Follow TV Tropes


Overarching Villain / Comic Books

Go To

  • Asterix has Julius Caesar. Almost every comic involves undoing one of his schemes to gain control over the village or its powers. Other times, Caesar is the Greater-Scope Villain to some other political leader or prefect. There are also times that someone acts as The Starscream to Caesar and is a Big Bad of their own accord.
  • Blake and Mortimer has Colonel Olrik, the most recurring villain in the series. In most of his appearances, he is The Dragon to another villain. However, he has served as the Big Bad in The Mystery of the Great Pyramid and The Necklace Affair.
  • Bone:
    • The Lord of the Locusts is the main source of evil in the world, and the one commanding the Hooded One and the Rat Creatures. The threat of him breaking free and destroying the waking world drives the events of the comic.
    • The Hooded One, although not the ultimate evil in the series, is the most dangerous and immediate threat in the series, is the commander of the evil armies, and is constantly trying to attack, kill or corrupt Thorn — through her dreams or physically.
  • The DCU:
    • Darkseid is one of the biggest villains for the DC Universe in general. He is the Big Bad of the New Gods, and an Arch-Enemy of Justice League of America. On the personal level, he's also the Arch-Enemy of his son, Orion, and of New Genesis' leader Highfather, and has pursued lengthy vendettas against Mister Miracle, Superman, and Wonder Woman, to name only a few. He is the Greater-Scope Villain of Grant Morrison's Batman. The Hyper Adapter which corrupted Thomas Wayne, Jr. and turned him into Dr. Hurt is Darkseid's creation. He was one of the central villains of Final Crisis, albeit as an Umwitting Pawn to the true Big Bad, Mandrakk. In the New 52 reboot, Darkseid is the first villain the Justice League faces, has been conquering the multiverse, and is responsible for the invasion and subsequent destruction of Earth-2. He's once again the Big Bad with DC Infinite Frontier.
    • Advertisement:
    • Vandal Savage is one of DC's oldest major supervillains, appearing across various DC Comics titles since his debut during the Golden Age. He has served as an Arch-Enemy for Alan Scott, the Immortal Man, the Justice Society, the Justice League, Wally West, the Ressurection Man, and the Titans.
    • Aquaman:
      • Black Manta, a longtime foe of Aquaman, the Archnemesis Dad of Jackson Hyde, and the murderer of Aquaman's infant son Arthur Curry Jr. He's usually the Big Bad when he appears in an Aquaman story. If not he's a Dragon for hire.
      • Ocean Master, Aquaman's half-brother, is another one of Aquaman's longtime arch-villains. He repeatedly seeks to take over Atlantis. He is more of an Anti-Villain Post-Flashpoint, but even then, he waged a war on the surface world in Thrones of Atlantis, although in that story, he is reacting to an assumed threat from the surface world that turns out to be Vulko's fault.
    • Advertisement:
    • Batman:
      • The The Joker, Batman's Arch-Enemy, who is responsible for several of the tragedies in the lives of Batman and his allies, sich as the murder of Jason Todd in A Death in the Family, the crippling of Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke, and the murder of Sarah Essen-Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's second wife, in Batman: No Man's Land. The Joker was the Big Bad of the Emperor Joker (which, although a Superman storyline, featured the Joker torturing Batman) and the Crisis Crossover Joker's Last Laugh. The Joker has antagonistic roles even in stories where he isn't the central villain, such as Knightfall, The Long Halloween, and Batman: Hush. The Joker is also the Big Bad of Death of the Family and Batman: Endgame.
      • Ra's al Ghul, the Big Bad for many Story Arcs involving Batman and his related characters. In fact Ra's al Ghul is one of the biggest villains in Batman's rogues gallery in terms of threat level and ambitions; even the Joker, who, while insanely dangerous on his own, serves more as a personal threat toward the Dark Knight. In addtiion, A number of villains are, or used to be, minions of his. His daughter Talia al Ghul is revealed to be the leader of the Leviathan Organization, making her the Big Bad of the Batman Incorporated stage of Grant Morrison's Batman. David Cain is an instructor for the League of Shadows, Lady Shiva was intended to be one of his finest warriors, but she prefers being on her own. Additionally, his daughter Nyssa has troubled the Bat-family at times.
      • Two-Face is another one of the most prominent villains of the Batman franchise. He is one of Batman's oldest and most recurring enemies, and he also serves as the Big Bad in several of Nightwing's story arcs in his series and some of the Robin series as well. He beat Dick Grayson within an inch of his life on one of his first outings as Robin (handing him his first defeat in the process), orchestrated the murders of Jason Todd's parents, and in "A Lonely Place of Dying" nearly killed Tim Drake in one of his earliest solo missions as Robin, with Dick having to save him. He also goes out of his way to make Renee Montoya's life miserable in Gotham Central.
    • The Flash:
      • Captain Cold is one of the most prominent foes for both the Barry Allen and Wally West incarnations of the Flash. He is often depicted as the leader of the Rogues.
      • Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Professor Zoom a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash. He has been an Arch-Enemy for Barry Allen since The Bronze Age of Comic Books. However, he was both directly and indirectly responsible for a lot of entire Flash Family's suffering over the years, especially Wally. It is revealed that he's responsible for turning Hunter Zolomon, Wally's Arch-Enemy, into Zoom. Thawne was the Big Bad of several arcs, including The Return of Barry Allen, The Flash: Rebirth, and Flashpoint, though he's not entirely responsible for the events of the latter.
      • Gorilla Grodd is another one of the most prominent villains in the franchise. He was one of Barry's most dangerous enemies during the Silver Age. He also maimed Hunter Zolomon, making him indirectly responsible for the latter becoming Zoom.
    • Green Lantern has Sinestro, former Green Lantern and founder of the Sinestro Corps. He was the Big Bad for much of the series' existance, a prominent enemy of the Green Lanterns, and the personal Arch-Enemy of Hal Jordan in particular. He has teamed up with the Anti-Monitor and Parallax, though only Parallax stuck with him past the Sinestro Corps War. He was one of the main antagonists of the Sinestro Corps War, where he amassed an army of Yellow Lanterns with the aid of the Anti-Monitor.
    • Shazam! has Doctor Sivana, especially in Pre-Crisis comics. He lost ground to Black Adam after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but he still showed up in multiple stories such as The Power of Shazam! graphic novel, Superman / Shazam!: First Thunder, Shazam! (2012), and Shazam! (2018).
    • Superman:
    • Teen Titans:
      • Deathstroke. While in scale he doesn't quite match Trigon, Deathstroke is still the most frequent of the Titans' Big Bads, as well as the most personal enemy the team has ever faced.
      • Trigon the Terrible, the Archnemesis Dad of Raven. He is the Big Bad of the first New Teen Titans'' story arc; he was the reason Raven assembled the Titans to begin with. He returns in "The Terror of Trigon", and has been the Big Bad of several other arcs as well. He is worshipped by the Church of Blood and their leader Brother Blood. In terms of power and scope he is, generally speaking, the biggest bad the Titans have ever faced.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • Ares/Mars is one of the most prominent Big Bads in the pre-New 52 comics, and the man behind more than a few major arcs. In the Pre-Crisis era Mars is and has been the most consistent and dangerous foe of Diana, Aphrodite and the Amazons. In the Post-Crisis era, Ares is the villain Diana leaves her home to fight. During the Perez run, Aries tried to start World War III, although Wonder Woman was able to convince him against it. During the Messner-Loebs run, he returned as a villain and was possessing the body of a criminal who sold weapons for gang wars. During the Simone run, Ares would later orchestrate the creation of the supervillain named Genocide, using a corpse of Wonder Woman from the future, to become his agent.
      • Circe is one of Wonder Woman's most prominent Post-Crisis foes, being the source of many calamitous events in her history. She's been the mastermind behind Amazons Attack!, War of the Gods, and more than a few other plots.
      • The Cheetah, specifically the Barbara Ann Minvera incarnation. Minverva makes her debut early in the Modern Age, and goes on to become one of the most recurring villains in the franchise, and becoming a contender for the title of Wonder Woman's Arch-Enemy alongside Ares and Circe. Like Ares, she was also involved in the creation of the supervillain Genocide.
  • Hellboy:
    • The Ogdru Jahad, a group of Eldritch Abominations Hellboy was initially placed on Earth to summon, and spends the series stopping cultists of theirs from finishing the job.
    • Grigori Rasputin is the most prominent of the Ogdru Jahad's acolytes, and Hellboy's most personal foe, as the one who summoned him to Earth in the first place. While he's killed in The Conqueror Worm, his acolytes remain a thorn in the BPRD's side.
  • Invincible has Grand Regent Thragg, the ruler of the Viltrum Empire and the mastermind behind the Viltrumite invasion of Earth. After being removed from his status as Regent due to Nolan's more legitimate claim, he has started a war against his own people with an army of children he sired. He becomes the last significant antagonist of the series next to Robot. After he's killed, things mellow out.
  • The Judge Dredd series has Judge Death, the leader of the Dark Judges and the longest-recurring nemesis of Judge Dredd.
  • The Marvel Universe:
    • Thanos is one of the most prominent villains for the entire Marvel Universe, especially for the Infinity Crisis Crossovers. More then once, the entire MU (including the villains) has teamed up to stop him. He served as an Arch-Enemy for Drax the Destroyer, Moondragon, Captain Mar-Vell, Adam Warlock, and the Silver Surfer. He has also become an Arch-Enemy to the Guardians of the Galaxy since The Thanos Imperative. Thanos has a major role in multiple Crisis Crossovers. He is the Big Bad of Thanos: The Final Threat and The Infinity Gauntlet. He is in an Enemy Mine with the heroes in The Infinity War and The Infinity Crusade. His clones, the Thanosi, are the main antagonists of Infinity Abyss. In Annihilation, Thanos initially allies with the Big Bad, Annihilus, but later tries to stop him when he realizes Annihilus wants to destroy both the regular universe and the Negative Zone just so he can be the last living thing standing. He is a Token Evil Teammate in The Thanos Imperative. He is part of a Big Bad Ensemble in Infinity and Infinity Countdown, and is killed in Infinity Wars (2018).
    • Galactus is also a prominent villain for the general MU. He was introduced as the Big Bad of The Coming of Galactus. He serves as an Arch-Enemy to the Silver Surfer (his rebellious former herald) and a recurring villain in the Fantastic Four and Thor comics. In Secret Wars (1984), he tried to consume Battleworld, and in The Infinity Gauntlet, he was in an Enemy Mine with Adam Warlock and other cosmic heroes to challenge Thanos. He is also responsible for the destruction of both Korbin, the homeworld of Beta Ray Bill, and Sakaar, the homeworld of the Hulk's children, Skaar and Hiro-Kala. He fused with his Ultimate counterpart, Gah Lak Tus, to become the Big Bad of Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand. Issues 1-4 of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl involve his conflict with Squirrel Girl.
    • Mephisto is another Marvel Universe-wide villain. Up until Jonnhy Blaze (temporarily) got rid of Zarathos, Mephisto was behind the central conflict of Ghost Rider as well as the mastermind of many other mishaps. He is also one of the Arch-Enemies of the Silver Surfer. He has also appeared as an antagonist for Thor, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther. The accident that led to Victor von Doom becoming Doctor Doom was the result of a failed attempt by Victor to free his mother's soul from Mephisto, making Mephisto the Greater-Scope Villain in any story where Doctor Doom is the Big Bad.
    • The Avengers:
    • Captain America has the Red Skull, Captain America's Arch-Enemy. Steve Rogers was turned into Captain America in the first place to serve as a counter the Red Skull. The Red Skull sent Baron Henrich Zemo secret mission to assassinate Captain America, leading to the event where Rogers' sidekick Bucky Barnes was seemingly killed. In Captain America: Winter Soldier, the Red Skull is killed in the first issue, and the first half of the story regards Steve and S.H.I.E.L.D. investigating and stopping his plot set pre-assassination to blow up major world capitals in order to power the Cosmic Cube. However, the Skull's consciousness was preserved in the Cosmic Cube, and would eventually awaken in the mind of Aleksander Lukin, the man who ordered the Red Skull's death in the first place. The Red Skull was the Big Bad of The Death of Captain America. He caused the events of Captain America: Steve Rogers by manipulating Kobik into make a version of Steve Rogers who was loyal to HYDRA. However, HYDRA Cap would go on to kill the Skull and take over HYDRA himself as HYDRA Supreme. HYDRA Supreme would go on to be the Big Bad of Secret Empire.
    • Daredevil has the Kingpin, a powerful crime boss in New York City. The Kingpin only made his first appearance in a Daredevil comic in 1981, seventeen years after the Daredevil series started (Although character the Kingpin had existed since 1967, he was primarilty a Spider-Man villain during the first several years of the character's existance). Once the Kingpin did show up in the Daredevil comics, he became, and remained, the most personal and prominent foe of Daredevil ever since, being a constant source of misery for Daredevil and his allies during the following decades of the comic series' publication.
    • Doctor Strange has Dormammu, the ruler of the Dark Dimension and the Arch-Enemy of Doctor Strange. He is the power behind Sataanish and many other Hell Lords, and is frequently the patron of Baron Mordo and several other troublemakers. Dormammu has seemingly been destroyed more than once, but it never sticks.
    • Doctor Doom for the Fantastic Four. He is the ruler of Latveria and Reed Richard's Rival Turned Evil. Doom made his debut in The Fantastic Four #5, and went on to become the Four's most prominent foe, appearing consistently throughout the decades-long run of the Fantastic Four comic series.
      • In addition to being the Arch-Enemy of the Fantastic Four, Doom has been consistently a Marvel-wide villain from his inception, making notable appearances as a villain and Foil for the likes of The Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Thor, Luke Cage, Squirrel Girl and more. In Secret Wars (1984), Doom usurps the position of Big Bad from the Beyonder by stealing his power. In Heroes Reborn: The Return, Doom attempts to steal Franklin Richards' powers. The Children's Crusade reveals that Doom used the Scarlet Witch's mental instability, caused by the Life Force, to turn her against the Avengers, leading the events of Avengers Disassembled. In the final portion of The Children's Crusade, Doom absorbs the source of Scarlet Witch's powers. In Doomwar, Dr. Doom invades Wakanda in order to steal it's vibranium. In Secret Wars (2015), Doom usurps the position of Big Bad from the Beyonders by killing them and stealing their powers, fusing the remnants of various realities (all that is left in the wake of Beyonders' omnicidal campaign) into Battleworld, and ruling over them.
    • The Incredible Hulk:
      • The Leader has opposed the Hulk continuously and viciously since the Silver Age. If somebody is masterminding a scheme to make Banner's life miserable, chances are it's The Leader. He was part of a Big Bad Duumvirate with [[Comic Book/MODOK M.O.D.O.K.]] in Fall of The Hulks and World War Hulks. Along with his ally M.O.D.O.K., the Leader is responsible for turning Thunderbolt Ross into the Red Hulk. However, in World War Hulks, the Leader and M.O.D.O.K. become Disc One Final Bosses, with the Red Hulk replacing them as the Big Bad.
      • The Abomination is another one of the Hulk's major recurring villains, often appearing as an ally and/or pawn to another villain. He is the murderer of Betty Banner, whose death played a major factor in Ross' decision to become the Red Hulk. Allthough the Abomination was killed by the Red Hulk, he has briefly come Back from the Dead as a subordinate of the Chaos King and an antagonist for the Incredible Hulks in the Chaos War storyline, and was resurrected again by the Order of the Shield as a mindless being.
      • General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross / The Red Hulk, whose obsession with the Hulk escalated to the point where he worked with and/or controlled multiple supervillains (such as the Abomination, M.O.D.O.K., and Zzzax) against the Hulk. He makes a a deal with the Leader and M.O.D.O.K. to become the Red Hulk, and later makes his own bid to take over the United States in World War Hulks.
    • Iron Man:
      • The Mandarin is Tony Stark's most perennial foe, and one of his longest-lasting villains. He has been the mover and shaker in more major storylines than any other Iron Man villain. He also tends to take on the lead role in alliances between Iron Man's enemies. Two of the Mandarin's children, Temujin and Sasha Hammer, became supervillains themselves.
      • Justin Hammer served as the Arch-Enemy of Tony Stark during the '80s and '90s, and up until his apparent death in the early 2000s. He was the mover and shaker behind "Demon in a Bottle", "Armour Wars I", and several other major arcs, and made repeated attempts to take down Stark Industries and their founder, all in order to increase his own profits. His legacy lives on to this day in the form of his daughter and granddaughter who became supervillains themselves.
    • The Mighty Thor has Loki, the adoptive brother of Thor. He is the Big Bad of many Thor stories. He's also the true villain of Kieron Gillen's run of Journey into Mystery, and of Loki Agent Of Asgard, despite also being the hero of both stories.
    • Spider-Man:
    • Sabretooth is the closest thing Wolverine's solo series has to a central villain. He is one of the most active villains and has some plots to make Logan miserable as possible. He has also worked as a subordinate for other villains as well, such as Romulus and the Hand.
    • X-Men:
      • Magneto, a mutant supremacist and the Arch-Enemy of the X-Men, although he spends much of the franchise's run going through a Heel–Face Revolving Door. He is the original leader of the the Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants. Magneto was the Big Bad for about the first 150 issues of the original comic book series until he started making his Heel–Face Turn and eventually joined the team outright. However, his appearances become considerably less in Chris Claremont's run, with Sebastian Shaw and Mastermind serving as the more overarching Big Bad Ensemble for several dozen issues starting with 110. Magneto would later become the inspiration to, and the occasional leader of, the Acolytes, a group of mutants who believed in Magneto's ideas of mutant supremacy. Magneto, now relapsed to villany, becomes the Big Bad of Fatal Attractions, where he tried to wipe out humanity and rips out Wolverine's adamantium. The events of Fatal Attractions would set the stage for Blood Ties and Onslaught. During The Magneto War, he threatens to destroy modern civilization with an electromagnetic pulse unless the United Nations bequeaths a mutant homeland to him and then ups the ante by trying to seize control of Earth's entire magnetosphere. Later, a Magneto impersonator would become the Big Bad of Planet X in New X-Men. In House of M, Magneto rules over a reality warped world where humans are oppressed by mutants. However, Quicksilver is the actual instigator of House of M's events, as he used the insane Scarlet Witch to carry out his plan to make a perfect world where everyone's dreams came true. Magneto murders Quicksilver when he discovers this, leading to Scarlet Witch de-powering most of the world's mutants immediately afterwards. In Uncanny X-Men #500, Magneto allies with the High Evolutionary and sends Sentinels to attack the X-Men. As time goes on however, Magneto spends more time on the heroes' side than as an antagonist.
      • Apocalypse, an ancient mutant who seeks to create a Social Darwinist dystopia. He is responsible for turning the Mad Scientist Nathaniel Essex into immortal geneticist Mister Sinister, who himself would become one of the X-Men's main recurrent adversaries, and the architect of much of their misery.. Apocalypse was the Big Bad for the original X-Factor, the Arch-Enemy of Cable, and is one of the most powerful recurring villains for the X-Men as a whole. He is the Big Bad of Age of Apocalypse, The Twelve, and Ages of Apocalypse. Apocalypse Wars centers around Apocalypse, although each storyline has its own Big Bad. During Apocalypse Wars, the cast of Extraordinary X-Men end up in a Bad Future where Apocalypse has subjected Earth to his destructive Great Trials and its remnants, known as Omega World, are ruled over by him. The Big Bad of Uncanny X-Men's arc of Apocalypse Wars is Apocalype's son Genocide, whose plan is to force Archangel into becoming Apocalypse's heir and lead an army of his clones to purge the world. In the All-New X-Men storyline of Apocalypse Wars, (which sees the time-displaced Beast and Genesis, Apocalypse's clone, travel back in time to Ancient Egypt) the Big Bad is Baal, leader of a tribe known as the Sandstormers. He's trying to reclaim his runaway adopted son, a young En Sabah Nur, the future Apocalypse.
      • Grant Morrison's run on X-Men had Sublime, a body-hopping sentient bacteria colony responsible for spreading anti-mutant prejudice in humanity since the dawn of civilization.
  • Scott Pilgrim has Gideon Gordon Graves, who despite not appearing until Volume 3, is the leader of the League of Evil Exes, and the final one of Ramona's exes to be confonted in the story.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Amongst their Rogues Gallery, Dr. Eggman is the one villain Sonic and the Freedom Fighters can never truly shake. Other villains may steal his thunder, he may be forced into Enemy Mine scenarios, but even a Villainous Breakdown that reduces him to an insane, babbling mess won't stop him from reclaiming the Big Bad title eventually. In Issue 197, Zonic the Zone Cop even states outright he and the other Zone Cops haven't done anything about Eggman because the Prime Zone needs him; Sonic was never supposed to decisively defeat the original Robotnik, and despite Eggman coming from a different Zone and wreaking havoc on the Prime one, he shares a near-identical past with Robotnik Prime and is thus the best candidate to fill in for him.
    Zonic: Sonic-Prime has to fight a Robotnik.
  • Spawn has the Violator as the series' most recurring villain. He served as The Dragon to Malebolgia, and later to Mammon, and once they are out of the picture, the Violator tries to strike out on his own. Additionally, it's revealed in Spawn #300 that he was the one who killed Wanda Blake, and recieved a significant boost in power after doing so.
  • Tintin has Roberto Rastapopoulos, who is the most prominent villain of the series and acts as Tintin's nemesis.
  • Transmetropolitan has President Gary Callahan. 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). Callhahan is a Misanthrope Supreme who became president so that he could have enough power to oppress people without them being able to fight bac. He is the personification of everything Spider hates, and so everything Spider does in the series traces back to his efforts to take down his Arch-Enemy.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: