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Over the years the Justice League has battled a Rogues Army of enemies. Everything from alien starfish to actual wizards have had the world’s greatest fists driven into them again and again. With anything that prolific, there were bound to be some misfires, and boy howdy have there been. I’ve collected ten of the lamest villains ever desperately conceived to cash in on a fad or attempt a new, edgy twist. Enjoy.
Tell me, gentle reader, how terrified are you of KEEEEYYS? If your answer was anything other than an all-consuming indifference devoid of any semblance of terror, then you probably created the The Key. I know you’re thinking he’s full-on key-themed, what with his key shaped blaster, but you’re 100% wrong. The Key is a master of psycho-chemicals that expand both his senses and intelligence. I guess you could say he’s unlocking the doors to his mind, but that’s Elongated Man levels of stretching. I think they just couldn’t think of more key things. Grant Morrison tried to push The Key into super-spooky, oh-man-so-edgy territory in 90s, turning him into some kind of pale, key monster. It did little to keep him relevant.
Kobra is the leader of your run-of-the-mill snake-themed death cult. A cult that I’m pretty sure is a rip-off of Marvel’s favorite cult, Hydra. He’s got a dumb costume and wants to usher in an age of chaos, blah blah. Despite sounding like the creation of a 14-year-old in the 80s, Kobra has popped up here and there in the DC universe. Like a python that slithered up through the plumbing and now sits coiled in the universe’s collective toilet bowl.
Neron is a devil. Like a for real devil. Master of lies and all that. His whole shtick is wheelin’ and dealin’ for souls. Faustian stuff, he trades your soul for your deepest desire. Pretty standard. He’s no demonic monster, though, no sir. He looks much, much dumber! They took a generic superhero costume, a bad 90s mullet, and gave him pointy shoulder-cape parts. Maybe it makes it easier to deals for souls, you say? Preposterous. Why doesn’t he look like an accountant or a lawyer? Do you make deals with body builders in spandex and capes? He’s your default demon king stuffed into what 90s comics thought looked cool. Which, as we all know, isn’t.
Amazo is a One Man Justice League. An evil One Man Justice League, an android designed to absorb the abilities and minds of Leaguers. He walks a fine line between goofy Silver Age artifact and intimidating hall of fame villain. Making a kid version of him tips it right into Dumbsville. We actually see this a lot with popular villains. Brainiac, Doomsday, and Deathstroke all have kid versions. I guess Starro is next. What’s more, the story of Kid Amazo is kinda creepy. Amazo’s creator, Ivo, takes an egg from his daughter, Sarah, then fertilizes it with Amazo’s… robot materials? Then, the resulting cyborg kid, Kid Amazo, begins a budding relationship with Sarah. Who, unbeknownst to them, is, again, his mother.
In the 90s, the Justice League fought literal angels. From heaven! It was all a plot to overthrow God or something. I think it had to deal with Neron above. In the end, it seemed like a lame attempt to inject mythology into a word that did not jive well with it. I’ve always thought it weird when current religious stuff shows up in comics. It always raises questions that never get answered. I’ve read the arc and none of the Justice League really come to grips with this startling piece of evidence for an afterlife. No conversions or revelations. What does Martian Manhunter think? One religion on one planet at one point in time has turned out to be mostly true. How do you handle that? I guess they could be just another kind of monster, but we’ll never know BECAUSE IT’S NEVER REALLY TOUCHED ON AGAIN. Lame.
The Arthur Light version of Doctor Light is mostly a joke. His early appearances showed some promise as someone with control over light and energy should be pretty unstoppable, but after he died for the first time, DC kinda forgot about what to do with him. He would return a couple times from the dead, once beaten by the new Doctor Light and then becoming trapped in a Green Lantern Power Battery. In one final, sad attempt to make him edgy and interesting, they made him a rapist. The hallmark of a super lame character.
Yep. The Monocle was an optics scientist of some kind before inventing a monocle that shoots lasers and deciding to commit vengeance against those who wronged him. I mean, c’mon comics. He was an actual foe to actual heroes. He’s invited to join the Secret Society, you guys, with villains like Ultrahumanite. He just shoots lasers from a monocle! DOES NO ONE ELSE SEE HOW USELESS THAT I–
Brainstorm has a helmet that allows him to create anything he imagines. This should make him one of, if not the, most powerful being in the universe. He’s not. Nowadays he’s one of those sad trivia villains that has stayed on the sidelines through most of DC’s history. He, and versions of his character, have popped up here and there, most recently in the New 52. Though no longer with that stupid hat.
Shaggy Man, yes his real name, is an indestructible, unimaginably strong synthetic sorta-robot that can throw down with the entire Justice League. He’s mindless, though, and will fight anything that moves until the end of time. All while covered in long, luscious locks. He sounds like the creation of a Sasquatch-obsessed kid trying to outdo someone else. “NUH-UH! SHAGGY MAN IS THE STRONGEST, MOST UNBEATABLE, HE ALWAYS WINS.” Talk about uninteresting. You can tell DC wrote themselves into a corner with him too. The first time, the League shrinks him down and hides him in the ocean. Then, when a US general transfers his mind into the body, they shoot Shaggy Man into space.
I stumbled on this piece of history and, man, delicious. It’s the 70s, right? How could DC cash in on the disco craze and keep their weird obsession with Hell going? By making the Satin Satan, c’mon man. This fabric-themed “villain” is a fashion model and a sorceress who’s possessed by a demon. Spooky! She can seduce dudes and turn people into mannequins. Seems like the perfect person to fight a sun god who can crush mountains, an immortal super-warrior, and a man made of freaking nuclear fire. I wonder why she never caught on?