A supervillain or supervillainess is a criminal variant of the villainous stock character archetype commonly found in American comic books and sometimes possesses superhuman abilities. A supervillain is the antithesis of a superhero.
Supervillains are often used as foils and could present a daunting challenge to the superhero. In instances where the supervillain does not have superhuman, mystical, or alien powers, the supervillain may possess a genius intellect or a skill set that allows him or her to draft complex schemes or commit crimes in a way normal humans cannot. Other traits may include a megalomaniac streak and possession of considerable resources to help further their aims. Many supervillains share some typical characteristics of real world dictators, mobsters, and terrorists, with aspirations of world domination or universal leadership.
Lex Luthor, the Joker, Magneto, Doctor Doom, Darkseid, Thanos, Norman Osborn, and Galactus are some well-known supervillains in popular culture and have been adapted to film and television. Some notable examples of female comic book supervillains are Catwoman, Mystique, Harley Quinn, Enchantress, Viper, and Cheetah.
Supervillains are sometimes members of supervillain groups, such as the Sinister Six, the Brotherhood of Mutants, the Legion of Doom, the Marauders, the Brotherhood of Evil, and the Acolytes.
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