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Eviler than Thou

In the Big Bad business, There Can Be Only One, and it had better not be you when I'm Eviler than Thou.

Two villains are rivals, each wreaking havoc in their own special way. For instance, one is direct and violent, while the other is a cowardly but clever schemer. Or one is selfish and the other is a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Each one has the potential to be the one and only Big Bad. The poor heroes are caught in the middle between two completely different threats, and have to be flexible enough to stop both.

As the two villains plot, their Evil Plans will begin to collide and interfere with each other. If they meet, they will have the same reaction every time: the other villain is a disgrace to villainy's good name (or bad name, or...you know what we mean). The sneaky one thinks the violent one is a dumb brute, while the violent one thinks the sneaky one is pathetic. They may team up against the heroes for a while (each planning to double-cross the other), but usually they go for each other's throats, and the cross-fire threatens to destroy the world.

Whichever villain wins will rub it in with a cackling "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how the other villain is deficient. "People think you're scary, but deep down you're just a dumb thug." Or, "All your plotting and scheming has come to nothing when facing a real man who just fights." This is usually the end of the less horrible one. If they survive, they will often be so shocked at what the other one is planning that they team up with the heroes in an Enemy Mine. "I always thought I was doing right - this guy is just a selfish monster!" Or, "I only wanted to steal money, but his mad utopian schemes could doom the world!" They may or may not reform.

Often, the heroes (and the writers) will ponder at length which villain is worse morally, with An Aesop. Usually, the moral is about avoiding either of two extremes (for instance, pragmatic heroes dealing with a selfish villain and a fanatic villain).

Some villains collide, but some stories just have their contrasting plots pass each other by. Or one of the villains may be more of a comic-relief distraction from the more threatening one, which does not necessarily mean that the comic relief one is less evil.

See also Evil Versus Evil. May be part of an Evil Versus Oblivion or The Good, the Bad, and the Evil conflict. Anti Heroes (Type IV or V) and Anti Villains generally have another villain around who is eviler. Contrast Arson, Murder, and Admiration, Holier Than Thou, More Hero Than Thou and A Lighter Shade of Grey. The villain claiming to be Eviler than Thou is showing that sometimes it's not true that Even Evil Has Standards, while the villain they're claiming to be worse than (if it's true and the other villain proudly agrees) may be a straight example of Even Evil Has Standards.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mayuri Kurotsuchi VS Szayel-Aporro Granz in Bleach, though it is less an "Eviler Than Thou" moment so much as "More Crazy-Prepared Than Thou".
    • Though Mayuri's Breaking Speech is all about what he sees as the unscientific nature of Szayel's way of thinking. "More Mad Scientific Than Thou"?
  • Magic Knight Rayearth II has the girls fending off three invading nations that are all plotting against each other.
  • Ja Wangnan from Tower of God invokes, lampshades and discusses this trope when he gets Viole to help him fight Kim Lurker.
    "Somebody once told me that the one who beats down the bad guy is not the good guy, but an even worse guy. And you, you're the worst guy in this Tower, aren't you? So why don't you punish that pathetically evil with me. Then I'll give you this."
  • Done all the time in InuYasha. Naraku is constantly employing lesser villains to help him out and ultimately they die, sometimes due to his direct influence. Seemingly subverted when Naraku is absorbed and seemingly killed by Moryumaru, but later on we find out Naraku let Moryumaru absorb him so he (Naraku) could absorb Moryumaru from the inside-out, proving anew Naraku is Eviler than Thou.
    • Furthermore, the plot of the second movie, Naraku is killed during the opening credits, but it turns out it's a ploy to lure the film's main villain out of hiding so Naraku can kill her and steal her powers, and thus he returns at the climax alive and well. Nonetheless, Kaguya proves the greater evil than Naraku this round and sends him packing.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: Jinnai joins the heroes at the last possible moment due to an Enemy Mine situation — whereas the Phantom Tribe want to destroy the world, he wants to save the world so that he still has a chance of ruling it someday.
  • Played with in Fairy Tail. Master Hades, leader of Grimoire Heart, had his entire Evil Plan revolve around using Zeref to create a utopia ruled by mages. Despite the fact that Zeref had been built up throughout the entire series as the Bigger Bad, when he finally appears on screen, it turns out he's a self-loathing Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who wants absolutely nothing to do with Hades or his Evil Plan, and kills Hades on the spot.
    • Played straight when Minerva, a notorious Jerkass and all around psycho from previous chapters who joined a Dark Guild for entirely Sore Loser related reasons, comes face to face with Kyouka, and is immediately horrified at Kyouka's merciless slaughter of her entire guild, with the dismissive reasoning behind it being "They were weak." When someone like Minerva is shitting herself in terror, you know this person is bad news.
  • From Chapters 75 to 77 of the Manga Elfen Lied, we have a three-way portrayal of this trope, showing the three most dangerously psychotic characters from the whole Manga fighting one another: Lucy, Bando and The Unknown Man.
  • In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, the mercenary Black Beauty Sisters agree to work for both Gackto and Michel so that they can gain powerful humanoid forms. Both times, they plot against their superiors as soon as they get enough power (although in the second season of the anime, their betrayal comes out of a Heel-Face Turn rather than greed, as opposed to the manga). They're quickly found out both times before they can do anything. Gackto is nice enough just to turn them back into fish. Michel, however, absorbs their souls in the anime; he has a much worse punishment in the manga.
  • The duel between Yami Bakura and Yami Marik in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Marik wants the three Egyptian God Cards for his own purposes, but Bakura is after the Millennium Items for his own purposes, and Marik has the Millennium Rod. They try to work together, but when Marik's evil alter-ego takes over his body, Bakura teams up with Marik's good half to defeat his evil half with the rod as his reward. Unfortunately for Bakura, Yami Marik turns out to be Eviler Than Thou.
    • For that season anyway. Turns out later on that Yami Bakura was Eviler than everyone, it just took about "another two hundred bloody episodes" before he got his chance to show it ...or, as the case would be, even remembered it.
    • A minor example in the first season would be Maximillion Pegasus and Bandit Keith Howard. Pegasus is the Big Bad of the season, a Corrupt Corporate Executive, Gentleman Snarker, and Squishy Wizard who desires to resurrect his wife via Black Magic. Keith's a thug who infiltrated the tournament and beats people up to take their Star Chips and advance to the finals; his goal is to defeat Pegasus, who once beat him in an exhibition match. The two never directly clash, with Keith being beaten by Joey in the semi-finals, but he certainly makes for an excellent Foil to Pegasus, with his Smug Snakery highlighting Pegasus' Magnificent Bastardry.
    • Pegasus does claim that he considers Keith beneath him because of Keith's cheating, but seeing as Pegasus does that himself later, it's hard to believe him.
    • And then Pegasus ends up on the receiving end of this trope after he's defeated by Yugi, as Bakura tracks him down, defeats him in a quick mental duel, and takes his Millennium Eye.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has Yubel vs Amon. Considering this is the first time in the franchise since the above Bakura vs Marik example that two villains turned on each other, it's a great Crowning Moment Of Awesome - the gimmick of the two, the Sacred Beasts vs Exodia, doesn't hurt either. Yubel turns out to be Eviler than Amon, but we find out during the duel Amon is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes Utopia Justifies the Means, so perhaps he isn't really evil...
    • Double-crossing his girlfriend and killing her in order to gain power after she showed Undying Loyalty to him? He only thinks he isn't evil.
  • Goes along with the Sorting Algorithm of Evil in Kinnikuman and its sequel Kinnikuman Nisei / Ultimate Muscle. At first, there's the Zangyaku/Brutal Choujin, who have no shame in fighting dirty. They don't kill unless they absolutely have to. Then we get the Akuma/Demon Choujin, who fight to kill but have a strong sense of friendship and morals. Then we get the Perfect Choujin, who feel they can do whatever they want provided their "rules" such as "Never lose, use weapons, or show emotion" don't forbid it. Then we now have the Jikan/Time Choujin, who don't even care if they mess up history to achieve their nefarious goals.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub has Abe-no-Kaii making a pretty good try at this trope, what with his willingness to poison a whole river just to kill Itto, or leaves poisoned spikes on the ground to kill Itto, plus his tendency to drink urine for no particular reason. Culminates in his accidentally flooding all of Edo, probably killing thousands. The regular evil, Retsudo Yagyu, eventually sets him up for suicide after Kaii betrays Yagyu.
  • The current battle between the newly-reincarnated Griffith and Emperor Ganishka in Berserk.
  • Black Lagoon: caps off its Hansel and Gretel arc with a confrontation between insane child-mercenary Hansel and charismatic mafia queen Balalaika. Balalaika uses snipers to effortlessly fell the psychopath and then delivers a crushing Breaking Speech to him as he bleeds to death on the floor in front of her.
  • Baccano! finishes off the Flying Pussyfoot incident with a train-top show-off between the Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire Ladd Russo and the Ax-Crazy Awesome Sociopathic Hero Claire Stanfield. In this case it's not so much Eviler than Thou as Crazier Than Thou.
    • In addition, in the DVD bonus episodes, Ladd and Claire both separately have Crazier-Than-Thou showdowns with Talkative Loon Graham Spector.
      • And then Claire gets into a Crazier-Than-Thou match with Psychopathic Manchild Christopher Shouldered in the Light Novels. (For those wondering, by the way: nobody is crazier than Claire.)
    • There's also a strange, ongoing Eviler Than Thou competition going on between Fermet and Elmer. Fermet considers Elmer his nemesis, and has tried long and hard to break him through tormenting his loved ones and tearing down any faith in the world he might have - something that's entirely ineffective, because Elmer's a genuine sociopath, only sees his "loved ones" as tools, doesn't give a damn about the world beyond what he can get out of it, and couldn't care less about how vile his self-proclaimed "nemesis" may be. While Fermet may be an awful human being, as far as he's concerned, Elmer is far worse.
    Fermet: Your existence itself is a world-destroying evil.
  • The epic match between Ryo Mashiba vs. Ryuuhei Sawamura in Hajime No Ippo. They even let off lines like "If Mashiba is a demon, then Sawamura is the devil himself". Naturally, the match involves lots of brutal cheating on both sides. In the match however, Mashiba practically loses the veneer of humanity he had and proceeds to lay down a savage beating on Sawamura, gloating over the fact that his bloodlust is back and that he silenced his own fandom with his cruel actions. Mashiba gets disqualified for it, making Sawamura the winner, but technically Mashiba was the better boxer.
  • Tobi and Kabuto spent most of the Fourth Ninja War Arc competing for the Big Bad position of Naruto. Tobi was presented as the traditional Big Bad and had far more influence over the story than Kabuto, but Kabuto had a trump card over him, along with the Story Breaker Power of Edo Tensei. The conflict seems be have been resolved with Kabuto getting defeated by Sasuke and Itachi, and his trump card (the real Madara Uchiha) breaking free of Edo Tensei and turning out to be the man who came up with Tobi's Evil Plan to begin with.
  • This isn't really touched by the actual villains in Death Note, but in the manga, Rem really starts to see the Knight Templar's good points when a Corrupt Corporate Executive obtains his Artifact of Doom.
  • In Monster, many have tried to manipulate Johan Liebert for their own means. Johan shows these people that Evil Is Not a Toy. He follows along with them to achieve his own plans but as soon as they have served their purpose, he disposes of them without a second thought. There are also quite a few insane serial killers who meet him and instantly realize that they are way out of their league and become awed by him. For example, one who believed he was a vampire, later claimed he was a mere baby bat compared to him.
  • Pokemon Mewtwo Returns: Domino proves herself to be the greater evil than Jessie, James, and Meowth; after revealing herself to be a Team Rocket Elite, she pops the trio's balloon while expressing disgust at their bumbling natures and declaring them a disgrace to Team Rocket. Later, she frees them from a cage simply to force them to work as cleaning staff.

    Comic Books 
  • The X-Men comic book and movies contrast William Stryker, a bigoted clergyman who thinks mutants are animals, with Magneto, a mutant supremacist who thinks mutants should enslave humans (or separate themselves from humans, or just kill the humans; Magneto's opinions on what to do with normal humans vary from time to time and writer to writer, and that's not even getting into his periodic Heel Face Turns). The parallels with white supremacists and minority racists are very much open.
    • It's a textbook abused-becomes-the-abuser Aesop with Magneto, as he's a Holocaust survivor. The Red Skull once even said that they weren't that different. Magneto didn't take that well. And kind of proved Red Skull's point by burying him alive.
    • In The Movie Stryker is a General Ripper, which temporarily leads to an Enemy Mine situation for the two mutant factions.
  • In the Tintin book Flight 714, the Big Bad and an eccentric billionaire argue under the influence of a Truth Serum about who's the most ruthless of them.
    • This is also done faithfully in the Animated Adaptation...and is somehow even more funny when Rastapopolous and Carredias repeatedly say, "I'm the baddest! I'm the baddest!" to each other. Jump Cut to Captain Haddock spinning a roll of tape saying, "I'M the baddest!" after having taped their mouths shut.
  • In the recent Green Lantern storyline "Rage of the Red Lanterns", the Red Lantern Corps pulls this on the Sinestro Corps by interrupting the Sinestro Corps battle with the GLs to free Sinestro and slaughtering both sides.
  • In the Spider-Man story Goblins at the Gate the Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley) thinks he's manipulating the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) to free him from prison and help him defeat Spider-Man, before he executes a takeover of Osborn's business empire. Turns out Osborn knew Kingsley was trying to use him and was just playing along to find out if Kingsley really had any blackmail material on him- and has managed to take over all of Kingsley's business empire instead. How was he able to carry it off so quickly? Easy:
    Norman: I'm Norman Osborn.
    • Fellow Spider-Man villain Mr. Negative feels no one can approach him when it comes to evil or good, because he is both in equally ridiculous proportion. He subscribes to a philosophy that because his alter ego Mr. Li is as kind as a saint, this makes his evil as Mr. Negative all the more despicable, and vice versa. In being both, he is greater than any who is but one.
  • As proved by Alexander Luthor's fate at the end of Infinite Crisis, no matter what cosmic scale genocide or Crisis a DCU villain has carried out, the most dangerous villain is still a psychopath in a purple suit. Cross him at your peril.
  • While responding to fan mail in his Dark Reign tie-in, Venom said:
    Venom: I know I'm not the nicest guy on the Earth, but try to compare me with the rest of my team. Daken has to kill four people per day to count it as good, Bullseye once killed a kitty that got struck on a tree just to prove he can, Norman seduced his son's girlfriend, and Ares is fricking GOD OF WAR. Next to them I'm looking like Tom Hanks.
  • Whole point of Resurrection from Star Wars Tales #9 - Sith cultists clone Darth Maul to make him fight Darth Vader, because they believe Vader has too much good inside him to be Palpatine's apprentice. This could be a Secret Test of Character, schemed by Palpatine to find out if Vader is evil enough as well.
  • In the Teen Titans storyline "The Judas Contract", Slade quickly realized that his own Dragon Terra was far more evil and dangerous than him due to her mental problems, worrying him frequently. His plan to bring down the Titans from within went off without a hitch thanks to her prowess, but immediately fell apart the moment she got pissed off at him.
  • Relatively early on in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Mammoth Mogul proved himself eviler than Enerjak (who was more or less the Big Bad of the Knuckles spin-off) by using the Sword of Acorns to steal his powers, reducing him to a frail old man, all while giving him "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • Then there's Dr. Eggman, who has been said on multiple occasions to be many times more cruel and vicious than the original Dr. Robotnik ever was. Considering the fact that the original Robotnik roboticized countless Mobians, overthrew King Max, and polluted much of Mobius, as well as planned to use his Ultimate Annihilator to wipe out Knothole Village completely, that's saying something.
  • Near the end of Grant Morrison's run on the pre-reboot Batman's books, Oberson Sexton AKA: The Joker playing hero shows Doctor Hurt why he's pathetic with a line of dominoes and an Ironic Echo of what Hurt said to him.
  • In Legacy, Darth Krayt and Darth Wyyrlok have this happen between them. Wyyrlok begins as Krayt's loyal Dragon, advisor, and chief spokesman, but after he decides Krayt is too erratic to be an effective leader any more, he kills him and takes over. Except Krayt was Only Mostly Dead and managed to come back for a head-to-head confrontation over which Dark Lord lead the Sith. Wyyrlok was cunning and had mastered all sorts of esoteric dark powers, but Krayt basically turned himself into the Star Wars equivalent of a lich and was a veritable juggernaut of dark side power. Wyyrlok didn't stand a chance.
  • The Beast and the Smiler from Transmetropolitan. The Beast is definitely not a good person, and too lazy, venal and cynical to bother with trying. The Smiler, on the other hand, is a puppy-punter of the first water, who goes out of his way to abuse any power he gets.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
    You and your kind, all you care about is money. This city deserves a better class of criminal. And I'm gonna give it to them!
    • The Dark Knight Rises: John Daggett hires Bane to help him in his schemes to take control of Wayne Enterprises, and realizes all too late that Bane was the one who was using him all along. Bane is also implied to have actually been too evil and extreme for Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows themselves.
    Daggett: "You're pure evil!"
  • In The Rocketeer, Mob boss Eddie Valentine turns on his partner, actor Neville Sinclair, the moment he learns the latter's scheme is to turn the rocket-pack over to the Nazis. "I might not make an honest buck, but I'm one hundred percent American!" (In real life, some American Mafia dons actually used their personal ties in Sicily and Italy to help out the Allied invasion — which might have been patriotism or might simply have been a case of "enemy of my enemy" thinking, as Mussolini was really hard on La Cosa Nostra, viewing it as a rival to his power.)
    • Another real life example, during WWII the US government asked the Mafia for help in order to uncover Nazi spies, or preventing them from sabotaging the production of ships which were necessary to keep up the support for Great Britain. The Mafia complied with the request
  • In the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the most visible villains are the Separatists and the Trade Federation, and their droid armies. So in Revenge of the Sith, to establish that the Sith Lords are the true villains, we get a sense where the newly converted Darth Vader, under the orders of Darth Sidious the soon-to-be Galactic Emperor, slaughters them all easily—complete with a dramatic shot of Vader's evil yellow eyes. To hammer this point in, Nute Gunray (the head of the Trade Federation and the last remaining leader of the Separatists) begs Vader for his life, saying "The war is over. We only want peace." Cue Vader ripping him apart.
  • A major plot element in The Ninth Gate is that two very rich and rather nasty people—a Satanist and a guy who just wants the power—are both after a book believed capable of summoning the devil. Ultimately this leads to an epic scene in which the latter crashes the former's black mass, kills her in plain sight of the other cultists, and gives a rant saying "You Satanists are amateurs, only I understand the true power of this book" while they flee in terror.
    Balkan: Look around, what do you see? A bunch of buffoons in fancy dress. You think the Prince of Darkness would deign to manifest himself before the likes of you? He never has and he never will!
  • The "black" Predators in Predators are bigger, nastier and somehow even uglier than the classic green Preds. Instead of hunting humans on their own turf, they kidnap human warriors to hunt them on a "game preserve" planet, in between torturing the classic ones they've captured.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Johann Schmidt betrays a delegation of Those Wacky Nazis when they come to see his work (having reassigned him to the Alps for his transformation), revealing that one of the cities he plans to bomb in his attempt to gain power with his Asgardian weapons was Berlin. You know the guy is evil when he becomes worse by taking off the Reich.
  • In Akira Kurosawa's Ran, the Setting Update of King Lear, Lady Kaeda plays the same role that Edmund plays in the play, but she is even more evil than Edmund, as it turns out that the daimyo in the role of Lear destroyed her entire family when she was little, and she's been in it for revenge for decades.
  • The titular Megamind becomes horrified when he finds out that Titan/Hal turned out to a villain who enjoyed wrecking havoc out of pure spite.
  • In Hellraiser: Bloodline, Pinhead berates his demon ally Angelique for trying to win John Merchant over through seduction. He thinks it takes too long and wouldn't be as much fun as torturing John and his loved ones until they give in.
  • In Stargate Continuum, the other Goa'uld System Lords are appalled at Ba'al's choice of a pragmatic strategy for the invasion of Earth by framing it as the start of a benevolent new alliance for the Tau'ri/humans. His consort Qetesh assassinates him for this and orders the fleet to get back to their traditional way of doing things: obliterate every human on the planet with an orbital bombardment.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie: Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa free Ivan Ooze from his prison, expecting him to be willing to work for them. Instead, Ivan imprisons them in a snowglobe and usurps their minions and operations.

    Literature 
  • In The Elric Saga, Stormbringer compares himself to Elric immediately after killing and devouring Elric's soul. "Farewell friend. I was a thousand times more evil than thou." Despite Elric being an anti-hero, having destroyed his homeland and most everyone in it, partnering with entities of chaos, conveniently falling 'in love' with every major female character in The Multiverse and generally being an amoral prick should constitute him evil enough for comparison. Possibly the Trope Namer?
    • Stormbringer is eviler than Elric though - Stormbringer is a demon forged into the shape of a sword, and has often been a corrupting influence on Elric.
      • This line could also be read as something of a subversion. Taking responsibility for the actions throughout Elric's life that had left him racked with guilt, rather then claiming superiority.
  • Makuta gives at least two of these in BIONICLE, one to Karzahni in story serial Dreams of Destruction and another one in Time Trap to the Shadowed One when the latter seals the former in protodermis, says he'll "deal with him later", and turns to leave.
    Makuta: Dark Hunter. If you believe that you can "deal with me", then you know nothing of Makuta! (shatters bonds, advances) You have challenged me. Wounded me. Imprisoned me. Dared to place your petty ambitions above my wishes. You sought to make time your ally, Shadowed One— now let it be your death! (hurls Shadowed One against time-creature Voporak, the former begins to rapidly age)
  • The early Harry Potter books contrast the all-consuming evil of Voldemort with the petty, selfish bullying of Draco Malfoy. In later books the misguided and corrupt Ministry of Magic, personified especially by Dolores Umbridge, takes over as secondary villain.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows contrasts the 1940s-era Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald (a Knight Templar who believed Wizards should oppress Muggles for the Muggles' "own good") with the series's perennial antagonist Lord Voldemort (a deranged terrorist who thinks Muggles should just be killed). At the end, its a guy who thought he was doing the right thing (Who felt remorse later in life and spent his entire prison sentence wondering if he was right or not), versus someone who's just in it for power and the Evluz. Three guesses who wins.
    • However, when the two meet, Grindelwald is an old, powerless man who has been in prison for almost sixty years, pondering whether he was doing the right thing. Grindelwald in his prime could conceivably have been a match for Voldemort in terms of power and wickedness.
  • In Tigana, two wizards from different foreign lands have each conquered nearly half of the land where the story is set. One is simply a sadistic bully. The other has more redeeming qualities, but causes his subjects even more misery by crushing a province to avenge his son's death there. Not merely crushing; he seeks to obliterate all memory that it has ever existed, and renamed it after its most hated rival.
  • Animorphs had Visser Three and Visser One. Visser One was in charge, but Visser Three did the micromanagement and was who the heroes dealt with most often. Nevertheless, on more than one occasion, they had to stop Visser Three from getting promoted, because his tactics would have been worse.
    • And they were. In the arc leading up to Visser One's death and Visser Three's promotion, especially in Visser, Esplin proves himself to be far and away eviler than Edriss. Stupider, but definitely eviler.
  • In the Chaotic Evil versus Lawful Evil showdown, may we present Psycho for Hire John Dread and Corrupt Corporate Executive Felix Jongleur from Tad Williams' Otherland? Fight, boys!
  • The sixth book of the Incarnations of Immortality series is told from the point of view of the villain of the previous books. Twice, he ends up having to battle other villains for the job of being Satan. Oddly enough, he wins, at least in part, because he isn't as evil as they are - he has friends who are willing to help him, while his rivals don't.
  • Recurring theme in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. In the first book, Kord is contrasted with Well-Intentioned Extremist Fidelias. It is even explicitly spelled out in one dialogue, where someone concludes that the latter is more dangerous than the former.
    • In later books, we see contrast between High Lord Aquitainus and High Lord Kalarus, and ultimately between all of the human(oid) villains and the Vord.
  • Mordeth in The Wheel of Time series compared to the Dark One.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Harry has several possible Big Bads who want the pleasure of either killing him or having him join them: Cold blooded fallen angels, Well-Intentioned Extremist / Lawful Stupid other wizards, devious vampires, and secret societies. Thus far the fallen angels are probably in the lead, but given that the Black Council has barely acted overtly at this point it seems the likely favorite.
    • Especially as it's been implied that there may be some Denarians in the Black Council.
  • While William Walker and Doctor Alice Hong from S.M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time trilogy are not exactly rivals they do have a conversation about this. Walker argues that while Hong tortures people in an extraordinarily sadistic fashion compared to the normal methods of killing he employs, he is far more evil than she is because of the sheer volume of people he kills. While Hong and her priestesses have tortured hundreds of people to death Walker's armies have slaughtered tens of thousands of people in his campaigns of conquest. Hong concedes that Walker is right.
    • Whats most amusing is that this instance of "Eviler than Thou" is actually Walker giving Hong a peptalk. She is feeling a little down what with being a horrible monster who castrates people without anesthetics and gets off on it. He gives her a speech about how he is ten thousand times worse than her and feels nothing because he is an Übermensch, and that she should be too. She feels a little better after this hilariously twisted exchange.
    • Marching Through Georgia, the first installment of Stirling's Drakaverse series, has the sadistic, slaveholding Draka face off against Nazi Germany, whom the Draka see both as a strategic threat and as barbarians for murdering people in concentration camps rather than putting them to good use. The book gives many readers the uneasy feeling of wanting the Nazis to win once the Draka philosophy is outlined.
  • Friday the 13th: Hell Lake contrasts two serial killers, one based on Richard Ramirez and the other based on Ted Bundy.
  • In The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds, Panoply's only hope is to defeat an evil super intelligent AI is to enlist another super intelligent AI who is merely bad, insane and bent on vengeance ..maybe.
  • In Peter F. Hamilton's The Reality Dysfunction, the souls of the dead are returning to possess the living, but they need permission to take control of a live person's body. No problem; they use their reality-warping powers to torture and terrorize the victim until the living soul goes catatonic and lets the dead soul in. Then one of them tries this with Quinn Dexter, who happens to be a Satanic cultist, a psychotic serial killer, and possibly the most evil person in the galaxy. Dexter has no trouble terrorizing his own possessor into submission, which leaves him in control of both his own body and his possessor's supernatural powers. The former possessor can only watch helplessly as Dexter becomes a malevolent demigod bent on enslaving humanity and turning the galaxy into a literal Hell.
  • In Outlander Leander Signe and Lieran are rival villains. While Lieran is content to keep the counterfeiting ring as it is and staying under the radar of the law, Signe intends to expand her mother's crime ring and gain access to better weapons and vehicles.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Littlefinger ultimately pulls this on House Lannister when he plots with House Tyrell to kill the Lannisters' Puppet King, Joffrey Baratheon.

    Live Action TV 
  • Degrassi, in its third and fourth seasons, contrasted Jay (a sociopathic criminal mastermind) with Rick (an unstable maniac who beat his girlfriend). When their schemes collided, Jay turned out to be Eviler than Thou — but Rick got more dangerous as Jay backed him into a corner. The sixth season has contrasted Drake (a violent gang leader) with Peter (a sleazy operator who was born to blackmail and frame people). So far, their schemes have not collided.
  • Bennet and Sylar were villains in the first season of Heroes, Sylar being a sociopathic power cannibal, and Bennet a "for the greater good" kidnapping Government Conspiracy-employed Magnificent Bastard. Sylar eventually proved the greater threat thanks to the former's Start of Darkness and Morality Pet daughter.
    • Linderman and Sylar could be considered the two driving villains of the show's first season. Linderman being The Faceless Anti-Villain, wanting to do "good"; and Sylar the ever present Implacable Man. They never meet or intersect, but Linderman's plot for world renewal hinged on Sylar (or two other people) exploding in New York. His reasons for being so sure this would happen were sketchy.
    • On the other hand, Sylar was given a sympathetic Start of Darkness episode, too, in which we got to meet him as the gentle and nerdy Gabriel Gray before Chandra Suresh put all that talk about an Evolutionary Imperative into his head. In another episode, we got to meet Gabriel's neurotic mother. Sylar was horrified at the idea of becoming an Exploding Man and wiping out millions of lives. As evil villains go, he's not completely without redeeming qualities. The third season of Heroes will show if he comes out Eviler than Thou when pitted against other homicidal superpowered villains, or if he effects a Heel-Face Turn.
      • Sylar's doubts about destroying New York last for about ten minutes before he's out pursuing exploding powers, laughing as Peter is about to explode, and preventing Hiro from stopping the Exploding Peter. I don't think we can really think of Sylar as being all that sympathetic.
    • And now, Season 3 has brought us Arthur Petrelli, whose plan seems certain to blow up the world... and who has effortlessly defeated most of the other villains on the show. It's gotten to the point where a villain has defeated at least as many evildoers as the actual heroes!
    • It would seem that Sylar has won the Eviler than Thou contest. Arthur Petrelli lost due to a bad case of bullet to the brain, courtesy of Sylar.
    • The second part of Season Three has Sylar (still a super-powered egomaniac following his own whims) versus Danko (a non-powered, highly disciplined government agent acting on orders from the President). Sylar turns out to eviller this time too. We should perhaps just accept that you cannot out-evil Sylar...but Samuel wants to give it a try.
  • In Doctor Who, the Master teams up with an evil alien in all five stories of Season Eight. With two exceptions, he proves himself Eviler Than They. The exceptions: he agrees to help the Doctor destroy Axos in The Claws of Axos, and he gets completely owned by Azal in The Daemons.
    • In "The Five Doctors" the Master teams up with the Cybermen, whose intentions to kill him later are clear to the audience from the beginning of the partnership. They never get a chance to, though, as he leads them directly into a death trap. Ironically, in this example the Master is actually on the Doctor's side, until he finally gets sick of the fact that none of the Doctors - not exactly without just cause - refuse to believe him.
    • In "The End of Time", Rassilon proves to be even more evil than the Master. Heck, Rassilon turned out to be responsible for driving the Master towards villainy, as part of a plan to escape the Time War and achieve godhood.
  • Has happened more than once in Power Rangers.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The vampires Angelus and Spike during the second season. Angelus, the more sadistic of the two, tried to drag the world into Hell, but was defeated when Spike and Buffy teamed up against him. Ironically, Angelus and Spike both underwent a Heel-Face Turn (although at different times) from Buffy's arch-enemy to Buffy's ally and lover. Both were karmically "punished" by regaining their souls (and thus their conscience and ability to feel guilt), and both underwent a sort of Karmic Death: Angel was swallowed by the demon Acathla and spent centuries in hell, while Spike became the show's Anti-Villain Butt Monkey, suffering numerous humiliations and beatdowns and (worst of all) Badass Decay. (In fact, he was the original trope namer for that last one.)
    • Mr Trick comes to regard Kakistos as an old-fashioned fool, abandoning him to be killed by Faith and Buffy ("These vengeance crusades are out of style, it's the modern vampire who sees the big picture.")
  • Stargate SG-1 has the Goa'uld System Lords who are all completely evil, but will often fight against each other for territory or other things. Some even manage to outclass the others in pure malevolence.
    • Sokar, who was really into that Satan thing. He beats previous Big Bad Apophis after the latter's failure to conquer Earth, and then captures him to torture him for eternity and eventually dumping him on a hell world, giving Apophis time to plan his revenge.
    • Inverted with Yu, who is a ruthless tyrant like every System Lord, but he still plays things straight when negotiating with the Tau'ri despite their being "inferior" humans. And it was at least implied that he led the call for Anubis's original banishment in part because Anubis was too extreme even by System Lord standards. He was much less megalomaniacal, not desiring galactic conquest and not particularly interested in events outside his area of the galaxy, which included Earth. Yu becomes noticeably more megalomaniacal after his senility set in; the first time he explicitly declared himself a god (despite having, unlike every other known Goa'uld, taken on the persona of a real historical figure instead of a god) was shortly after the viewers were informed that Yu was senile.
    • Anubis was supposedly way too evil even for the Goa'uld. The Goa'uld System Lords enslaved the galaxy and were extreme egomaniacs. Anubis was Dangerously Genre Savvy and his ultimate goal was to erase all life in the entire galaxy (including the total extinction of his own race) and then recreate it according to his own preferences. He was smart enough to trick Oma into letting him ascend, making him an immortal Energy Being far beyond any regular Goa'uld. Furthermore, he made a lot of Goa'uld (including System Lords) work for him, and crushed the rest of them, including most of Yu's fleet.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "The Last Word" had a pair serial killers essentially in competition with one another. They were polar opposites - The Mill Creek Killer was handsome, suave, secretive, killed upper-class women during the day, and did... stuff to the bodies, while The Hollow Man was disheveled, not that pleasant, craved attention, and hunted prostitutes at night (shooting them from afar, so he didn't have to go near them).
  • An episode of Masters Of Horror had two serial killers (one who picked up and murdered hitchhikers, and another who posed as a hitchhiker and killed anyone who picked him up) in competition with each other.
  • In Kamen Rider OOO, Kazari ultimately ends up being this to the other four Greeed, being the most ruthless and evil of them all. Ironically, Dr. Maki, a mere human, ultimately performs a One-Winged Angel transformation into a Greeed and proves himself to be eviler than Kazari by ripping out all his intact Cores and leaving him to die. In the backstory, the Original OOO turned out to be this to the Greeed.
  • Scorpius to Crais in Farscape. In fact, it is Scorpius's bullying of Crais that leads the latter to his Heel-Face Turn and Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Horrible Histories gives us four of the nastiest Roman Emperors trying to one-up each other through a Villain Song (based on Michael Jackson's "Bad"). Despite the presence of The Caligula himself, the clear winner is Nero.
    Nero: I'm bad! So baddy! Of badness, I'm the daddy! Come on, I wanna see a more evil bloke than me!
    Others: You're bad! Real bad! Nothing more to add! We all thought that we were awful, but you are really, truly, maaad!
  • The Bad Future season 1 finale of Legend of the Seeker does this with Nicholas Rahl, the son of the season's Big Bad Darken Rahl and the Seeker's Love Interest in an I Have You Now, My Pretty moment. When Kahlen gives birth to a boy instead of a girl, she immediately begs Rahl to let her kill him, as per Confessor custom, as male Confessors invariably go mad with power and confess everybody around them in order to ensure loyal support. Darken Rahl refuses and claims both of them can raise little Nicholas to be a good ruler (yes, Rahl is under the assumption that he is a good ruler). Instead, Nicholas turns out exactly as expected, gets his mother executed for trying to kill him and confesses a guard to kill Darken Rahl during the funeral. By the time Richard arrives to the future, almost everybody in D'Hara and, possibly, beyond has been confessed by Nicholas Rahl.
  • The Vampire Diaries frequently features multiple villains of varying importance and potency all playing the game at once, but up until season 4, the Ax-Crazy megalomaniac Klaus had been well-established as the most evil and formidable vampire in town (in the world really) - the mere mention of him was enough to terrify most people. Cue the introduction of Silas, who on his first appearance curb stomps Klaus with little effort and stabs him with a white oak stake, then proceeds to Mind Rape him brutally with the use of powerful hallucinations. While the other characters would normally rejoice at seeing the smug and arrogant Klaus receive such a thoroughly humiliating defeat, when Caroline finds him curled up on the floor weeping, begging for help, and desperately trying to pry a large splinter of wood from his own back with a pair of pliers before it can reach his heart and kill him, she is alarmed, because if Silas is able to reduce Klaus of all people to a sniveling wreck, she can only imagine what he's capable of doing to the rest of them.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, Species 8472 is more lethal than even the Borg. Yes, the near-unstoppable, all-consuming cybernetic Hive Mind that has been the terror of the galaxy for centuries is completely outclassed by the genetically superior, highly territorial eldritch aliens. The Borg want to assimilate everyone into their collective; Species 8472 wants to annihilate every other living thing because they consider it an affront to their vaunted purity.

    Music 
  • GWAR. In many songs and albums the band find themselves in rivalry with other forces of evil, including among others the devil and a tyrannical theocratic giant robot named Cardinal Syn, who are incompatible with their philosophy of mindless destruction.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The brothers of destruction pull this on Kaientai, who were specifically out that night to prove they were the most evil beings in the WWF.
  • James Mitchell pull this on Raven in TNA, going so far as to steal the brainwashed gathering.
  • Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes pull this in Chikara on UltraMantis Black and his Order Of The Neo Solar Temple, taking his followers and his resources for getting more.
  • Crazy stalker with a crush Mickie James has this pulled on her by Edge, when he and Lita decide they are going to take out Trish Stratus, whom Mickie had been feuding with for half of her then WWE career. Soon, Lita even had won Mickie's title belt.
  • In WWC, former top threat to the promotion Ray González has this pulled on him by the Maestro, after he becomes the manager of La Artilleria Pesada and has them lay out all of the WWC except for Carly, forcing an enemy mine situation between them.
  • El Poder Supremo pulled this on the The Broncos, La Revolición Dominicana and their valets (with Rico Suave personally power bombing Black Rose in favor of Lady Demonique and Sexy Juliette) and allied with WWC's invaders from NWS and New Empire. Hans Von Doring then proved himself an eviler foreigner when he laid out Bronco #3 and covered him with the German flag.
  • Sheik Abdul Bashir's motivation in TNA was to give people the "evil Arab terrorist" he's tired of getting accused of being. So Sheik runs afoul of Samoa Joe, who drags him back stage, chains him up and tortures him with unwilling suspension, a tribal knife and a kendo stick before warning Bashir to never get in the way of his "Nation Of Violence" again.
  • 3MB have this pulled on them when they set an ambush for Triple H only to be jumped by The Shield. When they decide to call out the Shield they are instead confronted by Brock Lesnar.
  • After Kazuchika Okada joined and eventually became leader of New Japan's resident evil Power Stable, Chaos, he's had this pulled on him twice. First by another power stable called Suzukigun after two of its members, Minoru Suzuki and Taichi, ganged up on him and then again when Chaos bailed on him in the face of AJ Styles and Bullet Club.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An ongoing contest between all the factions in Warhammer 40,000. Except possibly the Orks, who mostly seem to be in it for the laughs.
    • And the Tau, who are trying to be better than everyone else and failing with depressing regularity.
      • The Tau being good guys is Common Knowledge at this point. At best, they aren't always genocidal, but the re-education, mass sterilization, and mind control aspects of their culture tend to get overlooked by people that aren't familiar with their lore. They just don't seem to work as well as antagonists, so the Expanded Universe tends to overlook them.
    • Fabius Bile, who may have accomplished the highly impressive task of being eviler than the Chaos Gods. As he puts it, "The Dark Gods and their slaves have nothing more to offer me now, but I have far more to offer them."
    • Abaddon also seems to enjoy showing off just how much of a nice guy he isn't, by doing things like destroying a ship because its captain pissed him off and killing a slave for looking at him. It's like he had the Villain Ball welded to his armour.
    • Certain factions of Tyranids and Orks, two of the greatest threats to the galaxy, are currently duking it out as one of the hive fleets got diverted by an Inquisitor straight into one of the largest and fightiest Ork empires in the galaxy. When the conflict is finally over, the surviving force will be stronger than ever; the Tyranids will have absorbed the Orks' biomass and will make more resources, or the Orks will have been empowered by the conflict enough to go on a near-unstoppable rampage. Either way one goes on a rampage throughout the galaxy.
    • In one short story, a Chaos Daemon possesses a Dark Eldar Reaver. The Daemon tells his host that he will use his body to cause great harm and suffering. The Dark Eldar's response?
    "Good."
  • There's also the epic, eternal Blood War between baatezu (Lawful Evil) and tanar'ri (Chaotic Evil) in Dungeons & Dragons over which of them best exhibits capital "E" evil. The yugoloths (Neutral Evil) milk this for all it's worth. This has gone on to the point that the critters on the Good side of the table sit back and watch instead of doing anything active to combat it. The idea was born largely in the Planescape setting, which used the Blood War to overtly demonstrate how the setting was more concerned about Law versus Chaos than Good versus Evil.
    • Some supplements imply that without the Blood War, the devils and demons would be able to present a unified front against the forces of good, which would be a Very Bad Thing. This was more explicit in older editions, particularly in the Greyhawk setting, as the ancient god of destruction Tharizdun actually had once united the fiends untold eons ago, requiring all the gods of Good and Neutrality (and their followers) to team up for survival.
      • In fairness, that's often presented as the point of the Blood War. Asmodeus, the first/greatest baatezu, was originally a celestial, who was essentially made to fall with a following by the celestial powers that be exactly in order to rival and combat the tanar'ri.
    • The 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons downplays the Demon/Devil rivalry in favor of the God/Primordial rivalry, but since devils are fallen angels who overthrew their god, and demons are corrupted primordials, a semblance of it still exists. The contrasts between the two are further magnified, though, with demons being the violent destroyers of existence and devils being the clever schemers out to corrupt people.
      • The Blood War is referenced in Manual of the Planes: it's been put on hold, not stopped. The devils want to make sure that it's at a time of their choosing. On the other side of the Material Plane, each demon lord would gleefully shred devils by the score, but the first one to make a move will return (if he returns) to find his layer has been divided among his rivals, who took advantage of his back being turned. An attack on certain Abyssal sites, such as Twelvetrees, by devils (or PCs pretending to be devils) could light the tinder before you can say "Fireball".
    • Another 4e example would be the battle between the God of War, Bane, and the God of Savagery, Gruumsh. Bane is a strict, disciplined soldier who believes in The Spartan Way, while Gruumsh is the living embodiment of unbridled Unstoppable Rage. Gruumsh want's Bane's title. The kicker is that the other gods, even the good ones, recognize that Bane is truly the more evil(he plans on getting rid of that nasty little free will problem, and sponsor Gruumsh against him, figuring that if nothing else, they'd keep each other occupied.
  • In Exalted, the setting faces three kinds of cosmic danger: The Fair Folk, who want to assimilate the world into the sea of primal chaos that spawned it; the demonic Yozis, who want to conquer and rule the world (Which, in all fairness, they created); and the Neverborn, who want to unmake the world into perfect nothingness. The three forces haven't clashed significantly (In fact, the Fair Folk and the Neverborn worked together once) in the history of the setting, but considering their single-minded focus and the fact that in a few years any of them will have the power to accomplish their objectives, a big showdown is inevitable.

    Theatre 
  • Older Than Steam: This goes at least as far back as King Lear by William Shakespeare, which contrasts Lear's two spoiled daughters with Gloucester's embittered bastard son Edmund. They eventually team up, all planning to double-cross each other — but Edmund, who has had to struggle for everything, turns out to be smarter and meaner.
  • A humorous example of this trope occurs in the play and film Arsenic and Old Lace, where the "good" murderers, the Brewster sisters, are contrasted with the bad murderer, their Ax-Crazy nephew Jonathan. After losing an argument with his lackey about which has the highest body count, Jonathan replies with, "Well, that can easily be taken care of," and prepares to kill again immediately.

    Video Games 
  • In the Metal Gear universe, there's a conflict between the so-called "terrorists" with noble intentions, and the politicians with treacherous, manipulative intentions. Villains such as Big Boss, Liquid Snake/Ocelot, and Solidus Snake formed their own terrorist organizations to free the world's soldiers from the real villains, the manipulative politicians, particularly The Patriots (aka, the La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo). This forces Solid Snake and his friends to form a third side to combat the threat of both sets of villains, so that they could save the world from the war of two ideologies.
    • For an extra layer, the Patriots themselves were originally created to combat an even older group of world controlling politicians.
  • BioShock features a background conflict between the objectivist Knight Templar Andrew Ryan, who goes to great and terrible lengths in an attempt to preserve his utopia, and the scheming mobster Frank Fontaine, who's just trying to claw his way to the top in the name of money and power.
    • The sequel also shows that Ryan also faced opposition from collectivist cult leader and enemy of free will Sofia Lamb.
  • The villains of the Star Control series are the two races of Ur-Quan: The green Kzer-Za, who swept around one half of the galaxy enslaving every living thing. (with the ultimate intention of sealing them on their respective homeworlds in impenetrable bubbles. They would also allow relative freedom if your race agreed to serve them as battle thralls.) And the black Kohr-Ah, who swept around the galaxy killing every living thing. Once both met at the opposite end of the galaxy, they were both going to fight it out to decide whose approach is "better".
    • Even better yet, both approaches are supposed to be for your own good! The Ur-Quan were originally part of The Sentient Milieu, which accidentally stumbled upon the most evil species ever, the Dnyarri, telepaths so powerful that a single individual could utterly dominate the minds of a solar system. The Ur-Quan barely managed to free themselves from the Dnyarri's control by a fluke and destroy them after millennia of the most horrible abuse imaginable. While both Ur-Quan are extremely paranoid after said horrible abuse, the Kzer-Za don't want to kill everything, deciding that universal enslavement was enough to ensure that nobody could ever enslave the Ur-Quan, or anyone else, again. (That sounds strange, but the Kzer-Za see themselves as fair masters and usually do not permit their subjects to harm each other. Compared to every other "bad guy" race in the game, and some of your allies, they seemed downright beneficent). The Kohr-Ah just have a few screws loose, and outright state that, since they believe in reincarnation, by killing every non-Ur-Quan race in the galaxy, they are doing them a favor by giving them a chance to be reborn as Ur-Quan.
      • A rare example when a mediocre villain invoked much more disgust and ire than the major one. Unlike the Ur-Quan who, despite their omnicidal/totalitarian tendencies, retained a strict code of honour and had thorough and near-commiserable motivation, the Druuge were nothing but greedy heartless dregs.
  • Not strictly evil, but in Dragon Age: Origins, upon being told that the man before you is a veteran of many battles, you can reply as follows:
    Warden Hundreds have died in my wake. You're just a statistic to me.
  • Kuja, Garland and Queen Brahne in Final Fantasy IX all come into conflict with each other over who gets to be the main villain. Brahne and Kuja work together until she betrays him and he kills her, and Kuja is Garland's servant until he overthrows him.
  • In World of Warcraft the forces of Illidan and The Burning Legion are in conflict in the Burning Crusade expansion. Indeed, a large part of Illidan's perceived Orcus on His Throne behavior can be attributed to the fact that his citadel is being besieged by Legion forces.
    • The Drakkari trolls are being invaded by Scourge forces in Wrath of the Lich King. This is especially notable in Drak'Tharon Keep, where players directly get in the middle of battle between the two factions.
    • Yogg-Saron and Arthas are theoretically in conflict, though it's not very clearly represented in game.
    • The Nerubians were driven from their homes by both the Scourge and Yogg-Saron's servants, and according to the guide are evil, cruel, and xenophobic. However, in their current state they aren't interesting in picking fights with anyone else and are perfectly willing to work with players.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy has three factions within the villains - those who want to rule the world, those who want to destroy it, and those who are doing their own thing and don't care about the other two factions. Though the heroes spend most of the time in the spotlight, we see hints of the various villains making plays for power against each other.
  • Team Aqua and Team Magma in Pokémon Emerald, Aqua wanting to flood the world and Magma wanting to expand the landscape.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has this all over the place. The Big Bad orders Dario, the brute, and Dmitrii, the schemer, to compete for the position of Big Bad; Dario winds up dead and Dmitrii goes on to kill the Big Bad and become the Big Bad himself, albeit only briefly. Unless the hero does it first.
  • Halo: The Flood, led by the Gravemind, and the Covenant, led by the Prophet of Truth. in Halo 3, the heroes manage to stop Truth's plan to destroy the galaxy, which plays into the hands of Gravemind's plan to infect the galaxy.
    Truth: I shall become a god!
    Gravemind: You will be food.
  • Most games with a Karma Meter will end up with something like this if the player chooses the Evil end of the spectrum - for example, Knights of the Old Republic ends, if you choose to go Dark, with the Sith Lord Revan facing off against his old apprentice Malak, whereas KotOR 2 has the evil Sith Lord Jedi Exile (again, if you decide to go that way) fighting Darth Traya- formerly known as Kreia- in the ruins of the world she destroyed in the backstory to prove there's nothing more she can teach her.
    • Strangely, while it does have Dark and Light endings, The Force Unleashed plays this straight both ways. The Dark Side Starkiller ultimately proves eviler than Darth Vader, but then the Emperor ends up being eviler than them. Though ultimately, as the expanded What If? Dark Side storyline is to be believed, Starkiller manages to one up the Emperor and Vader by corrupting Luke Skywalker, something that the other two never managed in the real timeline.
  • In Okage: Shadow King, a good deal of the game is spent helping Evil King Stan beat up the Fake Evil Kings to reclaim his title.
  • Appears within the Dwarf Fortress fandom, as many of the players dream up greater and more monstrous ways to abuse the Dwarves, Goblins, Elves, cats, and everything else. One of the most well-known examples being a plan to drain an ocean in order to capture mermaids, simply because crafts made from their bones are very valuable.
  • In StarCraft II, this is one possible Alternate Character Interpretation for the relationship between the Overmind and the Fallen One (the other possibility being a case of Good All Along). Thus far we've only been given teases about it being a future plotline, but what is known is that the latter tried to use the former for his own ends, and the former pulled off a Thanatos Gambit to stop him.
  • In Mario Super Sluggers, Bowser and King K. Rool have absolutely terrible play chemistry when on the same team.
  • In God of War, we have Chaotic Evil Kratos against the Lawful Evil Jerkass Gods. Take your pick.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: When Princess Hilda reveals herself to be the mastermind behind the sage kidnappings and attempted theft of Hyrule's Triforce, albeit to save Lorule from destruction, she demands that Yuga give her the Triforce; instead, Yuga betrays her, revealing that he was playing her all along and plans to use the Triforce to remake Lorule in his own image.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night loves this trope. Firstly, there's Caster getting shown up by Gilgamesh (who serves Kotomine) in Fate, followed later by the plot of Unlimited Blade Works, with Caster trying (and failing) to out-evil Kotomine, who is himself out-competed by Gilgamesh (though mostly because of a self-caused Villain Ball moment). Finally, in Heaven's Feel, Kotomine, Zouken and Dark Sakura end up in a three-way villain free-for-all after Gilgamesh and Caster are defeated by Dark Sakura, with Zouken partially controlling Sakura before he is all but killed by Kotomine and later finished off by Dark Sakura. Dark Sakura also all but kills Kotomine in the process, but as the True Ending reveals, he is still left as the last standing and his plan is again the one that Shirou has to thwart.
    • No matter what, however, Shinji is always on the losing side of villain showdowns. Always.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Michelle Clore and Terrence in KateModern. One is a high-ranking member of an evil secret society, the other a psychopathic loan shark.
  • LifesBlood Labs, the evil corporation from LG 15 The Resistance, along with the good old Order of Dederah, the Ancient Conspiracy from lonelygirl15 who don't take kindly to their new rivals. LBL don't exactly do anything to endear themselves to the Order either, as Sarah notes:
    Sarah: They're so bad that they're stealing from the bad guys! That's like taking candy from a baby. Who is totally evil!
  • Garrelf and Beardbeard of Dorf Quest both get declared the ultimate villains of the plot when things hit the fan and they end up on opposite sides.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History has a conflict of this between Adolf Hitler and Darth Vader.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has never been subtle about this. Its first season quickly introduced rivals Prince Zuko and Admiral Zhao, the latter whom was eviler than the former. With Zhao's Karmic Death in the season finale and Zuko's cemented status as Not So Different Anti-Villain, it became a subject of great debate as to which Season 2 villain would prove the most threatening: Ozai's Dragon Princess Azula, or the Evil Chancellor Long Feng (most bets were against a Power Trio of teenaged girls). The two eventually teamed up in the second season finale, each and planning to double-cross the other, but the charismatic and sociopathic princess ended up the unequaled victor, which she made clear Breaking Speech style.
    • In The Legend of Korra Tarrlok has always been a bit of a dick and definitely a villain. Too bad Amon's better. In terms of historical parallels, Tarrlok was the fascist to Amon's communist, which fits the theme of two extremes quite nicely.
      • It should be noted that it was revealed that Tarrlok was Amon's younger brother, and that of the two, he's the one who redeemed himself in the long run.
  • In Yin Yang Yo!, Carl the Evil Cockroach Wizard and his brother Herman get along just as badly as the two main protagonists. Carl retains magical abilities and makes use of planned out schemes, while Herman retains colossal strength (contrasts with his ant-like size) and prefers to use brute strength to achieve victory. Naturally, the two have worked together (albeit forcibly) on occasion to take on Yin and Yang, but their extreme dislike of being within two feet of each other always leads to their failure.
    • Played with with Carl and the Night Master - Carl helped the heroes defeat the Night Master, because he stole Carl's ideas.
  • This is done with a rare subtlety in Transformers: Beast Wars amongst the Predacons, with a nice contrast between Megatron and Tarantulas. Rather than fighting outright, the two do the best to bend the other to their own purposes. Don't think for a second that it's just between the two of them. Blackarachnia's also a major player, and other contenders come and go from the game over the course of the series, but that'd be telling.
    • Just in Beast Wars? Starscream and Megatron acted like this all the time in G1 (and any number of alternate continuities). In general, the Autobots always teamed up with Megatron after he'd inevitably been betrayed by Starscream, because Starscream's ambition was limitless.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, Venger and Tiamat were at each other's throats just as often as they fought the heroes.
  • In the conclusion of the storyline of the fourth season of Teen Titans, Robin formed an uneasy alliance with Slade, after Slade convinced him that Trigon was a far greater evil (which Robin really couldn't deny). Later, however, Slade proved that he was still a contendor when he faced Trigon's demonic guardian:
    Demon: "Fool. You cannot defeat pure evil!"
    Slade: "Yeah? Well... I'm not such a nice guy myself.."
    • To punctuate this remark, a bomb he planted goes off, killing the creature and blowing open the door it was guarding.
  • Speaking of D&D, in ReBoot, Megabyte and Hexadecimal could be considered Lawful Evil and Chaotic Neutral. They were constantly trying to get one over on each other, and it was revealed near the end of the second season that they were, in fact, siblings. In the end, Megabyte took over Mainframe, while Hexadecimal did a Heel-Face Turn and Heroic Sacrifice. A subversion occurs with Daemon, who is more powerful than both of them, yet not very evil at all and considers her apocalyptic goal to be "bringing peace to the net".
  • In Shadow Raiders, Blokk and Lamprey were constantly vying for power as the Beast Planet's sole Dragon, even though they served the same master both functioned as Big Bads. Blokk was overt and militaristic, Lamprey used subtle political manipulations to destroy target worlds from within. Eventually, Blokk was killed in battle and Lamprey may have survived the season 2 battle.
    • Being just parts of The Beast, they can just be replace.
  • In Codename: Kids Next DoorOperation: Z.E.R.O., Grandfather's first act after getting his memories back is to banish Father for being too ineffectual and not evil enough.
    • Though it's heavily implied that Father is actually stronger than Grandfather — he just suffers from a severe lack of self-confidence and major "Well Done, Son" Guy issues. Ironically enough, of Grandfather's two sons, Monty Uno, aka Numbah Zero was the favorite.
    • A lighthearted and hilarious example occurs in "Operation: A.W.A.R.D.S." The nominees for best villain of the year are Father (who is favored to win), Mr. Boss, Grandma Stuffum, and Stickybeard. Unfortunately, after Numbuh One (who they intended to use as the reward) is rescued by the rest of Sector V, the four villains get into a fight over who should win, and when Knightbrace actually opens the envelope to announce the winner, a bomb set by the heroes goes off, preventing anyone from knowing who the winner is. (The fight between the four continues into the end credits.)
  • Doubly subverted (but not a Double Subversion) in Invader Zim. Tak isn't Eviler than Zim, she's merely more competent (Tak at least tries to Breaking Speech him, but Zim just continues screaming), and Zim doesn't form an Enemy Mine with Dib because he's disgusted by her methods, but because she's ''stealing his job''.
  • Kim Possible, "A Sitch in Time" had Dr. Drakken, Duff Killigan, and Monkey Fist team up with Shego against Team Possible. During the course of the movie, Shego betrayed the other villains by stealing the Time Monkey Idol for herself, took over the world, and made herself the supreme one. Bad girl.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo and Him end up in this kind of contest, attempting to show the Rowdyruff Boys who's the better father. In the end, the Boys decide they're both pathetic and go out to fight the Powerpuff Girls on their own. (The most ironic thing about this episode is, the Girls don't appear at all.)
    • Also, the girls were once defeated by an alien, who was using some of Mojo's ideas. When Mojo realized the alien was actually achieving everything he always wanted to, he went berserk, beat the tar out of him, and forced him to admit that he's more evil.
  • World Tour gives us this little gem from Alejandro:
    "...because compared to me, Heather's a saint."
    • And Alejandro himself is less evil compared to Chris.
      • And every single villain in the series (Yes, even Chris) are saints compared to Mal in All Stars.
    "With a friend like me, who needs enemies?"
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, this is the relationship every member of the Heinous family has with their offspring. When Lucius VI is unfrozen, the first thing he does is chastise Lucius VII for not making everyone miserable enough.
    • In Heloise's Rival, a girl named Mean Jean comes to Miseryville and challenges Heloise to a "mean-off."
  • In the DCAU crossover episode between Superman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, Lex Luthor discovers that making a deal with The Joker, and then trying to betray the Monster Clown when the latter failed to kill Superman for him, is a very bad idea. note .
  • Turtles Forever. The 2003 Shredder is this when compared with his 1987 counterpart and Krang. At first, 1987 Shredder hoped they could form a Big Bad Duumvirate with him... then he discovered Ch'rell was murderously violent and Karai's involvement allowed him to take over the Technodrome, and all of 1987 Shredder/Krang's assets, upgrade them to his own means, and use them in a plan to destroy the Multiverse. The 2003 Shredder considers the '87 villains incompetent and worthless, and eventually has them imprisoned when he can't stand them any longer (except Bebop and Rocksteady, who he allows to serve him....BIG mistake.)
  • Filmations Ghostbusters has at least two episodes featuring Big Evil trying to usurp Prime Evil's status as the main Big Bad. The first episode even had Jessica commenting that Big Evil makes Prime Evil seem to be a good guy. Both episodes invoked the Enemy Mine trope by having Prime Evil teaming up with the heroes against Big Evil.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Evil Con Carne where the title character tries to form a Legion of Doom; the plan falls apart because everyone at the meeting claims that he or she is the most evil and the most fit to lead the group.
  • Doofenshmirtz goes through this twice in Phineas and Ferb, first when Agent P gets reassigned to the Regurgitator, making the OWCA drop Doofenshmirtz down to a "minor threat". He's extremely offended by this and decides to take care of it... only to realize how bad the Regurgitator really is, and starts working for him (hey, the job came with maternity leave). Being as incompetent as he is, his incompetence actually defeats the Regurgitator, puts him in jail and his threat level goes back to normal.
  • In Potsworth And Company, one knows the villain who replaced the Big Bad is the eviler one when the heroes resort into tricking the Bigger Bad into firing him and rehiring the original Big Bad.
  • Happens occasionnally in all series of the Ben 10 franchise:
    • In the original series, the Season 2 finale has Kevin 11 finding and freeing Vilgax to help him find and kill Ben. This is quick to end up with the two fighting each other (and Vilgax owning Kevin). They eventually team up, but Kevin then attempts to betray Vilgax, which results in both of them ending up trapped in the Null Void. Basically, their attempts to prove who's eviler than whom ends up their downfall.
    • Hex ended up being betrayed by his niece and Bastard Understudy Charmcaster in her debut appearance.
    • Surprisingly averted for most of the Hightbreed story arc in Ben 10: Alien Force, despite the Highbreeds being basically Nazi aliens, and as such technically enemies to everybody. The only villain who ended up fighting them however was Darkstar, who is portrayed as irredeemable.
    • Season 3, on the other hand, has a quite impressive fight between Vilgax and Ghostfreak, with the latter beating out the former.
    • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Season 1 has Aggregor vs Adwaita (though he manipulated him and attacked him from behind rather than fighting him directly), and later Aggregor vs Kevin 11; Season 2 had a brief Charmcaster vs Adwaita and, eventually, a melee between the Forever Knight, Diagon and Vilgax. Vilgax wins.
  • In Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Duke Igthorne had a Spot the Imposter situation with Princess Calla magically disguised as himself and Zummi had just magically altered his voice to give it a much higher pitch so the Ogres could not tell them apart by their voices. To prove his identity, Igthorn proposed a nastiness contest in which the one who was nastier to the Ogres would be the real Igthorn.
  • The Italian series Farhat: Il Principe del Deserto has a magnificent example, done by the Big Bad, the demon Egokhan, to The Dragon Rashid as a warning against betraying him:
    "You are cunning, evil and treacherous, but I am Egokhan, don't ever forget it."
    • Later in the same episode Egokhan catches Rashid betraying him, and he gives us this gem:
    "You don't understand, you don't want to understand. You mortals are nothing! You are just pawns that can be sacrificed for the one great design, my only, absolute, uncontested, all-powerful might! I tried to make you understand, I warned you to be loyal, but you refused to understand! So now I shall punish you".
    Egokhan sets on fire Rashid's skyscraper and the whole town to burn the McGuffin Rashid was supposed to destroy.
  • Darkwing Duck. When the original Negaduck becomes supercharged as an energy-throwing, telekinetic Person of Mass Destruction, his creator Megavolt is looking forward to all the crimes they'll commit together. Negaduck scoffs at him and says that committing crimes is small potatoes, but complete destruction of everything is what he's really into.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: in "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 2", Tirek proves worse than Discord, playing the chaos spirit like a fiddle and stealing his magic when Discord is no longer useful.

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