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Top 6 Comics Featuring a Villain as the Protagonist

by Lidia Lucovic

Frequently, villains are hastily dismissed as one-dimensional adversaries or coerced into the anti-hero category. However, the finest villains are allowed the space to embody both multi-dimensional humanity and unquestionable moral ambiguity. A comic featuring a compelling villain portrays a perspective where the concept of evil isn’t easily defined or curtailed, except by a reactive force. Exceptional villain narratives challenge this simplistic view of the world, prompting readers to comprehend the intricate systems that drive individuals to cause harm, even fostering empathy towards these villains.

1、Optimus Prime Annual 2018 – “Starscream: The Movie”

Envious of Optimus Prime’s popularity, Starscream, the current High Chancellor of Cybertron and former second-in-command of the Decepticons, recruits his former comrade Thundercracker to script and direct a movie chronicling Starscream’s life. Starscream’s egotistical political ambitions clash with Thundercracker’s artistic aspirations, resulting in challenges in creating a coherent film. The narrative humorously unravels Starscream’s revisionist history in conflict with Thundercracker’s self-indulgent artistic endeavors. Crafted by John Barber, this narrative is a brilliant farce, teeming with significant personas, meta-commentary on the Transformers franchise, and an attempted murder. It adeptly encapsulates Starscream’s conflicting desires to rehabilitate his public image while dealing with personal emotions in the aftermath of the war.

2、Batman #27 & #30 – “The Ballad of Kite Man”

In Batman, issues #27 and #30 present “The Ballad of Kite Man,” an interlude within Tom King’s expansive “War of Jokes and Riddles” narrative. This particular tale delves into the backstory of Kite Man, a super villain submerged in misfortune, reduced to little more than a perpetual punchline both literally and metaphorically throughout the comic’s progression. Charles Brown, a low-level criminal and creator of the Joker-mobile, finds himself entangled in a clash involving Batman, the Joker, and the Riddler. This conflict results in a tragic loss that propels Charles to adopt the persona of Kite Man. King seamlessly intertwines his comedic character portrayal with a remarkable ability to depict the sorrow of fatherhood, crafting a narrative that balances humor with heartbreak.


Deathstroke, portrayed with arms crossed, standing alongside Project Defiance Christopher Priest’s run on Deathstroke during DC’s Rebirth Era stands as one of the most compelling comics. This storyline offers a humane perspective on the morally corrupted mercenary, Deathstroke the Terminator, also known as Slade Wilson. Commencing in issue #1, where Slade supports a despotic ruler engaged in genocide, Priest takes an unexpectedly personal approach by examining the aftermath of Slade’s actions on his intricate network of family and friends. Priest emphasizes Slade’s role as a former husband and a father of three amidst a backdrop of mercenary contracts, intricate personal vendettas, and frequent acts of violence. In various interviews, Priest emphasized that Deathstroke’s essence lay not in the battles themselves but in the consequences that transpire afterward.

4、New Avengers #33 – “In Latveria, the Flowers Die in Summer”

Concluding his monumental narrative across New Avengers and Avengers, leading seamlessly into the exhilarating culmination of Secret Wars, author Jonathan Hickman utilizes “In Latveria, the Flowers Die in Summer” to delve into the time-jumping, universe-hopping escapades of Doctor Doom, previously unfolding in the background of the overarching storyline. Revealed as a pivotal figure from the outset, Doctor Doom confronts the impending demise of the multiverse and vehemently rejects such an outcome. Collaborating with the Molecule Man, “In Latveria, the Flowers Die in Summer” also serves as a thematic continuation of Hickman’s intertwined Fantastic Four and FF storylines.

5、Loki: Journey into Mystery

Kieron Gillen’s tenure on Journey into Mystery centers on the rebirth of Loki, now in his teenage years, striving to display benevolence in a world that perpetually anticipates malevolence from him. Stemming from his earlier narrative in Thor and the one-shot Siege: Loki, Gillen’s storyline intricately examines and expands upon the Asgardian mythos, interconnecting the Nine Realms with the broader magical elements within Marvel Comics. Concurrently, it profoundly reimagines Loki’s character trajectory, entangling him within an intricate narrative destined for tragedy. Brimming with creativity, humor, and emotional depth, the series advances Loki’s tale, with Gillen further developing it in his seminal run on Young Avengers.

6、Superman: The Black Ring

Following the events of Blackest Night, wherein he temporarily obtains the power of the Orange Lantern Ring, Lex Luthor embarks on a mission to regain such power. Writer Paul Cornell aptly aligns with Luthor’s high-concept science-fiction endeavors and sardonic disposition, guiding the malevolent genius on a global and cosmic odyssey, featuring guest appearances from diverse characters in the DC universe. This narrative, often overlooked but esteemed as a classic, serves as the concluding Lex Luthor tale prior to the New 52 reboot. It provides a definitive exploration of Lex Luthor’s remarkable ability to sidestep introspection, unveiling a historical revelation that forces him to confront his essence.

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