10 Reverse DC Comics Villains Who Corrupted Their Rivals’ Gimmicks


  • Some DC heroes face villains who are their exact opposite, mirroring their powers and traits in a dark way.
  • For example, Aquaman battles Thanatos, his dark reflection from a mystical realm who copied his abilities.
  • These dark mirror villains, like Reverse-Flash and Blackfire, challenge DC heroes in unexpected ways, testing their strengths.

The DC Universe is home to just as many unique and identifiable villains as it is superheroes. Nearly every hero in the Justice League has an archenemy that has challenged them in unexpected ways. But the most fascinating villains are those who exist as a ‘reverse’ of their nemesis.

Sure, the Joker might vex Batman more than any other foe and Captain Cold may have the perfect way of stopping the Flash. But nearly every hero has a dark opposite, someone who possesses similar powers with none of their heroic spirit. Read on to discover 10 villains who stand for everything their enemy doesn’t.

10 Thanatos is Aquaman’s Worst Self Brought to Life

First Appearance: Aquaman #54 (1970)

As much as Black Manta and Ocean Master may have hurt Arthur Curry in the past, Aquaman’s true ‘reverse’ villain is his lesser-known antagonist Thanatos. Thanatos is Arthur’s dark reflection from a mystical realm known as the Netherspace. Thanatos stole Aquaman’s form and copied all of his abilities, using his new look to lure in and trap Mera in his dark realm. Thanatos was ultimately killed by Major Disaster who mistook the villain for the real Aquaman. But Thanatos’ brief battles with Arthur showed how dangerous Aquaman’s dark side could be.

9 Martian Manhunter’s Brother Ma’alefa’ak is a Stone-Cold Killer

First Appearance: Martian Manhunter #0 (1998)

Martian Manhunter Fights His Brother DC

Ma’alefa’ak J’onzz, aka Malefic, is Martian Manhunter’s brother and the being responsible for the extinction of the Martian race. Malefic hates his people and when he discovered J’onn was still alive, he pursued his brother to Earth, ready to extinguish him. Martian Manhunter’s kin has all of J’onn’s powers but now of his empathy or appreciation for other cultures. J’onn was eventually able to defeat his brother in a telepathic battle, but no one since has been able to challenge Martian Manhunter as Malefic did.

8 Merlyn is Everything Green Arrow’s Not

First Appearance: Justice League of America #94 (1971)

Merlyn Reveals Himself to Green Arrow DC

Green Arrow might be one of the most prominent archers in the DCU, but as good as Oliver is, Merlyn is just as good a shot. The two have a deep rivalry going, with Merlyn seeing Green Arrow as an inferior archer. However, he has a similar skill set and like Oliver, Merlyn also uses trick arrows such as explosive-tipped ones. While Green Arrow has had his troubles as a family man, Merlyn has almost no love in him. Merlyn even attempted to trick Green Arrow into living a life of solitude just to bring Oliver down to Merlyn’s level.

7 Blackfire is a Twisted Take on Starfire

First Appearance: New Teen Titans #22 (1982)

Blackfire on Alien Planet DC

Starfire is one of the most kindhearted heroes in the DC Universe. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for her sister, Blackfire. Blackfire has always hated Starfire ever since their childhood when Blackfire suffered from a condition that impaired her development of the usual Tamaranean powers. Blackfire eventually developed the powers she needed and has used them to routinely make Starfire’s life a living hell. While Starfire has generally been portrayed as a glowing, joyful being, Blackfire is hateful and wants to make everyone around her suffer, especially her sister.

6 Killer Moth Was the First Villain to Model Himself on Batman

First Appearance: Batman #63 (1951)

Killer Moth flying in DC Comics

Batman has a lot of villains that could technically count as his reverse such as Bane, Owlman, or the Batman Who Laughs. But one notable villain who really fits that bill is Killer Moth, the first ‘anti-Batman’. Killer Moth was originally developed to be the criminals’ version of Batman, someone who protected evil-doers from the Dark Knight. To really seal the deal, Killer Moth had numerous Batman-like things such as a Moth Cave and a Mothmobile. While Killer Moth isn’t half as intimidating as Batman, the villain does work as a dark mirror for Bruce.

5 Ares Stands For War Just as Wonder Woman Stands for Peace

First Appearance: Wonder Woman #1 (1942)

Ares in Flames DC

Wonder Woman is a warrior for peace who loves humanity more than anything. So who better to work as her reverse than the hateful god of war? Ares desires nothing but war while Diana takes every step she can to avoid physical confrontation. The opposite nature of the two was made even more overt during the New 52 when they were both presented as children of Zeus. What ultimately defines Ares as Diana’s reverse is his treatment of mortals. He sees them as objects to be manipulated while Wonder Woman respects their autonomy and tries to lead them to peace.

4 Black Adam is the Dark Path Shazam Never Went Down

First Appearance: The Marvel Family (1945)

Black Adam 11 Cover DC, Lightning sparking around him, eyes glowing

Long before Billy Batson ever gained the magic powers of the wizard, Black Adam was granted Shazam’s magic powers. However, where Billy used his powers to do good, honest work, Adam used his godlike power recklessly. That’s not to say that Black Adam doesn’t have a sense of right and wrong. He just believes that his strength allows him to rule as he sees fit. Shazam, on the other hand, tries his best to make sure he never misuses his power and Billy always defers to his family to make sure he’s doing the right thing.

3 Sinestro is the Ultimate Green Lantern Cautionary Tale

First Appearance: Green Lantern #7 (1961)

Sinestro was once one of the greatest Green Lanterns in Corps history. But his true colors were revealed when it was discovered he was using his powers to keep his sector in order through tyranny. Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Sinestro have a tense relationship, largely because they see a lot of themselves in the other person. Like Green Lantern, Sinestro believes in the rule of law, but he’s willing to embrace the methods he best believes will bring that about (i.e. abject fear).

2 Bizarro is Superman’s Imperfect Mirror Image

First Appearance: Action Comics #254 (1959)

One of the most infamous opposite-themed villains is Superman’s odd, backward-minded nemesis Bizarro. Bizarro is a failed Superman clone whose mind can only think in imperfect opposites. Sometimes Bizarro is bad because Superman is good. Sometimes Bizarro wants to do good, but due to the way he understands the world, he can’t help but cause chaos and discord. If that weren’t enough, Bizarro also has the opposite of Superman’s greatest powers. Rather than heat vision and freeze breath, he’s got frost vision and flame breath. Bizarro’s also just gained powerful magic abilities, unlike Superman who’s vulnerable to the supernatural.

1 Reverse-Flash Wants to Destroy Everything Flash Represents

First Appearance: The Flash #139 (1963)

No other villain is worthy of being called a ‘reverse’ villain more than the Flash’s infamous nemesis. The Reverse-Flash, aka Eobard Thawne, was once a huge Scarlet Speedster fanboy. However, Thawne went down a more villainous path and dedicated himself to ruining as much of the Flash’s life as he could. Reverse-Flash is everything that Flash isn’t. While Flash does his best to keep the timeline stable, Reverse-Flash uses history as his personal playground. He even went so far as to develop a negative Speed Force that feeds off the Flash’s mystical force.

There are a lot of compelling villains in the DC Universe, but these 10 stand out as the greatest opposites of DC’s heroes.