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  1. #1
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    Default Supermans rogues gallery

    When compared to the Batman rogues gallery, Its like people know more about Batmans villains than they do Supermans. There are lot of cool villains that Superman has.

    The most common villains people know about are Metallo, Brainiac, Parasite, Lex Luthor, Darkseid and Mister Mxyzptlk, But thats small compared to Batmans large variety of enemies.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Dispenser Of Truth's Avatar
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    The issue, I think, is that most writers can't conceive of Superman beyond "strong and nice", so they don't realize his villains beyond "strong and mean". The handful of exceptions are the likes of Lex, whose deal cries out for explanation, or Bizarro/Mxy, whose entertainment value is right on the surface. Most of them actually have potentially really interesting gimmicks if they landed in the hands of anyone who knew what to do with them. Just for instance, here's a little Parasite pitch I cooked up once:

    I think it’s easy to forget how gut-wrenchingly frightening Rudy Jones should be. Because in spite of having what’s in theory a Rogue-level awful power, complete with also turning into a mass of pulsating purple tumorous flesh that’s generally about 40% gaping mouth in order to better drain people into undead husks, Parasite always seems pretty chipper about his lot in life. He picks up memories. He knows what he’s doing to people, what he’s taking away from them. He’s okay with it.

    I think the power-stealing angle with him is played out and uninteresting. Amazo does that, Super-Adaptoid, a dozen different dudes do that. I just want him draining pure energy, getting bigger and badder and grosser and meaner. And in his personality, treating him essentially the way Bendis writes Norman Osborn - not quite self-aware enough to understand he doesn’t care about people, but living in a state of constant, almost masturbatory self-aggrandizing frustration that they won’t just SHUT UP AND GIVE HIM WHAT’S HIS, even if it’s their lives. And it’s not as simple as “if he touches you you’re screwed”. He drains everything around him. The wind stops, the room grows colder. You start to lose your train of thoughts as he draws them out of you like a vacuum, sucking the words out of your caption boxes. You could tell he was there before you saw him from the feeling of going numb and tired if you had enough thoughts left in your head to process it, a human black hole of life and hope.

    Most of the Superman villains are monstrous one way or another, but he’s the one who I think should genuinely be scary. Fighting him would be like being in a nightmare, everything feeling unreal and disconnected as your body shuts down, your fighting back only making him stronger. And above all else, he’s frightening because he knows what he’s doing - he sees your dreams and fears and pains and longings and humanity - and doesn’t care, because you’re not him.

    Superman looks at you and sees the best. Parasite looks into you and sees dinner.


    I think he and most of the other 'struggling' villains - your Brainiacs, Doomsdays, Metallos, Zods, Toymen and so forth - could thrive just fine with minimal tweaking in the right hands.
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    Superman had alot of interesting villains, Its sad how the writers just don't understand how to use them. Maybe they want to waste their brain power on Batman villains.

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    So much HYPE dawg! Superlad93's Avatar
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    -Parasite: probably in my top 3 Superman foes. I have a very particular vision of him that I've only seen partially realized by the animated show (and comic). I like Rudy Jones as a character, and I think he's got way more inherent charisma than most writers seem to want to give him. To me, he has the power of a Superman/JL foe, but all the street level aspirations of a Spider-Man villain like Rhino or Shocker. That guy sounds immediately interesting to me.

    -Toyman: I'm also a big fan of the idea behind Toyman. He seems like a bit character--and he partly is--but there's something to be said about a character who basically lets evil Santa Claus vs Superman be a thing.

    -Kurt Busiek's Prankster: is also pretty up there. A villain who prides himself on making a living out of being a "professional distraction" is simply inspired.

    -Atomic Skull: Max Landis probably did my favorite take on Atomic Skull. He had this idea that Skull wouldn't be so much of a villain, but rather a situation--a hazard, if you will. The idea was that Skull would be trapped on the island for a while and heroes/characters from the DCU would stumble onto it, and have to try an escape with their lives. This immediately made my brain go "we'll obviously you do a Superman issue called "Return To Atomic Skull Island" and one called "escape from Atomic Skull Island"" I had this whole King Kong thing turning in my head. Then I imagined stuff like "how do you transport him into a jail", "what would a human nuke look like if he tried to commit suicide in prison", and how he reflects Clark's idea of an "everyman" put in an extraordinary situation.

    -Metallo: I'm also a big fan. There's a good bit of stuff you can do with him, but never forget the simplicity of him.
    Last edited by Superlad93; 04-17-2017 at 04:42 PM.

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    Astonishing Member Bogotazo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dispenser Of Truth View Post
    The issue, I think, is that most writers can't conceive of Superman beyond "strong and nice", so they don't realize his villains beyond "strong and mean". The handful of exceptions are the likes of Lex, whose deal cries out for explanation, or Bizarro/Mxy, whose entertainment value is right on the surface. Most of them actually have potentially really interesting gimmicks if they landed in the hands of anyone who knew what to do with them. Just for instance, here's a little Parasite pitch I cooked up once:

    I think it’s easy to forget how gut-wrenchingly frightening Rudy Jones should be. Because in spite of having what’s in theory a Rogue-level awful power, complete with also turning into a mass of pulsating purple tumorous flesh that’s generally about 40% gaping mouth in order to better drain people into undead husks, Parasite always seems pretty chipper about his lot in life. He picks up memories. He knows what he’s doing to people, what he’s taking away from them. He’s okay with it.

    I think the power-stealing angle with him is played out and uninteresting. Amazo does that, Super-Adaptoid, a dozen different dudes do that. I just want him draining pure energy, getting bigger and badder and grosser and meaner. And in his personality, treating him essentially the way Bendis writes Norman Osborn - not quite self-aware enough to understand he doesn’t care about people, but living in a state of constant, almost masturbatory self-aggrandizing frustration that they won’t just SHUT UP AND GIVE HIM WHAT’S HIS, even if it’s their lives. And it’s not as simple as “if he touches you you’re screwed”. He drains everything around him. The wind stops, the room grows colder. You start to lose your train of thoughts as he draws them out of you like a vacuum, sucking the words out of your caption boxes. You could tell he was there before you saw him from the feeling of going numb and tired if you had enough thoughts left in your head to process it, a human black hole of life and hope.

    Most of the Superman villains are monstrous one way or another, but he’s the one who I think should genuinely be scary. Fighting him would be like being in a nightmare, everything feeling unreal and disconnected as your body shuts down, your fighting back only making him stronger. And above all else, he’s frightening because he knows what he’s doing - he sees your dreams and fears and pains and longings and humanity - and doesn’t care, because you’re not him.

    Superman looks at you and sees the best. Parasite looks into you and sees dinner.


    I think he and most of the other 'struggling' villains - your Brainiacs, Doomsdays, Metallos, Zods, Toymen and so forth - could thrive just fine with minimal tweaking in the right hands.
    A great example of taking a villain's core premise and delving deeper into what makes it unique.

  6. #6
    Resident of Central City RedWhiteAndBlueSupes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmyth View Post
    Superman had alot of interesting villains, Its sad how the writers just don't understand how to use them. Maybe they want to waste their brain power on Batman villains.
    ^^^i agree. For me Supes rogues have been downhill since, Action 544. Alot of his rogues got treated badly PC. Milton Fine? 2000s brianiac? Compared to pre crisis brianiac they leave alot to be desired. I mean his PC villians suck comparatively, Gog? Atlas? Meh. The last time his rogues really were allowed to develope was before the "all new DC" initiative.

    Brianiac is fav, but all his rogues are good.
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  7. #7
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    We all know what the problem is guys. As the man said, "A-list talent doesn't do Superman." Or words to that effect. Stupid editorial policy. Obviously you push Superman with your best talent; Superman's your gateway drug into comics! Well, him and Batman, but Batman already gets all the best toys all the time no matter what forever because he's the god damned Batgod.

    Another problem is that a lot of really great villains don't (sometimes cant) get used more than one or two times. Imperiex was just a poor man's Galactus but he was fun. Solaris.....man, I have a pitch for Solaris a couple of the guys here have seen, and if I may blow my own horn, it's okay. But no one other than Morrison can/will use him.

    If you think about it, Superman has the "MCU" of rogues galleries. Cool ideas, fun characters, but they rarely get the attention they deserve and they've suffered for the loss, outside of a couple really awesome exceptions.
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    Resident of Central City RedWhiteAndBlueSupes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    -Parasite: probably in my top 3 Superman foes.
    I think your list is right on, all those guys are way underutilized, specifically the parasite for me.

    Probably my favorite parasite story. Spoiler: his twin is the parasite! And parasite should always be Max Jenson, screw Rudy Jones. Jenson has a cooler origin and is just more menacing.

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    Notorious M.O.S. Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Honestly... growing up a total Marvel guy and then switching to Superman (DC itself not so much), I don't really feel as though the other rogue galleries can hang with Superman. Like I scratch my head when it comes to Batman or Flash, or even Spider-Man.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    We all know what the problem is guys. As the man said, "A-list talent doesn't do Superman." Or words to that effect. Stupid editorial policy.
    Sometimes the best or most obvious jokes are lost to plain text. This is sarcasm, right?

  10. #10
    So much HYPE dawg! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedWhiteAndBlueSupes View Post
    I think your list is right on, all those guys are way underutilized, specifically the parasite for me.

    Probably my favorite parasite story. Spoiler: his twin is the parasite! And parasite should always be Max Jenson, screw Rudy Jones. Jenson has a cooler origin and is just more menacing.
    I enjoy Rudy far more because he's not menacing. I like him because he's should be this sort of sh!t your pants villain, but he's not because he's ultimately just Rudy Jones.

    But I also respect, and feel that Jenson has his place. I'd actually rather they were active around the same time. You'd play Jenson more like a sociopath shark, and Jones is more a blue collar tick. If I had more time I'd explain more.

  11. #11
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuwagaton View Post
    Sometimes the best or most obvious jokes are lost to plain text. This is sarcasm, right?
    I forget where I heard the story, but apparently at some point it was basically a policy (I dont think it was an actual policy, but an understanding among management) that the top talent wasn't offered Superman. They got put on other books and the second string creators got Superman duty. I dont know why or what the reasoning was. Also cant verify the tale's authenticity.

    But it was a fun reaction-gaining comment.
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  12. #12
    Incredible Member Adekis's Avatar
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    I think a lot of Superman's greatest enemies just don't get used very much, or else they're so malleable from iteration to iteration that their only consistent qualities leave them sounding pretty two dimensional. Parasite's a loser-type guy who has Rogue's powers and usually goes kinda nuts because of it. Metallo's a cyborg who's usually powered by Kryptonite. There's no intellectual depth to those descriptions, and the source material is so inconsistent otherwise. Is John Corben a career criminal who goes mad with power? A lowlife schmuck who mooches off his girlfriend? A foreign mercenary driven mad by the lack of physical sensation? A patriotic soldier who's redeemed in the end? Any and all of those backgrounds become secondary to the fact that he's a guy who can punch Superman hard, but that Superman will always reliably defeat without any trouble, and Parasite's not really much different, though at least he's got different names for his different versions even if they're all called "Parasite" once empowered. It's a good thing that after Milton Fine fell out of popular use, Brainiac basically returned to his old "Evil Android" self instead of getting another big reinterpretation like those two might, or else he might be as poorly off! There's a few others like that too: Atomic Skull - terrorist? Walking nuke? Wannabe oldschool film hero? Toyman - compulsive child-murderer? Psycho ventrilloquist-dummy? Teen super-scientist? Like Parasite and Metallo, every Atomic Skull or Toyman could make a good villain- the problem is that the name's split between like ten compelling characters. Luthor runs into that problem too actually, but at least he gets to stay in the spotlight by virtue of being, well, Luthor.

    Bizarro's a little more consistent, but in a totally unproductive way. He's a mentally disabled Frankenstein's Monster version of Superman! That's the dumbest idea for a villain I think I've ever heard. He can work if he's turned into a total tragedy, but then he often stops being a "villain". I'm liking Red Hood so far because Bizarro's being treated with more respect than usual, but a lot of that works only because he never comes into contact with Superman at all, as actually meeting him might force them to forego diplomacy, according to J. Wellington Wimpy's law of "let's you and him fight"! Alternately, Bizarro can be really cartoony in the Emperor Joker mold, but there a lot of him only makes sense because he was made up by the Joker! And that origin's way too convoluted for most adaptations even in the comics, which prefer the troubling "degraded clone" thing.

    Meanwhile, a lot of DC fans have trouble even naming Superman villains outside of Bizarro, Metallo, Parasite, Luthor, Brainiac and General Zod. And lots of Superman's enemies are more generic "DC bad guys" like Vandal Savage or Solomon Grundy (both of whom are only "generic" villains because their original foe, Green Lantern, hasn't been a top-tier character since at least when Hal Jordan and the Corps took over). Most of Superman's foes are really underused. For example, Ultra hasn't seen the light of day since pre-Flashpoint, notwithstanding an in-name only extradimensional abomination to show up in the New 52 - which again, great concept, should probably brought back, no reason to share the name Ultra-Humanite! Much like the Metallos or Atomic Skulls. Another one, Phantom King, hasn't been used a lot since his reinterpretation in Morrison's run.

    But many good villains just aren't used much outside of their original era. It could still happen to Phantom King, just as it happened to Skyhook, Colonel Future, J. Wilbur Wolfingham, Satanus and Blaze, Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught, Tolos, etc! And of course, my personal second-favorite Superman villain, the Yellow Mask, hasn't been seen since the early 1940s on radio...
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  13. #13
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    I kinda agree with Adekis here, even if I think that there are even more complex reasons for Superman's rogue gallery to be as it is.

    Morrison once said that Superman's rogue gallery is pretty weak, and unfortunately I cannot but agree with him. As Johns once did during his run, you can basically reduce Superman's rogue gallery to 8 villains: Luthor, Brainiac, the "evil Kryptonian" archetype (Zod, Xa-Dur, etc), Bizarro, Metallo, Parasite, Toyman and Mr Mxyzptlk. And that's it. Really, that's it.

    Among these villains: Mxyzptlk can be used only in very peculiar stories. Toyman can work, but only as a secondary menace - mainly against Superman's family or friends rather than a full-on enemy. As for the others, Metallo, Bizarro and Parasite are mainly muscles. They could be used only for great battles rather than great criminal plans or complex storylines. The only partial exception is Bizarro - mainly because of the surreal Bizarro world stories.

    This leaves us with Luthor, Zod and Brainiac. Well, Luthor is the only one whom you can use as a character rather than a full-on villain. When they use him well, he can have an interesting personality, even if he doesn't have a very original or distinct look (well, except for the armor, which personally speaking I hate). Brainiac is basically a full-on villain, even if he can get rather complex. And Johns tried to do something a bit deeper with Zod, and he succeeded to a degree, but for the most part he is used as a physical menace - Kneel before Zod and junk like that.

    Yes, there are more villains, but if you look closely for the most part they are variations on the same theme. Conduit and Kryptonite Man are Metallo, basically. Doomsday is Bizarro with more strength and even less personality. Guys like Phantom King are a bit more unique, but let's face it, they are not used that well/that often (and IMHO Pak's attempt at making him "Superman's Joker" was rather forced - he was already an interesting character, why put him on a pedestal?)

    Could they do something better? Sure. The main problem is that they never did a full redesign/rethinking of these characters to make them more unique. It would take a lot of work and creative freedom, but it's not impossible - Bruce Timm never really cared about the comic book version of Brainiac, and when he took him and recreated him from scratch he made him a memorable villain.

    And it would take even more effort to put them on par with Batman villains, whose personality is so strong and interesting and complex that some of them can be the main characters of entire stories and series, too.
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  14. #14
    Spectacular Member Last Son's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmyth View Post
    When compared to the Batman rogues gallery, Its like people know more about Batmans villains than they do Supermans. There are lot of cool villains that Superman has.

    The most common villains people know about are Metallo, Brainiac, Parasite, Lex Luthor, Darkseid and Mister Mxyzptlk, But thats small compared to Batmans large variety of enemies.
    I always thought the Adam West series had a hand in popularizing Batman's rogues. Plus, the live action movies never shied away from using them while the Superman movies have been stuck in a Lex/Zod loop forever, with the exception of Doomsday, and the Adventures of Superman never bothered to feature any existing supervillains at all, not even Luthor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Last Son View Post
    I always thought the Adam West series had a hand in popularizing Batman's rogues. Plus, the live action movies never shied away from using them while the Superman movies have been stuck in a Lex/Zod loop forever, with the exception of Doomsday, and the Adventures of Superman never bothered to feature any existing supervillains at all, not even Luthor.
    Sure.
    Every series/movie franchise based on a character implies a redesign and rethinking of the character.
    There is no doubt that Batman TAS, Batman Begins, the Arkham videogames played a great role in entirely redesigning the Scarecrow. And right now he is probably stronger than the majority of Superman villains.
    Educational town, Rolemodel city and Moralofthestory land are the places where good comics go to die.

    DC writers and editors looked up and shouted "Save us!"
    And Alan Moore looked down and whispered "No."

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