It’s a given that heroes aren’t much without villains; you can only save so many cats in a tree and burning orphanages before your shtick becomes boring . But with a decent villain to battle and plans to thwart, well now you’ve got something.
In the DC Universe, just about every A-list hero has an A-list villain, or numerous ones. Superman has Lex Luthor, Batman the Joker, Wonder Woman the Cheetah and so on. These rivalries keep the fans coming back for more.
Then again, sometimes our heroes come up against foes that probably should have chosen another profession since fighting and defeating a superhero is something they should have kept off their bucket list. With that in mind here is a collection of those who threw caution to the wind and bravely (stupidly?) took on DC’s mightiest.
15 Calendar Man
A brilliant inventor, Julian Gregory Day (what is it with criminal real names having something to do with their alter ego?) has a weird fetish with dates. Not the fruit mind you but actual dates on the calendar. All his crimes are based on them which represents his main weakness. A foe of Batman, he tends to make the Dark Knight's job a lot easier by letting him know, well in advance, where and when he’s going to strike. Kind of hard to be a potent villain when you can be defeated with a pocket organizer.
14 Captain Boomerang
If you’re going to call yourself “Captain” anything, you had better have something bad-ass to follow the word Captain with. Words like Kill, Nuke, and Danger are nice but George Harkness took it a step backward. Raised in Australia (saw that coming a mile away) George "Digger" Harkness became an expert at using boomerangs, which is the equivalent of solving a Rubik’s Cube fast; a nice skill but not one that is going to strike fear into the hearts of anyone. And that’s as far as his powers go, granted he used several specialized boomerangs, but still, if you’re going to take on the Flash you’re going to need to bring a bit more to the table.
13 The Cavalier
It seems to qualify as a Batman villain all you need to do is dip into the bargain bin of any of Gotham’s costume shops, which brings us to the Cavalier. Mortimer Drake felt if he dressed like a Three Musketeers extra he could defeat Batman, and to be fair he had a decent skill set; he was a good athlete and a master swordsman with a sword that emitted electric bolts. The problem was he had a strange code of honor for a criminal. He would often stop mid fight to help an old lady to cross the street or put his cloak down over a puddle for a woman, much like a 17th century gentleman, which made it much easier for a 20th century Batman to beat the crap out of him.
12 Rainbow Raider
Many things may turn a person to a life of crime; family problems, poverty, vengeance but you’d be hard pressed to put color-blindness on that list. Born color blind and thus rejected as an artist Roy G. Bivolo (ROYGBIV, the colors of the rainbow, we get it, enough already) receives an unusual gift from his father, an optometrist, on his deathbed; goggles that emit solid colors of light which he can ride on and use as a weapon (?). With this gift he goes on an art heisting crime spree but is, surprise, surprise, quickly defeated by the Flash. He is later killed by another villain for what we can only guess was for giving villains a bad rep.
11 Blue Snowman
One of the first Wonder Woman foes who was a woman. Byrna Brilyant (cheesy name but at least it wasn’t Cyndi Snow) a teacher and inventor who created a gun capable of creating blizzards and freezing people, was a nice feminist take on Captain Cold and Mr. Freeze, and she pre-dates them by a decade. But was it really necessary to have a woman dress up like a snow “man” and one that looks like it came off the reject pile of an ice cream ad campaign? Blue Snowman lasted a few issues and melted quickly.
Okay, so you’re going to take on Superman and Batman and your power is dressing up like a dancer in a Billy Idol video and nothing else? Enter Magpie, really Margaret Pye (I give up) who like actual magpie birds covets shiny things, like jewels, and steals them, provided they have a bird-like name, because there are hundreds of those. She is defeated in about .01 seconds by Superman and Batman and later killed by another villain with a “you’re freaking embarrassing us” motive.
9 Sodom & Gomorrah
Somewhat promising start; biblical name that is recognized worldwide as the go-to label for evil and wickedness. Husband and wife team, still good, villains working in pairs always dangerous. Power: when they hold hands they fire a force beam that can turn anything into salt. Wait, what? Not lighting or lava but a condiment. And they decided that taking on Superman with a “power” like this was a great idea. Superman beats them very quickly but to the couple’s credit nothing tasted right for the Man of Steel for a few hours afterwards.
8 Angle Man
Geometry doesn’t seem like a go-to weapon for a super villain but Anglo Bend (really?) found a way to make it almost work. A failed petty criminal always looking for the perfect “angle” for his schemes, hence the “failed” part of his description, he comes into possession of a unique weapon: The Angler. Now this is fairly impressive since with it he can alter objects and locations according to the holder's wishes, sometimes defying gravity or through teleportation. Problem is he has to hold it at arm’s length to use it. Never a good idea against Wonder Woman who has a magic lasso that is fairly effective at disarming people who hold things at arm’s length which, of course, she does.
7 Killer Moth
Now what type of insects would one attach the prefix “Killer” to? Bees? Sure. Spiders? Definitely. Wasps? Of course. Moths? Not really. Yet in wanting to be the anti-Batman, professional criminal, Cameron van Cleer uses this less than threatening moniker. Now give him credit, he has a solid business plan, hiring himself out to criminals so that they can escape Batman. And boy does this guy have Bat-envy. He has his own Moth-cave, Moth-mobile, and lets the criminals who hire him use a Moth-signal. Needless to say Batman defeats him which he should have seen coming; don’t bats eat moths?
6 Golden Glider
Certain athletic talents lend themselves to super-villainy. Being a good ice skater isn’t one of them. Lisa Snart, sister of Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold decided to enter the ranks of villainy with an ice-themed idea like her brother, only lamer. Unlike Captain Cold’s ice gun, Lisa aka Golden Glider, an Olympic level ice skater, invents skates that create their own ice allowing her to skate anywhere, even on thin air. This coupled with some exploding jewelry make her at best a mildly dangerous enemy. Like many on this list she is eventually killed by a criminal partner, probably because he got pissed at her for doing double axles while he was getting beaten-up.
5 Kite Man
Wow, where to begin. For starters naming yourself after one of the most harmless things in the world isn’t going to garner you much street cred. This along with the fact that your greatest weaknesses are gusts of wind and trees, you should be happy that superheroes don’t laugh at you instead of punching you. But give him credit; he took on not only Batman, but two heroes who could actually fly (Hawkman and Hawkgirl) and lost spectacularly.
A fairly self-explanatory name for a villain who uses a special pressurized suit for the ocean and a special titanium fishing rod to commit crimes and battle, who else, Aquaman. It’s kind of hard to take a bad guy seriously when his arsenal comes from a Bass Pro Shop. Oh, and didn’t anyone tell him that Aquaman can summon any type of aquatic life, including those like killer whales and sharks that usually treat someone with a rod and reel like an hors d’oeuvre?
Beloved storybook characters rarely make threatening villains and this young lady is no exception. She has a so-so power, the ability to stretch her hair (Goldilocks, get it?) in order to ensnare people. She also has a wicked stalker-like crush on Robin who she sees as her Prince Charming. You’re probably not going have much of a career in the super-villain business if you can be defeated by the staff of a Super Cuts.
2 Ten-Eyed Man
Philip Reardon had a pretty decent villain origin. Partly blinded as a member of the US Special Forces he becomes permanently blind in an accidental fight with Batman, so far so good. But what happens next is hard to explain, or understand, or find a logical reason for. A doctor moves his optic nerves to his fingertips giving him ten eyes which, I guess, could be used to commit crimes. He loses his first battle with the Man-Bat by catching a shrub thrown at him because it is often hard to remember in the heat of battle that your fingers have friggin’ eyes on them. He can also be defeated by hot cups of coffee and itching.
Basically a poor man’s Riddler. A failed game show host, a really weak reason for a crime spree, Arthur Brown seeks to discover Batman’s secret identity and commits crimes while leaving behind complex clues. He is later lured to the Riddler’s hideout and confronted. And here’s the embarrassing part, the Riddler doesn’t even consider him a rival but wants to kill him anyway because the whole leaving complex puzzles around to piss off Batman deal is his thing. How low can you go when you’re not considered a threat to a guy in a lime green full body spandex outfit covered in question marks?