Top Ten Comic Book Villain Beatdowns

Sometimes there’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned villain beat down. They get to have their fun destroying all sorts of shit and beating up on the heroes for a multi-issue story arc, or plague a hero in a certain title for years. So it’s only natural that they finally get their comeuppance or a royal ass-kicking.

I should add that this list is my own personal opinion, and I’m sure there are plenty of other examples out there, not on this list that everyone thinks should be, especially since the majority are Marvel villains.

10. The Abomination – Hulk #54 (2003)

Image (1) Hulk-54-New-Numbering.jpg for post 3054Emil Blonsky as the Abomination is the antithesis of the Hulk. He is twice as strong as Banner’s alter ego, and retains his intellect after transformation. He even beat the Hulk in their first meeting. This big ugly has plagued Banner for years and always deserved every ass whooping he received, but none stand out to me more than that of the one he received during the excellent Bruce Jones run on the Incredible Hulk.

In this issue, Banner and Blonsky face off after Abomination has had his way with a small town, bashing it to bits. Banner…well, he had his way with Blonsky’s wife Nadia who hates Emil with a passion. Things get smashing and Blonsky ends up mentioning the look in Betty Banner’s eyes when he killed her. What a stupid mistake. He then promptly and literally gets his face punched in by Hulk.

9. Carnage – Spider-Man Unlimited #2 (1993)

Spider-ManUnlimited02Cletus Cassidy was a ginger haired, skinny prison punk who pretty much capitalized off of Venom’s success by becoming an even crazier villain than his predecessor. His biggest claim to fame happened in a huge Spider-Man story arc known to comic fans as Maximum Carnage. Sure he had the biggest group of jobber villains ever assembled in his employ, but they still went on the most violent killing spree that I had seen in comics at that point. It dragged on so long that I was more than ready for his double dose of destruction dealt out by Venom and Spider-Man.

We thought Carnage was dead, but in the penultimate issue of the story arc he emerges alive and well, with only a severely injured Spidey and Venom to take him on. They battle throughout the issue, with Carnage becoming more and more unraveled. At one point he even starts to dig up his mother and chucks the coffin at his two opponents before trying to escape. Venom is having none of that as he pummels Carnage for about six panels until finally tackling him into a power transformer to take him out of commission so the Avengers can take him into custody. Thanks Avengers, you were like the police showing up at the end of the horror movie after the killer is already dead.

8. Sabretooth – Wolverine #55 (2007)

Image (5) Wolverine-55-Vol.3-198x300.jpg for post 3054Sabretooth is/was the mortal enemy of the X-man Wolverine. This guy has been a pain in the ass for not only Wolverine, but the X-Men as well over the years. He’s murdered plenty of innocent people, massacred Morlocks, nearly ended Psylocke, facially scarred Aurora and killed Wolverine’s lover – Silver Fox on his birthday. Then the sick pup tracks Wolverine down on every birthday the X-Man has and fights him to remind him of her death. Who does that kind of crap? 

I can’t even remember how many issues promised the “last” showdown between Wolverine and Sabretooth. It never happened time after time, I remember being royally pissed reading an issue that showed them fighting on the cover and only showed them fight for one panel and then Wolverine walks away, effectively defeating him off page. Weak sauce. However, the last fight between the two seems as if it may have been that final showdown. Wolverine, acquiring the Muramasa Blade, waits at Silver Fox’s cabin for Sabretooth to show up for his annual “Birthday” surprise. What Creed doesn’t know is that the Muramasa Blade creates wounds that negate a healing factor, and in a laugh out loud moment for me, Sabretooth tries to reattach his dismembered arm to no avail.


In an epic moment Logan takes off Sabretooth’s head with the blade and simply tells him- “Happy Birthday.” Classic!

7. Norman Osborn – Siege #4 (2010)

siege-4Also known as that douche Green Goblin, Norman Osborn is notorious for causing the death of Spider-Man’s girlfriend and making his life total dog crap on a bi-monthly basis. Most notable of Norman’s villainous career however is his climb to the top of the United States power structure.

Osborn changed SHIELD into his own agency known as HAMMER during the Dark Reign story arc. He also created and led his own team of Avengers made up of other villains like himself. Osborn was on track to not only rule the world, but set his sights on the realm of Asgard to remove any remaining threats to his rule. It was the attack on Asgard during the Siege story arc when good ol’ Norman received his much-needed beat down.

Norman and his fake ass Dark Avengers were doing so well in the attack on Asgard….until the heavy hitters showed up. Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man arrive to save the day, gladly telling Osborn he is under arrest and removing his Iron Patriot Armor to reveal he has his face painted goblin green as his Green Goblin persona has been taking over once again. It is during Norman’s psycho rambling that the biggest payoff punch in recent comic history happens, as Spidey punches Gobby out cold advising him to shut it. Nice try on the world domination thing Osborn.

6. Magneto – X-Men #25 (1993)

Image (6) X-Men-25.jpg for post 3054Magneto has been the X-Men’s most dangerous and persistent foe, even though he has periodically joined the X-Men. He has his ideals of protecting mutants against humans, but does so in the most extreme ways imaginable. He has come to show us that he will not stop in promoting Homo Sapien Superior as the chosen rulers of the planet until he is dead. He proved to be at his most villainous during the Fatal Attractions comic crossover. This insensitive jerk showed up at Illyana Rasputin’s funeral (Sister to Colossus) just to tell the X-Men they were going to kill some humans on the Avalon space station and then proceeds to send an electromagnetic pulse that wreaks havoc across the globe. What a freakin’ jerk ass! Not to mention very nearly killing Cable before Professor Xavier decides they must neutralize their foe before he can cause anymore damage. 

I loved X-men #25 because of the sweet hologram on the cover, but I had no idea how shocked I would be after reading the issue. In an attempt to stop Magneto from further attacking Earth, several X-Men accompany our old pal cueball Xavier to infiltrate the Avalon space station. A glorious fight ensues, with Wolverine nearly gutting Mags with some claw action. Magneto has apparently had enough of Wolverine’s slashing and proceeds to use his magnetic powers to rip the adamantium from Wolverine’s skeleton and out of his body…through his pores. This was a pretty big “Oh shit!” moment for me because I actually thought the ole’ Canucklehead may have been done for.


However, Magneto finally gets the ultimate beat down from Xavier, albeit a mental one, as the world’s strongest telepath attacks him. Xavier shuts down Magneto’s mind and leaves him on Avalon in a comatose state. If a good old mind shutdown isn’t a beat down, I don’t know what is. Magneto would have made the list a little higher had we not been forced to deal with the result of Xavier’s mind wiping…Onslaught.

5. Sinestro – Green Lantern #25 (2008)

Image (8) Green-Lantern-25-Vol.-4.jpg for post 3054And now for one of my most favorite villains – Thaal Sinestro, who was once touted by the Guardians of the Universe as one of the greatest Green Lanterns in history. The sector of space under his jurisdiction was the most well run sector out there. That is until it was revealed that Sinestro’s sector, and home world Korugar are so orderly because Sinestro rules them with an iron fist. Banished to the Anti-Matter universe by the Guardian’s for using his ring for fear, Sinestro creates his own yellow ring to instill his will through fear. It’s all downhill from here. Sinestro has been the biggest thorn in the Green Lantern Corps’ side since he made the yellow ring. The pink-faced bastard was behind the fall of Hal Jordan when he was infected by Parallax, the death of Kyle Rayner’s mother, and the destruction of numerous star systems. It all culminated into his most recent and memorable beat down: The Sinestro Corps War.

During the Sinestro Corps War, our man Thaal unveils his horde of “Yellow Lanterns”, known as the Sinestro Corps (of course) wielding the same yellow ring as their leader. They launch an all out assault on the Green Lantern Corps with their main target being Earth, which they plan on making as their new home world, from which they will rule the galaxy. As you can probably imagine, Lanterns like Hal Jordan and Kyle Raynar don’t take too kindly to this attack on their home planet. After a brutal fight between them and Sinestro, Jordan finishes it all by blasting Sinestro in the face and through a plate-glass window! That’ll show him what happens when you mess with Earth!

4. Apocalypse – X-Men: Omega (1995)

Image (10) X-men-Omega1.jpg for post 3054I may catch a little flack for this one because many of my comic geek brethren will quibble over the semantics of time travel and alternate universes. The villain of this choice as you’ve already seen is one of the world’s oldest mutants and survival of the fittest advocate: Apocalypse.

So maybe advocate is too nice of a word, that’d be like saying Hitler was an advocate for world peace. Apocalypse takes survival of the fittest past the notions of Charles Darwin and practices it by culling the world of unworthy mutants and humans alike. There was no better storyline involving the Big A than his own self titled one: The Age of Apocalypse.

Basically Charles Xavier is killed off in the past accidentally by his son David Haller (Legion) who was actually trying to kill Magneto. This was all in a totally moronic act of trying to redeem himself in his father’s eyes for his past transgressions and his terrible hairdo. You don’t see Apocalypse complaining though. In the new reality without Xavier to guide human-mutant relations, the United States is now the kingdom of Apocalypse, who rules with an iron fist and his massive army of mutants who love ruling over the human populace as much as he does. Humans are treated as nothing more than cattle, culled by the thousands at massive processing plants and hunted wherever they go. Apocalypse for the most part sits on his throne throughout the crossover, muttering cool phrases about mutant superiority and yelling at his minions. That is until his beat down ticket is punched by none other than Magneto, who has taken up Xavier’s mantle to unite humans and mutants.

Guess he wasn't HALF THE MAN HE THOUGHT HE WAS! Get it?
Guess he wasn’t HALF THE MAN HE THOUGHT HE WAS! Get it?

While our resident time displaced X-pal Bishop travels to the past to stop Legion and undo the Age of Apocalypse timeline, its throw down time between Magneto and Apocalypse. This is like one of those fights where some big bully always acting tough has to actually fight someone. You know they’re nervous because if they lose they’ll look like a total ass for always acting so tough. For Apocalypse, this fight is just like that. He’s talked over and over about how only the fit rule and blah blah blah. Then when he finally fights someone, he gets entirely owned. Well in this case maybe just half owned… twice. What I mean to say is Magneto tears Apocalypse in half to finish the big fight. Very satisfying indeed.

3. The Joker – Batman #614 (2003)

Image (12) cover_batman614.jpg for post 3054This sick pup should top every comic villain list every time. He’s smart and calculating one minute, killing people in order to make a statement. The next he’s killing indiscriminately, laughing at a joke only he knows the punchline to. The Joker is so wildly unpredictable and has caused Batman and members of the Bat Family significant amounts of pain over the years. He’s killed one Robin, paralyzed Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), murdered Jim Gordon’s wife, and countless others have fallen victim to his mad whims. The only thing that would put him at the top of the villain’s beat down list is if it was a “to death” beat down. But none of us want that do we? He’s just too much fun…

So even though the Joker wasn’t beaten to death by Batman, the extremely one-sided fight (if you can call it that) during the Hush storyline comes pretty close. After Batman runs outside of the opera house that Harley Quinn just robbed, he sees the Joker standing over the “dead” body of his childhood friend Tommy Elliot. He automatically assumes that the Joker must have killed Tommy, but who wouldn’t? This guy uses a gas that kills people and leaves them with a permanent smile on their faces for God’s sake. As Bats pummels away at the Joker, he has various flashes of his killing of Jason Todd, the paralyzing of Barbara Gordon and the shooting of Sarah Essen-Gordon. In fact if it wasn’t for the intervention of Jim Gordon appealing through their friendship, it appeared that Batman would have followed through on this thoughts of killing the Joker once and for all so he couldn’t hurt anyone else. I don’t know what was funnier: The Joker getting a good walloping or the fact that he really didn’t kill Tommy Elliot.

2. Bullseye – Shadowland #1 (2010)

Shadowland #1The man known by only by his first name – Lester, is one of the most dangerous assassins in the world. Gifted with perfect accuracy and an expert in hand to hand combat, this guy may have a lame name, but he sure is formidable.

At one time he was the Kingpin‘s top enforcer/assassin, but was ultimately bumped from the list by Daredevil’s love, Elektra. In his first major transgression against Daredevil, Bullseye kills Elektra with her own weapon to be top dog in the Kingpin’s eyes once more. Okay, so Elektra wasn’t defenseless when he killed her, but Murdock’s girlfriend Karen Page sure was when Bullseye used her as a human dart board. That’s two of Daredevil’s lady friends that this scumbag killed. Some of you may be thinking that I would use the Daredevil/Bullseye fight from the acclaimed BendisMaleev run of Daredevil, but you’d be wrong. His ultimate beat down occurs in the story arc known as Shadowland.

This was one fight that Bullseye just couldn’t have seen turning out the way he did. Going to Hell’s Kitchen to challenge Daredevil, it’s quite apparent to little Lester that he is not fighting the same old Murdock. There is a certain ruthlessness to him, which Bullseye finds out after not one, but two dislocated shoulders. Then for the crowning moment Daredevil re-introduces him to an old friend…a sai. The same type of weapon he used to kill Elektra years ago is utilized to finally kill one of the most murderous psychopaths in the Marvel U. After all of the pain and bullshit he caused Matt Murdock over the years, can you really blame him for ending the guy? I sure enjoyed seeing him in panic mode before he bought it. Sure Murdock may have been demon possessed, but it was gratifying nonetheless.

1. Bane – Batman #500 (1993)

batman_500c_largeThe result of an experimental steroid drug called Venom and raised in a South American prison, Bane is one of Batman’s greatest foes. He made his mark in DC Comics by being the first villain to completely defeat Batman. Hot on the heels of the previous year’s Death of Superman, Knightfall stands as one of the most important pieces of bat lore out there.

Bane was my number one pick because Batman is my favorite Superhero around. So when someone utterly defeats your favorite hero, you can’t help but hate the living shit out of that someone. So, yes as a young kid I hated Bane and couldn’t believe that defeated Batman and broke his back! Then he tossed him into the street like a piece of garbage! This guy just had to go, and I couldn’t wait for Batman to come back and destroy this guy, but how could he with a broken back? That’s where Jean Paul Valley aka Azrael came into play.

Yes I know, he has a terrible name so from here on I’m just going to call him JPV. Anyways, JPV is the newest Batman, and after fighting Bane once he builds a new bat suit that is more dangerous with a variety of gadgets. We’re talking metal clawed gauntlets and razor-sharp bat symbol shurikens. It is in this second fight that Bane get’s his Venom ridden ass kicked!

This is the second fight of the issue. Bane is reloaded on Venom and Batman is reloaded with a new suit. The scene is set just right. Bane has called Batman out right in downtown Gotham via a light up billboard. The GCPD and Commissioner Gordon show up as well and wait for the inevitable confrontation.

Batman arrives as does Bane in dramatic fashion by jumping straight through the light up billboard in a shower of sparks. Then the rain starts, signaling the start of a very one-sided fight. Batman instantly has Bane on the run, all but shredding him to bits with his claws and bat shurikens.

Bane uses a Venom recharge to gain the upper hand until Batman shreds the tubes that inject Bane with the steroid. Then it’s game over. Bane may prolong the fight aboard a train but after a few more well placed punches to his mouth and a kick in the nads, it’s a done deal as the new Batman stands victorious over the “Man who broke the bat.”

Now that I’m a LOT older I can see how Bane only defeated Batman because he was run ragged by rounding up the escaped Arkham inmates that Bane released. And after fighting Bane’s henchman he never stood a chance against Bane. Without his Venom and Batman being fresh for the fight, Bane could never had defeated him one on one. It’s a shame that the massive owning that he endured hadn’t come from THE Batman Bruce Wayne.

I hope that everyone enjoyed my top ten list. Though I’m sure there are a few of you out there plotting my demise for some of the picks. So sound off in the comment section below to voice your pleasure or displeasure with it. Be kind, be brutal, be honest and just admit that those were some good ass kickins’!

That;s All

Images: Marvel Comics, DC Comics

15 thoughts on “Top Ten Comic Book Villain Beatdowns”

  1. Love the list; however, I cannot let one glaring omission go unmentioned.

    Herr Starr from Preacher goes through a beatdown that spans the entire series. Even before the story begins, we learn as a child, Starr had his eye put out by a group of older boys using a broken glass bottle. The resulting trauma caused his voice to degrade to a rasp and he lost all his hair.

    In the story, Starr is raped by a large male prostitute; his ear gets shot off; revives a head wound that makes his bald head look like a penis; has his right leg eaten by inbred gourmet cannibals; has his genitalia bit of by a Rottweiler; and finally gets a bullet to the chin that removes the top half of his skull. “ahhh shit.”

    You may suggest your list compiles only beat downs that occur in a single comic book; however, I think most of the individual beatings Starr receives trumps most of the list.


  2. I’m not a big comic guy, but I do know all the names, and attributes of the characters you mentioned, and I have to say, Sabretooth was my favorite. Mainly because I never knew about the Muramasa Blade, so I just assumed that Sabretooth would continuously pummel Logan for the rest of eternity. I thik the coolest aspect of his death though is the fact that Wolverine, despite having 6 giant metal claws attached to his skeleton, used a sword to decapitate Sabretooth. That would be like having a tommy gun on your arm, and using a cannon to kill a man.


  3. Come on, seriously, no Punisher? Some of the beatings he dealt on the MAX imprint were vicious! Big Pun defined ‘beatdown’ when he beat the crap out of Barracuda!


  4. maximum carnage was like, an ultimate 90’s nerdgasm. never say anything illy towards it kronner. you disappoint me.


  5. Wow this phone is fucking terrible. It’s going tO force me to use correct English. That word, whatever it is was supposed to be “my badddddd” what in the forgotten jells happened?


  6. Well actually as far as the Bane/Batman rivalry goes. In detective comics issue 701 the REAL Batman : Bruce Wayne does defeat bane one on one. No venom, no released prisoners from the asylum , just a one on one fight to the finish. And batman crushed him and finally got his revenge


  7. Horseshit. You leave off Spider-Man beating the holy dogcrap out of Firelord, a Herald of Galactus with power on par with the Silver Surfer? And, villains or not, Spider-Man beat ALL OF THE X-MEN AT THE SAME TIME in Secret Wars. To him they were villains at the time.


    1. Is Firelord really a villain though? As a Herald he is a part of the balance of the universe and an essential part of the cosmos. He also fought in the Annilhation War alongside his fellow heralds and the rest of the cosmic heroes.


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