Zebediah Killgrave is easily the vilest of comic book rogues. I knew he had to be number one the moment I started this list. His crimes are numerous and horrific, and his motivation is nothing more than his own pleasure. A word from his mouth, and all who hear it become his slave. He emits a virus that is absorbed by his victims that force them to follow his commands. He has used this power to rob, rape, and murder. He forced the former super heroine Jessica Jones to sit and watch as he raped two other girls. He killed 30 people in a restaurant once by simply telling them to stop breathing. He has manipulated people into killing the ones they love.
The Purple Man has no end goals. He doesn’t love anyone except for himself. He is the embodiment of human selfishness and apathy. He’s not insane, and he can’t claim any trauma created his evil. He is simply a terrible man given a great power.
He leaves a long-lasting trauma in the victims that manage to live through an interaction with him, as they remember every detail with great clarity. They know their will is not their own, and they want to stop. However, his power is nigh-absolute. Only on scarce occasions has anyone overcome it.
Zebediah Killgrave is a vile man with an incredible ability, and he begs the question from the reader, “how many people would behave differently with that kind of power?”
And that wraps up the list folks. I may do this kind of thing every two or three weeks. I like the format, and I’ve heard from some that they really enjoyed this list. So, until next time, keep reading comics!
You didn’t think I would forget the Clown Prince of Crime would you?
The Joker, Gotham City’s most infamous and feared rogue. The Batman’s most hated nemesis. He is responsible for the death and mutilation of hundreds of innocents. He inspires madness among the underworld, and he is known to execute an underling just for fun. He has even attempted to kill his onetime confidant and “lover” Harley Quinn on multiple occasions. He has no end goal, no aspirations, and no ambition. Everything he does is for the fun of it. He is incapable of restraint. He is the embodiment of that feeling we all have at one time or another. We all wish, from time to time, that we could let go of all responsibilities and inhibitions and just run wild, indulging every stray thought and desire no matter the consequences.
In all honesty, ranking Joker over the Red Skull or vice versa is just splitting hairs. They are both abominably evil. The only true difference is their motivations. What pushed the Harlequin of Hate into the Number 2 slot was the complexity and “creativity” of some of his handiwork. From mosaics made from stitched-together bodies to carving off of his own face just for fun, the Joker has committed some nightmarish deeds. In addition, he is responsible for two of the most infamous villainous acts in comic books. He crippled Barbara Gordon, and he killed Jason Todd.
The only thing that the Joker truly loves is the Batman. He is obsessed with the Caped Crusader, and no one is truly sure why. He favors him as an opposite inverse, but also has spoken, at-length, about how alike they are. He has had many opportunities to kill the Dark Knight, but he has never completed the act.
The Joker has never revealed his true backstory, though he has given many red herrings on the subject. The only thing that is known for sure is that he was briefly the failed thief, the Red Hood. In recent comics, it has been revealed that the Joker is actually three different people. To me, this is not nearly as fun as all of these actions having been caused by a single mystery man, and that will always be my head canon.
In the end, no matter how vile the deed, the Joker has always managed to get a laugh out of me.
Johann Schmidt, the man who frightened even Hitler. He was born to a drunken father and an abused mother, whom died giving birth to Johann. Sent off to a boys’ home with a hateful caretaker, his potential for malice began to manifest itself. He became a lieutenant to the Fuhrer himself. Schmidt was at first a field leader, spreading terror and killing hundreds, if not thousands, in his wake. His interest in science and the favor he gained from the Fuhrer allowed him to become a scientist within the regime. This is where he began having run-ins with the Allied soldiers, Captain America and Bucky Barnes. He, along with Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, founded Hydra as a means of establishing a legacy outside of Hitler and the Nazi regime. He put himself into suspended animation to survive to the present day, and has managed to transfer his mind into different bodies to achieve artificial longevity.
The Red Skull is a man without mercy or weakness. He holds hatred beyond measure and represents the depths of evil that can be awoken by ambition. He has killed in droves and has mutilated and experimented upon countless victims. His hatred for humanity as a whole is only surpassed by his hatred of the weak. He identifies this weakness within various minority groups, originally the Jewish people that the Nazis targeted, now the mutants that have been persecuted to near-extinction. His rage is boundless, and he will exterminate anyone of his subordinates that he finds lacking. His goal is nothing less than world domination and the destruction of Captain America’s homeland. His ability to constantly find new followers shows something ugly and wretched within people. Perhaps humanity has a dormant evil lurking within it, and the wrong turn of events on the wrong day can create another agent of hatred akin to Johann Schmidt himself.
In all honesty, Thanos almost didn’t even make this list. As I said before, I consider motivation in addition to deeds, and many of Thanos’ actions have been motivated by his love for Lady Death (Death is a sentient being in the Marvel Universe). He has even aided heroes for the general wellbeing of the universe in the past, teaming up with the likes of Adam Warlock, Nova, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, one thing that cannot be denied is the body count that Thanos has left in his wake, and that is what landed him on this list. The Mad Titan has killed millions, if not billions, in his existence. He extinguished entire galaxies to show his devotion to Lady Death. He is a walking extinction event. Though there are three more left on this list ranked more evil than he, Thanos has killed more sentient beings than every other character on this list combined. Thanos kills when it suits him, though it is not always his primary goal. However, his power and ambition has put him on the path of slaughter in his every waking moment. Nigh-immortal and constantly yearning for even greater powers, Thanos will likely be the end of the Marvel Universe.
Almost 200 years old, Nathaniel Essex is a scientist at heart. He was inspired by Charles Darwin’s 19th century research into evolution and the origins of man. He took Darwin’s theories a step farther, positing that the offspring of man will mutate, becoming something superhuman. He called this the “Essex Factor.” He was mocked for this theory, and losing a son did not help his increasingly obsessive mental state. Shown that his theories were correct by the appearance of time-travelling X-Men, Cyclops and Jean Grey, he became even further obsessed with the idea of mutants. He took too kidnapping and experimenting upon live humans with no care or consideration for their safety and wellbeing. He even experimented upon the corpse of his dead son. He encountered En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse), who gave him his powers and immortality. Since then, he has been continuing with his experiments. He even went as far as working with the Nazis during World War II. Over time, Mister Sinister’s obsession has turned towards self-improvement, no longer concerned with sharing his knowledge for the benefit of the world at large. In the present, he has become a powerful and merciless foe for the X-Men. He was responsible for ordering the Marauders to hunt down and exterminate the Morlocks (see Sabretooth’s entry on the list). He is a ruthless man incapable of empathy, and he will never cease his pursuit of unlocking the potentials of the mutant gene.
Victor Zsasz has no super powers. He has no special abilities or skills that put him on the same level of most other rogues of Gotham City. He only has cunning, determination, and a need to kill. He has no master plans or high-minded schemes, though his murders are historically elaborate and grisly. He only earns the tag of “supervillain” because he appears in comic books fighting super heroes. He is just a man with a knife and tally marks upon his body. What makes Victor Zsasz terrifying and places him above the likes of Carnage and Sabretooth on this list is how real he seems. His actions and delusions are similar to so many serial killers of the past. His mentality is so disturbingly alien, and, more disturbingly, it is one seen in reality on a number of occasions. Though not exclusively, he often targets young women who often live alone. He targets the vulnerable, but he believes them to be “zombies” that he is setting “free.” He often leaves his victims in life-like positions when he leaves. After each kill, he carves a tally mark into his body to “remind himself that he is merely human.” By this point, these marks cover most of his body. Victor Szasz is no supervillain. He is just a man, and he is one of the most unnerving characters to ever appear in a comic book.
Victor Creed, an immortal mutant with savage animal instincts that drive him to kill. This is not to say that he tries to resist these urges. Sabretooth has expressed joy at viciously killing others, either with his claws or his brute strength, many times. To add to this terror, he has a healing factor as effective as his rival, Wolverine’s. This makes it difficult to tell just how old Victor Creed is, and it makes the potential number of his victims frighteningly large. He thoroughly enjoys tormenting Wolverine, having toyed with his faulty memory many times. In the past, he has convinced Logan that he is his father or brother (the second of those two lies may actually be true). Like Wolverine, he was put through the Weapon X program. However, his enrollment was less reluctant and merely another excuse to profit off of his thirst for blood. He has shown no remorse in turning his murderous rage against fellow mutants, having killed X-Men like Psylocke and aiding Mister Sinister in hunting the peaceful, sewer-dwelling mutants known as the Morlocks to near-extinction. In more recent comics, Sabretooth has been forcefully reformed through telepathic means. However, to me, Sabretooth will always be remembered as a malicious killer (yes I know that’s ironic since I really like Agent Venom, different circumstances though), and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before those instincts take over once again.
Check back tomorrow to see who gets tallied up to number 6!