<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/LucasSiegel>Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Editor</a></i> <p>There have been multiple iterations of the Justice League from "of America" and "International" to "Detroit" but the roster of DC's superteam commonly includes icons like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash. <p>With a stacked lineup like that, and the ones seen in current series <i>Justice League</i>, <i>Justice League of America</i> and <i>Justice League Dark</i>, it usually takes a lot to take on the Justice League villains capable of bringing down an entire country, planet, solar system or reality itself. And the 10 characters on this list certainly fit that bill. <p>In the recently relaunched <i>Justice League of America</i>, the team is dealing with a new version of the Secret Society of Super Villains. Over in <i>Justice League</i>, Despero is making his return in May's issue #20. Since the inception of The New 52, the Justice League has already dealt with classics like Darkseid, and new characters like David Graves. <p>With new issues of both titles out next week, we're looking at the bad guys who are powerful and audacious enough to challenge the Justice League. And much like our <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-greatest-avengers-villains-120111.html>Avengers villains countdown</a>, these guys aren't threats to just one superteam, but the entire DC Universe. <p>Don't see your favorite on this list? Let us know on the social networking links below, and to get to reading, click "start here" in the upper-left corner. <li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-greatest-avengers-villains-120111.html>The 10 Greatest AVENGERS Villains of ALL TIME!</a> <li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-best-batman-villains-111116.html>The 10 Greatest BATMAN Villains of ALL TIME!</a> <li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-best-spider-man-villains-111108.html>The 10 Greatest SPIDER-MAN Villains of ALL-TIME!</a> <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
The first but definitely not last team of supervillains in our list, the Secret Society of Super Villains were originally formed by Darkseid, and took on both heroes and the evil Crime Syndicate of Earth-3. Like you might expect from the name, their ranks included some of the baddest bad guys around, including Lex Luthor and Gorilla Grodd. In a still-rare move, these villains actually headlined their own book in the mid-'70s, which lasted for 15 issues. <p>Several incarnations followed, including Alexander Luthor Jr.'s team seen in the <i>Infinite Crisis</i> miniseires, <i>Villains United</i> which spawned the fan-favorite antihero team <i>Secret Six</i>. <p>Like many of the villains on this list, the Secret Society has appeared in the 2000s <i>Justice League</I> cartoon, and the latest version is currently the targeting the Justice League of America in their recently relaunched comic book series.
While Starro (more about him later) was the first Justice League villain ever, appearing in the team's debut in <i>Brave and the Bold #28</i>, Despero has the distinction of appearing in the first issue of <i>Justice League of America</i> back in 1960. <p>With an incredibly distinctive look fin, pink skin, third eye Despero has challenged the Justice League and the DC Universe at large countless times, fitting right in with the pantheon of evil alien conquerors. (Even though one time he did get his mind switched with the Justice League International's innocuous robot sidekick, L-Ron.) <p>That third eye isn't for decoration, either it's the focal point of his mind powers, which allows him to control others and cheat at chess. As advance covers have revealed, he looks to be making his New 52 debut in May's <i>Justice League #20</i>.
Martian Manhunter has been a mainstay in Justice League teams for decades, and is currently part of the main <i>Justice League of America</i> cast. Which is why his fellow Martians have frequently been a shapeshifting, vulnerable-to-fire thorn in the League's side. <p>Unlike J'onn J'onnz, the White Martians are anything but peaceful. In Grant Morrison's very first <i>JLA</I> story arc, the White Martians used their shapeshifting powers to pose as superteam "Hyperclan," in a subversive attempt at world domination. As the antagonists of the storyline that helped restore the <i>Justice League</i> concept and define the franchise for a new age, the White Martians might have earned their way on this list for that arc alone. <p>They returned a few years later during Mark Waid's run on the book, once again up to no good in the "Terror Incognita" storyline.
Unlike just about everyone else on this list, Prometheus doesn't have superpowers, he isn't an alien, and he isn't a crew of like-minded megalomaniacs. <p>Like Batman, he's just a dude who happens to be incredibly smart and unsettlingly crafty. But unlike Batman, instead of using his powers for good, he well, you can probably guess what he did, based on his inclusion in this list. <p>Created by Grant Morrison during his seminal run on <i>JLA</i>, Prometheus used his wiles to take down the entire League, before being unexpectedly taken down by Catwoman. <p>In the <i>Justice League: Cry for Justice</i> series, Prometheus' actions escalate to the point where Green Arrow puts him down with an arrow through the head but this is comic books, and DC's ever-evolving continuity could mean a return.
If the Justice League is a collective of DC's greatest superheroes, it only makes sense that the greatest villains would band together to oppose then, right? <p>In the tradition of the Legion of Doom from <i>Super Friends</i>, big-time bad guys like Lex Luthor and the Joker have frequently banded together to take on the Justice League, in both the less formally named "Injustice Gang," and the "Injustice League." <p>During Dwayne McDuffie's run on <i>Justice League of America</i>, the late writer took a similar approach to the <i>Justice League Unlimited</i> TV series and presented an Injustice League inclusive of just about everybody, from major players like Gorilla Grodd and Cheetah to more ancillary names like Nocturna and Manticore.
Robots always make good villains. You don't have to worry about your heroes holding back because they can just tear the soulless humanoid apart and not actually be killing anyone! Tack on the powers of every member of the Justice League, and suddenly you have one <i>bad</i> guy. <p>With absorption cells, this amazing android (yup, that's where "Amazo" comes from) can take on the powers of metahumans and humans alike, copying everything from the Flash's speed to Green Arrow's expert aim. <p>Amazo's most recent multimedia appearance didn't go too well, when he got utterly punked by Batman and Nightwing in the animated feature <i>Batman: Under the Red Hood</i>, and he hasn't had much more success thus far in his New 52 appearances to date.
Where there's a "Crisis," Anti-Monitor isn't hard to find. The multiverse-destroying being from the antimatter universe literally brought about the destruction of infinite earths, leaving only one left for two decades. <p>While the heroes of the Justice League usually led the way against Anti-Monitor, it's unfair to call him <i>just</i> a JL villain. This is a threat that usually needs more like the entire assembled force of every hero on Earth, in space, and just about all of reality to take down. That easily gets him into the top half of this list.
Another alien conqueror (the League seems to face a lot of them), Starro makes his way this high on the list not just because he's an awesome alien mind-controlling starfish, but because he was the <i>first</i> villain the Justice League ever faced! <p>Premiering in <b>Brave and the Bold #28</b>, Starro attacked Happy Harbor and Rhode Island, the natural place an alien conqueror would start. Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman teamed up to take him down, though it was really the non-powered human Snapper Carr who figured out the key to his defeat. <p>Starro comes back to plague Earth on occasion, despite it originally seeming that the alien had been utterly destroyed. With mini-starfish used for more direct mind control, Starro has even taken over individual members of the League at times, in comics, TV, and video games.
The concept of the "evil twin" is certainly not one exclusive to comics, but it does offer a unique challenge for a team of superheroes. With the alternate-earth Crime Syndicate, the Justice League gets to see what it would be like if they were instead the world's greatest villains. <p>Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, and Power Ring may not all have the most <i>original</i> names, but the threats they pose to the League are very real. Other members have come and gone, also offering up doppelgänger versions of famous heroes, but those five are usually the core of this villainous squad. <p>The team has shown up on a few DC Animated series, and most recently in the direct-to-DVD film <b>Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths</b>. Whether they'll show up in The New 52 remains to be seen, though a version of Owlman appeared in <i>Batman</i>.
Ultimately, it all comes down to the Omega, and for Darkseid (fun with spelling!) that's a literal assessment. With his Anti-Life Equation and Omega Beams, this alien overlord from Apokolips (more fun with spelling!) has plagued the Justice League since his first appearance in November 1970. <p>Darkseid is from the creative mind of Jack Kirby, as one of the "New Gods" from the far reaches of space. Using the Mother Box, he plagues the Justice League as a whole, or sometimes just Superman alone, and has proven to have staying power Darkseid even winds up taking on the Legion of Superheroes, who tend to dwell a thousand years in the future. <p>Whether it's in comics, in direct-to-DVD films, or on TV in animation and live action: Darkseid at some point or another winds up being <i>the</i> big bad. At the center of <i>Final Crisis</i>, he was one of the last villains the JLA faced during the old DCU, and has since became the first one the new <i>Justice League</I> faced down in The New 52.