DC is famous for its terrifying villains. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are iconic characters, but heroes are nothing without an archenemy. Villains like The Joker, Catwoman, Lex Luthor and Captain Cold are just as integral to great comic books as the heroes. Unfortunately for DC, some of their villains are hard misses, and don’t measure up. The ’90s get a bad rap in the world of comics, but true fans can’t forget some of the strange and terrible choices in the 2000s. DC, and the comics market as a whole, was struggling to come back from the mistakes of the ’90s, and sometimes it seems like the solution was wildly overcompensating.
Many DC villains were introduced in the 2000s and not all of them are good, or even memorable. Some had ridiculous outfits, some were weaklings, and some were barely villains at all. Luckily, many of these disappointing baddies were mercifully killed off, or vanished without a trace. Some were dragged along for far too long, and other have been revived on the big screen, with varying results. Like Paris Hilton, velour track suits and trucker hats, these villains are sad remnants of the 2000s that are better off forgotten.
15. CAPTAIN BOOMERANG
The original Captain Boomerang, George “Digger” Harkness, is a classic DC villain introduced in 1960. However, he is not the only one to take the name. In the 2004 event, “Identity Crisis”, George Harkness is killed and his son takes on his identity. Captain Boomerang has the amazing power of throwing boomerangs. He has random bursts of speed, but it’s not impressive. Captain Boomerang was already an outdated villain, struggling to find work, and Owen Mercer taking on the mantle did not help.
The new Captain Boomerang was so bad that his father was reanimated and brought back several times, including a disturbing storyline in which he was brought back as a Black Lantern, and forced his son to feed him other people before cutting out Owen’s heart. Captain Boomerang is a villain that should have died with George “Digger” Harkness.
Zeiss was introduced in Batman in 2000, and created by Ed Brubaker and Scott McDaniel. Brubaker is a Batman legend, but Zeiss was a strange villain that never really lived up to the Batman world. Zeiss is a former mobster turned villain, who has a story similar to Batman’s past. His parents were killed and he was adopted into the mob, where he was convinced to undergo a surgery that altered his spinal column and optic nerves in order to give him superhuman abilities.
However, his newfound powers were too much to handle and he had to wear special goggles, like Geordi la Forge from Star Trek, in order to interpret all the new information. Zeiss had a grudge against Batman that constantly got him into trouble, but a villain that can be defeated by knocking off their glasses is not a believable threat for long.
Agamemno is an interplanetary being created by Terry Dodson and Mark Waid for Silver Age #1 in 2000. Agamemno traveled with his father, conquering planets. After Agamemno’s father died, he continued the mission on his own, and sought to discover three powerful items that would render him the most powerful immortal in the universe, which brought him into contact with the Justice League. With all of his powers of flight, electrokinesis, molecular reconstruction and posession, it seems that he would be unbeatable.
Instead, his master plan is to pull a Freaky Friday scenario and switch the minds of the Justice League with the minds of their archenemies. Not surprisingly, this did not end well, and Agamemno got shoved inside a Green Lantern Power Battery. His greatest legacy is being the inspiration for Batman to come up with contingency plans to take down the other members of the Justice League.
Batzarro is a Bizarro version of Batman, introduced in World’s Finest Comics #156, “The Federation of Bizarro Idiots”. One thing is for sure, he definitely lived up to the “Bizarro Idiot” title. Batzarro is the total opposite of Batman. He, in a dark twist, murdered his own parents and orphaned himself. He has a “Futility Belt” that he wears upside down and backwards, is really loud, and wears an inverted Bat symbol.
The differences between Batman and Batzarro seem strange and arbitrary — Batzarro also has yellow fangs, and does not have any eyes. What they do have in common is gadgets and intellect, though presumably all Batzarro’s gadgets would fall out of his open “Futility Belt” and his intellect is hard to decipher in his Bizarro speech patterns. Batzarro was weird and totally unnecessary, especially considering the presence of another Bizarro Batman, who is completely different.
Preus was a DC villain created by Joe Kelly and Talent Caldwell. Preus first appeared in Adventures of Superman in 2004, where he was introduced as a Sargeant in the Kandorian police corps. Preus is known for being exceptionally racist and not very bright. His entire career was dedicated to opposing “Non-K” citizens and worshiping Superman. Little did he know, his least favorite citizen was none other than Kal-El himself, trapped in Kandor under the illusion that it was Krypton.
When Superman returned to Earth, Preus followed, but Earth’s atmosphere gave him some weird, Superman-like powers. His Xenophobia and racism were his only skills, so he took advantage of the racist Earth-folks and started a white supremacist cult. He was a cheap, racist knockoff Superman who was eventually defeated by the real Superman. The only surprise is that DC took an entire year to kill off this bad idea.
Mongal is the daughter of the first Mongul, and the sister of the second Mongul. She originally showed up in Showcase ’95, but did not make her first named appearance as Mongal until 2001. She and her brother plotted together to take down Superman, and avenge the death of their father. Unfortunately for Mongal, her brother was truly evil. He decapitated her, because he viewed family as a weakness (even though he was almost killed by a Super-Dog and she was a celebrated warrior queen).
Later, her remains are seen, crawling with maggots, after Mongul accepts a Sinestro Corps ring. Mongal barely had a chance to be a villain. She did make an appearance in DC Superhero Girls, so maybe there is some hope for her in the future. It would be good to see her actually get some good use out of the giant energy cannon on her chest.
9. KYLE ABBOT
Kyle Abbot first appeared in Detective Comics, where he was introduced as a henchmen of Ra’s al Ghul. When Ra’s died, Abbot became a bodyguard for his mistress, Whisper, who forced Abbott to take a serum. Kyle Abbott gained the power to turn into a werewolf, and had his eyes disfigured by Whisper’s acid spit. Kyle Abbott helped Whisper interpret passages from the Crime Bible, but when he realized they intended to destroy Gotham, he helped Batwoman, Renee Montoya and Nightwing save the city.
Abbot was still a zealot, though, and he started the True Believers, his own cult based on the Crime Bible. Due to a confusing run-in with a gang of Chinese occultists who worshiped medusa, Abbot was turned to stone and died. Not even his werewolf powers and supposed immortality could save him from that fate.
8. DOUBLE DOWN
Double Down is a weird character who “doubled down” on the worst parts of Marvel’s Gambit. Double Down was created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver in 2001, when he appeared in Flash: Iron Heights. He was once a gambler, but he was a sore loser. He murdered a man who beat him at gambling, and ended up with his opponent’s cursed deck of cards sealing themselves to his skin.
He can control the cards, weaponize them, and maintain some mental control of them after they are off of his body. Double Down recently showed up in the Arrow TV show, with playing cards tattooed onto his skin. This was a slight improvement, but does not erase the fact that Double Down is a ridiculous villain. He spent most of his time in Iron Heights Prison, anyway, so he wasn’t much of a villain at all.
7. QUEEN OF FABLES
Queen of Fables is not an exaggeration; Tsarista, the Queen of Fables, is actually the queen from the story of Snow White and the embodiment of evil in fairy tales. She first appeared in 2000, when DC ripped her out of the pages of the Book of Fables and dropped her into JLA #47. It didn’t take her long to make an enemy of Wonder Woman, who she assumed to be her daughter.
She even put Wonder Woman under a fairy tale sleeping spell, which had to be broken by a kiss from Aquaman (“Prince” of Atlantis). The Evil Queen bothered Wonder Woman and the justice League so much they trapped her in a Tax Code book. The introduction of the Queen of Fables made for some silly Justice League fairy tale stories, but she was never much of a villain, and she definitely never fit into the DC Universe.
Orca is one of the most questionable DC villains of all time. Orca was originally Grace Balin, a Marine Biologist at the Gotham Aquarium. She was in a car accident that left her paralyzed, but she used her resources at the aquarium to perform experiments with Orca tissue, which of course transformed her into an anthropomorphic whale, because that’s how comic book science works.
Of course, also in the vein of comic book science, she developed whale-breasts and turned to a life of crime. Orca was not a great villain; her greatest crime was stealing a diamond and trying to use her earnings to fund projects for the poor. She was eventually found dead in Gotham’s sewers, half-eaten by Killer Croc. In a different world, she and Killer Croc probably could have found a lot in common.
5. TAR PIT
Tar Pit actually started off as a cool villain with an interesting power. He was introduced in The Flash in 2001, as Joey Mallone, the younger brother of a drug lord. Joey spent a few years in Iron Heights Prison, where he discovered that he could astrally project himself into inanimate objects. That seems cool, right? That’s a good villain.
Unfortunately for Joey, he made the mistake of projecting himself into a pile of asphalt, where he got stuck. He probably should have taken a lesson from the woolly mammoths who died in the tar pits, but instead he became a tar-monster bent on evil. He recently showed up in The Flash TV show, but that can’t erase the memory of his flaming chunks of tar, or the time he failed to steal the Stanley Cup.
4. GREAT WHITE SHARK
The Great White Shark is not just a villain with rows of pointy teeth like a shark, he’s also a loan shark. Get it? Warren White was a crook who embezzled money, among other financial crimes, and plead insanity to escape a prison sentence. The judge finds out he paid off the jury, and sentences him to Arkham Asylum, where he can’t pay his way out of being abused by his fellow inmates.
White Shark’s appearance was not the result of any mutation, he was trapped in a freezer at the prison where he turned white, lost his hair and some appendages, and went insane. He emerged, filed his teeth into points, and became the go-to crime guy for Gotham’s villains in need of weapons, automobiles and more. The Shark never learned his lesson, and even The Joker hated him. He was a bad person and a worse villain.
Peek-a-Boo is a DC villain first introduced in a 2002 issue of The Flash. She was never a great villain, but that is mostly attributed to the fact that she never wanted to be a villain at all. She was apprehended and sent to Iron Heights Prison for trying to steal a kidney to save her dying father. Her treatment by so-called heroes is what inspired her to turn to villainy.
Her powers were an issue as well. She could teleport, which sounds great, but her powers were limited. She could only teleport short distances to places she could see, and her teleportations caused small explosions. She also teleports automatically when touched, which is a difficult way to live. Peek-a-Boo never wanted to be a villain, and a villain who can be foiled by turning off the lights is not a very powerful foe.
Talon isn’t a terrible character, he just isn’t much of a villain, and isn’t truly his own character. The second Talon was introduced in Teen Titans, in 2006. Talon is at best a knockoff Robin, and it shows. He is made up to look like his mentor, Owlman (who is a questionable villain himself), but he still just looks like a Robin. It is eventually revealed that there have been several Talons.
The first Talon looks almost exactly like the original Dick Grayson Robin, complete with cute little boots. Talon is not completely uninteresting, but the parallels to Robin are so strong it feels like an unoriginal character. One of the Talons dated Duela Dent, the Joker’s Daughter, which is a gross fate and enough punishment for any villain, even a cheap villain version of Robin.
1. MANCHESTER BLACK
Manchester Black was introduced in 2001, in Action Comics #775. This issue ranked highly on Wizard Magazine‘s list of “100 Best Single Issue Comics Since You Were Born”, but that success is not due to lackluster villain Manchester Black. Black was abused by his parents, and grew up to hate the moral code of heroes.
He joined the Elite, who staged a fight with Superman on Jupiter’s Moon. This caper ended with Black, powerless, weeping on camera after being bested by Superman. Overall, not a great look for a villain. He joined the Suicide Squad, but that plan didn’t work out well for Black, either. He obsessed over Superman until he died, and never did much otherwise. Manchester Black was a bully with a grudge, not a supervillain.
Which of these DC villains from the ’00s were your least favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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