The CW’s Arrowverse is packed with incredible heroes -- with multiple shows that are all home to a slew of different supers, it’s no wonder that fans love to cheer on the good guys in this massive DC universe.
Whether it’s the charm of Barry Allen, the kick-butt leadership of Sara Lance, the inspirational work of Supergirl… or just Oliver Queen doing a salmon ladder with his shirt off, there are so many reasons to love the heroes of the Arrowverse.
However, there are plenty of reasons to adore the villains, too. The bad guys of the Arrowverse aren’t just two dimensional evil people with plans to take over the world.
They can be just as fascinating, charming and relatable as the heroes, and there have even been times that we’ve ended up cheering for the bad guy, because they are just so much cooler than the heroes of the piece.
Not caught up in complicated moral conundrums, dressed to the nines (usually in the obligatory black villain-leather), with a smirk and a wink and a devil-may-care approach to their powers, these bad guys are incredibly appealing… so much so that we even prefer them to the heroes.
With that said, here are the 16 Arrowverse Villains Who Are Way Better Than The Heroes.
16 Music Meister
Villain… or secretly heroic inter-dimensional being just looking to spread a little love in the world? It’s hard to tell with the ridiculously charming Music Meister, who popped up for a Supergirl/The Flash crossover musical episode -- which was one of the most fun episodes of each series so far.
This Glee reunion (all three stars appeared in the series together) includes some incredible music numbers and ends with Music Meister revealing that he’s not actually just a bank-robbing, power-stealing villain, but a sucker for romance who felt the need to remind Kara and Barry that they could be saved by their loved ones, too.
Not only is Music Meister charming and doing evil to mend some broken hearts, but he’s got some fancy footwork to boot.
15 Golden Glider
Lisa Snart may not be as much of a fan favorite as her brother is, but we love this villainous lady just the same. This complicated criminal seems a little heartless at first, but the more we see of her, the more her appeal grows.
From the moment she put on a blonde wig and charmed her way into Cisco’s heart (and lab), she’s made it clear that she’s more than happy to use her appeal to her advantage -- but given that it’s usually something she does to save her beloved older brother, we can forgive her toying with Cisco.
Her good motives are mixed up with a tough life and a kind of self-sufficiency that is envy-inducing… as is her motorbike.
14 Slade Wilson
Just like Lisa Snart, Slade Wilson has worked with the heroes as well as against them. Originally one of Oliver Queen’s only friends on the island, Wilson was driven mad with Mirakuru and the knowledge that Oliver didn’t save Shado when he could.
He ended the life of Oliver’s mother, yet the two have a love/hate relationship that we can’t get enough of. This season, Slade reached out to Oliver for help to find his son, launched a team up that fans want to see lots more of in the future.
These two men are so similar, with their gruff strength and moral quandaries, that it can be difficult sometimes to really see either as a pure hero or villain.
13 Killer Frost
The frosty alter-ego of mild-mannered Caitlin Snow is certainly a lot cooler than her heroic half, and while the two struggled to co-exist for a long time, by this season they’ve found a balance that is a whole lot of fun to watch.
Frost has a very different style to Caitlin, and it would be a lie to say that her white hair and bad-girl black leather isn’t more appealing than the sweet colors that Caitlin wears.
Her attitude is a lot sharper, too, with the kind of sass that we love to get from these sometimes-villains who will still help out (begrudgingly) when needed. Frost isn’t truly a killer anymore, and she’s slowly becoming one of the best members of Team Flash.
12 Mick Rory
Speaking of sass, the gruff Mick Rory may be a hero now, but he’s still got a whole lot of villain in him. Now one of the Legends, Heatwave got his start fighting the Flash, and came on board the time-traveling team because of Captain Cold.
Over the past few seasons, he’s grown from a fairly two-dimensional thug to one of the best members of the Legends team. He still loves doling out a good beat down, and his sheer joy in battle is phenomenal to watch.
Always ready with a sarcastic comment, a beer, and a willingness to question why they can’t just stroll in and steal things, Mick is the perfect foil to dyed in the wool heroes like Nate Heywood and Ray Palmer.
11 Malcolm Merlyn
The Dark Archer may be presumed dead (for now -- however, this is the Arrowverse, after all), but that doesn’t mean that fans have given up on him yet. Like so many of our favorite bad guys, he’s not a villain through and through, either.
From the start, Merlyn has been devoted (in his own, murderous way) to his family -- including his illegitimate daughter Thea. He’s suave and complicated and doesn’t feel the need to follow the same code as the heroes, but he’s willing to team up with them to take on a greater evil.
Plus, of course, his League training make him incredibly talented, and a match for even the Green Arrow, Oliver Queen himself.
10 Eobard Thawne
The Reverse Flash is definitely a bad guy through and through (no grey areas here), but there’s no denying that he’s very, very good at being bad.
His original evil plan took a kind of careful planning and scheming that led to him spending months and months as a mentor to his arch-enemy, driving him to become a better hero just so that Eobard could use his powers to help himself.
Thawne is the ultimate nemesis, and even being erased from existence didn’t stop him from figuring out how to return and form the Legion of Doom, which is just plain impressive.
Plus, of course, we’ll be forever grateful for the fact that Eobard’s plotting led to the death of Eddie Thawne, which left Iris available to fall in love with Barry…
9 Baby Dominator
While the rest of the Arrowverse deals with terrifying big bads who have complex and convoluted master plans, the Legends have their own style of freak of the week villain, like the Baby Dominator, which might just be the cutest villain of the Arrowverse (although we must admit that Beebo is pretty adorable, too).
Gumball’s episode was not just a perfect homage to the greatest movies of the ‘80s, it was a perfect example of villains who aren’t really villainous, as the Dominator Queen threatened to tear a town apart in her search of her baby.
Also, childhood Ray got a jump start on his heroics when he went up against the terrifying NSA agents to try and save his friend.
8 Trickster Family
When it comes to villains who really, really enjoy being villainous, the Tricksters have to be some of the best. This father/son team (not forgetting wife and mom Prank) are the masters of zany crime, using altered toys and crazy costumes to pull off their plans.
The two stymied Team Flash the first time they met, before the Trickster returned for an incredible Christmas episode that saw this evil family really getting into the spirit of the season.
In a universe where many of the bad guys are gritty and grimdark, the Trickster family is the perfect example of the kind of villain that The Flash does best; like King Shark and Gorilla Grodd, these are true comic book bad guys, and we love them for it.
7 Maxwell Lord
Definitely a villain on the more realistic end of the spectrum, Maxwell Lord is a Supergirl villain who isn’t an alien, android, or other superpowered being. Instead, he’s just an ordinary human… with a genius level intellect, a lot of impressive tech, and a serious mistrust of… well, everyone.
Of course, there’s no denying that he’s charming and brilliant, and his refusal to be blindly admiring of superheroes is actually quite refreshing. He’s trying to be a hero and a protector in his own way, and he’s even become willing to help out when it’s obviously in everyone’s best interests.
Smart, witty, just a little arrogant and a desire to help? That barely sounds like a bad guy at all.
6 The Doppëlgangers
When The Flash first created the multiverse with the introduction of Earth-2, it was an amazing day for comic book fans… but more than that, it gave everyone the chance to see their favorite heroes as bad guys.
From the amazing Reverb who taught Cisco a lot about the extent of his powers as Vibe, to Killer Frost (before Caitlin was dealing with her Earth-1 Frosty side), to every other good-guy-gone bad in the Arrowverse, the doppëlgangers are a whole lot of fun.
Also, of course, we could never leave out Black Siren, the Earth-2 evil version of Laurel Lance, who actually has a canary cry (as well as a black leather wardrobe) and who has now become a regular part of the Earth-1 roster of villains.
5 Hunter Zolomon
As another Flash villain with a penchant for a ridiculously complex plan, we’ve got to give Zolomon (aka Zoom, aka The Flash, aka Jay Garrick) props for topping Eobard Thawne when it comes to long-term impersonations.
Once again, the Flash spends months with someone that he sees as a friend, only to find that it was his greatest enemy all along… and we love this one all the more because he managed it after Barry should have learned his lesson the first time around.
Zoom is especially fascinating as a villain because while he’s trying to play the hero, it isn’t because he’s a complicated and messy human… it’s because he got kinda bored being the biggest bad out there, and decided to jump dimensional barriers in order to have some fun.
4 Gypsy and Breacher
Cisco clearly has a thing for the bad girls, as after his fling (of sorts) with Golden Glider, he ended up falling for the (much less criminally inclined) Gypsy… who has a serious problem with Cisco, seeing as he uses his power to create breaches between worlds, and it’s her job to prevent anyone from travelling between universes.
These two star crossed lovers had some serious chemistry from the start, and their relationship only got better with time as Cisco brought Gypsy around to his way of thinking.
Things only got better when Breacher got involved, too, although he’s not really a villain -- it just seems that way to Cisco when he meets the very protective (and truly kick-butt) father of his new squeeze.
3 Thinker and Mechanic
The Arrowverse isn’t done with this dynamic duo just yet, as Barry and his friends struggle to find a way to match the incredible intellect and forward-planning of the Thinker.
Fans are especially enjoying his new body-switching power, as multiple cast members get to put their own spin on the evilly charming and increasingly (frighteningly) brilliant character.
The real star of this pairing, however, is Mechanic, his brilliant partner and the only one who seems able to get under his skin. A gifted manipulator herself, Mechanic may end up being the key to bringing down her true love as he becomes too powerful for his own good… and we can’t wait to see it happen (assuming, of course, that it does).
2 Damien and Nora Darhk
Damien Darhk has been a villain for more than one of the Arrowverse heroes, and while he may not have been a fan-favorite in Arrow, he’s certainly becoming one for the Legends of Tomorrow.
After nearly destroying the world and bringing dark magic to the world of Arrow, the evil Darkh was finally taken down… but that didn’t stop him being convinced out of the timeline by Reverse Flash in order to become part of the Legion of Doom, or later being resurrected by his daughter, Nora, to work for Mallus and attempt to take down time yet again.
Magical, powerful, suave, and always in a suit, this is one incredible villain, and now that Nora has joined him in the quest for evil, it just makes the family Darhk all the more fun.
1 Captain Cold
While we love all of these other Arrowverse bad guys, there can be only one who we love more than every other hero: the brilliant snark of Leonard Snart.
Captain Cold is so much more than the older brother and protector to Golden Glider, the partner in crime of Mick Rory, and the reluctant Legend that ended up saving the world, he's also one of the coolest (pun intended) villains to ever grace the Arrowverse.
Who else could pull off a furry parka with style, or make sitting in the dark with a reindeer mug look cool? Who else could rob a bank with a raised eyebrow and melt the heart of everyone watching?
Despite his death, fans keep hoping to see him return -- and while he’s had a few cameos, there can never be enough Captain Cold in the Arrowverse.
Can you think of any other Arrowverse villains who are better than the heroes? Have your say in the comment section!