DC Comics has been publishing comics for over 80 years. That long history has seen a wide variety of supervillains over the years. Some of these villains are some of the most well-known supervillains in American comic books. Other villains end being fun bits of trivia highlighting the silliest comic book villains out there. There is also a third category of DC supervillains, that being the villains who look more dangerous than they are.
This article will examine ten supervillains from DC comics that look like they would be a major threat but are undercut by a variety of factors. These factors range from being overshadowed, defeated embarrassingly, or have some sort of underwhelming aspect to them.
Introduced during Rick Veitch run on Aquaman, Hagan was the prime minister of Atlantis during a brief period when Mera ruled in Aquaman’s absence. It was revealed that he was mind controlling Mera in a plot to wipe out mankind. He also has a very memorable appearance with him looking like an evil fishman sorcerer with a neat deep-sea fish motif to him.
Despite his terrifying appearance, Hagen was not much of a threat. This was the result of him quickly being overshadowed as a villain by the literal personification of drought. Afterward, Hagan did not appear much before being killed by the Spectre during the Infinite Crisis crossover.
Brutale was a Nightwing villain from the late 1990s. A former interrogator from a made-up Latin American dictatorship who found a new calling through working as a hired assassin. His most memorable aspect is that he appears quite similar to modern-day Scarecrow, wearing a full-body suit compose of mismatched pieces of fabric stitched together.
Despite his creepy appearance, Brutale is not actually that threatening with his only ability being that he can proficiently throw knives. This underwhelming ability, despite his intimidating appearance, is why most of his more recent appearances have been as crowd filler in large teams of supervillains
8 Doctor Simon Hurt
Another example of a supervillain that looks more powerful than his powerset is Doctor Simon Hurt. Doctor Simon Hurt was introduced during Grant Morrison’s run on Batman as an updated version of a one-off Batman Silver Age villain. While he initially presents himself as a personification of corruption seeking to turn Batman away from heroism. His appearances supported this claim with him being a cloaked man wearing a horned mask giving him a devilish appearance
Hurt’s t talk of him being a personification of corruption was later revealed to be him just talking a big game. In reality, he’s an immortal ancestor of Bruce Wayne that seeks to turn Batman evil just to show how evil he is. Also, most of his initial supernatural abilities were the result of him hypothesizing people to think that his actions were supernatural.
7 Manga Khan
Manga Khan is a unique case in that the dissonance between his appearance and his actual threat level is played for humor. Introduced during Griffen’s and DeMatteis’s very humorous run of Justice League International. Manga Khan’s appearance is of a humanoid alien encased in golden armor with a neat looking cape. This appearance makes one think that he’s a villain on par with Darkseid.
In reality, Manga Khan is simply a cosmic level used car-salesmen. He rules over the Cluster, an intergalactic bartering firm that willing to sell whatever valuable to any buyer. The only reason that he can be considered a villain is that he sometimes captures superheroes to serve as merchandise.
Death-Man follows a trend of Batman’s villains whose appearances serve as a con to make them appear to have supernatural abilities. Death-Man’s appearance of wearing a full-body skeleton costume seems to indicate that he has some death-related or supernatural ability when he does not.
In reality, Death-Man’s appearance is to help sell a con of him having the ability to come back from the dead. In his first appearance, Death-Man fakes his death to escape from Gotham City Jail to continue his crime spree throughout Gotham. The only ability he has is that he can use a yoga technique to appear dead to most observers. He would, however, gain regeneration ability in his reimagination during Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman Incorporated.
5 Reverse-Flash (Daniel West)
The New 52 incarnation of Reverse-Flash is an example of a villain having the powerset of being a threat, but never living up to it. Introduced as the New 52 reimagining of the classic Flash villain, the Reverse-Flash. This version of the Reverse-Flash is the most threatening looking incarnation, wearing a costume like a demonic redesign of the Flash’s classic costume.
Despite his fearsome appearance, he stills has the same super-speed abilities of Flash and was only treated as an actual threat in his initial storyline. Even then he was only a threat because he wanted to absorb the Flash’s powers to travel further back in time. Beyond that, this version of the Reverse-Flash was killed off in New Suicide Squad when he failed to outrun a bomb.
4 The Spook
Finishing off the trifecta of Batman villains whose fearsome appearance is a part of a con to appear to have supernatural powers, is the Spook. In the Spook’s case, he initially appeared to be some sort of ghost wearing a dark green cloak that hides his entire face with chains wrapped around his arms to sell his apparent ghostly nature.
The Spook was a criminal who faked his death and used his knowledge of hypnosis and architecture to convince people that he was a vengeful ghost. It is very telling after that reveal, he was no longer considered a threatening villain. This lack of respect would to his most recent appearance being him being killed by Damien Wayne to show that he was less reluctant to kill than his father.
Marauder is a villain that wasted his intimidating design. The Marauder, appearance-wise, looks like what would happen if you put Deadshot and the Crimson Dynamo into a blender. This results in the Marauder wearing an intimidating piece of power armor that looks like it would give any superhero some trouble.
In reality, the Marauder seems to be the super-hero equivalent of a jobber, with him being a villain that is quickly defeated to establish that a new superhero is not someone to mess with. This can be seen in how the first Marauder suit wielder was killed off in his first appearance by the 1990s revamp of Hawkman.
Dark was a one-off villain that was a member of the villainous team Expediters, Inc. Despite being a one-off villain, Dark is a very intimidating looking villain with him being a huge cloud of darkness with a pair of inhuman eyes. He also has some threatening sounding abilities like being able to telepathic absorb peoples’ minds and can block out any form of light.
Despite his intimidating appearance and abilities, Dark’s only appearance saw him experiencing an embarrassing defeat. That embarrassing defeat was that his telepathic ability caused him to be mentally overwhelmed when a device duplicated the hyperactive kid superhero Impulse seven times.
1 Midnight Man
Midnight Man is a similar case to the Dark in that they are an intimidating one-off villain who was embarrassingly defeated. In Midnight Man’s case, he appears as a nightmarish looking creature composed of what looks like black sludge with a bestial face with glowing eyes. This appearance combined with his backstory of being a bloody mary like urban legend makes him look like a powerful foe for any hero to fight.
In execution, the Midnight Man was rather quickly dispatched by his weakness. That weakness is the commonly found spice of Sage. Batgirl used this weakness by throwing a bunch of Sage at it, causing its physical form to fall apart. This defeat was made even more embarrassing as it was later killed when its remains were used as black paint by a roadcrew.
DC villains like Batman's Doctor Hurt & Nightwing's Brutale may look really strong & dangerous, but are actually kinda weak and easily defeated.