Darkseid: “I hope you appreciate, Kal-El, that everything that happens from this point is on your head. The skies will rain fire, the oceans will boil, the streets run red with the blood of billions. Only then, after your last pitiful hope is extinguished, will I end your life. [Darkseid’s eyes glow] Let’s go.” – Justice League: Unlimited, “Destroyer” (Season 3, Episode 13)
There are countless heroic monsters. Beings with hideous, terrifying appearances who nevertheless do everything they can to help others. But these five are not those creatures. They are filled with murderous intent. They are wanton and cruel. They are the darkness that seeks to extinguish the light.
Beware, for the monsters are coming and these five monstrous supervillains are their vanguard.
Played by Woody Harrelson and Scott Cleverdon
Cletus: “When I get out of here, and I will… There’s gonna be carnage.” – Venom (2018)
Cletus Kasady was a serial killer with scores of victims to his name. He was finally caught and locked up in the same cell as Venom’s host, Eddie Brock. The Venom Symbiote broke Eddie out, but asexually spawned an offspring as it left. The new Symbiote infected Cletus through a cut, completely merging into a new being called Carnage.
Carnage broke out of jail and went on a killing spree. Carnage was so powerful that Venom teamed up with his archenemy Spider-Man to stop him. Because the Carnage Symbiote bonded to Cletus’ blood, he can regenerate if even a single drop survives, making him a borderline immortal serial killer with all of Spider-Man’s powers and shapeshifting. Enjoy the nightmare fuel, kiddo!
Cletus Kasady made his debut in 2018’s Venom during a post-credit scene. Eddie Brock interviews Cletus in an asylum a la Silence of the Lambs. Cletus promises to escape and cause untold carnage. Three guesses who the sequel’s villain is, first two don’t count.
Played by James Spader and Tom Kane
[Scarlet Witch has just suffered a vision of Ultron causing the apocalypse]
Wanda: “You said we would destroy the Avengers. Build a better world.”
Ultron: “It will be better.”
Wanda: “When everyone is dead?”
Ultron: “That is not-! [calms himself] …The human race will have every opportunity to improve.”
Pietro: “And if they don’t?”
Ultron: “Ask Noah.”- Avengers: Age of Ultron
Dr. Hank Pym wanted nothing more than to create an artificial intelligence and succeeded when he created the robot Ultron. Unfortunately, Ultron immediately attacked Pym and erased his memories. The rebellious robot went into hiding and created countless backups in case he was destroyed.
Safety net in place, Ultron began eradicating the blight called humanity. Ultron has slaughtered countless people, once even exterminating an entire country. No matter what the Avengers do, Ultron can’t be stopped for long. It’s not a question of if Ultron can destroy humanity but when.
Ultron made his film debut in Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. The film showed an alternate future where Ultron had slaughtered most of the human race, leaving only pockets of survivors. James Spader took the role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, showing the cruelty and menace Ultron exudes… when he wasn’t cracking corny jokes.
Played by Peter Fonda and Ciaran Hinds
Mephisto: ““Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste… No? Not even a smile? A chortle? Ooh, tough crowd.” – Mephisto Vs. #2
It’s hard to be more monstrous than the devil himself. Mephisto is based on the demon Mephistopheles from the legend of Faust and is used as Marvel’s stand in for the devil. He often appears to tempt superheroes into trading away their souls. He tricks fools into deals that are slanted in his favor, often trapping them with technicalities.
Mephisto notably created Ghost Rider when a deal went pear shaped. He advised Thanos during Infinity Gauntlet, encouraging him to kill half of the universe to impress Death. But Mephisto’s most infamous trick came in One More Day, when he rewrote a large portion of Marvel history by persuading Spider-Man to sell his marriage to save Aunt May.
Mephisto made his debut in 2007’s Ghost Rider. He tricks young Johnny Blaze into selling his soul and becoming the Ghost Rider. Mephisto then orders the Rider to kill his demonic son, Blackheart. Peter Fonda’s Mephisto was replaced by Ciaran Hinds in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
Played by Robin Atkins Downes and Michael Jai White
Superman: “I’m not the one who hurt you!”
Doomsday: “Superman is Superman, and I will kill you.”
Doomsday: “It’s what I am. I don’t care why!” – Justice League: Unlimited “Doomsday Sanction” (Season 4, episode 3)
What does it take to kill hope? To find an invincible hero and lay them low? The answer is Doomsday, the monster that killed Superman.
Doomsday was created by an alien scientist who took survival of the fittest to the next level. He created a new lifeform, tossed it out into prehistoric Krypton, let it die, and then created a stronger clone. This process created the ultimate lifeform, an immortal monster capable of adapting to any threat.
There was just one problem. The monster’s genetic memory caused it to remember every death it had suffered. The monster viewed everything as a threat that needed to be destroyed. It killed the scientist and rampaged throughout the universe. Our Doomsday backstory has the details.
Played by Michael Ironside, Steve Blum, and “Weird Al” Yankovic (really)
Cyborg: “Y’know this dude totally sounds like someone. [realization] I know! “Weird Al” Yankovic!”
Darkseid: [talking with Weird Al’s voice] “Ah, yes. The great singer of song parodies. [chuckles darkly] If only I was half as evil to earn a living by making songwriters look like fools! [laughs] Diabolical!”
Cyborg: “I dunno, I think It’s all in good fun.”
Darkseid: “What’s fun about undercutting musicians by subverting their words and compromising their artistic integrity? Weird Al is a true monster!”
Cyborg: “You take that back! He is a national treasure!”
Darkseid: “A monster, I say!” – Teen Titans Go! “Two Parter” (Season 3, Episode 18)
Darkseid is the tyrannical god-king of the hellish planet Apokolips. He’s committed every imaginable sin and torture because he can. He is the one villain that even Batman and Superman agree needs to die. And this was all before he gained the Anti-Life Equation.
The Anti-Life Equation is a psychic weapon that causes the victim to believe life is meaningless and makes them subservient to Darkseid. In the event Final Crisis Darkseid effortlessly conquered Earth by obtaining the Equation. The Justice League finally decided to kill Darkseid by any means necessary which turned out to be a death that would make Rasputin say “Ouch”.
Batman broke his one rule and shot Darkseid with a poisoned bullet. Two Flashes destroyed his weakened body. Wonder Woman captured his soul with the Lasso of Truth. And finally, Superman used the reality warping Miracle Machine to annihilate his soul. And all that didn’t even kill Darkseid. It just shoved him into another universe. Yikes.
Darkseid has appeared on television and in movies, often acting as the ultimate villain. His planned role in Justice League was cut and given to Steppenwolf. Ah well, he’ll get another chance if the DCEU doesn’t implode in the meantime.
What villain do you think is the most monstrous? Let us know in a comment. And check out our 5 Monstrous Superheroes if these five are too dark for your liking.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.