The 11 Greatest Super Villains Not from Comics

By Steven Romano in Cartoons, Daily Lists, Movies, TV
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:00 am

6) X the Eliminator, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Sometimes even the greatest of super villains realize that he or she has to, for the sake of their own mental welfare, let go of the Ahabesque animosity toward their nemesis and resolve to move on with their life of immorality. Harvey Birdman's X the Eliminator, on the other hand, is definitely not one these more rationally minded villains, as his unhealthy obsession with Birdman and obtaining his crest lasted for a little under 30 years. True, X fails time and again to retrieve the trinket adorning his foe's helmet and present it to the organization that contracted him to do so in the first place, but in that lies the character's infectious charm: awaking each morning with a renewed sense of carpe diem and putting his past shortcomings behind him as he looks ever forward. And those are some of the very best super villains, the ones that know winners never quit and quitters never win!

5) Destroyman, No More Heroes

If there's anything worse than a super villain, it's one that's also a licensed assassin. And if there's anything even more worse than a super villain whose contracted to kill people, it's one that has a day job as a mentally unstable postman that can't discern fantasy from reality. Destroyman's colorful moniker succinctly describes what the deranged cosplayer specializes in: destroying things, typically people, via his varied repertoire of attacks ranging from dual nipple lasers to high-intensity crotch beams. But for all the showy theatrics and combat skills, it didn't stop him from getting cleaved in half by aspiring assassin Travis Touchdown. Regardless of being cut down the middle, he returned yet again to menace Travis as the New Destroymen: the bisected parts of the original Destroyman's body each given a cybernetic half and their own disparate personalities. It was even suggested in their dialogue that at least one of them continued to work at the post office - the more mild mannered of the two Destroymen, thankfully.

4) The Music Meister, Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Unlike other former stars of the 1980s that allowed themselves to crawl away into the cold, dark recesses of pop culture obscurity - surfacing only when faced with foreclosure, finding religion and/or coming forward with some crackpot Hollywood conspiracy - Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser, M.D. fame endured a string of crappy made-for-TV-movies and Undercover Brother long enough before at last finding his Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and cementing himself as both a media darling and geek culture icon due to his role as the titular villain in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Shocking and delighting the world with both his unprecedented comeback and marvelous singing voice, Harris lent his vocal talents to the cult status Batman: The Brave and the Bold villain Music Meister. Obviously an attempt on DC Entertainment's part to ride Harris' musical success with Dr. Horrible, the Music Meister became an overnight sensation when the episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" first aired on Cartoon Network, going as far to be hailed as one of the greatest musicals in the history of television. And just think, one episode of a Batman cartoon amassed the same level of acclaim that took Glee nearly half a season to achieve. Knowing Ryan Murphy, no one's putting it past him to swipe "Drives Us Bats" without permission and cram the musical number into a last minute super hero-themed episode. Calling it now: someone will be in a Spider-Man costume!

3) Sylar, Heroes

He doesn't have a flashy costume or a secret fortress to run off to when his grand scheme hits the fan, but all those things and more come off as superfluous when Sylar has perhaps the greatest superhuman ability of them all: he's able to see how anything and everything works. No guesswork. No time wasted brushing up on the subject matter. All he has to do is analyze something and the answers present themselves. So with an amazing talent like that you'd assume that Sylar would use it for humanitarian purposes or properly programing a DVR. He could do that, but there's more fun to be had when understanding the complex genetic secret of super powers is so readily available.

Learning that the use of superhuman abilities originates in the brain, Sylar goes on a massive murder spree, telekinetically tearing open the heads of his victims like a can of Manwich, harnessing the individual's power after quickly gleaning over the victim's blood-soaked gray matter. The method to Sylar's madness more than earns him the award in super villain assholery, but his endgame could use a little work, which can be summed up as declaring that his power is he has all the powers. It's ultimately juvenile and reminiscent of South Park's Eric Cartman... or that one childhood friend you hated playing with but did so anyway.

2) Syndrome, The Incredibles


The Incredibles taught a very valuable lesson to anyone looking to shatter the fragile, pie-eyed spirit of the lowly fanboy: crushing their hopes and dreams is fine and all, so long as you're totally fine with the likelihood they'll suffer an emotional breakdown and come back at you hard. The film's primary antagonist, Syndrome, started out as that very idealistic youth with aspirations of becoming Mr. Incredible's stalwart sidekick and protégé, only to be belittled and turned away by his idol (a moment that hit close to home for many a geek who experienced a similar situation in their own life, likely at a comic book convention).

The reason Syndrome made such a fantastic villain is that his childhood grudge fueled an elaborate revenge scheme that involved wiping out the world's heroes - much of which paid homage to the character Ozymandias' master plan from Alan Moore's Watchmen - to make him humanity's supreme champion of justice entirely by proxy. Not to mention planning to have his super-powered technology available on the consumer market, rendering the uniqueness of superhuman abilities commonplace. In summation, kids can be the friggin' worst sometimes.

1) The Monarch, The Venture Bros.

He's scrawny, dressed as a monarch butterfly and everything from his minions to his base of operations must run with a meticulous butterfly theme to indulge his fixation with said insect, but these qualities do nothing to dilute the Monarch's standing as one of the greatest non-comic book super villains of all time. His litany of misdeeds runs the gamut from repeated attempted murders of Dr. Venture, killing the sidekick of world-famous hero Captain Sunshine in a drunken rage and consistently incurring the wrath of the Guild of Calamitous Intent for his flippant rejection of their codes of villainous conduct (which also extends to audacious defiance in the face of the Guild's founder, David Bowie -- a weighty crime indeed). In other words, being guilty of a Joker-approved murder and finding a place on the proverbial shit list of fellow super villains pretty much rockets the Monarch all the way to the top of geek-dom's list of iconic ne'er-do-wells. With a track record like this, the Monarch is long overdue for an appearance within an actual comic book, even if he might be too much for Batman, Superman or the combined forces of the entire Justice League to handle.

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