#1: Thaal Sinestro

#1: Thaal Sinestro

Art by Tyler Kirkham

The man who would become known as the notorious Sinestro was born on the planet Korugar. He was recruited to the Green Lantern Corps for his ability to overcome great fear. He became the Green Lantern of Sector 1417, and he kept the peace in this sector for quite some time. While he was a Green Lantern, he married Arin Sur and became very close friends with her brother, legendary Green Lantern Abin Sur. With Arin, he fathered a daughter named Soranik Natu. Abin confided in Thaal often in his fears about the Blackest Night predicted by the Five Inversions of Ysmault. When Abin Sur was killed by one of the Inversions, Atrocitus, his Ring found a replacement Lantern from the planet Earth. That replacement’s name was Hal Jordan. The Guardian Ganthet had Thaal Sinestro instruct Hal in the use of his Ring. Despite Sinestro finding Hal reckless and overconfident, they did quickly become great friends. On one of their first adventures, they tracked Atrocitus down on Earth and took him back to Ysmault.

Becoming increasingly paranoid about his ability to keep the peace in his sector, Thaal Sinestro took up more dictatorial and fascist tactics, becoming known as a tyrant on his home planet of Korugar. Arin gave away Soranik in secret at this time, as she feared the dangers the repercussions of Sinestro’s actions might bring to their daughter. As an uprising began on Korugar, Arin died, further intensifying Sinestro’s reign of terror.

Upon a return trip to Korugar with his student, Hal Jordan, Sinestro found that his people were beginning to revolt. Hal was shocked by the tyrannical means through which Sinestro was ruling his people, and the two had a battle. Sinestro began to fear the Guardians’ justice, and Hal and Sinestro fled to Earth. Eventually, the Manhunters tracked the both of them down, and Sinestro was brought back to Oa for a trial. Hal testified against Thaal, and Sinestro was found guilty of his crimes. He was exiled to the Antimatter Universe planet known as Qward. As he was being banished, he swore revenge upon Hal Jordan, the Guardians, and the Green Lantern Corps.

Upon Qward, Sinestro met their notorious Weaponers. Sympathetic to his plight, they constructed him a Yellow Power Ring to wield against the Green Lanterns. With the Yellow Fear Entity known as Parallax infesting the Green Lantern Central Power Battery, their constructs and Rings had a weakness to the color yellow, and Sinestro intended to exploit this.

Sinestro formed an alliance with the Weaponers of Qward, and he soon met up with Hal Jordan once again. Hal had fought the Weaponers before, and they had an animosity towards Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro and the Weaponers of Qward kidnapped 100,000 people and threatened to kill them. Hal tricked Sinestro into believing his Power Ring had run out of energy and defeated him.

Sinestro was arrested and imprisoned on Oa. He later escaped and was powered up by a being called the Mad God of Sector 3600 and engaged on a warpath through a number of star systems that ended in the deaths of billions. It took a number of Green Lanterns to bring down Sinestro this time, and he was going to be put to death. However, he found a means of transferring his consciousness into the Central Power Battery. He shut the power down to the Battery, and Hal Jordan began to search for a means of repowering it. Hal eventually entered the Battery and defeated Sinestro. This left him to be eternally trapped inside the Green Power Battery.

During his imprisonment, Sinestro communed with Parallax and discovered that he was the source of the Yellow Impurity of the Green Lantern Power Rings. Through the manipulation of Sinestro, Parallax was able to inhabit and control Hal Jordan. This turned Hal Jordan, once known as the greatest Green Lantern, into the most powerful foe of the Green Lantern Corps.

After Parallax went on a deadly rampage throughout the universe, he eventually returned to Oa and the Guardians of the Universe. Desperate for a solution, they used their immense power to free Sinestro from the Central Power Battery and armed him with a Green Lantern Ring once again. The battle between the two was long and brutal, and both eventually lost power to their Rings. They entered a melee which ended in Parallax killing Sinestro by snapping his neck.

Later, Sinestro, somehow revived or perhaps never having been dead at all, returned to torment Hal Jordan’s successor, Kyle Rayner of Earth. He battled and defeated both Kyle and Green Arrow in the JLA Watchtower. Hal Jordan, having at this point regained control over his body and mind, returned to defeat Sinestro. He destroyed the Yellow Power Ring and banished Sinestro back to Qward.

With the help of a resurrected Anti-Monitor, Sinestro formed his own Corps of Lanterns in his own image: The Sinestro Corps. This Corps was founded on the ideal of ruling through fear. He led the Corps on a crusade against the Green Lanterns. The conflict led the Guardians into enabling lethal force against the Sinestro Corps, which apparently was Sinestro’s goal all along. The Green Lanterns were eventually able to overcome the Sinestro Corps and Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner brought down Sinestro himself.

He was subsequently arrested and brought back to Oa for execution on Korugar. During the transport to Korugar, which was performed by Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Kilowog, three Alpha Lanterns, and a number of other Corps members, remnants of the Sinestro Corps attacked to free their leader. During the fight, Atrocitus and his newly formed Red Lantern Corps ambushed the other Lanterns and brought Sinestro back to Ysmault.

Atrocitus had Sinestro crucified before the Red Lantern Central Power Battery and begun using his pain to fuel it. He wanted to see Sinestro show fear and began making threats to accomplish this. He finally succeeded when used blood magic to discover that Sinestro had a daughter. A contingent of Sinestro Corps members, Green Lanterns, among which were Hal Jordan, and the Blue Lanterns Saint Walker and Brother Warth came to the rescue of Sinestro. After a battle, Sinestro and his Corps members returned to Qward where he faced an insurrection. The warlord Mongul, who had been recruited into the Sinestro Corps, had split the Corps in half in an attempt to overthrow Sinestro.

Before he could act on this, Sinestro was compelled to return to Korugar to check on the safety of Soranik Natu. She was a Green Lantern now and did not know that her father was Sinestro. He tells her the truth about who she is and why she was sent away. The schism between the two is not healed here. Sinestro warned her about Atrocitus and left.

Sinestro next stages an attack against the Violet Lanterns, known as the Star Sapphires, on the planet Zamaron. He is met by Carol Ferris of Earth, Hal Jordan’s frequent romantic flame. The two do battle until they are attacked by a contingency of the Black Lantern Corps made up of fallen Sinestro Corps members. These were the heralds of the Blackest Night that Abin Sur feared so much. Hal Jordan soon arrived with Indigo-1 of the Indigo Tribe. Hal, Indigo-1, Sinestro, and Carol Ferris were all teleported to Korugar where they attempted to halt the coup by Mongul.

Mongul attempted to kill Sinestro in solo combat to establish his leadership over the Corps, but Sinestro used Mongul’s ring to pacify him and lock him within the Yellow Power Battery. Sinestro was the sole leader of the Corps once more, but he was soon attacked by the Black Lantern incarnations of Abin and Arin Sur. These four Corps members knew that they must meet up with the leaders of the other three Corps, Atrocitus, Saint Walker, and Larfleeze, to bring down the Black Lanterns and end the Blackest Night. They found these three, and their crusade led them back to Earth where they found the one controlling the Black Lanterns: Nekron, the embodiment of death itself.

The Guardians Ganthet and Sayd arrived on Earth to help the seven Corpsmen, and they duplicated the Rings of each to recruit more members to help in the fight. The duplicate Sinestro Corps Ring went to Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, due to his ability to instill great fear. In addition, the entirety of all seven Corps arrived on Earth to help end the Blackest Night.

Black Hand, the servant of Nekron, killed Sayd and used her blood to summon the White Entity so that Nekron could kill it, and, thusly, end all life in the universe. Before he could accomplish this, Sinestro bonded with the White Entity and became the White Lantern. Sinestro begins slaying droves of Black Lanterns, but he is not able to kill Nekron himself. Eventually, the White Entity is removed from Sinestro, and Hal Jordan summons it into the bodies of the Justice League. They drive back Nekron and use the White Light to resurrect Black Hand, who was serving as Nekron’s connection to the living plane. This banishes Nekron and ends the Blackest Night.

Sinestro next found the White Power Battery on Earth and attempted to wield it once more. It wouldn’t budge, and it told him to bring Hal Jordan. He finds Hal and Carol Ferris, and the three are sent on a crusade to save the Seven Entities of the Emotional Spectrum. They unite with Atrocitus, Saint Walker, Larfleeze, and Indigo-1 once more in this quest.

They discover that the mad Guardian Krona is the one hunting down the entites, and their search for answers leads them to Ryut, the dead homeworld of Atrocitus. Here, they find the Book of the Black being protect by Lyssa Drak, former Sinestro Corps member. The Book consumes all but Hal Jordan, forcing them to relive their lives. Sinestro eventually escapes with the help of Kyle Rayner and finds Kyle, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and John Stewart battling their own Corps, whom have been corrupted by Krona and Parallax.

Sinestro is unable to retrieve a Yellow Ring, but he is granted a Green Ring once more. He helps Hal battle Krona, and Hal manages to kill the Guardian. This frightens the remaining Guardians of the Universe, and they banish Hal Jordan from the Corps. Meanwhile, Sinestro is completely unable to remove the Green Ring.

The universal rebirth of the New 52 did not disrupt this story, and Sinestro continued to search into why he was given another Green Ring. He makes a lower power facsimile of a Green Ring for Hal Jordan and recruits him to his search. He returns to Korugar and finds the Sinestro Corps instilling chaos on the planet. Sinestro and Hal free the Korugarians and overthrow the Sinestro Corps by depowering their Central Power Battery. They next find Black Hand on the home planet of the Indigo Tribe, and they return to Earth with Black Hand. He turns on them and traps Hal and Sinestro within his Black Ring, where they stayed while the Guardians unleashed the Third Army upon the universe.

They are eventually freed in time to find the First Lantern, Volthoom, attempting to seize control of the universe itself with his growing power. Sinestro tried to slay Volthoom alone. Sinestro is bested, and Volthoom destroys Korugar in front of him. This infuriates Sinestro enough that the Green Ring, which was actually part of a Guardian plot, releases itself. This allows Sinestro to summon a Yellow Ring once more.

In the final siege against Volthoom, Sinestro bonds himself to Parallax. The united efforts of the various Corps are able to overwhelm the First Lantern. Afterwards, Sinestro tracks down the Guardians of the Universe and kills them all.

During the reign of the Crime Syndicate on Earth, Batman attempts to wield a Sinestro Corps Ring in the hopes that it will allow him to bring down Power Ring, the Syndicate’s version of Green Lantern. This attempt was unsuccessful, but it attracted the attention of Sinestro to Earth. He finds Batman and is recruited to a coalition of villains with the intent of overthrowing the Crime Syndicate. The only reason that Sinestro chooses to do this is as a means of undermining Hal Jordan. Hal was away from Earth, and Sinestro would save it in his absence to spite him. Sinestro, Batman, Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Captain Cold, Black Adam, Black Manta, and Deathstroke unite to bring down the Crime Syndicate, which also frees the Justice League. During this crusade, Sinestro formed a friendship with Black Adam.

Sinestro lost his connection to Parallax after this, and he worked with Lyssa Drak to rebuild the Sinestro Corps. The two brought together the remaining members of the Corps and founded a new homeworld for the remaining scattered Korugarians on a former prison planet.

He next travelled to Warworld and battled its ruler, former Sinestro Corps member Mongul. After defeating Mongul, he seized the mobile battle station and turned it into the new headquarters of the Sinestro Corps.

After this, he battled the Church of Anti-Emotion, a challenge that led him to Earth and reunited him with Black Adam. His final play involved recruiting much of the Earth’s population to the Sinestro Corps and fighting off the Church.

With this victory, he was finally able to establish the Sinestro Corps as the central police force in the universe in the absence of the Green Lantern Corps. Upon his victory, he stepped aside and allowed his daughter and new Sinestro Corps recruit, Soranik Natu, to lead the Corps.

Now, the Green Lantern Corps has returned from a pocket universe. Sinestro, having exerted himself greatly in his mission, has bonded with Parallax once more and retaken his position as the leader of the Sinestro Corps. He has used the former Church of Anti-Emotion to establish the Fear Engine: a device that can turn the fear of sentient beings into energy to overcharge the Rings of the Sinestro Corps. Soranik has abandoned the Corps and helped Hal Jordan, who is now on a warpath against Sinestro. The Green Lantern Corps, led by John Stewart, has been informed of the new status of things and makes its way towards Warworld to end the reign of the Sinestro Corps.

When I listed Magneto as my favorite Marvel Villain, I felt that this spoiled Sinestro as my favorite DC Villain somewhat. Though their politics differ, Erik Lensherr and Thaal Sinestro are very similar men. They are both driven to protect their people above all else. They value them, but their means of protection often end in blood and fury.

Sinestro is a man driven to bring peace to the universe. He is, at his heart, a fascist that believes only he is worthy to rule and that fear is the only thing that can accomplish this. He wants there to be order, but his approach is corrupt and narcissistic. He is incredibly ambitious, and he is very intent on bringing this order. He is also loyal to those who earn his respect, though those people are very few. He even has admitted to considering Hal Jordan a friend though they constantly battle. He is a man who wants peace and will do anything to bring it. These are the reasons why Thaal Sinestro is my Favorite DC Villain of all time.

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Top 10 DC Villains: Honorable Mentions

As always, 10 seems like such a small number, so here are some other great DC rogues who couldn’t quite make the cut.

Art by Rodolfo Migliari

William Hand, Black Hand: A man whose very touch is lethal, William Hand only relates to the dead and feels completely alienated among the living. When Nekron and his Black Lantern Ring gave him the ability to raise the dead, he finally felt he could make friends. He has been using the combination of these abilities ever since to expand his social group. A pitiable man with severe social anxiety and an inability to connect with people, let’s just say a 20-something writer and reader of comics can relate.

Art by Tony S. Daniel, Matt Banning, and Tomeu Morey

Cailtin Snow, Killer Frost: An intelligent and driven scientist, Kaitlin Snow’s life was changed when her colleagues abandoned her on an expedition where she gained the ability to freeze the air around her. However, she must now feed upon the heat of other living creatures. She is not a vicious killer, but she must now be a predator to survive. She has been embittered the experience that granted her powers, so the line that must be crossed to kill has become easier for her.

Art by Christ Stevens

Cyrus Gold, Solomon Grundy: A mafioso who was cursed, killed, and dropped in Slaughter Swamp, the creature known as Solomon Grundy arose as an undead creature with incredible strength and minimal intelligence. At his core, he is not malicious or hateful, but his limited intelligence has restricted his ability to control his fury and made him easily manipulated. These things have led him to collide with heroes and the law on many occasions. He has shown a potential to be redeemed and may be yet by the likes of Batman and the Justice Society.

Art by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

Mongul: A warlord and conqueror who rules a mobile battle station known as Warworld, Mongul is a ruthless and vicious being. He possesses an incredible strength that has allowed him to clash with the likes of Superman and the Green Lantern Corps. He was also a recruit in the Sinestro Corps for a time before trying to staging a failed coup against Thal Sinestro. He is a classically evil villain, and his ambition makes him very enthralling.

Art by Jack, the King, Kirby

Paul Dekker, Crazy Quilt: A blinded artist, Paul Dekker underwent a surgery that restored his vision. However, his new vision showed colors to brightly and eventually drove him mad. He turned to crime soon after, and his motif was draping himself in bright colors and attempting to manipulate others through hypnosis. I honestly have no strong feelings on Crazy Quilt, and I put him in the same category as Cluemaster and Kiteman. However, a patron asked that I spotlight him on the site, so here we are. I hope you enjoyed this, James.

#2: Black Adam

#2: Black Adam

Art by Gary Frank

Bestowed the powers of the Egyptian gods Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen, Prince Teth Adam of Khandaq was a hero of both his homeland and Egypt millennia ago. He was the son of Ramses II, and he protected both nations and even had a wife and children. He was also friends with the Egyptian prince, Khufu, the original incarnation of the hero Hawkman. Teth Adam was a beloved hero with a great life.

Things changed centuries later when the Egyptian wizard, Ahk-Ton, killed his family and destroyed his homeland. Adam tracked down and killed the wizard then returned to Khandaq to become a tyrannical ruler. The wizard Shazam became worried that Adam had become corrupt, and he deprived Teth Adam of his powers. This left him to rot from aging, and Teth Adam died. Shazam placed the powers wielded by Adam in a scarab which he buried along with the body in the tomb of Ramses II. Shazam inscribed the name Khem-Adam upon the tomb, which translates to Black Adam.

Millennia later Theo, a distant descendant of Teth, found the tomb in which Black Adam was buried. He found the scarab and, whenever he spoke the word “Shazam,” he became possessed by the soul of Black Adam. Upon his first transformation, he encountered Captain Marvel, the modern champion of Shazam. The two immediately fought, and Marvel won by rendering Black Adam mute. After this fight, Black Adam travelled into deep space for a time, the adventures of which have never been revealed.

When he returned to Earth, he often treaded the line of hero and villain. He was a part of Johnny Sorrow’s Injustice Society for a time, but he later betrayed them to the Justice Society of America. He was a member of the Justice Society for some time until they refused to execute the terrorist known as Kobra. He would form his own splinter group that kills the villain.

From there, he returned to Khandaq to rule once more. The JSA was suspicious, but allowed him to rule because his intentions seemed pure. However, he soon joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains because he believed they could help him protect his homeland. They would later betray him to use his powers.

After this, he continued to rule Khandaq. Intergang, an international crime syndicate, attempted to parlay with Adam by giving him a woman named Adrianna Tomaz as a slave girl. He killed the men who brought her to him and gave her sanctuary. She quickly became his most trusted advisor, and Adam found a way to grant her the power of the goddess Isis. The two discovered that her younger brother, Amon, was also held by Intergang. Adam and Isis freed him, and he gave Amon a portion of his own power. Amon became the hero Osiris. The three protected Khandaq and brought it peace. Black Adam even started having good relations with the leaders of other countries in the world. Isis and Osiris gave him a new family and new peace.

Osiris found a talking crocodile (no, really) named Sobek, and he became a part of the family as well, becoming their version of Talking Tawny the Tiger of the Captain Marvel family. Sobek, however, was actually the Horsemen of Famine created by Doctor Sivana named Yurrd the Unknown. Yurrd spread a plague across Khandaq and killed both Isis and Osiris. Black Adam killed him in retaliation and began searching for his allies.

The Horseman of Death, Azeuz, created by Sivana was in a nation called Bialya. Black Adam killed thousands in his search for Azeuz, and he went on to kill the Horsemen himself. Black Adam’s path of destruction was not finished, and the world knew he must be stopped. He went to Oolong Island of China, the birthplace of the Four Horsemen, and China sent their heroes, the Great Ten, to stop Adam. He defeated them all, and China asked for help from the West to bring the madman down.

The Justice Society, the Doom Patrol, and the Teen Titans united to stop Black Adam. His rage was so great that he held all of them off and even killed two Teen Titans, Terra and Young Frankenstein.

It took the cooperation of Captain Marvel and Zatanna to finally stop Black Adam. Marvel took hold of Black Adam and spoke the word, “Shazam,” to channel the lightning out of him, and Zatanna changed Adam’s word of power so that he could not access his empowered form again. Teth Adam managed to escape justice and returned to Khandaq in the hopes of learning the new word of power.

Adam recruited the countrymen still loyal to him, had them disfigure him as a disguise, and went to retrieve the remains of Isis. All this was accomplished, but his allies were killed by soldiers from an unknown army. He went to the Himalayas and resurrected Isis using a Lazarus Pit. This only made her a decaying body in intense misery, and Adam had to kill her once more. He took her bones, and his next voyage took him to the Tower of Fate to find the Amulet of Isis. There, he found the rogue sorcerer Felix Faust trapped and only a piece of the Amulet. Needing his help to get free, Faust helped Adam, using the residual magic in the bones of Isis to grant Teth the ability to transform into Black Adam once more.

Hawkman found Black Adam here, and the two had a bloody duel that ended in Adam brutally injuring the hero. Adam went to rest in his mortal form after the fight, and the mysterious soldiers returned and wounded him. He was still able to use the word “Isis” to transform into Black Adam, and he killed the men. He then had his wounds treated by a veterinarian, but the assassins returned to kill the doctor. Black Adam saved those who helped him, and he interrogated the assassins on their employer before killing them.

On a subsequent trip to Fawcett City, Teth accidentally learned his new word of power, “Chocolate Egg Cream.” He immediately returned to the Tower of Fate to get Faust to resurrect Isis, but Faust claims to be unable. Black Adam leaves enraged. However, Faust secretly succeeded and showed Adam the remains of Elongated Man instead of Isis.

Black Adam takes to living in the Khandaq embassy in Gotham City after this, and he is eventually found by Mary Marvel. Black Adam grants his powers Mary in the hopes that she will give them back with the ability to resurrect Isis. However, his powers actually corrupted Mary and she tries to start a new “Black Marvel Family” with Adam, who declines.

Isis manages to lead Black Adam back to the Tower of Fate, where she was still being held by Felix Faust. Adam freed her, and the two went to the Rock of Eternity where they found its new guardian, Billy Batson, the former Captain Marvel. They stripped him of his powers, and Isis proclaimed her intention of wiping humanity from the Earth. They corrupted Billy and recruited the already-corrupted Mary to their cause. They were attacked by Freddy Freeman, who was the new Captain Marvel, as well as the Justice Society. The battle led to Khandaq, where Isis began to kill its people indiscriminately. Teth wanted to protect his people, so Billy and Mary attacked him. The wizard, Shazam, returned at this point and stripped Billy, Mary, and Isis of their powers. He turned Isis and Teth to statues, and Adam remained there until the universe was reborn in the Flashpoint and the New 52.

In the reborn Earth, the origins of Teth Adam are far less glorious. A slave whose family was massacred by warlords, he and his nephew, Aman, were offered a chance at freedom when, while on the run, they found the Rock of Eternity in the caverns beneath Khandaq. The two of them were given powers, but Teth killed his nephew to achieve greater power because he feared that Aman’s innocent heart would not allow him to do what needed to be done to the warlords who slaughtered their family. After overcoming the villains and, apparently, the Seven Deadly Sins themselves, Adam went to the Council of Eternity and killed all members except the Wizard himself. The Wizard overcame him, and Black Adam was sealed away.

In the present, after Billy Batson became Shazam, Doctor Sivana reawakened the Seven Deadly Sins. They were united, and this allowed for the rebirth of Black Adam. After a lengthy battle, which Adam was winning, Shazam tricked the rogue into turning mortal. This caused him to instantly decay and expire due to the centuries that had passed.

However, Black Adam was soon resurrected by a cult that worshiped him, and he returned to Khandaq, liberated it from the new warlords, and became its new and benign ruler.

When the Crime Syndicate came to Earth-1, Ultraman proclaimed himself the ruler of all the Earth. Taking offense to this proclamation, Black Adam attacked Ultraman (ironically saving Lois Lane’s life in the process). The two fought furiously, but Ultraman broke Adam’s jaw and dropped him in the Atlantic. He was saved by Black Manta and Lex Luthor, and the three united with Captain Cold, Deathstroke, Bizarro, and Sinestro to overthrow the Crime Syndicate and free the Justice League.

During this time, Black Adam came to respect Sinestro. When Sinestro later came to Earth in search of the Guardian of Anti-Emotion, Black Adam helped, and they found him in Khandaq. Sinestro and Black Adam fought the Guardian, and Sinestro temporarily inducted Adam into the Sinestro Corps. He continued to help Sinestro when the Church of Anti-Emotion came to Earth. Black Adam’s next move is yet to be seen, but one can bet that it will leave an impact.

Black Adam has always had a rough life. He has most often had good intentions, but the world has treated him roughly, killing not one but two families. He has always had the need to strike back when the world mistreats him, and this is what has led him to run afoul of heroes. He only wants a family and to protect his country, but the world has always had other plans.

Black Adam is a man of great passion, love, and strength. He is fiercely loyal, and he also happens to be one of the strongest beings on earth. He has an immense will, and he will not be stopped once he sets his mind to a goal. He is oftentimes considered and anti-hero, and I would agree with this evaluation. For these reasons and more, Black Adam is my 2nd Favorite DC Villain of all time.

#3: Atrocitus, the Red Lantern

#3: Atrocitus, the Red Lantern

Art by Shane Davis and Sandra Hope

Millennia ago, before the creation of even the Green Lantern Corps, the mad Guardian Krona sent the Manhunters on a rampage through Space Sector 666. Among the planets in the sector was a world called Ryut. A man named Atros lived on this planet with wife and children, and he watched them slaughtered by the Manhunters. Swearing revenge on the Guardians and Krona, Atros, now calling himself Atrocitus, and four other survivors of Sector 666 became the Five Inversions. These beings began experimenting with blood magic and formed a kingdom they called the Empire of Tears. Through their eldritch dabbling, they foresaw the coming of the Blackest Night. They continued to periodically lash out at the Guardians of the Universe whenever possible. However, the Five Inversions were eventually defeated and imprisoned on another planet in their sector called Ysmault for thousands of years.

Eventually, a Green Lantern named Abin Sur went to Ysmault to ask question the demons about an investigation of his, and one of the Inversions, named Qull, told Abin of the Blackest Night. Fearing this coming doom, Abin frequently returned to Ysmault to question the Five Inversions. He went as far as releasing Atrocitus with the intent of having the beast lead him to the origin of the Blackest Night. This led him to Earth, where Atrocitus broke free, fatally wounded Abin Sur, and escaped. Atrocitus continued his own research into the origin of the Blackest Night, and he found the human who would bring it about: William Hand, later known as Black Hand.

Before he could kill William Hand, he was found by Green Lanterns Sinestro and Hal Jordan. They entered a dangerous duel with Atrocitus, ending with the arrest of the beast. He was taken back to Ysmault. He would remain here for another number of years, swearing revenge on Sinestro.

After the Sinestro Corps waged war against the Green Lanterns, Atrocitus dabbled with blood magic once more, creating a Red Lantern Power Battery, fueled by rage. He christened it with blood by using it to beat Qull to death. He continued with killing the other three Inversions to form a Central Power Battery and a Red Ring. He created more Rings to recruit members to his newly formed Corps. He searched for beings with the strongest rage, and, when the Ring attached itself to them, it replaced their heart and turned them into beings of pure rage who could vomit blood that burned like napalm.

He began a warpath to track down Sinestro, killing Green Lanterns and Yellow Lanterns alike until he found him. The Red Lanterns captured Sinestro and took him back to Ysmault. Atrocitus crucified him upon the Central Power Battery with the intent of using his blood to create more Red Rings. He vowed to destroy Sinestro’s home of Korugar, the Sinestro Corps, the Green Lantern Corps, and Sinestro’s daughter, Soranik Natu. Before he could enact this plan, Hal Jordan, Saint Walker the Blue Lantern, and his fellow corpsman Brother Warth arrived. In addition, a number of Sinestro Corps members arrived with the intent of rescuing their leader. During the ensuing battle, Atrocitus discovered that the Blue Light of Hope could break the hold of a Red Lantern Ring. Sinestro was freed, and he, the Sinestro Corps members, Hal Jordan, and the Blue Lanterns escaped. Atrocitus knew he had a new enemy in the Blue Lantern Corps, as their light held the weakness of the Red Light of Rage.

When the Blackest Night finally fell upon the universe, Atrocitus found his fellow Inversions reanimated. They attacked him, ripping out his heart, but he survived the wound due to the fact that Red Rings pump blood through the body after they attach, therefore removing the need of a heart. He tracked down the Orange Lantern Larfleeze to steal his ring as a weapon against the Black Lanterns. He was intercepted by a coalition made up of Hal Jordan, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris, Sinestro, Saint Walker, Indigo Lantern-1, Guardian Sayd, and Guardian Ganthet. After another battle that ended with the Black Lanterns invading, Atrocitus agreed to help the Lanterns end the Blackest Night. This platoon of Lanterns tracked the Black Power Battery to Earth. They attacked it, and, after a long battle, the creation of White Lanterns managed to end the Blackest Night and banish its creator, the embodiment of death known as Nekron.

After this, Atrocitus and Red Lantern Dex-Starr go to Earth in search of the Red Entity, the Butcher. Sensing great rage on Earth, they kill a number of heinous criminals during the search to protect innocents. His search is halted by Hal Jordan, Sinestro, and Carol Ferris. He fights them off and is then attacked by the bounty hunter Lobo. The Lanterns defeat Lobo (whom was apparently actually hired by Atrocitus so that he could gain the trust of the other Lanterns).

The Butcher is finally located possessing a man whose daughter was mutilated and killed by someone on death row. The murderer continues to taunt the father until the Butcher finally possesses him and the father incinerates the murderer. The Spectre, God’s Spirit of Vengeance, arrives on the scene. He almost kills the father for his crimes, but Atrocitus points out the flaw in his judgement and argues that the father’s action was in itself vengeance. The Spectre turns his ire on Atrocitus but deems his mission a holy one, so he allows him to continue.

Linking up with representatives from the other Corps, Atrocitus, Hal Jordan, Sinestro, and the others continue their search for the Entities and learn that the mad Guardian Krona is the being hunting them. Their search for Krona leads them back to Ryut where they find the Book of the Black. Lyssa Drak, former acolyte of Sinestro, ambushes the Lanterns and traps all but Hal Jordan in the Book of the Black with her mystical abilities. They remain in there for some time until Hal Jordan frees them after killing Krona.

The rebirth of the New 52 didn’t actually change that much about Atrocitus’ story, and the new universe finds him continuing to expand his Corps. He was forced to contend with the fact that Krona was killed by hands that were not his own. He was given the body of Krona by the Green Lanterns as a show of good faith.

He recruited the first human Red Lantern shortly after, a man he named Rancor whose brother was beat to death in front of him. Atrocitus’ past came to haunt him when he was attacked by mutilated beings whom were his first attempts at creating an army. He was also threatened by the reanimated Five Inversions. Both of these threats he managed to dispatch after much struggle.

When the Third Army attacked the Red Lantern Corps, he, Red Lantern Bleez, and Rancor managed to drive them away. Atrocitus also participated in the final assault against Volthoom, the First Lantern, when he usurped control over the universe. This siege, which all Lantern Corps participated in, ended with the death of Volthoom as well as the Guardians of the Universe, the latter of which were killed by Sinestro with the power of the Yellow Entity, Parallax.

Green Lantern Guy Gardner, under orders from Hal Jordan, usurped the Red Lantern Corps away from Atrocitus. Gardner locked away Atrocitus for a time and took control of the Red Lantern Corps. During this time, the Butcher, along with every other Entity with the exception of Parallax, was killed to fuel the emotional reservoir to save the universe.

Gardner eventually left the Red Lantern Corps, and Atrocitus resumed his reign. His first action was enacting the prophecy of the Red Dawn. To do this, he began infecting humanity with rage and raised a Hell Tower on Earth. This was halted by new Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. He left Earth after the Hell Tower was destroyed, but he apparently still obtained that for which he came.

Calling Atrocitus a villain seems a little unfair in the same manner calling Magneto or the Punisher villains is. I would call both of them antiheroes, but Atrocitus frequently fights heroes. So I guess it’s just easier to call him a villain (maybe I’ll do a Top 10 Antiheroes List at some point). Atrocitus is a being whose pain from loss has never died. It only transformed to rage. Rage gave him new meaning, purpose, and power. As a result, he became an acolyte of rage. He believes in rage as an agent of justice. He will do anything to permeate the universe with fury.

This is why I love Atrocitus. He is a character that will do what others won’t to the guilty. Whenever a mass shooting or terrorist attack is perpetrated, it’s hard not imagine what one would do to the guilty party if they got their hands on them. Atrocitus provides that revenge fantasy. His punishment is brutal and pure. I won’t say that line of thought is healthy or particularly progressive, but I’m not here to sugarcoat my opinions or my reasoning for them.

Going back to Atrocitus, he’s also compelling because his rage is purest, as it comes from a place of love. He believes his continuous rampage across the universe is an act of devotion to his lost family. He’s complex, furious, and will never stop meting out pure and harsh justice across the universe. This is why Atrocitus is my 3rd Favorite DC Villain of all time.

#4: Slade Wilson, Deathstroke the Terminator

#4: Slade Wilson, Deathstroke the Terminator

Art by Tony S. Daniel

Slade Wilson lied about his age and enlisted into the army at the age of 16. He served in Korea, and afterwards he met a training sergeant named Adeline Kane. She trained Slade in a wide variety of fighting styles, all of which he mastered easily. The two also fell in love, married, and Adeline became pregnant with their first child, Grant. Slade was then deployed to Vietnam. During this tour of duty, he volunteered for a chemical experiment that was intended to increase his resistance to truth serums. This had unintended side effects, and Slade was put into a coma. He awoke from it after a time with superhuman reflexes, strength, speed, and agility. He decided he had gone as far as he could with the military and took to big game hunting. It was at this time that Adeline became pregnant with Joseph. However, at this time, he also took to becoming a mercenary, unbeknownst to his wife. He had become Deathstroke, the Terminator!

This secret became revealed when a group of mercenaries attacked the mansion of the Wilsons and kidnapped Joseph. Slade and Adeline pursued the mercenaries, and he was found to be in the hands of a rival assassin named Jackal. Upon the Wilsons finding their son, the Jackal revealed he wanted vital intel from Slade, or his man would slit Joseph’s throat. Slade refused and hoped his enhanced agility would cross the divide between he and Jackal’s mercenary in time. He was almost right, as Joseph survived. However, his vocal cords were cut. Upon arriving at the hospital at their son, Adeline attempted to kill Slade for gambling with their son’s life in such a way. The shot wasn’t fatal, but it hit one of Slade’s eyes. This is the origin of the notorious eyepatch and one-eyed mask.

Deathstroke began his rivalry with the Teen Titans when his son, Grant, became an enemy of the team of young heroes named Ravager. He was given powers to capture or kill the Teen Titans, but these powers killed him. Wanting to do right by his son, Deathstroke vowed to finish the contract. He cooperated with a metahuman named Terra, and he placed her on the Titans as a mole. With her help, he managed to capture the Teen Titans.

Joseph, who had become a member of the Titans named Jericho, used his body-hopping abilities to get Slade to let the Titans go. Slade was then arrested for his crimes and put on trial. However, Beast Boy of the Teen Titans broke into his holding cell and with intent to kill Deathstroke. Beast Boy could not bring himself to take a life, and Deathstroke explained his intentions to the young hero. This put Beast Boy to some ease. The hero left, and Deathstroke was able to escape his incarceration.

When members of a group called the Wildebeest Society began kidnapping members of the Teen Titans, Slade helped the team recover their members. They discovered that the leader of the organization was his son, Jericho. He had been possessed by spirits of Azareth, and Slade conceded to kill his son to end his misery, an action that pained the man to an unimaginable degree.

He continued his anti-hero career, working as a mercenary but also helping the Teen Titans from time-to-time. He even thwarted an attempt on the president’s life. He was then framed for the assassination of a senator by a man using the identity of Ravager. With the help of the Titans, he brought this assassin down. He was revealed to be Mento of the Doom Patrol, driven mad by the helmet that gave him his powers.

Slade underwent further enhancement by being given sort of healing factor, and he wanted to give this to Adeline, whom he still loved, through a blood transfusion. It was successful, but it drover her insane. Slade has regretted this decision ever since.

Adeline subsequently teamed up with the H.I.V.E organization in a self-proclaimed war against metahumans. She believed their mere existence was the cause of Joseph’s demise, and Deathstroke helped the Teen Titans go after them. After a battle that ended with Adeline’s throat being slit, she begged Slade to finish her. He refused, but Starfire decided to grant her wish, destroying her with an energy bolt. This enraged Deathstroke, and vowed to never work with the Titans again.

Jericho had managed to lie dormant in his father’s mind ever since the death of his own body. He took over Slade to torment him and the Teen Titans. He killed Wintergreen, the closest living friend of Deathstroke, and sent Slade to attack the Teen Titans. After a few battles with the team, he left Slade’s body. Slade turned to Rose, the youngest Wilson child. He gave her enhancements of her own, and gave her the identity of Ravager. He had her track her brother down, but she was driven insane by the processes her father put her under. She even removed one of her eyes to prover herself to Slade.

When Doctor Light began regaining memories of the identities of the Justice League thought to have been removed by Zatanna, he hired Deathstroke to protect him. Slade proved to be worth the price, as he managed to bring down the entirety of the Justice League (notably, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, nor Martian Manhunter were a part of the lineup at the time). He even overtook the Green Lantern Ring of Kyle Rayner, but, before he could do any catastrophic damage, Green Arrow put an arrow through the socket of Slade’s missing eye. This angered Deathstroke, and he nearly beat Green Arrow to death. Doctor Light intervened and teleported Deathstroke and himself away. This began the feud between the mercenary and the archer. He even later gave his ruined mask to Green Arrow with a note that read, “This is yours—we’re not done.”

He was recruited by Lex Luthor to head his new Secret Society of Supervillains. His job was to bring more members into the fold, such as Black Mask. His next task was fighting the Freedom Fighters, and during his fight with this team he killed Phantom Lady.

He hired a new trainer for Rose who turned out to be Dick Grayson. He had been undercover and attempted to redeem Rose. Deathstroke was angered by this, and he became a part of the Society’s operations in Nightwing’s home of Bludhaven. This led to a battle between the heroes and villains that ended with Chemo being dropped by Alexander Luthor of Earth-3 like a chemical bomb. This action killed thousands of civilians in Bludhaven.

Nightwing retaliated by ambushing a training session between Slade and Rose. He told Rose that the Kryptonite that Slade had used to replace her missing eye was killing her. Deathstroke attempted to kill the hero in retaliation, but a smoke grenade was dropped and both Nightwing and Rose escaped. Rose told her father that she hated him before leaving.

Slade was confronted by Batman, Robin, and Nightwing later on his involvement with the Secret Society. They wanted to know why, and he claimed it was for the money. They didn’t believe him and told him to take responsibility for his actions.

Deathstroke continued his feud with Green Arrow by taking an assassination contract against him while the hero was the mayor of Star City. He freed his former trainer named Natas from prison and had Oliver exiled from his own city. Upon the hero’s return with the help of Black Canary, Speedy, and his son Connor, Deathstroke and Natas almost killed all four heroes until the remainder of the Justice League came to Green Arrow’s rescue. Deathstroke escaped in the chaos.

He established a new group of Titans, among whom included Ravager, Batgirl (Cassie Cain), Inertia, Risk, and Jericho. He was still manipulating this team behind the scenes, and he was attacked by two other groups of Teen Titans. His group eventually joined up with the others, and he revealed that he wanted to give his children a family. This was his intent all along, and he vowed to work more closely with the Titans from here on out.

Deathstroke’s next big act was ambushing the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary.

During the Blackest Night, Deathstroke and Ravager were already locked in combat inside the house of Wintergreen. They were suddenly attacked by the reanimated Wintergreen, Adeline, Grant, and Wade Lafarge (another person to take the name of Ravager). They fought without any success until Jericho arrived and managed to shut down the Rings of the Black Lanterns. The three managed to make amends, and Slade started another team of Titans with Jericho as a member.

Deathstroke cooperated with Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins to kill Batman (who at that point was Dick Grayson). He did this through controlling the body of Damian Wayne through technology the League of Assassins held. This fight ended when Batman used a Taser on Damian that sent a feedback to Deathstroke and incapacitated him. Batman then tracked Slade down to a hospital and beat him in his bed for the Damian attack as well as the tragedy at Bludhaven.

He next teamed up with a new group of rogues, among which are the Tattooed Man, Dwarfstar, Cheshire, Osiris, and Cinder. On Dwarfstar’s wishes, Deathstroke ambushed Ryan Choi, the Atom of the time. He managed to kill the hero and gave his body to Dwarfstar.

He then cooperated with Lex Luthor to obtain a machine that could cheat death, and he eventually constructs it after a battle with the Justice League in Khandaq. He offers the gift of resurrection of the “Methuselah Device” to the members of his current Titans team after resurrecting the body of his son Jericho. It was revealed that a metahuman named DJ Molecule was the power source of the device, and the Titans fight over it and destroy it.

In the reborn world of the New 52, new details were added to Slade’s backstory. Among which was his involvement with the covert Team 7 that helped make a name for future head of Argus, Amanda Waller. He also worked alongside Grant, who used the name Ravager, for a time until he believed his son was killed. He lost his eye in the operation that led to his son’s apparent death (I don’t like that explanation as much as Adeline taking it).

He later became harassed by a mercenary named Legacy whom he killed over and over again, only to have him return. The final incarnation of the merc turned out to be Grant, who overpowered Slade and almost killed him. His employers, a pair of grieving wealthy individuals who lost their daughter during one of Deathstroke’s jobs, locked Grant’s costume and offered to let Slade live if he killed his own son. He opted to kill them instead.

Deathstroke later fought Lobo. He won the fight be dismembering the alien bounty hunter and spreading his remains across the atmosphere.

Slade next came into conflict with Jericho when he tried to take control of a godlike metahuman with the help of Adeline. Slade, Rose, Grant, and Terra all united to stop Jericho. He used Grant as a human shield to deter Slade, but Deathstroke knew Jericho had to be stopped. He killed both of his sons instead. However, it was revealed that Jericho managed to hop bodies before his own demise.

During the reign of the Crime Syndicate, Deathstroke was hired by the team to deal with Argus and then to stop Lex Luthor’s uprising. Luthor offered to triple Deathstroke’s pay, and he turned on the Syndicate and their followers. He even shot Copperhead in the, well, head. He partook in Luthor’s final siege against the Crime Syndicate as well.

He was next recruited to the Suicide Squad but turned on the team on their first mission in Russia when he got a better offer by their target. He followed up this mission with assassination attempts against Shade, Batman, and Red Hood and the Outlaws.

He ran into his own father, now a powerful being calling himself Odysseus who was attempting a massive coup. After a fight with a man named Possum left him badly wounded, a mysterious benefactor named Red Fury healed Slade and somehow aged him downward. After a fight with Harley Quinn and another bought with Batman, Deathstroke tracks down his father as well as Jericho and Rose. Odysseus attempted to control Jericho, who now seemed to be more benign than he once was. Deathstroke kills his father in the ensuing fight.

Hephaestus himself next hires Slade to kill the Titan Lapetus. He gives him a sword capable of doing so, but he is intercepted on the way by Wonder Woman and Superman. He eventually makes it through and completes his contract.

Deathstroke next had separate conflicts with Robin and Green Arrow. A tragedy fell upon Rose and she became on the verge of death. Ras al Ghul offers to save Rose if Slade and Jericho swear allegiance to the League of Assassins. They agree, and this is the predicament in which Deathstroke currently finds himself.

Deathstroke the Terminator is a man who is more driven than almost any other in the world. He is an intelligent and proficient killer. The only people he truly is loves his family, but he has known when it is necessary to turn on them when they are wrong. He has weathered great tragedy, and what he has learned about himself is that he wants to leave a mark upon the world. He wants to create a legacy of being the greatest assassin of all time, and he is always up for a challenge. He is not entirely evil, and he won’t kill targets that he feels are unworthy of death, especially children. However, if someone crosses him, he will pursue a vendetta to the ends of the Earth. He is a complex man with great ambition and anger, and this is what makes Deathstroke the Terminator my 4th Favorite DC Villain of all time.

#5: Black Manta

#5: Black Manta

Art by Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rod Reis

Young Black Manta was an autistic boy only known as David. He lived in Baltimore and enjoyed the sea more than anything else. At an early age, he was taken by pirates and made a slave. After years of servitude, he once saw Aquaman swimming by and called out for help. Aquaman did not hear him, and David had to save himself. He killed his captors with a knife and swore to never be a slave to anything ever again. He armed himself with a black wet suit, a bug-eyed metal helmet, and an assortment of weapons. He was determined to become Black Manta, the master of the sea!

He recruited followers to his cause, and this goal led him to clash with Aquaman on many occasions, becoming his greatest enemy. He also joined many iterations of the Injustice League, a team founded with the goal of stopping the Justice League, of which Aquaman was a regular member.

One of Manta’s earliest and most vicious crusades against Aquaman was a siege against Atlantis’ infrastructure, including its agriculture and protective dome. He then trapped Aquagirl and Aqualad in a cave and Mera and Aquaman’s infant son. Aquaman tracked him down, and Manta question the hero about a place called the City of the Lost Tribes. Manta then revealed his plan to start an underwater colony for African Americans where they would no longer face persecution. He next put Aquaman and Aqualad in a chamber where they would be forced to fight to the death, or else Aquaman’s son would suffocate in a waterless bubble. The two heroes escaped, but it was too late. The child had died. Aquaman pursued Black Manta relentlessly with the intent to kill his foe. One of Black Manta’s followers betrayed him to the hero, but Aquaman decided against killing him.

After many more years of fighting the King of Atlantis, Black Manta was approached by the demon Neron. He offered Manta power in exchange for his soul, and Manta agreed. He was transformed into a hybrid of manta and man. He set up a drug smuggling operation in Star City until he was challenged by Aquaman and Green Arrow.

Aquaman would later use the Healing Hand of the Lady of the Lake to return Manta to his original form. The two established a temporary partnership, Aquaman believing Manta had reformed. Black Manta would later attempt to kill Aquaman, but he failed once again.

Black Manta was later given experimental water-breathers, and he returned to his undersea warpath.

Later, when a portion of San Diego was sunken and its citizens mutated to Atlantean-like beings, Black Manta turned his attentions to this realm. He almost killed a friend of Aquaman’s named Captain Marley, and Aquaman almost killed him with undersea predators in retaliation. He returned and attempted to usurp power over the newly-named Sub Diego (no joke), but he was driven away by the villain known as King Shark.

Aquaman was killed in an undersea earthquake, and Black Manta went dormant for some time. He apparently fathered and raised a child named Jackson Hyde. When Aquaman was resurrected in the event known as the Brightest Day, Manta was seen working at a fish market. He saw Aquaman’s return on the news, and he proceeded to kill everyone in the market. Black Manta was tracked down by a woman named Siren whom had the intent of killing Black Manta. Jackson, revealed to have water manipulation powers, defended him, and Aquaman came to their aid. Siren fought Aquaman, and Manta cut off one of Arthur’s hands. Jackson becomes enraged with his father, and he reveals that Siren killed his mother. Manta retaliates by attempting to kill Jackson, claiming to feel nothing for his son or his deceased wife. Mera and Aquagirl save Jackson and seal away Black Manta. He then vows to kill his son.

Believe it or not, I actually find the New 52 story of Black Manta far more compelling than the original.

The man who would become Black Manta was a treasure hunter with his father. After hearing of the “Amnesty Bay Merman,” the two went to find this legendary creature. Upon finding him, they accidentally killed Tom Curry, father of the merman. In revenge, that merman killed the father of Black Manta. That merman would later become the hero known as Aquaman. Black Manta swore to kill Aquaman and avenge his father. To this end, he adopted the high-tech scuba suit and weapons with which to hunt his prey.

After years of clashing, Black Manta targeted the allies of Aquaman known as the Others. He killed the member Kahina the Sheer and took an item known as the Golden Seal. He targeted the remaining of the Others to attempt to steal their mystical Atlantean artifacts. Aquaman took on Manta personally and, after a long and heated battle, Aquaman brought down Black Manta. He was immediately sent to prison. Amanda Waller offered him a membership on the Suicide Squad, but Manta declined.

When the Crime Syndicate came to Earth, they released all of the criminals locked away in prisons around the world. They also led the world to believe that the Justice League was dead, including Aquaman. Feeling lost, Black Manta visited the grave of his father. While he was there, Ultraman of the Crime Syndicate moved the moon to block out the sun, and the tidal shift caused the graveyard to flood, washing away the body of Black Manta’s father. This enraged Black Manta, and he vowed revenge on the Crime Syndicate.

He soon met up with Lex Luthor, and these two, along with Sinestro, Black Adam, Captain Cold, Deathstroke, and Bizarro, tracked down the Crime Syndicate and freed the Justice League. These seven rogues killed all members of the Crime Syndicate with the exception of Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman.

After this, Black Manta accepted Waller’s invitation to join the Suicide Squad. He led the team on a number of missions. Despite my best research, I genuinely cannot find out why he eventually left the team. All I know for sure is that he did.

Black Manta next resurfaced in an attack on Spindrift Station, the Atlantean embassy with the surface world. This led to another fight with Aquaman, and, after a lengthy battle, Aquaman convinced Black Manta to end the blood feud, if only briefly. Upon being arrested, his transport was attacked by an organization called N.E.M.O. He was met by a woman named Blackjack, and she convinced him to join the clandestine group. Upon meeting the leader, the Fisher King, Black Manta killed him and took control of the organization himself. He is now launched a new assault upon Atlantis with the ultra-powerful android known as the Shaggy Man.

Black Manta is a fascinating character study in what happens when a person becomes obsessed with a single moment of his life, namely his second origin where Aquaman kills his father. This is why I find the second version of the character so much more interesting; he is not a simple villain. He is obsessed with killing the man who murdered his father. Many people could easily sympathize with this motive. He will do anything to accomplish this goal, and, when he was believed to be dead, he didn’t know what to do with his life. This what truly happens when one allows a single moment to dominate the rest of his or her life. Since that moment, Black Manta has struggled to find meaning in his life, joining up with the Suicide Squad and N.E.M.O in an attempt to find new purpose. He is a vicious and ruthless man with a single life goal, and this is what earns Black Manta the positon of my 5th Favorite DC Villain of all time.

#6: Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow

#6: Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow

I’m sorry for not posting this yesterday guys. The day got busier than expected.

Art by Jason Fabok and Nathan Fairbarn

Born a bastard whose father left before he was even born, young Jonathan Crane was hated and abused by his grandmother. His mother left him with his grandmother when he was still a newborn, and she, a zealot, saw him as an abomination due to the circumstances of his birth. She would often take him to church in a suit laced with a homemade cocktail that would attract the crows to peck at him. In his teenage years, he was bullied for his jumpy personality and wiry frame, the latter of which gaining him the nickname “Scarecrow.” At this point, the abuse was enough, and he taught himself a style of “violent dancing” to defend himself. He also began experimenting with the chemical cocktail of his grandmother and used this to create his notorious Fear Toxin. He used these to frighten his bullies until their hearts gave out, and they expired. He then turned this on his grandmother and killed her as well. These were the first acts of terror from the man who would become Scarecrow.

He attended Gotham University and became a psychology professor by killing the previous professor. He focused on the concept fear in his class, and he would use extreme methods to study it, such as firing a gun in front of his students. He was eventually fired for this, and he became the head psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum. He would, however, go onto kill those responsible for his saccing. He went on to use his Fear Toxin to study the reactions in his patients. This is where he began calling himself Scarecrow. It’s worth mentioning that he would eventually have an intern by the name of Thomas Elliot. Young Elliot was clearly unstable, but, instead of addressing his issues, Jonathan Crane encouraged his sickness.

The many deaths at Gotham University attracted the attention of the Batman, then still in the early days of his career. Batman and then-Captain James Gordon tracked down and arrested the Scarecrow. This was the beginning of the longstanding animosity between Batman and the Jonathan Crane.

He would next cooperate with Harvey Dent aka Two-Face to go to war with the Carmine Falcone criminal empire. This group perpetrated a massacre of Gotham’s various crime bosses on Columbus Day. After this, they were apprehended by Batman and Robin.

The Scarecrow would continue to fight with Batman over the years. His crimes often would circulate around causing fear and studying its effects. He had developed into a sadistic psychopath, but he was not incapable of complex forethought and planning. He would even briefly join the Injustice Gang as well as the Secret Society of Supervillains. However, all of his ploys have ended with him being arrested by the Batman or one of his associates, and he is sent to Arkham Asylum for incarceration and treatment.

He was among the rogues to be released from Arkham Asylum by Bane when he staged his massive coup against the Dark Knight. Scarecrow became privy to the fact that the Joker had begun cooperating with a less notorious fear-obsessed crook named Cornelius Stirk. Crane was offended by this fact, and he approached the Clown Prince of Crime with a new plan set against Gotham’s Mayor, Krol. Scarecrow dosed Mayor Krol with Fear Toxin, and he became subservient to this damned duo. The two coaxed the mayor into decommissioning the fire departments of the city and sending the police into a deathtrap they designed. They next lured Batman to the Gotham River and dosed him with the Fear Toxin. Batman was only angered by his visions and furiously beat Crane. Crane managed to flood the tunnel in which they fought and escaped. At his and Joker’s hideout, Crane attempted to gas Joker. It had no effect, the Joker beat him with a chair, and he left Scarecrow to die.

The next major play by the Scarecrow was the fear-based brainwashing of a number of Gotham University students to serve his will. He next attempted to take over all of Gotham through the same means, and this almost came to fruition. Batman, assisted by the vigilante Anarky, managed to track down Crane and stop this plan. This landed Jonathan Crane back in Arkham.

He was next inquired for psychological profiles by Thomas Elliot, now known as Hush, on Batman and his allies. Huntress tracked him down, and Crane gassed her. Batman came to her rescue, but he was intercepted by Clayface (disguised as a returned Jason Todd). Scarecrow was able to escape as a result.

The Penguin used a chemical compound to mutate the Scarecrow into a massive, strong, Fear Toxin-emitting creature called the Scarebeast. He killed off many of the Penguin’s treacherous colleagues for Cobblepot. Batman intervened once again, and Scarebeast reverted back to Jonathan Crane upon his defeat.

He and Killer Croc would later be duped by Black Mask to going to the Gotham Clock Tower, as Black Mask had convinced them that it was the Batcave. Black Mask pushed Scarecrow into a laser grid to overload the power to the building. He was badly burned, and he was turned once more into the Scarebeast. He was attacked by a coalition made up of Tim Drake, Cassie Cain, Onyx, Tarantula, and Catwoman. They kept him within the Tower until it detonated. Crane, however, manged to survive the explosion.

Desaad later abducted Crane and took him to Apokolips. He was transformed into a beast called Schroken, and he was later rescued by Batman and Superman.

Hush recruited Scarecrow to help him once again to bring down the Batman. A part of this plot was kidnapping an orphan boy and dosing him with Bane’s Venom fluid. The kid was forced to fight the Batman, but the Caped Crusader managed to turn him on Scarecrow. Crane flipped on Hush and was sent to Arkham. However, before he was put in a cell, Batman interrogated him on where Hush’s hideout was and left him with the Joker.

He survived this experience, and his next ploy involved creating a new drug called “Thrill.” It had a different chemical composition than his Fear Toxin, and, when Batgirl aka Stephanie Brown came after him, he deployed it on her. The drug proved to encourage people’s self-hatred, but Batgirl overcame it and took down Scarecrow.

When the Blackest Night fell upon Earth and the Black Lanterns invaded Gotham, Scarecrow longed for the terror the undead were causing the citizens, but he found that the constant exposure to his own Fear Toxin had killed his capability of feeling any emotion, including fear. He found he could only feel fear when in the present of Batman, whom was believed to be dead at this point. Meanwhile, the Guardian Ganthet, searched out more Lanterns from all over the Emotional Spectrum to fight off the Black Lanterns. A Yellow Ring of Fear found its way to Jonathan Crane, and he could feel fear once again. He was then recruited by Ganthet and the Green Lantern Corps to help fight off the Black Lanterns. An Orange Ring of Avarice had found its way to Lex Luthor, and he would later steal the Yellow Ring from Scarecrow.

In revenge for this act, Scarecrow began hunting down and murdering LexCorp interns. He was halted by Supergirl and Robin. However, during this fight, he revealed a new and improved Fear Toxin that affected even Supergirl. She overcame it and still helped Robin bring down Jonathan Crane.

In the New 52, Jonathan Crane’s obsession with fear and creation of the Fear Toxin came from his father’s experimentation on him as a child. He developed and began testing the Fear Toxin as a means of learning how to control fear and never feeling it again.

His first plan involved leading the GCPD off his trail by helping them investigate the first recorded outbreaks of Fear Toxin. However, the newly formed Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin found him out and arrested him.

After many subsequent captures by the Batman, Crane was robbed by Catwoman. He recruited Batman to figure out why, and he learned that it was part of a plan by Hugo Strange and his son to spread Fear Toxin across the city.

Crane next kidnapped Commissioner Gordon and led Batman to his hideout. He tested out a new Fear Toxin on the Caped Crusader, and the Batman was not immune to this new blend. He managed to incapacitate Batman and captured him. Batman eventually escaped, and the two fought a deadly duel. As the hideout began to detonate, Scarecrow began actually freeing his captured test subjects before escaping himself. He made another ploy at infecting Gotham with his new Toxin, and awaited the Batman in his next hideout. The Dark Knight had a new antidote for the new compound, and Scarecrow was taken back to Arkham.

His next scheme took place in Metropolis where searched for a new plant to upgrade his Toxin. Swamp Thing came to meet him this time, and Scarecrow began experimenting various blends on the creature. Eventually, Swamp Thing lost control of his powers and plant life began spreading across Metropolis. This attracted the attention of Superman, and the Man of Steel brought in Crane.

His next ploy was far more elaborate, and Scarecrow used a new blend of Toxin to convince the heroes of Gotham City that the town was now a peaceful and crime-free utopia aptly called Gothtopia. When Batman began seeing through the ruse, he was taken to the “Crane Rehabilitation Center for Health and Wellness” by his own allies. This facility was run by the inmates of Arkham Asylum. Batman broke out and began designing a cure, and he has aided by Poison Ivy in this venture. He freed his allies with the cure and brought down Scarecrow once again.

When the Crime Syndicate took over the world and left Gotham in the hands of its criminals and the Justice League were believed dead, Scarecrow became their representative in Gotham. Penguin became the new mayor, and the villains began carving up Gotham for themselves. Bane wanted to overthrow this and took the identity of the Batman and began using the leftover frozen Talons of the Court of Owls to overthrow the rogues. This led to all-out war that ended with Bane fighting the Venom-powered villains of Gotham. Bane won and strung up Crane like an actual scarecrow. However, Bane was still brought down by the Batman when he returned home. Jonathan Crane was once again placed in Arkham Asylum.

When Scarecrow next escaped, he was used as a catalyst in a ritual to resurrect Deacon Blackfire by Mister Bygone and the Joker’s alleged Daughter. He was saved by Batwing and Jim Corrigan, and he escaped in the chaos.

Crane wanted to reunite the rogues of Gotham. He met with all of them at a restaurant to bring down the Batman. He even made peace with Bane by promising to enhance his Venom. Batman ambushed them and brought them down quickly, but Scarecrow and some others escaped and were brought to an unknown location by a mysterious benefactor. This individual gave the villains weapons on the sole condition that they are put to use.

Scarecrow’s use of these weapons was the arming of predator drones with Fear Toxin to spread across Gotham. However, Batwing and Batman ambushed and stopped Scarecrow once again.

The next notable adventure for the man who loves fear was during Joker’s Endgame for Gotham City and Batman. The Clown Prince infected the city with his Joker Venom, turning them into mindless and laughing madmen. Jeremiah Arkham released a number of villains from Arkham while attempting to infect them with Joker Venom too. Scarecrow and select others such as Poison Ivy and Clayface were immune due to prior exposure to the chemical. They were afraid of this new mayhem caused by the Joker, and they tried to hide out in Gotham. Batman eventually recruited Scarecrow and the others to hold off the insane citizens of Gotham while he dealt with the Joker himself.

It’s fairly easy to explain why I love Scarecrow so much. He is an intelligent and conniving rogue with a deadly obsession. His love of causing and studying fear has been his greatest weakness. Like a pyromaniac who returns to the scene of the crime, Scarecrow is often a victim of his need to watch his work unfold. He is also deliciously sinister and delightfully cruel. His finicky nature and intelligence add to these qualities to make a great, classical Batman villain. He is the master of fear, and he’ll never cease his pursuit of his obsession. These qualities more than earn Scarecrow the place of my 6th Favorite DC Villain of all time.