Once upon a time, the comic book worlds of superheroes and supervillains were solely nerd culture. However, as the age of superhero movies has dawned, they have jumped into the pop culture and are marveled by countless fans all across the globe. Almost every kid has a favorite hero, be it Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Thor, or any of the many other iconic good guys from the comic book world.
However, as often as fans adore heroes, they also adore a good supervillain. After the epic premiere of DC's The Dark Knight, everyone was abuzz about The Joker. Any X-Men fan is enamored with Magneto as much as Professor X. These villains become just as fascinating, if not more, than their heroic counterparts.
With Marvel's Avengers 4 teasing the evolution of the Avengers' roster, one must wonder what that will mean for older heroes and villains. Obviously, some will head for retirement. Others, though, may continue on with their work despite their age.
Keeping that in mind, and knowing that comic books and movies must evolve with the times, there's merit to looking at old versions of different characters and seeing how different they become. It's also interesting to ponder which of these comic book supervillains are even more intimidating when they're older.
Here are 15 Supervillains Who Became Stronger With Age (And 10 Who Became Much Weaker).
25 Stronger: Ego
Ego's strength is pretty self-explanatory: he devours other planets and he becomes even more menacing. As a supervillain, his plans, motives, and the like all circulate around his vanity and his drive to make the entire universe in his image. After all, he's fathered many powerful children and is a monstrous, living planet with superpowers. Why wouldn't Ego think he's perfect?
The longer he's alive, the more planets and power he accumulates.
While his younger years shaped his ideals, the amassed strength of his older form is what makes him such a menace. If heroes didn't step in his way, he'd only grow stronger and stronger until the entire universe was his.
24 Weaker: Mystique
While a cunning, adaptive supervillain with endless possibilities at her fingertips, the older Mystique gets, the more vulnerable she becomes. Mystique's slow aging gave her boundless time to become embittered with the world, giving her motive to retaliate against humans. However, it's her innate desire to find belonging that slowly wears down that bitter resolve.
As a shapeshifter, Mystique has changed into many forms and fallen in love, had children, and made several deep connections with people on both sides of the fence. The more connections she has, the more conflicted she gets and the more she see-saws between sides. Her age give her a level of indecision that hurts her as a supervillain.
23 Stronger: Venom
With the recent Venom movie, this violent symbiote is on everyone's minds. He's one of Spider-Man's most beloved supervillain foes. Classically, Venom starts off in the body Peter Parker, but after its insidious nature starts to effect him, it moves onto troubled scientist Eddie Brock.
Venom has paired with many people during his time, but he only gets stronger with each person. His tools of persuasion, his knowledge of people, they grow as he leaches. Though his aging isn't quite normal, the older Venom gets, the stronger a supervillain he becomes.
22 Stronger: Loki
Loki is the second son of Odin, brother of Thor, and the God of Mischief. He was a typical youngest child in a family of immortals. That is, until it was revealed that he wasn't an Asgardian but a Frost Giant, their mortal enemies. Then, well-meaning, misguided Loki turned into an angry, vengeful adversary with wavering allegiences.
As an immortal god, aging doesn't effect him the way it does the average supervillain.
However, he lived for a very long time as a good guy. With age, his true origins were exposed, and that made him turn. His age was what made him so high-risk. A longer life gives him more frustrations, power, and motive.
21 Weaker: Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn is one of the newest supervillains adored by fans. She was created specifically for Batman: The Animated Series and quickly grew on viewers. Now, she's one of the most talked about bad guys. While Quinn lacks superpowers, she makes up for it in madness. Combine this with her fearless fighting, and she packs a punch.
However, no matter how cool an older Harley Quinn may be, her lack of powers really hinder her. Losing the limber strength of her young body leaves her an insane, weakened elder. Not out for the count, but certainly much weaker.
20 Stronger: Magneto
Magneto is such a strong X-Men villain because some of the things he says make total sense. After all, the Sentinels alone are enough proof that humans are too prejudice against mutants. However, it's his methods that are what make him a supervillain. With a master plan of destroying all humans, how could he not be?
Age itself isn't what makes an older Magneto stronger - it's time. Giving him more time to be enraged over mutant injustices, to strengthen his resolve in his plans, only make this powerful foe all the more dangerous.
19 Weaker: Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus is a tragic supervillain, but a supervillain nonetheless. His toxic parental relationships, pitted with the failure of his only positive human relationship, left him lonely, twisted, and devoted only to science. Doc Oc's appearance in Spider-Man's life shakes him up enough to nearly quit heroism, but ultimately he just becomes a well-known member of his bad guy roster.
Otto Octavius already starts off as a fairly unhealthy man, and aging does him little justice - but not much.
In some stories, the years of damage his body takes from the arms and his villainy are actively sending him to his grave. Though a powerful early adversary, Doctor Octopus does not age well at all.
18 Stronger: Granny Goodness
Granny Goodness is a very strange villain hailing from Darkseid's domain, Apokolips. Goodness was taken from her parents to become one of his elite fighters. She showed such skill in mind control and training obedience that Darkseid quickly brought her into the fold. Moreover, they use her powers of control to run the planet's orphanage and to train the strongest warriors.
Age has only made Granny Goodness stronger. Her abilities with mind control have strengthened as she honed them on all the orphans of Apokolips. Considering she's lived this long while on that brutal planet, Granny is a supervillain to be reckoned with.
17 Stronger: Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy is one of the most misunderstood supervillains who deserves better. As a young, aspiring botanist transformed by her colleague and lover into what she has become, Ivy became so disillusioned with humanity that she simply wanted to live with plants and protect them. Ivy wants so badly to be gone that, at one point, she leaves Gotham and lives on an island, alone, finally unbothered and able to care for her lovelies. That is, until people decide to destroy her island.
Between her devotion to plants and her hatred of humans, this eco-criminal will only become more isolated and angry with time. That is, until she and her plants are finally left alone.
16 Weaker: The Riddler
Though delightful and witty, The Riddler ultimately is just a man who loves riddles. His campiness has made him a beloved, Iconic Batman villain, featured in the series Gotham, Arkham games, and several films. The Riddler is an unexpected, unique figure in Gotham's sea of angry, bitter, broken supervillains.
However, as said, he is only a man. A love of trouble and riddles can only take a person so far.
In his old age, The Riddler will easily become one of the most useless foes. The poor man, by that time, should just retire and find joy in nursing home pranks instead of taking on a whole city.
15 Stronger: Shredder
Shredder began as a lower member of the Foot Clan, a weak immigrant wanting to learn how to become strong to avenge his brother. However, as he aged, he climbed the ranks and eventually took charge of the organization. Unlike many supervillains, he didn't begin being a threat when he started. He only was a danger when he was older.
Furthermore, Shredder has a propensity for coming back to life. The older he gets, the stronger his organization becomes and the more warped his body is. Age and experience only extend his malevolent reach and make him a stronger foe.
14 Weaker: Catwoman
Between her slick robberies and her steamy romance with Batman, Catwoman is one of the most beloved dark knight villains. Selina Kyle steals to earn a living or for the thrill, never to deliberately hurt others. While she's still selfish and crooked, she's not evil.
As she ages, though, her deeds conflict with her personal life. In many comics, her feelings for Batman start to make her more confused about her cat burglary. Furthermore, the comics in which they have a daughter encourage her to avoid wrong-doings to protect her. Catwoman grows weak with age only because her life becomes too complex for such thrills. It makes her a less effective supervillain.
13 Stronger: Darkseid
Darkseid is the god-like, cruel overlord of Apokolips, a desolate planet of war and destruction. His ambitions are to conquer the universe and eliminate free will. Makes control easier, doesn't it? Though the Justice League are able to thwart his advances on earth, he still remains one of their most dangerous supervillains and still manages to advance on other parts of the galaxy.
With his immortality, his growing forces, and his relentless conquest on the universe, the longer Darkseid is around the more dangerous he becomes.
He may always be a dire threat to the cosmos. That's the damage an aging, yet ageless, supervillain can do.
12 Stronger: Ra's Al Ghul
Ra's Al Ghul is a vital villain in the DC Universe. Not only is he the leader of the League of Assassins, but he also is the main user of the Lazarus Pit, a magical spring that makes him nearly invincible.
With time and age, Ra's AL Ghul has become a brilliant, brutal leader of the assassin and has also figured out perfect scape plans to ensure his ability to resurrect in the Lazurus Pit. Though he puts himself in danger for his plans, he nearly always knows how to get himself kicking again. Though not the most formidable or super-powerful, Ra's Al Ghul is one of the most relentless and domineering supervillains.
11 Weaker: Doctor Doom
Hands down, Doctor Doom is one of the most powerful, intimidating, and troublesome villains. However, he's also mildly insane and gets bored easily. With time, his sense of reality has become severely warped. His motives range from domination and revenge to boredom and whimsy.
Moreover, one of his most famous times he took over the world with mind control, he found it boring and cheap so he let Namor ruin it. There are even more cases of Doom's plans being executed in warped, psychotic, and sometimes even good ways. Age has made him unpredictable and moody. While a fascinating man with hordes of power, it does make him a weaker supervillain.
10 Stronger: Apocalypse
One of the first mutants ever to exist, Apocalypse terrified his people and they abandoned him. Raised on the credo survival of the fittest and having all his loved ones perish or reject him, he became understandably vengeful towards humanity. He was imprisoned for trying to take over the lands. When he's released, he takes command of other mutants to begin his new conquest.
Furthermore, Apocalypse is so threatening in the X-Men comics is because of his age.
Being trapped under the sands for so many centuries left him ample time to become bitter and vengeful. He already wanted to control the world, but now he would accomplish it even more ruthlessly.
9 Weaker: Galactus
Galactus poses a serious threat to the universe by being one of the few supervillains who doesn't act out of revenge or pain, but simply out of emotionless necessity. To sustain himself, he has to consume planets, after all. Without a sense of morality, Galactus intends to continue this behavior forever. There's no persuading him.
Despite his intimidating intentions and abilities, Galactus' planet consumption doesn't make him stronger, it's more just like food. While he's tremendous when first encountered, older, stronger heroes can run into him many years later and find him equally as strong, not stronger. For example, an aged Thor defended Earth from an older Galactus with only a sword and his daughters.
8 Weaker: Vandal Savage
Likely one of the oldest supervillains the Justice League deals with, Vandal Savage was once a caveman who got turned into a brilliant tactician by a radioactive meteorite. His immortality is unique, however, in that literally nothing can end his life. No matter the destruction to his body, he persists.
Time and age only make Vandal Savage even stronger. The more knowledge and strategy he can learn, the more effective he can become. The only time his age ever weakens him as a supervillain is when everyone else in the world has passed on. By then, it doesn't quite matter that he's changed his ways, does it?
7 Stronger: Kang The Conqueror
Kang the Conqueror began as a 31st century scientist who was too interested in time travel technology. He starts by heading back to ancient Egypt, trying to influence Apocalypse, one of the first mutants. However, he is thwarted and sent further down the path of evil. Over time, his goal becomes to take over earth and other worlds at as many points in time as he can.
Kang's knowledge of certain events and times can give him great power over others, making his aggressive use of time travel all the more dangerous.
The older he gets, the more he accumulates, the more dangerous he becomes. As far as supervillains go, Kang has a particularly unfair advantage.
6 Weaker: Green Goblin
Similar to Batman, the Green Goblin is just an angry rich guy with a lot of tech in a suit. Unlike Batman, though, Green Goblin is hardly as trained, disciplined, or focused. Most often a vindictive, insane Norman Osborn tainted by Goblin serum, the Green Goblin is always doomed by the same serum that empowers him. It may give him strength, but it also tears his mind apart. Harry Osborn, the second Green Goblin, perished when he took too much enhanced serum.
Aging and Green Goblin serum don't mix well. Though he's a fascinating, fun, and maniacal villain, his own power source bars him from living as long other supervillains can.
5 Stronger: Dark Phoenix
The Phoenix Force is a powerful, very dangerous immortal entity that has infected many hosts in the Marvel Universe. Its favorite host, however, is by far the powerful mind and body of Jean Grey. Her already powerful psychic abilities are heighten, giving her the ability to raze or build parts of the universe at will. Together, they are the Dark Pheonix.
While the Phoenix Force is an entity, Jean Grey isn't. However, its attachment to her causes it to hide her in pockets of time to try to prepare her to host its power. With time, the entity and Jean only become more warped and twisted together, forming into one of the most destructive supervillains ever.
4 Weaker: Brainiac
Superman has countless, iconic supervillains to face off against. One of his strongest foes, though, is Brainiac. As a scary meld of technology and compounding intelligence, Brainiac's quests for power, planets, and more are some of the hardest fights Superman has to face. However, Brainiac is possibly his own worst enemy.
While Brainiac himself seems to only grow smarter and more dangerous with time, his compulsive duplicating has created several new adversaries to face off with: Brainiac 5, Brainiac 8, and more.
It seems the more he duplicated, the more likely Brainiac copies were to become autonomous. Actively creating hyper-intelligent heroes with his same technology and knowledge only weakens him with time.
3 Stronger: The Hulk
One of the most celebrated "old" comics is the Old Man Logan series. It follows a post-apocalyptic Earth where Wolverine has given up the claw to try to live as normal of a life that he can. Other aged characters appear, and one of the most startling is The Hulk. Over time, The Hulk has gone mad and now is an aggressive villain, leading a gang with his children.
Hulk is very often cited as one of the strongest Avengers. However, The Hulk's mental capacity deteriorates with age. Because of this, now he's one of the supervillains. A Hulk that's just as strong but completely insane? That's far more powerful and scary than ever before.
2 Weaker: Thanos
Thanos, the brutal conqueror, the ruthless criminal, the man with the most destructive snap, slowly becomes a desolate, depressed person in his old age. His trek across the universe, either for population control or to impress his beloved Death, often ends in success. He accomplishes his goals.
However, as he ages and realizes the emptiness of the universe, he regrets ever making that decision. He even goes back in time to try to stop his younger self. Of course, his younger self breaks his older self in two. Old Thanos is a lonely, remorseful old man. He no longer is one of the great supervillains of lore.
1 Stronger: The Joker
Already violently unpredictable, The Joker is a frightening wild card in any scenario. His "jokes" can be mild annoyances or they can wipe out a city block. There's a reason he's Batman's most iconic foe.
With age, The Joker can only become more insane.
That unpredictability can only increase tenfold and he'd become all the more dangerous. Meanwhile, his aging body and new hindrances could worsen his erratic nature. This morbid clown is already far too likely to end lives on a whim. One could hardly tell what danger he'd pose if he lost his mind even more.
Are there any other supervillains who become more powerful (or weaker) with age? Let us know in the comment section!