With the recent resurgence of intrigue for Superman, via the Man of Steel movie, a bunch of changes to his New 52 version, and the Upcoming Batman Vs. Superman, and just because I want to, I thought it'd be cool to count down my ten favorite Superman villains. I personally think his rogues gallery is brutally underrated and despite some being lower than others, each of these villains is awesome to me. Keep in mind of course, these are my favorites. Also, sorry, but characters that look like Superman or are "Superman but not" don't interest me that much, so no Bizarro or Cyborg Superman. That doesn't count for Zod, he's the opposite of Superman, but he has his own unique character. Anyway, on to the list...
10. Livewire - Livewire is the exception in this list. She, much like Batman's Harley Quinn, was created for Bruce Timm's Superman: The Animated Series in and its accompanying comic series in 1997, but didn't get an officially canonical appearance in comics until 2006's Action Comics #835. A former radio shock jock, Leslie Willis was famous as well as infamous for her constant on-air slandering of Superman. One night, during a massive storm, Willis insisted on hosting a concert despite personal and professional advisement against it. When the inevitable storm hit, Superman pushed her out of the way of an errant lightning strike. Unfortunately, this forced her to step a wire as it was hit, causing a surge of electricity to course through her body. Upon waking, she immediately blamed Superman, claiming no personal responsibility, and in her anger, found out she could now manipulate electronics. In her comic adaptation, she was born with this ability, which I fin does nothing for her character and isn't nearly as interesting. Since her canonical establishment however, she has taken part in a few key happenings in the DC Universe, such as Brightest Day, Superman: Grounded, and using her electrical powers to save herself and a large group of super-humans and the Earth from destruction by The Auctioneer. She hasn't been around for long, but I find her interesting and her volatile but not wholly evil nature is a nice contrast to most Superman villains.
9. Metallo - Metallo is definitely a more sympathetic villain. After being pulled from a fatal car crash by Emmet Vale, the professor transferred John Corben's brain into a cyborg body. In a fit of rage over what he'd become, he killed Vale and after surviving an encounter with Lex Luthor, began terrorizing the world out of spite. When Superman destroyed his original Metallo body, Corben developed a seething hatred for the do-gooder. With his strength and durability matching Superman's and his Kryptonite power supply, Metallo is easily among Superman's most dangerous villains.
8. Manchester Black - Manchester Black is definitely the shortest tenured villain on this list. Though as twisted as he is, he's more of an anti-hero. That being said, he does some crazy stuff, tackles some huge themes an major social and moral issues. The leader of The Elite, a more volatile group of heroes that believe that do-gooders with "high moral values" such as Superman, who (as he sees it) put themselves above killing supervillains and therefore allowing them the chance to escape an wreak havoc, do little but use occurrences of crime to boost their own reputation. He has some solid and relatable viewpoints. The Elite's storyline is really awesome and well-crafted. I won't spoil how it plays out, but it's well worth looking into.
7. Mongul - Mongul is possibly the most openly sadistic villain on this list. He revels in fighting, but causing suffering. He has strength similar to Superman's with a twisted desire to crush everything he can get his hands on, and his obviously makes him extremely dangerous. He's conquered multiple planets, though Warworld is the only one he has consistent control over, and he's even almost succeeded in destroying the sun. Mongul isn't particularly deep, but he has an entertainingly "evil" personality and he always puts up a great and intense fight with superman. He's also involve in one of the greatest shorter stories in comics in my opinion, The Man Who Has Everything.
6. Parasite - On his own, Parasite is slightly stronger than the average human. He's also not that smart. So the why is he such a threat to Superman? As his name may suggest, he has the ability to absorb power from other beings, from mice to Superman. Once he makes contact, he immediately and quickly starts draining a hero's energy. Once he does so, those heroes also become weakened. Unfortunately for him, he can only retain those powers for a full day, and whoever he took the power from regains their abilities. When he takes someone's powers, he also gains their memories and voice. Meaning he can mimic anyone he's made contact with recently, and even found out Superman's secret identity upon first contact. He's not the biggest Superman villain, but it's always serious when he shows up, because you know he could feasibly absorb the entire Justice League and be unstoppable for a time.
5. Doomsday - Doomsday is mostly a being of pure rage. Not unlike the Hulk, although he's constantly as-is and has control, emotional outbursts and bloodlust aside, of all his faculties. He has very little personality, but whenever he shows up, sh*t gets real. In his first run, he became the being to finally "kill" Superman. Though the writers quickly backed off and brought Superman back, it's still an impressive display of power. Though Doomsday also fell during the fight, this revealed his superbly intriguing ability. Doomsday consistently regenerates and revives not long after being killed and does so superior to whatever last defeated him. It works similarly to the Saiyan's Zankai boost, though more determined by what defeated you. So he's basically invincible and slowly growing stronger and stronger. It's a really cool concept tat makes him not only a consistent threat, but one that's more dangerous each time. On a side note, I'd love to see someone like Galactus defeat Doomsday, just to see the kind of absurd power he'd come back with.
4. General Zod - A former general in Krypton's army, his world conquering ambitions lead to him being placed in an inter-dimensional prison dubbed the Phantom Zone. After his sentence expired and he learned of krypton's destruction, Zod learned of Kal-El (Superman)'s survival and sought to conquer Earth with him, creating a new Krypton that he could rule. Unfortunately, Kal was far more against this than Zod had imagined, and they've been bitter enemies since. Between his multiple attempts to kill Superman, take over Earth, and even bribe Superman into joining his New Kryptonian Army, they've butted fists on many occasions. Zod gains all of the same advantages as Superman with Earth's yellow sun, making him his physical equal in every way. he's also a master strategist and has far more fighting prowess. Obviously this makes him more than a match for Supes. Though his backstory is cool and he's involved in a lot of awesome stories, I've never liked Zod as his own character as much as many do. Though he does provide an interesting contrast as basically Superman as a dick.
3. Darkseid - Though Darkseid has had major roles in DC-wide events such as Final Crisis in the past, he still confronts just Superman a decent amount, and Supes is usually there when he's doing something grander. The super-powered Ruler of Apokolips, a hellish planet of mighty warriors under his reign, Darkseid is basically the Shao Kahn of the DC Universe. Also like Shao Kahn (I guess NetherRealm's ties to DC are deeper than I realized), he far prefers to send his lackies to do the dirty work, yet when he takes matters into his own hands, few in the galaxy can stand to him. In addition to physical feats around Superman's level including strength, speed and reaction time, he employs a variety of seemingly pretty cheap powers. Among these are telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy, the ability to increase his own size and his trademark Omega Beams. These beams, shot from the eyes not unlike his rival's heat vision, can be used to erase enemies from existence (though few such as Superman and Doomsday have resisted it), resurrect fallen allies and grant powers to those without, all with pinpoint accuracy and control. He's not the deepest character, but his smug attitude and his loathing for Superman create great moments between the two, and with all of those abilities, it's pretty awesome to see him fight. Also, he runs a volcano planet. That's pretty badass if you ask me, which you kinda did.
2. Lex Luthor - Luthor is likely the first name on anyone's mind when Superman villains are the topic of choice, or one of the first with comics in general. Though he has been massively over-exposed, he kind of earned it. Aside from being the only community figure in Supes' rogues gallery and therefore the most visible by default, he's also a great character. Though he's shown to be an egotistical, cruel, and manipulative bastard, he has solid reasons for opposing Superman, though misguided, they're understandable. From day one, Lex say Superman as a threat to the human race. A super-powered alien seemed like a global disaster waiting to happen. Though they often oppose each other in Luthor's desired monopolization of the economy (which is a bigger part of his character in the animated series), Lex has also planned out extreme measures against Superman should he ever attack civilization, which has happened, and which one of Superman's closest friends, Bruce Wayne, has also done. Lex also believes that the idea of a nigh-invincible guardian will soften the human race, and if it ever needed to defend itself, they'd be woefully unprepared. While Luthor is often played as a vindictive douche, he cares for the human race and often sees Superman as a threat to that, and he's been willing to put their differences aside and work together on multiple occasions. As he pushes harder for his own agendas, he becomes less likable and goes to greater extremes, but his intellect and technological prowess still make his a great adversary.
1. Brainiac - Honestly, when I started making this list, I had no doubt about who my number one would be. Brainiac is basically a living (bionically, but still) databank. He travels the cosmos, attaining all of the knowledge from other planets. What makes him really crazy is that after he's acquired this information, he destroys the planet so that the civilization can't advance, ensuring his knowledge from said planet never becomes outdated. As he himself puts it, "I am the knowledge and strength of 10,000 worlds". He proves this as he is more than a physical match for Superman, the two exchanging physical victories at about a 50/50 rate. As much of a genius as Superman is though, that's where he pales in comparison to Brainiac. Not only does he have the knowledge of 10,000 worlds, but he also has the cunning and ingenuity. He's rarely surprised or duped, taking a completely unfathomable occurrence to do so. It often takes all of Superman's abilities to have a chance of bringing Brainiac down and he's often had the entire Justice League and even the world on the ropes and even more in some alternative timelines. Brainiac is the one villain always one right move away from defeating Superman and destroying the Earth an perhaps even the solar system. His obsession with controlling all of existence's knowledge, collecting their largest cities and most impressive specimens as trophies, and his immense power to back it up make him easily the most dangerous and most fascinating villain in Superman's rogues gallery, at least in my opinion.
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