Heroes are only as interesting as the villains they fight. That statement could not be truer in today’s media. We have plenty of great heroes on the big screen and in the panels that we can rally behind, but what makes the best stories stand out is how twisted the bad guys are. The Dark Knight would not have been nearly as successful had it not been for Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. Suicide Squad was knocked down a few pegs because of their inclusion of Enchantress. You get the idea.
Now I’m sure by this point, you know all the big names in Marvel’s and DC’s universes respectively. Magneto, Joker, Thanos, Darkseid, Reverse Flash, etc. These two worlds have no shortage of fans and constantly gain the spotlight in light of recent films and television shows. But what if I started talking about Bonechill? Widowmaker? Those names don’t quite ring a bell, do they?
The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of other comic houses outside of Marvel and DC, and the stories they tell are equally as interesting if not better. Anybody who loves the Spawn character knows exactly what I’m talking about. On top of these great stories, these other publishers have also come up with their share of excellent villains, from assassins to businessmen, to the darkest creatures known to man. You’re about to be familiar with some of the best (or worst depending on how you look at it). These are the 15 greatest supervillains not part of Marvel or DC.
15. Mandalore the Ultimate
Bear in mind that this is a Star Wars character. Some of you may argue that he doesn’t exactly fit in this list, but I would also argue that this particular character originated from a Star Wars comic, so I’m including it here.
The Mandalorian Wars during the Knights of the Old Republic comic book were some of the most brutal events in Star Wars history. If you played the game, you would be familiar with some characters like Darth Revan and Darth Malak for starters. Mandalore the Ultimate began as a Mandalorian soldier under the rule of Mandalore the Indomitable. After a tough battle, however, the Indomitable was cut down. As such, Mandalore the Ultimate decided to take his former lord’s mask and rule the Mandalorians himself. Taking the title “The Ultimate,” he made it his personal goal to destroy the weakest planets in the galaxy and bring a horrible end to the Old Republic. As he continued in his plans, he almost succeeded in bringing them down, but the Jedi were there to stop him from winning, fortunately.
When it comes to over-the-top, nobody does it quite like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They’ve faced some radical and insane villains over the years, but none as bizarre as Krang. Much like Harley Quinn, though, Krang did not come from the comics, instead he came from the TV show. Since he is an important part of the lore and continues to be a comic character, he still deserves a spot on this list.
The disconnected brain of an alien conqueror, Krang was born and raised on a planet of pure war. Eventually, he was captured, removed from his body, and banished out of his homeworld. Naturally, this living brain came to Earth with his Technodrome to wreck some shop. Due to his great intelligence, Krang was able to create a powerful (albeit ridiculous) new body for himself to be able to contend with those that tried to stop him. Krang is probably one of the more interesting TMNT villains and has appeared over multiple aspects of media, including the recent film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. There’s no doubt that Krang will continue to be a foil for the turtles and provide them plenty of technological battles in the future.
70,000 years in the ravenous land of Hell, there was a relentless ruler of the eigthth circle. Because of his high standing, he was granted many powers such as shapeshifting, matter manipulation, hallucination induction, and the ability to create Hellspawn. This demon’s name was Malebolgia. His end goal was to bring Heaven to its knees and he did so by creating soldiers (Hellspawn) for his army. This eventually led him to a man named Al Simmons who recently lost his wife. He promised Al that he would be able to see his wife again if he served Hell. Simmons accepted and was turned into the character Spawn. However, Malebolgia went back on his deal and consistently made Al’s life worse to live each day. His end goal was to turn Spawn into a worthy fighter to go up against Heaven, and he did so by constantly torturing the anti-hero. For years, he served as Spawn’s puppet master, dictating every movement and conflict. Eventually, this led Spawn to train against Malebolgia, and their conflict grew so heated that they fought. Spawn won the fight and Malebolgia was cut down, but his damage had already been done.
12. Peter Creedy
Some of you may point out that V for Vendetta is distributed by DC Comics, but the existing lore has nothing to do with the DC Universe and is very much its own thing. Don’t expect any crossovers with these characters.
Not all of the bad guys wear impressive costumes and have incredible powers. Some have nothing more than connections and an eye on politics. This is the story of Peter Creedy. Originating in the V for Vendetta comic series, he served as an interesting foil to the vigilantism of V. Creedy takes a very simplistic approach to the world. He seizes every opportunity he is given, for all he wants is more power. While he may be somewhat unintelligent at times, he eventually takes control over all of London. Obviously, this led him to direct contact with the mysterious V. In the movie version of the comic, Creedy is personally assigned to stop V’s activities, and they essentially go to war with one another. Eventually, this leads to Creed ambushing V and nearly killing him for good. As we all know, Hugo Weaving is too awesome to be stopped by a smart politician though. Creedy, in both the film and the comic, faces an early death due to his hunger for more power.
11. Black Hornet
Holding a grudge gets you nowhere in life, unless you’re Hirohito. He was the son of a Yakuza boss. After some time, the Yakuza went toe to toe with the Green Hornet after Hirohito’s family moved to the States. The Hornet won the fight and put Hirohito’s father in prison, where we would be killed. This sent Hirohito into a horrific spiral, and he vowed that someday he would get revenge on the Green Hornet and Kato (the Hornet’s partner). Instead of joining the Yakuza, Hirohito instead built his own video game company, where he specialized in an advanced form of VR that was able to teach him how to fight. Once he was prepared for battle, he went to Kato’s home and quickly murdered his wife. Then he jumped Kato, but luckily for the Hornet’s partner, the police arrived, forcing Hirohito to escape. Since then, he developed a new costume similar to the Green Hornet’s and became obsessed with taking him down. Taking the name the Black Hornet, he sought to end his rival, and he actually ended up killing the original Green Hornet. He really did it.
10. Todd Ingram
Scott Pilgrim is not a movie or comic series that one should take seriously. Don’t expect him to have any poignancy or emotionally moving moments. That’s not why he’s on this list. Instead, it’s purely because of his satirical behavior and how his powers were directly affected by his lifestyle. Todd is known for consistently being motivated by women. He is almost always in a relationship, and this drives him to do crazy things. It is because of his desire for women that he and Scott eventually go toe to toe. However, once Scott attacks him, Todd reveals that he has a set of amazing “vegan powers”, including telekinesis that makes him almost impossible to touch. He actually foiled Scott for som etime, sending him through walls and causing him to have to retreat instead of fight. After a long time of thinking, Scott figured out the only way to defeat Todd was if he were to eat non-Vegan food. After discovering that Todd actually ate some non-Vegan food, the Vegan police showed up and stripped him of his powers via the Veganizing Ray. When I said to not take this seriously, I wasn’t kidding.
9. Jack Rafferty
The Sin City comic holds a special place in many readers hearts, considering it was worked on by the always-on-point Frank Miller, who crafted many excellent stories like The Dark Knight Returns and Daredevil. He has also proven that he can tell his own stories quite well, as is the case with Sin City. Furthermore, he also knows how to create a good villain, in the form of Jack Rafferty. Once a cop on the straight-and-narrow, Jack grew exhausted from his work, which caused him to be much more corrupt and unpredictable. As such, he took out this inhuman sense on his girlfriend at the time, who ended up leaving him over it. This didn’t sit with Jack well at all though, as it only made his violent tendencies even worse. One night while drunk, he goes to find his ex at her new boyfriend’s house, and assaults her once more. Fortunately for the young lass, this caused her boyfriend to step in and fight off Rafferty. Eventually Jack leaves the house, but his patience is thin and his trigger finger is twitchy. He ends up pulling a gun on people he knows in a fit of psychotic rage, which causes him to lose his hand and eventually his life.
Like some of the other properties on this list, Watchmen is distributed by DC Comics, but again exists in its own universe. While that may not be the case for much longer in DC: Rebirth, as it stands now, these characters are in their own world.
In the Watchmen series, we’ve all heard of Eddie Blake, the Comedian. However, he is portrayed as a good guy and someone we should essentially root for. That said, his actions easily prove otherwise. While overall, his actions have resulted in favorable outcomes, his methods are very much unorthodox. For starters, he has no regard for human life, and bears no guilt for getting innocents caught in the crossfire. Then, he sees the whole world as some sick joke that only he can understand (sound like anyone else we know?). Believe it or not, Comedian’s actions in the comic are actually supported by the government and he is part of not one but two crime-fighting teams. Keep in mind, two crime-fighting teams that have a cold-blooded murderer in their ranks. Do the math on the human casualties, folks.
No, this is not the character from Overwatch. To be honest, it was hard to find anything on this character solely because there are many different characters with the name Widowmaker (even Marvel has one!). As such, this incarnation is from Image Comics, the same company responsible for the Spawn character.
There isn’t a lot of information we have for Widowmaker, but what’s there is especially poignant. Think of her like a female version of Deathstroke. In the Dynamo 5 series, there was a retired superhero by the name of Captain Dynamo (see the connection?). Unfortunately, that series has little to do with this character other than his namesake, because he is found assassinated at the hands of Widowmaker. After the captain’s death led to the formation of the team Dynamo 5, the same person that hired Widowmaker all those years ago enlisted her services to take down the team. Knowing that she alone wouldn’t be able to do it, Widowmaker called several other supervillains to help her bring down the team once and for all. She’s cool, deadly, and as smart as they come. She killed a known superhero and was prepared to kill an entire team.
6. The Governor
Walking Dead fans, you may now rejoice because I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m not a fan of the series myself, but I know enough to be able to put The Governor on this list. He is truly a twisted person, and in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, I suppose you’d have no other options. He began as a simple man who took charge when the dead started to walk. He formed a group with other survivors and found a settlement in which he became the “governor.” Eventually, Rick Grimes and company would come across this town and be seemingly welcomed by The Governor. However (in the comic version), Governor turns on them and subjects many of them to physical and mental torture. He cuts off Rick’s hand, plays with Glenn’s mind, and has Michonne raped multiple times. The reason he did this is because he wanted Rick to give up his refugee camp in order to steal his supplies. Naturally, this led to a violent bloodbath, and let’s just say it didn’t end well for The Governor. Regardless, he still remains one of the most sick minds The Walking Dead ever threw at us, even if Negan is public enemy #1 at the moment.
5. Ma Ma
If you thought mother figures got any worse than Mommy Dearest, you haven’t seen anything yet. Enter Ma Ma, one of the most sick and twisted villains that Judge Dredd has ever gone up against. She is brutal, ruthless, and loves to revel in the pain of others. One of her most dastardly acts is using a drug called Slo-Mo. This drug alters the brain’s processing ability to makes one’s death seem much longer than it actually is. The most common way she uses this is by administering it to her victims, then throwing them off tall buildings, making their deaths seem much longer than they actually are. Judge Dredd certainly had his work cut out for him when going against this tyrant. As a matter of fact, during a confrontation between the two of them, she attached bombs to her entire building that if set off, would kill around 70,000 innocent lives. As if that weren’t bad enough, Ma Ma holds a smashed Judge helmet in her office, likely hinting at her killing a previous Judge.
4. Ogdru Jahad
When it comes to third-party publishers and comic books, very often they deal with more spiritual matters, such as the concepts of Heaven and Hell (perhaps because that’s a realm DC and Marvel do not cross into very often). One comic that fits this bill more than any others is the Hellboy series. The character himself is a demon that seeks to do good on the Earth (a bit of an odd premise, but it’s better than it sounds). One of this character’s more powerful villains is the Ogdru Jahad. A grotesque mixture of multiple dragons, the Ogdru Jahad are a being designed to bring about the destruction of Earth. Apparently, this creature was created by one of God’s highest angels and was eventually imprisoned for its capable destruction. As most stories of this matter go, many people have attempted to set free this spiritual creature, for it would bring about the doom of the world. It is currently unclear what exactly Ogdru will do if it becomes released from its shackles, but many believe that it will burn the world and start over from the ashes of the world. Not original, but it gets the job done.
3. The Violator
In the Spawn comics, Malebolgia had to make sure that his Al Simmons (the new Hellspawn) would have the proper guidance and not have the need to be a hero. Because of this, he sent a demon, The Violator, to watch over him. The Violator’s specialty is working with the Hellspawn to ensure that they are ultimately serving Satan and will fulfill his goal in the end. Make no mistake, The Violator is as powerful and scary as they come. Seeking rule over the armies of Hell and of Spawn himself, this demon has his interests before anything else. That said, because of his job, he cannot kill a Spawn, only weaken it. Due to his rough and violent nature, The Violator has been killed several times in the comics, but each time has been re-animated by his superiors to complete his task and make Spawn’s life a living Hell. To make matters even worse, Violator disguises himself as a balding human clown. If that’s not enough to give you a good nightmare or two, I’m not sure what will. His demon form is already horrifying enough.
No good villain list would be complete with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ oldest and greatest adversary. The Shredder has been fighting the group of reptilian brothers for as long as anyone can remember, and their battles have been difficult and epic. Shredder began his life as a young boy named Saki who watched his brother murdered in cold blood. This sent him into a horrible rage and he joined the Foot Clan in hopes of learning how to fight. He quickly rocketed through the ranks, eventually becoming the leader of the American Foot Clan. Taking the name Shredder, Saki found his brother’s killers and cut both of them down with ease. This eventually brought Shredder to the attention of Splinter (who was the former pet of one of the people Shredder killed). Splinter then passed his information onto the turtles themselves, and they began to train to take down this armored ninja. Over the years, the war against Shredder has become more over-the-top and deadlier. Especially in the new movies of the franchise, Shredder has donned a much more metallic suit of armor and fights in such a way that gives even all four turtles a run for their money.
Ozymandias is the villain of the Watchmen comic series and perhaps one of the most interesting bad guys to date. He started out his life as an intelligent young boy who inherited his parents’ fortune after their untimely death. Instead of doing what any other 17-years-old would do, he left his wealth and went on a journey of his own, following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great. He wanted to build a life from nothing. Eventually taking the name Ozymandias, he came to America where he started a career as a vigilante. However, he saw that the world would turn against vigilantes, so he withdrew from the superhero life and became a well-known humanitarian. However, he planned to create a catastrophic world event in order to unite the nations and bring world peace. He eventually succeeded, but more died as a result. The Comedian figured out Ozyamandias’s plans, but was killed for it. What makes Ozymandias such an excellent villain is that he won in the end of Watchmen. Despite all of the characters’ efforts to take him down, Ozymandias still kept the world peace because the world couldn’t afford to be chaotic again.