Comic book fans have long debated which supervillain is the most powerful. Darkseid or Thanos? Anti-Monitor or Galactus? Sinestro or Apocalypse? These debates have even spilled into the world of cartoons, as notable comic book characters are often turned into animated series, along with their villains. They then become some of the most powerful villains in cartoons, as well. However, the world of cartoons does pretty darn well for itself in terms of villains, even without bringing comic book villains into the situation!
In fact, cartoons have been introducing powerful villains before superhero comics even existed (as the Evil Witch from Snow White pre-dated even Superman!). Here, then, we have collected the most powerful villains that were specifically created for cartoons (whether it be for animated TV series or animated films). These are all villains that could destroy most superheroes in the Marvel and DC Universe and some of them would even make it look easy. See how many powerful villains have debuted in cartoons that you don’t even follow!
Brutus is one of the strangest characters on this list, because he was invented by mistake. You see, when Popeye was first adapted to animation, his most famous foe was Bluto, who could match Popeye in strength (and since Popeye is pretty much as strong as anyone, that is pretty darn strong). Years later, when they wanted to do new animated Popeye stories for television, they mistakenly believed that Bluto had been created for the original Popeye cartoons, so that Bluto was off limits.
Thus, they invented Brutus, who was basically the same guy. Later, they learned that Bluto had been introduced in the Thimble Theatre comic strip, so they had the rights to use Bluto all along. In any event, since he’s as strong as Popeye, whose strength level seems near infinite levels, then that is why Brutus makes it on to this list.
Vilgax is the main villain of the Ben 10 animated franchise. When we first met Vilgax, he had already conquered many planets and even destroyed a number of planets (he even created a black hole once by going overboard in the destruction of one planet). He was so dangerous that he literally could not even have a crew of minions, since no one in their right (or deranged minds) would work for him.
He was so evil that he had to use a crew of robots.
Already a superhuman just on his own, Vilgax supplements his powers through cybernetic enhancements and a collection of powerful weapons that he has accrued over the years from various planets (some of them are even magical in nature). He once wielded the Ascalon sword, giving him the powers of the fundamental forces of the universe!
In the classic 1980s animated series, Dungeons and Dragons, there were a few parts from the show that specifically originated in the role-playing game itself, like the dragon-goddess Tiamet, but the main villain of the series, Venger, was created just for the show. He was dedicated to conquering the entire realm, and in order to do so, he had to collect all the weapons of the Dungeon Master (who, of course, gave the magical weapons to the teens who starred in the series).
Venger had a lot of the traditional sort of demonic magic powers that one would expect from a dark lord, like control over hordes of orcs, elemental powers and even the ability to shapeshift (when he wanted to be sneaky instead of attack his enemies outright).
In the world of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the title of the show lets you know that friendship is really, really powerful in the world of the Ponies. As a result, Discord, one of the major villains of the series, ultimately was won over to the side of good through the power of friendship.
However, he was a villain for long enough that we’re still counting him for this list, especially since he was immensely powerful. Discord is basically the My Little Pony equivalent of Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, only more malevolent. The connection was so striking that they even managed to get the actor who played Q, John De Lancie, to voice Discord on the show. Like Q, Discord is pretty much omnipotent and uses his powers to spread chaos.
As “The Narrator” said on The Powerpuff Girls about the villain known as Him, the name is because, “This is a villain so evil, so sinister, so horribly vile that even the utterance of his name strikes fear into the hearts of men. The only safe way to refer to this King of Darkness is simply “Him!”
Him is basically just Satan, but, you know, a children’s animated TV series version of Satan.
While Mojo-Jojo is the most notable Powerpuff Girls villain, Him is definitely their most powerful foe. However, he typically avoids actually using his vast powers in his dastardly deeds, choosing instead to use his ability to sow discord to put evil plans into place that will eventually cause trouble for the Girls (like when he possessed Bubbles’ doll to try to break the team up).
In the world of cartoon villainy, few villains can say that they did quite as well as Aku did on Samurai Jack. The concept of the show was that Aku sent Samurai Jack 50 years into the future. Jack then had to find a way to stop Aku. In the meantime, though, Aku ruled over the world for the entire time that Jack was gone. Can you even imagine what Cobra Commander would do if he ruled the world for 50 days, let alone 50 years?
Aku was born out of the ultimate evil, which was seemingly banished by a trio of mighty gods, but one sliver survived. It flew through space until it landed on Earth and became Aku. That landing was what killed the dinosaurs. That should give you a pretty good idea of just how powerful Aku is.
You really have to hand it to the animators at Disney. It is difficult enough to come up with a powerful female villain in 2018, they managed to invent Maleficent in 1959, when the legacy of powerful female villains in fiction was fairly barren outside of, say, Grendel’s Mother. In her debut in Sleeping Beauty, we see that Maleficent is the personification of evil and has pretty much all of the powers that you would associate with such evil.
She can control fire, electricity and plantlife and she is well versed at coming up with powerful curses.
Plus, it is important to note that she can transform into a giant dragon! Her only weakness is magic weapons, which annoyingly for her, is just what Prince Phillip was equipped with in Sleeping Beauty.
Toffee is one of the more unusual villains on this list in that, for the most part, he was a cerebral villain rather than an outwardly powerful one. When we first meet him on Star vs. the Forces of Evil, he was a sly “Evil Efficiency Expert.” However, over the years, he has revealed himself to be not just a brilliant villain, but also one who will always seemingly find a way to collect whatever power he needs to get the job done.
This was shown in Season 2, when Toffee’s spirit form ended up possessing the hapless evil wizard, Ludo, and merging with Ludo’s wand to become likely the most powerful threat that Star Butterfly has ever faced in her battles against the forces of evil.
When My Little Pony was rebooted as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a number of characters from the original series were adapted into this new series. Most of those characters were Ponies from the original show who, of course, originated as action figures first (as My Little Pony, like Transformers and G.I. Joe, was a cartoon designed to sell Hasbro toys). However, the villainous Tirek was created for the cartoon show and he has also transitioned into the current series.
Lord Tirek is a centaur whose main ability is the absorption of magic.
Since he lives in a land where lots of characters have magic, though, that makes him extremely dangerous and immensely powerful. What’s interesting is that while he is certainly sadistic, he doesn’t like to kill his victims, but instead just drain them of their power so that he can continue to toy with them.
Generally speaking, the characters on the Transformers media properties were all toys first. After all, the whole concept behind the cartoon was that it would sell the toys by showing kids how awesome the characters were on the cartoon. However, on rare occasions, notable characters would make their appearance first in animated form.
One of those exceptions was the main villain of The Transformers: The Movie. He literally destroyed planets and chewed up robots for fun (we recently showed some of his most gruesome killings here) . Luckily for the Transformers, his one weakness was the Matrix of Leadership, which Hot Rod was able to use (because he had “The Touch”) to became Rodimus Prime and destroy Unicron. Amusingly enough, for a cartoon meant to sell toys, Hasbro was unable to make a Unicron toy (it was too big to work well).
Like with Maleficent, it was amazing how far ahead of the game that Walt Disney was when it came to villains. Introduced in 1940’s Fantasia, in just Disney’s third full-length film, Chernabog is, like Him, essentially just Satan himself.
Therefore, he has all the powers that you would expect Satan to possess, including hellfire and power of darkness.
What makes Chernabog really stand out is when he brings the souls of the dead back to life at night on Bald Mountain, only to send them back to the depths of the grave soon after, just for fun. Luckily, he seems to be restrained a bit by the power of daylight (and religious music like “Ave Maria”) or else who knows what kind of devastation he would wreak.
In a lot of ways, you could argue that Rick Sanchez is a villain, in which case he’d probably be here in place of Worldender, but since we still consider Rick as more of an anti-hero, we’ll put Worldender in his place as the representative from the Rick and Morty universe. Worldender was introduced in “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender,” as the arch-nemesis of the Avengers parody team, the Vindicators.
They prefer not to ask Rick for help, but they were forced to against the Worldender.
The creators of the show described him as if “Thanos [had sex with] Darkseid and, like, had a baby, and that baby then [had sex with] some other giant creature/monster, that’s Worldender.” Rick, of course, killed him easily in a drunken haze and then left a death trap for the Vindicators because he hates them.
3. THE LICH
The Lich is the main villain of the Adventure Time series and he is so powerful that much of the series is devoted simply to trying to come up with ways to keep him from getting free. When we first learn of the Lich, we find out that he had tried to suck the life out of the Land of Ooo in the past and only the hero Billy was able to stop him by pounding him into an amber prison.
Throughout the rest of the series, the Lich continues to loom over the adventures of Finn and the gang as an ever-present threat that wants nothing more than to annihilate all life in any way that it can. It is not only a powerful practitioner of the dark arts, but it can possess people to help free it.
2. BILL CIPHER
The main villain of the series Gravity Falls is the bizarre creature known as Bill Cipher, who has been trapped in Nightmare World, but has been plotting his escape and his ultimate goal to rule all reality (and kill anyone who stands in his way). He eventually got free from the Nightmare World and his power seemed to be at a god-like stage. His introduction to our world was simple…
“Alright, listen up, you one-lifespan, three-dimensional, five-sense skin puppets! For one trillion years I’ve been trapped in my own decaying dimension, waiting for a new universe to call my own. Name’s Bill! But you can call me your new lord and master for all of eternity.” Luckily, the universe had Stanley Pines on its side, or else it would have been screwed . Bill offered Stan his own galaxy if he worked with him. That’s the power level we’re talking about here.
One of the oddest, and yet most powerful cartoon villains is Anti-Pops, from Regular Show. You see, for years, Pops (the elderly, lollipop-head-shaped co-manager of the park) was a lovable but eccentric old man who was just sort of there during all of the various misadventures at the park over the course of Regular Show‘s long run.
However, in Season 8, we learn that Pops and his younger brother, Anti-Pops, represent two primal forces in the universe, one good and the other evil. Anti-Pops wants to kill his brother so that he can wipe out the universe and re-make it in his image. In the end, Pops ends up sacrificing himself to kill both of them and that stops the endless cycle of birth and death of the universe.
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