Monster: DC And Vertigo

Mr. Zsasz: Don't ask. Just run.

"I will take you to a hell without exit or end. And there I will murder your souls! And make you crawl and beg! And die! Die! Die for Darkseid!"
Darkseid, Final Crisis, spoken through the mouths of one billion slaves

A list of Complete Monsters in DC and Vertigo Comics.


  • Legion of Super Heroes: Silver Age foe The Controller wasn't one to let morality get in the way of his plans for universal conquest. Abandoning his highly advanced race, The Controller decided to use his superweapon, the Sun-Eater, to obliterate every inhabited system in the Milky Way, starting with Earth's sun, Sol. When Ferro Lad's heroic sacrifice destroyed the Sun-Eater, The Controller attempted to brainwash the Legion into becoming his new army, then sought to murder them all when that plan failed. Convinced of his own innate superiority, and willing to wipe out an inhabited galaxy just to send the a message, The Controller would let nothing stand in his path of becoming the universe's Dimension Lord. ap
  • Martian Manhunter: Commander Blanx appeared only twice in the Silver Age but he made up for limited appearances with not rage, or hate, but pure, cold-blooded sociopathy. For reasons known only to himself, Blanx restarted the war between the Pole Dwellers (Pale/White Martians) and the Desert Dwellers (Green Martians). Meeting his adversary, J'onn J'onnz in single combat, Blanx won through cheating and exiled him; he later journeyed to earth and tried to kill J'onn during his exile there, resulting in numerous human deaths. Where Blanx really crossed the line, however, was in his rule of Mars. Already dictator the entire planet, Blanx used alien technology to take control of the Blue Flame that provided Mars' only source of heat, and set the entire planet ablaze. When J'onn J'onnz returned home, he found his family and friends dead, his civilisation in ruins, his planet unlivable, and all Martians, Pole Dwellers and Desert Dwellers alike, on the verge of extinction. When J'onn confronted Blanx and demanded to know why, Blanx explained that he had been contacted by an offworld mining corporation that wanted to buy Mars, but that "according to the aliens' code, I could only sell if I were the last living Martian." Blanx did them one better, killing not only every Martian, but Mars itself, desolating the entire planet out of sheer greed and apathy. In one issue, Blanx altered the tone of the Martian Manhunter stories from light-hearted sixties fare, to introspective angst, wiping out his own people in the name of his checkbook, and leaving J'onn alone. In terms of utter soullessness, no Martian Manhunter villain has ever surpassed him.
  • Superman: As a Long Runner, Superman has a sizable Rogues Gallery:
    • Coluan android Brainiac counted from shortly after his first appearance in the late 1950s. When you force Silver Age Superman, perhaps DC's ultimate boy scout, to resort to lethal force, you know you are a monster. His crimes over the years ranged from shrinking cities and planets for his private collection, to coldly slaughtering thousands in a quest to destroy the "Master Programmer" (Superman) and become God. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Brainiac tried to exploit the chaos of the oncoming apocalypse to his own ends, gathering an army of supervillains with which to conquer the universe, and icily vapourising Earth-2's Alexei Luthor when he objected to the robotic mastermind's plan. When Brainiac truly proved he was beyond redemption, however, was when he brainjacked Lex Luthor, his one friend in the supervillain community, and lead an assault on the Fortress of Solitude leading to the deaths of Luthor, Lana Lang, and Jimmy Olsen in Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow. Always out only for itself, Brainiac proved how horrifying even the least emotional of intelligences could be.
    • The Bronze Age incarnation of Galactic Conqueror Mongul was a deeply nasty piece of work, particularly given the time period. In his first appearance, he kidnapped Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Steve Lombard in order to blackmail Superman into giving him the keys to Warworld, then tries to kill both Superman and Supergirl with the weapon. He later traveled to Prince Gavyn (one of the Starmen)'s homeworld, murdered Gavyn's sister, and tried to force Gavyn's girlfriend into marrying him so that he might take over the planet. Beaten by Gavyn and Superman, he seized control of a Sun-Eater and unleashed it on Earth's solar system, seeking to wipe out all human life. It was in his last appearance, however, in the iconic For the Man Who Has Everything storyline that Mongul showed just how low he could sink. Ambushing Superman on his birthday, Mongul trapped him in a fantasy world, from which Superman could only escape by sacrificing his heart's desire; in Mongul's own words "It must have been like tearing off your own arm." While Superman is occupied with this, Mongul tries to beat Wonder Woman to death, while gloating about how women are too weak to stop him. Eventually trapped by the same weapon he had used on Superman, Mongul dreams of a galaxy awash in bloodshed, with himself seated on a throne, orchestrating it all.


  • Aquaman: Black Manta makes his living as a brutal pirate who is bent on destroying Aquaman at all costs. To this end, Manta killed Aquaman's infant son by trapping him in a chamber that suffocated the boy, despite Arthur's best efforts to save him. Manta continues to torment his nemesis by targeting and murdering those he can. Not even Manta's own family is exempt from his cruelty: his own son, the new Aqualad, was the target of Manta's wrath when Manta attempted to murder him with zealous hatred, for no other reason than rejecting the path Manta wanted for him. Manta is a vicious, hateful murderer who would poison the entire oceans just for a chance to hurt his nemesis.
  • Batman's Long Runner status and the massive size of his Rogues Gallery mean that he has faced many foes. However, these stand out as the worst of the worst.
    • The Joker, a sadistic Monster Clown with a Multiple-Choice Past, is Batman's Arch-Enemy. Over the course of his long career, despite being mostly without superpowers, he has: crippled Barbara Gordon and tried to psychologically torture her father into madness; sold nuclear weapons to terrorists; savagely beat Jason Todd with a crowbar, then killed him and Jason's mother with a time bomb; repeatedly emotionally and physically abused his girlfriend, Harley Quinn, going so far as to try to kill her multiple times; attempted to infect the entire world by poisoning the atmosphere with Joker-venom when he believed he was dying; tried to kill every newborn baby in Gotham in order to break the city's spirit, killing Commissioner Gordon's second wife, Sarah Essen, in the process; and stealing the powers of Mister Mxyzptlk, becoming a nigh-omnipotent god-like being who turned the world into a hellish caricature of itself, tortured Batman to death only to revive him and repeat the process continuously until Batman was driven insane, devouring everyone in China, and attempting to wipe out all of existence. The Joker's sole motivation, in committing every crime there is, is amusement, based on what his disturbed sense of humor deems funny.
    • The first Black Mask, Roman Sionis, was a bored rich boy who grew to despise his social class, and then by extension, everyone else. Sionis murdered his parents when they disapproved of his fiancee and soon became the feared underworld kingpin Black Mask. His first victim was his ex-fiancee who he left hideously disfigured. Sionis makes a name for himself by being one of the most ruthless and evil of Gotham's crime lords, with a penchant for Cold-Blooded Torture. Two of his most noted victims were the first female Robin, Stephanie Brown, who Black Mask tortured with a power drill, among other implements in a brutal fashion that almost killed her. The second was to torture Selina Kyle's sister Maggie, as well as Maggie's husband. He did this by forcing Maggie to watch him dismember and butcher Maggie's husband, before forcing her to eat his eyes. With a black sense of humor, unbridled sadism and drive to destroy anything that even remotely stands in his way, Black Mask is one of Gotham's most evil denizens.
    • Victor Zsasz (more commonly known as Mr. Zsasz) is one of Gotham's most prolific and horrifying serial killers. A man who believes in nothing, Zsasz erases the emptiness in his own life by murdering others, recording every victim upon his flesh in a tally mark scar. Zsasz has killed hundreds of people: men, women and children. Only one victim, Alfred Pennyworth, survived his attacks, which brought him into conflict with the Batman who soon earned Zsasz's eternal loathing. Zsasz has continued his crusade to rid the world of life one human at a time, murdering those who cross his path to "liberate" them from the meaninglessness of life. At one point, Zsasz abducted runaways and forced them to fight to the death. The winner would be forced to fight Zsasz himself.
    • The son of Commissioner James Gordon, James Jr. distinguishes himself from his heroic relatives in the extreme. Ever since his youth, James Jr. was a vicious serial killer, always hoping the next person would pick on him so it would give him an excuse to torture and kill them. In one instance, he cruelly slashed a woman's face for calling him Four-Eyes years prior. In another, he gruesomely dismembered a man for stealing his glasses a decade prior. James Jr proceeded to torture his mother with the Joker's fear toxin, tortured his sister psychologically and physically and revealed his master plan: to destroy the morality of Gotham's children by injecting their food supply with a drug to destroy empathy which he views as a weakness. The worst part is he might well have succeeded. He tortured and murdered many people in the past for no reason beyond the power it gives him, even torturing his sister Barbara by driving a pair of knives into her paralyzed legs.
  • Captain Atom: Major Force is the Evil Counterpart of Captain Atom. The guy is responsible for one of the most infamous Stuffed into the Fridge incidents in comics (the Trope Namer, in fact). He murdered Kyle Rayner's girlfriend and stuffed her body in a refrigerator for Kyle to find. He later did the same thing by stuffing Rayner's mother into the oven, before pointing out it was a dummy and that he "never repeats the same trick." He's the worst possible person to choose for a military experiment that turns humans into powerful immortal Energy Beings. He is so crazy, he rips off Major Liberty's (his ally and fellow government cape) arm and beats him to death with it because, to quote: "We don't need two majors on this team!"
  • Darkseid is the ultimate God of Evil in the DC Universe, and the Trope Codifier for Dystopia Justifies the Means. As the ruler of the world Apokolips, Darkseid subjects its denizens to hellish conditions with the overwhelming majority of the population ill-treated slaves. The other New Gods fare no better as Darkseid is only too willing to subject them to hideous tortures or obliteration should they fail him. Darkseid detests all that is good in the universe and seeks to extend his influence everywhere he can. During Final Crisis, Darkseid murdered his heroic son Orion to permit himself to gain dominion over Earth. Once there, he enslaved the minds of everyone he could touch, turning them into savage parodies of themselves, intending to as he said "murder their souls and take them to hell without end." His ultimate motive is to use the Anti-Life Equation to rob everybody of free will and turn them all into mindless zombies who worship him as a god while he tortures them eternally, just for fun. Just as bloodthirsty and monstrous as any of those who serve him, Darkseid combines urbane sophistication, limitless cruelty and insatiable drive for power, and is the one single villain that all the heroes despise and fear.
  • Dr. Arthur Light was a man with one singular passion: his absolute love of rape. A supervillain with powers over energy, Light had been considered a joke for a time. It was revealed in Identity Crisis that the reason for this was because Zatanna had given him a magic lobotomy, because Light had snuck aboard the League's satellite and found the Elongated Man's wife Sue Dibny there alone, and took the chance to violently rape her. After he regains his mind, Light returns to his favorite habits. He also stole the powers from the heroic Dr. Light, Kimiyo Hoshi, comparing his violation of her to a rape in of itself. Becoming steadily more sadistic and depraved, Light enjoyed hurting every superhero he could and threatened to rape their loved ones as he had Sue Dibny. When the Spectre, the spirit of God's vengeance itself, visited Light to punish him in Final Crisis, he was in the midst of preparing to rape a group of girls he'd dressed as heroines from the Teen Titans to satisfy his hatred of and lust for them.
  • The Flash:
    • The Barry Allen Flash's Arch-Enemy is Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, AKA Professor Zoom. An obsessive fan of Barry, Eobard managed to duplicate Barry's powers. He then attempted to replace Barry, before stalking and apparently murdering his wife, Iris Allen, when she rejected his advances. Eventually he drives Barry to kill him to save his new fiancé before he can kill her. However, Thawne was resurrected years later, and has gone out of his way to cross every line he can find since. Using his time travel powers to edit his life, Thawne kills his brother (who he blamed for holding him back), his parents (who weren't supportive of his obsession with the Speed Force), a professional rival, and every man that a woman he is interested in has ever dated; he then traumatises her as a child when she still spurns him, taking Evil Is Petty to new and exciting levels. He kills Johnny Quick shortly after his own resurrection, tries to force Barry Allen, newly returned to life, into becoming the Black Flash, and during the Flashpoint crossover, alters the time stream further and further to make Barry's life as miserable as possible. In addition, in The Flash: Rebirth he kills Allen's mother, among other acts, thus indirectly causing Flashpoint. He has no Freudian Excuse or mitigating factor for these actions, but is instead just a selfish man who plans to get what he wants at the expense of everyone else.
    • The most infamous criminal in the history of Gorilla City, Grodd was driven into exile after killing the city's benevolent leaders and ruthlessly plundered the mind of his friend Solovar to discover the secrets of mind control. Combining a ruthless brilliance with a gorilla's power, Grodd established himself as a feared player of the underworld. He would brutally murder anyone who stood in his way or just dispose of humans for the enjoyment, considering them far inferior to himself. Grodd's mental prowess is such that he enjoys dominating and twisting the minds of others to feral savagery or into sycophants for his ego. In battle, he is also highly sadistic - for example, crippling Hunter Zolomon, who recalled with terror how Grodd treated him like a toy he could break. To date, Grodd has made no fewer than eighteen attempts to completely wipe out all of humanity to purge what he sees as a lesser race.
  • Green Arrow: Stanley Dover Sr. was the secret main villain of the Quiver arc. We first meet Stanley Sr. when Green Arrow rescues him from a mugger. Stanley Sr. comes off as a kindly old man and even becomes Green Arrow's assistant. However Stanley Sr. has a secret, he has been a Satanist since the 1950s. His wife left him when he suggested they sacrifice their first born infant to a demon to gain immortality. No longer married, Stanley Sr. traveled the world and studied the occult. Decades later he returned to America and moved to Star City. His daughter Shelia now grown up, made contact with him. Wanting to remain respected by the community, Stanley Sr. pretended to be a loving father. Shelia would often have Stanley Sr. baby sit her infant son, Stanley Dover Jr. One day, while baby sitting Stanley Jr., Stanley Sr. attempted to summon the Beast With No Name and bind it to him. However the Beast bonded with Stanley Jr. instead. Years later, when Stanley Jr. was a teenager, Stanley Sr. found that the Beast had bonded to his grandson. So Stanley Sr. kidnapped his grandson and began to torture and starve him to force the Beast out. Stanley Sr. began to murder children and feed their blood to his grandson. Stanley Sr. eventually revealed his true colors to Green Arrow, planning on transferring his soul into Green Arrow's body to further his power mad quest. Stanley Sr. also plans to rape Mia Dearden, a former teenage prostitute Green Arrow had recently rescued.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Mongul II is a case of Overlord Jr. at its worst, and has dedicated his life to aping and surpassing his equally unpleasant father, Mongul I. During his first appearance in Green Lantern, Mongul II used the Black Mercy plants to trap Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen in a fantasy world; he subsequently murdered his sister, Mongal, and kept her corpse as a trophy. When Mongul II really comes into his own, however, is after gaining a Sinestro Corps Ring (by murdering its owner). Taking control of the Black Mercy homeworld, Mongul II uses his ring to alter the genetics of the Black Mercies so that they will trap their victims in their worst nightmares, instead of their ideal fantasies. He coerces the benevolent Mother Mercy into aiding him by threatening to make her eat her own children if she does not. Defeated by the Green Lanterns, Mongul II escapes from prison, seizes control of the Sinestro Corps by killing anybody who disagrees with him (or even annoys him in the slightest), rips out Arkillo's tongue, and overruns the planet Daxam, slaughtering or enslaving the population. Beaten off by Sodam Yat and Arisia, Mongul II later arrives on Korugar, and is in the process of having the citizenry strung up along the streets when his reign is finally halted by the return of Sinestro.
    • Blackest Night Big Bad Nekron seems, at first, an Above Good and Evil Cosmic Entity who's simply doing what he's designed to: return the universe to its cold, lifeless state. Even using the Black Lanterns to pull at people's heartstrings is a fair enough tactic, given he needs enough emotion-filled hearts to exist on the physical plain. But allowing the many resurrections just so he could have sleeper agents (said sleeper agents still retain control of their minds, but are trapped in their own bodies) was just plain cruel and callous. It makes you doubt Nekron's supposed lack of emotion. His deciding point is when he turns the resurrected heroes into Black Lanterns, which led to And I Must Scream: these Black Lanterns aren't truly dead, and instead are forced against their will to torment and kill those closest to them (unlike the other Black Lanterns, who are twisted mimics of the reanimated persons). As an Eldritch Abomination, he would be Above Good and Evil and thus exempt from Monsterdom, if it weren't for the fact that he actively schemed and plotted to increase his personal power at the expense of other beings. He's not as emotionless as he thinks.
    • Krona's arrogance led to the creation of the multiverse and antimatter universe and/or evilnote , but if that was just a result of him holding the Idiot Ball, the stuff he did after that put him well across the Moral Event Horizon. War of the Green Lanterns retconned him into being the one who was behind the Manhunter's annihilating a sector, but we had seem him do far, far worse long before we learnt that, and at the absolute apex of his villainy he was callously destroying entire universes because he thought he could do better. The most chilling thing about him is that he can commit mass murder on a multiversal scale with zero compunction, and believe he was completely in the right to do so.
  • Hitman:
    • Tom Dawson, father of Tommy Monaghan, is a simple Irish businessman who made a name for himself via a series of land deals. Also a vicious egomaniac, Dawson was the frequent client of the local prostitute named Katie. The first time they met, Dawson informed her he knew her trick to shame her hypocritical clients who persecuted her: naming her children after them. Dawson warned her never to try that with him. When Katie became pregnant, and Dawson heard she was considering to name the baby 'Tommy,” he burned down her house with her infant daughter and two young twin sons still inside. Katie was forced to leave her daughter Frances at an orphanage to save her life and fled to America where Dawson found her and butchered her with a knife. Assuming the baby died in the cold, Dawson went back to Ireland until 30 years later when Frances found Tommy and brought him to her old home. Dawson attempted to have Tommy killed and brutally murdered Frances the same way as he had her mother. When Tommy confronted Dawson, Dawson showed no remorse, snarling that Tommy had no right to call him his father and that he and Katie were nothing but gutter trash preying on “respectable men” like himself. After Tommy said that Katie had simply recognized Dawson as a bully and coward and stood up to him the one way she knew how, Dawson's only response was "to hell with her," finally prompting Tommy to shoot him.
    • Mr. Truman, an unassuming, mild-mannered little CIA agent who is out to destroy metahumans (if he can't control them), makes his career on blackmail and murder, but it's not until the final arc where he shows the darkness inside himself. Truman has human beings injected with a special metahuman formula to create a personal army of metahumans but while the formula works, it steals the minds from its subjects. Tommy becomes aware of this when he rescues a young woman who had been a witness Truman had tried to silence by unleashing one of the monsters on her without care for collateral damage. When he realizes the creatures still retain their human minds and are locked in a corner of their heads, incapable of stopping their actions, Truman orders them to be set loose on one another with the resulting carnage filmed for his amusement.
  • Jonah Hex: William "Sawbones" Zimmerman was a brief but memorable foe of Jonah Hex. A former doctor during the Civil War, Zimmerman made a name for himself via horrible experiments and live dissections of prisoners of war, with his apprentices and himself also carrying out the same vivisections on blacks. After the war, Sawbones takes to kidnapping and murdering innocent young women without even the pretense it is for anything but enjoyment. When Hex falls into his hands, the doctor attempts to torture him to death as well, revealing he has a group of like-minded fellows he's trained that he intends to spread into the country, killing those they can via horrible means all in the name of twisted "science."
  • Justice League of America:
    • Felix Faust is one of the most power hungry sorcerers alive. Kicking off his career by selling his infant son's soul for his own ability, Faust committed many acts of cruel murder and torture to fuel his black magic. When he finally realized he could no longer bargain with his own tainted soul, Faust resorted to harvesting the soul of an innocent little girl to trade to demons. Faust offered his assistance to Black Adam to help resurrect Black Adam's wife Isis, but deceived Adam into thinking Isis's revival had failed, while Faust kept a paralyzed Isis to serve as his personal sex toy.
    • Prometheus started out as a Magnificent Bastard in his initial appearance when created by Grant Morrison. He then went on to suffer severe Villain Decay in most of his follow-up appearances...until Justice League: Cry for Justice. In his grand return after years of limbo (after a special one-shot used Final Crisis to retcon all of the non Morrison/Villain Decay stories involving the character as being an impostor), he unleashed a wave of chaos, carnage, and torture on the heroes of the DCU that rivaled even the worst Big Bad in the worst Crisis. Murdering countless D-list superheroes, killing Mikaal Tomas' lover and Congo Bill's pride, sewing Freddy Freeman's lips together to keep him from speaking his magic world, cruelly lobotomizing genius IQ, mutilating Red Arrow, and culminating with murdering 90,000 people in Star City - including Red Arrow's little daughter. Why? Because as a kid, his criminal parents were shot in front of him by the police. The series may have been incredibly criticized, but there's no denying that Prometheus is easily one of the most monstrous characters in the DCU.
  • Martian Manhunter: In Post-Crisis continuity, J'onn's first foe—his own ''brother'', Malefic—was also one of the worst. Malefic engineered a psychic plague that incinerated the rest of the Green Martian race out of nothing but spite and envy at being the only Green Martian without telepathy. The reason he's not a telepath? He committed Mind Rape, an unthinkable crime in Green Martian society, and was punished by having his psychic powers and memory stripped away. So Malefic committed genocide on his own race over a punishment that he wholly deserved. As if this wasn't enough, Malefic was so bent on ruining J'onn's life after the latter defeated him that he followed him to Earth and murdered Karen Smith, J'onn's (as Detective John Jones) partner on the police force. This was the last straw for J'onn and he threw Malefic into the sun. The saddest part about all of this is that J'onn was the only person who was ever sympathetic to Malefic because they were brothers.
  • Secret Six:
    • Junior may have a Freudian Excuse, being heavily implied to have been molested by her father, Ragdoll Sr., as a child, but the things that she does make her extremely difficult to feel warm for. She's raped men and women alike, tortures people to death (including a priest) and enjoys using such torture implements as bricks and scissors to murder people. Before she kills people, she forces them to choose whether they die or their family dies. If they choose to die, she kills them. But if they say they want their friends and family to die, she tape-records them saying it, butchers them anyway and leaves the body for the friends and family to find, along with a recording of the victim begging her to kill their family instead of them.
    • Mr. Smyth, the villain of the "Depths" story arc, runs a massive slave trade operation. The way he "disciplines" his workers is to have his assassins butcher and murder the people around the disobedient slave, while forcing them to watch. He thinks slavery is the greatest thing ever and will fix all the world's problems and wants every nation to have it via lottery.
    • Dwarfstar is a crazy, misogynistic serial killer. His first words to Bane upon joining the Six are a question of how many women he's killed. Sure, Cheshire is bad, but Dwarfstar is completely and utterly repugnant even when compared to her. Given the team's current membership, however (an immortal, immensely strong banshee, a sociopathic female assassin, and a giantess), he probably won't be alive much longer. Bane takes an instant dislike to him. After failing to kill Ryan Choi after so long, he hired Deathstroke's Titans team to kill Choi. And he wanted the miniature corpse in a matchbox for a trophy, which he received with a big shit-eating smile on his face. For that, Giganta beat him with his own belt so badly that it broke every bone in his body. Unfortunately, based on the latest issue of Titans, he's still clinging to life in a Louisiana hospital. He told Ray Palmer that it was Deathstroke who murdered Ryan, and Ray pointed out that Slade probably won't take kindly to this development.
  • Shazam: Most of Captain Marvel's villains are difficult to take seriously. That can't be said of Mister Mind, a two-inch long parasitic worm from Venus. As his people's advance scout on Earth, Mister Mind took control of Captain Marvel's cousin, Sinclair Batson, mutating him into a monster. When Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel foiled Mind's plans, the worm vowed revenge, and bodyjacking Sarge Steel of the Department of Metahuman Affairs, set in motion a plan for a nuclear holocaust. Incubating his larvae in sores within Sinclair's body, Mind took mental control of his offspring after they were born and had them in turn infest nuclear technicians, army officers, and politicians, while he himself used Sarge Steel's authority to obliterate Fairfield, Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel's hometown. Defeated before he could end the human race, Mind broke out again during the events of 52, and after mutating into his adult form of The Hyperfly, tried to devour the totality of space/time, plotting to end the multiverse. Motivated by nothing more than anger at Captain Marvel for embarassing him, Mind is as bad as The Big Red Cheese's Rogues Gallery can get.
  • Starman: The first Ragdoll, Peter Merkel, was once just a two-bit thief whose gimmick was being triple jointed. Tired of being a joke, he decided to reinvent himself as a mass-murdering cult leader. Gathering together the lost, the homeless, the addicts together to fuel his growing ego, Merkel decided to revenge himself upon the world and directed multiple murders, making the streets of Opal City run red with blood, with Merkel indiscriminately targeting the innocent, with intent to target the innocent families of his enemies. Merkel took advantage of his hold over his cult to take sexual advantage of the women, and hideously abused the resulting children. His son, Peter Merkel Jr, was hideously scarred by his attempts to surgically alter his body to be like his father, and he went so far as to have himself castrated since they "got in the way", only to be rejected by his father anyway. His daughter Alex suffered worse. Having desired a little girl, Merkel subjected her to horrible sexual, mental and physical abuse. Merkel became despised until his death by the rest of the supervillain community for his treachery and depravity and stands as a unique icon of a former Harmless Villain becoming a genuine terror.
  • Superman:
    • Post-Crisis Brainiac isn't any better than his Pre-Crisis counterpart. Since the reboot he has fed on human spinal fluid, possessed countless victims and destroyed their minds in the process, exploited the Imperiex War in an attempt to rewrite the fabric of the universe, tried to destroy New Krypton, and, most recently, gone in for planetary destruction and city collection in a big way, destroying entire civilizations so that the information he has about them will become more valuable in the process. On a more personal level, he's also a coldly calculating sadist, who is only too happy to engage in the prolonged torture and mental manipulation of his victims once he has them in his clutches, and live to reinforce his mental superiority over all other beings. He has never shown any remorse, his presence in a story inevitably signals that the bodycount is about to rise, and in Supergirl's words he is "everything bad about aliens".
    • The first Post-Crisis version of General Dru-Zod was from a Pocket Universe. Manipulating Lex Luthor into freeing him and his allies Quex-Ul and Zaora, the three take over Earth. When Luthor leads a resistance, the three basically wipe out all humanity on Earth. After New Earth’s Superman depowers Zod and his allies, they vow to find a way to his universe to slaughter everyone on his Earth as well, causing Superman, in a rare occurrence, to kill them.
    • Off all the Evil Counterparts Superman has had over the years, Superboy-Prime is easily the most repulsive one. While the reader could at first sympathize with him a little, since he lost his homeworld, it quickly becomes clear that he is nothing more than a selfish, immoral and absolutely ruthless Sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Throughout his numerous appearances, he has done nothing less than killing and crippling several Teen Titans (Superboy among them), massacring countless alternate Supermen and blowing up their Homeworlds, because he saw them as inferior to him, killing his own girlfriend because she was repulsed by him and much more. His most common excuse is that his victims brought it upon themselves. In Blackest Night, it seemed like he wanted to redeem himself, but he promptly threw his chance out of the window in his next appearance, when he tried to attack the Titans again.
  • Supergirl: Benjamin Martin Krull, alias Reactron, was never a nice guy. His first clash with Supergirl saw a vast amount of property damage and significant casualties, with many survivors suffering from radiation sickness or cancer. It was in the New Krypton storyline, however, where Reactron really crossed the line. Having been rebuilt by Lex Luthor into a cyborg with a Gold Kryptonite heart, Reactron invades New Krypton alongside Metallo, depowering a killing numerous Kryptonians, threatening to rape Supergirl, and then murdering her father, Zor-El, in front of her by giving him radiation sickness. Tasked by General Lane with eliminating Supergirl, Flamebird, and Nightwing, Reactron murdered all the soldiers assigned to help him when they expressed doubts about the mission, and did his best to slowly torture Supergirl and Flamebird to death, all while gloating about how fighting two such attractive girls was a dream come true. Captured and tortured by Supergirl's mother, Alura, Reactron waited until Supergirl came to free him from the torture chamber to reveal that his capture had been a set up and that Luthor had transformed him into a living bomb. Detonating himself with a smile, Reactron gives a serene look as he incinerates Alura, the city of Kandor, and the entire planet of New Krypton, killing over ninety percent of the population in a single fell swoop. A lech, a bully, and a thug at his core, Reactron is a study in just how horrific it can be when somebody like that gets their hands on real power, and has done more to hurt Supergirl than any of her other adversaries, killing her father, her mother, and her entire race in a matter of weeks.
  • Swamp Thing: Anton Arcane is a Mad Scientist turned Evil Sorcerer obsessed with immortality and its secrets. First seen attempting to steal the Swamp Thing's body, Arcane failed and died in the attempt. His soul, however, returned from hell to steal the body of his niece Abigail Arcane's husband, Matthew Cable. In the guise of Matthew, Anton raped Abigail and consigned her soul to hell in his place. In his new position on earth, Arcane attempted to drive reality itself to insanity, using the souls of resurrected serial killers to cause destruction as the innocent succumb to savage, homicidal urges.
  • Teen Titans: Trigon the Terrible is a demonic overlord who rules an empire where countless souls are kept in horrible bondage, with those who dare to resist (and "resistance" can be defined as "don't do as ordered quick enough") are ruthlessly exterminated. Trigon wishes to extend his dominion to earth and for that end, disguised himself as a handsome human being to impregnate a woman named Arella, revealing his true form and taunting her after. After invading earth, Trigon dominates the soul of his daughter Raven and corrupts her into a monster, forcing her to attack her own world and friends. Trigon's brutality extends to exterminating entire worlds simply to make a lesson. With no redeeming features whatsoever, Trigon is the most terrifying and powerful foe the Teen Titans have ever faced.
  • Vandal Savage practically invented evil as a human concept. Born Vandar Adg, a caveman who received super intellect and immortality from a meteorite, Savage used his endless life to become the biggest monster he could. Over the millennia, he has been one of the most vicious and depraved men in history and one of the most efficient manipulators in the DCU, with billions of bodies to his name. Savage has spent his time as The Man Behind the Man to many conquerors, organizing conquests and massacres. Vandal has also fathered legions of monsters, but with the exception of one child, he considers the rest pathetic and treats their lives or deaths as not worthy of his attention. His treatment toward his sole legitimate child, Scandal, was no better: on her birthday, he forced her to run a gauntlet of men beating her, and if she failed, he swore he'd murder her mother. Despite Scandal being a lesbian, Vandal wants a male heir—and has no compunction having Scandal raped by other supervillains to get it. Vandal's crimes have also including introducing a new drug in the stead of heroin that burns out its users to death very quickly, multiple murders and cannibalism (which he might well have invented as a concept), attempting to pull an asteroid down to earth and murdering Golden Age superheroes with their families after founding a Neo-Nazi group called The Fourth Reich. His sole motives are fun, boredom, or to shape the world in his twisted image.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • What Dr. Psycho lacks in height, he makes up for in depravity. A psychotic dwarf who bears a grudge against nearly everyone, Psycho is a violent misogynist, Serial Killer, cannibal and rapist, and he combines this with incredibly potent Psychic Powers that include More Than Mind Control and some minor Reality Warper traits (his classical "create and shape ectoplasm" abilities). His crimes are myriad, but one that truly cements his classication as a Complete Monster is this: he once used his psychic powers to take control of dozens of innocents, promptly forcing them to engage in cannibalism of each other. Not only did this turn him on, he decided to force the victims he was controlling to experience his sexual pleasure as if it were their own. Eventually, he grew bored and let the survivors go free, condemning them to associate those traumatic memories with arousal and to suffer with it forever-more. Dr. Psycho gleefully participates in such atrocities and remembers them with the relish a normal human being would associate with savoring delicious food.
    • Doctor Poison II has only had a few appearances, but has made up for that with the sheer ugliness of the crimes she commits. The granddaughter of a Japanese war criminal, she has continued her grandmother's research, creating new toxins and diseases with which to infect the world. Kidnapping a man named Richard Agoras, Doctor Poison subjected him to lengthy torture and experimentation, ultimately using the Pandora Virus to mutate him into a hideous monster, and unleashing him on Wonder Woman. When captured following this incident, Doctor Poison unleashed the Pandora Virus into the atmosphere, endangering millions of lives. Escaping custody, Poison joined Queen Clea's new Villainy Incorporated, and helped to overrun the nation of Skartaris, requesting that any prisoners they took be turned over to her for further use in her experiments. Obsessed with producing the perfect toxic agents and little else, and making her appearance as horrible as possible in order to maximise fear in her victims, Doctor Poison is as bad as a Mad Scientist can get.
  • Young Justice: William "Billy" Hayes, better known as Harm from this initially light-hearted comic series, was a teenage supervillain who was also a complete Sociopath. Adopted by loving parents, Harm initially terrified his adoptive younger sister Greta and her fears were proven right when Harm murdered her in her bathtub to seal a demonic pact and give himself super powers. His goal was to become the world's greatest murderer and he decided to hunt down and destroy all the kid heroes before moving on to the big leagues. He captured Red Tornado and reprogrammed him as a suicide bomber against Pope John Paul II to make a name for himself in the supervillain community. When his father, realizing what he was, killed Harm with a gunshot to the back, Harm's spirit later returned. He possessed his father and used his body to enact more evil deeds, none more enjoyable to him than screwing with Greta, now the ghostly heroine Secret, by making her think her father never truly loved her. When defeated, Harm, for sheer spite, forced his father to throw himself into one of the fire-pits of Apokolips while Harm possessed him to kill them both.

New 52

  • The Joker in the storyline Death Of The Family is as monstrous as ever. Starting by attacking the Gotham City Police Department to retrieve the face he had cut off, he murders nineteen police officers and threatens to kill Mayor Hady, but instead kills Hady's police guards. Reenacting old crimes, the Joker attempts to poison Commissioner Gordon and blows up the Gotham reservoir. The Joker hunts down the whole Bat-Family, trapping them in the Batcave and leaving them soaked in gasoline while he forces Batman to watch. He attempts to set them ablaze before Batman stops him, but leaves a contingency: his special Joker gas to force them to kill one another if not for their Heroic Willpower. The Joker here shows how terrifying he can be when he decides to cut loose and is defined by his twisted obsession with and desire to hurt Batman.
  • Batwoman: Maro purposefully drowned the children of Maria, the woman who would go on to kill herself and become the Weeping Woman, because his magic relies on the power of belief. Because people believe in the legend of the Weeping Woman, Maro intended to use that to keep Maria from passing on after she inevitably killed herself and transform her into the urban legend, and she would go on to steal and/or kill more children.
  • Swamp Thing: Anton Arcane's new incarnation is a being of boundless cruelty. In his pursuit of immortality, Arcane took over the elemental force of The Rot, the natural force of death and decay, and subsumed it to his will. Arcane extends the Rot to devour all that lives and trap the world in deathless limbo he can rule. Arcane even forced his own nephew to be the Rot's avatar, devouring his mind from within. In Arcane's battles with Swamp Thing, Alec Holland saw a future where Arcane gruesomely tortured and beheaded Abigail and saw lobotomized clones Arcane had made of her as cannon fodder.
  • Green Lantern: Volthoom is the reality warping Big Bad of the Wrath Of The First Lantern storyline. Before the beginning of the plot, he was responsible for the torture and murder of millions of people across the universe, which lead to his imprisonment by the Guardians. When they decided to put him in lesser restraints eons later in order to further their own plans, Volthoom broke free and set off on a quest to regain his lost powers by feeding on the emotions of various Lantern ring wielders. To do this, he pulls off a despair gambit on each one by showing them visions of what could have happened had something gone different in their most defining or tragic moments in their lives, warping reality around them so that they become immersed in it, and denying them the chance to change the past. Out of all the emotions, he finds negative ones such as despair and misery the most savory to him. This leaves his victims physically and mentally broken as a result; in doing this, he almost drove Atrocitus to suicide. When Sinestro resisted Volthoon and lashed back at him, Volthoom destroyed Sinestro's home planet Korugar and everyone on it. Volthoom's ultimate goal after completely restoring his power is to rewrite all of reality to the way he wants it to be.
  • In the New 52 Universe, Mongul is as brutal as ever. When he sends his War World battle station to conquer a planet, the Admiral in charge of the planet's defenses demands his surrender. Mongul kidnaps the Admiral and gives him tour of his space station. Mongul shows him the Gladiator Games, where the loser of the match will have his entire race exterminated. Mongul then reveals that he killed his own brother and parents to gain total dominion over War World. Mongul then shows the Admiral his collection of Black Mercy plants that he uses on victims to make their greatest fantasies come true or make them feel their greatest fears. Mongul also reveals that while they were talking, War World has destroyed most of his planet and the survivors will taken as slaves. Those too weak to be slaves will be have their organs harvested. Mongul then reveals then final room in his gruesome tour, a room full of heads on pikes. When the admiral asks what was their crime, Mongul states they had the gall to demand his surrender. He then rips off the admiral's head and places it on a pike.


  • Batman: Earth One: Mayor Oswald Cobblepot note  takes Corrupt Politician to new levels. Cobblepot runs Gotham like his own private Mafia and tried to have Thomas Wayne killed for running against him as Mayor. He represses the courts through fear and intimidation, allows crime to run rampant and utilizes an insane Serial Killer called Birthday Boy as an assassin by providing him with young, female victims. When a judge fails to stop Harvey and Jessica Dent from investigating him, Cobblepot has the judge's eldest daughter given to Birthday Boy in payment for the assassination of a corrupt officer who has become a liability, promising that should he fail again, the judge's younger daughter will be next. When he finally confronts Batman, Cobblepot tries to slice him to pieces with a sword umbrella, laughing about the corrupt nature of Gotham City and how his only regret was that a mugger got to Thomas Wayne before his plan went off.


  • American Vampire: Dracula is depicted as an ancient, pure evil monster. The creator of the evil, and racist Carpathian vampire strain, Dracula dominated his progeny into launching genocidal warfare against other species of vampires, exterminating many who simply wanted to live in peace. After being bound and imprisoned by the vampire hunting Vassals of the Morning Star, Dracula was occasionally able to reach out, twisting the minds of mortals into homicidal insanity, often forcing them to murder their loved ones. When he encounters the leader of the Vassals, Linden Hobbes, who was one such victim, Dracula brutally attempts to dismember him, mocking him all the while with a vision of Hobbes' dead son attacking him. The reason? It's just too much fun not to kill him that way.
  • Fables:
    • When Hansel and Gretel were captured as children by Frau Totenkinder, who was trying to sacrifice their lives to demons for youth and power, they fought back and burned her alive in her own oven. Hansel found he enjoyed the sight of watching witches burn. With this new-found bloodlust, Hansel set out to make as many witches suffer as he could, not caring that all too often, victims of his witch hunts were innocent girls. Hansel subjects them to torture and deaths for his own gratification without a twinge of remorse. His crowning moment of evil is after he discovers Gretel had been taking an interest in magic. He murdered her on the spot before fleeing the Fable community to align himself with their great adversary as his Inquisitor general, putting himself in charge of hunting down those who might prove disloyal to the Empire. Hansel is one of the Empire's most feared and zealous leaders who uses his position to satisfy his need for torture and domination.
    • Leigh Douglas, formerly Mrs. Sprat, shows her dark side when she reveals that she became a nurse to see other Fables suffering by her hand. She later gladly teams up with the personification of darkness, Mr. Dark, to destroy her former home in exchange for beauty and power. Once Dark is defeated, Leigh takes her place back in Fabletown proper, but plans to use a spell to seize control of Bigby Wolf and use him as a feral weapon to slaughter other Fables, intending to use him to exterminate the Fables of her old home. Out of spite, she plans to mutilate and torture the "pretty ones" until they're hideous, then kill them. Her worst deed is sending Bigby to murder his former wife and their young children. Despite her new-found beauty, Leigh proves at every opportunity no other Fables is as hideous inside as her.
  • Hellblazer: John Constantine has encountered depraved villains, but several leave the rest far behind.
    • The First of the Fallen was already said to be at the bottom of hell when Lucifer himself was cast down. Far more depraved, violent and sadistic than Lucifer, the First is introduced as a trader in souls whom John bests in a battle of wits. The First promptly devotes all energy to vengeance to destroy John in every way, shape and form, while destroying his friends and loved ones and condemning a city to an orgy of blood and violence, simply for his own enjoyment. The First shows no loyalty to allies and frequently destroys them, in one instance changing demon lord Nergal into a mortal to torture him simply for amusement. In his cruelest act, the First captured the soul of John's innocent sister and played upon her love for her hell-bound husband to manipulate her into staying in hell to split the torture between them.
    • Samuel Morris, known as The Family Man, was the first human being John Constantine ever killed. The Family Man was an old man with a penchant for happy families. Upon locating them, with a mother, father, and children, he would murder them by lacerating their bodies and ending by slashing their throats. Having murdered his own parents as a child, the Family Man had a habit of leaving no witnesses, with his victims including John's estranged father. Despite being only human, The Family Man remains one of the most evil and disturbing villains in Hellblazer's annals.
    • Joshua Wright was an unscrupulous magician with no compunction about rape, manipulation or murder. Wright seduced John Constantine's former lover Isabelle Bracknell, and made her his Scarlet Woman, a woman he could practice all his magic through. When he got bored of her, Wright would drive her to the lowest depths for a laugh, forcing her through painful body modification, raping her, getting her pregnant to make her get an abortion and having the aborted fetus implanted under her skin, and having her prostitute herself. In his own words, he was merely amusing himself at this point. When he got tired of her, he murdered her with a hammer. When confronted by John, Wright shows no remorse, gloating "that's what magic's all about, innit? Fucking someone. One way or another."
  • Preacher:
    • Marie L'Angell is the terrifying grandmother of protagonist Jesse Custer. She takes "controlling" to a new level and views her own family as tools rather than people. Her usual punishment of her grandson Jesse was locking him into an airtight coffin with an air hose and letting him wallow in his own shit and piss for a week. Then, she attempted to kill her daughter Christina for trying to stop it. But the worst of Marie's cruelties is her obsession with "hardening" Jesse by destroying all his non-family ties, including his puppy dog, his girlfriend, and his childhood friend. And his own father.
    • Jody is generally the instrument of this. Unlike Marie, however, Jody makes no pretense that he doesn't enjoy what he does. We see what a total scumbag he is when he blows Jesse's father's brains out right in front of him and then sneers "fucking crybaby" at a tearful Jesse. When Jesse's dog tries to be friendly to Jody, Jody nails its head to a post and then brutally beats Jesse into submission for it. Years later, Jody forces Jesse to cry 'uncle' while twisting his arm so bad the bone snaps out. In the present times, Jody pulls a repeat again when he shoots Tulip in the head at Marie's request. While Jesse watches. With that smug, superior expression all the while. Later, when Marie finally orders Jesse's death, Jody isn't content with just killing him, oh no. He has to break and humiliate him and make him beg first. When Jesse finally strangles Jody to death, Jody is too twisted to feel anything but pride that his abuses turned Jesse into a killer.
  • The Sandman: Dr. Destiny, aka John Dee, transforms from a standard, somewhat campy supervillain into a nightmare inducing lunatic. When first seen Destiny comes across as a harmless, even somewhat pitiable, man. This impression goes out the window when he, for no real reason, casually murders the woman who had given him a ride, made pleasant small talk with him, and given him a coat. Once the good doctor regains the Materioptikon, a ruby used by Morpheus to create reality from the fabric of dreams, Destiny shows off just how bad he truly is. Sitting in a diner, over a twenty-four period Destiny begins steadily driving the establishment's patrons and employees mad. He makes them have sex with each other, mutilate themselves, and torture and kill each other. At one point he gives them their minds back and when they demand to know why he's doing this to them, he responds, "Because I can." By the time he's finished all of the diner's inhabitants are dead. All while this was going on, Dr. Destiny was using the power of the ruby to drive everyone on the planet mad. One disturbing instance had him making a kids' show host tell his viewers to slice open their wrists. When Morpheus asks Destiny what his goal is now, Destiny replies that at first he wanted to rule but now he wants to destroy the world and dance in the wreckage.
  • Scalped: Mr. Brass, the Torture Technician of the Hmong gangsters, is a short, mild-mannered man with one arm who's also a terrifying sadist. When introduced, Mr. Brass informs a prisoner he never asks a question twice and has him 'pick a number', one through ten. The man selects a number which turns out to be the body part Brass removes. Brass proceeds to remove his eye before even asking a question. Brass spends his time torturing his way through the residents of the reservation, largely for his own pleasure. How brass satisfies his 'peculiarities' (he has a penchant for raping and murdering teen prostitutes, male and female) disgusts even the ruthless mob boss Lincoln Red Crow. In the gritty, dark Black and Gray Morality world that is Scalped's Rez, Brass is the worst the world has to offer.
  • The Unwritten: Pullman, the most visible member of the Ancient Conspiracy, is a sadistic murderer who kills multiple people with relish; this includes a little girl he smothered to death with a pillow. At times he goes out of his way to kill when he has absolutely no reason to execute the victims. Pullman admits his hatred for storytellers and goes out of his way to make such targets deaths as painful as possible. Seven thousand years old, Pullman has had time to wrack up an impressive count of misdeeds, including when he was travelling with Gilgamesh himself, and raped or killed a woman that he sneered he 'used as cattle ought to be' when confronted. Pullman is ultimately revealed as attempting to slay the Leviathan, the creature behind all stories, in order to achieve his own death, as his own story as Cain, the first murderer, will not allow him to die. however, he has no intention of dying alone, and when he's dealt with deathblow by the heroes, he gloats to hero Tom at 'dragging his bitch' with him, having murdered Tom's girlfriend before receiving the final blow.


  • The Authority: Seth is a sadistic (implied) child rapist who calls himself the "Six Billion Dollar Bastard". Tired of the Authority's interference in their affairs and afraid of their influence on the world (particularly after the Doctor ruined two presidential candidates by causing them to make out in public), a coalition of interests decided to develop a living weapon capable of defeating the Authority. To this end, they either acquired or kidnapped Seth, an skinny, ignorant, and unambitious hillbilly with an apparent history of being sexually abused by his uncles, transformed him into a cybernetically-enhanced monstrosity, then set him loose inside the Carrier. Armed with over 1,000 post-human abilities, Seth very quickly neutralized all of the Authority, with the sole exception of the Midnighter and Jenny Quantum, who managed to steal a jet and crash it into the side of the Carrier. Despite this, Seth ripped the Carrier from its orbit and scuttled it in Antarctica. Convinced that Midnighter and Quantum were dead, the coalition allowed Seth to retire to a residence within the White House with a harem of prepubescent girls. The surviving Authority members, meanwhile, were all dumped into degrading new lives while the team was replaced by a new team approved by the seven richest governments on Earth. Unbeknownst to all at the time, Seth's scuttling of the Carrier tore a hole in the Bleed.
  • Crossing Midnight: Lord Aratsu, the God of Swords, is one of the most powerful Kami alive. He is also a vicious, usurping, tyrannical megalomaniac who considers it his right to steal a girl named Toshi from her parents and twin brother because their father prayed at his shrine before her birth. When she refuses to become his slave after Aratsu brutally murdered the family dog he dismembers her mother to use her life to force Toshi's hand. Once Toshi agrees to serve him, Aratsu repairs her mother, but doesn't even bother to mend her soul, leaving her an empty shell and fully susceptible to hungry, soul eating imps. Once Toshi is his slave, Aratsu uses his swords to cut away her past and future, leaving her to exist in only a moment in time. Should she ever displease him, he would allow time to lapse and her to vanish. Aratsu's cruelty is revealed as the story goes on: he gained his power by treachery and murder, having severed his predecessor's memory and condemned him to exile on earth. A violent egomaniac, he also kills any who do not give him the blind worship he feels he's entitled to. While many Kami are alien creatures, Aratsu is an all too familiar and understandable being, and eclipses any human, dragon, demon or Kami in the story with his evil. By the time the rebellion against his rule rolls around, he has no compunction sending the amnesiac Toshi to kill her own brother.
  • Transmetropolitan: Senator (and eventually President) Gary "The Smiler" Callahan, in a world nearly without ethics, he goes above and beyond the call of evil. He has his campaign coordinator publicly assassinated to win sympathy for himself after his campaign went into the gutter; he has his family killed in an "accident" to again win sympathy; he has a member of his State Sec pull a sniper spree on civilians so that no one would notice the freak storm brewing nearby, a storm that causes massive damage and loss of life, all so he could wipe the evidence against him from existence (and that was a fool's errand as Spider kept his own private records, meaning that the Smiler did what he did for nothing); he has a peaceful protest of college students riddled with bullets at the first opportunity of "I thought he was pulling a gun"; he allows the brutal murderers of an innocent kid to go free and orders the cops to butcher all of the protesters as soon as violence was initiated (and it was done so by the murderers) and then (briefly) used his power to prevent the media from even acknowledging the riot and the slaughter of innocent civilians from happening.
  • Wildstorm: Tao is the most vile the world has to offer. Tao was created as the Tactical Augmented Organism, growing at an amazing rate into a man. The problem was, Tao grew with a sense of cold superiority and disdain for all others. He masterminded several wars between superheroes, resulting in many casualties, in an early attempt to end the world. Using his powerful hypnotic suggestion abilities, he forced the strongest heroes into being his sex slaves to prevent them from stopping him. After these plans fail, Tao reinvents himself as the ruler of a crime syndicate where he distinguishes himself with cold professionalism combined with violent sadism. As the hero of Sleeper describes it, Tao won't pull out your guts. He'll make you do it to yourself, and enjoy it all the while.