What can I say about Ultron? Evil robots tend to be a dime a dozen, and I'm not even counting Decepticons in this. But Ultron is one of the few greats. An android programmed to think, learn, grow, and it became sentient. It views humanity as flawed and seeks to destroy us, and yet its become far more human than it would ever admit to. Ultron is and always has been chilling.
24. The Mandarin
Iron Man's archenemy, and at the same time, a remnant from the embarrassing age of the yellow peril. But despite his racist origins, the Mandarin has endured as Tony Stark's most dangerous enemy, and has recently been updated by Matt Fraction and brought into the 21st century. I look forward to seeing Sir Ben Kingsley's portrayal of him in "Iron Man 3".
Every other character on this list predates her, and she has only a handful of comic book appearances so far. But she intrigues me. There's a nice sense of mystery about her that has catapulted her to my twenty-third favorite comic book villain. Now, other villains that appear in the "Gargoyles" comic book are better villains and have earned a spot on this list over her, but they were first introduced in the animated series, and I did not think it would be fair to include them in this list. Still, while most of us have probably correctly guessed Shari's identity, the more intriguing mystery is why is she doing all of this? Why did the Illuminati assign her to be Thailog's new executive assistant? She clearly outranks him. What exactly is going on. I hope that eventually we'll get the answers. Either way, Shari remains an original and intriguing character.
22. The Kingpin
Ah yes, the leader of the Foot. Or the Shredder's adopted daughter depending on which continuity you follow. She intrigues me, especially in a medium where strong female villains are rare. Her sense of honor is as strong as her ruthlessness, and under the right circumstances she can be more dangerous than the Shredder ever was.
20. Adrien Veidt
18. Madame Hydra
Sometimes she's called Viper but to me, she'll always be Madame Hydra. If Baron Strucker and the Red Skull are Nazis, Madame Hydra is the ultimate nihilist. She wants to see society collapse, and is willing to work with Neo-Nazis to do it. She is so ruthless that even the Red Skull thought she was too insane to work with. She's the current leader of HYDRA after she manipulated Norman Osborn into helping her rebuild the organization... yes, she manipulated one of Marvel's best chessmasters. This girl is a force to be reckoned with and I can't wait to see what's next for her.
17. Vandal Savage
I suppose when you're fifty-thousand years old, you can say that you know what's best for humanity and have it carry at least a little more weight. This guy is one of my favorite DC villains. He's intelligent, ruthless, and while he lacks superpowers, he is powerful enough to fight even Batman hand-to-hand. My favorite version of him is the defacto leader of The Light in "Young Justice". He despises the Justice League because he sees them as calcifying humanity's evolution and plans to speed up the process.
16. Red Skull
12. Talia al Ghul
Talia al Ghul has always been a favorite of mine, but it was the last decade that really cemented it. For years she was struggling between choosing between her love for Batman and her loyalty towards her father (he's coming, btw), and in a medium where most female villains eventually reform, I was pleased that Talia was taken in a different direction. She is now no longer in love with Batman, and Grant Morrison has proven her to be even more dangerous than her father when she was revealed to be the mastermind behind Leviathan. Not to mention her mothering Damian Wayne has permanently cemented her connection to the Bat-Family. Talia al Ghul, I salute you.
11. The Hobgoblin
10. Baron Zemo
Former Nazi scientist, rival of the Red Skull and founder of the Masters of Evil. Baron Zemo is almost as great a monster as the Red Skull. He was so hated by the German people for experiments he performed on them that he took to wearing the mask to protect his family. His son has proudly continued the tradition by leading the Masters of Evil, founding the Thunderbolts and still making Captain America's life a nightmare. Plus he made Captain America cry, and for that he's earned his spot on this list.
9. Ra's al Ghul
8. Dr. Octopus
6 (66). Lucifer Morningstar
... okay, I'll say more. Lucifer is everything Mephisto should be. Clever, cunning, scheming, and the ultimate rebel. He gave up the throne of Hell and handed the key to Dream of the Endless just to screw with him. He created his own existence so Yahweh would no longer have the monopoly on creation with only one rule, worship nothing. Ultimately, he's a conceited prick rebelling against his conceited father. As David Easterman, a character who sees himself as a victim of Lucifer, puts it: "when the devil wants you to do something, he doesn't lie at all. He tells you the exact, literal truth. And he lets you find your own way to hell"
Where the hell do I begin? Griffith is, very possibly, the most evil character I have encountered in the realm of fiction... aside from Morgoth and Sauron. Griffith is what happens when ambition festers and grows like a disease. Not that ambition is a bad thing, but Griffith took it to a whole new level. He grew up poor, formed his own mercenary hand, and became the champion of Midland with his eyes on marrying the princess and becoming King. What went wrong? He allowed himself to get personally attached to his favorite toy, a soldier named Guts. He lost it all, got tortured for a year, crippled, his tongue got cut out and then he sacrificed the troops and friends who loved him so he could be reborn as Femto, the fifth and final member of the God Hand before raping Caska (his most fanatically loyal and devoted follower, and Guts' love) in front of Guts while she was pregnant, infecting her fetus to eventually create a vessel for him to return to Earth in. Now he's in the process of conquering humanity as a seemingly ordained messianic figure... the Hawk of Light. His story is not over yet, but Griffith is the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing. Especially since we go through what Guts goes through as all of this is revealed.
4. Dr. Doom
3. The Joker
1. The Green Goblin
Also, the Goblin holds the distinct honor of ending the Silver Age of comic books. When he killed Gwen Stacy, he killed the genre's innocence as well. Suddenly heroes could fail, people were mortal. No one was safe. He ushered in a new age and forced comic books to grow up with their fans. I have no doubt he'll haunt the pages of Marvel Comics long after I've gone to the grave.