Some of the Best Super Villain Costumes, and Why They’re so Evil!

A follow-up to my previous article Some of the Best Superhero Costumes, and Why They Are so Cool! This time around we have some of the best super villain costumes, and why they are so evil, sinister, scary, villainous, heinous, etc.

Just like my previous article, I understand that taste and art is subjective but these are, I think, the best super villain costumes. For super villains, the costume really has to portray what makes them evil and powerful. This may be intimidation, overwhelming power, the suit matching the personality (or lack thereof) or simply a look of “I’m the bad guy and you better get out of my way.” It may be because of the colors, the pattern, the physicality, or just the best representation of the villain. Let’s start!

#5 VENOM

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I am going to just go ahead and say that this one is a little bit biased, but I can’t not put Venom on this list. Growing up, I always thought Venom was one of the creepiest and coolest villains out there. I love him due to the fact that he is this perverse version of such a “good guy” superhero – Spider-Man. Now, Spider-Man was the #2 pick in my previous post so how could the antithesis of him not look equally kick-ass, right? There is just something so clean and perfectly scary about Venom. It’s the black suit with the blue highlighting accentuating his muscles and the white spider design on the chest that makes him awesome.

Of course, the real piece that sets Venom over the edge is the eyes and mouth. The torn apart look of the Spider-Man eyes is so unsettling. Couple that with his tooth-filled grin, slobber, and long, dripping tongue, and you get something truly terrifying. It’s so simple, but it is really all it needs to be.

#4 LOKI

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Loki has a really gaudy costume but I think it works great for him. It’s classic comic book villainy at its finest. It has no subtlety whatsoever with its bright green and gold colors, overly detailed crown and cape, and magical staff. It fits this sort of high-tech yet medieval look that Thor has in the comics. He doesn’t feel out of place in a fantasy sci-fi world such as Asgard and also fits in well with modern architecture, if not looking a little outlandish in both worlds. But hey, he’s Loki. He can do whatever he wants.

The two pieces that really set him apart from others are his “accessories,” – the giant horns and his staff. They really fit into his devilish and tricky nature, but they don’t necessarily make him feel like a complete bad guy. Yes, Loki is often the villain, but he is still a Norse god, and the opposite of his jock brother, Thor. He exhibits a sorcerous and intellectual threat to Thor’s brute strength and warrior mentality. I think it’s the fact that he is such an opposite to Thor that really makes this costume stand out.

#3 DR. DOOM

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I will admit, I never really liked the Fantastic Four or Dr. Doom a whole lot but it can’t be denied that Doom is one of the most iconic and awesome looking villains in all of comic books. I always say that he is the Darth Vader of comic book villains. He has a metal, stoic, emotionless face, robotic looking body, dark cape, and crushing destructive powers. And it all hides an equally terrifying and messed-up person underneath. This is what super villains are. He almost has a medieval Dungeons and Dragons villain feel to him and that makes him equal parts cheesy and awesome, which I think is perfect for a comic book villain. (yes I am aware D&D came after Dr. Doom, but you get what I mean).

The one downside of his look is the simplicity of his cape and robe. I think that perhaps a special pattern or symbol could have gone a long way to making him more iconic. Then again, in the Fantastic Four universe, there isn’t really anything like him, so he stands out. Not much else needs to be said. He’s a classic.

#2 MAGNETO

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One of my personal favorite characters / villains of all time. Magneto is a complex character but I feel classifying him as a villain is most appropriate. So, on to his costume. Right off the bat, Magneto has a very striking color scheme which doesn’t immediately scream “evil” but it does scream “powerful.” The red and purple combined with the cape and metal helmet really give the sense that Magneto is a truly formidable foe. Whether he is a villain or a hero is irrelevant. Magneto is dominant and his costume lets you know it.

I think the most important part of his costume design choice, and it is brilliant, is the fact that you can see his face. This adds to the emotion and rage of the character. As we all know, Magneto / Eric has some serious emotional issues and these allow him to be as powerful and as sinister as he is in the comics and movies. Allowing us to see his mouth and eyes helps portray his power and intentions, and adds to his villainous appeal. He’s not some faceless bad guy. He’s not some crazy deformed mutant. He looks like a normal man but possesses extreme power, which makes him so terrifying in the context of the X-Men universe.

#1 JOKER

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I firmly believe the Joker is the best villain ever created. This fact is exemplified by his costume. It is insane and perfect for the character. Everything Joker does is some mad twisted version of what a regular person would be. He wears a suit, but it is purple and has pinstripes. He has a coat but it is an old-school coat with tails. He has a clownish but serious look and it is only exemplified by his insane personalty and face. It’s like he is something from a different time, yet it still works in modern context.

More importantly, I think, is that he is the arch-enemy of Batman. In a way, you’d expect them to be reversed – the good guy is a shining exemplar with bright colors and the bad guy is a dark brooding terror. Not so. Joker is the creepy clown. He is happy, crazy, and energetic, which only makes him more terrifying when put in the dreary context of Gotham. I could go on and on about this, but I think you get the point. Joker’s costume perfectly sums up what he is in the greater context of the DC universe, and he is easily one of the most iconic characters every created!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Galactus – I really struggled with not including Galactus. I think his costume is super unique, the colors are striking, and he is definitely powerful looking. There’s just something I don’t like and I can’t put my finger on it. I think it’s his hat. It’s a little silly for a planet-eating super villain and the it makes him look sort of clunky and top-heavy. Maybe it’s just me, but despite all the cool things about him the helmet spikes knock him down a few pegs.

Harley Quinn – Along the same lines as Joker but just not quite as interesting. Mostly due to the fact that she’s stuck playing second fiddle to someone like Joker. I think her costume is great (the comic one, not the slutty modern one) but it just doesn’t stand up when compared to someone like Joker.

Deathstroke – I really don’t like Deathstroke as a character in the DC universe, but dammit, he looks really cool! I always equate him as the DC Punisher, but he has some extra sinister qualities that make him better. The black and orange mask, the ammo pouches, the armor, and the swords and guns. It all makes him look like a total badass. However, he just lacks a lot of the creativity of the other villains. He’s a bit too modern looking to be a ‘classic’ villain. Maybe in time he’ll make his way onto the list.

13 Comments

  1. Le Messor

    “It has no subtlety whatsoever with its bright green and gold colors,”
    Hey! As an Australian, I resent that!
    😀

    “Doom is one of the most iconic and awesome looking villains in all of comic books”
    Somebody recently pointed out to me a picture of a set of Marvel characters, including some guy in a suit. When he told me that’s what Doctor Doom looks like nowadays, my reaction was ‘why do we even have comics anymore?’

    “I always say that he is the Darth Vader of comic book villains.”
    It’s not just you.

    “the fact that she’s stuck playing second fiddle to someone like Joker”
    I don’t think she’s been stuck there for years.

    Try earlier Deathstroke. I first met him in X-Men And The Teen Titans, and he was awesome there. Then, later (for me), his earliest appearances in The Teen Titans were good too (but none lived up to that first one for me).

    1. Spencer Keane

      My Grandma was an Aussie too. No shame in having those bright green and yellow track suits haha. It definitely stands out!

      I wasn’t aware Dr. Doom was in a suit now… that’s downright shameful. Floggings for whoever came up with that idea.

      I guess the second fiddle part for Harley is more accurate to the fact that she’s the second clown bad guy. She’s distinct from Joker, just not in the original “clown” thing.

  2. Edo Bosnar

    Like I said in my last comment, a lot of Ditko’s costume designs come to the fore here: as others and I noted, there’s Mysterio, Green Goblin, Kraven, Vulture, etc.
    Otherwise, though, my favorite villain outfits would be:
    1. Dr. Doom – yes, the design is pretty simple, but all of those elements together, the dark gray armor, the mask, the hood and cape, make for a perfectly villainous look for one of the most formidable villains of all.
    2. Dormmamu – with that flaming head, he is just one of the meanest looking baddies out there.
    3. Hela – Kirby really had a knack for taking what should be ludicrous-looking headgear and making it look awesome, and nowhere is this more apparent than with Hela. She has such a wonderfully striking and menacing look.

  3. M-Wolverine

    Venom is a great use of the costume, but I always think the look looked better on Spider-Man. But no arguments.

    Loki probably wouldn’t bake my list, but to each their own. The fact that he has varied costumes and helmets seems to say it’s not iconic.

    DOOM SHOULD BE #1! NO ONE IS BETTER THAN DOOM!!!

    Joker is basically the set up for all the Bat-villains. Funny that so many of these are Marvel over DC though. Probably some commentary of the creative talent behind it. Also an illustration of the old adage that Stan Lee made clear that super heroes are the primary colors, and bad guys are the green and purples of the spectrum.

    I think Galactus misses the cut by first appearing in short shorts. Harley Quinn can’t make the cut because they’ve completely done away with her look. For the worse.

    My didn’t make the cut mentions-

    Professor Zoom. Just like the Spider-Man/Venom reversal, something iconic as the Flash, done even better in yellow.

    Bullseye. Sleek, dark, and logo. And while they’d never work in real life, white gloves and boots always work in comics.

    And my odd ball great look- Taskmaster. Somehow makes those colors work, and was rocking the hoodie before Skeletor.

    Im probably forgetting some great ones.

  4. DudeistMonk

    I’ve always loved Hobgoblin’s look. Take elements of Green Goblin + changes in colours + shadow causing hood = Totally evil and badass.

    And seconded on the Reverse Flash uniform. “I’m just like you, Flash, but eeeeevviillllll!”

    Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke is beyond awesome, btw. No, I will not countenance a rebuttal.

    1. M-Wolverine

      Ohhh, Hobgoblin is another good one. If you take all its elements individually it shouldn’t work (mostly orange, yellow face, a hoodie) but put them together and it so does. And yeah, the fact that you can shadow the face and just have the red eyes show does make it bad ass.

  5. Jeff Nettleton

    Aw, how can you leave out Black Adam? This guy had the perfect counterpoint costume to Captain Marvel, and looked evil. Even better, he was far more complex than everyone, from the get go, in the 40s. He was Shazam’s first champion; but was corrupted by power. He was unstoppable; but, so arrogant that a fool was able to trick him. That look made him memorable from the moment he set foot back on Earth, to the point he grabbed Geoff Johns’ fancy and he turned him into a “‘Tweener”

    1. Spencer Keane

      Black Adam was definitely up for contention. I just felt that some of these other ones were more well-known and had a more BAM in your face look. However, as far as BEST overall villains go, I think Black Adam could make the list.

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