You didn't think we were going to skip the villains, did you? With DC's Forever Evil storyline shining a light on everything dark in this universe, it's only fair that we explore the many villains who have made Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman's lives miserable. These are the villains who have ensured over the decades and managed to leave their mark on DC's comics, movies, TV series, and video games.
Check out our picks, and let us know your favorite DC villains in the comments section below.
Imagine if a young Bruce Wayne were stripped of all his childhood luxury and his loving family, and instead he was doomed to live his entire life in one of the worst prisons in the world. What sort of man would result from that hell? That would be Bane, a man with all of Batman's incredible will and cunning, but also bolstered by the power of the super-steroid, Venom. Bane escaped his prison and dedicated himself to breaking the Bat and ruling Gotham in his place. And he even succeeded for a time, which is more than any other villain can say. But the Bat broke him right back, and the two have been locked in a bitter and violent rivalry ever since.
9. Ra's al Ghul
Vandal Savage isn't the only immortal villain with a grudge against the Caped Crusader. Ra's al Ghul has kept himself alive for centuries by bathing in the mystical Lazarus Pits. He's used that long life to assemble a vast, worldwide empire and the clandestine organization called the League of Assassins. He believes that the best way to restore harmony to the world is to destroy most of humanity. But even Ra's can't live forever, and he's long had his eye on Batman as his heir and replacement. Ra's unique blend of antagonism and admiration towards Batman makes him one of the more compelling Bat-villains out there.
8. General Zod
Superman would probably be much happier if his cousin Supergirl and dog Krypto were the only other survivors of Krypton's destruction. But unfortunately, General Zod and his minions survived thanks to being imprisoned within the Phantom Zone. Whenever he's freed from this prison, Zod devotes himself fully to punishing the son of Jor-El. And his Kryptonian physiology makes him quite the force to be reckoned with. To date, Zod is one of the few iconic Superman villains to appear in film, featuring in the first two live-action movies and this year's Man of Steel reboot.
As if it wasn't bad enough that the Crime Syndicate has its own evil version of Flash, the Scarlet Speedster often has to contend with his doppelganger. Several characters have donned the yellow uniform and done their best to make Flash's life a living hell. Barry Allen has frequently clashed with Professor Zoom, a 25th Century refugee who wound up helping cause the very accident that gave Barry his powers in the first place. Wally West, meanwhile, has been pitted against Hunter Zolomon, a speedster who can freeze time and is obsessed with tormenting heroes so that they can become better. Whichever version rears his head, Reverse-Flash is a challenge even the fastest man alive can scarcely overcome.
6. Harley Quinn
Harley is the only villain on this list who didn't debut in a comic book. Instead, she was created as a sidekick for Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. And she almost instantly caught on with viewers who loved her zany antics and her sad, unrequited love for "Mistah J." When she was finally introduced into the comics years later, Harley instantly became a vital piece of the Gotham puzzle. She's one of Batman's most fun villains, and she's also on a never-ending journey to establish her own reputation outside the shadow of her puddin'.
5. Black Adam
It's often been a struggle for DC to update Shazam/Captain Marvel and make him appealing for modern audiences. But somehow, that's never been a problem for Shazam's most iconic villain, Black Adam. This ancient Egyptian monarch was the previous wielder of Shazam's powers, defending his homeland of Kahndaq for centuries until he became corrupted. Even with his penchant for ripping the limbs off his enemies, Adam is ultimately a tragic and compelling figure. He believes in a very old-school form of justice, and he has the power to enforce it.
We like villains with depth and complexity, but there's something to be said for bad guys who are just rotten to the core. Darkseid is about as evil a figure as you'll find in the DCU. As one of the mythical New Gods of the Fourth World, he rules the hellish planet of Apokolips as an all-powerful tyrant. His 250,000-year rule has revolved around his quest to understand the elusive Anti-Life Equation. With it, Darkseid will make the entire universe abandon free will and submit to him. If any DC villain is ideally suited to appear in the eventual Justice League movie, it's Darkseid.
Is there any villain whose absence from the live-action Superman movies is more baffling than Brainiac? Aside from a certain bald-headed megalomaniac, Brainiac is unquestionably Superman's greatest foe. This cold, unfeeling android has devoted himself to amassing every last tidbit of knowledge there is. He catalogs the many cultures of the universe, collects samples, and destroys the rest so no one else can possess what he does. Often, Brainiac is portrayed as the destroyer of Krypton (either directly or indirectly).
2. Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor firmly believes that he could be the savior of the world if Superman wren't around to hog his glory and inspire humanity to be weak and dependent. And maybe he's right. Luthor is quite possibly the most intelligent man in the world, and he's build a massive corporation up from nothing. There's very little this super-genius can't accomplish when he sets his mind to it. Unfortunately, he'd rather continue his feud with Superman than help humanity. That's the crux of their dynamic, and it's why Luthor has remained such a great villain all these decades.
1. The Joker
You can't have Batman without Joker. They're like the yin and yang of Gotham. Whereas Batman is determined to destroy crime and bring order back to his city, Joker cares only about chaos, anarchy, and killing his victims in the funniest ways possible. Very little is known about this villain before he started dressing like a clown and tormenting the city. Maybe he was a failed comedian. Maybe he was a mob enforcer. That uncertainty has become part of Joker's charm. This is not a villain we want to get close to or even understand. We just want to see him cut loose and make Gotham his playground. Maybe one day he'll make Batman see the joke that is life