.

2. The Scarecrow.
Not the Batman villain or the later Marvel character but the short-lived Iron Man foe, an escape-artist who decided that, with his power to control a couple of pet crows, he had an unstoppable super-power. Has there ever been a punier foe for Iron Man to face? And has Iron Man ever made a greater Horlicks of tackling such an under-powered opponent?

1. Adam Orion.
Adam Orion vs Bouncing Boy, the Legion of Super-Heroes
A villain so bad he seemed to buy his outfits from the same tailor as Kraven the Hunter but bought the outfits that Kraven rejected. Just to prove how useless he was, while other villains concocted plans to defeat the likes of Superman or Thor, Adam Orion concocted a plan to defeat Bouncing Boy. To push himself to new heights of uselessness, he was then defeated by Bouncing Boy.

What is the insane plot to destroy a world? And how can Petra 97 stop it? Find out in I Need An Earth Girl! by Stephen Walker:, Amazon UK.


Scott said...

Instead of the Jester, I'd nominate another DD foe, the Matador. His schtick was that his cape confused his foes. Although most of Daredevil's early enemies could be on this list.

Aggy said...

Mole Man always seemed like a distant cousin of Silver Age Sub-Mariner. Change undersea kingdom for underground cavern, skimpy trunks and bulging muscles for short fat blind and balding, and there you are...

Purple Man was somewhat redeemed by Bendis and Beetle became a much better character in Thunderbolts. Sometimes its not the character thats bad just the way they are used.

That said some glaring omissions:

Kite Man - With the superpower to er.. er.. make kite based weapons. Of course he did survive an attempt by Deathstroke to kill him so maybe he did have something.

Mr Fish - I think he was a Power man villian originally but then he faced the Fantastic Four, s fight that had Johnny Storm RIP (temporary) literally fly rings around him until he passed out of dehydration.

Stilt Man - Seriously, when your one victory is against Black Goliath its time to hang up the stilts

the Turtle - The Flash seems to have loads of poor concept villians but which one is the worst? Rainbow Rider? The first Top? The Ringmaster? Possibly, but for me its The Turtle (any version) he commits crimes so slowly that people are looking for someone fleeing the scene when he's slowly escaping!

I'd start on Superman and Batman but they were being published in the 50's so that wouldn't be fair!

Steve said...

Scott, you're right. I'd totally forgotten about the Matador. He really was hopeless.

Aggy, sadly I'm totally unfamiliar with Kite Man, Mr Fish and the Turtle but they really do sound terrible.

This is the problem. There's so many to choose from. Almost as soon as I pressed the "Submit" button, I realised I'd forgotten the Rocket Racer and Asbestos Man. How could I ever had forgotten foes of such quality?

Karen said...

I was just reading that issue of Superboy with Adam Orion in it. I thought to myself,"He looks like a jacked-up Kraven." Thanks for sharing him with the world.

Ian @ Trade Reading Order said...

haha nice. Animal Man had a really fun arc riffing on forgettable aliens.

Aggy said...

@Steve I guess its hard to come up with a never ending stream of good quality opponants for your characters to fight (in fact it sometimes seems it's hard to come up with new heroes for your companies books (DC Bloodlines anyone)).

Turtle was a Golden Age bad guy of the Flash who has been resurected to face both Barry Allen and Wally West (sometimes billed as The Slowest Man Alive the creativity is ledgendary).

Back in the early days of Wizard magazine there was a monthly column called Mort of The Month. Unfortunately google does not find a complete list which is a real shame. Each month a new hero/villian was listed almost all of whom would leave you wondering about the drug of choice for the titles creators.

Some more bad ideas that came to mind over night...

10 eyed man (a Batman foe)
Blue Snowman (Golden Age Wonder Woman)
Hypno Hustler (Spider-Man - from the Jive talkin' Disco school of villian creation)
Bloodaxe (Eric Masterson era Thor)
Grimbor the Chainsman (Pre-Crises LSH)
Tyrannosaurus Reich (Major Bummer... well I like the series)
Toyman - Pre-Crises (post Crises and all future Crises) (How did he become a major foe of Superman?)

Unknown said...

Shouldn't the Hatemonger have been unmasked as Nick Ferrari (awful columnist in the Sunday Express and LBC presenter)?

Steve W. said...

Perhaps it was Nick Ferrari all along, disguised as Hitler. Those super-villains can be tricky.

dbutler16 said...

For lame alien races, how about Kurrgo, Master of Planet X from Fantastic Four #7.
Also, for more lame villains, how about Crazy Quilt (foe of Boy Commandoes, Robin, and even Batman)?

Steve W. said...

I love Kurrgo, even if I can never remember quite how many Rs he has in his name.