Part of a superhero’s job is beating the bad guys. No matter what they have to do to win, they foil whatever dastardly schemes the villain has concocted, and they put them down (usually only temporarily). Sometimes, though, the villain doesn’t exactly lose in a way that people expect. Sometimes, the writer gets too creative in wrapping up a story, or they write themselves into a hole and they have to hastily figure a way out to finish the storyline.
Whatever the reason, this often leads to the worst supervillain losses. This list takes a look at some of those. Buckle up for some of the most hilarious and embarrassing defeats DC Comics supervillains have ever suffered.
10 FORGETTING HIS POWERS
In World’s Finest Comics #142, Batman and Superman both ran afoul of a character named Composite Superman. Wearing a hideous outfit that was Superman and Batman’s costume mixed together, he’d somehow attained the powers of the entire Legion of Super-Heroes. With these powers, he quickly figured out the identities of Batman and Superman, and gradually sabotaged them until he decided they could no longer be Batman or Superman anymore.
Bruce and Clark both agreed, and had no real way of stopping Composite Superman... so it was lucky his powers simply wore off. When they did, his memory of those powers left as well, turning him back into normal Jason Meach.
9 A Humble Mugging
Comic book tie-ins rarely bode well for anyone. That’s what led to Darkseid’s most ignominious defeat during the third volume of the Super Powers comic, a series made to tie in with the eponymous toy line. During this story, Darkseid’s Omega power was running on empty. After being betrayed by his people, he winds up teleporting to Earth with the last of his energy.
Forced to rob just to find clothes and remain unnoticed, Darkseid is confronted by a pair of muggers in an alley, who promptly knock him out with a chain just to rifle through his pockets.
8 An Equally-Humble Shooting
When Darkseid finally discovered the Anti-Life Equation, he wasted no time in finally putting an end to the neverending war between New Genesis and Apokolips. Becoming the one and only “New God,” Darkseid came to Earth and inhabited the soul of a human being, from which he slowly took control not just over Earth, but all creation.
After the all-powerful villain lets his guard down, Batman breaks out of the prison he’d been locked up in, with a gun containing a god-killing bullet made of radium. With his foe already starting to rot from inhabiting a human body, Batman fires the final shot to take Darkseid down. Considering the kinds of superpowers it usually takes to bring the formidable Darkseid down, a bullet (radium or no radium) seems like a bit of an anti-climax.
7 BEATEN BY MATCHES
When Grant Morrison took over the League in the late 90s, he introduced a brand-new super-team known as the Hyperclan, a group of heroes with an edgy look like most of the newcomers of the era. This team supplanted the League in the minds of the people, but when the League discovered their plans for Earth leaned more towards domination, they wound up battling them (and getting trounced).
Fortunately, Batman discovered the secret of the Hyperclan: they were White Martians. With that, he was able to use their single weakness to take them out, but it just doesn’t look good to have a group that could beat Superman get soloed by a box of Diamond one-strikes.
6 COULDN'T GET OVER BATMAN
Through a strange contest between the Joker and Mr. Mxyzptlk, Joker winds up with Mxy’s fifth dimensional powers. While Mxy has always been more innocuous with the usage of his abilities, choosing to be more of an annoyance to Superman, Joker isn’t quite the same. He uses his power to turn all of creation upside down, altering reality as he sees fit and doing some not-so-nice things to his former nemesis.
In the end, he decides to wipe out all of reality, but finds himself completely unable because he simply can’t get over the Caped Crusader. This inability turns out to be a loophole that results in him losing his reality warping powers and giving them back to Mxyzptlk.
5 LOST TO LIME
An early JLA adventure sees Starro the Conqueror visit the Earth and do a number on it. He begins to gain control over everyone on the planet with his mind control abilities. The League is just barely able to fight the menace off, but everything still looks lost until they notice one boy who remains unaffected by Starro’s power.
Realizing the boy (Snapper Carr) is covered in lime, they cover Starro in lime, turning the tide of battle in their favor and saving the planet.
4 CHANGING THE MAGIC PASSWORD
The weekly story 52 winds up being rather tragic for one character more than most. Black Adam, a man who had finally managed to find happiness by building a family, had all of it stolen away from him by the efforts of a few devious scientists.
In his rage, he tears through an entire country before eventually being stopped by Billy Batson, who possesses the powers of the wizard Shazam. Using his abilities, Billy decides to change the password into something Black Adam would never think to say.
3 DISBANDING THE LEAGUE
In JLA Vol. 3 #27, we learned about the existence of a new version of Amazo, courtesy of Professor Ivo. When the team fails to figure out how to dispose of him before he can activate, they quickly find themselves in hot water. The awakened Amazo tears through not only their entire fourteen-member roster, but gains new powers as they add members to the team.
This latest version of Amazo proves capable of expanding his powers as they expand their roster, which leaves them with only one thing to do. Superman, as Chairman of the League, disbands the team, rendering Amazo powerless.
2 SUPERMAN SINGING
Poisoned by radion, Darkseid was unable to do anything but watch as the rest of his armies were torn down by the combined forces of the remaining superheroes and supervillains who were untouched by the Anti-Life Equation.
Darkseid made one last attempt at taking down Superman, intending to take over the Mother Box he’d created. Superman, armed with understanding of how the multiverse itself worked, used his voice to create a vibration capable of destroying Darkseid himself, shattering his very essence.
1 BEING WHIPPED BELOW THE BELT
This might be the quickest build up to being a total loser in comic book history. Grant Morrison builds the JLA up to be a team of modern-day gods and goddesses, capable of beating literally any threat, only to introduce Prometheus to humble them.
Essentially an anti-Batman with the reverse origin (thieves killed by cops), Prometheus hacks his way onto the JLA Watchtower and takes down the entire expanded roster with ease. Before he can take the League out, a disguised Catwoman reveals herself and hits him with her bullwhip in a... sensitive area. Apparently, that’s all it takes to bring down this formidable threat in a single blow.