Top 13 Super-Villain TeamsTo celebrate the first Friday-the-13th of 2007, Evil Inc is proud to present a list of the Top Thirteen Super-Villain Groups in comics. Super-villain groups have matured from lame plot-device to gripping drama. Instead of throwing a group of bad guys together to simply challenge a super-hero (or heroes), comic-book writers have discovered that the interplay between the villains make engaging storytelling. And, judging from villain-centric books such as Villains United and Thunderbolts, readers agree.
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13. Legion of Super-Villains: The team was originally comprised of Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen, Radiation Roy, Ron-Karr, Spider Girl and Nemesis Kid with the objective being a school for super-villains. The team was formed by Tarik the Mute, who had suffered irreparable damage to his vocal cords during a battle between the Science Police and who subsequently developed a pathological hatred of law and order. Any team formed by a man with Homicidal Laryngitis deserves the lowest position on this list. The second incarnation of the group (pictured to the right) was headed by Nemesis Kid (What? --"Villain Boy" was already taken?), and it was the more successful team.
12. Fearsome Foursome: Made up of Devos the Devastator, Huntara, Klaw, and Paibok the Power-Skrull, they worked together against both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. They hold to record for silliest team name -- and would have surely occupied the Number 13 slot if there had been any angry mutes on the team.
11. Rogues: Led by Flash-nemesis Captain Cold, these arch-enemies of the Scarlet Speedster actually have a code of conduct which includes an anti-drug clause. Funny, seems to me that, when battling the Flash, a little "Speed" might be in order.
10. Serpent Society: It was a group of super-villains in which the sole qualification for membership was basing your criminal exploits on a snake theme.
Villain: "Hisssss. Hisss hisssss."
Cobra: "Let me tell you about our dental plan."
Its members have included Sidewinder, the original Viper, his brother the Eel, the Cobra, the second Viper (who was also formerly Madame Hydra), Princess Python, Krang, Anaconda, Black Mamba, Death Adder, the Asp, Diamondback, Constrictor, the Rattler, Cottonmouth, and Bushmaster. Heck, they even call their little hideout the "Serpent Citadel." They were going to name it the "Viper Pit" but Anaconda threw a hissy fit. A hissy fit. Get it? Anyway, I'm all for a theme and everything, but there's a point at which you just have to say "enough." And these guys passed that point about ten snakes ago.
And so have I, so...
9. Sinister Syndicate: The villains who didn't make the cut for the Sinister Six were left to form the Sinister Syndicate. Organized by the Beetle, the original syndicate included Boomerang, Hydro-Man, Rhino, and Speed Demon. Villains who didn't make the cut for either Sinister Six or Sinister Syndicate were left to form the Sinister Support-Group, which meets on the first Tuesday of every month in the basement of the American Legion Hall on 48th Street.
8. Brotherhood of Evil Mutants: Besides the fact that the name conjurs an image of unionized bad guys, the Brotherhood was a formidible force against the X-Men. Assembled by Magneto, the team has gone through eleven roster changes. This team has become much more than the standard line-up with a goal of world domination; they've become a politically-powerful unit of social change. And that's where the real money is.
7. Injustice Society: Brought together by Johnny Sorrow, this team originally consisted of Killer Wasp, the Icicle, Blackbriar Thorn, Geomancer, Count Vertigo and the Tigress. Despite the considerable fire-power and ruthlessness of this group of individuals, they were defeated single-handledly by Wildcat when they invaded the Justice Society's New York headquarters. Despite this degrading fact, the present incarnation of the Injustice Society, as presented in their run in the JSA Classified #5-7, is not only a terrifying powerhouse, but it has one of the most engaging group dynamics in super-villain teamwork today.
6. Sinister Six: Doctor Octopus organized former wall-crawler foes Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman, and the Vulture. Octavius' "foolproof plan" amounted to the kidnapping of Betty Brant and May Parker, which enraged the wall-crawler into fighting form. Unfortunately, the Six made the unfortunate decision to battle the web-head individually. Despite those flaws, Spider-Man has one of the best Rouges Galleries in comics history, and these are some of the best Web-Head baddies in the business. Good enough to make us look past the corny team name.
5. Luthor's Secret Society of Super-Villains: Alexander Luthor, Jr. posing as Lex Luthor, along with five other supervillains -- Calculator, Dr. Psycho, Deathstroke, Talia al Ghul, and Black Adam -- formed the core of the latest incarnation of the Secret Society. However, the actual membership of the Society grew to over 500 -- many of whom were coerced into joining -- which is as it should be, with super-villain groups.
4. Legion of Doom: Banded together from remote galaxies... (OK, only two of them weren't from Earth), these Saturday-morning cartoon favorites from the animated "Challenge of the Super Friends" TV show were the very definition of a super-villain team to many present-day comics fans. The roster consisted of Bizarro, Black Manta, Brainiac, Captain Cold, Cheetah, Giganta, Gorilla Grodd, Lex Luthor, Riddler, Scarecrow, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy, and Toyman. And, thanks, to Alex Ross' series "Justice," they're proving to be much more formidable than those early days of making themselves into giants and using a slingshot to send their nemeses to Saturn.
3. Masters of Evil: The Masters of Evil is one of the largest and longest-running alliances of super-villains in Marvel Universe history, led by assorted criminal masterminds and comprised of an ever-changing membership ranging from minor thugs to major menaces. It's history dates clear back to WWII. The Masters reached its apex under Baron Zemo who assembled the following baddies to sqaure off against the Avengers: Absorbing Man, Titania, Moonstone, Grey Gargoyle, Screaming Mimi, Yellowjacket, Blackout, Bulldozer, Fixer, Goliath, Mister Hyde, Piledriver, Thunderball, Tiger Shark, Wrecker, and Whirlwind. They nearly beat Hercules to death and forced Cap to watch them hand out a thrashing to faithful Avengers butler, Jarvis. The Masters of Evil has provided the nucleus from which the Thunderbolts were sprung.
2. Secret Six: The Secret Six, a rag-tag group of second-rate baddies, formed the most serious threat to Luthor's Secret Society. Led by Catman, the members are Deadshot, Cheshire, Ragdoll, Scandal Savage, Knockout, and Parademon. Fiddler was a member for about five minutes before meeting his timely demise. The Mad Hatter joined later, replacing Cheshire (who betrayed the Six). The interpersonal play among these characters make their adventures more of a family drama than action adventure. They are the Fantastic Four of the black-hat set. Throw in hot girl-on-girl action between Knockout and Scandal Savage, and you have everything you need to elevate a group of B-listers to A-list group status.
...and the Number One Super-Villain Team in comics is...
1. Thunderbolts: Under Green Goblin, the Thunderbolts team includes Songbird, Bullseye, Lady Deathstrike, Taskmaster, Venom, Moonstone, Radioactive Man, and Swordsman. What makes this team exceptional is that they're all registered under the Superhuman Registration Act, making them completely legal villains. They know what we here at Evil Inc have known for years: "You can do more evil when you do it legal."