Name your Favorite Villains

Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Lorrelian, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Villains are an important part of any story. In fact, they are often designed to be more striking and memorable than protagonists, who frequently are left more bland and nondescript so that a wider variety of people can sympathize with them. So, out of curiosity, I thought I'd ask, what are your favorite villains? Here are a few of mine:

    From Video Games
    Kefka, FF 3/6
    Kefka was one mean little SOB. From his beginnings as a lowly civil servant to his ascent to near deification, it was clear that this guy was a stone cold killer, without empathy or any other human weakness. And the man could hate. While his choice of dress and makeup was odd, to say the least, when he came to wield the full power of the gods of magic there was no denying his power.
    Kefka strikes me as a memorable villain for three reasons. First, he starts out manifestly weaker than any of the characters the player plays as. He achieves his power through a combination of guile, intelligence and betrayal, rather than starting as some sort of inexorable opponent. Second, he actually breaks and defeats the heroes at a critical point. While many RPGs force players into unwinnable situations early on, Kefka defeats the player when he is about 2/3rds of the way into the game. Third, he has the greatest line I've ever seen from a video game villain. How much did he hate, again?

    Honorable Mention: Lavos, Chrono Trigger
    Lavos was a Lovecraftian horror that tried to eat the planet and could only be beaten by traveling through time. How awesome is that? Even today, you almost never see Lovecraftian tropes used in video games. And Lavos also beats the party at a key juncture that's not in the first 30 minutes of gameplay.

    From Comics
    The Adversary, Bill Willingham's Fables
    Since the identity of the Adversary is a big mystery in the series, I won't spoil it if you don't read Fables. Suffice it to say that The Adversary is powerful, mysterious, ambitious and horrificly cruel. It's hard to do a remote menace well for any length of time but Willingham sure pulled it off. The best part? Even once you knew who The Adversary was, he remained an incredibly sinister figure, exerting power and menace even in person, a remarkable achievement given who he was. Ultimately he serves as a dire example for anyone who would dream of playing God with the lives of others.

    Honorable Mention: The Plutonian, Mark Waid's Irredeemable and Incorruptible
    The Plutonian is technically the protagonist of Irredeemable, so I'm not sure he entirely qualifies for this thread. But he is evil. And crazier than bat guano. But the very best part? The fact that he used to be his world's Superman. Just watching how twisted the whole scenario gets is pretty entertaining.

    From Movies
    Doc Ock, Spiderman 2
    Unlike most of my other favorite villains, Doc Ock is more of a tragic figure, corrupted by the technology he used when an experiment went awry. That gives him a different kind of appeal. That said, he was cool visually, he fought believably (for a guy with four extra limbs) and he produced some of the greatest slo-mo shots I've seen. That car flying through the diner window? Pure gold. His fights have that over the top feel of comic books but are well choreographed enough to be ballet.
    Doc Ock also brings a personal element to the table. While Peter Parker knows all of the people turn out to be villains in his world, he seems to have known and respected Otto Octavius the best. Norman Osborn was Harry's dad, sure, and they got along OK, but they really didn't seem to mesh in the geeky, share-the-dreams kind of way Peter and Otto did. That personal connection, plus the fact that Peter knew who Doc was the whole time, makes the struggle between the two much harder and more interesting to watch.

    Honorable Mention: Sir Basil Rathbone, The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Mark of Zorro
    OK, OK, Basil Rathbone isn't exactly a villain. He was the actor who portrayed both Guy of Gisbourne and Captain Esteban in the films I mentioned above. If you've never seen them, They're worth checking out just to see some of Hollywood's best character actors doing what they do best.
    Rathbone's portrayal of both characters epitomizes what makes for a swashbuckling villain. For starters, he's intense. When Rathbone is on the screen he almost always feels like a coiled spring, just waiting to lash out and cut someone. There's an air of imminent violence that says, Do Not Mess With Me. On top of that, he's charming. While not hansom in the classic sense, he does manage a certain amount of like-ability to mask his killer instinct. But most of all, he's got the skills. There were no stunt doubles back in the day. He actually hauls that broadsword around himself, does all the stunts and fights knuckle to knuckle with Tyrone Powers and Errol Flynn. In an age where slo-mo camera work and sometimes-ridiculous choreography makes many action films feel almost forced, the sheer speed and martial competence of the sword work in these films is quite refreshing.
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  2. DavidB1111

    DavidB1111 Member

    I really need to read that book.

    Warning: Long text is long, and if this does bother anyone, I will attempt to trim it down.
    Also, Superboy Prime called, he totally went insane first and he was our world's Superman. More on that later. :) "You're ruining everything! You're ruining me! I'll kill you, I'll kill you to death!"

    My favorite villains would have to be, from games first, and it's not a long list, but it's close.
    FF3/6's Kefka, because insane clowns who basically became a God, albeit in need of a comb, and can wipe the floor with Sephiroth are all kinds of awesome. And he pretty much is my number one villain in games hands down.
    Sephiroth is next on the list, because he did kill one of your party members completely and utterly in a cutscene on the first disc of all freaking things. Also, awesome sword, and causes the sun to go supernova as his final attack, while destroying most of the planets first. Kefka uses Goner, but he doesn't cause a Supernova. :)

    Next on the list is Ultimeshia, and I can't spell her name at all. From FF8, super evil Sorceress who uses Time Compression to end the world, and has an ally who you can name halfway through the game.
    Seriously, you could call Griever, "Cthulu." and it will change all the text in the game to represent that.
    Also, the reigning theory is that she's actually Rinoa, who after living for a thousand years gets bitter and lonely, and slowly sinks into madness. She lost Squall after he died of old age, don't you think you would go insane living for 1000 years in a world filled with people who still hate you?
    Also, again, Griever, the necklace, the ability to name him, oh, yeah, it's her.

    From comics: Darkseid, because Superman always needed a villain that was for all intensive purposes a God. He invaded Mt. Olympus, beat up the Greek Pantheon, got pushed out by Superman, Wonder Woman, and company, and when he's not doing insane things like that, he teleports into your house and sits on your couch, and drinks your brandy.
    He's not a considerate guest.
    Also, he once got mugged to see what it was like. Yes, wearing a trenchcoat of all things prevented the mugger from seeing a 8 foot 6 inch tall giant. He's "good" like that. He also read Mein Kampf while sitting in a comfy chair. More like Mein Kampfy Chair. :)

    Also, he likes Earth pornography, but let's not discuss that particular comic because it's bad. That's actually canon before the reboot, since it happened in the modern Age. Instead of before Crisis on Infinite Earths where everything got changed.
    Also, Darkseid is capable of crying, and once had John Lennon's hairstyle. Which on him was blue.
    He also originally was going to be a good guy, until his mother killed the only woman he ever loved, turning him pure evil, and sent the assassin to kill his mother.
    Also, first appearance was in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olson number 134, by writer Jack Kirby. Before he left Marvel to work for DC, he would have turned him into a Thor villain.

    Superboy Prime, now that's a villain who you love to hate when you read about him. Responsible for the retcon punch, where he fractured the walls of reality itself, by punching on them, until a ton of things reset and went crazy.
    Jason Todd came back from the dead, because why not...there were multiple origin stories of Donna Troy, all sorts of goofy things.

    Originally a human being from our Earth, he grew up reading Superman comics, watching those lovable old movies, being a fan, gained Superman's powers from Hailey's comet passing by, joined the multiverse, helped out Superman and company until he accidentally punched a person head off and went insane. Although, that just was the tipping point. He was slowly becoming crazy before then.
    Invicible to magic, one of Superman's major weaknesses, resistant to Kryptonite, and even somewhat resistant to a red sun, although it does weaken him.
    Probably one of Superman's most dangerous enemies, because even several Flashes combined couldn't keep him in the Speed Force long enough to stop him. He broke out of containment of a red sun eater, from inside a Kryptonite cage, guarded by 32 Green Lantern members.
    Also, he saved the multiverse during Blackest Night, because why not. Geoff Johns, I question this.

    He theoretically could handle a fight against Doomsday better than Superman. He could also probably hold his own against Silver Age Superman for a little longer than even Darkseid.
    Yes, Silver Age Superman was that powerful. Darkseid once broke Modern Era Superman's Jaw. He couldn't scratch Silver Age Superman if they fought.
    Silver Age Superman could also roll Doomsday up into a ball and use him as a basketball, once he learned of Doomsday's never dying thing.

    Yes, I'm a nerd.
    Also, to answer the age old question, Goku would not win in a fight, because he doesn't exploit Superman's weakness to magic. Maybe his ultimate attack being used non-stop could hurt Superman a little. Spirit bomb, something like that?
    Also, they're both good guys, so any fight would be a friendly contest.
  3. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I'm probaby a bit older than you guys and I've never heard of a few of these, but I'll still mention a few of my favorites:
    1. From Wild Cards (a comic-book inspired shared universe series created and edited by George R. R. Martin):
    The Astronomer --
    2. From the old Batman television series -- The Riddler, primarily because he was played by Frank Gorshin . Batman was a really corny television series, but the guest villains really turned it into something special. There were lots of really good ones, but Frank Gorshin's Riddler was genius. Gorshin was better known at the time as a stand-up comic who specialized in impressions.
    3, Blofeld from the James Bond books -- in the movies he's been played by multiple actors of varying quality: Telly Savalas, Donald Pleasance, Max von Sydow, and Charles Gray have all played him fairly differently. But the literary version is still the quintessential Bond villain that all others must be compared to.
  4. DavidB1111

    DavidB1111 Member

    I'm 29 years old for what it's worth. Sometimes I feel like I'm twice that. :)
    And yeah, Frank Gorshin was amazing as the Riddler.
    He also voiced a few people in Diablo II, Marius and Lysander.
    So every time Marius said "Always to the East." you are hearing the Riddler.
    It's also interesting to note when Lysander is talking about missing those Harem girls, for their conversations of course, that it's the Riddler speaking. I think the Riddler wouldn't complain about hanging around with Harem Girls. :)

    The Riddler was always an interesting Batman villain, especially later when he reformed and became more of an anti-hero.
    I don't know if that happened before or after Bane settled down and became a nice guy. :)
    "Sorry about breaking your spine, Batman." "I was also turned into a newt. I got better."

    I do have to admit I prefer the Silver Age Batman and Superman friendship. They actually were good friends. It seems DC forgot that they should have been, so they made them not the best of friends in more modern times.
  5. Tycho

    Tycho Member

    Definitely agreeing with the Kefka choice. Personal favorite of mine: the Master, from Fallout. Richard Grey - brilliant man, cast out into the wastes, gets knocked into a vat of goo and emerges as a telepathic being with more brainpower than the miserable remnants of the human race in its entirety and tries to redeem humankind and end warfare, bigotry and pretty much every other horrid vice endemic to humanity. Unfortunately, he tries to do it by attempting to effectively destroy humankind itself and remake it - and that doesn't sit well with some. He's arguably completely insane, and yet you can't entirely fault his logic. And he can be reasoned with.
  6. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I've been playing computer games for ages, and honestly, not a single computer game villain has ever come to mind as being memorable enough to include on the list (even the Master, who I would never have remembered at all, if you hadn't mentioned him).

    In any case, with the exception of "Sandman" and "Watchmen", I never really got into the DC books. I did have a brief flirtation with Marvel starting in my college days. Comics were a good way to decompress at the campus coffee house, after long hours studying. I kind of read them for about a year or two past that, but lost interest when Sandman wrapped up. Back then, I'd say my favorite villain would have been Kingpin -- maybe its because I simply went for the more grounded, less over-the-top villains at that time. That said, I did enjoy the whole Phoenix saga with Dark Phoenix (Jean Gray) as a villain.
  7. klaymen_sk

    klaymen_sk Member

    Kane from C&C series. While EA made it go down the drain, Joe Kucan is still the charismatic leader of mutants and other outcasts against the rich oppressors, GDI.

    Sindri Myr from Dawn of War - narcisstic, self-centered, slimy and treacherous sorcerer of the Alpha Legion who betrayed his master to be able to ascend to daemonhood.
  8. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Emhyr van Emreis from "The Witcher". Because I like his motives and involvement in the backstory (and no, I won't give you more details; go read the books if you are interested).

    Also Sauron from "The Lord of the Rings". Yes, he was kind of useless when it came to actually achieving anything worth mentioning (even more so in the movies), but the same as in the case above, his involvement in the backstory is interesting.

    And from the Final Fantay series, Kuja. I don't really know why, but I always liked him as a villain. Perhaps because of the motives, or perhaps because he is amusing.
  9. DavidB1111

    DavidB1111 Member

    If you're interested, you can check out the Lucifer comics series by Mark Carey, based on Neil Gaiman's introduction of him, into a new series of adventures. It's a rather interesting look at God's Lamp Lighter as he's called.
    Mostly because he initiated the first stars to form by compressing the hydrogen atoms with the power of his mind. :)
    Near Omnipotence is useful. :)
    But really, it's a nice series.
  10. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    I had to search for a while myself in terms of games. Darth Nihilus from KOTOR was memorable for me. His background was pretty interesting, even though you only fight him once and it ends pretty quickly.
  11. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Tolkien managed to create a big bad there who's presence is always felt, especially through the second half of the third book, as Frodo and Sam get closer to Mount Doom. He never actually appears directly , but you know he's there. I see that as a very clever achievement. It turns him from what could easily have been an over-the-top charicature, into a truly forboding and unimaginable evil.
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  12. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Sauron is another classical incarnation of a distant menace. Unlike The Adversary, he's never brought into focus, which I think was actually a good choice on Tolkien's part, as it kept him more as a primal force than a direct threat.

    You know what's odd? I'm a writer, and I've read a lot, but I don't really have any particularly stand out villains I can think of from literature. Sauron was extremely well done, but other than the powerful imagery of a lidless eye, its hard to really pin down anything that's characteristic of him. I'll have to think on it a bit and see if I can think of a good villain from the books I've read...
  13. Kaidelong

    Kaidelong Member

    Raito Yagami of course. One of the few manga I could really appreciate, at least at first. Telling the story from the villain's point of view in particular was handy for understanding his motivations and the nature of his insanity.
  14. Quarky

    Quarky Member

    I've always liked villains that aren't actually evil, but are villains because of a certain point of view or scenario.
    A good is example of this is, yes, GLaDOS. I've always liked her as a villain, though that may just be because of my slight Portal/Valve fanboyishness. In Portal, GLaDOS was really just the villain, but in Portal 2, I liked how she was still a 'villain', still kind of mean, even when you teamed up with her and she felt compassion.

    In a similar way, I've always thought HAL 9000 was a great villain because he wasn't. His evilness was the fault of his programmers, not him, and I think the fact that at the end of the book/movie I felt bad for him really shows how great of a character he was.

    Villains who were bad because of point of view: the androids from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? You could tell that what the androids were doing was the 'right' thing, but they were the antagonists of the story, because they had killed to escape what was just slavery for them, and Deckard was only doing his job. (Also, I liked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep way better than Blade Runner.)

    TL;DR: Turns out I like robot antagonists.
  15. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    The line between antagonist and villain is difficult to parse. For the purposes of this thread, I think they're pretty much the same. That's really the biggest reason why the Plutonian isn't my favorite villain from comics- he's the "protagonist" of Irredeemable, even though his actions are very evil. Whether he proves to be a Dorian Grey kind of protagonist or not is an open question. Even in Incorruptible, while the Plutonian's actions resonate he isn't really the primary antagonist (at least, not yet). Really, in that series, the protagonist is almost his own worst enemy, an interesting approach for what is essentially a superhero comic.
  16. Quarky

    Quarky Member

    I think, and I didn't use this in my post, but antagonist is more definite than villain. The antagonist is really the person, people, or thing(s) that fight for opposite causes or against the protagonist, who is the person, people or thing(s) who the book/movie/video game follows. Of course, if the story follows both sides of a struggle, this is thrown out he window. On the other hand, the villain isn't really as strictly defined. The villain is the person who's evil. Then you get into what is evil? Do the ends justify the means? etc, etc. But yeah, little tangent aside, it's probably best if they're the same thing for the purpose of this thread.
  17. Kaidelong

    Kaidelong Member

    Oh dear ;.; I nominated a villain protagonist.
  18. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Yeah, Raito definitely falls into that category. But one thing I want to hear about is how you see villains in the stories you read. As a writer it's very useful to know about and it also just makes for good discussion, IMHO. So don't worry about it! In this thread, any villain evil enough to stand out is good! Or something...
  19. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Not reading the thread, just purely responding to the title:

    Eris, Ursula, Eris, Maleficent, Eris, and Eris (yes, Disney villains. Eat me.). These three are the archetypal manipulative bitch-villans that are just the best in the biz. Guess which one is the best of the best. Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn sometimes reach this level, too, but not often.

    Heath Ledger's Joker. I mean, damn.

    Q, from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon A Time. I love the 'dark bargain' villians. :)

    Lord Foul, from the Chronicles of Thomas Convenant the Unbeliever. You gotta love just pure incarnate evil with neither form nor goals other than "f** all this s***."

    Nakago from Fushiigi Yuugi. Probably the single coolest villian of all time. Sure, his only real power is "force field", but he's just such a bastard.

    And, of course, the single best villain of all time ever -- Sebastian Michaelus from Black Butler. End of story.
  20. DavidB1111

    DavidB1111 Member

    I have no idea who this is.
    Nor do I know who Sebastian Michaelus is.
    Or Nakago from Fushiigi Yuugi.

    I'm lost.

    Also, Q is kind of like He's annoying, and an ass, but he's not a villain as much as Mr. Mxyzptlk is.
    Q can count as a villain, but not in the same way the Borg or the Dominion, and people like that are.
    He's more like Loki from Norse Mythology, except friendlier.