Big Bad / Comic Books

"The ultimate villain of the story, who's causing the problem the heroes must solve."

Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story. The Big Bad is the one who turns out to be behind several other seemingly independent threats.


DC

  • The DCU has a couple of common big bads:
    • Darkseid, a Galactic Conqueror as well as a Physical God.
    • Vandal Savage, an immortal who plans to take over the world and is the leader of The Illuminati.
    • Lex Luthor, a Corrupt Corporate Executive Magnificent Bastard as well as the arch-nemesis of Superman and often of Supergirl. If there's ever a Legion of Doom anywhere, you can bet top dollar he's the boss of it. In some continuities he's a Mad Scientist.
      • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Lex Luthor killed baby Kal-El and sent a hitman to kill the Waynes, depriving Earth of its greatest heroes who would have saved countless lives and forcing their successors -Supergirl and Batgirl- to grow up quick and pick up their slack. He deceived and manipulated the Justice Society and Supergirl. And he allied himself with the Joker, hoping to get rid of both Supergirl and Batgirl.
      • In Gotham City Garage, Lex Luthor took over Gotham City, the last city on a post-apocalyptic Earth and has been ruling with iron fist and mind-control during decades.
    • General Zod has also taken the role of to Superman at times.
    • Brainiac is also one of the arch-enemies of Superman and his cousin Supergirl. He's -usually- a super-intelligent -and incredibly mean-spirited, temperamental and ruthless- alien who regards every life-forms as lab rats meant to be either destroyed or captured, locked and examined. Since 2000 his power-set has been more or less consistent, a Genius Bruiser with Psychic Powers who can overpower Superman in a fistfight and totes some of the deadliest and most advanced technology in the DCU (which he invented), most famously his nigh-invincible skullship, his shrink ray, his force-fields, his mind control devices, and his army of Flying Brick robots.
    • Mister Mxyzptlk -a prankster with reality-warping powers- is behind all conflicts in What Ever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow and Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade.
    • In Bizarrogirl a humongous planet-eater alien called Godship kickstarts the plot by getting to devour Bizarro World and forces Bizarro send his cousin to Earth. Godship is even called “Big Bad”.
      Bizarro Lex: Godship am Big Bad.
    • The Flash has Professor Zoom and Captain Cold.
    • Shazam has Doctor Sivana and Mister Mind.
    • Merlyn in the Green Arrow series.
    • Wonder Woman has Circe and Ares.
    • Captain Atom has General Wade Eiling
    • Zatanna has Brother Night.
    • Blue Devil had Nebiros.
    • The Sandman has Lucifer Moringstar.
    • The Spectre has Phallax and Butcher.
    • Aquaman has Black Manta and Ocean Master.
    • Booster Gold has Maxwell Lord, a former friend of superheroes.
    • Martian Manhunter has Despero, a galactic Conquer.
    • Legion of Super-Heroes has the Fatal Five led by Emerald Empress or Tharlok thought the former is more common,Mordu,and the Time Trapper.Lighting Lord in the reboots and Cosmic King in the silver age in stories that involve the Legion of Super Villains.
    • Batman Beyond has Blight.
    • Sinestro serves as this to the Green Lanterns.
    • The Joker plays Big Bad less frequently as he usually prefers getting right up close and personal to a certain someone. He did hijack reality one time, and when he was tricked into thinking he was dying he decided to quit kidding around and just gas the whole world.
    • Psychotic mobster Black Mask was the Big Bad of the last Catwoman series.
    • Batman: Earth One: Oswald Cobblepot.
    • Brainiac, an evil robot and a being that seeks to control all information.
    • Trigon for the Teen Titans.
    • Convergence: Telos, the Genius Loci on which the story takes place, serves as something of this, having captured the timelines and set them against each other. Until halfway through the series when the Warlord's old enemy Deimos becomes the new Big Bad.
    • Doctor Fate has Wotan
    • For Nightwing it's Block Buster before he was killed off.Also for the Robins including Dick it tends to be Two-Face. There is also Death Stroke.
    • The Anti-Monitor, responsible for starting the Crisis on Infinite Earths as well as the Sinestro Corps War. An Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Cronos in The All New Atom
    • In DC: The New Frontier, the Centre is revealed to be an historical Big Bad, responsible for mass extinctions throughout history. The use of the atomic bomb makes him decide it's our turn.
    • Nekron, Lord of the Unliving, who commands the dead to drag the world of the living into death. He usually confronts Green Lantern characters, and is arguably their most powerful recurring foe.
    • Brain in the Doom Portal.
    • Some of the more prominent Big Bads that L.E.G.I.O.N. faced were Mr. Starr and Lyrl Dox.
    • In Infinite Crisis, the Big Bad was a three-way tie between Alexander Luthor (overall), Superboy Prime (for the Superman family), and Brother Eye (for the Batman family).
    • 52 had several villains, as it was about several heroes. However, each of the seven main storylines had its own main villain.
      • The Metal Men's story: Chang Tzu (formerly Egg Fu). He's also the power behind the Religion of Crime (antagonists of The Question's story) and the Four Horsemen of Apokolips (antagonists of Black Adam's story) and can thus be considered the Big Bad of these, as well.
      • Steel's story: Lex Luthor.
      • The space heroes' story: Lady Styx.
      • Elongated Man's story: Neron.
      • Booster Gold's story: Skeets, of all people, Brainwashed and Crazy courtesy of Mr. Mind.
    • Krona, whilst primarily a Green Lantern villain, is ultimately the biggest bad of the setting, or at least one of, in terms of the reach of his influence. The Anti-Monitor, and thus Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and Brightest Day, along with the later Monitor problems that led to Final Crisis? Exists because of what Krona did In The Beginning that created Anti-Monitor. Manhunter rebellion, and thus the Red Lantern problem as well as the horde of killer robots? All Krona. Entropy responsible for ensuring that the universe is running on borrowed time and will eventually die? You can blame Krona for that.
      • And now he's also the Big Bad of the War of the Green Lanterns story, where he shows just how bad he is by getting Parallax and the other Emotional Entities to serve him and effortlessly taking over the Green Lantern Corps.
    • The Joker is this in the Bat Family Crossover, Death of the Family.
    • Rise of the Third Army has the Guardians, after years of general douchebaggery, finally jump off the slippery slope and create the titular Third Army to absorb the universe in order to eliminate The Evils of Free Will. And when this arc ends and transitions into Wrath of the First Lantern, Valthoom (the titular Lantern, who the Guardians had been using to power the Third Army), proves to be Eviler Than Thou, imprisoning the Guardians, destroying the Third Army, and becoming an immediate and direct threat to all of time and space.
    • The events of Trinity War turn out to have been engineered by The Outsider (Earth-3 Alfred Pennyworth), the leader of the Secret Society, in order to both weaken and defeat the various Justice Leagues, and get his hands on Pandora's Box so he can use it to open a portal to Earth-3 and summon his masters, the Crime Syndicate.
    • Forever Evil, being the direct sequel to Trinity War, naturally therefore has the Crime Syndicate as the Big Bad Duumvirate. Subverted. It turns out the Crime Syndicate was lying about destroying earth-3. The real Big Bad, or possibly Greater-Scope Villain: The Anti-Monitor. Who has declared war on Darkseid.
    • Lights Out has Relic, the last survivor of a universe destroyed by overusing Emotional Spectrum energy, who seeks to prevent the same thing in this universe... by destroying all the Lantern Corps.
    • Swamp Thing has Anton Arcane.
    • Robin has Sir Edmund Dorrance aka King Snake until he's killed off by Bane, the son he abandoned to be raised in the worst prison on earth.

Marvel

  • Doctor Doom has a big habit of being this, as does Magneto, and the Red Skull, in the wider Marvel Earth. The Kingpin is sometimes this when it comes to more purely criminal scales.
    • Thanos. He took Eternity's place. Twice. He had Mephisto kowtowing to him, and Mephisto is the Devil. He's Marvel's designated "Big Bad that other Big Bads worry about". The kicker: he does it all for love... of Death.
      • In his most recent storyline, however, he's in an Enemy Mine situation with Marvel's cosmic heroes to combat an even bigger Big Bad: the Fault.
      • Which means the Big Bad of this event is essentially Life without Death.
    • Mephisto himself is nothing to snuff at, either. The nearest equivalent Marvel has to Satan, he has taken the time to torment nearly every hero in the Marvel Universe. Aside from giving Spider-Man fans One More Day (thus proving himself the epitomy of evil), he has made efforts to take the souls of pure hearted heroes like Black Panther and the Silver Surfer, messed with the Fantastic Four on several occasions (one of which got him destroyed, leading to a convoluted chain of events that led to him accidently kicking off the process that drove the Scarlet Witch insane), and just generally causes havoc. He's strong enough to at least tussle with the likes of Odin and Galactus, created the demon Blackheart as a son who has proved to be every bit as evil as his dad, turned Johnny Blaze into the Ghost Rider, abducted the mother of Doctor Doom, and helped to create Daimon Hellstorm.
    • In recent mini-crossover event "Chaos War", former Ares and Hercules baddie Amitsu Mikaboshi upgrades to the Chaos King, nominally the ultimate Marvel villain ever - he scares Eternity, has Death on the run and knocks Galactus on his ass. His beef: He is the darkness from before the universe was created and he wants to go back to that.
    • He's more of a Greater-Scope Villain because of his handful of actual appearances, but few forces are as responsible for as much evil as the Elder God Chthon. An ancient demon native to Earth and perhaps the first and oldest sorceror to ever live, Chthon is the creator of the race of demons known as the N'garai and the author of the Darkhold, the first and most powerful book of Black Magic on the Marvel Earth, which he left on the planet as a conduit for his eventual return and which is responsible for the creation of vampires and, by extension, the fall of Atlantis. A piece of his essence is sealed in Mount Wundegore in Eastern Europe, from where the Puppet Master gets his magical clay and where he encountered a young Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. Chthon placed a piece of his power inside her so that he might one day use her as his host, so the reason she is so powerful, and therefore the reason she became such a threat to the universe, is entirely his fault. Being an Elder God, he carries some of the blame for the existence of Mephisto and the rest of The Legions of Hell as well.
    • Galactus had his turn of being this at times.
    • For Black Panther it's either Klaw the man who killed his father or Erik Killmonger his evil counterpart.
    • Deadpool has T-rey.
    • Jessica Jones has Purple Man
    • Iron Fist has Steel Serpant
    • Luke Cage has Chemistro.
    • For about a year during Dark Reign, the biggest bad in Marvel was Norman Osborn, with Baron Strucker being a close second now that HYDRA has been upgraded to a full-on Ancient Conspiracy. Norman is the big bad for the Spider-Man series as the Green Goblin.If it isn't the Green Goblin antagonizing then it's Doctor Octopus he founded the Sinister Six and managed to take over Spider-Man's body for a while before finally taking it back.
    • Mystique used to be back when she was Ms. Marvel's Arch Enemy but since become the Arch-Enemy of Rouge she has become this for her spin-offs as well as becoming the leader of the brotherhod of mutans at one point.
    • Madame Viper now Madame Hydra is the current head of Hydra after Baron Strucker.
    • Moonstone is this to Ms. Marvel now Captain Marvel.
    • J'son is this in the Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • The Madarian in the Iron Man series.
    • In the Captain America, comic the Red Skull almost always plays the role of the Big Bad. Whenever there is an evil plot in the Captain America comic, there is 80% chance that the Red Skull is behind it.
    • And if it's not Red Skull, it's Baron Zemo first Baron Heinrich Zemo then his son Baron Helmut Zemo.
    • The X-Men usually have Enemy Mine moments with their main nemesis Magneto (and his followers, the Acolytes and/or Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) when confronting Apocalypse, so he could count, too.
    • Mr. Sinister was the X-Men's Big Bad for a couple of years, until he was demoted to disciple of Apocalypse.
    • The Punisher has Jigsaw.
    • Carnage has become this in his own series and in some of Venom stories.
    • Venom in his series have varied like Crime Master and Lord Ogre as well as the Third Sin-Eater as well as Carnage as stated above.
    • Wolverine in general has Sabretooth by default.
    • During the "Dark Phoenix Returns" arc, Mystique recieved horrible dreams about being hunted by Mastermind and Jean Grey (the titular Dark Phoenix), the Phoenix effect appeared in the sky over Tokyo, Wolverine's bride-to-be was hypnotised into saying "no" at the altar, and Emma Frost, White Queen of the Hellfire Club, was put in a coma. This all seemed to be the leadup for Phoenix to return, and culminated in Xavier being left in a coma and Phoenix's apparent resurrection. In reality, it was all a sham, orchestrated by Mastermind, the arc's real Big Bad.
    • The biggest bad of Grant Morrison's much-beloved run on the book, although he personally didn't do much, was John Sublime. He created the Weapon Plus Program (which included the Weapon X Project, making him arguably Wolverine's Big Bad too), wrote the book that inspired the U-Men, gave Cassandra Nova her technology, and the drug Kick, which drove Xorn and Kid Omega insane, is made from his substance. He is partly responsible for the phenomenon of anti-mutant prejudice itself, subtly compelling humanity to be hostile to the emerging sub-species, making him arguably the Big Bad for the entire X-Men franchise.
    • Chris Claremont's X-Treme X-Men, which ran concurrently with Morrison's run, had Original Generation character Elias Bogan, a centuries-old disembodied mutant said to have been the original founder of the Hellfire Club. While he wasn't the main villain in every arc, he was the only villain to appear in more than one and was also the Final Boss.
    • The Founder is the Big Bad of Jason Aaron's run for Wolverine.
    • If someone is making The Hulk's life hell, it's The Leader.
    • Inhumans has Lineage who is also the big bad for the new Ms. Marvel series.
    • Thor has Loki and Surter.
    • In the days before Kingpin made wrecking Daredevil's life his hobby, the Owl served this role for him.
    • In X-23 series Dr. Zander Rice is this until his death and later Kimura takes the role.
    • Ultron is the ultimate robotic Big Bad in Marvel. These days, when he pops up it's invariably on the final page of the build-up issue, usually after a few horrified whispers of the "Oh no - not him!" - "It can't be!" - variety.
    • The Big Bad of the Doctor Strange title tends to be Dormammu, a Dimension Lord Eldritch Abomination who is the source of most of the conflict in Dr. Strange's life, either directly or through minions like Baron Mordo. If its not him then its likely to be Shuma-Gorath, who killed Strange's mentor and is an even more powerful demon than Dormammu himself, and ruled the Earth twice in the distant past.
    • In Runaways Alex's parents, Katherine and Geoffrey Wilder were the leaders of The Pride, and the major antagonists of the first arc, with The Gibborim in back of them. In the second arc, the writers go out of their way to imply that the Big Bad is Alex Back from the Dead; in reality it's a version of Geoffrey brought from 1985 to the present.
    • Marvel's Crisis Crossovers typically have a Big Bad:
      • Secret Wars: The Beyonder is the one who set up the events of the story, and by far the most powerful being in it, but his morality is of the decidedly blue and orange flavor and he really just wants to learn as much as he can about our universe. Doctor Doom is a more traditional Big Bad, particularly once he steals the Beyonder's power and becomes near-omnipotent.
      • Secret Wars II: The Beyonder is the direct antagonist this time, but he's still really just curious. On a universe-destroying level.
      • Mutant Massacre: The first X-title crossover has Mr. Sinister as its Big Bad, orchestrating the near extermination of The Morlocks. As this was Mr. Sinister's debut and the writers want to preserve a sense of mystery about this dangerous new foe, he makes no physical appearance in the storyline and the on-screen villainy is handled by his henchmen the Marauders.
      • The Fall of the Mutants: Rather than a true crossover, The Fall of the Mutants is a "thematic" crossover in which each of the three mutant teams, the X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants, face a major threat and experience dramatic changes. As such, there is a Big Bad for each team. The X-Men face the Adversary, a demon with a history with one of their teammates, Forge, and who threatens to plunge the world into chaos. X-Factor faces Apocalypse, who tries to tempt them into joining his war against humanity and then tries to destroy New York City when they refuse. The New Mutants, meanwhile, end up in a three-way battle against the Ani-Mator and the Right, the former who is creating and abusing Beast Men known as the Ani-Mates and the latter being an organization dedicated to destroying mutants.
      • The Evolutionary War: The High Evolutionary, who initiates multiple plots to preserve humanity's genetic purity and accelerate its evolution, whether it wants it or not.
      • Inferno: Inferno has a heck of a Big Bad Ensemble. S'ym is the one who takes over Magik's hell dimension of Limbo and conceives of the demonic invasion of Earth. He coerces his rival N'astirh into organizing the actual logistics of the invasion, but N'astirh quickly dispenses with his act of subservience and actually has bigger plans to merge Limbo with Earth and is manipulating practically all of the major players to accomplish this. The Goblin Queen, aka Cyclops' estranged wife Madelyne Pryor, has the power necessary to perform N'astirh's ritual, and while she knows the demon is using her for his own ends she's become so full of hate she's still willing to kill her own son and doom the world. When N'astirh's (apparently) killed, she takes over the Big Bad position and still endeavors to go through with the Evil Plan anyways. There's also Mr. Sinister, whose creation and manipulation of Madelyne sent her down the path of madness and who's waiting in the wings for a chance to snatch Jean Grey and an infant Nathan Summers.
      • Atlantis Attacks: The Deviant priest Ghaur and Lyra, the queen of Lemuria, who conspire to summon Set to Earth. Once Set is summoned, he of course takes over as the Big Bad.
      • Acts Of Vengeance: The Legion of Doom, manipulated by Loki, who have a rather simple plan: eliminate all the heroes.
      • X-Tinction Agenda: Cameron Hodge, who orchestrates the Genoshan plot to kidnap and enslave the New Mutants.
      • Muir Island Saga: An "X-family crossover," the Big Bad is the Shadow King, who is using Polaris as a link between the physical world and the Astral Plane so that he might absorb "negative energy" through her and become all-powerful.
      • The Infinity Gauntlet: Thanos, naturally. He obtains possession of all the Infinity Gems, making him a Reality Warper more powerful than any being in the universe.note  Being an Omnicidal Maniac in love with the anthropomorphic personification of Death, his antics threaten to bring about the end of reality. He's supplanted as Big Bad towards the end of the Crisis Crossover by Nebula, who manages to steal the Infinity Gauntlet when Thanos becomes Eternity and leaves his physical body (with the Gauntlet) behind. Interestingly, she's much less evil than Thanos, but still not trustworthy enough to be allowed to wield ultimate power.
      • Operation Galactic Storm: The Kree Supreme Intelligence, who orchestrates the entire Kree-Shi'ar War so that a Shi'ar superweapon, the Nega-Bomb, can be detonated in Kree space. Its goal is to use the massive amount of radiation generated by the bomb to jump-start the Kree's stalled evolution, even if it means killing billions of its subjects in order to do so.
      • Rise of the Midnight Sons: Lilith, who seeks to conquer the world through her children the Lilin, is the Big Bad in this crossover of Marvel horror and supernatural heroes.
      • Revenge of the Sinister Six: Doctor Octopus, leading the Sinister Six in an interdimensional crime spree to collect advanced weapons and technology for their own purposes.
      • The Infinity War: The Magus, the anthropomorphic manifestation of Adam Warlock's evil. Having acquired reality-warping Cosmic Containment Crystals from the Crossroads, a nexus between dimensions, his ultimate goal is to merge Reality-616 (the Marvel Universe) with a reality where he rules supreme.
      • X-Cutioner's Song: Stryfe, Cable's clone. Convinced that he's the real Nathan Summers, he travels from the future to destroy Cyclops, Jean Grey, Cable, the X-Men, and Apocalypse, all of whom he blames for the various perceived misfortunes he suffered in his life.
      • The Infinity Crusade: The Goddess, the manifestation of Adam's good side. Unfortunately, her idea of eliminating evil from the universe is eliminating all sentient life, as it is capable of both good and evil.
      • Maximum Carnage: Carnage, who puts together a vicious team of killers to go on a city-wide murder spree For the Evulz that takes the collective effort of several heroes to stop.
      • Fatal Attractions: Magneto, who relapses into full-fledged villainy and tries to wipe out humanity.
      • Mys-Tech Wars: Mys-Tech, an Evil, Inc. run by a cabal of wizards who orchestrate a demonic invasion of Earth to pay off the terms of their Faustian pact.
      • Siege of Darkness: Zarathos, the spirit that formerly empowered (and would again) Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider, and Lilith, plotting to take over the world. Zarathos takes over as the sole Big Bad after Lilith is banished.
      • Child's Play: The Gamesmaster, the "judge" for a team of mutants called the Upstarts who organizes a "game" called the Younghunt in which the Upstarts must hunt and capture the New Mutants and Hellions.
      • Phalanx Covenant: A group of mutant-hating humans who infect themselves with the Transmode virus to become Phalanx, who then try to assimilate all mutants into their Hive Mind.
      • Age of Apocalypse: Apocalypse, who, as a result of time-travel shenanigans gone horribly wrong, is the Social Darwinist ruler of mutant-dominated North America. His antics have turned the world into a hellish dystopia featuring a cold war between his polity and the human-supremacist dictatorship that controls the rest of the world. Worse, he tries to take measures to ensure nobody can hit the Reset Button.
      • The Crossing: It appears to be Kang, who is revealed to have brainwashed Iron Man as his sleeper agent during their first encounter. Left unchecked, Iron Man will destroy the Avengers and usher in a future ruled by Kang. The revelation that a decades-old popular superhero was actually a villain for most of his career and the death of said hero to be replaced by his time-displaced teenage self was not well-received by fans at all. Avengers Forever introduced a major Author's Saving Throw, retconning it so that Tony was only a mole since Operation Galactic Storm, and that the "Kang" in The Crossing was merely a disguise for the true Big Bad, Immortus (at that time Kang's future self), whose goal it was, at the behest of the Time Keepers, to "distract" the Avengers at a key moment in time to prevent further aggressive space operations that would lead to the establishment of a space-spanning human empire.
      • Onslaught: ... Err, Onslaught. A psychic construct produced when Professor X shut down Magneto's mind in "Fatal Attractions", inadvertently taking Magneto's anger, grief, and thirst for revenge into his consciousness where it mixed with every repressed negative feeling Xavier ever experienced, Onslaught's goal is to gather all human minds into a collective consciousness.
      • Operation: Zero Tolerance: An X-men crossover, the Big Bad is Bastion, a Sentinel who leverages human animosity in the wake of Onslaught to initiate a campaign to wipe out mutantkind with Prime Sentinels.
      • Heroes Reborn: The Return: The Celestials, who demand the destruction of either Earth's universe or the pocket universe containing Counter-Earth to maintain the cosmic balance. After they agree to let those on Counter-Earth who were originally inhabitants of Earth-616 return, Dr. Doom takes the position of Big Bad when he attempts to steal Franklin Richards' powers.
      • The Hunt for Xavier: Cerebro, Professor X's telepathy-enhancing, mutant-detecting device that has gained sentience and decides that its mission is to fulfill Xavier's dream by imprisoning all humans via digitizing them.
      • The Magneto War: Magneto, who threatens to destroy modern civilization with an electromagnetic pulse unless the United Nations bequeaths a mutant homeland to him and then ups the ante by trying to seize control of Earth's entire magnetosphere.
      • The Twelve: Apocalypse, whose goal is to ascend to godhood through a ritual involving twelve mutants with unique powers.
      • Ages of Apocalypse: A direct sequel to The Twelve, Apocalypse is still the Big Bad, who, having gathered enough ritual from the aforementioned ritual to alter reality, traps the heroes in a series of reality warps in an attempt to drain more and more power from the Twelve to finish his ascension to divinity.
      • The Nefaria Protocols: A crossover between The Avengers and Thunderbolts, the Big Bad is Count Nefaria, whose scheme is to detonate an ionic bomb that with infuse everyone with ionic energy and allow him to control all life as puppets.
      • Maximum Security: The Kree Supreme Intelligence (again), who this time manipulates the Intergalactic Council into making Earth and the Solar System a maximum-security prison for the universe's most dangerous alien criminals. Sealed off from the rest of the universe by a force field and too busy dealing with the incredibly dangerous and frequently empowered criminals, Earth's superheroes would either be overwhelmed and destroyed or at least too busy to concerns themselves with universal affairs.
      • Eve of Destruction: Magneto, who, in the wake of the Legacy Virus' cure, begins to assemble a mutant army to conquer the world.
      • Avengers Disassembled: The Scarlet Witch, who, traumatized by the death of her children, snaps and lashes out against the Avengers, killing several of them before being taken down by Dr. Strange. The Children's Crusade later reveals that Wanda's insanity stemmed from the Life Force, potent reality-warping energy that she took into herself with the aid of Doctor Doom in the hopes of resurrecting her children. Unfortunately, she lacked the willpower to control the Life Force and became mentally unstable, circumstances which Doom used to turn the Scarlet Witch against the Avengers.
      • Wild Kingdom: A crossover between the X-Men and BlackPanther, the Big Bad is Erich Paine, who uses his scientific expertise to create Beast Men to sell to the highest bidder and that are unleashed upon Africa.
      • House of M: Quicksilver, of all characters, using the aforementioned insane Scarlet Witch to carry out his plan, that of making a perfect world where everyone's dreams came true.
      • Civil War: Nitro could be considered the Big Bad; he was only in the first issue and a few tie-ins, but his actions provided the catalyst for the superhumans to start fighting each other, and he's one of only two significant characters in the story to be unambiguously evil besides (the other being essentially a mindless brute). Because he was only in one issue, though, fans tend to forget him and consider Iron Man the Big Bad instead due to the perceived massive level in jerkass he took in his well-intentioned efforts to clean up the mess Nitro started. A case could be made for Walter Declun, the crooked CEO of a company that cleans up the debris from superhero battles, who gave Nitro the drugs he used to produce the blast that caused the aforementioned "mess," being the true villain, but he only appeared in two tie-in issues, never in the main book.
      • Annihilation: Annihilus, as suggested by the title. His goal is to wipe out all life in the universe, paranoiacally convinced that the the only way to ensure his survival is to kill everything else in existence.
      • World War Hulk: Miek was eventually revealed as the one who set the Hulk against Earth, all to make him a "better warrior."
      • Annihilation Conquest: Ultron, who has assumed command of the Phalanx to conquer the universe.
      • Messiah CompleX: The birth of the first mutant since the Scarlet Witch's "No more mutants" prompts a whole bunch of Big Bads to come out of the woodwork. Perennial Wolverine foe Lady Deathstrike, leader of the Reavers, allies with the Purifiers to kill the child in the hopes of ensuring mutantkind's extinction. Predator X is hunting the baby to eat her, and former X-Man Bishop, convinced that the girl is responsible for the Bad Future he's from, wants to kill her to avert it. Finally, there's Mystique, leading the Marauders and the Acolytes, who wants to use the child to awaken her surrogate daughter Rogue from a coma even though Rogue's powers will kill the baby.
      • Secret Invasion: Skrull Empress Veranke, who leads a secret infiltration of Earth's governments, militaries, and superhuman communities with the goal of conquering Earth, which she believes is the Skrulls' by divine mandate.
      • Dark Reign: Norman Osborn, who, as a result of killing Veranke and Tony Stark's utter discrediting as director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is placed in charge of America's national security and superhuman regulation apparatus. As can be expected, he uses his power to try to create his version of an ideal world and pursue personal vendettas, actions that pit him against virtually ever single superhero.
      • War of Kings: Vulcan, emperor of the Shi'ar, who embarks on a campaign to conquer the Universe, a move that pits him against the Inhuman-ruled Kree Empire. It briefly becomes a Big Bad Ensemble when Black Bolt, increasingly driven to more extreme measures by the war, jumps off the slippery slope and tries to detonate a massive Terrigen Bomb that will forcibly transform everyone in the Universe into Inhumans, whether they like it or not, hoping that by doing so he will eliminate all differences and thus all source of conflict.
      • Messiah War: The sequel to Messiah CompleX, this crossover between Cable and X-Force has Cable's evil clone Stryfe and Bishop as a Big Bad Duumvirate. The two are trying to kill Cable's surrogate daughter Hope, the "Mutant Messiah," Bishop because, as stated previously, he's convinced that she'll be the catalyst for the creation of the Bad Future he came from, and Stryfe because Bishop has promised his assistance in killing Apocalypse in return.
      • Utopia: The Iron Patriot, at the time head of America's security and intelligence establishment, who dislikes the X-Men's establishment of a mutant micronation off the shores of California and the perceived threat it forms toward the U.S. and his power. When Cyclops declares Utopia outside of Osborn's jurisdiction, the latter launches an all-out assault to crush the mutants.
      • X-Men's Mutant Messiah Myth Arc: A truly enormous Big Bad Ensemble, with all the traditional X-Big Bads (Apocalypse, Sinister, Stryfe, Selene, the Purifiers) showing up, Bishop going bonkers on top of that, and Osborn dropping by for an arc where this crossover was itself crossed over with Dark Reign. By the end, though, the true threat and Final Boss stands revealed as Bastion. This also demonstrates some of the risks of doing a storyline this massive with this many villains, as their appearances ended with nearly all of them being killed off or otherwise removed from the board in a seemingly-permanent way, which left the X-Men without any A-List villains for about a year, something that may have contributed to the weakness of the Matt Fraction run.
      • The Thanos Imperative: The Many-angled Ones and Lord Mar-Vell.
      • Chaos War: Mikaboshi
      • Fear Itself: Cul Borson, aka The Serpent, Norse god of fear. No, he doesn't exist in actual Norse Mythology.
      • Avengers vs. X-Men: This is a Good Versus Good event, so it's difficult to pin down a Big Bad. The Phoenix Force, however, is the looming threat, with other candidates being Sinister who seeks to control it and Emma Frost who appears to be becoming corrupted by it after absorbing a portion of its power into her body. The Final Boss, however, ends up being Cyclops, who absorbs all of the Phoenix Force's power and goes Dark Phoenix.
      • Age of Ultron: A Big Bad Ensemble of Ultron and Alternate Universe evil Tony Stark.
      • Infinity: Due to following two different storylines simultaneously, it naturally has a Big Bad Ensemble — the main Avengers team has to deal with the invasion of the universe by the Builders, while the heroes left behind on Earth have to deal with another attempt to gather the Infinity Gems by Thanos. And then Shuma-Gorath shows up...
    • The Marvel 2099 line in the '90s had the Alchemax Corporation as the overarching villain, which had taken over the planet in the dystopian future. Its CEO Avatarr was eventually revealed as the literal God of Corrupt Corporate Executives.After his death it's just Tyler Stone.
    • In both Journey into Mystery and Loki: Agent of Asgard, the main villain turns out to be Loki, God of Mischief and Lies. The twist is that Loki is also the hero in both stories.
    • The original 1992 series of The Awesome Slapstick had the Overlord of Dimension X serve as a Starter Villain in the first issue, with the rest of the series having Slapstick fight one-shot villains. The 2016 series, however, has the Princess of Dimension Ecch as the main antagonist, who uses technology supplied by the Scientist Supreme to render everyone in Dimension Ecch devoid of genitalia and pin the blame on Slapstick.

Other

  • The Big Bad of 100 Bullets was for the entirety of the comic's run Augustus Medici. This was in doubt for a while; there was a point where Megan Dietrich seemed to be manipulating him, and toward the end it appeared he'd been Out-Gambitted by her and the rest of the younger Trust members, but the final issue reveals they were playing into his hands the whole time. In the end, though, the one thing he didn't count on was The Dragon, Agent Graves, having standards.
  • American Vampire has several characters competing for the spot over its run. Skinner Sweet is originally one, but he is outclassed by other strong contenders such as Dracula and The Gray Trader. The role is ultimately taken by The Beast, an Ancient Evil served by the Gray Trader.
  • Julius Caesar in the Astérix comics; almost every comic involves undoing one of his schemes to gain control over the village or its powers; however, the series later recasts Brutus as the Greater-Scope Villain, mixing him up a bit with Octavian. And that is without counting all the times that Caesar is the Greater-Scope Villain to some other political leader or prefect and the times that someone acts as The Starscream to him and is a Big Bad of his own accord.
  • The Atomic Thunderbolt: The Chief.
  • Back to Brooklyn: Paul "The Wall" Saetta.
  • Baltimore: Haigus.
  • In Beast Wars: The Ascending, Big Convoy notes that the building they're about to go into has that "Big Bad ambiance."
  • In the Anthology Comic The Beano Baby Face Finlayson is used as a Big Bad in a number of the longer strips by the artist Kev F Sutherland.
  • Not sure if it counts as a comic or toy line first, but BIONICLE has the Brotherhood of Makuta (a race of Big Bads), led by Teridax. Taken to the extreme when Teridax steals Mata Nui's 40-million-foot body and banishes him to the depths of space sealed in a mask.
  • Blacksad: Ivo Statoc.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Twilight in season 8, Simone Doffler in season 9, and D'Hoffryn in season 10.
  • The Mekon in Dan Dare. While not the main villain in every storyline, he turned up often enough to qualify for the role here.
  • Death Sentence has David "Monty" Montgomery, a depraved, self-absorbed comedian who gains the power to force almost anyone to do almost anything.
  • Dinocorps has Jarek, the racist Omnicidal Maniac who tries to exterminate all humans by blowing up the world.
  • Don Rosa established that the biggest bad of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe is Blackheart Beagle, who eventually recruits all the other recurring villains into his Legion of Doom. None too shabby for a guy who's probably pushing 100.
  • El Kuraan: The Pasha.
  • Winnowill from ElfQuest. She's not behind all the misery in the series (Humans Are Bastards, after all), but close.
    • Once the humans get technologically advanced enough to become a real threat for the heroes, Winnowill starts manipulating them as well.
    • In the early series Two Edge would be one of these, he manipulates even his mother, Winnowill but is too sympathetic, more of an Anti-Villain, turning to Anti-Hero after his sanity is restored
  • Elvis Shrugged: Col. Parker, who back in the 1970s was trying to keep Elvis from abandoning his status as "the King of Rock N Roll" in order to perform in Sondheim's Company, and, when he couldn't keep Elvis under his control, created a clone from skin samples.
  • In Fables the Adversary turns out to be Geppeto, of all people. Better yet it was originally planned to be Peter Pan but the rights weren't available.
    • After Gepetto's defeat, the role shifts to Mr. Dark although Kevin Thorn serves as Big Bad in the spin-off, Jack of Fables, and is defeated in a cross-over with the main series.
  • Mr. Smile, the young, two-faced CEO of Bright Industries who's had his plans thwarted more than once by The Fox. The Fox Hunt mini-series sees him place a bounty for The Fox's head, directly causing the primary conflicts of the story, for both The Fox and his son.
  • Dreadwing and Gothwrain from Gold Digger both fit this trope to a T. Tirant also qualifies by most standards but it's hard to top just how much evil the first two have caused The most recurring Big Bad is Phobos.
  • The Green Giant: Samuel "Smiley" Gleason.
  • Hack/Slash: Akakios, AKA Samhain.
  • Hyper the Phenomenal: Boris.
  • Jurassic Strike Force 5 has Master Zalx, an alien Evil Overlord who wants to take over the universe and will kill anyone in his way.
  • Kismet: Man of Fate: Satan.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has a few borderline examples, but the clearest-cut is probably Moriarty.
  • Max in The Losers.
  • In the Image series Lullaby, provider of the page quote, the Big Bad is, indeed a book. A mesmerizing book that uses a powerful wizard (who appears to be a male version of the Wicked Witch of the West), captivated by its majesty, to gather power and enforce its will.
  • The main villain of the Madballs comic book published by defunct Marvel Comics subsidiary Star Comics was Dr. Viktor Frankenbeans, a Mad Scientist who was obsessed with capturing the Madballs so he could study them and make them his slaves.
  • The Marksman: Major Strapp/The Sewer Rat.
  • Master Mystic: Rango of Slovania.
  • The Mice Templar has King Icarus, a vicious tyrant who's trying to purge the world of all Templars.
  • In the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe, the two most frequent Big Bads are Pete and the Phantom Blot, who on occasion form a Big Bad Duumvirate — though Pete sometimes (especially in alternate-continuity series like Wizards of Mickey) gets the role as The Dragon.
  • The Milestone Comics universe had a ton of nasty baddies, but the biggest of them was Holocaust, a pyromaniac thug, son of Dakota City's mayor, and former member of Blood Syndicate who later went on to be the most recurring and influential villain within the series and its various titles, butting heads with nearly every hero at some point. Fittingly, Milestone Forever ends with his conclusive death. While many of the comic's big titles like Static and Icon had no central Big Bad, a few of the other titles and arcs had a Big Bad of their own:
    • Deathwish had Boots, a twisted, albino serial killer and serial rapist with a twisted, murderous obsession with transsexuals — including the comic's lead, transsexual cop Marisa Rahm — who's heavily hinted to be transgender himself.
    • Hardware had Edwin Alva, Hardware's surrogate father, arch-enemy, and a corrupt, powerful CEO who heads Alva Industries. Interestingly enough, Hardware eventually stopped fighting with him and eventually took him back on his offer to become his heir — and Alva closed off his arc by sacrificing his life to save countless innocent lives.
    • Shadow Cabinet had Headmaster during the Shadow War storyline, a rogue member of Shadow Cabinet who formed Star Chamber, a group of superhumans who aimed for global conquest. Headmaster is supplanted at the last moment by Dr. Nemo, the inventor of Q Juice, who hijacks Headmaster's own scheme in an attempt to kill ninety percent of humanity and mutate the rest into Bang Babies.
    • Worlds Collide had Rift, a former mailman named Fred Benten who also happened to live simultaneous lives in both the Milestone universe and the DC universe, leading to characters like Edwin Alva to try and exploit his bizarre powers. This just ended up mutating him into a reality-warping nightmare that threatened both realities.
  • In Next Men, Aldus Hiltop appears to be this, but the true Big Bad is Sathanas.
  • Phantom Flyer: Von Trapp.
  • Reyn has Brother M'Thall, a prominent figure in the Venn race who has enslaved most of humanity and is trying to drive them to extinction.
  • Gideon Gordon Graves from Scott Pilgrim who single-handedly founded the League of Evil Exes.
  • Herr Wallenquist could likely be considered the main villain in Sin City since he has had a hand in many of the storyarcs. He was Maxwell Lord's main business partner in A Dame To Kill For, sent Manute to retrieve Jackie Boy's head and take over Old Town in Big Fat Kill, and was the Colonel's boss in Hell and Back just to name a few. But he's a bit of a Noble Demon in this world, so he rarely comes across as this.
  • Sonic the Comic has the ruler of Mobius Doctor Robotnik who takes the roll of overall Big Bad however other villains try to take the roll of Big Bad.
  • In the American Sonic The Hedgehog series, Sonic's Arch-Enemy Dr. Robotnik/Eggman has always been the overall Big Bad of the series, but occasionally the series has had other villains being the driving force behind events:
  • The Star Wars comics have at least one for each storyline:
    • Marvel Star Wars stories: Varied, but the Tagge family and Lumiya were always popping up.
    • Dark Empire and Empire's End: The cloned Palpatine.
    • Tales of the Jedi: Naga Sadow, Exar Kun.
    • Boba Fett: Orko the Hutt.
    • X-Wing Series: Ysanne Isard for Rogue Squadron. Warlord Zsinj for the Wraiths.
    • Shadows of the Empire: Prince Xizor.
    • Crimson Empire: Carnor Jax, though Burr Nolyds and Xandel Carivus took over for very short periods. The Man Behind the Man for the latter two was Nom Anor of the Yuuzhan Vong.
    • Leviathan: The titular creature.
    • Mara Jade: Dequc
    • Republic: Palpatine overall, with Iaco Stark, Volffe Karkko, Sora Bulq and Count Dooku filling in for stories based on the non-movie characters.
    • Darth Maul: Alexi Garyn.
    • Jedi Council: The Yinchorri Council of Elders manipulated by Palpatine.
    • Jedi vs. Sith: Lord Kaan, Darth Bane.
    • Underworld: Jozzel.
    • Empire: Grand Moff Trachta.
    • Obsession: Asajj Ventress, Durge.
    • Rogue Leader: General Weir.
    • General Grievous: The title character.
    • Purge: Darth Vader.
    • Knights of the Old Republic: Haazen for the Covenant arc, Demagol for the Crucible arc, and Dorjander Kace for the War miniseries.
    • Rebellion: The Empire as a whole.
    • Legacy: Darth Krayt, then Darth Wyyrlok, then the resurrected Darth Krayt.
    • Dark Times: Vader again.
    • Vector: Karness Muur.
    • The Clone Wars: Palpatine.
    • Knight Errant: Most likely Vilia Calimondra, the Evil Matriarch behind the feuding sibling and cousin Sith Lords ripping the galaxy apart, although she herself hasn't actually shown up yet.
    • Invasion: The Big Bad Duumvirate of Tsalok and Nagme, with Warmaster Tsavong Lah of New Jedi Order fame as the Greater-Scope Villain.
    • Dawn of the Jedi looks to be setting up a Big Bad Ensemble with Predor Skal'nas and Daegen Lok as the primary players. Though, considering that Daegen Lok became a Fallen Hero because the the Jedai'i (precursors to the Jedi) dismissed his vision of the coming Rakata (of which Skal'nas is one), and exiled him to the unpopulated moon of Bogan, and considering his intent is to save the Jedai'i (albeit using extreme methods), his status as Big Bad is up in the air. Especially now that the Jedai'i leaders have come to realize that Lok's vision is coming true.
    • Lost Tribe of the Sith has Baron Remulus Dreypa, one of the twelve founding Sith Lords, coming off of several thousand years stuffed in a can.
    • Blood Ties: A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett has the crime lord Tayand, who put a bounty on Connor Freeman, son of one of Fett's clones.
    • In Blood Ties: Boba Fett Is Dead (he's not, of course), the Big Bad is Purton, governor of Concord Dawn, who wants to kill Fett and all his loved ones (Fett does have a few, believe it or not) because Fett killed his son for "no reason." Fett's ex-wife Sintas Vel reveals to Purton that Fett killed his son because the younger Purton raped her, and Fett refused to explain to spare Sintas being made a spectacle.
  • Henry Bendix in Ellis's Stormwatch and Brubaker's The Authority.
  • Malesur in Tellos.
  • Arguably Rastapopolous from Tintin, if simply for his sheer number of appearances and the subordinate relationships that many other recurring villains (Allan, M?r, Dawson, etc.) have with him. Rastapopolous is one of the few recurring villains in Tintin; the comics tend to go for a new one every time.
  • The Transformers went through several Big Bads, due to the frequent changes in leadership of the Decepticons. Megatron, the most iconic of the Decepticon leaders, was only in command for less than a quarter of the book's original run! Shockwave, Ratbat, and Scorponok are the others who led the Earth-bound Decepticons, Straxus, Thunderwing, and Bludgeon were among the prominent Cybertron-based leaders, and Galvatron was mostly only a Big Bad in the UK comics, whereas in the US series he was more of a Wild Card (and explicitly a different version of Galvatron from the UK one anyway, coming from a Bad Future where Unicron wasn't destroyed).
    • Megatron did return to his proper Big Bad status in Transformers: Generation 2, though it was shared with Jhiaxus and his Cybertronian Empire, which itself was subordinate to the Liege Maximo.
    • Regeneration One had a separate Big Bad for each of its four arcs: Megatron, Scorponok, Bludgeon, and Jhiaxus. All of which were surpassed by the Bigger Bad, the Dark Matrix entity.
  • The IDW Publishing Transformers universe also re-established Megatron as the Big Bad up through All Hail Megatron. Though he would return with a few more schemes before Dark Cybertron, Megatron's role as a Big Bad was diminished after AHM due to changing politics on Cybertron as well as others launching their own schemes.
    • The Transformers: Dark Cybertron: Shockwave tries to collapse all of reality so that Cybertron and its inhabitants are the only thing in existence.
    • The Transformers: Combiner Wars: It's Starscream's time to step up as the main villain. His plan to unite the lost colonies of Cybertron under his rule, and his implementation of the dangerous powerful combiners sets the plot in motion.
    • The Transformers: Drift: In the original comic it's Braid, leader of the Slavers and biggest threat to the Circle of Light. In Empire of Stone: It's Gigatron, a Decepticon warlord who intends to raise the stone army and reignite the flame of Decepticon Conquest after Megatron had disbanded the group.
  • President (That's right, President) Gary Callahan AKA The Smiler of Transmetropolitan. In their first meeting, he promises to place Spider Jerusalem's misery as top priority, and backs up that claim with gusto (while trying to kill him every once in awhile). He is the personification of everything Spider hates in the Crapsack World, and so everything Spider does in the series traces back to his efforts to take down his Arch-Nemesis.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Lord Hikiji.
  • Ozymandias of Watchmen is an interesting example as, while his deeds are certainly worthy of proper Big Bad status, he's occasionally a sympathetic character.
  • Alan Moore's Wild CA Ts run had TAO
  • Will Eisner's Wonder Man: General Attilla.
  • W.I.T.C.H. comics has the following Big Bads:
    • Part I: Phobos
    • Part II: Nerissa
    • Part III: Ari
    • Part IV: Endarno aka Phobos
    • Part V: Jonathan Ludmoore
    • Part VI: Tecla Ibsen
    • Part VII: Dark Mother
    • Part VIII: Takeda
      • However the most popular is Phobos as the Big Bad for the entire series.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/BigBad/Comicbooks