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The Best: 10 Heroes and Villains Whose Power is Being The World's Greatest

It really helps to be Special in a superhero universe. Not everyone of note flies around on nuclear magic carpets while shooting enchanted shurikens out of their elbows, though. Some characters get by via supreme skill and talent. Being the World's Best at something is a sort of superpower, of course, but it's also innately interesting. For a lot of readers it makes a character more relatable. They look at Batman, finish their bag of Cheetohs, nod, and mumble "I could do that."

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Of course, we couldn't do that. No matter how hard most of us work, we'll never be the undisputed world's best at anything... and even if we are, it won't last. Comics characters don't age and never lose their edge though. Unless there's an injury-recovery plotline in it for them, that is. That's what's amazing about these heroes and villains. They're the best there is at what they do... forever.

10 Karate Kid (Universe's Greatest Martial Artist)

All superhero universes have great martial artists, and DC's list is particularly impressive. Batman, Lady Shiva, and I-Ching are all impressive warriors whose prowess comes from a combination of hard work, study, and practice. However, they fall short on one important measure: can they pummel a Kryptonian into submission?

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Whether it makes any sense or not, The Legion of Superheroes' Val Armorr sure can! His legit strange power is his mastery of every martial art the 30th Century has to offer, including what he calls "Super Karate," allowing him to damage anything with his bare hands. He proved his mettle against Superboy, winning his admission into the Legion.

9 Taskmaster (World's Greatest Imitator)

Plenty of fictional characters possess a photographic memory. Marvel's villainous Taskmaster has what might be called 'photographic muscle memory.' If he sees someone do something, he can reproduce it. There are some physiological limitations to this skill-- he can't leap miles into the sky just because he saw the Hulk on TV-- but Taskmaster's in peak condition and should be almost as formidable an opponent as his frequent opponent, Captain America.

Taskmaster tends to lose his big battles, though. This is partially just because he's a villain, but can also be chalked up to some built-in limitations. Taskmaster learns specific moves and skills precisely when he sees them. There's no room for environmental adaptation or improvisation in his understanding, just rote repetition of what came before.

8 Captain Boomerang (World's Greatest... Boomerangist?)

One way of being the best in the world is hyper-specificity. Choose something that no one else is very good at and you've got a better chance at an entry in Guinness. That's poor "Digger" Harkness' strategy. As DC's master of boomerangs, he's battled The Flash for decades, which requires incredible chutzpah. There's probably nothing harder than going against The Fastest Man Alive by hurling sticks at him. Admittedly, Harkness does have a certain Green Arrow style to him, having built and mastered numerous trick boomerangs. The most telling of these is his razorang, a murderous villain's weapon if there ever was one.

7 Scaramanga (World's Greatest Marksman)

Super Marksmanship is a remarkably common power in superhero stories. Bullseye, Green Arrow, The Merlin, Trick Shot, The Death Throws, they've all got some disputed claim to their being their world's best. It comes up less often in James Bond, though.

Putting aside the question of whether superspies are equal or less than superheroes, Bond villains are often regarded as being at least Batman-level antagonists. The Man with the Golden Gun's Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee, illustrates this point exceptionally well. He's a world-class killer who never misses a shot. Except when he's fighting Bond, of course, which puts him on Bullseye's "I only miss Daredevil" level, but in a non-superhuman world.

6 Deadshot (World's Greatest Assassin)

By way of contrast, Floyd Lawton is his world's greatest killer. Known as "The Man Who Never Misses," Deadshot is clearly superhuman in some respects. He can stay awake and focused on a single task for 120 hours at a time, and he claims the power to make impossible shots. He's also adaptable. He doesn't restrict himself to guns and uses whatever tools a job requires, including explosives and bare hands.

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Unlike most of the characters on this list, Deadshot's position is disputed in his own world. Deathstroke is also considered-- by some-- as DC's greatest assassin. However, Deathstroke loves to employ large support teams. Whether this makes him a better killer or not is an open question, but "hires help" isn't exactly a superpower. Advantage Deadshot.

5 The Riddler (World's Greatest Cheater)

Edward Nygma is a master tactician, gamesman, puzzler, and-- yes-- riddler. However, the skill he's demonstrated from his origin is that he's the best cheater. He demonstrates this talent from an early age, procuring the answers to a test in order to win a prize and win his father's affection. Even in his first appearance when he lured the Dynamic Duo into a mirror maze with a bomb, he sealed the maze's only exit.

Not surprisingly, the character's been handled unevenly since his first appearance in 1948, but his facility for finding creative ways to cheat has remained relatively consistent. Body-hacks like local anesthetic fall into this category, and even Jim Carrey's Riddler's attempt to steal Gotham's intellect could be seen as a way of cheating his way to the intellectual top. Regardless, it's Nygma's ability to circumnavigate rules that puts him on this list.

4 Mister Terrific (World's Greatest Polymath)

Both Terry Sloane, the original Mister Terrific, and current incarnation Michael Holt were incredibly talented human beings. Child prodigies, they collected skills and (in the latter case) advanced degrees like Pokemon. Neither character is the greatest at a single skill but as multidisciplinary geniuses, there's no one who can match them. There's a parallel between these characters and individuals like Ben Franklin and Davinci except, unlike these examples the Terrifics haven't made the big changes to their worlds you'd expect. Huh.

3 Victor von Doom (World's Greatest Science-Sorcerer)

Doom has spent his career as second best to Reed Richards. It started off as a nonsensical obsession but after decades of failure and frustration, it's reached the point where it actually makes sense for Doom to hate his greatest scientific rival. However, the arrogant dictator of Latveria does have a skill set that Richards can never fathom-- magic!

Of course, he's not Earth's Sorcerer Supreme either. That honor belongs to Stephen Strange. Doom's gone full-on wizard in the past, but he's at his most effective when he combines the two comic book disciplines into unparalleled combinations that both scientific and mystical heroes are stymied by.

2 Dick Grayson (World's Greatest Aerialist)

The original Boy Wonder is full of skills and surprises, but he's usually thought of as second to his mentor, at least. One area that he exceeds even Batman in, though, is aerialism-- flying through the air with the greatest of ease! His circus background and supreme talent combined into a genuine superpower. Not a power most people would take to the streets of Gotham to combat crime, admittedly, but for a hero who spends most of his time swinging between rooftops, it's an excellent match.

Batman always did have an eye for talent.

1 Bruce Wayne (World's Greatest Detective)

Bruce Wayne is another brilliant polymath, the master of countless sciences and disciplines. He's bound to show up on almost any "DC's smartest" list. That said, Lex Luthor's a better inventor and scientist, Lady Shiva can usually best him in single combat, J'onn's a better multitasker, etc. As unstoppable as The Bat is, his truest title is still World's Greatest Detective. Bruce doesn't get to use this as often as he should, but villains like the Riddler give him a regular investigatory workout. His detective work is so impressive that the ghost of Sherlock Holmes has shown up a couple of times, just to watch the new master at work.

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