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The greatest comic book villains

Sometimes the most iconic heroes are only as good as their villains are. Super strength, being able to fly, and time travel, are obviously cool superpowers but sometimes all fans want to see is a great head-to-head battle with a superhero versus villain fight. Over the past few years, both comic book heroes and villains have gained popularity through films like Avengers Assemble.

This has led to many stores selling more comic book merchandise such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, and video games. There are also many online slot games such as Joker-themed slots that are widely available to play online too. Whether you are a fan of DC or Marvel, both have had great villains that have been portrayed by talented actors in films and on TV. Here are just some of the best comic book villains that have appeared on the big or small screens.

Bane
It is rather easy for people to confuse Bane as a simple but muscular villain in a mask. Nothing could be farther from the truth as he is so much more than that. He is one of the few criminals from Gotham to do what is commonly understood to be unfathomable; defeat the Batman. In the comics, Bane not only beat Batman, he completely dominated him. What was really impressive from Bane’s duel with the Batman, was that he didn’t use brawn as what he is accustomed to, but brain as well. He stage-managed events across Gotham that exhausted the Batman before attacking. He broke Batman both psychologically, and physically when he broke Batman’s spine using his knee. One of the most interesting performances of Bane is in The Dark Knight Rises (2012) when Tom Hardy played the menacing villain that terrorised both Batman and Gotham City.

Magneto
Sometimes it becomes difficult to tell whether Magneto is truly a villain or a defender of his people from governments seeking to deal with mutants at all costs; even through militant force.  Magneto’s story begins in Auschwitz, where he was raised. His experiences led him to believe that fellow mutants would undergo the same treatment if they did not unite. Despite his good intentions, he has acted as an outright villain on many occasions prompting Charles Xavier and his X-Men to stand in his way. Sir Ian McKellen has portrayed Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr in many films including X-Men (2000) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Michael Fassbender has also played a younger Magneto in the prequel films including the recent X-Men: Dark Phoenix released earlier this year.

Kingpin
Wilson Fisk rose to the top of the criminal world without any superpowers. He fought against heroes such as Daredevil and more famously, Spiderman. The latter was a fantastic comic book animated adaptation that thrilled fans all over the world. Kingpin was a wealthy businessman and philanthropist and his cover was eventually blown and he served jail time as a consequence. Some of the most recent portrayals of Kingpin were Vincent D’Onofrio in the Netflix TV series Daredevil (2015-2018) and also Liev Schreiber who voiced the character in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).

Thanos
One of the biggest criminals in the Marvel Comics Universe is Thanos. Thanos has widely been likened to Darkseid with a duel between the two causing much-heated debate between DC and Marvel fans as to who would emerge victorious. Do not be confused however, as Thanos is well and truly, his own man. He is a nihilist who is obsessed with death and seeks to end life. His ambitions have, as a consequence, led him to instant conflict with earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers. Thanos is a powerhouse with the dreams of achieving a godlike status. This thirst of power usually prompts him to seek out the Infinity Gems with the aim of dictating all sorts of lifeforms across the whole universe. In the recent films, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, The Mad Titan was portrayed by Josh Brolin.

General Zod
General Zod was more brawn than he was brain as compared to Superman’s father Jor-El. Zod strongly believed that Krypton should have taken up military action if it was meant to survive. He was exiled from Krypton before its destruction and was sent to the phantom zone. Upon his freedom, he focused on exerting revenge on the son of Jor-El, Kal-El, who had taken up residence on Earth as Superman. With as much power as Clark Kent himself, Zod resembles a Superman with no moral grounds. Michael Shannon portrayed Zod in the Man of Steel (2013) film up against his rival Superman played by Henry Cavill.

The Joker
“Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – these were the words used by Alfred Pennyworth to describe the Joker in The Dark Knight Trilogy. No description is more fitting for the Joker. As a villain, Joker has no interest whatsoever in ruling the world. He is not interested in power or money as other villains from Gotham are. The only thing that drives the Joker is driving Batman crazy. Despite Batman having lost both of his parents through an act of crime, he has kept his sanity in check. The Joker, on the other hand, thrives in his own madness. There have been many actors over the years that have portrayed the character on-screen including Heath Ledger who was posthumously awarded an Academy Award for his role in The Dark Knight (2008). The most recent actor to portray the crazed clown is Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (2019).