Superheroes may rely on supervillains for action and drama, seeing their powers turned against them or pushed to their limits, but you don’t need heat vision or super-strength to be truly terrifying. Sometimes, all it takes is a criminal blessed with determination, and an opponent pushing them to their true potential. Suicide Squad will be putting the street-level criminals of the DC Comics Universe into the spotlight, but the film's roster is just a small sample of the comic villains specifically tailored to the dark alleys of Gotham, Metropolis, and everything in between.
Here is our list of the 10 Most Dangerous Comic Book Criminals.
No one knows his story, his motivations, or his endgame - but everyone knows his name: Joker. Over the years, Batman's arch-nemesis has been portrayed as a serial killer, a crime boss, a madman, and an agent of chaos, in nearly every form of entertainment. Every fan may have their favourite, but The Joker is so fragmented and crazed, it's impossible to even call one version more faithful than any other. Without any superpower, super weapon, or even backup, Joker's calculated mayhem hasn't just made him a comic book icon, but one of the most complicated and terrifying villains in history. Not bad for a guy with nothing but a knife, a pistol, and a plan.
Born with a rare genetic condition that caused his skin to grow hard and scaly like a reptile, Waylon Jones was an outcast, bullied by schoolmates and abused and abandoned by an alcoholic aunt. As he grew bigger and badder, a job wrestling alligators for the circus seemed a waste of his talents. Waylon knew how to be tough, and knew a life of crime was his destiny. Taking the name Killer Croc, he set out to organize and rule the criminals of Gotham City, proving a serious player even without his bulletproof skin and superstrength. He would do battle with Batman too many times to count, but what he lacked in brains, he made up for in brutality. Did we mention he's also a cannibal?
Unlike most criminal masterminds, the Prince of Puzzlers can't resist telling the absolute truth. But his need to prove he's the smartest person in the room means The Riddler can't do anything simply. His green costume and obsession with riddles and brainteasers made Edward Nigma a bit of a joke to mainstream audiences, but comic fans have seen him develop into a twisted, terrifying and truly dangerous criminal over the years. The well-known "Hush" storyline saw Riddler pulling the strings behind every single Batman villain as part of his plan to bring down Bruce Wayne once and for all. More recently, "Batman: Zero Year" saw Riddler take complete control over Gotham, turning the city to ruins until a citizen could solve his riddles. Puzzles aren't too scary, but in the hands of The Riddler, they can be fatal.
Spider-Man knew that the Alien symbiotic behind his black suit was bad news, and when it merged with Eddie Brock to become Venom, his most popular enemy was born - but not his most dangerous. When Brock found himself sharing a cell with serial killer psychopath Cletus Kasady, he wanted out - fast. His alien partner came to the rescue, but left its child behind, soon entering Kasady's bloodstream - and just like that, Carnage was born. What was most horrifying about the murderous rampages that followed wasn't the villain's powers, but placing them in Kasady's hands. It was the madman's belief that murder was the mark of true courage that made him a menace, meaning he's just as deadly without the suit. He was created to show what DC's Joker could do if given superpowers, and Carnage has yet to disappoint.
What’s more tragic than seeing an embodiment of law and order flipped on its head, embracing crime, chaos and violence instead? The answer is a man who can’t even decide between the two. Every Batman fan knows the tragic story of Harvey Dent, once an upstanding District Attorney who develops a split personality when half of his face is burned with acid. Although the darker side of his character may be more than a little crazed, it still has access to the brilliant intelligence and knowledge of Gotham’s underworld. The result is Two-Face, a crime boss who sees every attack against Gotham as an opportunity. But what makes the villain truly dangerous is his signature coin, used to make nearly every decision facing his fractured mind. Sure, he may have become predictable over the years, but when the flip of a coin means Harvey Dent may help Batman save the day – or commit an unspeakable act of violence, he becomes a villain unlike any other the Dark Knight has had to face.