Back in 1978, the folks at DC got together with ABC and released a television series called Challenge of the Superfriends. The series lasted only 16 episodes, but featured some of the most important characters throughout the DC Universe. People born long after the series went off the air are familiar with it and that’s mostly due to it airing on television until 2009. While the series featured the Justice League and all of its stand-out characters, including Superman, Aquaman, the Green Lantern and others, one of the biggest introductions made in the series was the Legion of Doom. The Legion of Doom was the antithesis of the Justice League featuring all the biggest enemies of the heaviest hitters from the Justice League.
Opposing the Flash were Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd, while Wonder Woman was confronted by the likes of Cheetah and Giganta. The original roster included 13 members, but the Legion of Doom has since been adapted into the comics, which have introduced additional members. We thought it would be fun to look back at the old Hannah Barbara cartoons and some of the books to see how these villains stacked up against one another. When trying to determine who was the strongest of them all for this ranking, we focused on the characters in the actual cartoon, not their comic book versions. Perhaps to appeal to a younger audience, many of them were watered down and are not necessarily as powerful as their comic book counterparts. With that, we present the most powerful members of the Legion of Doom!
The Toyman from Challenge of the Superfriends is not the same character appearing in comics at the time. That Toyman was named Winslow Schott while the animated version was based off the Jack Nimball who usurped the original Toyman’s identity. He dresses as a court jester and can be more of a nuisance than a legitimate threat.
In terms of powers, Toyman has none, but what he does have are a particular set of skills when crafting a deadly arsenal of gizmos and gadgets. Unlike his comic book counterpart, he is less a villain of Superman and instead more of a Batman rogue, seeing as he enjoys setting up elaborate devices using a gimmick involving deadly toys.
The Riddler is easily Batman’s most intelligent foe. He is also the third smartest member of the Legion of Doom behind Brainiac and Lex Luthor, but he uses his intelligence in relatively ridiculous ways. As a Batman rogue, he employs various gimmicks to thwart his foe, but this usually ends in his defeat.
The Riddler creates riddles, puzzles and traps to attack and deter Batman as well as the other members of the Justice League. He’s as high as he is on this list due to his intelligence, but without powers of his own, he is low on the power scale. Were he to utilize his intelligence in more overt ways, he could become quite deadly.
Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman’s deadliest foes who is a bit different in Challenge of the Superfriends than she is on the printed page. In the series, she looks like a regular human when not wearing her cheetah suit. She does possess elongated claws that are capable of piercing metal, though!
Cheetah’s skills as a gymnast also make her a deadly foe in hand-to-hand combat. She has been a constant enemy of Wonder Woman, but is less of a threat to some of the other members of the Justice League. Her inclusion in the Legion of Doom certainly ups her game on the animated series, but she is less-powerful than many of the other members on the team.
Professor Jonathan Crane was obsessed with fear at an early age. As he matured, he turned his understanding of fear into a profession by teaching psychology. Crane was something of an outcast due to his lanky appearance and strange mannerisms, which only pushed him further to the fringes of society. He decided to become a criminal who used fear to intimidate and attack his enemies.
The Scarecrow quickly became one of Batman’s worst enemies who ironically used the same practices of fear and intimidation the Dark Knight uses against his foes. He joined the Legion of Doom to become a thorn in the sides of the rest of the Justice League and to spread his fear to other do-gooders. He’s a brilliant scientist and has the ability to instill fear via his various devices and gasses.
11. CAPTAIN COLD
The Captain Cold presented in Challenge of the Superfriends is unique to the animated universe in that he differs significantly from the comic book version. He is an adaptation who was clearly designed to look exactly like what a child might expect to see when they pictured a guy named Captain Cold. He has blue skin, wears cold-weather clothing and shoots a freeze ray.
Captain Cold’s weapon of choice, the aptly named Cold Gun is the reason he places so highly on this list. As a Flash villain, he has contended with the likes of the Scarlet Speedster on numerous occasions and has caused significant damage. His weapon can stop all movement by reducing temperatures in a target to absolute zero, and as such, is deadly and accurate in his hands.
Giganta is what her name implies: she’s a woman who can grow to become a 50-foot tall giant. She acquired this power after stealing a magic powder from Apache Chief, a superhero who only used it for good. After stealing the powder, she made herself the tallest and strongest woman on Earth, which naturally meant she had to become evil!
Giganta joined the Legion of Doom primarily as an enemy of Wonder Woman, whom she battles frequently in the comics. With her increased size, her strength grows to compensate, as does her durability. Her enhanced strength is what allows her to contend with the likes of Wonder Woman. She is easily one of the strongest members of the Legion of Doom, even if you can see her coming a mile away.
9. SOLOMON GRUNDY
Solomon Grundy began life as a man, but ended up face-down in a swamp many years ago. He was revived by a mysterious force deep within the ground and returned to life as a giant zombie with strength comparable to that of Superman. His name was taken from a popular nursery rhyme:
“Solomon Grundy, Born on a Monday, Christened on Tuesday, Married on Wednesday, Took ill on Thursday, Grew worse on Friday, Died on Saturday, Buried on Sunday, That was the tale, Of Solomon Grundy.”
His true name is not known, but he remains a powerful foe to the Justice League and is capable of causing extensive destruction. Grundy is relatively slow-witted (depending on the incarnation; he has been deviously smart in the comics) and is better being led than taking a leadership role. This places him somewhat low on the list despite his incredible strength and durability.
8. KILLER FROST
Long after the 1970s, the DC Animated Universe maintained a version of the Legion of Doom under the name The Secret Society. Within this society existed dozens of familiar DC villains, including Killer Frost, who is one of the Flash’s deadliest enemies.
This version of the character appeared in the animated series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. She was a member of the Secret Society under the leadership of Gorilla Grodd and had a power-set similar to the one depicted in the comics. Killer Frost has the ability to absorb heat from outside sources and convert it into blasts of intense cold energy. She uses this to freeze objects and enemies with deadly accuracy.
Bizarro is an imperfect duplicate of Superman, which is evident when looking at him. His skin is white and blocky, he has a backwards “S” on his chest and his powers are similar, but opposite to Supes’ own. Everything he does is counter to what he should be doing, which works out as a sort of gimmick, but that also means unlike Superman, he is pure evil.
In the comics, he eventually tried being good, but on the animated series, he was definitely a bad guy. As a duplicate of Superman, he is incredibly strong, durable and has similar superpowers. He is susceptible to blue Kryptonite, but is otherwise invulnerable. He isn’t as smart as Superman and appears dim-witted at times, which is why he isn’t higher .
6. GORILLA GRODD
Gorilla Grodd is an enlarged intelligent ape armed with numerous supergorilla abilities. He has strength comparable to a gorilla of his size (which is significantly greater than a human), possesses a genius-level intellect, can control people’s minds via telepathy and has significant telekinetic abilities. Grodd is a natural leader and one of the Flash’s greatest enemies.
Grodd isn’t as powerful in the animated series as he has in the comics and live-action Arrowverse. That being said, he is still one of the strongest and most intelligent members of the Legion of Doom. His exile from Gorilla City drives him and he will stop at nothing to attain his goals… even if he has to go through the Justice League to do so.
5. BLACK MANTA
Black Manta is the arch-nemesis of Aquaman who uses the ocean and its denizens against his foe. He is a highly-skilled mechanical engineer who also possesses deadly hand-to-hand combat skills. Black Manta’s suit is what makes him a truly deadly foe. It offers him the ability to survive in an aquatic environment completely submerged for an indefinite period of time.
Black Manta also has superhuman strength and durability when wearing his suit, can fly via jets in his boots, scramble telepathic attacks and can even shoot laser beams from his eyes. He’s methodical, intelligent and deadly. In addition to his suit’s enhancements, he also utilizes a number of deadly weapons against his foes, though this isn’t as common in the animated series as it is in the comics.
4. LEX LUTHOR
Alexander “Lex” Luthor is easily one of the most intelligent people in the DC Universe. As Superman’s greatest foe on Earth, Luthor has implemented numerous tactics to take on the Last Son of Krypton. He is the one who formed the Legion of Doom in the first place so he understands the use of forming a team when his foe is more powerful than he is.
Luthor is as high on this list as he is due to his overwhelming intellect and drive to accomplish his goals. While he is often imprisoned, he always finds a way to escape and cause trouble for the Man of Steel. As the Legion of Doom’s founder and principal leader, he has the skills to accomplish any task he sets his mind to, which makes him one of the deadliest villains on the show and, in general, within the comics.
Brainiac is one of Superman’s greatest enemies. He is an android who looks like a male human with some funky computer equipment attached to the top of his head. He was constructed by Professor Hecla from the planet Mega to gather specimens from the planet Earth. Before making his way to Earth, he stopped by Krypton and stole the city of Kandor, which he shrank and put into a bottle.
On Earth, he joined forces with the Legion of Doom and became a constant enemy to the Justice League. He has the ability to construct impenetrable force fields not even superman can break. Additionally, he also has superhuman strength, durability and is incomprehensibly intelligent, making him significantly more dangerous than most other members of the Legion of Doom.
Sinestro was once considered to be the greatest Green Lantern, but he rebelled against the Corps and formed his own via his Yellow Power Ring. There are some significant character differences between the comic book and animated versions of the character, but both are immensely powerful due to their skills in the use of the Power Ring.
His appearance in the cartoon and the comics favors a costume change, but the overall appearance of the character is similar. Sinestro joined the Legion of Doom so he could join forces with like-minded individuals and finally take on the Green Lantern. His powers and abilities make him one of the deadliest members of the Legion of Doom.
1. BLACK ADAM
Unlike many of the others found on this list, Black Adam did not appear in the 1978 animated series. He was brought into the Legion of Doom for the 2006 miniseries, Justice, written by Jim Krueger with pencils and cover art by Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite. Black Adam is one of Shazam’s arch-nemeses and is significantly more powerful than his animated team-members.
Black Adam possesses superhuman stamina, strength, speed and invulnerability. He also can control magical lightning, is a genius and is proficient in hand-to-hand combat. He has been both a villain and an anti-hero in the comics, but was nowhere near the side of good when he joined forces with Lex Luthor as a member of the Legion of Doom in Justice.
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