It’s common knowledge that every hero is defined by his villains. Batman, Spider-Man, The Flash, and every other great superhero has confronted many menacing supervillains, protecting humanity from the forces of evil and saving the day.
While most villains' evil plans are downright ingenious, there are others that can only be described as utterly ridiculous. Even the most prominent supervillains come up with laughable master plans, which most of the time result in disgraceful defeats. Today, we’re counting down the 10 most remarkable cases of these poorly executed plans that destroyed the resumes of the most respected baddies in the Marvel and the DC universe.
10. The Joker Kidnaps The Bat Family — And Does Nothing To Them
First on the list in none other than the Clown Prince of Crime, Batman’s most notorious foe: the #Joker. We all know what this guy is capable of — he kidnapped the second Robin, Jason Todd, and beat him to a pulp with a crowbar (and then killed him anyway); he shot and crippled Batgirl; he murdered James Gordon’s wife. Then there was that time he actually managed to abduct the whole Bat Family and did nothing to them. The Joker claimed that he did all this to traumatize his mortal enemy by making him fear that he had cut their faces off. Well, Mr. J., I think we can all agree that it would have been way more traumatizing if you had made good on your promise.
Death of the Family was actually a decent story; however, this little detail kept bugging me so much that I couldn’t fully enjoy Scott Snyder’s work on the Batman mythos.
9. The Jackal Wants To Kill Everyone And Replace Them With Clones
The Clone Saga has been a controversial subject for years. While some parts of it are very creative, there are plenty of other moments that don’t make any sense. Unfortunately, the storyline Maximum Clonage belongs to the second category, with the main villain, the Jackal, wanting to erase all of the humanity and replace them with clones in order to control them.
I’m not sure what’s the worse about this story — the fact that the villain’s plan doesn’t add up, the fact that one of the main villains (Spidercide) falls off a building to his death despite the fact that he can survive the fall, or the fact that Peter Parker actually trusts the Jackal and lets him proceed with his plans without suspecting a thing.
8. Doc Ock Marries Aunt May To Inherit Weapons Instead Of Just Stealing Them
Doc Ock is probably Spider-Man’s second worst foe, with The Green Goblin claiming the No. 1 spot. Doc Ock wanted to do something about it and move up the ladder. So, since the Goblin had already murdered Gwen Stacy, Ock decided to marry Aunt May to match Norman Osborn’s levels of evil.
Jokes aside, our villainous gold digger apparently wanted to marry his beloved bride in order to get his hands on some weapons of mass destruction she had unknowingly inherited. This would give Ock the edge in a gang war against the crime boss known as Hammerhead. In the end, the wedding gets canceled and Ock is almost killed when the island with the weapons is destroyed. This little story is from the ‘70s and can only be described as entertainingly bad.
7. Jean Loring Tries To Scare Sue Dibny, Ends Up Killing Her
Identity Crisis is yet another controversial comic book storyline. Although most of the fans (including myself) praise the dramatic tone of the story, there are others who can’t help but feel disappointed by the story’s plot holes.
Identity Crisis is basically a murder mystery adventure, with a group of lesser-known superheroes trying to find out who killed Sue Dibny, the Elongated Man’s wife. In the end, it is revealed that the murderer is none other than Jean Loring — the jealous ex-wife of the Atom — who wanted to reunite with her former husband. Jean expected to accomplish that by attacking Sue, thinking that the attack would send all the heroes like Ray Palmer (the Atom) running back to their loved ones. However, the trap didn’t exactly work and Jean ended up accidentally killing Sue, who was pregnant at the time.
As you may have noticed, the plan doesn’t make much sense; why didn’t Jean just admit to her husband that she wanted him back? And why didn’t she just fake an attack on her own life like she does later in the story instead of attacking Sue?
6. Darkseid Tries To Tame Death, Ends Up Dead
In 2015’s Darkseid War, two of the most powerful tyrants of the #DC universe, Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor, confront each other. With the battle resulting in a no-win situation, Darkseid decides to summon death itself in the form of the Black Racer and have him erase his foe out of existence. However, since the Anti-Monitor is affiliated with the Anti-Life equation — the formula for total control over the minds of sentient beings — he manages to control the Black Racer and turn him against his master. In the final pages of the issue, the Anti-Monitor claims the victory for himself and Darkseid lies dead on the ground.
5. The Joker Wants To Copyright Fish
If you thought that Joker’s first entry on the list was humiliating enough, wait 'til you get a load of this one (Jack Nicholson reference)!
In 1978’s Detective Comics #475, Batman finds some terrified fishermen holding a basket full of fish with the Joker’s face. The Caped Crusader is shocked when he finds out that all of Gotham’s fish share the same trait. The next day, the Joker visits the Copyright Commission and tries to copyright fish. However, Carl G. Francis, the director of Gotham City's Office of Copyrights, informs him that fish are a natural resource and that they can’t be copyrighted. The Joker, enraged, threatens to kill poor Francis and — despite GCPD’s efforts to prevent him from doing so — the Joker made good on his word.
4. Baroness Von Gunther Plans To Weaken America By Raising The Milk Price
Baroness Von Gunther is supposed to be Adolf Hitler’s right-hand woman, a ruthless Nazi who fought Wonder Woman during WWII. She is kind of a forgotten comic book character, earning most of her prestige during the golden age of comics. Although she was considered quite the threat in those days, some of her plans were very simplistic and made no sense.
Apparently, Von Gunther once spent seven million dollars in order to buy all of the American milk companies and raise the price of milk up to seven dollars, hoping to weaken the next generation of Americans. So, you’re telling me that this scheme was Hitler’s ace in the hole? No wonder Germany lost the war.
3. Doctor Doom Switches Bodies With Daredevil To Defeat The Fantastic Four
Personally, I consider Doom the most important #Marvel villain of all time. He’s Marvel’s answer to Lex Luthor, a rich and powerful ruler who considers himself above everyone else. It’s a shame that the Fantastic Four cinematic adaptations didn’t do him much justice; he usually comes up with very creative plans to take over the world.
Unfortunately, even the greatest geniuses make mistakes. In Daredevil #37, Doctor Doom decides to trick the #FantasticFour by swapping bodies with a superhero so that they would let their guard down and he could destroy them from the inside. The plan seems ingenious; however, he blew it up by stealing the body of Daredevil, a hero Doom himself described as "puny, trivial nonsense’." Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have something against Daredevil — he’s actually one of my favorite crime fighters in the Marvel Universe. However, the FF are way out of his league in terms of power levels.
To make things worse, Doom, who is the leader of a whole nation called Latveria, left Daredevil inside his own body. In retaliation, Daredevil, using Doom’s body, declared war on Latveria’s four bordering countries. Knowing that Latveria would obviously lose the war, Doom once again changed bodies with the blind guardian of Hell’s Kitchen and tried to repair the situation.
2. Thanos Decides To Kill Spider-Man By Causing An Earthquake And Loses The Cosmic Cube
Spidey Super-Stories #39 marks the first appearance of the legendary Thanoscopter. It also features one of the dumbest #Thanos stories ever written — as if the existence of a small yellow helicopter with "Thanos" written on it wasn’t embarrassing enough for the Mad Titan!
In this issue, a kid finds the Cosmic Cube and tries to give it to the hero Hellcat. However, Thanos ends up stealing it and decides to use it to eliminate Spider-Man and Hellcat. Although it has been established that the powers of the Cube are unlimited, Thanos, instead of just vaporizing his foes, chooses to create a giant dog in order to destroy the little kitty.
Spider-Man defeats the hound with great ease, causing Thanos to create an earthquake to "shake them up’." He then proceeds to make terrible puns like "I knew you’d fall for it’’ and accidentally gets caught in the earthquake, falling down and losing the Cube. The child grabs Thanos’s weapon and uses it against him, defeating the Mad Titan and handing him over to the police.
Apart from the hilarious and childish depiction of Thanos (look at him fighting with the kid like a 3-year-old), this comic gives us a sexist Peter Parker who claims that Hellcat is nothing more than a Spider-Man wannabe, with MJ correcting him by saying that "women can be super, too."
1. Sleez Makes Superman And Big Barda Have Sex To Overthrow Darkseid
You know it’s going to be a bad day when you arrive home and find Darkseid sitting in your armchair. In Action Comics #593, Mister Miracle returns home to find his wife (Big Barda) missing and Darkseid waiting comfortably while drinking some of his wine. Since Darkseid and Mister Miracle are sworn enemies, the latter couldn’t help but assume the worst. And boy was he right!
Apparently, Darkseid’s former minion — a sneaky being known as Sleez — was banished from Apokolips to Earth for being too abominable. When the god of all evil says you’re abominable, that means something…
On Earth, Sleez encountered Big Barda and managed to use his mind control skills in order to hypnotize her and make her slip into something more comfortable. He made her dance while wearing some kind of weird suit and didn’t hesitate to film her in order to sell the video and make enough money to raise an army and usurp Darkseid as a revenge for kicking him out of his home planet. What’s even worse is that he actually managed to control #Superman in hopes of filming an adult movie to increase his profit. Upon learning about the video (probably while trying to expand his personal collection), Darkseid, being the Good Samaritan that he is, crushed into Mister Miracle’s house and gave him the tape, making him watch Sleez’s short film with Barda. Fortunately, Miracle managed to find Sleez’s headquarters and managed to beat him and stop the shooting of the movie before things could get out of hand.
Of course, not every plot is a complete failure:
Which of these failed plots do you think is the most entertaining?