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Big Bad / Comic Books

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

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

The following have their own pages:

Other Comics

  • The Big Bad of 100 Bullets was for the entirety of the comic's run Augustus Medici. This was in doubt for a while; there was a point where Megan Dietrich seemed to be manipulating him, and toward the end it appeared he'd been Out-Gambitted by her and the rest of the younger Trust members, but the final issue reveals they were playing into his hands the whole time. In the end, though, the one thing he didn't count on was The Dragon, Agent Graves, having standards.
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  • American Vampire has several characters competing for the spot over its run. Skinner Sweet is originally one, but he is outclassed by other strong contenders such as Dracula and The Gray Trader. The role is ultimately taken by The Beast, an Ancient Evil served by the Gray Trader.
  • Angel Catbird has the Rat Men-based Dr. A. Muroid. A rat Shapeshifter who wants to create a race of rat people who will ingratiate themselves into every level of government, and from there, have them lead a systematic massacre of the cat-people species.
  • Julius Caesar in the Asterix comics; almost every comic involves undoing one of his schemes to gain control over the village or its powers; however, the series later recasts Brutus as the Greater-Scope Villain, mixing him up a bit with Octavian. And that is without counting all the times that Caesar is the Greater-Scope Villain to some other political leader or prefect and the times that someone acts as The Starscream to him and is a Big Bad of his own accord.
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  • The Atomic Thunderbolt: The Chief.
  • Back to Brooklyn: Paul "The Wall" Saetta.
  • Baltimore: Haigus.
  • In Beast Wars: The Ascending, Big Convoy notes that the building they're about to go into has that "Big Bad ambiance."
  • In the Anthology Comic The Beano Baby Face Finlayson is used as a Big Bad in a number of the longer strips by the artist Kev F Sutherland.
  • Not sure if it counts as a comic or toy line first, but BIONICLE has the Brotherhood of Makuta (a race of Big Bads), led by Teridax. Taken to the extreme when Teridax steals Mata Nui's 40-million-foot body and banishes him to the depths of space sealed in a mask.
  • Blacksad: Ivo Statoc.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Twilight in season 8, Simone Doffler in season 9, and D'Hoffryn in season 10.
  • Captain Victory: Count Ratzig, a Nazi agent trying to make a South American nation join the Axis.
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  • Chlorophylle: Anthracite is the man behind the murders in "Les Croquillards".
  • Death Sentence has David "Monty" Montgomery, a depraved, self-absorbed comedian who gains the power to force almost anyone to do almost anything.
  • Dinocorps has Jarek, the racist Omnicidal Maniac who tries to exterminate all humans by blowing up the world.
  • Don Rosa established that the biggest bad of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe is Blackheart Beagle, who eventually recruits all the other recurring villains into his Legion of Doom. None too shabby for a guy who's probably pushing 100.
  • El Kuraan: The Pasha.
  • El Marvo has Sokrates, who rules over the Post-Apocalyptic Earth, now known as "Muck", with an iron fist.
  • Winnowill from ElfQuest. She's not behind all the misery in the series (Humans Are Bastards, after all), but close.
    • Once the humans get technologically advanced enough to become a real threat for the heroes, Winnowill starts manipulating them as well.
    • In the early series Two Edge would be one of these, he manipulates even his mother, Winnowill but is too sympathetic, more of an Anti-Villain, turning to Anti-Hero after his sanity is restored
  • Elvis Shrugged: Col. Parker, who back in the 1970s was trying to keep Elvis from abandoning his status as "the King of Rock N Roll" in order to perform in Sondheim's Company, and, when he couldn't keep Elvis under his control, created a clone from skin samples.
  • In Fables the Adversary turns out to be Geppeto, of all people. Better yet it was originally planned to be Peter Pan but the rights weren't available.
    • After Gepetto's defeat, the role shifts to Mr. Dark although Kevin Thorn serves as Big Bad in the spin-off, Jack of Fables, and is defeated in a cross-over with the main series.
  • Fairy Quest: Mister Grimm rules the land of Fablewood like a tyrant, ensuring all its inhabitants follow their stories to the letter. Any who don't do as their stories say are rounded up by Mister Grimm's Think Police and put through the Mind Eraser.
  • Mr. Smile, the young, two-faced CEO of Bright Industries who's had his plans thwarted more than once by The Fox. The Fox Hunt mini-series sees him place a bounty for The Fox's head, directly causing the primary conflicts of the story, for both The Fox and his son.
  • In the graphic novel prequel to Godzilla, Godzilla: Awakening, the Big Bad is the Shinomura. A gestalt being composed of countless smaller organisms, it's a Titan that feeds on radiation like Godzilla. Unlike Godzilla, its voracious hunger leads it to attack humans' nuclear material, with all the horrendous collateral damage that implies. Worse, the more it feeds, the more it grows, and it soon threatens to reach a size that even Godzilla can't overcome.
  • Dreadwing and Gothwrain from Gold Digger both fit this trope to a T. Tirant also qualifies by most standards but it's hard to top just how much evil the first two have caused The most recurring Big Bad is Phobos.
  • The Green Giant: Samuel "Smiley" Gleason.
  • Hack/Slash: Akakios, AKA Samhain.
  • Hadrian's Wall: The Big Bad is Commander Willow, the leader of a group of Thetan rebels seeking to acquire anzinite with which they can blow up Earth. However, the Antares Interspace Corporation representative Marshall Cameron and astrophysicist Dr. Selina F. Laurent are also Big Bads. While they're the turncoats trying to sell the anzinite to the rebels, they're actually trying to scam them, as the decay rate of the type of anzinite recovered would render it useless before it can be employed against Earth. Laurent is furthermore the one responsible for the murder that kickstarts the plot.
  • Heathentown: The undead living in the Florida Everglades outside the tiny town of Las Flores, who hunt the protagonist Anna Romano after mistaking her for an initiate into their "community."
  • Hyper the Phenomenal: Boris.
  • Jupiter Jet has Pluto.
  • Jurassic Strike Force 5 has Master Zalx, an alien Evil Overlord who wants to take over the universe and will kill anyone in his way.
  • Kismet: Man of Fate: Satan.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has a few borderline examples, but the clearest-cut is probably Moriarty.
  • Locke & Key has Dodge. The entire plot is driven by his schemes to not only escape his own imprisonment, but to also get ahold of the Omega Key and use it to unleash the Eldritch Abominations behind the Black Door.
  • Long Ago And Far Away has the Evil Witch-Queen Nexis, whom Jason defeated years ago as a kid.
  • Max in The Losers.
  • The Darker and Edgier Lucky Luke album The Man Who Shot Lucky Luke has a weird case of a character being Big Bad without knowing it. Old man Bones is an Abusive Parent who doesn't actually plan the crime at the centre of the story, but whose behaviour drives his Anti-Villain sons into committing it. (He's not the victim, either, but an unknowing beneficiary of the crime.) He's also the one who causes the bad things that happen to his sons, as well as the one who tries to shoot Lucky Luke in the back. So yes, he's basically behind everything, though he only knows about some of it.
  • In the Image series Lullaby, provider of the page quote, the Big Bad is, indeed a book. A mesmerizing book that uses a powerful wizard (who appears to be a male version of the Wicked Witch of the West), captivated by its majesty, to gather power and enforce its will.
  • The main villain of the Madballs comic book published by defunct Marvel Comics subsidiary Star Comics was Dr. Viktor Frankenbeans, a Mad Scientist who was obsessed with capturing the Madballs so he could study them and make them his slaves.
  • The Marksman: Major Strapp/The Sewer Rat.
  • Master Mystic: Rango of Slovania.
  • Mega Robo Bros has Robot 23 from book 1, and Wolfram from book 2 and book 3.
  • The Mice Templar has King Icarus, a vicious tyrant who's trying to purge the world of all Templars.
  • In the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe, the two most frequent Big Bads are Pete and the Phantom Blot, who on occasion form a Big Bad Duumvirate — though Pete sometimes (especially in alternate-continuity series like Wizards of Mickey) gets the role as The Dragon.
  • The Milestone Comics universe had a ton of nasty baddies, but the biggest of them was Holocaust, a pyromaniac thug, son of Dakota City's mayor, and former member of Blood Syndicate who later went on to be the most recurring and influential villain within the series and its various titles, butting heads with nearly every hero at some point. Fittingly, Milestone Forever ends with his conclusive death. While many of the comic's big titles like Static and Icon had no central Big Bad, a few of the other titles and arcs had a Big Bad of their own:
    • Deathwish had Boots, a twisted, albino serial killer and serial rapist with a twisted, murderous obsession with transsexuals — including the comic's lead, transsexual cop Marisa Rahm — who's heavily hinted to be transgender himself.
    • Hardware had Edwin Alva, Hardware's surrogate father, arch-enemy, and a corrupt, powerful CEO who heads Alva Industries. Interestingly enough, Hardware eventually stopped fighting with him and eventually took him back on his offer to become his heir — and Alva closed off his arc by sacrificing his life to save countless innocent lives.
    • Shadow Cabinet had Headmaster during the Shadow War storyline, a rogue member of Shadow Cabinet who formed Star Chamber, a group of superhumans who aimed for global conquest. Headmaster is supplanted at the last moment by Dr. Nemo, the inventor of Q Juice, who hijacks Headmaster's own scheme in an attempt to kill ninety percent of humanity and mutate the rest into Bang Babies.
    • Worlds Collide had Rift, a former mailman named Fred Benten who also happened to live simultaneous lives in both the Milestone universe and the DC universe, leading to characters like Edwin Alva to try and exploit his bizarre powers. This just ended up mutating him into a reality-warping nightmare that threatened both realities.
  • In Next Men, Aldus Hiltop appears to be this, but the true Big Bad is Sathanas.
  • Phantom Flyer: Von Trapp.
  • The Pitiful Human Lizard: The comic was setting up Eaton Peepers for this role.
  • Reyn has Brother M'Thall, a prominent figure in the Venn race who has enslaved most of humanity and is trying to drive them to extinction.
  • Samurai Squirrel was setting up Mordak to fill this role.
  • Gideon Gordon Graves from Scott Pilgrim who single-handedly founded the League of Evil Exes.
  • Herr Wallenquist could likely be considered the main villain in Sin City since he has had a hand in many of the storyarcs. He was Maxwell Lord's main business partner in A Dame To Kill For, sent Manute to retrieve Jackie Boy's head and take over Old Town in Big Fat Kill, and was the Colonel's boss in Hell and Back just to name a few. But he's a bit of a Noble Demon in this world, so he rarely comes across as this.
  • Sonic the Comic has the ruler of Mobius Doctor Robotnik who takes the roll of overall Big Bad however other villains try to take the roll of Big Bad.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Sonic's Arch-Enemy Dr. Robotnik/Eggman has always been the overall Big Bad of the series, but occasionally the series has had other villains being the driving force behind events:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW)
    • Year One: In an interesting case for the franchise, Doctor Eggman isn't the main antagonist, being out of commission due to suffering from Identity Amnesia after the events of Sonic Forces. Instead, the forces of Eggman Empire are now under the control of Neo Metal Sonic, who intends to finish what Eggman started.
    • Year Two: Eggman is restored to the spotlight, as he unleashes the Metal Virus on the world, which quickly begins to overwhelm Sonic and his allies.
    • Year Three: A failed attempt by Doctor Starline to one-up Eggman results in the Deadly Six taking over their resources and seeking to use the Zombots to conquer what's left of the uninfected world. After their defeat, things devolve into a Big Bad Ensemble between Eggman and Starline, who are now at odds and carrying out their individual agendas.
  • The Star Wars Legends comics have at least one for each storyline:
    • Star Wars (Marvel 1977) stories: Varied, but the Tagge family and Lumiya were always popping up.
    • Dark Empire and Empire's End: The cloned Palpatine.
    • Tales of the Jedi: Naga Sadow, Exar Kun.
    • Boba Fett: Orko the Hutt.
    • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The first half of the series comprises five arcs who each have their own Big Bad (Moff Boren Tascl, Captain Loka Hask, Captain Marl Semtin, Moff Leonia Tavira and Girov Dza'tey). The second half comprises the "Rise of Isard" storyline, which has Ysanne Isard.
    • Shadows Of The Empire: Prince Xizor.
    • Crimson Empire: Carnor Jax, though Burr Nolyds and Xandel Carivus took over for very short periods. The Man Behind the Man for the latter two was Nom Anor of the Yuuzhan Vong.
    • Leviathan: The titular creature.
    • Mara Jade: Dequc
    • Republic: Palpatine overall, with Iaco Stark, Volffe Karkko, Sora Bulq and Count Dooku filling in for stories based on the non-movie characters.
    • Darth Maul: Alexi Garyn.
    • Jedi Council: The Yinchorri Council of Elders manipulated by Palpatine.
    • Jedi vs. Sith: Lord Kaan, Darth Bane.
    • Underworld: Jozzel.
    • Empire: Grand Moff Trachta.
    • Obsession: Asajj Ventress, Durge.
    • Rogue Leader: General Weir.
    • General Grievous: The title character.
    • Purge: Darth Vader.
    • Knights of the Old Republic: Haazen for the Covenant arc, Demagol for the Crucible arc, and Dorjander Kace for the War miniseries.
    • Rebellion: The Empire as a whole.
    • Legacy: Darth Krayt, then Darth Wyyrlok, then the resurrected Darth Krayt.
    • Dark Times: Vader again.
    • Vector: Karness Muur.
    • The Clone Wars: Palpatine.
    • Knight Errant: Most likely Vilia Calimondra, the Evil Matriarch behind the feuding sibling and cousin Sith Lords ripping the galaxy apart, although she herself hasn't actually shown up yet.
    • Invasion: The Big Bad Duumvirate of Tsalok and Nagme, with Warmaster Tsavong Lah of New Jedi Order fame as the Greater-Scope Villain.
    • Dawn of the Jedi looks to be setting up a Big Bad Ensemble with Predor Skal'nas and Daegen Lok as the primary players. Though, considering that Daegen Lok became a Fallen Hero because the the Jedai'i (precursors to the Jedi) dismissed his vision of the coming Rakata (of which Skal'nas is one), and exiled him to the unpopulated moon of Bogan, and considering his intent is to save the Jedai'i (albeit using extreme methods), his status as Big Bad is up in the air. Especially now that the Jedai'i leaders have come to realize that Lok's vision is coming true.
    • Lost Tribe of the Sith has Baron Remulus Dreypa, one of the twelve founding Sith Lords, coming off of several thousand years stuffed in a can.
    • Blood Ties: A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett has the crime lord Tayand, who put a bounty on Connor Freeman, son of one of Fett's clones.
    • In Blood Ties: Boba Fett Is Dead (he's not, of course), the Big Bad is Purton, governor of Concord Dawn, who wants to kill Fett and all his loved ones (Fett does have a few, believe it or not) because Fett killed his son for "no reason." Fett's ex-wife Sintas Vel reveals to Purton that Fett killed his son because the younger Purton raped her, and Fett refused to explain to spare Sintas being made a spectacle.
  • Mr. Nobody is ultimately behind the attack on NATO, on Calley and all of the other machinations in Spook.
  • Henry Bendix in Ellis's Stormwatch and Brubaker's The Authority.
  • Malesur in Tellos.
  • Arguably Rastapopolous from Tintin, if simply for his sheer number of appearances and the subordinate relationships that many other recurring villains (Allan, M?r, Dawson, etc.) have with him. Rastapopolous is one of the few recurring villains in Tintin; the comics tend to go for a new one every time.
  • Trakk: Monster Hunter has Vaquoul, a Monster Progenitor who's used his own blood to create every monster in human mythology.
  • The Transformers went through several Big Bads, due to the frequent changes in leadership of the Decepticons. Megatron, the most iconic of the Decepticon leaders, was only in command for less than a quarter of the book's original run! Shockwave, Ratbat, and Scorponok are the others who led the Earth-bound Decepticons (Soundwave also led them in the UK comic during a period when Megatron and Shockwave were both MIA), Straxus, Thunderwing, and Bludgeon were among the prominent Cybertron-based leaders, and Galvatron was mostly only a Big Bad in the UK comics, whereas in the US series he was more of a Wild Card (and explicitly a different version of Galvatron from the UK one anyway, coming from a Bad Future where Unicron wasn't destroyed).
    • Megatron did return to his proper Big Bad status in Transformers: Generation 2, though it was shared with Jhiaxus and his Cybertronian Empire, which itself was subordinate to the Liege Maximo.
    • Regeneration One had a separate Big Bad for each of its four arcs: Megatron, Scorponok, Bludgeon, and Jhiaxus. All of which were surpassed by the Dark Matrix entity.
  • The IDW Publishing Transformers universe also re-established Megatron as the Big Bad up through All Hail Megatron. Though he would return with a few more schemes before Dark Cybertron, Megatron's role as a Big Bad was diminished after AHM due to changing politics on Cybertron as well as others launching their own schemes.
    • The Transformers: Dark Cybertron: Shockwave tries to collapse all of reality so that Cybertron and its inhabitants are the only thing in existence.
    • The Transformers: Combiner Wars: It's Starscream's time to step up as the main villain. His plan to unite the lost colonies of Cybertron under his rule, and his implementation of the dangerous powerful combiners sets the plot in motion.
    • The Transformers: Drift: In the original comic it's Braid, leader of the Slavers and biggest threat to the Circle of Light. In Empire of Stone: It's Gigatron, a Decepticon warlord who intends to raise the stone army and reignite the flame of Decepticon Conquest after Megatron had disbanded the group.
  • President (That's right, President) Gary Callahan AKA The Smiler of Transmetropolitan. In their first meeting, he promises to place Spider Jerusalem's misery as top priority, and backs up that claim with gusto (while trying to kill him every once in awhile). He is the personification of everything Spider hates in the Crapsack World, and so everything Spider does in the series traces back to his efforts to take down his Arch-Nemesis.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Lord Hikiji.
  • Ozymandias of Watchmen is an interesting example as, while his deeds are certainly worthy of proper Big Bad status, he's occasionally a sympathetic character.
  • Alan Moore's Wild CA Ts run had TAO
  • Will Eisner's Wonder Man: General Attilla.
  • W.I.T.C.H. comics has the following Big Bads:
    • Part I: Phobos
    • Part II: Nerissa
    • Part III: Ari
    • Part IV: Endarno aka Phobos
    • Part V: Jonathan Ludmoore
    • Part VI: Tecla Ibsen
    • Part VII: Dark Mother
    • Part VIII: Takeda
    • However the most popular is Phobos as the Big Bad for the entire series.
  • Echekratis feels this role in Democracy, which is actually ironic since, in Real Life, Isagoras was Kleisthenis' opponent in politics. However, he has much bigger impact on the protagonist's life (he is the one who ordered his bodyguard to kill Leander's dad) and his rhetoric talks are what convinced the Athenians to vote for Isagoras, making him the reason behind his success.


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