For Your Consideration Extra: Chartwell Books’ 100 Greatest Moments: DC Comics Super-Villains

Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger


by Robert Greenberger

The best heroes have the best villains. That’s been a given dating back to the age of myth. A good villain amplifies what makes a someone heroic. The challenges a good antagonist provides allows the protagonist to struggle and persevere, ultimately coming up victorious. We cheer for the hero but delight in the vicious, over-the-top vileness of their opponent.

In May, DC Comics says they are kicking off their Year of the Villain, although some of the seeds have already been sown in last month’s Flash and Action Comics. We get it, Leviathan is rising, the Legion of Doom is reviving Perpetua, and that can’t be good for our heroes.

100 Greatest Moments: DC Comics Super-Villains

100 Greatest Moments: DC Comics Super-Villains


In a bit of fortuitous timing, Chartwell Books will be releasing the third volume in the 100 Greatest Moments series, this time focusing on the Super-Villains. Once again, I was challenged to sift through 80 years’ worth of storytelling to figure out which vile act, which heinous crime, which revelation, betrayal, reversal, or worse can be identified with a nemesis.

Of course, Bane breaking Batman’s back and Doomsday killing Superman top the list, but which of the Joker’s moments are greatest? Or Cheetah? Or Sinestro? I admit it was great fun going back through childhood favorites to cherry-pick the stories and events that still resonate with me.

Whiz Comics #2

Whiz Comics #2


As I poured through the Golden Age stories, it’s clear the level of threat the earliest foes posed was nowhere as bad as things are in today’s stories. But still, you look at Dr. Sivana’s first menace in Whiz Comics #2, and you see the stakes were sometimes raised high. It was cool to find a story where the Cheetah somehow managed to conquer the Amazons on Paradise Island and even bind (of course) Queen Hippolyta.

My parameters remain unchanged, dealing only with the core DC Continuity and its multiple crises and retcons. I violated the rule just once because I can’t include Harley Quinn without the award-winning Batman Adventures: Mad Love origin.

There are great stories that lack moments to isolate and more than a few are debatable. So, I turned to various Facebook groups for feedback and let them argue while I gleefully took notes. Most confirmed my choices, others suggested elements I had forgotten and even one or two I had never previously read.

Batman #50

Batman #50


The earliest enemy here is Sivana’s first appearance and the most recent is last year’s Batman #50 (the manuscript and choices were locked down in the fall). In between, there’s plenty of fun from Rogol Zaar to Two-Face, Poison Ivy to Reverse Flash, and so on.

Much as 100 Greatest Moments: DC Comics Super-Heroines is visually rich, so too is this collection. Name your five favorite DC artists and more than half will be here. The text, meanwhile, delivers story synopsis, some historic context, and acknowledgement of controversies some acts sparked. So yes, we discuss women in fridges during the Major Force entry.

The DC heroes are being challenged in ways this spring and summer that clearly lay the groundwork for the line’s future. At the same time, my offering will give you a chance to look back and see what crimes were committed, making these foes among the deadliest and most dangerous in all of modern-day mythology.

USER COMMENTS

We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!