Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Strongest Supervillains In History Ranked

When we think of "evil," the characters that come to mind are typically truly sinister beings who've cast their lots far from redemption. Characters like the Joker have killed and maimed innocents for decades without batting an eye, with the latter even gleeful at his victims' expense. In the realm of comic books, supervillains form one of half of the dichotomic narrative on display that ultimately symbolizes the struggle of good versus evil.

Throughout the evolution of comic book storytelling, the word "evil" doesn't quite capture the nature of villainy any longer. In many stories, villains can also be seen as heroes when the narrative is viewed from a wholly different perspective. Often times, characters positioned as villains are multi-layered and sympathetic, with rich histories and stories that help an audience understand the character's actions. What truly defines a villain's grandeur is the opposition the character presents to the hero or heroes of the story. Regardless of motivation, theology, or moral philosophy, a villain's might is what ultimately tests the limits of a hero — or breaks them. 

The colorful pages of comic books have brought us countless villains of all shades and designs. But the toughest villains are the ones whose power feels nearly limitless and who are competently capable of wielding that power for their own destructive ends. With that said, let's dive into history's strongest villains to ever be inked onto the pages of comic books.

15. Ozymandias (DC)

Strength doesn't only come from muscle and destructive abilities; it can also come from the mind. Adrian Veidt, or Ozymandias as his fellow Watchmen cohorts know him, is one such brilliant individual. In the "Watchmen" graphic novel authored by Alan Moore, Veidt is known as the smartest man in the world. Set in an alternate version of the 1980s during a time of geopolitical strife and the looming specter of thermonuclear war with Russia, Veidt has seemingly retired as a superhero, instead using his global influence and wealth to fight the world's battles.

What his fellow heroes don't know is that Veidt has hatched a plot to murder a few million people. This single act is part of a larger scheme to unite the world's governments and avert nuclear holocaust. He does this under the nose of the most god-like being in the known Watchmen universe, Dr. Manhattan, who can see all timelines past, present, and future. Yet with his supreme intelligence, Veidt is able to shroud his plan from the eyes of Manhattan.

After Veidt unleashes an alien squid-like being on New York City, the rest of the Watchmen take him to task for his seeming act of treason and mass murder. Ever the utilitarian, Veidt presents his philosophy in real-time as world leaders come together to combat the unknown menace. In an effort to keep the peace, the heroes remain silent, with the exception of Rorschach. Manhattan ends Rorschach's life and Veidt's scheme works, influencing world powers and the course of history. Someone with that degree of intellect is on an entirely different level.

14. The Redeemer (Image)

Fans of Spawn will recognize this relentless villain. The Redeemer is a soldier of heaven created by angels to combat the forces of Hell, much like Spawn is crafted by the underworld for a similar purpose. The Redeemer pursues Spawn in an effort to snuff out the necroplasmic flame of his existence. While Spawn is, for all intents and purposes, a demon, he is anything but evil. Seeking to right the wrongs of his mortal existence, he protects those who can't protect themselves and viciously doles out a fatal penance to those who have caused the suffering of others. The Redeemer neither cares nor is concerned with Spawn's motivations or desires. By nature of being a Hellspawn, he is the enemy.

Throughout the course of the Spawn comics, there have been multiple Redeemers. Ordinary humans are chosen based on their life circumstances to be imbued with Elemental Fire, transforming them into the celestial being. Redeemers often operate for a limited time and are returned to their human lives following their mission. The humans do not remember their time as Redeemers and continue on as if nothing ever happened. Upon transformation, they channel an unending righteous form of rage that counters the torment and aggression of the Hellspawn. As competent as Spawn has been over the years as a combatant, imagine a heavenly version of Spawn with the same level (or greater) of visceral brutality and power. That's the Redeemer.

13. General Zod (DC)

Superman is likely the most powerful superhero around thanks to his heritage, and there has been no shortage of Kryptonian villains over the years either. General Zod fills the role with ease. He presents an uphill challenge for the Man of Steel simply because of his profession: While he boasts the same powers and abilities as his hero counterpart, he is also an expert in military strategy and combat.

The megalomaniac Kryptonian once staged a coup on Krypton and attempted to seize power over the planet. However, he was captured and sentenced to serve out a term imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. Once released from the Phantom Zone, he attempts to take control of Earth and Superman is forced to put his fellow Kryptonian in his place. On film, Zod appears in the Richard Donner classic "Superman" as well as its sequel "Superman II." He again takes center stage in Zack Snyder's 2013 film "Man of Steel," with his power on full display and his anger over Superman's seeming betrayal of the Kryptonian people fueling his destruction of Earth. Superman — against his own moral code — has no choice but to kill the villain to stop his reign of terror.

12. Hela (Marvel)

Cate Blanchett breathed life into the deliciously wicked and ultra-terrifying Asgardian goddess of death, Hela, in "Thor: Ragnarok." The film portrays Hela as daughter of Odin and, by extension, sister to Thor and Loki, although her comic book origins show that she is Loki's daughter. In the film, "Thor: Ragnarok," Hela is imprisoned in Helheim by her own father, Odin, after a lifetime of bloody incursions within other realms. Unfortunately, her banishment is intrinsically entwined with Odin's life force. Upon his death, she is released and seizes power in Asgard.

In the comics, Hela is appointed goddess of death by Odin himself. She actually rules Helheim — the very place she was seemingly banished to in "Ragnarok." While Hela isn't banished in the comics, she tricks and backstabs her way into gaining more power, often seeking to sabotage Odin or take hold of his soul. In stature and aggression, Hela is formidable. Her strength exceeds typical Asgardians simply due to her lineage as an actual giant. She's handled Thor with ease and has killed countless Asgardians, while sharing her father Loki's ability to create illusions for trickery and deceit. As the goddess of death, she has a relationship with Death, who grants her the ability to harness power from the souls of the dead. She can also kill many opponents by simply touching them. Hela is easily one of the more terrifying — and powerful — villains in Marvel history.

11. Surtur (Marvel)

Just like his actual Norse counterpart, Surtur is the god of the realm Muspelheim in Marvel comics. Much of his Marvel appearances draw upon the actual mythology behind the ancient being. The Nordic tales of Surtur spoke of the being as a Jötunn, or giant, who wielded a flaming sword and would bring about the apocalypse in the era known as Ragnarök. Muspelheim is, in all actuality, the giant's prison: Odin seals him away there to protect Asgard. On the page, Surtur lures the Asgardian forces away from their city by assaulting Earth with his minions. Odin, Thor, and Loki prevent Surtur from destroying the city during the deception.

As an immortal being, Surtur is an imposing force. Fans of the Marvel movies watch him actually fulfill the prophecy of Ragnarök and destroy Asgard in the film "Thor: Ragnarok." However, in that film, he also becomes essential to bringing about the defeat of Hela, Thor's sister. Ultimately, the survivors of Hela's reign determine Asgard is a people, not a place, fleeing as they watch Surtur combat Hela and destroy their beloved city. If Odin and the Asgardian people — already nearly immortals themselves — fear Surtur, then he is certainly not one to be trifled with.

10. Thanos (Marvel)

At one point in time, only the hardened comic book fans of the world would've been able to tell you who Thanos was. Now, Thanos is a pop culture mainstay thanks to his deadly crusade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What those unfamiliar with his comic book origins may not understand, however, is that Thanos is not at all as altruistic as the screen version might have you believe. The Mad Titan was never seeking to eliminate half of life in the known universe in order to create better lives for those that remained; he simply wanted to impress a girl. Except this was no ordinary girl. He had grown infatuated with Lady Death — essentially Marvel's physical embodiment of death.

In Marvel comics, Thanos's evil knows no bounds. Killing nameless and faceless creatures with the snap of an Infinity Gauntlet is heinous and tragic, but would pale in comparison emotionally to killing supposed loved ones. In a targeted strike Thanos even kills his own people on Titan — including his very own children — in a bid to gain Lady Death's attention and approval. While assembling the Infinity Stones gave the Mad Titan his omnipotent power, there is little that can sway his murderous desires.

9. Doomsday (DC)

An enormous ball of rage and fury is about the only way to describe Doomsday. Originally born on Krypton long before civilization existed there, he was subjected to the harsh climate of the primitive planet by an alien scientist. The environment killed him, and the scientist continually cloned him again and again after each death to speed up evolution. After the climate stopped killing him, the planet's brutal predators did the job. Eventually, the scientist created an unstoppable creature. What he didn't count on, however, was that the pain and torment of each death would be encoded in the creature's genetics. Doomsday instinctually views the universe as cruel and is ultimately driven mad with a bloodlust so overwhelming that no living being can stop his rampage of terror.

His claim to fame is simply being the first villain to ever kill Superman. When Doomsday lands in North America, he embarks on a rampage, mercilessly killing every living being in his path. After the majority of the Justice League is bested by the raw strength of the creature, Superman engages the hulking monstrosity in what is likely the most brutal physical combat the Man of Steel has ever participated in. Ultimately, the two super-powered beings beat each other to death. Superman eventually returns, thanks to a spiritual connection in the afterlife with his earthly father, Jonathan Kent, as well as a regenerative process his body undergoes in the Fortress of Solitude.

8. Brainiac (DC)

The collector of worlds, Brainiac is considered one of Superman's more formidable foes. Braniac's level of intellect supersedes humans by several centuries of advanced knowledge and analytical capabilities. He's so smart, in fact, that his evolved mental prowess formulates many of his abilities, including interconnecting his consciousness with other computer systems, possessing other beings, and even transferring knowledge and information to himself from others.

Brainiac is most famous for collecting civilizations for study and preserving his knowledge of alien species so that he remains the most supreme being in the universe. Krypton's own city, Kandor, was shrunk and placed into a bottle for preservation by the villain. He sought to do the same on Earth with Metropolis, though Superman foiled his attempts. Because of his ability to interface with networks and possess living organisms, Brainiac is as close to omniscient as one might get. He has the ability to spread like a virus and hold massive influence over entire populations. He's even learned from his encounters with Superman and developed copious countermeasures to thwart the Man of Steel's strength and aggression. Brainiac is a foe that simply won't ever go away despite Superman's attempt to halt his tyranny in the known DC universe.

7. Lady Death (Marvel)

While she isn't much of a villainous presence, Lady Death has the capability of wreaking havoc should she ever want to. Lady Death is the literal embodiment of death in the Marvel Universe. Think of her as the grim reaper for every living thing across the universe. While death is easily her game, it's not something she takes part in frivolously. Because she is an ultimate force in the universe, she aims to strike a balance between the living and the dead.

Over the course of her existence, she has gained favor from many Marvel villains and characters for simply being what she is. A few of them seek her affection, including Thanos the Mad Titan, and everybody's favorite "Merc with a Mouth," Deadpool. Lady Death took an interest in the crazed mercenary simply because she seemingly had little power over him. Deadpool's infatuation with Lady Death was obvious symbolism for his desire to be released from his perpetual state of self-healing and die. Thanos even became jealous of the mercenary and enacted a plan to separate him from Death. Aside from jealous and lovestruck boys, she also has relationships with arbiters of death, even  those considered gods. Lady Death is a constant in the Marvel Universe. While she embraces a healthy balance of life and death, she has shown that she can bend the rules to suit her needs should she ever want to.

6. Urizen (Image)

In the world of Spawn, Urizen is a dark entity whose status rises above both Heaven and Hell. He existed since the dawn of time, long before either realm, and was initially one of the Elder Gods of the known universe. Urizen existed solely to provide balance to the universe in life and death. He'd consume the souls of the living in order to maintain this balance. His prominence was a threat to the orders of Heaven and Hell, as both sought to fight for the souls of the dead in order to wage war against each other. Ultimately, Heaven and Hell joined forces in an act of desperation and sealed the Elder God away.

This primordial being can't be killed or defeated — it takes a literal act of Heaven and Hell to merely lock the beast away. Once scheming devils within Hell unleash Urizen, he begins a rampage that once again proves his enduring immortality. As an Elder God, Urizen not only has limitless strength, but he can bend the fabric of reality and time. This grants him magnitudes of power that spells doom for those in his path. Even Spawn was mercilessly defeated in battle against the entity. Thankfully, death as a Hellspawn holds little weight and the undead warrior returns to the fight. Again, however, there's no killing Urizen, only sealing him away for another inevitable rampage down the line.

5. Darkseid (DC)

Born into royalty on the planet Apokolips, Prince Uxas was raised in a family not unlike the Lannisters in "Game of Thrones." They were murderous and selfish, constantly seeking power. Uxas eventually killed his own brother in order to obtain the Omega Force for himself. Once he harnessed its power, he became known as Darkseid. As the ruler of Apokolips, he did what all power-hungry despots do — seek more power. His vision of conquest, however, was limitless. Darkseid dreamed of literally bending the free will of all living beings in the universe to his own. To do this, he sought out the fabled Anti-Life Equation — the roadmap for complete control over the minds of all beings within the universe. Fans of the DC Extended Universe films witnessed Darkseid's hunt for Anti-Life in "Zack Snyder's Justice League." 

Darkseid has frequently come into conflict with the Justice League and other DC characters. The Omega Force grants him powers such as fiery Omega beams that he can shoot from his eyes and control at will. He can also administer the Omega Sanction, which was utilized on Batman in "Final Crisis," and causes the target to perceive multiple harsh realities. Darkseid's strength is off the charts — he has contended simultaneously with Kryptonians, Aquaman and Wonder Woman with ease. He also commands legions of Parademons to do his bidding, each of them a captive being from another world who has been transformed to serve Darkseid. There's no question that Darkseid is a truly powerful force in the DC Universe.

4. Mephisto (Marvel)

Demonic and immortal, Mephisto represents the hellish underworld of the Marvel universe. He appears to Johnny Blaze posing as Satan and imbues him with the demon Zarathos to create Ghost Rider. Mephisto also was a source of pain for the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange. When the sorcerer interferes with the dead, an angry Mephisto claims the souls are his. He tortures Dr. Strange and even transforms him into a demon (much like Ghost Rider) for a time. The cunning devil even seeks to erase Peter Parker's history to stop the web-slinger and his offspring from thwarting Mephisto in the future.

Mephisto is one of the more powerful entities in the Marvel universe. He can apparently see across time, while also manipulating others through a variety of means. His magical prowess is unmatched, he can alter minds and memories and even trick victims with illusions. While he is all-powerful, he must obtain a victim's permission in order to hold power over them which is the reason he bargains with those he comes into contact with. Once the deal is made, all bets are off. His magic often exceeds Dr. Strange's own, simply due to not having any limitations. He's been able to square off against titanic forces in the universe like Galactus and survive — a remarkable feat.

3. Trigon (DC)

Trigon is probably DC's closest counterpart to Mephisto — though Trigon's history is drenched in much more blood, if that's even possible. While considered a demon, he is extra-dimensional by nature. He has destroyed entire worlds and while he sought to claim Earth as his own, his own daughter, Raven, stood against him in the newly reformed Teen Titans. In the animated film "Justice League Dark: Apokolips War," the remaining heroes of Earth embark on a last stand against Darkseid. Many heroes perish in the dark, bloody film, and at one point, Raven unleashes Trigon, who first possesses Superman and battles Darkseid. Eventually, Constantine and Raven restore Trigon to his own physical form and he continues waging battle against Darkseid, enjoying the fight and seemingly getting the better of the Apokolptian ruler.

Trigon is ruthless, and arguably one of the most powerful entities in the DC universe. His strength is clearly unmatched, only meeting resistance from Darkseid. He harnesses countless abilities, including telekinetic capabilities and the power to warp space, time and reality. A harbinger of death wherever he goes, he is infamous for his merciless cruelty towards his victims and those he targets for death and destruction.

2. Anti-Monitor (DC)

The Anti-Monitor is the DC villain with the most blood on his hands. At the beginning of the multiverse, the Anti-Monitor was born. His brother, the Monitor, was also born as his opposite on the planet Oa. For years they have come into conflict as the Anti-Monitor sought the corruption and destruction of the multiverse whereas the Monitor was far more benevolent. The Anti-Monitor eventually brought about the end of the multiverse, simultaneously killing every living being within each of the infinite universes and streamlining everything down to a single reality. That move was later reversed and the multiverse was resurrected, but the supreme power of the Anti-Monitor and his sheer will for destruction was made apparent by his genocidal act.

His prominence in the DC universe is known far and wide across several universes, and heroes from many of them have been brought together to combat the threat of the Anti-Monitor. This level of engagement makes the Anti-Monitor the most feared villain across the DC multiverse. His power comes in the form of energy absorption. Due to the nature of his own anti-matter universe, he can absorb energy from entire worlds and even full universes. The results are devastating.

1. Galactus (Marvel)

Before the Big Bang, beings existed in an entirely different universe. One being known as Galan merged with the essence of the universe during the Big Bang and transformed into the cosmic entity we know as Galactus. Not necessarily evil by intent, Galactus's villainy is tied to his nature. A being of his magnitude can only be sustained by consuming entire planets. Thus countless civilizations are killed in the blink of an eye every time Galactus devours a world. Eventually, Galactus finds a herald in the form of the Silver Surfer. He spares the Silver Surfer's home planet, but in return requires him to find and prepare worlds with proper sustenance for Galactus to consume.

Ultimately, the Silver Surfer helps save Earth from destruction by Galactus, but the cosmic superbeing would eventually return. He is capable of turning all matter into energy, which is what fuels his power and drive to find more worlds. Galactus doesn't usually harbor any ill-will toward anyone in particular and is simply a product of his own cosmic instincts. Therefore, he acts more as an apocalyptic scourge that threatens countless worlds as he moves about the universe. When a villain literally eats planets for breakfast, it all begins to seem a bit hopeless.