The Joker: “This town deserves a better class of criminal, and I’m gonna give it to ’em.” – The Dark Knight
The DC Extended Universe is finally assembling its dream team: The Last Son of Krypton, The Dark Knight, The Amazonian Princess, The Scarlet Speedster, The Technological Titan, and The King of Atlantis.
Which of DC Comic’s greatest villains would dare challenge these champions?
Steppenwolf (played by Ciaran Hinds), a C-list world conqueror from the planet Apokolips. Talk about born to be mild.
Why are DC and Warner Brothers using a forgettable foe in what could’ve been a great movie? They had a golden opportunity to showcase their best heroes and vilest villains, yet chose a bland warlord. I wrote this because I was pissed about DC passing over great villain characters and choosing a complete nobody.
There are many better choice. Here are our picks.
5. Any other Apokoliptian except Steppenwolf
Robin: (narrating) “Apokolips. I’d never seen anything like it. It was like… like all the darkness in every soul of every bad guy I’d ever fought, distilled to its essence and collected into one place… molded into one great big ball of evil.” – Young Justice #36
Apokolips is the planetary equivalent of Hell. It is filled to the brimstone with depraved monsters that make Lex Luthor look like Mother Teresa. Steppenwolf is a conqueror from this hellhole, but there are other characters here that make him look like a schoolyard bully instead of a galactic villain able to tangle with multiple superheroes.
Either the brutish prince Kalibak and feared sadist Desaad would challenge the Justice League. And if you want a lead villain with some powerful minions, Apoklolips is also home to Granny Goodness and the Female Furies. They’re not a rock band you don’t know. Creator Jack Kirby based a superhero on the faux-evil stylings of Phyllis Diller and gave her enhanced strength, stamina, and agility.
There is another Apokoliptian we’ll get to in a minute.
4. Black Adam
Black Adam: (holding a hostage) “When you crush an ant beneath your foot, do you feel remorse? No. Is this because you are evil or because you recognize yourself as a higher form of life? That’s what the wizard could not understand. If I have the powers of the gods, then am I not a god myself?” – Superman/Shazam: Return of Black Adam (2010)
Teth-Adam was an Egyptian thought to be pure of heart. He lived during the time of the pharaohs and was transformed by the wizard Shazam. Adam becomes Earth’s champion with the powers of the Egyptian gods when he says the magic word,“Shazam”. Yeah, that’s not egotistical at all, Sham-wow.
Adam conquered Egypt and planned to rule the entire world. The wizard named this power-mad conqueror Black Adam and used his magic to send Adam across the universe. No, he didn’t play Beatles music a few millennia early. He transported Black Adam to another galaxy. Black Adam’s second attempt to conquer the world was stopped by Captain Marvel.
Black Adam is a nigh-unstoppable foe that would require an army of heroes to defeat. He is a perfect opponent for the Justice League. To sweeten the deal, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is already cast as Black Adam and there are plans for a cinematic bout between Superman and Adam.
We could have The Rock facing off against the Justice League, and we have Steppenwolf. That’s not right.
3. The Legion of Doom
Gorilla Grodd: “The world’s most powerful supervillains, banded together with one common goal.”
Lex Luthor: “They protect each other from the Justice League.” – Justice League “I Am Legion” (Season 5, Episode 1)
The archetypal supervillain team. Do I even need to explain why these guys deserve to be in the movie? I do? Alrighty then.
Every superhero is countered by a rogues gallery of despicable supervillains. One or two always rise to become said hero’s archenemy. When several archenemies team up and kill those thrice-cursed do-gooders you get the Legion of Doom.
Let’s do a headcount for the DCEU’s villains. At the time of writing Lex Luthor is incarcerated, The Joker and Harley Quinn are on the loose, and Flash’s rogues are still crawling out of the woodwork. We have three villains cast and could use the remaining four to set up future movies. How about introducing Black Manta before his appearance in Aquaman or have Reverse-Flash show up to set up Flashpoint?
That kind of setup is what helped the MCU move quickly from Iron Man to Thor to Avengers.
Superman: “You destroyed those planets, didn’t you? And every living soul on them!”
Brainiac: “Only their knowledge was important. It was what I was programmed to collect and protect.”
Superman: “But why kill?”
Brainiac: “The fewer beings who have the knowledge, the more precious it becomes.” – Superman: The Animated Series, “Stolen Memories” (Season 1, episode 6)
Brainiac is an artificial intelligence from Krypton created to preserve knowledge at all costs. It learned that Krypton would be destroyed and began transferring its data to a satellite. Brainiac lied to the Kryptonians about the coming apocalypse, deeming its survival more important.
Brainiac took over a passing warship and began travelling the universe to collect more knowledge. Brainiac destroyed worlds once it had learned all they knew in a twisted form of supply and demand. Brainiac journeyed to Earth after learning that a Kryptonian had survived, making its knowledge of Krypton incomplete. Talk about OCD.
Brainiac has everything necessary to be the main antagonist of Justice League: a personal connection to Superman, enough power to destroy Earth, an army of disposable drones for the rest of the League to demolish, and more personality than Steppenwolf. That’s right. The artificial intelligence has more personality than a world conqueror from the Hell planet.
Darkseid: “I am many things, Kal-El…But here, I am God.” – Superman: The Animated Series, “Legacy” (Season 4, episode 2)
Darkseid is DC Comics’ worst villain. He is the god-king of Apokolips and considered the DC Universe’s God of Evil. So yeah, not a very nice guy. And the seemingly smart choice to be the one who challenges their gang of superheroes.
Darkseid was like a force of nature during his introduction in New Gods. Any mortal or god in his way would eternally suffer. Darkseid is one of few characters who can defeat Superman at his best, and that’s no mean feat. He is one of the only villains that Batman and Superman agree is too dangerous to live. That’s Superman, the big good guy of the universe, and Batman, whose only rule is no killing. Except Darkseid. They don’t like Darkseid.
So why isn’t Darkseid the villain of Justice League? Why send Steppenwolf instead of this unstoppable monster? The only logical reason would be to save Darkseid for the inevitable sequel. Perhaps Darkseid will appear in a post credit scene, shown preparing a conquest of Earth after his world-conquering flunky fails. Wait, why does that sound familiar?
Oh, right! It’s because the Darkseid ripoff Thanos did that five years ago in The Avengers! Way to be even later to the party, DC.
That’s the list, folks. Which villain do you think deserves to be the main antagonist in Justice League? Leave a comment.