Comic books are known for being over-the-top when it comes to the diverse cast of super-powered villains that serve as the primary antagonists to earth’s mightiest heroes. Their power sets cover a wide range of abilities such as superhuman strength, flight, energy projection, telepathy, magic, immortality, and even God-like status. It is almost impossible to rank all of their abilities, and at times, it can seem a bit ridiculous how overpowered they are.
In fact, sometimes a villain’s power set becomes their primary identifying characteristic, which can make for a less interesting character. There is a reason why there are so many non-powered villains that are considered to be the greatest of all-time. Today, we’re narrowing down the top three most dangerous comic book villains without any known super powers.
#3 The Red Skull
Though the Red Skull has possessed some superhuman abilities at various times, those moments have usually been one-offs that were often achieved through fringe science (such as stealing Professor Charles Xavier’s brain). Throughout most of Johann Schmidt’s history, he’s been merely a man, albeit one who is an evil genius. Having debut in 1941, the Red Skull is one of the most persistent villains of all time, motivated almost exclusively by his hatred for America and its ideals. That hate has allowed him to follow Captain America into the 21st century through use of cloning and scientific experimentation. What the Red Skull lacks in superhuman abilities, he makes up for in pure resolve.
The Kingpin, aka Wilson Fisk, is perhaps the most physically imposing non-powered villain of all time. Standing 6’7” and weighing 450 lbs, Fisk has gone toe-to-toe with superpowered heroes Spider-Man and Daredevil on a number of occasions. His enemies have often mistaken him for being out of shape due to his massive size. However, most of his body mass is actually muscle. In addition to his impressive strength, Fisk also has a genius-level intellect, is an expert hand-to-hand combatant, and is a master criminal. These skills have allowed him to hide in plain sight, concealing his secret criminal identity, and leaving him multiple steps ahead of his enemies.
#1 The Joker
Much like the Red Skull, the Joker is one of the most dangerous and persistent villains of all-time, having served as the primary antagonist for Batman since 1940. The Clown Prince of Crime has remained an enigma for over 80 years, as he is one of the few comic book villains whose origin has never been revealed. For simply being a man in a clown suit, the Joker’s body count also dwarfs most other villains. Ironically, Batman’s refusal to kill his enemies has allowed the Joker to add to that count. The Joker’s unwavering dedication to creating chaos, and the fact that his motives are unknown even to Batman, make him the most dangerous non-powered villain of all-time.