Graphic Novel Reading Group discussion

151 views
Graphic Novel, Comics, etc. Q&A > Who was the most compelling VILLAIN you've ever come across, and why?

Comments (showing 1-50 of 52) (52 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Wright (RHWright) | 282 comments Off the top of my head:

I'd have to say Magneto, at least when written well.


message 2: by Sérgio (new)

Sérgio | 458 comments I don't think I have a favorite but there are some memorable ones I can think of.

Herr Starr from Preacher is a pretty insane character. I like the way he comes apart physically and mentally as the story progresses.

There's also Tetsuo from Akira, he's very cruel along almost the whole story but he's still pretty interesting. I liked the ending with him and his former friend/actual adversary Kaneda.

I also really enjoy what Enki Bilal does with the villains in his best books (Horus in Nikopol Trilogy and Warhole in The Dormant Beast). They are very ambiguous and they keep changing as the story goes along, you don't know what to expect of them.


message 3: by Wesley (new)

Wesley (wgk333) | 117 comments I'm afraid I have to go with the obvious. My favourite villain has to be the Joker. Writers can do almost anything with him and depending on his mood he can be playful or chillingly evil - quite often on the same page.


message 4: by Dana * (new)

Dana * (QueenofEgypt) | 56 comments I agree about Herr Starr, he was wildly off the wall.
I also enjoyed the Shinigami in Death Note. They are like KISS Death Demons, but they still give each other crap.


message 5: by JoJo (new)

JoJo Laforte (jojolaforte) | 8 comments Magneto is probably the easiest to identify with. It's hard to even classify him as a villain even if his acts may have been villainous.


message 6: by P (new)

P Fosten | 24 comments The most recent (well, last decade or so) version of Black Adam from Justice Society of America (DC). Before his meltdown/dodgy writing in World war III he was at least as complex as Magneto.


message 7: by Joe (new)

Joe | 5 comments Herr Starr, from the Preacher series by Garth Ennis. Stone mental, and completely hilarious.

The Joker has always been the best of the mainstream badguys in the Marvel/DC universe.

Doomsday, from the Death of Superman arc, was a bit hard; he killed Superman! Plus, his origin story was pretty cool - it was explained in about 2 pages and just worked perfectly.

Desire in the Sandman - creepy and utterly determined to take down Morpheus.

Judge Death from Judge Dredd in 2000AD - an excellent creation.

The Seven (and superheroes in general), from The Boys by Garth Ennis. A more horrible bunch of people with superpowers you could not hope to meet.

Seems hard to think of any great newer villains that are out there these days, although the graphic novels I read don't tend to have a single 'big bad'.


message 8: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (Rabbitearsblog) | 341 comments I would have to say Magneto and the Joker.

After reading Batman: The Killing Joke, the Joker seems to be one of the most interesting villains who had a very tragic past that sort of served as a catalyst to his villainy in the future and it was interesting hearing about his past.

Magneto was always interesting to me because he seems to have the same ideals as Charles Xavier, but he wants mutant kind to rule over humans and sometimes he seems more like the sympathetic villain than an outright villain, although I don't like the idea of him becoming an X-Man because it took away what the X-Men were really fighting for.


message 9: by Mike (new)

Mike | 288 comments There's a lot, as I always love a good foil for the heroes, but Thanos always stuck out to me for some reason. I think it's the combination of being an extremely formidable foe and yet having flaws stemming from deeply buried self doubt.

Bane's a favorite on the DC side as I really liked the idea of a villain who was Batman's equal both mentally and physically. I also found his approaching taking Batman down as his main purpose and planning accordingly a very interesting contrast to the self-imposed "style" constraints most of Batman's rogue's gallery had at the time.


message 10: by Sam (new)

Sam Quixote (SamQuixote) Come on - Joker!

A hero is as good as the villain and Batman wouldn't be nearly as popular as he is today without the Clown Prince of Crime battling him for going on 70 years.


message 11: by Suge (new)

Suge | 27 comments Oh there are so many that come to mind. I actually tend to prefer the villains to the superheroes sometimes. I loved Magneto! His back story was so tragic and because of what he went through with the Holocaust, it made him a powerful villain because of what he was trying to do, which was exactly what was done to him. He wanted to purge the world of non-mutants so that the mutants could florish because he felt that his species was the better species. It was a mindset that I feel he adopted in the concentration camps.

I also love Loki, because he comes from a mixed up background where he was thought he was Asgardian but found out he was actually a runt frost giant. This tormented him, made him feel like he had to search for a place to belong. He wanted to impress the Asgardians with his trickery and magic but they were more in awe over Thor. He had some definite identity issues.

I also liked catwoman, although sometimes she's not exactly a villain. She knows what she wants (shiny things lol) and she goes after them.

Lex Luthor is another favorite too. I find myself always rooting for him, hoping he can defeat Superman lol. Like I said, I like villains a little more than the heroes at times. I identify with them because they are mixed up and damaged, and maybe so am I.


message 12: by LaShaun (new)

LaShaun (Major_G) | 5 comments I'm angering with most people. For the most part, the Joker in stories like, Batman: The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum: Madness, & even Superman: Black Ring Vol 2, he's VERY well written.

I also liked the Saint of Killers from Preacher and the Russian from Garth Ennis's Punisher run. However, there's only one villain I ever find myself cheering to win: Bomb Queen.


message 13: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (BrendaClough) | 162 comments I find the Joker overused and boring at this point. A fine example of a Batman villain might be the Ventriloquist, from the Batman animated series. That was extremely well done and resonated very well with Batman himself. Another person who splits off the more dangerous side of his character into a separate persona.


message 14: by Scott (new)

Scott | 338 comments Yeah, I wouldn't be upset if I never saw the Joker again. As far as Batman's rogues go I like Scarecrow... I can relate to his backstory!


message 15: by Mike (new)

Mike | 288 comments Brenda wrote: "I find the Joker overused and boring at this point. A fine example of a Batman villain might be the Ventriloquist, from the Batman animated series. That was extremely well done and resonated very..."

I've gotten to the same point with Joker - there's only so much you can do with "completely insane" as a defining characteristic.

I agree on the Ventriloquist as a great villain. I also liked Bane's early stuff as an equally driven, but severely twisted mirror to Batman, and the animated series take on Mr. Freeze was phenomenal.


message 16: by Sam (new)

Sam Quixote (SamQuixote) If you think Joker is just "completely insane" then you've totally missed the point of Joker. He's NOT completely insane - how could someone so out of his mind keep eluding Batman and come up with so many brilliant schemes, case in point the recent Death of the Family story arc? There're so many layers to Joker which is why he's so compelling, if not the most compelling villain in comics history. It's very short sighted and displays a limited knowledge of the character to dismiss him as just "insane" and therefore boring.


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul | 286 comments Sam wrote: "If you think Joker is just "completely insane" then you've totally missed the point of Joker. He's NOT completely insane - how could someone so out of his mind keep eluding Batman and come up with ..."

agreed, as a villain I think Joker is one of the only ones that could manage to pull off his own monthly series without it ever getting boring.

Why should all the comics be about the "hero", a good villain-driven series with the Joker, his entourage, and the rest of the DC Universe would be great.
I know there was an attempt to do a Joker series in the 70s (or 80s... not fully sure), but with the restrictions imposed by the Comics Code in those days kept it from being as good as it could have been.

If anything, I'm more tired of reading about the Batman than I am of reading about the Joker. After all, what other villain has received a The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told compilation?


message 18: by Mike (new)

Mike | 288 comments Brilliant and insane are not mutually exclusive. Great if you find him compelling - I no longer do. I've read a ton of Joker stories over the years (many of which were excellent) and hardly have a limited knowledge of the character. I have not read Death of the Family and will give it a look, but I find Joker uninteresting in general at this point.

That's my opinion. You don't agree - fine. But please keep the discussion to the characters and comics and refrain from uninformed and insulting statements about my "limited knowledge of the character" and "short sighted"-ness.


message 19: by Sam (new)

Sam Quixote (SamQuixote) Mike wrote: Brilliant and insane are not mutually exclusive.

I agree, I wasn't saying he was one or the other - Joker is multi-faceted which is why he's such an amazing villain. He is sane and he chooses to behave insane. Or maybe he's insane with moments of sanity. Or maybe none of the above and he is pure evil. We don't know his real name, his real background, he remains a true mystery. He is an endlessly fascinating character with no one characteristic to define him.


message 20: by Mike (new)

Mike | 288 comments Gotcha. Don't really agree but see what your saying. For me the mystery has lost it's appeal, and his stories drifted into a bit of a one-note "how terrible and horrifying will his plan be this time." Again - I've read plenty of great ones. Just something gone from his mystique for me at this point and I'm more interested in other villains. It might partially be what Brenda mentioned - overexposure.

That said I haven't read any of the New 52 Joker stuff and am certainly willing to give them a try. Thanks for recommending it.


message 21: by Dominick (new)

Dominick (DominickGrace) | 156 comments Ozymandias from Moore and Gibbons's Watchmen is a great villain because, unlike most comic-books villains (including many mentioned here and who I do often enjoy reading about), he's almost believably realistic, wheseas most comic-book villains are melodramatic big bads without much subtlety of nuance. Most are just too much motivated by being villains, basically, for plot purposes, rather than having thoughtful, plausible reasons for doing the horrid things they do.

I'll stipulate to Ozymandias as a great villain only insofar as the original limited series goes, however, as the Before Watchmen stuff is of no interest to me.


message 22: by Nicolas (new)

Nicolas Wilson | 9 comments I've always enjoyed Ozymandias and the Joker, but my ultimate favorite villain is Herr Star. Preacher always has a special place in my heart. I like chaotic villains.


message 23: by Zach (new)

Zach | 13 comments My FAV is the joker. What's not to like about him?


message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul | 286 comments Which brings up a question, which I admit I shamelessly steal borrow from Tanja Kobasic's book ...

What is more evil — a soul that knows it is evil, or a soul that doesn't ?


message 25: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (BrendaClough) | 162 comments Oh, that is easy. C.S. Lewis points out that an evil man may have fits of goodness, or fail in his cruelty, evil, etc. here and there. A good man who is torturing you for your own good is not going to let up.
So, the answer is the soul that doesn't know.


message 26: by Dave (new)

Dave Glorioso | 104 comments I like Thanos.
I love that he desires to destroy the universe for his love, the mistress 'Death'.
In fact, the way she jerks him around makes her one of the great villains!


Dave


message 27: by Paul (new)

Paul | 286 comments Brenda wrote: "Oh, that is easy. C.S. Lewis points out that an evil man may have fits of goodness, or fail in his cruelty, evil, etc. here and there. A good man who is torturing you for your own good is not goi..."

miss smarty-pants ;-)


message 28: by Zach (new)

Zach | 13 comments Glactus just for sheer power.


message 29: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (BrendaClough) | 162 comments I am annoyingly over-educated, it is so true.


message 30: by Dave (new)

Dave Glorioso | 104 comments Can never be over educated .
Annoying, yes.
But I have not been annoyed by you .
Nor educated by you.
Thus, continue....

I disagree with CS Lewis.
Always liked Tolkien more of the Oxford gents.
Men always have a choice.
Unless insane, we all know right from wrong.
Evil chooses wrong.

Dave
Who tries to choose good


message 31: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (Brenda74) | 15 comments Wesley wrote: "I'm afraid I have to go with the obvious. My favourite villain has to be the Joker. Writers can do almost anything with him and depending on his mood he can be playful or chillingly evil - quite of..."
Ah, the Joker, one of my personal favs.
Also, may I add the villian from the Manga, Monster? Talk about chilling. The brilliant surgeon saves the life of a small child ony to later discover that child becomes a master serial killer and potentially the end of mankind. Cool, no?


message 32: by Brenda (last edited Feb 28, 2013 06:42AM) (new)

Brenda (Brenda74) | 15 comments "Dave wrote: men always have a choice...evil chooses wrong."

I would only add; evil revels in choosing wrong. :D


message 33: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (Brenda74) | 15 comments Dave wrote: "I like Thanos.
I love that he desires to destroy the universe for his love, the mistress 'Death'.
In fact, the way she jerks him around makes her one of the great villains!


Dave"

You caught my attention! I love an excellently written villainess. They are few too few. What comic/Graphic novel do I find these characters in? Is it the Lady Death series?


message 34: by Mike (last edited Feb 28, 2013 07:12AM) (new)

Mike | 288 comments Brenda wrote: "You caught my attention! I love an excellently written villainess. They are few too few. What comic/Graphic novel do I find these characters in? Is it the Lady Death series? "

Lady Death is a different character. One of the best/most famous stories involving Thanos and the Marvel Universe incarnation of Death is The Infinity Gauntlet.

The Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos isn't quite as good as a whole, but contains the great "Thanos Quest" story, focuses a lot on Death and is a direct lead in to the above.


message 35: by Mike (last edited Feb 28, 2013 07:10AM) (new)

Mike | 288 comments Brenda wrote: "Also, may I add the villian from the Manga, Monster? Talk about chilling. The brilliant surgeon saves the life of a small child ony to later discover that child becomes a master serial killer and potentially the end of mankind. Cool, no? "

Totally agree - he was an incredibly compelling (and creepy) as a villain. Monster is one of my favorite manga of all time.


message 36: by Dave (new)

Dave Glorioso | 104 comments Brenda, Mike is right
The Infinty Gauntlet is an over the top cosmic comic book story when that sort of thing was cool.
Yet, it is tres cool.
It's art is awesome.
Relationship of hyperdynamic Thanos and cold as ice 'Death' is good stuff.
Also, Thanos and some of it's story will be in next Avengers movie.
Dave


message 37: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (Brenda74) | 15 comments Well, thanks for the great suggestions guys! I ran out to the shop and picked up both along with the Saga graphic-novel-compilation-thingy (first 7 comics in a graphic novel form, that's my technical term for it)
I look forward to reading these :D


message 38: by Michael (new)

Michael Whetzel | 6 comments I enjoyed Cassandra Nova from Morrison's XMen run. She was this dark twisted secret side of Xavier and just evil. She was so powerful. I mean she beat the Shiar Armada and controlled the Imperial Guard.

It was good storytelling.

I also like the new Joker. Nice take on a classic character.


message 39: by Eric (new)

Eric | 12 comments D A R K S E I D


message 40: by Robert (new)

Robert Wright (RHWright) | 282 comments I guess it depends what you define as "compelling."

I previously mentioned Magneto, who when written well, has a tragic side to him. It's a story that one can empathize with, even as he makes bad choices.

I guess that's why I generally don't count Joker among my tops. Hard to relate to. Fun, scary, a good opponent, sure. Just not as compelling as a more "humanized" villain.

I'll take more relatable villains: Lex Luthor, Doctor Doom, even Superboy Prime. They could have so easily been heroes ...but aren't. That's what I find compelling in a villain.

Your mileage may vary.


message 41: by Dale (new)

Dale (cmpn) I think Chris Claremont did a wonderful job developing Magneto during his epic run, imbuing him with a deep sense of dignity and complexity, rarely afforded to villains at the time, which still endures at the (tragic and tormented) heart of the character.


message 42: by Adam (last edited Mar 20, 2013 06:19AM) (new)

Adam Gre | 12 comments I don't have one that I would consider most compelling, but multiple that sit above the rest.

Swamp Thing. How this well meaning, man-based monster, can find himself being either hero or villain, despite good intent, is so awesomely played in Alan Moore's run; and it's the best thing he did with the character.

Kingpin in the sense that during Brian Bendis' and Ed Brubaker's runs, him and Daredevil destroy each other's lives multiple times, almost pathologically.

Superboy Prime in the sense that I love his antics; and I love how he was used as a vehicle for the writers to take out their frustrations at us fan boys (who doesn't love a good roast?)

The Flash's Rogues Gallery. But that's a group, and they are interesting because of their relationships; so maybe that doesn't count.

But there is one more I have to mention, and maybe tops the list, that is from Streets of Gotham 4. The Broker. He is a businessman dealing in bad properties and selling them off to super-villains as hide-outs. It is a wonderful issue that deals in profiteering from other's suffering, moral callousness and real world villainy.


message 43: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin | 10 comments Definitely the Joker for me. I love how much he needs Batman in order to be a villain and how much he plays on the good guys' weaknesses (whether it's Batman or someone else, like Gordon). He's that awesome balance of sociopathic malevolence with a twisted sense of humor that I can't help but love. Batman just wouldn't be the same without Joker.


message 44: by Robert (last edited Apr 17, 2013 03:12AM) (new)

Robert Spake (ManofYesterday) | 37 comments The Joker has been covered pretty well. I also like Ozymandias, who I'm surprised was only mentioned once or twice.

Magneto again is very compelling, especially because sometimes he can be the leader of the X-Men and it doesn't feel out of character at all so I would probably choose him.

Oh, but one that hasn't been mentioned is Doctor Doom. He's such a formidable foe for the Fantastic Four and other Marvel heroes. I hope he gets the proper treatment in the new Fantastic Four film.


message 45: by Scott (new)

Scott | 338 comments I don't really think of Ozymandias as a villain, to be honest.


message 46: by Robert (new)

Robert Spake (ManofYesterday) | 37 comments Really? That's interesting. It's not an opinion I've ever come across before.


message 47: by Scott (new)

Scott | 338 comments He did what had to be done to save the world.


message 48: by wjkb (new)

wjkb | 9 comments Definitely the joker.


message 49: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (BrendaClough) | 162 comments The Joker has been done so often that we must thank Heath Ledger for putting the character to bed. With luck we will not see Joker on the screen for another decade.

Batman has some fascinating people in his rogues gallery, and I wish the movie people would draw upon them instead of retreads. How about Man-Bat? With CGI he is now doable, and what a miserable and conflicted guy! The cartoon version of Mr. Freeze is miles better than any other version of the past, with his obsession with his wife Nora. And I love the things that they've done with Clayface (again, CGI, our friend). Or, does anyone remember the Man With Ten Eyes? Now that was fun.


message 50: by Scott (new)

Scott | 338 comments I wonder if the movies that follow will take Batman in a more "fantastic" direction to allow for such characters.


« previous 1
back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Batman: The Killing Joke (other topics)
The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told (other topics)
The Infinity Gauntlet (other topics)
The Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Tanja Kobasic (other topics)