For a Disney series, “Gargoyles” was remarkably dark and mature, just one of many reasons why it was so unique. Each plot line was fantastically written, seamlessly melding into other plot threads filled with deep, fleshed-out world mythology, relatable lessons and exciting characters wandering through moral grey areas. That’s what made each character so interesting and memorable; that, and the fact that a lot of them had incredible mystical powers and monstrous appendages.
Of course, we’re not just talking about the heroes, but the villains. “Gargoyles” had a large cast of villains and they were each memorable for different reasons. Whether it was because they were near-omnipotent, devilishly intelligent or outright monstrous like a Gargoyle would be, these awesome villains added something amazing to the show.
When thinking about villains from the series, it’s likely Demona is among the first to come to mind. She was Goliath’s mate, his “angel of the night,” but after suffering through human warfare (over the course of a thousand years) and subsequently developing an immense distrust and hatred of humanity, she became one of Goliath’s greatest adversaries, arguably not by choice.
Aside from having a badass name for a villainess, Demona provided depth to the show by being a character you couldn’t completely love or hate. She’s clearly in the wrong here, constantly trying to destroy everyone in her way, but you can kind of understand it. She’s more afraid than anything else, as we can see in episodes such as “City of Stone” (written by Michael Reaves), when we find that she did trust a human, Macbeth, even after the destruction of Castle Wyvern. It was her fear of betrayal that led to the hostility between them. All of that added to her character and it kept things interesting. Not only was she a part of some great battles, but she constantly showcased her incredible intelligence, rivalling one of the show’s greatest manipulators (which we’ll get to).
First appearing with the rest of the Pack (a group of fighters hired by Xanatos) in “The Thrill of the Hunt” (written by Michael Reaves), Hyena stands out with her love of violence and the maniacal laugh she lets out every time she enters a battle, something we first hear as Hudson flips through the channels on their TV (all of which are showing the same thing).
Unlike many of the other villains, Hyena falls completely in the category of villain. No grey area here, just pure violence and greed — just how she likes it. Armed with her golden claws (and later on, that ultra-90s-style suit), her appearance meant that an old-fashioned fight between good and evil was guaranteed. It makes it crystal clear that you don’t have to be an ancient mystical demon-looking creature to be an evil animal. Worse than that, as Goliath tells Lexington in that first appearance episode, “An animal hunts because it’s hungry, these hunters do it for sport.” That sums up Hyena nicely. It’s terrible, but she’s kind of cool that way!
Like his sister, Jackal is one hell of a fighter, using sharpened metal claws (and the sight of that hilarious mullet) to tear his enemies down. As crazy as Hyena was, it’s nothing compared to the insanity Jackal got up to when he became the avatar of Anubis in “Grief” (written by Michael Reaves and Brynne Chandler Reaves) and almost destroyed the world as we know it by essentially radiating death.
He and Hyena make the perfect villainous duo, which is part of the reason why he’s a great bad guy. He works really well in a duo, which is probably why they chose to split the Pack up like they did and keep Jackal committing crimes with his sister. The wit alone shared between the two is enough to prove that one wouldn’t be as awesome without the other. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be a worthy villain on his own. He’s definitely ambitious — constantly trying to obtain power and dreaming up ways he would destroy Goliath with it. One of the cool things about him is that even if they did show him acting alone, he’d still make for quite the entertaining foe.
Once a young peasant in Scotland, Gillecomgain’s life would change forever the moment he stepped into his barn and came across Demona, who scarred the boy’s face in panic and anger. Instead of running away in fear, Gillecomgain would embark on a crusade against all gargoyles, smashing them to pieces as they slept encased in stone. His actions and zeal inspired lords such as Constantine, who fashioned a mask bearing markings similar to Gillecomgain’s scars, as a symbol of the Hunter.
You could tell from its first appearance in the four-part “City of Stone” that the Hunter would be an awesome character (an alias adopted by several people throughout a millennium). If nothing else, he helped us sympathize a little more with Demona, as a symbol of humanity’s wrath and the depths to which it might be misguided. After all, Gillecomgain still proved loyal and acted at times with a sense of honor. As a villain, he is epic as the perfect beginning to a long line of gargoyle hunters.
The muscle of the Pack, known only as Wolf, thirsted for action and money. He jumped at the chance to take down the Manhattan Clan and actually did quite well in holding his own against them. He’s very much like the beast he’s named after, trying to prove himself the strongest so he can lead the Pack, though that role is often snatched away from him by people like Fox or Xanatos.
There are a lot of reasons why Wolf was such a great character. We have to remind you first that he became an actual wolfman, making each of his battles against beasts that much more fun to watch. He had deeper qualities, too. For example, he was actually quite caring in his own way — always ready to take the lead and take care of his pack, as we see when he led them all to safety in “Leader of the Pack” (written by Michael Reaves) after Coyote (Xanatos’ robot Pack member) is destroyed. Finally, he’s the descendant of a viking. That makes anyone at least 10 percent cooler than the average person.
Our “viking” rule, as seen in the Wolf entry, means that Hakon, an actual viking warrior, is way cooler than the average person. Wolf’s ancestor was the viking warrior who laid siege to Castle Wyvern a thousand years ago and destroyed almost all the gargoyles within. He faced an enraged Goliath before falling from a cliff to his death (along with Castle Wyvern’s captain of the guard, Hakon’s accomplice). You’d think that would be the end of Hakon the viking, but you’d be very wrong.
Even death and the mystical monolith that trapped his soul couldn’t stop Hakon from trying to exact revenge on Goliath. In “Vendettas” (written by Cary Bates), we see that Hakon’s spirit has possessed a battle axe wielded by his mutated descendant, Wolf. You can’t say Hakon isn’t persistent. Unfortunately, it was a trash compactor that finally defeated Hakon, seemingly for good. Still, despite his less-than-worthy defeat, Hakon proved himself to be one of “Gargoyles'” most relentless and awesome villains.
9. THE MATRIX
When the Pack split, they broke into pairs, except for Dingo, who was stuck on his own until nanotechnology created by Fox and Titania threatened to consume the world in “Walkabout” (written by Michael Reaves). Through the combined efforts of Dingo, Goliath, Angela, Elisa and of course, Bronx, the sentient nanotechnology was persuaded to uphold law and order through other means. The Matrix was born, first as an upgrade to Dingo’s suit, but later, in the “Bad Guys” miniseries issue, “Strangers” (written by Greg Weisman), becoming Dingo’s sentient partner in crime-fighting.
It’s quite an interesting villain from concept to execution. From the perspective of living creatures, it’s order was destructive and, therefore, the Matrix was a villain. Its intentions were technically pure on the surface; after all, bringing order to chaos doesn’t seem like an evil thing to do. As a villain, it gives you something to think about, which is what makes a villain stand out from the rest.
8. ANTON SEVARIUS
When it comes to villains, nothing beats classic mad scientists like Anton Sevarius, who created monstrosities in the name of science. From his evil, however, came nobility in the form of the Labyrinth Clan, comprised largely of genetically altered mutants made to resemble Goliath and his clan as opposed to actual gargoyles. Sevarius isn’t a fighter or even a master manipulator, he’s just a genius who really likes to mutate things.
Why is he on our list of coolest villains? Aside from being the mad progenitor of awesome heroes and villains, Sevarius proves himself to be quite the adversary, despite essentially just being a regular guy, albeit with a talent for genetic manipulation. That’s no easy feat when you consider that more often than not, he’s up against the Manhattan Clan with the aid of detective Maza. You can see his knack for villainy from his first appearance in “Metamorphosis” (written by Brynn Chandler Reaves), in which he succeeds in creating a monster, deceives it into working for Xanatos, fakes his death and escapes justice!
7. LITTLE ANTON
A great example of Sevarius’ insane experiments is Little Anton, the gargantuan gargoyle comprised of bits and pieces of the Manhattan Clan, who donated their genetic samples thinking that Sevarius wanted to cure the clones (like Thailog — don’t worry, we’ll get to him). Instead, Little Anton was brought to life. He was loyal to Sevarius and more powerful than Goliath and the clan. It was Goliath’s determination with the help of a virus strain that finally took Little Anton down.
The villain only lasted one episode in the non-canonical third season, “The Goliath Chronicles,” in the episode “Genesis Undone” (written by Cary Bates), but he made a lasting impression. It was the Manhattan Clan against their combined strength. As a symbol and as a gigantic gargoyle, Little Anton was awesome and you couldn’t help but feel just a little sad that he met his demise at the end of the episode.
Goliath, Elisa, Angela and Bronx encountered all manner of beings in their travels back to New York from Avalon, one of them, surprisingly, was the Norse god, Odin, the all-father. He first appeared in the episode “Eye of the Storm” (written by Cary Bates) in which Odin himself fights Goliath for the Eye of Odin, before simply introducing himself as its rightful owner (having the knowledge of which could have curbed a fight).
Odin is a fantastic adversary. He may not really be as powerful as you’d expect a god to be, but he does display some incredible abilities, like conjuring storms, blasting lightning bolts and turning into a polar bear to fight Goliath. Another cool thing about him is that his depiction is relatively faithful to descriptions in the old Norse poems. We even see him atop Sleipnir (though it’s missing about four legs). While he is certainly wrathful as you would expect him to be, it’s actually him who technically saves the day by freeing Elisa, Angela and Bronx before taking the eye back before it completely corrupted Goliath. Afterwards, he apologizes humbly for his actions, which you don’t get very often from antagonists. Or gods.
As powerful as Odin is, he is just one of the Children of Oberon, a race of magical beings who pale in comparison to their ruler, Oberon, who is probably the most powerful character on this list. He rules from Avalon with an iron fist and his wife Titania, though the two didn’t always have the most stable relationship. When the Avalon Clan was threatened by an angered Oberon, it was Titania who saved them from him and tempered his anger in the episode, “Ill Met By Moonlight” (written by Michael Reaves) when he and Titania are finally introduced.
The awesome thing about him is that he reshapes matter with little to no effort, as though he wasn’t simply a force of good or evil. While some might see him as a tyrant, he was really the only thing that stood between humanity and the reckless beings of the Third Race. In fact, as we see in the two-part episode “The Gathering” (written by Lydia Marano), they desperately need a ruler like Oberon; although, by then, we see that he isn’t really such a bad guy, he’s just a bit immature and emotion-driven at times.
This one is a complicated one, but in its complexity resides some grade-A awesomeness. Iago was one third of the cyborg gargoyle, Coldstone (the other two being Coldstone himself and Coldfire, his mate). Unlike the other souls that made up Coldstone, or any other villains in the series, Iago was well and truly evil, willing to kill his rookery brothers in the episode “Legion” (written by Marty Isenberg and Robert N. Skir) in which Coldstone’s mind is being torn apart.
Most of the gargoyles are misunderstood creatures in the series, their view of the world is often marred by human fear and ignorance, which is why we can understand whenever they do lash out. Coldsteel is the exception. He lashes out, he fights and attempts murder, because that’s who he is. He’s not misunderstood, he is a monster. His character is quite a refreshing change, since you actually want him to lose, unlike villains like Demona with whom you might be torn.
Anton Sevarius’ greatest creation is, without a doubt, Thailog. Where do we begin with Thailog? He has all the strength and skill of the mighty Goliath, with the brains and world view of Xanatos, and while anyone could see how he might feel an almost familial connection to either one of his creators, he’s opposed to both of them. He knows just how powerful he is and seeks to prove it to himself by surpassing Goliath in strength and Xanatos in wealth.
It’s always great seeing a villain who won’t just meet defeat in a fist fight. Thailog is cunning and like Xanatos, always has contingency plans as we can see in “Double Jeopardy” (written by Cary Bates) when he makes off with $20 million by faking his death. Not bad for a clone who was intended to be a pawn. He really managed to stand out by becoming a force to be reckoned with, independent of everyone else around him.
You have to love Fox. She’s one of the most well developed villains in the series. Starting out as the leader of the Pack, she soon evolved into a formidable adversary after partnering up with Xanatos (in more ways than one). She’s a powerful combatant, incredibly intelligent, is half Fae and can pull off that sweet fox tattoo.
During the second season, she became a more prominent character, not just because she was Xanatos’ partner in crime but because she was a mother, which forced her to fight for more than just material gain, like she did in the second part of “The Gathering” when trying to keep Oberon from taking her child away from her. That was a fantastic moment for her as a character. She’d come a long way from being just the former leader of the Pack. She was much more than that and even though she’d unjustly attacked the Manhattan Clan multiple times, threatened supermodels and toyed with people in a twisted chess game, you really start to root for her.
1. DAVID XANATOS
Finally, we have Xanatos, the multi-billionaire who lifted the curse and woke the Manhattan Clan from their slumber. He’s definitely a complex character and unique in that, unlike most villains, he doesn’t have a simple weakness to be exploited like vanity or rage. He’s constantly learning and doesn’t tend to take revenge if it’s unnecessary. He prefers to keep learning, discovering weaknesses and fixing them, though that does warp his view of things, like love.
He acts only for personal gain, which made him seem cold at first, despite his initial attempts at appearing compassionate as part of a ruse. That did change, however when he became a father. He began to seem genuinely caring, going so far as to threaten Oberon himself with a weapon in “The Gathering” in defense of his wife and child. Later on, in “Possession,” he’d try to thank Goliath by providing new robot bodies for the souls of Coldsteel and Coldfire, which seemed to be a turning point for him.Why is he at the top of our list? He’s the rare case of a villain that doesn’t lose. He always gains something, even if his robots fail or a gargoyle escapes. Xanatos always wins.
Who was your favorite baddie from Gargoyles? Let us know in the comments!