From Sinister Six to Suicide Squad: 10 best supervillain teams in comics
When the heroes started teaming up to defeat enemies that proved too strong, it was only a matter of time before the supervillains did the same. It's the natural progression of things.
Why not? They repeatedly come up against opponents that are too powerful for them. Superman always foils Lex Luther, Joker gets locked up by Batman, Black Manta is defeated by Aquaman, and the list goes on.
The golden age of comics saw the first team-up of supervillains, and it only continued from there. Sometimes villains have a hard time working together as heroes do due to a clash of personalities, but having a common goal is a strong motivator.
So, they put their issues to the side and work on world domination.
10 Supervillains and their teams that are worth a read
1) Sinister Six
When Spider-Man became too much a nuisance for his enemies, they decided the best way to squash the spider was by working together. It's an ever-changing roster of misfits, but Doctor Octopus typically remains in the leading position. They made their first appearance in 1964 with Spider-Man Annual #1. This story saw Doc Ock, Kraven, Sandman, Electro, Mysterio, and the Vulture join forces.
Spider-Man repeatedly defeats them, but that doesn't stop them from coming together time and again in hopes of one day putting an end to Peter Parker. One iteration of the team saw their membership rise to twelve strong, taking on the moniker Sinister Twelve.
2) Legion of Doom
The antithesis to the Justice League. A kind of reflection of DC's heroes, this cabal of supervillains originated on television in Challenge of the Superfriends in 1978. They have since joined the main DCU continuity, given life by prolific creators such as Alex Ross in 2006's Justice and Scott Snyder's Justice League as a part of DC Rebirth.
While the roster changes from creator to creator, a few characters remain constant. Lex Luthor, Joker, Gorilla Grodd, Bizarro, and Captain Cold are typically looming about the Hall of Doom with some hand in the group's plans.
A terrorist organization with a name alludes to the mythological beast of the same name of the group's resilience. "If a head is cut off, two more shall take its place" is their motto, referring to the rise of a leader if one is removed. These days, Hydra is well known by Marvel and MCU fans due to Hydra's prominence in the films.
Hydra saw its first appearance in 1965 in Strange Tales #135. It wasn't the nuanced organization fans know it as now. Back then, it was run by a businessman named Arnold Brown. However, when Marvel decided to bring the villainous team back, they put Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in charge beside Red Skull. This is where it gets its darker origins.
4) The Crime Syndicate of America
Imagine a Justice League but an evil one. That is exactly what the Crime Syndicate of America is. These supervillains hail from Earth 3 - where everything is reversed from the norm.
The Crime Syndicate are twisted, evil versions of the Justice League. Not in the same way that the Legion of Doom is. These are literal opposites. Ultraman is the evil version of Superman, Owlman the corrupt version of Batman, Superwoman is an evil take on Wonder Woman, and Johnny Quick is the drug-addicted variation of The Flash.
The Thunderbolts are an exciting team of supervillains because they're not necessarily supervillains. Yes, every group member started on the wrong side of the law, but they eventually ended up working for the good guys, which is what makes this team unique. Even when Norman Osborn was in charge, the Thunderbolts went on missions for the government.
Many big-name supervillains have served on this team. From Baron Zemo to Mac Gargan's Venom, but in more recent years, it has had names like Luke Cage, Frank Castle, and Deadpool on its roster. More of an anti-hero lineup.
6) Dark Avengers
There was a time in Marvel's history when the bad guys had a free reign. Through manipulation and brute force, SHIELD and The Avengers found themselves under the leadership of Norman Osborn, the reformed Green Goblin. In his new position, Norman became the face of the Avengers and even renamed SHIELD to HAMMER.
His team found the likes of villains like Bullseye, Daken, Mac Gargan, and more taking on the role of recognizable heroes. Bullseye became Hawkeye, Daken was Wolverine, Mac Gargan was Spider-Man, and Norman Osborn was Iron Patriot (Iron Man). They gained the US government's (and its citizens) trust to run free and execute their plans with minimal pushback.
The story eventually ended with the culmination of the Siege story arc when Osborn got to invade New Asgard. It wasn't hard for the good guys to see that Osborn didn't have the best intentions and manipulated his way into a position of power.
7) Brotherhood of Mutants
Professor Xavier and Magneto are two sides of the same coin. They ultimately want the same thing, but they have different methods to achieve their goals. Xavier believes in a peaceful path to mutant equality. Magneto, on the other hand, believes violence is necessary. So, he created his terrorist group of supervillains: The Brotherhood of Mutants.
They initially went under the name Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but that didn't go well with the populace, so a rebranding was necessary. Their goals began. They wanted mutant superiority and to dominate the world. As time went on, though, comic storylines grew more profound and nuanced, so supervillains also needed to succeed. Their goals evolved.
They eventually became politically motivated and used violence against anti-mutant public figures to provide justice. This is commonly seen as a parallel in ideologies shared by Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, with Magneto representing the latter.
8) Secret Six
The Secret Six is a team that has been around since the silver age of comics but wouldn't come to prominence until Gail Simone got her hands on them. Commonly seen as the greatest iteration of this supervillain group, they frequently took on missions that would accumulate a large body count. The humor that goes along with this ragtag group of misfits is nothing less than stellar.
9) The Hellfire Club
While the Illuminati exists, there is another group with massive influence worldwide, though their impact is usually more ill-intentioned than the former. The Hellfire Club is a club of aristocrats and powerful mutants that manipulate events for their gain. Nothing political here like the Brotherhood of Mutants or Xavier's X-Men. The Hellfire Club seeks to accumulate power financially and socially.
The membership is vast and has had members from some of the most influential families within the Marvel Universe, such as the Starks, the Worthingtons, and the Braddocks. However, they aren't always privy to the workings of the supervillains in the inner circle. It is common to see the inner circle's roster change, but there's always been a few that have become synonymous with the Hellfire Club.
Sebastian Shaw is typically known as the king of the club's inner circle, with Emma Frost as his queen. More recently, Shaw and the club's goals have lined up with the X-Men, so now Magneto has a seat within the inner circle. This inner circle is always comprised of the most powerful mutants the world has seen, which is why the club has been able to survive since the 18th century.
10) The Suicide Squad
This is a supervillain team that needs no introduction. Thanks to James Gunn's directing skills, the Suicide Squad has seen an influx in comic sales. They are a government team of criminals sent on missions with every intention of not returning. Hence, the nickname.
Due to the nature of the team (thanks to Amanda Waller seeing everyone as expendable), the roster has seen some fluctuations, with even The Joker holding a spot on the team.
The best aspect of the supervillain title is that it gives writers a chance to write about various kinds of characters and allows smaller ones to shine. Not to mention, it adds weight to the story when a character can be killed.