There is an adversary for every protagonist, and where would any work of fiction be without one? What would a king be without his or her subjects? Any serious comic book writer understands that villains are just as crucial as heroes, if not more so. Baddies have existed in fiction since the beginning — think of Homer’s oracles and Circe’s seductive sirens — and with good cause. After all, what would make Odysseus unique if he hadn’t met difficulties on his trip home?
A wonderfully evil character, especially one with a complicated past and an intriguing dual personality, is a favourite among readers. Villains keep the tale going and offer just the right amount of spice to keep the storyline interesting. We decided to review some of the most interesting villains who have graced the storyboards of both DC and Marvel comics to honour villainy in its comic book form.
With The Batman about to hit theatres shortly, we’ll start with our favourite botanical villain.
Batman #181 – Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy, also known as Dr. Pamela Lillian Islay, first appeared in Batman #181, published by DC Comics in 1966. We gain her diabolical charm thanks to writer and illustrator combo Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff. Ivy has everything readers needed to keep them interested, including a disturbing past, outstanding skills, and near-genius IQ. It allows them to sympathise with her heinous acts against Batman and Gotham City, yet her cruelty is unjustified.
Ivy, a former botanist, has been given The Green, an extraterrestrial force that grants her complete control over plant life while also making her immune to toxins and other poisons. Poison Ivy is a mix of Earth guardian and eco-terrorist, according to ExpressVPN’s infographic on Batman villains and their alter personas, with the former acting as the perfect way for Ivy to hide in plain sight.
The X-Men #1: Magneto
Magneto, sometimes known as Max Eisenhardt, first appeared in Marvel’s The X-Men #1 in 1963. Magneto, like Poison Ivy, is a durable character that still appears in modern Marvel products, despite his early origins. Magneto is a human mutant with superpowers that let him to generate and control magnetic fields, developed by the late Stan Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby.
Magneto has long had a tense relationship with humanity, believing that mutants are superior in many ways and should rule the universe.
Magneto’s first appearance in 1963, less than 20 years after WWII, prompted critics and observers to draw connections between his story arc and racial and ethnic strife in Europe and the United States. Later versions of Magneto show major character growth, with writers fleshing out his past and complicating his paths.
Magneto’s story arc has been compared to racial and ethnic unrest in both Europe and the United States since his first appearance in 1963, less than 20 years after WWII. Magneto’s past is fleshed out in later iterations, and his pathways become even more complicated.
The Fantastic Four #5 – Doctor Doom
This Latvian monarch, born Victor von Doom, is better known as Doctor Doom, one of the most infamous villains in comic books. The villainous Doctor initially appears in Marvel’s The Fantastic Four #5 and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who also created Magneto.
This genius and scientist was a victim of fate because his mother made a questionable agreement with the devil in exchange for her son’s prominent position in the monarchy.
Doom is a terribly tormented individual who was previously good behind the skull-like mask. The hyper-intelligent villain occasionally issues with perfectionism and ego, causing meddling superheroes to foil his plans. Doom is a strong sorcerer who commands an army of “Doombots,” AI duplicates of himself who are capable of killing.
Because of their complexity, intrigue, and ultimately, all of the ways in which they represent human nature, good characters have survived throughout history. Take a deeper look at any classic comic book villain, from Poison Ivy’s misguided efforts to favour plants over humans to Doctor Doom’s fixation with perfection, and you’ll see a consistent theme: humanity in all its heinous flaws.