SUPERVILLAIN TEAM-UP1 of 12Superheroes tend to run in packs – the Avengers, the Justice League, and so many more – so it's only fair that the villains do, too.
This week, Suicide Squad hits theaters, showcasing a team of supervillains on the big screen and adding another entry in DC’s Cinematic Universe. But even though the Squad are the first villain team to get their own major movie, they’re not the first in comic books.
Bad guys have been teaming up in comic books for decades, and while some of those partnerships have been duds at best, some of them result in a more lethal force for evil than would have otherwise been possible. Here’s our list of the ten greatest super-villain teams of all time!
THE LEGION OF SUPER-VILLAINS2 of 12Weighing in at around 20 members at any given time, the Legion of Super-Heroes are one of the largest and greatest super-teams of all time. Most of the members have been active as heroes since a very early age, and almost all of them have had their powers from birth. Considering a force with that much power, it takes an equal or greater force to challenge them. Enter the Legion of Super-Villains; in almost every way, the opposite number for their heroic counterpart.
The LoSV is composed of some of the greatest criminals of the 30th century, many of whom are possessed of the same, or similar powers of the Legionnaires they challenge. While their membership has varied through the years, just like the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Legion of Super-Villains revolve around a core membership of three villains, Lightning Lord, Cosmic King, and Saturn Queen, who are in some way funhouse mirror versions of the three founding Legionnaries; Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl.
THE SERPENT SOCIETY3 of 12Unlike many of the teams on this list, the members of The Serpent Society rarely operate on their own, preferring instead to overwhelm their heroic nemeses with sheer numbers. Though they are primarily enemies of Captain America, the Serpent Society have gone up against foes like the Avengers, Spider-Man, Daredevil and numerous others. The members of the Serpent Society all possess identities based on different snakes, and their powers (sometimes loosely) correspond to those identities.
Numerous serpents have come and gone from the society over the years, but members such as the mutated King Cobra, the deadly Black Mamba, the cybernetic Bushmaster, the size-changing Puff Adder, and the powerful Anaconda remain core members of the group. Former members that have gone on to notable careers on both sides of the hero/villain spectrum include Viper, Sidewinder, Princess Python and Diamondback.
The Society has had several other splinter groups associated with it, including the Serpent Squad, and the Serpent Syndicate, who recently appeared in Captain America: Sam Wilson.
THE FRIGHTFUL FOUR4 of 12For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and every coin has a flip side. The Fantastic Four are no different. They aren't their most well-known enemies, but the Frightful Four are certainly some of their most powerful foes.
Led by the both brilliant and evil Wizard, the Frightful Four have often included a handful of other villains that usually mirror the members of the Fantastic Four, relying on the elements of intelligence, strength, energy control, and body manipulation. The recent versions of the team seen were comprised of Wizard, Klaw, Lyra, and Trapster, and a later squad even included members of the Wrecking Crew. Many other prominent villains have appeared among their ranks, including Sandman, Medusa, Thundra and Titania.
SUICIDE SQUAD5 of 12Amanda Waller and Rick Flag’s Task Force X, nicknamed the “Suicide Squad,” is a government team that brings together some of DC’s worst super-criminals to take on missions too dangerous for normal operatives in exchange for their freedom – if they survive. Corralled by Waller’s force of will and usually lethal devices that keep them in line, the Squad doesn’t exactly reform villains as much as it points them in a more favorable direction.
Over the years, the Squad’s membership has fluctuated wildly – largely thanks to many of its members being expendable – but in its early years it had mainstays such as Captain Boomerang, Count Vertigo, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Enchantress, Blockbuster, and even the Joker. Dozens of other villains, some B-Listers, some more prominent, came and went in this incarnation, with the teams formula usually remaining largely the same.
In the "New 52," the Squad has revolved around Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Parasite, and the Cheetah, among many more shorter lived members. The Suicide Squad movie draws on both the classic Squad and the more modern version, with a roster consisting of Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, El Diablo, Katana, and Slipknot, once again under the supervision of Amanda Waller. The movie even includes a cameo from one-time Squad member the Joker.
THE INJUSTICE GANG/LEAGUE6 of 12Over the years, there have been various versions of the Injustice Gang and Injustice League, with perhaps their most iconic roster rearing its head during Grant Morrison's legendary run with the JLA.
Consisting of some of the most feared archenemies of the seven primary Justice League members, this version of the Injustice Gang nearly succeeded in defeating the entire JLA. Lead by Lex Luthor, the Gang consisted of the Joker, Dr. Light, Circe, Mirror Master, Ocean Master, and the alien Jemm, Son of Saturn.
This incarnation of the Injustice Gang was so powerful that their defeat came only because their Joker was secretly Plastic Man, who infiltrated the Gang as an operative of the Justice League.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF EVIL MUTANTS7 of 12In many ways, the Brotherhood are very similar to their classic enemies, the X-Men. Both are groups of mutants united behind a visionary leader, with the intent of preserving the mutant race. The similarities end when you consider their methods.
The Brotherhood have often attempted to save mutantkind by eliminating or subjugating humanity, rather than attempting to peacefully co-exist. Originally founded by Magneto, the Brotherhood have been led by Mystique, Exodus and even Magneto's lackey (and most recently Jean Grey School janitor) Toad. Other notable mutants that have joined their cause include Mastermind, Blob, Sauron, Black Tom Cassidy, Avalanche, Sabretooth, Pyro and even the reformed villains – and classic Avengers – Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
The Brotherhood hasn't been seen in some time, with Magneto serving as an X-Man and leading his own team which includes several reformed villains in Uncanny X-Men.
THE CRIME SYNDICATE OF AMERICA8 of 12Through their 50-plus year history, the Justice League of America has had a few different "opposite" teams, though none have been as literal of a match as the Crime Syndicate of America. Hailing from an alternate earth where everything is reversed, the CSA are twisted, evil versions of several core members of the Justice League who represent everything that the JLA stand against.
While there have often been various secondary members based on less prominent Justice Leaguers, the core members of the CSA are Ultraman, a violent, sociopathic version of Superman; Superwoman, a domineering, seething opposite to Wonder Woman; Owlman, the murderous, corrupt flipside of Batman; Johnny Quick, a drug-addicted, arrogant version of the Flash; and Power Ring, a weak-willed, cowardly counterpart to the Green Lantern.
The Crime Syndicate made their debut in the "New 52" at the end of Trinity War before taking over most of the DC Universe in Forever Evil. Several of them appeared again, reluctantly working alongside the Justice League, in "Darkseid War."
THE ROGUES9 of 12While Flash's arch-enemies are often less of a formal team and more of a "villain's union" than many on this list, they are nonetheless a collective of the Flash's most powerful individual foes who band together to get the best of the Scarlet Speedster. One of the most unique things about the Rogues is their modus operandi, which binds them together even when they are not operating as a team. Rogues follow a strict code of conduct, and will not grant membership to those villains who refuse their rules, believing that adherence to this code is what gives them an advantage over heroes, and even other villain groups.
The Rogues have, at various times, welcomed characters like the Trickster, Abra Kadabra, and the Pied Piper into their ranks, but the core members have almost always been Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, Captain Boomerang and Heatwave.
They've even appeared on CW's The Flash and Arrow, with Captain Cold and Heatwave going on to join the spin-off DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
THE SINISTER SIX10 of 12Comprised of six of Spider-Man's most iconic villains (which six tends to vary with each incarnation), the Sinister Six are one of the most effective and dangerous villain teams ever.
Usually led by Doctor Octopus, the various incarnations of the team have challenged not only Spider-Man, but Iron Man, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and most recently, the Avengers. Despite their brute strength, cunning, and Doc Ock's great intelligence, the team's downfall has almost always been a lack of cohesion, as the egos of the members almost always clash when their chips are down. In addition to Doc Ock, traditional members include Electro, Sandman and Mysterio, with the last two spots on the team being taken up, at various times, by Kraven the Hunter, the Vulture, Hobgoblin, and Venom, and have most recently been held by the Rhino and the Chameleon.
Four of the recent Sinister Six members will apparently once again join forces as part of the upcoming Clone Conspiracy story, with a returned Doctor Octopus leading the charge alongside Rhino, Sandman, and the Lizard.
THE MASTERS OF EVIL11 of 12While there are some that are comprised of more recognizable members, very few villain teams are as successful, as dangerous and as feared as the Masters of Evil.
Formed by Baron Heinrich Zemo to take down the fledgling Avengers, the Masters of Evil have almost always relied on raw power over reputation, counting nearly as many members and former members as the Avengers themselves, though few Masters are as renowned as their heroic counterparts. Over the years, the team has been lead by villains like Ultron, Egghead and Dr. Octopus, with their most successful incarnations almost always united under one of the Barons Zemo.
It was under Heinrich's son Helmut that the Masters undertook their two most successful missions: Destroying Avengers Mansion, and later masquerading as the heroic Thunderbolts in a bid to gain the world's trust. There have rarely been any Masters of Evil since the formation of the Thunderbolts, but past members have included villains such as Radioactive Man, the Melter, the Black Knight, the Enchantress, the Executioner, Screaming Mimi, Moonstone, the Fixer, Klaw, Tigershark, the Wrecking Crew, the Beetle, Mr. Hyde, Absorbing Man, Titania, Goliath and Whirlwind.
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