To paraphrase an old adage, clothes make the bad guy. In the world of superheroes, as with the DC Animated Universe, for a villain to truly stick in the minds of fans, they can’t just be a serious threat, they must also be handsome. A good plan that can take out Superman isn’t nearly as cool if the villain executing the plan is only wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
For these villains, their looks are as deviously wonderful as their diabolical exploits. They understand that if anyone takes on the DCU’s greatest heroes, they have to do it in style.
ten Joker is elegant and deadly
One of the DCAU’s most infamous – and deadliest – villains, Joker is Batman’s greatest enemy, and just like The Dark Knight, the Clown Prince of Crime knows icons need to stand out from the crowd. Dressed in a purple suit with a yellow or green shirt, Joker’s look is clearly based on the character’s classic comic book style, but updated to suit the needs of the DCAU. As with the comics, Joker’s style makes it clear that he’s a dapper devil who takes the time to look good while being mean.
Originally introduced to readers in action comics #252 – the same number that saw the debut of Supergirl! – Metallo has long been a thorn in Superman’s side. When the kryptonite-hearted metal man was introduced to the DCAU in the first season of Superman: The Animated Seriesthe show’s creators decided to base Metallo’s look on the post-John ByrneCrisis overhaul.
Inspired a bit by James Cameron terminator, Metallo is a metal skeleton with synthesized flesh peeling off his body. It’s a chilling look that helps sell the villain as a real danger to not just the Man of Steel, but anyone who gets in Metallo’s way.
8 Harley Quinn was an instant icon
The DCAU introduced a few characters to the DC Universe lexicon, but only one of them became an icon: Harley Quinn. Initially brought in as Joker’s assistant, Harley quickly grew into a character in her own right, forging her own mythos and supporting the cast in the comics.
While Harley Quinn’s costume has undergone drastic changes over the years, the original costume – based on the traditional harlequin outfit – is what helped make the villain the vigilante such a big hit with fans. .
seven The combined Luthor/Brainiac was the better of the two villains
After hiding in the body of Lex Luthor for years, Brainiac finally revealed himself to the Justice League at the end of the first season of Justice League Unlimited. The reveal, which saw Brainiac painfully tear apart Luthor’s body to reveal himself before the two villains morphed into a singular threat, was an epic sequence that had fans on the edge of their seats.
The combined Brainiac and Luthor, decked out in gold and purple armor, nearly destroyed the Justice League with ease. Luckily, Flash was able to destroy the fantasy suit and completely separate Brainiac from Luthor, saving the world.
6 Mister Freeze has found a new look and popularity
While Mister Freeze was a former Batman villain, first appearing in 1959, he was never a prominent member of Caped Crusader’s rogues gallery. Freeze appeared occasionally, but was never a fan favorite, and the character was apparently erased from continuity after the events of 1985. Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Some eight years after he last appeared in the comics, Mister Freeze has been reimagined by the genius behind Batman: The Animated Series for the episode “Heart of Ice”. With a new look and a tragic origin, Mister Freeze is reborn in the eyes of fans.
5 Derek Powers beams with goosebumps
Derek Powers, the first villain to appear in batman beyond, started out as an evil billionaire looking to rule Gotham, but quickly grew into a super-powered villain looking to destroy the new Dark Knight. As corporate overlord, Powers wears a futuristic black and olive business suit, but when he transforms into Blight, the power within him shines through his skin, showing his skeleton under the green light. Both looks make it clear that Powers shouldn’t be trusted, though one is far deadlier than the other.
4 The Justice Lords are fashionable fascists
A Justice League version of a reality where Flash was killed by President Lex Luthor, leading the team to become fascist leaders, the Justice Lords may be evil, but they looked cool. From Superman’s white and black costume to Hawkgirl’s dark brown costume with a sleek helmet, these heroes-turned-villains instantly captured fans’ attention. Somehow even the Justice Lords version of Batman seems darker and colder.
The Justice Lords served as a warning to the heroes of the DCAU, showing them how easy it would be for them to cross the line and use their powers in ways they never should. They also showed fans how cool an evil Wonder Woman could be.
3 Toyman is just scary
A classic enemy of Superman, Toyman is often seen as too clumsy in the comics, even after killing Cat Grant’s son. In the comics, DC has tried to reinvent Toyman many times, but it never seems to work. Somehow, the creators of the DCAU figured out how to turn this relatively uninteresting villain into someone truly scary.
By giving Toyman a large plastic helmet designed to resemble the smiling, unblinking face of a young boy, the DCAU version of the character might give some viewers chills. This version of Toyman, who also wears a patchy bow tie and sweater, looks like a real American nightmare.
2 Livewire looks incredibly cool
A Superman-hating deejay who turned into a Superman-hating supervillain, Livewire was created for the DCAU and has since made its way into the comics. Livewire’s all blue and electric look captures the feeling of living electricity with sharp edges and clean lines.
While Livewire may not have become a household name like Harley Quinn, her look sets her apart enough that she continues to appear in comic books, video games, and even live-action. It’s unlikely that Livewire will get its own series anytime soon, but it’s sure to keep popping up.
1 Clayface is monstrously cool
Batman: The Animated Series not only set the stage for the DCAU, but also introduced some of the coolest villains across the many series and movies. Of all the monsters to appear in the DCAU, Clayface stands out as the scariest. Able to transform into anyone, Clayface’s natural form is that of a giant living pile of mud. This look was very quickly adopted by the comics, where it continues to evolve. It might seem odd that a mud block is considered one of the DCAU’s best costumes, but Clayface is just too cool to ignore.
NEXT: The 10 Best Superhero Costumes From The DC Animated Universe