With DC Rebirth, the company that Superman and Batman call home managed to pull off a reboot the right way. Several classic heroes and scenarios were brought back that had not been seen in the main continuity since before Flashpoint. The (original) Titans are again together, Superman and Lois Lane are married once more and even have a kid, and Wally West is no longer (just) a teenager, but is now a fully grown redheaded Flash.
The New 52 which followed Flashpoint was, by and large, a gritty and sometimes downright depressing look at the classic DC canon. Rebirth has brought back a lot of the optimism and hope that DC Comics does best. Yet with all the rays of sunshine, there are still some obstacles in every hero’s way. As much as DC Rebirth has revamped its heroes, it’s also changed up the villains. Some of the old baddies have been brought back in new ways, and some completely new creations have made their devious first appearances.
Rebirth has been a great time to be a DC fan, and the heroes haven’t been having that bad of time either, but as always, it’s still a dangerous time to be a good guy in tights, especially with all these bad guys running around. We’ve collected some of the best when it comes to the worst that DC has offered in Rebirth. This isn’t necessarily a collection of the best antagonists running amok in the DC Universe currently. (Though many of the universe’s best baddies are collected here.) It is, however, the ones who have caused the most damage so far in Rebirth, or hold the potential to be the biggest threats down the line.
Between the classic foes and the noobies who’ve proven to be instant classics, here are DC Rebirth’s 15 Most Dangerous Supervillains Right Now.
15. The Joker
Batman’s archnemesis hasn’t been seen much in DC Rebirth, but that doesn’t mean that Mistah J isn’t still a deadly thorn in the new-ish DC universe. In Geoff Johns’ DC Universe: Rebirth #1, a huge twist was dropped about the iconic clown prince of crime, mainly that there isn’t just one killer clown. According to the one-shot, there are (or have been) three Jokers throughout DC Comics continuity. It is a bananas twist that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it certainly ups the ante when it comes to The Joker’s (or Jokers’) creep factor(s). One Joker was bad enough. There’s no telling what three Jokers would do together — or how many Robins they would kill.
Fans might be seeing some answers on the Joker twist in the very near future, as Batman scribe Tom King is set to start a brand-new story arc in the summer featuring the villain. Joker will be facing off against The Riddler in “The War of Jokes and Riddles.” Even if The Joker’s identities aren’t revealed by King, this doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to worry about the Dark Knight’s greatest adversary. There is no doubt that Joker will be remain his unnerving, hyper-dangerous self, as Tom King’s Batman run hasn’t had a bad issue yet.
The Birds of Prey are one of DC’s best superhero groups, though the team has never really had their own supervillains. Even in the heyday of Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone’s respective runs, original rogues were few and far between. The Birds of Prey usually just faced off against other heroes’ baddies like Ra’s al Ghul or Lady Shiva. In DC Rebirth, The Birds of Prey received their own nemesis, Blackbird. It was worth the wait, as this new baddie is mighty terrifying.
In fairness, Blackbird isn’t the most original bad girl around. She’s got a pretty standard power set, with the ability to steal and consume the powers of other metahumans. It’s a gimmick that has been seen in different forms over the years, from Marvel heroes like Rogue to other DC baddies like Amazo. Yet what Blackbird lacks in originality, she makes up for with perverse charm.
Blackbird has the dark charisma and loud fashion sense that you want in a villainess. Blackbird can match Black Canary’s attitude, Huntress’ fierceness, and Batgirl’s brains. And let’s not forget that with her powers, she can wipe the floor with the mostly non-meta Birds of Prey. Black Canary might have a particularly nifty trick up her sleeve, but her famous cry also doesn’t do much against a woman who has pyrokinesis, mind control, and telekinesis among her many powers.
13. Abra Kadabra
Abra Kadabra is dangerous, but not for the conventional reasons. The classic foe, who was brought back for DC Rebirth with Dan Abnett’s Titans series, still has all his impressive powers. As a “magician” with future tech, Abra’s gadgets make him a solid match for the Titans. The thing that really sends this crook over the edge to scary territory is that he is much more deranged in DC Rebirth than he ever was before, as the Rebirth version has an unhealthy and obsessive grudge against Wally West’s Flash.
Abra knows exactly who Wally is, and that means he knows exactly who to go after to hurt him. In Titans, he systemically destroyed Wally’s friends before going after the erstwhile love of Wally’s life, Linda Park. Abra Kadabra was always a little bit unhinged, but DC Rebirth has turned him into something akin to a cornered animal, feral and manic. DC doesn’t lack lawbreakers with mental problems, but Abra’s particular brand of crazy is something hair-raising to behold in Rebirth.
Before DC Rebirth, Deathstroke was straddling the line between antihero and supervillain. Slade Wilson had his own comic series, though he wasn’t always facing against DC’s best and brightest. He even found himself teaming up with a fair few heroes over the years. Deathstroke might still have his own, and excellent, series in the post-Rebirth era, but a lot of the menace has been brought back to the man who once took out half of the Justice League in Identity Crisis.
Though Slade can clearly manage in a fight against even the most experienced heroes around, there is something especially horrific about him facing off against young adults and teenage heroes. Deathstroke did, after all, make his first appearance in the New Teen Titans. Fittingly then, in Rebirth, Slade is facing off against Teen Titans and the Titans in one glorious crossover event, The Lazarus Contract. When Slade can reasonably keep up (due to some ingenious planning) with one of the fastest men alive, Wally West, it’s obvious that DC isn’t messing around with Deathstroke anymore. And just in time for his big screen debut, too.
Though some fans might bristle at this assertion, comic books can often be be boiled down to soap operas with a lot more spandex. One of the common conventions that comics take from their more melodramatic storytelling kin is the idea of secret (and evil) love childs. In Hal Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps, the latest bad offspring was introduced with Sarko, the son of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and (current) Yellow Lantern Soranik Natu. Sarko traveled from the future — because comics are often as weird as they are soapy — to torment his parents and their allies.
As strange as Sarko’s origins might be, he is an eerie and magnetic presence in the Rebirth Green Lantern titles. Sarko isn’t quite sympathetic, but in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, writer Robert Venditti has done wonders to make the villain understandable. There is a very clear progression in Sarko’s journey from the son of heroes to an outright monster. He is a zealot in every sense of the world, and he’s amassed enough power to back up his extreme views, but Sarko is the type of baddie who thinks he is doing good. If Sarko’s grandfather, Sinestro, has proved anything, it’s that this type of villain is just as interesting as they are dangerous.
10. Manchester Black
Comics have never found themselves lacking evildoers with mind control powers, but rarely do they find their way into Superman’s inner circle and wreak havoc with the Man of Steel’s life. Manchester Black did appear in the New 52 Teen Titans, but the version that has popped up in the current Superman arc is far scarier and more impressive.
Manchester Black is still going after the younger generation of heroes in Superman. Black’s target is now Jon Kent, Clark and Lois’ prepubescent and crazy powerful son. By manipulating Jon with his mind control abilities, Black is striking directly at Superman’s heart. It’s pretty despicable to go after someone as innocent as Jon, but it sure is effective. Black has even used his powers to turn Jon against his father and have the two Kryptonians go at it.
The strength of DC Rebirth’s Superman series has been the core family dynamic between Lois, Clark, and Jon, and Manchester Black has managed to rip that safety and security away from the family. The villain’s meddling probably won’t likely be permanent; eventually, the status quo will be restored. No matter how it all ends, however, Black has more than proved that Superman isn’t invincible — despite his insane powers.
9. The Ninth Circle
The leader of The Ninth Circle, Dante, was killed off early in the Green Arrow DC Rebirth run, but losing their figurehead hasn’t stopped the Ninth Circle from tormenting Ollie Queen and the gang. DC has feature Oliver getting back in touch with his character roots in Rebirth; he’s hooking up back with Black Canary and Ollie is connecting his social justice mission. The Ninth Circle is the perfect nemesis for Green Arrow and this latter crusade.
The group represents everything wrong with the enormous organizations that Oliver used to rail against in the Pre-Flashpoint days. The Ninth Circle is the embodiment of the power over the many being held by the few. They’re essentially the Green Arrow version of Batman’s Court of Owls — The Ninth Circle has fingers in every metaphorical pie, and they’re using them all.
The widespread influence of the Ninth Circle makes them threatening, but it’s the skull-like appearance of their inner circle that promotes them to straight-up nightmare fuel. The group is so devoted to their demented cause that they burn themselves alive. It’s not easy for Green Arrow (or anyone, really) to top that level of commitment.
8. Veronica Cale
In returning to Wonder Woman for DC Rebirth, Greg Rucka also brought back one of his original villains that he created before the New 52, Veronica Cale. The Rebirth Cale is a bit different than her original iteration, but she still has all the vital elements that made her a worthy foe. Veronica Cale is able to go toe-to-toe with the Amazing Amazon wearing nothing for armor but a pair of pearls.
Cale could be called the Lex Luthor to Wonder Woman’s Superman, but that would be reductive. Veronica and Lex share similarities, sure. They both believe that humanity should be responsible for saving themselves, and their resentment towards the superhuman community has grown dangerous. Despite the parallels, Veronica Cale is still her own commanding person — she’s not just the female Lex Luthor.
Cale is just as smart as Wonder Woman, if not moreso, which is no small feat. Cale uses this intelligence to control Wonder Woman and the situations she can’t physically manage. Veronica is the rare supervillain who can manipulate and control her nemesis without either of them coming off as foolish or outright dumb. DC has plenty of imposing baddies, but there are few with brains like Veronica Cale.
Reverse-Flash has been around for a few years now, ever since DC rebooted with the New 52. First, Daniel West took on the moniker. Then, the original Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, returned at the tail end of the New 52. This take was creepy for sure, but he didn’t have the same fire as he did before Flashpoint. But with DC Rebirth, Eobard Thawne has been completely returned to his awful self.
In Joshua Williamson’s The Flash, Thawne is once again consumed with revenge against Barry Allen. Thawne is one of the few characters who is aware of the Flashpoint universe, and this makes his rivalry with Barry even more personal. As of The Flash and Batman crossover “The Button,” Thawne has also interacted with (and been almost disintegrated alive by) Dr. Manhattan. None of this has slowed him, however, as all of Thawne’s experiences have only fueled his anger towards Barry.
All over DC Rebirth, Thawne has been trying to establish that the original Reverse-Flash is the best there ever was or will be. It’s a mission that he is succeeding in so far. Hell hath no fury like a speedster scorned.
Bane is one of the more interesting perps in Batman’s rogues gallery. While he has had a few solid storylines since his introduction in Knightfall, the man who broke his bat has rested on its laurels quite a bit. Before DC Rebirth, Bane sure liked to brag about breaking Batman’s back, though he never really did anything new. But in Rebirth, Tom King has made Bane petrifying in a way that he hasn’t really been since his breakout turn in Knightfall.
Bane received the treatment with Rebirth that many classic heroes have been handed. The parts of Bane’s character that worked (his strength, his intelligence, and his…interesting moral code) were brought back to the forefront. Meanwhile, his more annoying elements have been shoved to the background or outright ignored.
King’s Batman gave Bane his own group to go up against Batman’s own Suicide Squad. It’s a challenge that the masked baddie rose to, and he nearly defeated Batman forever. The conflict was a reminder that while other villains might be more popular, Bane is in many ways Batman’s equal. He serves as a constant reminder of what Batman would be like as a supervillain — horrifyingly, insanely dangerous.
5. Maxwell Lord
Lord didn’t make his grand reappearance in DC Rebirth. The classic comic foe, who Wonder Woman famously had to kill once upon a time, returned to continuity in that weird period for DC in between the New 52 and Rebirth, the DCnU. With the events of Rebirth, however, Lord has made a much bigger impression, as he served as the mastermind behind Rebirth’s first major crossover event, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.
At the end of the event, Lord was imprisoned by Amanda Waller and enlisted in her new Suicide Squad force, the mysterious Task Force XI. He may be under Waller’s thumb for now, but it’s unlikely that he’ll stay that way. Lord is too wily and too powerful to remain a lackey to someone else, even if that someone else is Amanda Waller.
Lord is not the most immediate threat, but it would be foolish to think he won’t come back with a vengeance at some point down the line. Wonder Woman has never had to snap Lord’s neck in this continuity, but he’s still just as dangerous as he was before Flashpoint.
4. Mister Oz
Mister Oz is easily the most mysterious miscreant floating around the DC Universe these days. The heroes and fans might not know much about him, but Mister Oz has had farspread influence in this new world. Oz has been playing with Superman and his family for years, he turned the OP Mr. Mxyzptlk into a fake Clark Kent, and he even has Tim Drake trapped in a weird prison with no desire to free him.
Many fans have theorized that Oz is actually the ruthless super genius from Watchmen, Ozymandius. This seems a bit easy given the obvious parallels between the two monikers, so while this could explain some aspects of his personality, Oz remains a mystery for now. The one thing about him that is not up for debate, though, is just how much he has messed with the lives of DC’s heroes in a very short time.
Oz clearly has long-term plans for the DC universe, and somehow, he has the firepower to back all his schemes up. Whether he’s revealed to be Ozymandius or someone completely new, Mister Oz has the potential to cause mayhem for years to come in the comics.
3. Simon Hurt
Right before The New 52 hit, Simon Hurt was one of the creepiest and most interesting maniacs in Batman lore. When Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne were running around as the new Batman and Robin, Hurt made their lives a living hell. After Flashpoint, however, he was seemingly forgotten, but thankfully, Rebirth has righted this wrong. In Nightwing #18, Hurt was brought back into continuity, where he continued to torture Bruce Wayne’s sons.
Hurt did fail in his latest attempt to ruin Dick Grayson. Though he nearly killed Damian Wayne and kidnapped Dick’s girlfriend Shawn, Nightwing and Robin did manage to save their own skins. Hurt was even killed by one of his own minions, Deathwing. Since Hurt has proven to be basically immortal (and this is a comic book), fans should take his “death” with the biggest grain of salt they can find. Hurt will almost certainly be back to go after one of DC’s most optimistic heroes, Nightwing.
The Flash TV series has more than proven that Barry Allen doesn’t lack murderous speedsters to fight. Yet with Godspeed, The Flash comic scribe Joshua Willamson and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico have managed to create a new speedster that impressed fans of the show and comic alike. Armed with a killer suit design and a fitting name, Godspeed has challenged Barry on an emotional and physical level.
This brand new baddie takes some of the best elements from previous evil speedsters and combines them into one dangerous little package. Godspeed has the conviction of Reverse Flash, the fanaticism of Savitar, and most importantly, since he is Barry’s friend August Heart, the personal connection to the hero (just like Zoom). August’s turn into Godspeed in Rebirth wasn’t exactly surprising one. The twist was heavily telegraphed before being revealed, but it was an emotional and heart-pounding journey nevertheless.
Godspeed is currently imprisoned in Iron Heights. The last time a comic book prison held a supervillain was half past never. It is a certainty that Godspeed will escape and bring even more danger to Barry Allen’s life. And man, seriously, how cool is that suit?
1. Doctor Manhattan
The most fans have seen of Doc Manhattan in DC Rebirth is a single panel of his hand during “The Button” crossover. Yet despite his lack of appearances, Manhattan’s influence has been felt all over Rebirth. It has been heavily implied (if not just outright stated) that he is the reason that the New 52 happened. All the fans’ complaints about that last major DC Comics reboot can land at the feet of this blue titan of unfathomable power.
This is enough to make him threatening, but for anyone who has read or seen Watchmen, there is much more to Doctor Manhattan than just messing with convoluted comic continuity. Superman is often criticized for being overpowered, but he has absolutely nothing on the big blue guy. Manhattan is basically a god, and he can rewrite reality at his whim. Rebirth has made it seem like the bored god has turned his ire (or attention) onto the DC universe, which isn’t a good thing for any of the characters, heroes or villains alike.
Though clearly an antagonist in some form, Dr. Manhattan hasn’t made his exact intentions clear for the DC Universe. He might have been trying to lend a helping hand, or he may be looking to destroy in order to rebuild things as he sees fit. Until such time as Manhattan does reveal his motives, it is safe to assume that he is armed and very, very dangerous.
Which villain from DC Rebirth do you think is the most dangerous? Did we miss your favorite? Sound off in the comments!