They say that the best hero is only judged by their best villain. As comic books have gone on and superheroes have gotten more and more powerful, so have their enemies.
Long gone are the days of a good guy swinging through the streets and taking out basic gangsters. Today’s comic books often see the entire universe in peril at the hands of an overpowered, godlike being.
In this list, we’re going to take a look at the most powerful bad guys in all of comics. Ones that can’t be taken down by just one hero. These miscreants often find themselves facing down dozens and dozens of do-gooders.
Luckily for them, they have a variety of powers that make them a formidable threat to all of humanity. We’re talking baddies who can alter time, shape reality with the snap of a finger, and are so mentally unstable that it becomes their power.
On paper defeating these foes would be borderline impossible. Some are so strong that they have readers crying foul on the writer for creating unbelievable odds. However, isn’t seeing heroes, who should be counted out against these antagonists, rising to the occasion and showing the world that justice pays? We sure think so.
Without further ado, here are the 18 Most Unfairly Overpowered Supervillains.
Born En Sabah Nur in ancient Egypt, Apocalypse was the first mutant ever born. His powers were unheard of at the time and led to him being treated as a god. Apocalypse really dug this and believes that today’s world should feel the same.
Most famously, the big bad can grow to tremendous sizes, a power seen in many cartoons and video games. That would be enough for most villains, but not Apocalypse.
He can also shapeshift, teleport, distort reality, control minds, boost other mutants’ powers, and heal himself. That’s just scratching the surface as Apocalypse claims he has yet to tap into his full potential.
Apocalypse has been behind many of the X-Men’s worst days. He turned Angle on his teammates and had him join his Four Horsemen, infected Scott Summers’ son with a techno-organic virus, and conquered earth during the alternate reality Age of Apocalypse arc.
The groundbreaking storyline The Death of Superman introduced the world to one of the most powerful forces of nature: Doomsday. He killed Superman. That should be enough.
The beast was bread on Krypton in hopes of creating the ultimate killing machine. Mission accomplished. In addition to its spiky protrusions, Doomsday possesses superhuman strength, speed, and stamina.
Unlike the majority of people on earth, Doomsday possess the ability to learn from its mistakes. Anything that originally hurt the creature does no damage the second time around. Making Doomsday stronger and more unpredictable following each battle.
The only ways the monster has been defeated is by incapacitating it. Big D’s been tied to an asteroid and flung into space, split between teleporters, and even stranded at the end of time. One way or another, Doomsday has always returned.
16 Mr. Mxyzptlk
Mr. Mxyzptlk is the least physically imposing character on this list. Don’t let his diminutive size and elfish nature fool you, Mxy can be as dangerous as they come. T
he bowler-wearing, cigar-chomper is an Imp from the Fifth Dimension. This means he has access to two more dimensions than most people, Superman included.
The trickster generally uses his reality warping powers to play harmless pranks on Big Blue. Past high jinx included making the mayor sound like a donkey and turning the world into a chessboard.
This was all amateur stuff compared to what he mustered up in What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
After spending 2,000 years being mischievous, Mxyzptlk decided it was time to spend 2,000 years being evil and destroy earth simply because he could. Superman had no choice but to break his “no killing” policy and put an end to the Imp’s plans.
What happens when you take one part Professor X, one part Magneto, and remove any and all sense of humanity? You get Onslaught. When Charles Xavier rendered his former friend catatonic in a fit of rage, Magneto’s psyche entered Xavier’s mind, creating dark, alternate persona.
Onslaught possessed not only the abilities of Xavier and Magneto, but he could alter reality itself. With all of these raw, untapped powers, Onslaught outranked every Omega Level mutant on earth.
After capturing the son of Reed and Sue Richards, Onslaught planned on transforming the human race into one shared consciousness, under his control. It would take the entire combined forces of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes to take down this colossal threat.
After the Hulk ruptured his armor, members of the Fantastic Four and Avengers flew into Onslaught. This not only destroyed the villain but sent the heroes spiraling into an alternate dimension.
Every good comic book universe worth their weight has their own devil-like figure. Image Comics got that right very early one when Todd McFarlane created Malebolgia.
The behemoth from the underworld had one goal in mind, destroy God and heaven itself. Although, he isn’t the actual Satan (he would be revealed later), the ruler of the Eight Sphere of Hell was Al Simmons’ main antagonist throughout Spawn’s first 100 issues.
In addition to strength, telepathy, shapeshifting, and being omnipotent within his dimension, Malebolgia’s greatest power was the ability to create an army of Hellspawns to do his bidding. This would prove to be his ultimate downfall.
His greatest inductee, Al Simmons eventually grew powerful enough to take down and behead the demon who made him.
The dark horse pick on this list, Nightmare may not be a household name, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a threat. The ruler of the Dream Dimension, the realm all humans enter while they sleep.
Here, Nightmare is virtually omnipresent and omnipotent. This is where he does the bulk of his dirty work, tormenting all of those who slumber. He’s kind of like the Freddy Kruger of the Marvel Universe.
Nightmare has done battle with the bulk of Marvel’s supernatural heroes like Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider. If humanity would cease to sleep, Nightmare would no longer exist. Thankfully for the demon, this would drive each and every person insane. So, he’s not going anywhere.
Rumor has it, Nightmare is pegged to be the villain in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel and people the world over are going to have a string of their own bad dreams.
12 Cyborg Superman
Although he began as a dark take on the Fantastic Four, Hank Henshaw quickly became one of Superman’s most powerful and deadly enemies. After the Man of Steel died at the hands of Doomsday, Henshaw was one of four imposters to wear the “S.”
It was quickly revealed that his plans were far less heroic than those of the Last Son of Krypton’s. Dubbed the Cyborg Superman, Henshaw was responsible for destroying Coast City, the hometown of Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
Most battles see his body seemingly destroyed, but death has never stopped Cyborg Superman. His technopathic powers allow him to jump from machine to machine, granting him immortality.
From a Manhunter robot to loose appliances, Henshaw’s consciousness has inhabited it all. The only thing he wishes for more than the death of Superman is his own final demise, making him extremely dangerous.
11 Absorbing Man
Carl “Crusher” Creel is a big, dumb guy with a ridiculous amount of untapped power. The trickster god Loki gifted Creel with the ability to turn his body into whatever he touched.
Although he generally uses this talent to become metal, for extra punching power, Absorbing Man has absorbed a plethora of materials like glass, rock, Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and even cocaine.
In the Earth X universe, Absorbing Man reached his full potential. He was able to consume the artificial intelligence Ultron, granting him the abilities to absorb knowledge.
This allowed him to recall any power that he previously possessed, making him deadlier than ever. His godlike powers allowed him to even kill most of the Avengers. At one point, he was powerful enough to absorb the entirety of Manhattan.
Michael Korvac was your average expert computer hacker from an alternate future until his body was experimented on by the Badoon. The procedure turned him into a cyborg with the ability to siphon energy from any source.
While hacking the world-eating Galactus’ ship (like you do), Korvac was imbued with the Power Cosmic. This granted him with way too many powers like the ability to create life, astral projection, create interdimensional portals, and an overall cosmic awareness. Korvac was even able to ditch his robotic body and create a new “Perfect Human” form.
With his deity-like abilities, Korvac decided to play god. He traveled to earth, intending on turning it into a utopia. While battling not just the Avengers, but the Guardians of the Galaxy, and cosmic beings Odin and Uatu, Korvac easily murders his heroic attackers. This being comic books, the slain heroes would soon return to life.
9 The Sentry/The Void
All Robert Reynolds wanted to do was be remembered. He used to be a superhero known as the Sentry and had teamed up with the best the Marvel Universe had to offer like Spiderman, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four.
With the power of a “Million Exploding Suns,” Reynolds was one of the strongest heroes of all time. He removed memories of him from the entire world to ensure their safety from his archenemy, the Void.
The only problem is, the Sentry and the Void are one and the same. Two halves of the same person. The Void’s powers threaten to destroy the universe when the Sentry’s activate.
Sentry would be a villain in his own right when he joined Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers. In exchange for helping with his mental issues, the Sentry would do the Green Goblin’s murderous biddings.
8 The Joker
Despite not having any cosmic or reality altering abilities, the Joker is definitely preposterously overpowered. It makes sense too, if somebody is going to go toe to toe with Batman time after time, they had better be as durable as the Dark Knight.
The Clown Prince of Crime is able to take what would normally be one’s greatest weakness, his insanity, and turn it into his strength. His wild unpredictability has allowed him to kill his way through Gotham City, claiming the lives of Jason Todd, Commissioner Gordon’s Wife Sarah, and countless civilians.
The serial killer clown has been able to beatings that normal folks couldn’t recover from. He’s also been seemingly killed off many times, including his first appearance, only to come crawling back with a smile on his face. To make matters worse, there are currently three separate Jokers running amuck in the streets of Gotham.
7 Vandal Savage
Immortality isn’t that much of a power if you don’t know what to do with it. Vandal Savage, who began life as a caveman in 50,000 BCE has definitely made the most of his time on earth.
He’s ruled over hundreds of civilizations, each under a different name. He’s been called Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Vlad the Impaler. Savage even lived as Cain, the first murderer. His incredible ability to resurrect from any fatal injury means that he can never truly be stopped.
His thousands and thousands of years of life experience have allowed Vandal to not only accrue a massive fortune to his name, but it has also made him a cunning tactician. There is hardly anything that Vandal Savage has yet to see.
While Mephisto isn’t the literal devil in the Marvel Universe, he is a Hell-lord. Ruling over the realm that he refers to Hades, Mephisto has the ability to create illusions, shapeshift, capture souls, and manipulate time and space. Also, he wouldn’t be a satanic being if he couldn’t create Faustian deals that tend to blow up in the face of those who accept.
Although he is an otherworldly being, Mephisto enjoys meddling in the lives of mortals. He is fascinated in breaking the wills of superheroes like Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and Silver Surfer. Hoping to force them into turning to darker, more evil ways.
He was the main antagonist in the bungled Spiderman arc, One More Day. That means, in addition to the rest of his abilities, he also possesses the power to create terrible storylines.
5 Molecule Man
Owen Reece is so stupidly powerful that for the longest time, he had no clue just how vast his abilities were. He has the extremely 1960s origin of, “being bombarded with atomic-powered radiation while working for ‘ACME Atomics Corporation.’” This granted him control over literally anything made up of molecules. That’s pretty much everything!
He was originally a low-level thorn in the Fantastic Four’s side, believing he could only affect inorganic matter. Once he realized his true potential, all bets were off. He found out that not only can he alter matter, but he can create and destroy entire universes on a whim. A far cry from the days of covering Long Island in a bubble.
Some variations of the Marvel Universe posit that Molecule Man is the lynchpin holding the multiverse together. If he were to die, so would all of existence.
4 Superboy Prime
There are plenty of people out there who whine and cry, saying that Superman is unfairly powered. That he is capable of doing anything and that no villain is believable.
They hate his boy scout mentality and think he’s a relic of a bygone era that’s passed him by. Sounds like he’d make a pretty interesting bad guy, no? Well, that’s where Superboy Prime comes in.
He’s an alternate earth Superman who’s been driven insane. Also, he has all of Supes’ powers from the Silver Age-- way before he was nerfed.
Prime has shown to be so powerful that he can not only move planets, but he once punched a hole in reality itself. Oh, his powers got an even bigger boost when he joined the Sinestro Corps. There’s just too much going on.
When you think of the big bad of the DC Universe, you think of Darkseid. He is a Fourth World god hell-bent on finding the Anti-Life Equation, a mathematical formula that has the ability to wipe out all of existence. When he accomplished this in Final Crisis, Darkseid ruled over a dying reality.
Aside from his ludicrous strength, speed, and impenetrable hide, Darkseid loves to finish off opponents with his patented Omega Beams. These ocular lasers can follow and track down just about any victim and offer them instant death.
When death is too good of a punishment, Darkseid opts for the Omega Sanction. As seen in the closing moments of Final Crisis and the Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, the Omega Sanction forces its victim to live agonizing life after life, constantly dying, throughout different periods of time.
The conquering villain has been a cosmic threat since he debuted back in 1973. He’s been the center of just about every arc involving the word “Infinity.” He’s got a whole slew of powers like strength, energy blasts, and telepathy.
If these all seem a bit too run-of-the-mill for you don’t worry, his power levels go through the roof when he gets his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet. Once he pops that bad boy on, he can manipulate time, space, reality, and everything else in between. At one point, he even erased half of the universe’s living things from existence simply to impress Death.
Thanos has been much teased within the MCU, making appearances in the first two Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Moviegoers will finally be able to see the mad Titan flex his muscle in this year’s Avengers: Infinity War.
1 The Anti-Monitor
The main villain in 1985’s epic DC event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, doesn’t destroy planets, or galaxies, or a universe. No, he destroys universes-- plural.
The massive entity from the antimatter universe has a litany of powers including invulnerability, reality warping, and according to his profile on DC’s website, “extreme cosmic power.” All of his abilities are as impressive as they are vague.
Ol’ Anti poses such a threat to all forms of existence, that he is only busted out when writers need a villain with truly nigh-on insurmountable odds.
Aside from his universe-destroying debut that saw him responsible for the deaths of millions, if not billions, including the Flash and Supergirl, he returned for the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night. The former saw his powers magnified even more while acting as the Yellow Lanterns’ “Guardian of Fear.”
Can you think of any other supervillains who are unfairly overpowered? Sound off in the comment section!