Angelus presents: DC Comic's Greatest Villains Part 3.
I continue my 'series' of my personal top 20 DC's greatest villains list ranking that I began two years ago. This time it's countdown from 10 to 06.
To be honest, I really was aiming for finishing my top 20 list of DC’s Greatest Villains in a short matter of time but I’ve been busy, or maybe too lazy. It’s been two years since I began and I’ve only published two parts of four.
I am a proud DC fan boy. I love DC Comics. They have (in my mind) the absolute finest comics to offer. I just wanted to write up who are my personal favorite villains in the DC universe. My criteria have been, well, my own.
If you want to know a little bit more, check out my previous articles here:
Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Now, let’s finish what I started two years ago. This is 10 to 6!
10. Captain Cold
Maybe a strange choice for some but the leader of the iconic Rogues and archenemy of Flash is a worthy foe to feature on this list. Often mistaken for a funky rip-off of Mr. Freeze, still for the fact that Captain Cold first appeared two years before Victor Fries, Captain Cold has been a bane in the life of Barry Allen ever since his appearance in 1957.
For being a criminal, he is very unique in his philosophy and has some concept of honor, unlike the rest of his teammates in the Rogues.
Leonard Snart was brought up by an abusive father and often turned to his grandfather for solace. After his grandfather died, Leonard ran away from his father and started out with a criminal career. He joined a group of lowlife thieves and thugs. Each member had a gun and a visor for eye protection against gunfire flashes. The visor design would soon be regularly used by Leonard and molded into being a part of his costume. He did not anticipate that Central City would have a scarlet speedster to protect its citizens. Flash put him and the crew in jail but as soon as he did his time, he decided to work alone but he already knew that him and Flash was bound together forever.
Out of jail Snart read an article that theorized that the energy emissions of a cyclotron could interfere with Flash’s speed. He designed a weapon that could harness the power of a cyclotron and broke into the lab mentioned in the article. As he charged up his weapon, a security guard walked in. Only intending to scare the guard, the gun froze the air around the guard. Shocked and somewhat impressed by the power of the gun, he soon donned a parka, updated visors and declared himself as Captain Cold; the man who mastered absolute zero.
He would soon bump into Flash on several occasions after his epiphany, even going as far as placing Central City in suspended animation in an ill-witted attempt to force Iris West to marry him. After Barry Allen’s death during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Captain Cold simply gave up crime and became a bounty hunter; this however would not last long.
He soon returned to crime to meet a new and different Flash. He would become a member of the Rogues. The Rogues was founded in an incident involving Gorilla Grodd. Captain Cold would eventually be declared the leader of the Rogues. His experience had made an impression on Weather Wizard, Trickster, Mirror Master and Captain Boomerang.
What makes Captain Cold an interesting villain is that he walks between the shades of good and evil. When he heard the news of the muder on Elongated Man’s wife, Sue Dibny, he sent flowers in her honor. He despises drugs, even going as far as beating Mirror Master to near death. He does not enjoy the taking of a life, and goes to great lengths to avoid it unless he finds it necessary. As the Rogues leader he reaffirms the team with a sense of honor, banning them from killing any woman or children.
Captain Cold has teamed up with Flash on certain occasions. And though he easily could’ve killed him at certain times, he keeps his word. He has even admitted in private that he has an enormous respect for his archenemy.
Despite this, Captain Cold was instrumental in the murder of Bart Allen, then known as the Flash.
Yes, Mongul. Not only did he take on Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman, but he was partly responsible for Hal Jordan’s fall from grace. Not to forget that there are few characters that possesses the brute strength of Mongul in the entire DC universe.
Mongul was the oppressive ruler of the satellite Warworld that traveled the galaxy picking up slaves for inhuman, gladiatorial combat. Eventually Warworld picked up Superman. Superman was pitted against the warrior Draaga, the undisputed champion of Warworld. Draaga went into combat thinking this would be an easy foe. Superman defeats Draaga and refuses to kill him. Shocked and angered by this, Mongul decides to fight Superman himself. With the use of his gemstones, Mongul is able to overpower Superman but fortunately he is transported away from the fight. The inhabitants of Warworld revolts and Draaga defeats Mongul and is then placed as ruler. Mongul flees, swearing revenge upon the last son of Krypton.
When Mongul arrives on a small alien world he meets Cyborg Superman. Cyborg realizes that Mongul shares his hatred for Superman and they start an alliance. However Cyborg Superman is offended by Monguls hopes of grandeur and makes him understand that he is the master of the two.
Finally arriving at earth, they unleash 77000 carnage gloves which detonate simultaneously, resulting in mass destruction of Coast City, killing almost everyone. While their attack continues, Mongul is just waiting for the right moment to seize control and make Cyborg bow to him. The moment arrives when the resurrected Kal-El returns and Engine City is rising from the ground. Mongul fights a non-super Superman and Supergirl, but they are no match for him. Aware of his betrayal, Cyborg allows the Green Lantern Hal Jordan to enter Engine City. Full of anger and remorse for the loss of his city, Green Lantern attacks Mongul. Despite the fact that Mongul is yellow, Green Lantern is able to defeat him.
Mongul is taken prisoner but that does not last for long. Desiring revenge against his humiliation at the hands of Green Lantern, Mongul heads for Coast City. And even though Hal Jordan is no longer a Green Lantern, he goes after the next torchbearer: Kyle Rayner. With some help from Superman, Kyle defeats Mongul and he is once more put in prison. However Mongul is a sly and powerful character who escapes once more but this time his intentions is to leave earth. The plan however is foiled by Flash.
Now stuck on earth, he was offered a way out during “Underworld Unleashed” by Neron. The demon offered Mongul greater power and a true chance for success. Enraged by the implication of his failures, Mongul attacks Neron and was killed.
So why did I put Mongul at 9? Well, it was honestly between him or Ra’s Al Ghul here. Now, Ra’s Al Ghul is a power foe but being an accomplice in killing seven million is not a small feat. But that’s not the main reason. The main reason Ra’s Al Ghul is at 11 is because Mongul together with Cyborg Superman was the beginning of the fall of Hal Jordan. Though Mongul did never get his hands-on revenge against the green gladiator as he hoped, he should be content knowing that his actions caused one of the greatest superheroes in comicbook history to almost destroy the entire Green Lantern Corp and murder his friends.
08. General Zod
One of the most iconic quotations in comicbookmovie history should alone be enough to feature this titan. Damn it, I have to say it: “You will kneel before me. Both you and one day your heirs!”
Dru-Zod was a general during the planet Krypton’s final days. When he learned of the scientific experiments conducted by Jor-El, Zod led a raid on Jor-El’s laboratory, under the order of the Kryptonian Science Council, and placed him under arrested for charges of heresy. The reason for the arrested was El’s theory that Krypton was doomed for destruction. Soon, after the arrest, Zod would learn that El was in fact right. Angered that the council had lied to him, Zod with the help of Ursa defected from the council and began helping El warning the people of Krypton.
Zod swore revenge after what they did to Non, Jor-El’s mentor who the council had lobotomized. Zod seeked help from Jor-El in a coup d’état against the Science Council but El refused. Zod, Ursa and the now mindless monster Non invaded the council and killed the five members before they were eventually stopped. Jor-El would step in, trying to convince the council that the execution of the three was not the way. In a strange turn of events, the council put Jor-El in charge of the sentencing. El believed the best and most humane way to punish the now murderers was exile. Zod however did not view El’s pacifism as a righteous act and swore revenge on the house of El; the heirs of El.
Zod, Ursa and Non was sent to the alternative reality known as the phantom zone, where they would stay trapped even as Krypton was destroyed and the kryptonians became near extinct, all but for one child hurled through space with the blood of El. Eventually Zod and Ursa sired a child, a boy named Lor-Zod in the phantom zone. They raised the child inside an old kryptonian prison known as Fort Roz. As years passed, General Zod was able to escape the phantom zone through the help of his son. Zod found out that the last son of Krypton was no other than Kal-El, the son of his jailer. Bent on revenge on Jor-El, Zod decided to go to earth on the intensions of destroying the heir of El and conquering the world.
General Zod led an attack against Metropolis and eventually managed to exile Kal-El, now known as Superman, into the phantom zone. However, Zod did not count on the influence Superman would have on Lor-Zod. When asking what he is doing, Lor-Zod answers “what Superman would do”. Zod is eventually sent back to the phantom zone with the help of Lex Luthor and his Superman Revenge Squad.
Now, there have been several different origins for General Zod. The main outline is the same with him swearing revenge on the house of El. Terrance Stamp truly made the villain immortal in Superman 2 and made the character a recognized foe of Superman. Being also a kryptonian makes Zod an almost invincible villain that makes him even more dangerous. Also his education and experience in the military has given him the knowledge of strategic planning.
In all his incarnations, General Zod is an enemy of the house of El, and one of the greatest villains in the DC universe.
07. Cyborg Superman
He is the herald of the Anti-Monitor, grandmaster of the manhunters, last but not least the man who destroyed Coast City.
Hank Henshaw was originally an enemy of Superman who would turn into one of the greatest enemies of the Green Lantern Corps.
So what is his story? Well, it’s a somewhat long and complicated one but I will try to keep it short.
Hank Henshaw first appeared as a crew member of the doomed space shuttle Excalibur. The members of Excalibur were exposed to cosmic radiation, resulting in the crash of their space shuttle. As a result of the horrible radiation, the human bodies of the crew members were destroyed but their minds survived and they were able to construct new bodies out of the cosmic radiation they were exposed to using bits of the space shuttle. Initially, Henshaw and his wife suffered no ill effects from the radiation. They travelled to Metropolis in hopes of curing their radiated teammates. During a brief battle with Superman, the crew member now composed of radiation becomes unhinged and flies into the sun. By this time, Henshaw's body has started to rapidly decay while his wife is beginning to phase into an alternative dimension. With Superman's help, Henshaw is able to use the LexCorp facilities to save Terri. The remaining member of the shuttle crew commits suicide using an MRI booth to tear apart the metallic components of his body.
However, Hank Henshaw did not truly die, though his physical body was destroyed, he was able to transfer his consciousness into the LexCorp’s mainframe. Now able to control technology, Henshaw appeared to his wife in a robotic body but unfortunately the shock of the shuttle accident, Henshaw's death and his bizarre rebirth was too much for Terri and eventually led to her insanity and death. By this point, Henshaw's electronic consciousness had begun to disrupt Earth's communications networks. Using NASA communications equipment, Henshaw beamed his mind into the 'birthing Matrix' which had carried Superman from Krypton to Earth as an infant. Henshaw crafted a small exploration craft from the birthing matrix and departed the planet.
Henshaw spent some time traveling between planets; bonding with local life forms to learn about the culture and history of various worlds. Over time, Henshaw’s psyche could not take it anymore and in self-defense blamed an external factor, and in his delusion and paranoia, he blamed Superman. Arriving on Warworld controlled by Mongul, Cyborg recruited him as part of a plan for revenge against Superman.
Next up was Reign of the Supermen and destruction of Coast City, as somewhat mentioned in the summary of number 9 in this list. Eventually Cyborg transferred his consciousness into Doomsday, being destroyed by Darkseid when he tried to take over Apokolips. He didn’t die and left Darkseid and his planet alone. Then Cyborg made his way to the planet Biot in Sector 3601, the home of the Manhunters. Soon after followed Sinestro Corp war, Blackest Night and finally Brightest Day.
The reason I have Cyborg Superman at such a privileged number is because of all the mayhem he has caused Superman and Green Lantern, especially Green Lantern. My favorite superhero is Hal Jordan, and though I hate how he fell and Emerald Twilight, there is no doubt that the destruction of Hal Jordan began when Cyborg destroyed Coast City. His involvement in Hal Jordan’s downfall is an epic achievement that without Hal could never have committed such atrocious acts. Seemingly immortal, Cyborg will continue to terrorize and make mayhem on our beloved Justice League.
06. Black Adam
Teth-Adam, otherwise known as Black Adam is a villain originally created for Fawcett Comics in 1945. What can be said about this character that over 65 years already haven’t said? The antithesis of Captain Marvel(Shazam) is not a villain to be dealt lightly. With all his magical powers at his disposal, Adam is someone to be afraid of, be very afraid of.
His origins have basically been unaltered since his first appearance in Fawcett Comics back in 1945:
In ancient Egypt, Jebediah of Canaan otherwise known as the wizard Shazam sought a champion worthy of his powers. One worthy of these immense powers was the young prince Teth-Adam of Kahndaq. Because of the magnitude of the powers, Shazam needed a candidate who embodied the values of justice and modesty. But before Shazam could bestow his powers to Teth-Adam, his daughter Blaze made a deal with the got Set. Each time when Teth-Adam spoke the magic word “Shazam”, he would instead gain the blessing of six Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen. But even so, Teth-Adam pleased the wizard.
Teth-Adam served as Shazams conduit for many years with dignity and honor, but his duty to uphold righteousness eventually drew him away from his family in Kahndaq. While he was away, the mad priest Ahk-ton ravaged Kahndaq and atrociously killed his family. With the help of Prince Khufu (one incarnation of Hawkman) and the wizard Nabu, Adam was able to capture Ahk-ton, and killed him in retribution. After this Teth-Adam goes on to serve the pharaoh of Egypt for hundreds of years but time takes its toll, and power eventually corrupts his broken soul.
The wizard Shazam sees the transformation of his chosen herald and banishes him into a mystical scarab amulet where he would remain dormant for thousands of years. Now weary, the wizard does not empower another champion until he finds a kid named Billy Batson worthy of the awesome powers of Shazam.
Teth-Adam, now called Black-Adam, is rescued from his banishment thousands of years later at the hands of Dr. Sivana and Black-Adam is reborn with a vengeance in his heart at Shazam and his newfound worthy possessor.
From here on out he has been hailed as a villain, antihero and back again. Black Adam is a complex character that continues to intrigue readers all over the world as he walks a fine line between different shades of gray. Few villains have such complexity as him, and few have gained so much popularity through the years, and still continue.
The reason he is at 6 is because of the threat he poses and his complexity. Black Adam is gifted with a wide range of powers that appear to match, if not exceed, those of Captain Marvel. Essentially, he is gifted with six distinct attributes of particular gods who are exemplars of them. He is as strong, fast, durable and immensely powerful. These powers can be said to be both magical and divine in nature. They are magical in the way that it was the wizard Shazam who originally provided the link to the gods who empower Black Adam, but the powers themselves come directly from the six gods who lend their puissance to him. Though not a god, he is not far off. He took down dozens of superheroes including the JSA, the Doom Patrol and Teen Titans. Now that’s a feat worthy of a top 10 list. Hell, Captain Marvel even petitioned the gods if ancient Egypt to take away Black Adam’s powers but they refused and went so far as to advocated Adam’s actions.
I remember showing some of my friends the trailer to DC universe online cinematic trailer. They were blown away, as were we all by everyone in that trailer but Black Adam really stood out.
Recently Black Adam has been revealed in the new 52, donning a new, updated costume that looks beyond badass:
EDITORIAL NOTE: I cannot wait to see what's in store for Black Adam in the new 52 but whatever it is, it will be epic. The possibility of seeing Black Adam as well as Captain Marvel on the silver screen makes me truly excited!.
As I end part 3 I am sure some of you will react to my chosen few on this list. And that's exactly what I want. I want to hear your top 20, top 15, or even top 5. Some will wonder why Captain Cold and not Superboy Prime? Why not Doomsday instead of Mongul? Well, there's a fourth and final part coming out probably during next week and then we'll see who is my top 5 DC's greatest villains. And I will try my best not to delay it for two more years!
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