DC’s villains are some of the greatest in the comic industry. With heroes of the caliber they fight, that makes a lot of sense. Some of the biggest villainous icons in pop culture come from DC Comics and many of the stories they’ve been a part of have often gone down as some of the best of all time. Many of these villains have existed for decades and in that time, comics have changed a lot.
Many DC villains have spent years getting more powerful. As storytelling in comics has changed, these characters have evolved as well, becoming greater threats to the heroes they fight.
10 Brainiac Has Reached New Heights Of Power
For years, Brainiac was a grave threat to Superman. Using his amazing intellect and everything it could create, Brainiac was basically a mad scientist type of villain who happened to be an alien; one whose shrinking of Kandor gave him and Superman a more personal aspect to their rivalry. As DC has changed, Brainiac has as well.
He’s gained a powerful robot body, had his mind put into the body of a powerful mentalist, and finally was given Superman-level strength and durability on top of everything. This made him a greater threat than ever to Superman and a more dangerous villain.
9 Mordru Went From Slightly Silly Sorcerer To Lord Of Chaos
Mordru was a Legion of Superheroes villain for years. While he was one of the group’s most powerful foes, he wasn’t always the most serious antagonist, and his costume didn’t help. He was a stereotypical evil wizard, but there was a lot of potential in the character. His appearances in JSA showed the villain in the present and made a change to him that raised his power immensely.
Mordru was made into a Lord of Chaos and his power got a massive boost. He almost defeated the JSA singlehandedly more than once and is much more powerful. His modern portrayals post-JSA have played into this, making him more formidable than ever.
8 Despero Gained Physical Power To Go With His Mental Might
Despero first appeared in the Silver Age, an alien conqueror using his mental power and intellect to battle the Justice League. He was a wily foe and did damage but his power would pale in comparison to his post-Crisis form. His re-emergence during this time would see him appear as a massive bruiser, a villain who could fight with Superman and Martian Manhunter to a standstill.
This massive strength increased combined with his mental powers made him an even greater villain than ever before. It added an extra dimension to his threat and it’s a shame he doesn’t get used more often, as he’s a great multi-faceted villain.
7 The Joker Keeps Getting More Dangerous
The Joker is one of comics’ greatest villains, with his attacks on Gotham becoming the stuff of legend. While he doesn’t have any superpowers, he’s undoubtedly gotten even more dangerous. He started out as a clown-themed villain who was easily handled by Batman only to become a wily and dangerous villain that can fight it out with the toughest heroes around.
Modern Joker is the most powerful incarnation of the villain. He can fight hand to hand with Batman and pull off attacks that are more devastating than ever before. He’s come a long way from the criminal he once was and is now a true supervillain.
6 Poison Ivy Gained The Power Of The Green
Poison Ivy is another Batman villain who keeps getting better. While her actions have often been justified, she’s always taken things to the next level. Her ability to control plants was at first explained by her skill as a botanist and the way she modified the plants genetically. As time went on, that was changed and it was revealed that she had gained power over the Green.
The Green gives its users power over the plant kingdom and Ivy has used this ability to its utmost. While she’s more of a hero than a villain nowadays, she’s easily at the height of her powers. Her power has grown like a mighty sequoia.
5 Reverse-Flash Has Benefited By The Power Gains Of DC’s Speedsters
Speedsters have always been important in the DC Universe but over the years, they’ve gotten way more powerful than ever. Beyond people who can just move fast, they’ve become some of the potent heroes and villains around. Reverse-Flash was dead during this time of massive upwards power creep but when he returned to life, he reaped the benefits.
Becoming the engine for the Negative Speed Force, he rose to the level of one of DC’s greatest villains. He gained much greater power than ever before, taking his rivalry with Barry Allen to the next level and spurring on years of stories.
4 Psycho-Pirate Had A Massive Power Upgrade Post-Crisis
Psycho-Pirate was once merely an emotion-controlling Earth-2 villain in the pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths DC Multiverse. He was made a member of the group of heroes and villains the Monitor sent out to attack the Anti-Monitor’s multiversal tuning forks before joining that villain in CoIE. He stayed by the Anti-Monitor’s side throughout the conflict and was one of the few people to remember the pre-Crisis continuity afterward.
Post-Crisis, Psycho-Pirate’s powers grew because of his time with Anti-Monitor. The Medusa Mask was now able to manifest beings under Psycho-Pirate’s control from the old infinite Multiverse, making him a graver threat, and he gained the ability to resurrect himself after death. He’s now more powerful than ever.
3 Solomon Grundy Keeps Getting Stronger
Solomon Grundy has been one of DC’s strongest henchmen for a long time. He’s perfect for that; he’s strong, durable, and dumb. He doesn’t question his orders and fights until he or his enemy drops. His origin as a Golden Age villain who sometimes fought Batman to being turned into a modern age zombie Hulk that battles Superman and other amazingly powerful heroes shows just how much his power has grown.
Solomon Grundy has been a member of the Injustice Society, the Secret Society of Supervillains, and the Legion of Doom/Injustice League, battling some of the greatest heroes ever. He’s grown a lot from the guy who Batman used to beat all on his own.
2 Lex Luthor Reaches New Heights Constantly
Lex Luthor supplanted the Ultra-Humanite as Superman’s greatest foe and became a villainous icon. For years, he was the ultimate mad scientist, creating weapons and armors that were a match for the Man of Steel. In the post-Crisis DCU, he became a Donald Trump-like business mogul mixed with a supervillain mad scientist and since then has gotten more and more formidable.
The things that Luthor can accomplish in the present day in comparison to the past are night and day. He’s on the bleeding edge of technology, creating better and better weapons. His armor is more powerful than ever and Lex is always ahead of curve.
1 The Batman Who Laughs Became A God
The Batman Who Laughs proved to be a savage villain and a potent threat to the entire DC Multiverse. First appearing as the leader of Barbatos’s Dark Knights in Dark Knights: Metal, the Batman Who Laughs escaped the wreckage of Barbatos’s loss and fell into the hands of the Justice League. Eventually escaping, he wreaked havoc against the heroes before teaming up with Perpetua.
After defeating Apex Lex, he became Perpetua’s right-hand man and placed his brain in the body of a Doctor Manhattan Batman from the Multiverse. This gave him godlike power over matter and allowed him to defeat his one-time master. He’d try to remake the Multiverse in his image but was defeated by Wonder Woman, a dark god who was felled before he could do more damage to creation.
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