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Vandal Savage

Alter Ego: Vandar Adg

First Appearance: Green Lantern #10 (December, 1943)

"Send me your superheroes from past, present OR future. I'll kill all of them."
Vandal Savage, DC One Million Vol. 1, #2

Vandal Savage is a DC Comics super-villain created by writer Alfred Bester and artist Martin Nodell. He first appeared in Green Lantern Vol. 1, # 10 (Winter, 1943) as an enemy of Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of The Golden Age of Comic Books. Since then, he has appeared across various DC Comics titles and clashed with individual superheroes and superhero teams.

Savage's history goes back to prehistoric times. Previously known as Vandar Adg (translated as Vandar The Stone) of the Cro-Magnon Blood Tribe, in 50,000 B.C. he encountered a meteor that fell to Earth one cold night. Depending on the version of the character, he either lapsed into a coma from its radiations or willingly slept near the meteor for warmth; either way, in the process, he was bathed in its rays and ended up as an immortal being.

Since then he has appeared throughout history under different aliases and in different positions of power among different empires, all to further his own aims of eventual global conquest. Due to his immortality, he's had several lifetimes to acquire great combat, military, tactical and leadership skills, and is vastly knowledgeable in the world's history, sciences, arts and technology—adding to this, in all versions of the character, the meteor's power also gave him Super-Intelligence. On top of that, he also possesses superior physical strength and endurance, can regenerate from almost all wounds, is versed in magic, and is able to create inter-dimensional warps.

He is the leader of the DC Universe's Illuminati and founder of the Fourth Reich and Tartarus, and has also been associated with the Secret Society of Super-Villains and the Injustice Society. He was also part of the inner circle of Libra's Society during Final Crisis.

His primary archenemy is the Immortal Man, who also hails from the Cro-Magnon period and gained the power of repeated reincarnation from the same meteor Savage got his powers from. Following The Immortal Man's death, the title of archenemy for Savage went to the Resurrection Man, an unrelated superhero with similar powers.

Savage has also fought against the Teen Titans, The Outsiders, the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America, and butted heads with individual heroes such as Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, both versions of The Question, Rip Hunter and The Ray.

Savage also appeared in the DC Animated Universe's Justice League series (voiced by Phil Morris), as the Big Bad of the three-part episode "The Savage Time" and the two-part "Maid of Honor," and he also appeared in the second half of the two-part "Hereafter." He has also appeared in DC Universe Online (voiced by Brian Talbot) and more recently he has appeared in the Young Justice animated series (voiced by Miguel Ferrer in the first two seasons and David Kaye in Outsiders) and the animated movie, Justice League: Doom (with Phil Morris reprising the role).

Savage made his first live-action appearance in the Arrowverse played by Casper Crump in a crossover between The Flash (2014) and Arrow that set up his role as the Big Bad for Legends of Tomorrow.

Not to be confused with Randall Savage.

Some of the comic book titles where Vandal Savage has appeared:

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Tropes associated with Vandal Savage:

  • Above Good and Evil: Often claims to be this. In the Christopher Priest-penned stories, he even believes it, and behaves accordingly.
  • Abusive Parents: He essentially threatened his daughter Scandal with the death of her teammates in the Secret Six if she didn't produce an heir for him. She did not take it well. He also admitted he's sired hundreds of children over the centuries and during those centuries he's never cared for a single one.
  • Adaptational Heroism: A half-measure in Young Justice (2010). Instead of a savage brute who turns to world domination more or less as a hobby, he is a Knight Templar who wants world domination for a higher purpose (implied to be establishing Earth as a universal superpower and protecting it from alien incursions). He's still a murderous tyrant, but he sees himself as Earth's greatest hero. He is also shown to legitimately care about his children, but shows no hesitation in (quickly and painlessly) killing one when she becomes too old to be of use and allowing her to live could pose a threat to his plans.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • In the New 52, even in the present day, he's less an Evil Overlord as he once was, and more a guy with a lot of time on his hands who doesn't see any reason not to occasionally conquer places when he gets bored, particularly in Demon Knights, DC Universe Presents, and a brief appearance in Swamp Thing. He's still evil, but he's much more personable. Thoroughly subverted in the New 52 Superman arc Savage Dawn, where he's at his absolute worst.
    • Same rules apply to the Justice League version, which might be the predecessor to this.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: When he was manufacturing and distributing Velocity 9, a drug that granted super-speed at the cost of burning out the user's body.
  • Ailment-Induced Cruelty: Writers have sometimes justified his cruel behavior by the fact that he has a painful intestinal cancer that he cannot remove, as it existed when he had gained his immortality and grows back. An excellent example of Immortality Hurts that he abuses drugs heavily to deal with.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Could be one to his competitor, Lex Luthor. They're both dizzyingly intelligent and resourceful Diabolical Masterminds with aims of ruling the world. However, probably the one thing that Vandal has over Luthor is his Complete Immortality, as the thought that he could die before he accomplishes any of his goals has been recurring problem in Luthor's battle against Superman.
    • Among diabolical ubermensches who're Really 700 Years Old with aims of conquering the world, Ra's Al Ghul is a close second to Vandal, if only because, like Luthor, Ra's doesn't have his Complete Immortality–fully dependent on his Lazarus Pits to keep his operation going (which have diminishing returns). Despite their ultimate goals tending to overlap, neither would accept the other ruling at the top of the "new world" they wish to build. However, while Vandal’s daughter hates him and considers him her arch-nemesis, Talia is loyal to a fault towards her father.
  • Ambiguously Brown: He's generally been portrayed as Caucasian, but his skin tone has changed shades across various media, with Justice League: Doom and Young Justice portraying him with something akin to a Scary Black Man appearance, the former of which even has him voiced by the African-American Phil Morris.note  It helps that he's of Cro-Magnon origin, and that Genghis Khan was said to be one of his conquering aliases in history.
  • Apocalypse How: Achieves it off-screen in the Justice League episode "Hereafter". He's not happy about it, however, as this resulted in him being the single intelligent being on Earth for tens of thousands of years without anyone to interact with except giant cockroaches (And, since he's immortal, unable to commit suicide) until a time-traveling Superman showed up to keep him company. When offered the opportunity to send Superman back to the past in order to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, he gladly takes it.
  • Arch-Enemy: Primarily to the Immortal Man and later to the Resurrection Man, as explained above, but also arguably to Alan Scott, Wally West, the Justice League, the Justice Society, and the Titans.
  • Archnemesis Dad: To his daughter Scandal.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: His character design is clearly meant to evoke this, as whenever he's not the Badass in a Nice Suit he's wearing some stylish-yet-menacing outfit meant to evoke this (indeed, for most of his history he's been this exclusively, with the suits only really becoming a thing post-Crisis).
  • Artifact of Doom: He's wielded a few, including The Spear of Destiny.
  • The Atoner: In the Justice League episode "Hereafter," he sincerely regrets his past actions.
    Vandal Savage: (about Superman's "death" in the past) Your funeral was lovely. It was on all the networks. I used to have the DVD.
    Superman: I'm glad you enjoyed it.
    Vandal Savage: As a matter of fact, I did. But I've had 30,000 years to reconsider.
  • Autocannibalism: Having lost his immortality in one story, he restores it by eating a disfigured clone of himself.
  • Ax-Crazy: But he's cultured and intelligent enough that it's not obvious on the surface.
  • Bad Boss: He tends not to think much of his subordinates, which makes sense when you consider that for a character as old as he is, ordinary human beings might as well be mayflies.
  • Beard of Evil: He often (though not always) has a neat-trimmed beard and is definitely badass, evil, and (when he's feeling like it) barbaric.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Picked up this style post-Crisis on Infinite Earths. It definitely works for him.
  • Badass Longcoat: He's capable of being stylish if he's in the mood...
  • Been There, Shaped History: He often states that he was involved in many crucial moments in history, either as a major player or the main orchestrator. These include having been key advisors to the likes of Genghis Khan, Alexander The Great, Napoleon, Vlad The Impaler, Adolf Hitler and many others or even having been such figures. It's difficult to know how much is true or embellishment but he is consistently portrayed as having been a major part of many historical events and not good ones either.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call Savage a caveman, at least not if you don't want to be beaten around like a red-headed stepchild. Tomcat (and Wildcat) learn this the hard way in JSA.
  • Biblical Bad Guy: He invented murder, thus inspiring the story of Cain killing Abel. Why Cain himself and his brother appear as servants of Dream of the Endless, which is supposed to be in the same universe (though they rarely crossover), is still unexplained.
  • Big Bad: In most of the stories he appears in, such as in Justice League: Doom. One exception is the Fernus storyline in JLA
  • Big Eater: In The Ray's first run he was often shown eating big buckets of Clucky Chicken (the place Ray worked before Savage offered him a better job) and drinking liters of soda right from the bottle.
  • BFG: In the Justice League episode "Maid of Honor," he used a meteorite-shooting rail gun mounted on a space station to terrorize the planet, and even gave an ocean-targeted demonstration to show he wasn't afraid to use it.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Demon Knights Vandal is a wandering, violence-loving immortal who hasn't reached "world domination" stage yet. The result is basically BRIAN BLESSED.
  • Break the Haughty: The Fall and Rise of Vandal Savage Arc is one long one as Savage's immortality has apparently run out as a cancerous brain tumor is now killing him leaving him a handful days left to live. During that time he receives non-stop speech after speech about how awful he is, especially from his daughter Scandal who he actually tries to reconcile with, causing to him to rethink how badly things have gone in his immortal life. As a last hurrah, Savage devotes his final days towards getting revenge on an old enemy, Alan Scott, who beats him and leaves him to die after getting another speech on how Vandal has pretty much wasted his life being selfish and evil towards people of better character. Savage survives and maintains his immortality by eating a deformed clone of himself, but remains bitter and miserably alone.
  • Break Them by Talking: He's able to influence people just by words alone.
  • Cain: In The DCU, Vandal is eventually revealed to be the man who inspired the story of "Cain". Depending on the Writer, Savage can be the real Cain who survived many centuries as well being one of his aliases, all thanks to his immortality. Of course, Vandal never met House of Mystery's Cain before.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: He regenerates his powers, whenever they start showing signs of failing, by drinking his enemies' blood.
  • The Casanova: By his own admission, he's bedded countless women throughout the ages for the sole purpose of having numerous descendants from whom he can harvest organs for himself when needed.
  • The Chessmaster: Not especially surprising, given how he predates the game of chess by tens of thousands of years.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He's not afraid to indulge in this, sometimes for information but just as often for fun.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's not above using anything within reach as a weapon.
  • Contemplative Boss: This is a staple of DC Comics villain bosses (one even provides the trope's page image) so it's no surprise that Savage follows suit.
  • Contemporary Caveman: It's easy to forget he's from the Cro-Magnon period.
  • Continuity Snarl: Several times, his supposed many aliases throughout history will be depicted in a completely incompatible way in the same universe. For example, he supposedly was Jack the Ripper, yet the Ripper was supposedly also the alias of an insane entity faced by the Doom Patrol or an unfortunate guy possessed by Calibraxis. He's also supposedly the inspiration for the Biblical Cain, yet Cain, along with Abel, is a different guy under Dream's employ. Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great have also been depicted as completely unpowered guys before.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: One Justice League Task Force storyline portrays him this way.
    • Played with in the Ray's book, where it's revealed he runs several companies (one of which he offers Ray a job at) but they're all entirely legitimate.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As only the oldest immortal on Earth can be. He has plans within plans within plans and probably more resources available to him than any other villain around. It's not often emphasized, but he probably would make Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor look like paupers in a raw by-the-numbers comparison.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: He wants his daughter Scandal to be this, but she's not about to comply.
  • Dark Messiah: To the Religion of Crime, who worship him as Cain.
  • Deadly Doctor: By his own declaration, he conducted syphilis experiments on France's royal family while posing as their court physician.
    • His Smallville counterpart, Curtis Knox, proves to be this as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: And very gifted at it, too. For example, in the Justice League episode "Maid of Honor", when Wonder Woman's trying to crash his wedding to Princess Audrey:
    Wonder Woman: Audrey, stop! I won't let you marry him! He's...
    (Savage shoots her with an energy bolt)
    Savage: (calmly re-holstering his gun) Does anyone else have any objection?
    • Another example drawn from the episode "Hereafter," after Superman's arrived in the desolated future Earth and has met the future Savage:
      Superman: You're insane.
      Vandal Savage: True, but that doesn't mean I'm not good company. Say, you want to come over to my house?
      Superman: (gives him a look)
      Vandal Savage: Like you've got something better to do.
    • And later in the same episode:
      Superman: Self-help books? You don't seem the type.
      Vandal Savage: I read whatever I can find. Anyway, I've got issues, what with my destroying the Earth and all.
  • Deal with the Devil: He offers to make one with Neron in Underworld Unleashed, offering up his soul to the archdemon in exchange for leaving Ray alone. When Neron isn't interested, Vandal tempts him with a "purer soul" in the first Atomic Skull (the one who thought he was a superhero) and asks for Ray to be spared as a "finder's fee." The smirking Neron agrees — but only on the condition that Savage admits he loves the boy.
  • Death by Irony: In DC One Million, it's posited that after having lived to the 853rd century, Savage goes back in time to the 20th-century Montevideo, Uruguay just in time to get smacked with a nuclear payload that obliterates the city... the irony is, that attack is ordered by 20th-century Savage.
  • Death is Cheap: Being immortal does have its perks.
  • Determinator: He just will not stay defeated or dead.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: He attempts to act cultured and sophisticated to hide from others the fact he is still the same cannibalistic monstrous caveman he has been over the centuries.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: One of the very first in DC Comics and still to this day one of the best and most iconic, even if he tends to get second billing to the likes of Lex Luthor or even Ra's Al-Ghul.
  • Disappeared Dad: Is this to most of his progeny and has been since at least the Dark Ages, as Demon Knights gives him an amusing (and satisfying) Humiliation Conga storyline where he gets captured and held prisoner by a tribe of feral children... who are all his. Ironically, centuries later in the modern day Savage became a surrogate father figure to the Ray in place of his Disappeared Dad.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": As one of the few beings alive who knows Savage's birth name, Neron calls him by nothing else. Savage is shown to be annoyed (but not particularly surprised) by it.
  • Doomsday Device: He loves these. In the Justice League episode "Hereafter", for example, he used a gravity-manipulating device that upset the balance of the solar system and wiped out the entire human race as a result.
  • The Dreaded: While not a threat on par with Darkseid, Vandal's intelligence, charisma, resources, ruthlessness and sadism mean he is very feared by almost every hero in the DCU, the fact that he is immortal and nearly unkillable being the cherry on top. Vandal has even claimed to have actually been many other feared figures from history, including Vlad The Impaler, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Blackbeard and Jack The Ripper.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In Vandal Savage's debut appearance, the date the meteor came down to earth was 1,000,000 BC rather than 50,000 BC. He also had Pointy Ears for some reason.
  • Enemy Mine: On at least two occasions.
    • In one JLA storyline, he had to team up with the Justice League to stop Fernus the Burning, J'onn J'onzz's Superpowered Evil Side.
    • In Justice League Task Force Savage and the JLTF team up to stop someone threatening his company. Between a Gambit Pileup and Savage's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, the Task Force soon lose track of whether they're still on the same side or not...
    • In a Wonder Woman story, he, along with Wonder Woman, Jason Blood, and General Immortus were all kidnapped by Morgaine le Fay, who sought to drain all their powers.
  • The Emperor: In the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover comic, he became Emperor of the Imperial Planets, a very powerful version of The Terran Empire from Star Trek, after somehow trapping Q.
  • Eternal Villain: The quintessential example for DC Comics, an immortal with various famous bad guy guises over the years that is dead set on coming back to continue his villainous ways again and again. He has tangled with superheroes and protectors across every past decade and does so centuries past the present era.
  • Evil Chancellor: He's served as an adviser to Erik the Red, Napoléon Bonaparte, Otto von Bismarck, Adolf Hitler, and Ra's al Ghul.
  • Evil Counterpart: To the Immortal Man, and later to the Resurrection Man.
  • Evil Genius: A downplayed example compared to the likes of Lex Luthor, but the meteor Vandar Adg was exposed to heightened his intelligence, and... well, let's just say that anyone could be an Evil Genius given fifty thousand years of time to learn and grow.
  • Evil Mentor: Another trope played with in the Ray's book, where Vandal certainly looks like he's angling to play this role. Ironically, he ends up being a nearly entirely positive influence in Ray's life.
  • Evil Plan: Take over the world and stay immortal.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He'll dabble in magic if it'll suit his purposes.
  • Evil Versus Evil: With Lex Luthor in The Black Ring.
  • Evolutionary Stasis: Despite being born millennia in the past, Vandal still looks identical to modern Homo sapiens. An easy Hand Wave for this is that Vandal is probably a common ancestor for most of humanity by this point, but the point still stands.
  • Exposition of Immortality: In addition to his origin as Cro-Magnon caveman, Vandal's maintained a variety of identities in concert with several historical figures; advising William of Normandy during his invasion of England, Napoléon Bonaparte as Marshall Savage, and Otto von Bismarck as the Baron von Savage. He claims that he was Alexander The Great, Genghis Khan and Jack the Ripper - though he's also claimed to have participated in Caesar's murder and to have BEEN Caesar.
    • If he was Caesar and history records Caesar as dead, he could have had a hand in Caesar's "death".
  • Expy: The character of Dr. Curtis Knox in Smallville is likely based on Savage. See here and here.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Savage (who, having been alive since caveman days, is a little bit more than Really 700 Years Old) has often acted quite genteel towards Earth's heroes. He also had an unsatisfactory minion for dinner with some of his colleagues and other subordinates. Sorry, he had the minion as dinner. He's an unabashedly cannibalistic sociopath who is surprisingly persuasive. Not actually likable, but still fairly persuasive, if only through the controversial "agree or I burn your parents alive" technique. He'd probably be good company and fun to have dinner with were it not for the whole "savage murderer" thing.
  • For the Evulz: Savage's reason for joining Libra's Society in Final Crisis? He was bored.
  • For Want Of A Nail: If Rip Hunter hadn't mistaken Savage's father for Savage himself...
  • From a Single Cell: He can be physically injured and could conceivably be killed, but his Healing Factor takes care of whatever injury he might sustain (though how quickly it does depends on the severity of the injury). When Savage's healing abilities are at their most extreme he qualifies for this trope, though in some continuities he is susceptible to infections and disease (he suffers a brain tumor at one point, but he gets better).
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Once upon a time, Vandal Savage was Vandar Adg, who in turn was just one of many Cro-Magnon cavemen trying to survive.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: A mild example, as he doesn't have the inborn knack of most characters of this type, but has picked up enough to qualify over his very long life.
  • Genius Bruiser: The genius part is obvious, but he's also a very dangerous hand-to-hand combatant with thousands of years of conbat experience and who has trained in just about every fighting style known to man.
  • A Glass of Chianti: One comic, in which Savage is shown holding a glass of wine in one hand, reveals that he is such a connoisseur of fine wines that he can identify the vineyard and vintage of a particular bottle just by the sound it makes when poured into a glass. That image of him with the wine glass previously provided the image for this page.
  • Gloved Fist of Doom: In Justice League Unlimited's story arc "The Savage Time" he defends himself with one of these. It's a piece of Schizo Tech provided to him by Those Wacky Nazis.
  • A God Am I: He declares it to Green Lantern in the Justice League episode "The Savage Time":
    Green Lantern: Say your prayers, Savage!
    Vandal Savage: A god doesn't grovel.
  • Godwin's Law of Time Travel: In the Justice League series, Savage sends information to his past self (including plans for superweapons) specifically so he could usurp the power of Nazi Germany from Hitler, and conquer the world using the Axis forces, making it an Invoked Trope.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has three scars across his face in Young Justice. Word of God mentions that he gained these during a fight with a cave bear, which would eventually be shown in the third season.
  • Guinea Pig Family: He uses his own descendants for spare parts to heal himself and maintain his immortality.
  • Healing Factor: A side-effect of his powers.
  • The Heavy: Cause a lot of problems in many of the DC universe story arcs.
  • Hero Killer: He once set up Wally West to fall into a Death Trap that resulted in Wally getting shot through the heart (he got better).
  • Historical Rap Sheet: He claims to have been many historical figures including Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Blackbeard and Jack the Ripper. He was also an advisor to many famous conquering, and may have either been Julius Caesar or participated in Caesar's murder, depending on which version of the story you believe.
  • I Want Grandkids: He has pressured his daughter Scandal to provide him with grandchildren. She refuses because a) he likely wants them simply as a Guinea Pig Family, and b) she's a lesbian anyway.
  • The Illuminati: He's the leader of the DC Comics version.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: He's described by Lex Luthor as quite possibly being the first cannibal on record.
  • Immortality Hurts: He often drinks alcohol or takes drugs like opium to dull the pain of his intestinal cancer, which he had at the time he gained his immortality. His Healing Factor keeps it from killing him, but makes it impossible to remove.
  • Immortality Immorality: At 50,000 years old, Vandal Savage is one of the oldest beings on Earth and is responsible for an astonishing range of sins, even personally inventing more than a few.
  • Immortality Promiscuity: Has had a lot of descendants, partly because of his age but partly because he Really Gets Around. One of his identities was Genghis Khan, who had several hundred kids minimum. This also serves a practical purpose as harvesting their organs sustains his immortality.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: He makes a Victorian-era outfit look good in the 20th century.
  • It Amused Me: The primary motivation for his constant attempts to Take Over the World in the present day, as thanks to his Time Abyss he's long since cycled through all the other usual reasons for villains of this type to attempt this. Savage truly has Seen It All, and in the present day he only acts for two reasons: to see if he can do something (rare, because usually he not only can but already has), or this.
  • It's All About Me: In Dark Knight Dynasty, he has spent at least thirteen centuries killing members of the Wayne family to stop them interfering in his own efforts to acquire the meteorite that gave him his powers because he believes it will teach him the reason why he became immortal, ignoring the simpler explanation that it's just a fluke. By the twenty-fifth century, he's willing to destroy all of Gotham to give him the chance to retrieve the meteorite.
  • Jerkass: Quite possibly the kindest thing anyone can ever say about this man.
  • Joker Immunity: As if being immortal wasn't bad enough...
  • Julius Beethoven da Vinci: He was Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Blackbeard, Vlad the Impaler, Jack the Ripper, Cain the first murderer, and countless more. Every so often, another immortal says he's making half of it up and Savage will also occasionally contradict himself (he has both claimed to have been Caesar and to have killed Caesar).
    • Parodied in the 1991 Justice Society of America miniseries, when he claims he was Cheops. Reincarnated pharaoh Hawkman isn't impressed.
      Hawkman: The liar! He was never Cheops! What a blowhard!
    • It's revealed in Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes that in the main Star Trek timeline, he's none other than Mr. Flint, the old immortal soldier who at some point in ancient Mesopotamia had a Heel–Face Turn away from conquest and towards art and science, and so never became the conqueror Vandal Savage is. Instead, he had the identities of thinkers, visionaries and artists throughout history: Socrates, Solomon, Alexander The Great (again) and Leonardo da Vinci.
    • The Blackbeard example above is worth further mention, since Edward Teach (the actual historical Blackbeard) was shown to exist in pre-Crisis continuity. Whether this is another case of Savage lying like with Cheops, or whether the Crisis switch resulted in him overwriting Edward Teach as Blackbeard, is never really made clear. He's definitely the one true Blackbeard on Earth 2, though.
  • Karma Houdini: Thanks to his immortality. The Spectre finds this outrageous and just wants Vandal to be mortal once so he can unleash some Cool and Unusual Punishment on him.
  • Kick the Dog: Oh, where to start... All the nasty events (of which there are many) throughout history? More likely than not, Vandal was directly responsible or had a very significant hand.
  • Lack of Empathy: He has absolutely no empathy, compassion, understanding or mercy for others, not even his own children, and can orchestrate the deaths of millions without a second thought.
  • Large Ham: His DCAU incarnation has traces of this.
  • Light Is Not Good: His doomsday cult in the "Finish Line" story arc in The Flash. And the aptly-named "The Light" in Young Justice.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Savage is a very large man, almost but not quite freakishly large (which is a case of Artistic License, as cro-magnon's were slightly shorter than modern homo sapiens on average) but he can move with the best of them. At one point he claims to have trained in every fighting style known to man.
  • Like a Son to Me: He eventually comes to see Ray Terrill as this, even if he can't bring himself to tell him.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: He certainly enjoys being immortal, and takes steps to ensure he stays that way. Which makes his moods of weariness all the more hypocritical. The only time he's ever truly felt Who Wants to Live Forever? was in the animated Justice League, when he trapped himself in a hell of his own creation for 30,000 years because he wiped out every intelligent being on Earth.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Roy Harper, a.k.a. Arsenal, is one of his blood descendants. Means less than it might for a shorter-lived villain. Even putting aside the time-spans involved and his tendency to have several sexual partners at any given time, one of his more confirmed personas is Genghis Khan, making him a blood ancestor of most of Eurasia's population.
    • Eurasia, nothing. Given his tendency to bed down with the nearest willing woman (and being rather good at convincing them to do so), combined with the sheer amount of time he's been alive, he's probably an ancestor to a significant percentage of the entire world population.
    • In Young Justice, he's revealed to be the first Meta-Human to ever live, his DNA having been altered by his exposure to the meteorite that made him immortal. Every Meta-Human on Earth inherited the meta-gene from him.
  • Mad Scientist: He's dabbled in cloning and has created an addictive super-speed-granting drug, for starters.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: His daughter Scandal.
  • Man Behind the Man: When he's not being the Big Bad openly, he's working behind the scenes to achieve his ends. Also see the Visionary Villain quote below.
    • In Dark Knight Dynasty, he is single-handedly responsible for the deaths of thirteen generations of the Wayne family because they interfered with his plans; Brenna Wayne (the Wayne who opposes his plans in the twenty-fifth century) assumed that she was dealing with a conspiracy.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: In a character as mutable as Savage is, this is a rare constant. Pretty much all his incarnations, from apathetic immortal to maniacal conqueror, feature his impeccable taste as a cornerstone of his personality.
  • Manipulative Bastard: A mixture of The Charmer and The Spock subtypes. He puts his well-honed charisma to work when manipulating potential allies, while with enemies he just tends to go full Batman on them.
  • Master Poisoner: Did this to the king of Kasnia in the Justice League episode "Maid of Honor".
  • Meaningful Name: Self-explanatory.
  • Morality Pet: Ray Terrill's Ray served as one for him for a while. Savage came to view Ray almost like a son, and would fight off other super villains to protect him. He even offered his soul to the Devil in place of Ray's in what's probably his biggest Pet the Dog moment to date.
  • My Grandson, Myself: In the Justice League episode "Maid of Honor," he claims to be Vandal Savage III — the grandson of the Vandal Savage the Justice League met in "The Savage Time." Of course, Wonder Woman doesn't buy it.
  • Name of Cain: The Religion of Crime worship him as the reincarnation of the Biblical first murderer, and Lex Luthor says there's evidence that Vandal was the first cannibal.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Well, with a name like Vandal Savage, what else would you expect?
    • Non-Indicative Name: On the other hand, he's a lot more cool, calculating, and decisive than the brutish implications his name suggests.
  • Never Found the Body: Throughout history, he would periodically fake his death and assume a new identity and/or role whenever he saw that his then-current plans were about to fail.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Thanks to his Healing Factor, to the point that not even dropping a meteor on him will keep him down.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Not usually, but if he feels good enough, he is known to be chummy with at least some of his enemies, sometimes inviting them for good old fashioned wine and fancy foods.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Most iterations of the character outside of the comics are much more schemers than fighters. Comics Savage, on the other hand, is always up for a brawl.
  • Obviously Evil: He's a large, menacing presence, dresses in anything that evokes Aristocrats Are Evil, and is almost always sporting some manner of Psychotic Smirk. It's safe to say he qualifies.
  • Oh, Crap!: Gives a very impressive one right before his jet crashes into the ocean in the Justice League episode "The Savage Time". He later inspires this reaction in Kasnia's Princess Audrey in "Maid of Honor," by demonstrating his Healing Factor right after she slaps him and leaves a nasty scratch on his face in the process.
  • Older Than They Look: He looks like a man in middle age when he's really about fifty-thousand years old.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: During his most villainous moments he has affected this over-the-top demeanor.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: "The Light" in Young Justice, of which he may be the leader or at least the Primus Inter Pares of the group.
  • Pals with Jesus: Savage isn't friends with Jesus, but he is friends with the other guy — or rather, Neron, since the latter was retconned into being "merely" a very high-ranking demon. But as Neron was being sold as the devil at the time of his meeting Savage, this trope still counts.
    • He also brags about having known the actual Jesus, telling Ray in a Christmas note that "FYI — Today was not his birthday. I know. I was there." While this could just be more of his bilovating like with Cheops above, Savage is old enough for it, and he's actually correct about Christmas not being the true birthday of Jesus.
  • Papa Wolf: In 2005's Villains United he took Lex Luthor, or rather, an interdimensional doppelganger of Lex, hostage to force him to call the Society off of its massive manhunt of the Secret Six. He cared nothing for five of the Six, of course, but the sixth was his daughter, Scandal Savage.
  • Pet the Dog: Genuinely cares for Ray Terrill (the second Ray), going so far as to offer his own soul in exchange for Neron leaving Ray alone. It's not an isolated incident, either; he's an almost entirely positive influence in Ray's life, encouraging and enabling him to live up to his potential, up to and including giving Ray a high-paying (and ethically ok) job in the field he's most qualified for. Part of the irony of the book is that Savage is actually a better father figure than Ray's true father, an actual superhero.
  • The Plan: A master of this in all its forms, having had over five hundred centuries to perfect the art.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Is quite the misogynistic asshole, is willing to get his lesbian daughter raped so he can get grandkids, was a part of Nazi Germany and founded the Fourth Reich, and, by being or allying with numerous historical monsters, has committed all sorts of bigotry-motivated nastiness throughout human history.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: The efficacy of Savage's immortality varies from story to story and writer to writer. Most of the time he has near-Complete Immortality, being The Ageless and having a very powerful Healing Factor, but sometimes said healing factor is much weaker and he is written as being dependent on the regular consumption of organs harvested from members of his bloodline to sustain himself.
  • The Purge: Once organised one to get rid of all the living relatives of superheroes. It did manage to kill some of them, including Mister America, and most of Captain Steel's family, but it also created the new Citizen Steel in the process.
  • Putting on the Reich: Several times throughout history in whichever medium he appears, including usurping Adolf Hitler to take command of the Axis powers in the Justice League episode "The Savage Time."
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He's definitely not shy of this considering he's been at it since his caveman days. Before he hooked up with his daughter Scandal's mother in her Brazilian home village, he conscripted the men into his army and raped the women. He also once threatened a female underling with this as punishment for failing to capture Arsenal.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: One of the few villains who has ever gotten the better of Savage in wordplay is Libra, the Mouth of Sauron villain from Final Crisis, as seen in this exchange:
    Libra: I don't want to take your place at all, please... But people have been waiting 50,000 years for Vandal Savage to crush civilization beneath his bootheel. Excuse me if I... heh... stifle a yawn.
    Libra: Spoken like a true gentleman.
  • Religion of Evil: During the "Finish Line" storyline in The Flash Vol. 2, he creates a cult dedicated to the re-summoning of the meteor that gave him his powers in the first place.
    • He's also been associated with the Religion of Crime, who used The Spear of Destiny in a ritual to have him receive the Mark of Cain.
  • Rich Bastard: He's very rich due to accumulating wealth over centuries of existence, to the point that he can fund his various schemes without breaking a sweat. Exactly how rich he is is never specified but it's clear he's got far more even than Bruce or Lex Luthor.
  • Rule of Cool: How can a caveman have been the true identity or close accomplice of historical conquerors and tyrants of wildly different races, nationalities, and religions?note  Who cares, that's a badass supervillain backstory.
  • Sadist: Perhaps one of the most sadistic and monstrous of all the other DC villains, only rivaling said sadism with the likes of The Joker. He takes full pleasure in committing whatever hideous atrocity he could possibly find, or even invent.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: One story has Savage seemingly losing his immortality due to a unidentified enemy secretly tracking down and murdering his every single descendant. Considering Ghenghis Khan alone, one of his old identities, is thought to have descendants numbering in the hundreds of thousands, that's an impressive feat. While it's never stated explicitly, it's very likely that Savage needs to consume or transplant the organs and flesh of close relatives, as after so many generations, normal people that are descended from him would be to dissimilar to count.
  • Seen It All: Having lived as long as he has, in a universe as bizarre as the DC universe can get, this does tend to happen. His Demon Knights iteration was overjoyed to see a pirate sea serpent, something he'd never seen before, nor exclaimed about.
  • Serial Killer: Well, he claims to have been Jack the Ripper, the Trope Codifier. Though Vandal has been known to lie about his past aliases, and several stories portray Jack differently. Considering the Ripper killed five people in comparison to Genghis's 40 million, that's pretty unimpressive.
  • Social Darwinist: Several times.
  • The Sociopath: Being as old as he is, Savage places very little value on human life and lives primarily for any cause or deed that can stimulate him.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: When he is not hammy or acting like a regular super villain, Savage can actually be terrifyingly calm, which only makes him more menacing and awesome. Young Justice particularly portrays him like this.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: He ends up the sole surviving scientist in the episode "Hereafter" from Justice League.
  • Straw Misogynist: Being an age-old caveman who lived through and possibly led notably patriarchal cultures across human history, Vandal is notably misogynistic and quite dismissive or abusive towards women unless they serve a means to him that include being used as sexual playthings or pawns.
  • Strong and Skilled: He has low level enhanced strength and has thousands of years of fighting experience in every style invented, even learning from the original masters in quite a few cases.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Almost literally the case in Young Justice. His exposure to the meteorite in ancient times not only granted him immortality and other physical and mental enhancements, it also altered his very DNA. He's the first Meta-Human, and the meta-gene that all other Meta-Humans possess was inherited from him.
  • Super-Strength: Consistently maintains a baseline level of this.
  • Supreme Chef: Demonstrated in the Justice League episode ''Hereafter''.
  • Take Over the World: Usually the focus of whatever his current Evil Plan is. Being as old as he is, he's actually done it before in the past, only for the world to outgrow him and for him to have to start all over again. Aside from his New 52 and alternate-future self in the Justice League episode "Hereafter," where he's The Atoner instead.
    • And the partial exception of his Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes 'main Star Trek timeline' incarnation (Flint), which did a heel-face turn at some point in ancient Mesopotamia. He was still Alexander the Great, but otherwise Flint appears to have focused much more on art and science than Vandal Savage (culminating in quitting Earth and setting up shop on a remote planetoid to live in peace).
    • In Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, he takes care of that around 100 B.C., using the power of the captive Q. And since one planet is never enough, he goes on to expand.
  • Taking You with Me: In Dark Knight Dynasty, he basically does this when fighting Bruce Wayne in orbit outside a space shuttle, sending himself and Bruce back into Earth's atmosphere while they're both only in spacesuits, Bruce being burnt to a skeleton while Savage regenerates after a few days.
  • Time Abyss: Although he appears to be in his late 30s to mid-40s.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: In Demon Knights, and very occasionally elsewhere.
  • Tranquil Fury: In Justice Society of America (v3), when Tomcat calls him a caveman.
  • Übermensch: To borrow a quote from the Justice League episode "The Savage Time":
    Vandal Savage: Who would have thought the ubermensch would be green?
    Martian Manhunter: Ubermensch?
    Vandal Savage: The superior man.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: His daughter, Scandal Savage, who is a member of the Secret Six.
  • The Unfettered: His philosophy boils down to the idea that because he's been around longer than pretty much everyone else, he gets a free pass to do whatever the hell he wants.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Sweet might be the wrong word for it, but Savage was definitely more social and jovial during the Demon Knights series, which took place during the Dark Ages and featured Savage as a member of the team of titular antiheroes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Had one that lasted for a few issues (JSA Classified #10-13) when he discovered he was dying of a brain tumor that his Healing Factor couldn't fix. During his breakdown, he suddenly understood why normal people are so desperate to stave off death. He got better after he ate his own disfigured clone to fix the problem.
    • Has another when Kirk gives him a piece of his mind.
  • Villainous BSoD: During the Forever Evil (2013) storyline the immortal wanderer Pandora came to Savage with her titular box, hoping to get him to open it since the box could only be opened by someone 100% good or 100% evil (she'd already tried Superman, who she believed to be 100% good). Savage was unable to open the box, and collapsed weeping (whether he was weeping because of his failure or because the box made him remember the small pang of conscience left within him is left for the reader to decide).
  • Villain Respect: In Dark Knight Dynasty, Savage often expresses an admiration for the Wayne family, to the extent that he saved Thomas and Martha Wayne from the mugging that killed them in most other continuities, although this doesn't stop him killing them when they interfere with his plans.
  • Villain Teleportation
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He'll play this card if it will suit his purposes; in such a case, only superheroes and the reading/viewing audience are completely aware of what sort of individual he actually is.
    • The Justice League episode "Maid of Honor" is an immediate example of him milking the trope.
    • In the early 1980s, Savage emigrated from his original Earth-Two to Earth-One so that he could take advantage of this. It worked until he decided to make Superman a Hero with Bad Publicity and the Man of Steel tricked him into an Engineered Public Confession.
  • Visionary Villain: As he says in Volume 3, issue 3 of Justice Society of America:
    "I am not a caveman. I am a visionary. A veteran and orchestrator of every significant war mankind has ever had. And I will continue to shape the world for the war of tomorrow. My tomorrow."
  • We Are Everywhere: Savage has operatives everywhere, especially through the Illuminati.
  • Who Names Their Daughter Scandal?: And apparently this is a mark of favor in his books, as Savage has had at least thousands of children and to date Scandal is the only one we know of that he stuck around for even long enough to give a name.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: There are hints at times that he's rather world-weary. In the Justice League episode "Hereafter," he's had 30,000 years to be The Atoner, indicating this trope's spirit when he appears in person in the episode.
  • Wicked Cultured: One of the most Cultured Men of Wealth and Taste characters in the entirety of the DCU. Though at his worst, he comes off as a Wicked Pretentious bloodthirsty caveman with a thin veneer of class.
  • Worthy Opponent: Has quite a few. When he finally (supposedly) kills Resurrection Man for good in DC One Million, he says, "Goodbye, old friend."
  • Would Hit a Girl: And he has.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Yes, he would, whether to upgrade his own immortality or to murder a superhero.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: With as old as Savage is, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that every human alive has him in their family tree if you dig back far enough. It's estimated that a sixth of all people alive are descended from Ghenghis Khan, and not just because he slept around a lot. Every generation back you double the number of ancestors you have (excluding incest, but that's rare enough to be insignificant, noble families included). Twenty generations ago there were over a million people who are your ancestors. Given the average length of a generation and Vandal Savage's age... If you live in The DCU, it's quite probable that Vandal Savage is in your family tree more than once.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Does this often even when the person, say a scientist, is needed for a larger plan. If the person is rude he'll just eat them.
  • You Killed My Father: Rip Hunter did, in an attempt to kill Savage before he became immortal.

Alternative Title(s): Earth 2 Green Lantern Vandal Savage, Vandal Savage