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Mad Scientist / Comic Books

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Mad Scientists in comic books.

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    Marvel Comics 
  • The Mandarin is a Mad Scientist enemy of Iron Man. He spends his time inventing mind-controlling super-cancers that run around like a cross between the Blob and the Borg. Or inventing orbiting Hate Rays to destroy the world with madness.
  • In the Marvel Universe, AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) are a terrorist organization of Mad Scientists, who wish to overthrow the world's governments and institute a technocracy.
    • The Enclave is a similar group. Their most successful (or unsuccessful, depending on how you look at it) experiment created the being who would eventually become Adam Warlock (who eventually turned against them).
  • Hank Pym (a.k.a. Ant-Man a.k.a. Giant-Man a.k.a. Goliath a.k.a. Yellowjacket a.k.a. The Wasp). Just take for example his origin story:
    Panel of Scientists: You should stick to practical projects.
    Hank Pym: No! I'll work only on things that appeal to my imagination... like my latest invention.
    Panel of Scientists: Oh... what's that?
    Hank Pym: I won't tell you yet! You would only laugh at me as you've done before! But when I've finished it, I'll show you! Then you shall know I'm a greater scientist than any of you!
    • His long-lost daughter Nadia Van Dyne takes after him in terms of both brilliance (creating a pocket dimension lab at an age where pink crystal castles are the obvious go-to aesthetic) and obsessive tendencies (not having anything resembling a day/night cycle in said lab because anything indicating the passage of time is too distracting).
  • Blade's arch-enemy Deacon Frost was an amoral scientist that performed experiments to gain immortality and upon and injecting himself with vampire blood, he becomes an unusual type of vampire with bizarre powers. He continued to perform his experiments such as producing clones of his victims (one of the special powers he gained) all so he could usurp Dracula's position as Lord of the Vampires.
  • Dr. Rot from the Insane in the Brain storyline of the Wolverine comic, a lunatic running an asylum, whose particular flavour of insane science is psychic machines made out of human brains. Adequately summed up by the following quote, while he flees Wolvie with a fresh brain in one hand and a handful of cables in the other:
    "We Rottenwells, like to make our own way, yes we do. And all I need to make mine now is a paper clip, a cheese grater, a nine volt battery, a still-beating hummingbird heart, and the exhaust fan from a 1979 Chrysler LeBaron. Make way boys! Medical science is on the march here!"
    • Even better, he pulls it off. By the time Wolvie catches up with him, he's turned the brain into a psychic grenade that drives everyone else insane for thirty seconds so he can escape. He uses a slightly different set of improvised components, sadly.
  • The Awesome Slapstick has Dr. Denton, Destroyer of Worlds, a five-year-old genius who built a giant robotic teddy bear.
  • The Weapon X project in its entirety is built on the backs of mad scientists, experimenting on mutants to create powerful and deadly weapons.
    • Its civilian offshoot, the Facility, carries on the practice. Dr. Sarah Kinney's proposal to clone Wolverine, when mainstream science had only just begun having success with sheep and cats, is initially considered outright absurd by Zander Rice (though it owed as much to Rice's hatred of Wolverine for killing his father). Kinney outright equates cloning a mutant with godhood.

    Dc Comics 
  • Superman:
    • The original incarnations of Superman's archenemy, Lex Luthor. In the years since, he's also been a Corrupt Corporate Executive and a villainous politician. He did return to being a Mad Scientist in Post-Crisis after the Up, Up, and Away! storyline, where Clark Kent brings his Villain with Good Publicity status down through journalism.
    • Most interpretations from the late 90's onward merge the corporate and scientist portrayals into one. Nowadays, Luthor is portrayed as building his company on his brilliant inventions, and he still gets actively involved in LexCorp's development projects.
    • Bertron, the alien scientist in Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, who was responsible for the creation of Doomsday. He subjected the creature to the harsh environment of Krypton in the distant past, cloning it again and again every time it was destroyed either by the environment or by its resident creatures. Over the years it evolved into its current form, which would later be known as Doomsday. However, once the creature had reached the point where nothing on the planet could withstand him, he turned his attention on his creators and killed them and Bertron in the process.
    • Jor-El, the father of Superman, is revealed to be this in the post-Rebirth continuity, written by Brian Michael Bendis. Rogol Zaar, a genetically-engineered, immensely powerful and ferocious creature revealed to be responsible for the destruction of Krypton, was later revealed to have been created by Jor-El in Superman #15, who "set him loose into the galaxy" to do his bidding as his mercenary. All to further the agenda of the Circle, a secret organization of galactic leaders who pulled the strings from behind the scenes. Jor-El's morally amibguous nature was hinted early on in Bendis' run, as when Rogol Zaar was temporarily trapped in the Phantom Zone, he ran into Nuclear Man, a humanoid creature bearing the crest of the House of El, which Zaar called another one of Krypton's "terrible secrets."
  • Doctor Sivana and his family are similarly the archenemies of Captain Marvel and friends. Sivana, in particular, may be the Ur-Example in comic books, predating Lex Luthor by several months. He's a five-foot-tall gnome of a man with a chrome dome, huge Scary Shiny Glasses, and more often than not a white lab coat. His stated goals (in no particular order): To become Rightful Ruler of the Universe in fact as well as in name; to spread evil, cruelty, and nastiness throughout the cosmos; and to humiliate, discredit, and ultimately KILL CAPTAIN MARVEL! Heh heh heh heh!!! What, exactly, his incredibly attractive and affectionate late wife saw in him is a total enigma.
    • The original version of the character was actually a benevolent man who was ruined by being rejected by the scientific community for his ideas. When his wife died, he blamed the world and turned into the crackpot we love to hate. This was the pre-Crisis origin, the current version seems to always have been mean.
    • In Thunderworld #1, the Dr. Sivana of Earth-5 takes exception to being called 'mad'. He sees himself more as a radical genius.
  • The DCU comic 52 had a secret conspiracy who was kidnapping Mad Scientists, good and evil, for a nefarious goal.
  • The Ultra-Humanite (arguably comics' first supervillain) who actually transferred his brain from the standard baldie-in-a-labcoat mad scientist's body into that of a beautiful woman. He was only another Mad Scientist in the Golden Age comics, but in the series The Golden Age, he becomes the arch-villain, posing as a hero and getting the medal of honor. He saved Hitler's brain, too. And put it in an invincible super-body.
  • Several of Batman enemies qualify for this trope:
    • Mr. Freeze used to be one of these, with no real backstory, just the whole freezing schtick. Then came Batman: The Animated Series which gave him chillingly tragic backstory and motivation, turning him more into a villainous Woobie. This new version of the character was Retconned into the main DCU.
    • Scarecrow is an expert psychologist who creates fear gas that preys on the target's most deeply seeded phobias.
    • Poison Ivy is a botanist that became a plant-controlling metahuman following a freak accident. While she also qualify as a Hot Scientist due to using her feminine wiles as a weapon, she is still very much a mad scientist due to her disturbed unhinged love for plants outweighing humans.
    • Hugo Strange is the most archetypal mad scientist. He's an expert in everything from chemistry and genetics to psychology, and uses it for evil. And with his typical wardrobe of lab coat and goggles, he dresses the part as well.
    • Starter Villain Alfred Stryker experiments on guinea pigs in his spare time when he's not being a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
    • "Monsters in the Closet", in the Batman Black and White anthology series, features a one-off appearance by a mad scientist who kidnaps people and turns them into fish-person hybrids. One of them gets him in the end.
  • Professor Merson, an American scientist working for Germany, was the source of countless Nazi superweapons (including the War Wheel) in the 1982 Blackhawk revival.
    • It can be hard to tell — Blackhawk seems to feature gadgetry unbelievably ludicrous enough to fall under mad science in every issue, and frequently right on the cover.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Foe Byrna Brilyant is a scientist with no compulsions about stealing the work of others and then combining and modifying it for profit, generally by hiring herself out in her Humongous Mecha capable of causing winter storms or holding things for ransom...with winter storms.
    • Paula von Gunther showed enormous promise as a horrific mad scientist focused on psychiatry and meddling with the human mind, along with figuring out a way to make herself invisible among other things while she was working for the Nazis. After it was revealed she was being forced to do so and having her daughter they'd been holding hostage rescued she proves an even more impressive and varied scientist steadfastly allied with Diana and the Allies for saving Gerta. The underling mindset seems to be genetic as her daughter Gerta, well meaning as she may be, accidentally creates a number of super-powered villains over the years.
    • Queen Atomia is a scientist who has figured out how to make a gas that shrinks those who breath it to a microscopic scale, has created two machines that turn humans into her near mindless slaves, and has a great interest in the potential uses for nuclear energy, and bombs.



  • Krona (of JLA/Avengers fame) is a mad scientist from a species of humanoids who had discovered immortality and realized the potential of the mind's raw power well before Earth's solar system had formed. He was determined to unlock the secret of existence: How had the universe come into being? To this end, he created a "time window" that would allow him to peer at the moment of creation. Unfortunately, apparently the act of looking caused the creation to go awry, and instead of a single universe, a multiverse was formed. Unfortunately, this included one evil antimatter universe... and the seeds for the Crisis on Infinite Earths were sown. Krona was banished, but eventually was employed by Nekron (the Lord of the Unliving) and turned into the embodiment of entropy. As such, he gradually grew in power, until he reached a point where he vivisected entire universes in his restless quest for answers. He forcibly interrogated Galactus to find out what he knew. All in the name of science.

  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero has featured two Cobra mad scientists:
    • Dr. Venom (real name Dr. Archibald Monev) was Cobra's original scientist. He created the Brainwave Scanner, and developed a virus that was intended to be used as a biological weapon, first by tainting newly-printed $20 bills (a plot foiled by the Joes), and then by using the Cobra officer known as Scar-Face as a vector against the Joes (thwarted by Scar-Face himself when he found out he was being sacrificed like that, by stealing the antidote). Dr. Venom and his arch-nemesis, the mercenary Kwinn, killed each other during the 1st Battle of Fort Wadsworth, but it was revealed years later (in IDW's continuation of the original series) that Dr. Venom copied his brain patterns into the Brainwave Scanner.
    • Dr. Mindbender was originally a benevolent orthodontist named Dr. Binder, who in researching ways to alleviate dental pain, used an experimental brainwave device on himself, which turned him twisted and evil. He auditioned for the role of Cobra scientist by creating the Battle Android Troopers and creeper vine spores, and went on to create Serpentornote . Mindbender is incredibly vain, usually going shirtless to show off his well-developed pectorals. He was also paranoid enough to have a clone backup of himself in the event of his own demise, and create mind-control chips for high-ranking Cobra officers that, in conjunction with a Brainwave Scanner treatment, would ensure their loyalty.
  • Dr. Venom in Transformers vs. G.I. Joe (pronounced Phe-nom) is mad and then some, which is why the Joes (and later their allies, the Autobots) don't trust him after they liberate him from Cobra, even after he shoots Buzzer in the head. He doesn't exactly give them much reason to trust him, either.
  • The Transformers: All Hail Megatron makes Brainstorm into one. He seemingly has no qualms about putting suggestion ideas inside Kup's mind at Prowl's request to exert more control over the army. In The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers Brainstorm works at the Kimia Facility, an R & D lab full of mad scientists. And Brainstorm in particular is considered especially insane even by their standards. He makes a hobby of creating weapons so horrible, they're classified as unmentionable by the Ethics Committee. In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye he builds all sorts of weapons and a holding cell for the crew and to hold Overlord, including a gun designed to shrink people, a bomb designed to break the fourth wall, an overpowered laser gun labelled My First Blaster (complete with flashing lights and sounds), and a gun that turns Cybertronians into Spark-devouring monsters. Tellingly, when someone asks him about one of his inventions snuffing out a sun, he dismisses it as "filthy, stinking lies"... because they got a small detail wrong. The sun in question did get snuffed out.
    • Also from Wreckers is Ironfist, whose weapons have been responsible for the death of millions of cons, but he himself is quite naive and doesn't know of their effects as well as the war's toll outside of statistics. He builds a gun which targets the brain, and that was banned by the ethics committee.
    • Skyfall is a less comedic and naive example; he isn't as smart or successful as the others, but he's quite mad, and sold Ironfist's most deadly invention to the Decepticons, and rigged one of those brain bullets to lodge inside Ironfist's skull and kill him.
    • Jhiaxus. If his attempt to introduce gender to Cybertron by force doesn't count, or his experimenting on six beings to make an insane combining mecha, then what does? Perhaps finding a planet and influencing the local civilisation to begin turning themselves into cyborgs, then into fully mechanical beings capable of altering their bodies into vehicles. And all of this? He just does it because he can. It backfires when one of his "test subjects" dedicates her life to hunting him down and repaying him for what he did.

  • Zorglub, from Spirou and Fantasio, is one. Champignac is often seen as one by the villagers, and he actually behaves like one on occasion.
  • D.A. Sinclair of Invincible is easily one of the most sadistic mad scientists in fiction. He started making zombielike techno-organic minions, Re-Animen, from dead bodies, which is bad enough. But he eventually moved on to live subjects, kidnapping his roommate and tearing out his vocal cords so that he couldn't scream while he operated on him (D.A. is a college student, after all, and can't afford anesthetic). And he tore his arm off and overrode his free will. Then he started duplicating the process on homeless people. Naturally, the US Government saw to it that he served no jail time when he was caught, and gave him a cushy job making Re-Animen for military use.
  • Simon von Simon from Little Gloomy. He's got it all, from his powerful machinery, futuristic inventions (such as the television and the microwave. Before you say anything, he invented them before anyone else did), hunchbacked Halfhearted Henchman, to his seething rage for everybody but himself. The fact that his plans for world domination were motivated by Gloomy dumping him, and the fact that the series calls him on not marketing his fantastic creations to get on top in a less freaky way undermines his menace somewhat; This, in turn, is offset by his army of ravenous zombies.
v** Voronov in "La Machination Voronov". Who also ends up being something of a Karma Houdini.
  • In Y: The Last Man geneticist Dr Allison Mann claims she was illegally cloning a nephew who needed a bone transplant. She later admits this story was fictional to gain Agent 355's sympathy rather than be thought of as a 'mad scientist'; her actual motive was to spite her father who was nearing success in cloning the first human. After several red herrings we discover the REAL mad scientist is in fact Allison's father, who was seeking to clone his daughter so he could be a better parent the next time round, yet who also sabotaged Allison's cloning experiment out of sheer spite and may have accidentally caused the plague that all but wiped out all males.
  • There is a double subversion in Universal War One. The scientist who invented the wormhole is the only one to care about a possible Time Paradox, so he kills the fools who want to "go home" even if it endangers the universe. However, when Kalish explains to him there is no way to create a time paradox, the scientist becomes mad.
  • Dr. Billy Joe Robidoux from Wynonna Earp. To quote Wynonna: "He's a southern-fried gumbo of Dr. Josef Mengele, Dr. Frankenstein and runs a real-life version of The Island of Doctor Moreau."
  • The Military Doctor in Sturmtruppen: He believes he's discovered the Invisibility Elixir without getting insane, while his attendants point out that's actually the other way around. He also thought that a case of anemia was actually caused by a Vampire.
  • Warren Ellis's Doktor Sleepless intentionally invokes this: nobody listens to "real people," so he becomes the cartoony mad scientist character of Doktor Sleepless to draw attention.
  • Everett Ducklair, the creator of One and many of the gadgets Paperinik uses, is a unwilling case: because of his Science-Related Memetic Disorder, he simply can't create something without turning it in a weapon. He eventually retreats to a monastery to meditate and search for the better part of himself.
    • In the reboot "Pikappa" we have Vendor who is much less concerned about creating dangerous inventions.
  • The Mickey Mouse Comic Universe has Mickey occasionally face a trio of simian mad scientists named Professors Ecks, Doublex, and Triplex, with their first appearance, the Floyd Gottfredson comic strip arc "Blaggard Castle", having them capture Mickey Mouse and Horace Horsecollar to test a Hypno Ray on them with the intention of using their machine to take over the world and kill a bunch of people. The original story ended with Mickey using their ray against them and hypnotizing them into being good scientists, but they would still return in subsequent comics back in their old evil ways.
  • Rhona Burchill from Ultimate Fantastic Four. She was rejected from the Program despite having the natural talents as a scientist, implicitly due to failing the psychiatric evaluation — since she went on to cut her brother's brain out and graft it to her own, justifiably so. As for what makes her mad... did you just read the previous sentence?
  • Requiem Vampire Knight features an entire faction of these with the Archaeologists. They were originally scientists who made disastrous inventions in life, and were damned to become mummy-like beings on Résurrection. The Archaeologists are the only beings allowed to control human technology in order to keep it out of the hands of the lower masses in the setting and prevent them from overthrowing the current regime. And then you have the Hierophants, the higher-ranked Archaeologists who embody the "mad" part of this trope by wearing other people's skin when they come out from their sarcophagus.
  • Escariano Avieso from Superlópez. White lab robe? Check. Sinister Shades? Check. A heaping helping of Evil Plans? Check. Wacky and Escarolitropic-Gmnesic circuit-ridden inventions? Double check.
  • Profesor Bacterio from Mortadelo y Filemón. Both T.I.A. agents have very good reasons to run away really fast when ordered to test one of his inventions.
  • "The Vampire Maker" in Uncanny Tales from the Grave #4note  presents a rare heroic example in Dr. Gottfried, who creates an artificial vampire that preys on other vampires shortly before being killed by a misinformed mob.
  • Grant McKay from Black Science is a genius physicist, but his expression of it is tied to his paranoid rejection of all authority figures and insanely overblown ego. While exploring his mind Doxta specifically asks whether his madness caused or held back his genius. Apparently it runs in the family; Grant's similarly genius father was mentally ill and ended up committing suicide when Grant was young.
  • In Rainbow Brite Murky Dismal has been reimagined as this.
  • Skunky from Bunny Vs Monkey has built a number of machines for his numerous plans to take over the forest.
  • The scientists that captured N°73 in Black Tears have kidnapped countless children (if our protagonist number means anything, almost a hundred) and turned them all into monsters, all with the purpose of creating what they fear more: the darkness. They are stereotypical one-note madmen, with them having spiral glasses, not different from Dr.Insano, and we don't know how or why they got funded for their research, or why they even decided to give a body to an entity they fear.

Alternative Title(s): Comics


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