I have long believed that a hero is only as good as the villains he defeats. A villain’s threat level, evilness, gimmick, and a few other factors are what determine how great they are. So which heroes have the best villains?
Lex Luthor, General Zod, a bunch of nobodies, etc.
As far as personal strength goes, Superman is nearly indestructible. As far as the enemies he has in life, I probably had more sinister bullies in high school. Lex Luthor is Superman’s main villain, a bald billionaire. General Zod is a much bigger threat as he knows more about Superman’s origins and his plans for earth’s destruction are less selfish and more just about killing as many people as possible. The rest of Superman’s villains are not memorable and have little place in pop-culture history. Superman would rank near the bottom of heroes when considering the villains he has to face, unless you count Lois Lane’s inability to connect his facial features with her coworker Clark Kent’s as an enemy. If I was Superman I would get pretty annoyed working with such unobservant idiots.
The Green Goblin, The Hobgolbin, Doctor Octopus, Venom, Kingpin, Rhino, Sandman, Scorpion, etc.
The villains Spider-Man has to deal with vary greatly. Characters like Doctor Octopus and Venom are pretty cool, while others like Rhino and Scorpion are trying a little too hard to fit into a simple gimmick. I believe the problem is the line between realism and comic book fantasy. Indeed a comic book villain should be closer to fiction than real life bad guys, mostly because real life bad guys are not very different than our creepiest uncle. The problem with the enemies Spider-Man has is some are nothing more than men dressing up like a certain creature after a science experiment gone wrong. Spider-Man does not live in a world where these experiments need to logically happen. Then again, the whole idea of comic books makes little sense so maybe I am being a nitpicker.
Magneto, Mystique, many unmemorable evil mutants, an unaccepting society, etc.
The hero group of mutants known as the X-Men is an incredibly interesting and entertaining group of superheroes. This is not a competition over who is the most unique hero though. This is a discussion on the opposition to these saviors of humanity. Once you move past Magneto and Mystique, the X-Men have few worthwhile enemies. The Juggernaut and Sabretooth are great, but they are nothing more than brutes. In a world where mutants are the main characters, I would hope the X-Men could have had better villains. When considering mutations, there are few limits. The X-Men villains’ biggest problem is few seemed to have the endearing human connection like so many of the heroes did. Even a bad guy needs a little bit of sympathy.
Captain America/Iron Man/The Incredible Hulk/etc.
Nobody of note
How is it possible that three iconic superheroes can have no worthwhile super villains? Captain America has Redskull, a guy with a red face. What is he, a fat kid in gym class? Iron Man seems to steal villains from others. He even fought Godzilla once. The Incredible Hulk, his biggest enemy is his tight purple shorts. There is a reason why these three had to team up in The Avengers, they have such boring villains that the only way to make an interesting story is to have them hold hands and save the world.
The Joker, The Penguin, Two-Face, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, etc.
Batman is not only a great superhero; he also has far and away the best enemies. The bad guys in Batman’s life are incredibly human-like, usually a product of a failed society. Some of the bad guys in Gotham City are so sinister they become enemies to the mafia or dirty politicians in the city too. When the good guys and the bad guys are after you then you know you have done a great job at being evil. Perhaps the best part about Batman villains is they each have a unique identifiable gimmick. The Joker is a clown, Mr. Freeze freezes people, and Scarecrow frightens people to death. Batman has the perfect mix of realism and professional wrestler in their bad guys that make for the best comic book villains.