When you get right down to it, supervillains should be the most terrifying thing in the universe. The idea of these tremendous sources of power that have decided to channel their abilities for evil is pretty damn intimidating. The severity of supervillains varies, but some make a whole performance out of their wickedness. Supervillains such as Dr. Doom, Sinestro, or Carnage wear their villainy on their sleeves. Their names instill fear in their audiences. No one is going to look at the name “Doomsday” and confuse him with a good guy, but there are a number of supervillains whose names leave a lot more to the imagination. A name can certainly be everything and in a lot of these villains’ cases it’s how potential victims are getting introduced to them. You might be aware of the the most evil-sounding villains that are out there, but some supervillain names are not just questionable, they even have them sounding like a superhero. These are all individuals more likely to rob a bank than rescue a kitten, but you wouldn’t know it from their names.
Here are 15 Supervillains Who Have Superhero Names.
15. The Leader
Despite his compassionate sounding name, The Leader is in fact a common thorn in the Hulk’s side. The Leader’s alter ego, Samuel Sterns, might view his pursuit of stealing scientific secrets as a just cause, but this guy is definitely a villain. What’s interesting here is that Sterns develops his powers in exactly the same way that Banner does, the use of gamma radiation. However, while the gamma rays supposedly brought out Banner’s subconscious rage, they pulled forward Sterns’ desire for knowledge, turning him into the ultra-intelligent Leader in the process.
The Leader’s villainy often finds him stealing tech (usually with the help of some other villain doing the grunt work for him) or hatching some plan to turn the world’s population into gamma ray mutants. One such example even had him traveling back in time to the beginning of Earth’s history in order to cause mankind to evolve into gamma mutants. There’s a heavy radiation and fallout theme present with this guy. So sure, he’s got an encouraging name and might promise you a better tomorrow, but he’s going to mess with your DNA, no question.
14. Omega Red
Isn’t there just something about Omega Red that screams safety? Can’t you just picture Omega Red and his hypothetical sidekick, Amber Alert, keeping the streets safe? This name might sound like an amalgam of positivity, but it actually stands for a rather bleak, chaotic mutant from the X-Men world. Omega Red has ties to both the KGB and The Hand, as well as a very deadly mutant power in the form of killer pheromones. If that wasn’t enough, the KGB also attempted to turn the beast into a super-soldier and bestow him with even more power. But even before the KGB went mucking about with Arkady Gregorovich’s DNA, the man filled his days as a serial killer.
Most of Omega Red’s agenda deals with eliminating past grudges and he even ends up becoming the kingpin of New York’s Red Mafia. There’s no denying that Omega Red is sufficiently evil, but maybe he should have stuck with the Gregorovich moniker. Otherwise Blue Beetle and Booster Gold might try teaming up with the psychopath or something.
Hailing from Robert Kirkman’s Invincible series published by Image Comics, Omni-Man sounds like any generic sort of Superman-type of do-gooder that is just dripping in excess power. Even just having “Man” in his title weirdly makes this villain seem more like a good guy for some reason. Simply going by “Omni” would have a slightly eviler feel. In a twisted way Omni-Man sort of is presented as a hero, only to his home planet of Viltrumite. The Superman approximate is sent to Earth with the mission of conquering it, but when Omni-Man adopts a different sort of lifestyle, interplanetary problems begin to mount. After fleeing Earth and then endangering yet another species, it feels as if Omni-Man brings disaster to wherever he goes. You might also be inclined to think that someone named Omni-Man is actually a hero when their half-human son happens to be Invincible, the planet’s defender, but nope! In spite of sharing the same blood, Omni-Man and Invincible couldn’t have more different mandates.
There are plenty of superheroes that have their names stemming from animals, with Wolverine, Robin, Wasp, or even Squirrel Girl all being popular choices. Someone named Kangaroo feels like a natural fit for these heroes, but this cutely-named villain actually plays for the other team. It’s a little surprising that Peter Parker hasn’t developed a hatred for all animals at this point because in addition to his foes The Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture, Lizard, Chameleon, and Dr. Octopus, you can add Kangaroo to the mix, too! There are surprisingly two separate villains named Kangaroo, with the second iteration by Brian Hibbs being the far more fascinating of the two. Frank Oliver, the original Kangaroo, is a “blink and you’ll miss him” kind of villain. However, Hibbs becomes obsessed with the man’s alter ego and leaves behind his cushy life of an interior decorator to take up crime. Hibbs’ Kangaroo goes through a bizarre evolution that begins with a basic costume, proceeds into a cybernetic kangaroo suit, and culminates in Hibbs’ mutating himself into some kangaroo-type beast. If only Hibbs could have gotten obsessed with a weird superhero instead.
11. Captain Cold
Doesn’t this guy just sound like some jovial buccaneer version of Mr. Freeze? Or the guy that Batman would call up to battle against him? On the scale of evil sounding ice-based villains, Killer Frost certainly has the most intimidating name, with Mr. Freeze’s being pretty neutral, but the alliteration of Captain Cold just makes this guy seem fun. From an outside perspective, it’s easy to envision this character as some ice savior of good. Call him something more sinister like “Killer Cold” or “Captain Frostbite” if you want him to come across as a villain.
Captain Cold’s villain status has become increasingly in flux (especially with the role he’s taken up in the CW’s Arrowverse) so maybe it’s for the best that he has such a nonthreatening name. He’s also the sort of individual that would much rather build a reputation off of his actions rather than name alone, so perhaps he welcomes the challenge. Besides, while you’re trying to figure out if he’s got a good guy’s name or not, he’ll shoot you with his cold gun.
No, not the Kaiju fighting badass of the same name. But it doesn’t do Ultraman the villain any favors that there are already superheroes out there that are using the same name (not to mention the similarly named Ultra Boy). Much like in the same vein as Omni-Man, Ultraman sounds like another Superman clone who’s meant to fight the good fight against villains who should have names like “Negaton” or “Mr. Pestilence.” The big difference here is that Ultraman is virtually identical to Superman, with the similarities being the whole point of the character. He’s in fact the evil version of Superman that comes from the alternate Earth-Three universe. “Ultra” is a synonym for “super,” after all.
Ultraman comes from the backwards Earth-Three and with an appropriately absurd mythology to match, like how he actually gets stronger from kryptonite exposure. The character is mostly used in a multiverse sense, like when several evil Supermen are teaming up against the main one. While a relatively fringe villain, he does surprisingly make an appearance in the tenth season of Smallville. Me might be tremendously evil, but he at least looks and sounds like one of the world’s finest.
9. Kid Marvelman
Occupying the niche world of the Marvelman franchise, Kid Marvelman is as sadistic as they come, and yet he sounds like a companion for Beast Boy, Kid Flash, and other super-powered tykes. Granted, the character’s true roots do position him as a hero, but in Alan Moore’s ‘80s reboot (which became the new canon, so to speak) the character adopted his new villainous mindset. Kid Marvelman is powered by an incredible rage (he even murders most of London), but there’s a backstory that’s just as crushing to go along with it.
Kid Marvelman, along with Young Marvelman, and Marvelman are all being experimented on by the British government. However, when testing takes a turn for the worse and leaves Kid Marvelman believing his comrades have perished, he dons his new revenge-filled purpose. The story of Marvelman is one of changing truths and alliances, with Kid Marvelman slowly getting consumed with revenge and his human half getting lost in the shuffle. Kid Marvelman’s journey is that of losing your innocence and embracing that loss. His name however acts as a constant reminder of his optimistic start.
8. Captain Boomerang
There must be something heroic about the title “captain,” otherwise honorable figureheads like Captain America, Captain Britain, and Captain Marvel wouldn’t have chosen it for their respectable titles. Then when you add boomerangs to the equation, the character only sounds more like a good guy. Don’t boomerangs seem like a friendlier, safe weapon than some dangerous tool to do harm? Furthermore, Captain Boomerang sounds like a cool hero, but a lame villain, so your brain naturally wants to assume the former.
Captain Boomerang is basically a career criminal that moves from one group of rogues to the next. Even though this odd villain held a sizable role in WB’s Suicide Squad, he actually received his debut as a villain of The Flash (and even worked his way into CW’s Arrow). The character goes through so much re-invention that you’d think he’d be interested in trying his hand as a hero at some point. He’s already arguing with enough of the Suicide Squad from within the group that maybe he should just officially make the transition and embrace the light name that he’s working with. Or let him be “Bloody Boomerang” and leave the “Captain” for a hypothetical “Captain Australia.”
7. Blue Snowman
“Run for your lives, it’s the Blue Snowman!” Not exactly threatening, is it? Blue Snowman sounds like some temporary member of the Great Lake Avengers that uses some snow power to helps kids have a Merry Christmas or something. Wonder Woman might not face the most iconic villains from DC’s library, but Blue Snowman actually happens to make for one of the more interesting ones. Byrna Brilyant is an accomplished scientist who creates a mechanical snowman suit in order to get away with committing crimes. She also engineers blue snow that paralyzes everyone that it touches while also being an important cog in Villainy Inc. The most crucial detail here is that the Blue Snowman is a woman who wants people to think a man is the evil one. There’s actually some degree of social commentary going on here that people would probably be talking about if the villain’s name wasn’t so silly. Anyone think that there could be a surprise Blue Snowman cameo in the Wonder Woman film? Is that what Nicki Minag has been secretly doing on set…
Even villains like the Riddler or the Joker have some sliver of darkness hiding in their otherwise cheerful names, but it’s hard to find any hidden evil in a name like Toyman. How could this go possibly be on the rotten side of things? Toyman’s innocuous title is supposed to work in his favor as his villainous persona peddles the idea of a humble toy salesman. This salesman however is an evil mechanical genius who is continually building armies of warriors to take down Superman. It’s even hard to keep track of whether Winslow Schott, the Toyman, is still alive and in the picture because he’s built so many lifelike decoys through the years. Over time Hiro Okamura becomes a tech ally to Batman and Superman and eventually adopts the Toyman title accordingly, proving it does work just as well as a hero name. Toyman should also not be confused with Toymaker, Toymaster, Toyboy, or the Dollmaker, all of which are somehow separate, different villains. All of which have just as friendly-sounding names.
5. Calendar Man
Some people might find it hard to believe that a character that’s never going to forget your birthday is actually a villain, and yet Calendar Man is one of the most deranged serial killers to ever get locked up in Arkham Asylum. This guy does not sound scary and even if he was a hero, you’d likely expect him to be one of more comedic ones. When the character first debuts he’s wearing a number of elaborate costumes to convey different months, but Calendar Man goes through a rather serious evolution. By the time he reappears in The Long Halloween he has a much more disturbing look that sees a tattoo of the months of the year adorning his skull. At this point the sadistic aspect of the character that’s all about date-based crimes takes center stage and he certainly won’t have you laughing. He’s basically like a time-based variation on Kevin Spacey’s character from Se7en. Calendar Man even gets featured in a moody, atmospheric appearance in Rocksteady’s Arkham Trilogy.
4. Turner D. Century
Brace yourself for this one, people. First off, no character with a pun-based name is going to be thought to be a villain, let alone one with a name like this. Turner D. Century sounds like some sort of Oracle of the Timeline or a wisecracking time traveler, but he’s actually the villainous embodiment of “Get Off My Lawn!” Turner D. Century’s whole deal is that he hates how vulgar and profane the modern world has become, so naturally his solution to this is to bring the world back to his preferred era of the early 1900s. One of his zany schemes involves blowing the Horn of Time, an act which will kill everyone that’s under the age of 65. Plus, he tries to “clean up” San Francisco. He also gets around on a “flying bicycle built for two” which is never explained how to work.
Surprisingly, this madman’s efforts end up getting the attention of numerous superheroes, like Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Dominic Fortune (who would be perfect fodder for this list if he were a villain). It’s also worth noting that Turner D. Century ends up getting brutally murdered by the Scourge of the Underworld. RIP TDC.
3. Ruby Thursday
On some alternate Earth out there, comic conventions are filled with Ruby Thursdays instead of Harley Quinns and Wonder Women. This character is basically pure id or what some teenage boy would end up doodling while daydreaming. It’s hard for a character to sound like a villain when their name makes you think of a fast food chain. Ruby Thursday is a brilliant scientist who decides life would be a whole lot better if she replaced her head with cybernetics that basically operate with a Venom-like fluidity. She then fixates on the goal of putting all of society through this same process. She even is briefly part of a political campaign that featured the slogan, “New Heads For Old.” Ruby Thursday’s big claim to fame is starting the villainous group, the Headmen, who managed to hold their own against the Defenders! Maybe season two of The Defenders will dip into the Headmen’s well. You know Netflix would have an interesting take on Ruby Thursday.
Ruby Thursday’s actual name is also Thursday Rubinstein which is just too perfect. When that’s your birth name you’re basically being forced to turn yourself into some vigilante by the name of Ruby Thursday.
2. Polka-Dot Man
Polka-Dot Man is one of the more colorful villains from Batman’s rogue gallery, but he sounds a lot more like someone that Bruce Wayne would hire to perform at Tim Drake’s birthday party. If the conclusion is reached that someone with this awful name does in fact have super powers, they would have to be using them to right wrongs. There’s no way that polka-dots could be evil, right? These are the conversations that were surely had through the cells in Arkham the day that Polka-Dot Man was brought in.
This supervillain is your basic The Spot sort of character. He’s able to peel the spots off his costume and turn them into a variety of objects, even going as far as weapons and getaway vehicles. It’s an impressive enough power, but the question is, why do they need to be colorful? Couldn’t he go the black and white route and call himself “The Black Hole”? That sounds like a villain. It’s worth mentioning that Polka-Dot Man sometimes does go by another title: Mr. Polka-Dot. Not exactly clear which is the more bone chilling of the two.
1. Rainbow Raider
Look, in theory this name makes sense. Using and abusing—or raiding, if you will—light and the colors of the rainbow can certainly be problematic, but how much time did he put into this thing? Was he just rolling onto the scene, forgot that he didn’t have a name, and this is just what blurted out of his mouth when he had to make an entrance? At least choose a verb that has a little more aggression in it. “Spectrum Slayer” is the same idea and it at least makes it clear there’s battling on the mind. The character amounts to being a minor villain for the Flash, and his backstory almost makes you want to go easy on the guy. He’s a color-blind person who wanted to be an artist and now uses goggles to manipulate intense light beams. So yeah, maybe ease up on the name…
One thing’s for sure, nothing would be more embarrassing than getting killed by a villain named Rainbow Raider.
What do you think? Are there any other supervillains with friendly, non-threatening names that immediately come to mind? Who would intimidate you the least? Let us know below.