Superman & Lois has been widely praised as a solid tale about the Man of Steel, a major reason for that being the show’s use of underrated villains. With the recent casting of The Orville star David Ramsey as the big bad of Season 3, the trend is set to continue. Ramsey will star as Bruno Mannheim, the leader of Intergang.
Previously, Superman tales in live-action on animation had relied on popular villains such as Lex Luthor, Darkseid, and General Zod, but despite the CW series giving a chance to the ignored, there are many more Superman villains that deserve widespread recognition, at least according to Reddit. These villains are not only worthy opponents to Superman but arguably better than their popular counterparts, too.
10/10 Kenneth Braverman (Conduit)
Clark Kent’s high school classmate, Kenneth Braverman, joins the CIA later in life, and after being dismissed, he becomes the supervillain known as Conduit. SomeLoser12092 feels “the idea of a villain who hates Clark Kent instead of Superman is interesting.”
As the Redditor puts it, Conduit would be an ideal villain to push to the mainstream because he disrupts what is supposed to be Clark’s peaceful life. Every other Superman enemy tends to focus on the costumed hero rather than the Daily Planet reporter, but all Conduit cares about is picking on the weaker guy (who he has no idea isn’t really weak). Great villains are generally annoying, too, and Conduit fits that description. His hunt for Clark Kent all stems from pettiness because Clark used to defeat him during sporting events in high school.
9/10 Mister Mxyzptlk
An imp from the Fifth Dimension, Myzptlk occasionally visits and harangues Superman. ANH36 feels the comical villain “is also underrated because Superman needs intellect to fight him.”
Ordinarily, the Man of Steel has an easy time with baddies because he can get the better of them through fisticuffs or lasers. After all, he is the most powerful superhero in the world. However, as the Redditor points out, the situation is more of a puzzle whenever Mxyzptlk comes into the picture since the Imp can bend reality to his will. So, even when Superman defeats him, he can easily create another reality where he hasn’t lost. As such, Superman is forced to use dialogue or adopt an intelligent plan to send Mxyzptlk back to his dimension. Additionally, as one of the comic villains with Fourth Wall Awareness, he could bring the Deadpool and She-Hulk type of awesomeness to DC if used right.
Several versions of Parasite appear in DC Comics, but the most popular one is Rudolph “Rudy” Jones. About the villain, JaxJyls explains that “in addition to stealing your powers he can also weaken you.”
Superman being overpowered is one of the reasons he is sometimes considered one of the most overrated superheroes, but what if there was a villain that could level the playing field? That villain is Parasite. In many of their encounters, Parasite has managed to drain Superman’s powers, making fights between them much more even and harder to bet on as the odds keep swinging, but fans will be glad that the days of Parasite being forsaken are coming to an end. Recently, a version of the character named Ally Allston appeared on Superman & Lois.
Ignition plays a part in the “Emperor Joker” storyline as one of General Zod’s enforcers. Wasthereonce thinks “he looks pretty bad***” and that he has a wide range of impressive powers such as cosmic awareness, flight, nuclear blast, flight, and invulnerability.
The Redditor is right about Ignition having too many cool powers for him to just be used in a single storyline. Few DC villains can do half of what he does, so even if Clark is a little preoccupied, Ignition could be used elsewhere. With his Kanye West boots and a head that looks like a cone, it’s no lie that the villain sure does look cool.
The extraterrestrial android has built a reputation for himself for frequently causing destruction on Superman’s home planet, Krypton. Redditor wr3h comments: “You would think that the guy who blew up Superman’s planet would be the main antagonist but no.”
At this point, Brainiac is past overdue for his big-screen debut. On the DC pages, the character is so fleshed out that his status as one of Superman’s greatest comic villains now feels deservedly earned. It’s, therefore, surprising that none of the directors of the numerous Superman villains has ever thought of using him. A little love was shown to the character in Season 1 of Krypton, but without Superman in the picture, things felt a bit too easy for him than they ought to be.
5/10 Frederick Von Frankenstein (Riot)
Feeling pressure to outdo his other family members, who were scientists too, Riot conducted an experiment that enabled him to make duplicates of himself. Conner8087 has some thoughts about the villain, saying, “I always thought he is Superman’s version of the Joker.”
The Joker comparison isn’t far off since Riot is always smiling. He is psychotic, too, a development that resulted from him not being able to sleep, but the fact that he has only appeared in 7 comic issues feels like an injustice given how much he can do. Unlike other villains that need to hire henchmen, Riot is self-sufficient, able to use his clones to do anything he wishes.
4/10 Manchester Black
The leader of The Elite builds gains prominence by killing criminals, something that makes him clash with Superman. Reeves242 thinks he embodies “relevant themes that should be explored more in the wider culture.”
Some themes being referred to are earnestness, irony, idealism, cynicism, and hypocrisy. To Manchester Black, crime can only end if those that engage in it are permanently eliminated. It’s a Capital Punishment versus Life Sentence type of scenario that he and superman clash over, and that’s something that would be well-received o live-action in today’s climate. Apart from being a headache to Superman, Manchester Black makes him seem hypocritical since Superman relies on the same violence he frowns upon to defeat the villain.
3/10 Silver Banshee
Bestowed with supernatural powers, Silver Banshee starts out as an enemy of Superman before redirecting her focus to Supergirl. Redditor aquqmanslover describes her as “the perfect vehicle to explore the paranormal side of Superman’s mythos.”
A villain that can kill anyone by just knowing their name poses a greater threat than many others. With most Superman stories being repetitive, Silver Banshee’s supernatural world needs to be explored more. After all, she has some memorable moments in the comics, notably forcing Superman to hide from her and guarding a captive Lois Lane in Hell.
This Metropolis-based toymaker is one of the weakest supervillains, but he’s quite intelligent. The_MovieHowze explains that “given some tweaking, he could be presented as Superman’s peak into the daily insanity that is Batman’s rogues.”
Having debuted in 1943, Toyman has been waiting for his chance to break out for too long. Given his lack of powers, Toyman often feels like a Batman villain, but as the Redditor explains, the character could help drive Superman into Gotham-ish arcs where he has to use investigative skills to solve crimes rather than fight villains. Fans of the character will be more upset to learn that Toyman was part of a discarded screenplay for Batman Vs Superman (via Scribd)
The Warworld ruler is one of the individuals that have defeated Superman a couple of times. KazuyaProta praises him for being one of the “”villains able to beat Superman without Kryptonite.”
Mongul is perhaps the most underrated member of the Superman Rogues Gallery, given how formidable he is in the comics. Like Thanos, Mongul is a megalomaniac that finds glee in conquering the universe and beating everyone to submission. It’s something he has done easily during the Pre-Crisis and Pro-Crisis events. And in an arc that’s similar to Marvel’s “Contest of Champions,” he has forced Superman and Wonder Woman to participate in gladiatorial games for his amusement. All these achievements haven’t deemed Mongul worthy of a live-action adaptation.
NEXT: 10 Memes That Perfectly Sum Up Superman And Lois Lane’s Relationship