Monday, June 2, 2014




"There is NOTHING I can do to him that would cause him the agony that he has brought upon others. But I can come CLOSE."

We appreciate Superman, Spider-man, Captain America and the like because they fight crime with a moral code of ethics and hold themselves to a higher standard than most people of the world. These are the type of characters that remain an inspiration to all and define the meaning of "superhero." They fight by the rules and would never lower themselves to the level of their greatest enemies. Yes, we know who these characters are, they taught us right from wrong and no matter how tough times got, they never falter.

But what of those other heroes who always seem to have a hard and nasty edge to them? That certain class of reckless ultra-violent types who’s behavior would be otherwise deplorable, but tend to get healthy nods of respect (and fear) in the superhero world because their ways are channeled through righteous indignation, making them effective tools in the fight against evil, even if their methods are distasteful and given their cause, only marginally acceptable as good. These are the type of characters that became much more prevalent during the Bronze Age of Comics (starting in the early 1970's). They took comic adventures from a more innocent time into a dark and grittier new realm of reality. These "vigilante" or "anti-hero" types became instant fan-favorites with their "take no prisoners" approach to justice and continue to thrive even to this day.

For this write up, I ranked the 10 most badass, anti-heroes, vigilantes, thugs, brutes or whatever you want to call them (let's just be glad they're on our side), and based each character on their; style, look, intimidation, motivation, reputation, brutality, and personality. So don't expect to see those goody-two-shoes heroes that don't want to cross the line because most of these guys -- have no line! I just ranked the baddest of the bad; the ones who want stop evil dead in its tracks -- with no exceptions and by any means necessary...

10.) MARV

 "You can scream now if you want."

Marv is a big man with an unusual level of speed which, coupled with his well-developed fighting skills, incredible strength and pain tolerance, allow him to bring down with startling ease nearly anyone who challenges him or breaks his personal code of ethics. He suffers from an unnamed mental condition that causes him to "get confused", which, involves short-term memory loss and possibly hallucinations. He also fears turning into a maniac or psycho killer. Lucille, his parole officer, supplies him with medication (presumably anti-psychotics) through her girlfriend Claire to control these effects of his condition. Claire, a psychiatrist, once tried to analyze him, but he claims she got "too scared."

9.) LOBO

"So that's how you want to play it? Fine. Contract calls for the main man to put on a show for the locals. So one more time: Surrender or die."

Lobo is a Czarnian, and works as an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter. He only has one rule: once he takes a contract, he finishes it no matter what and no matter how much destruction and blood-shed is involved. He possesses superhuman strength, endurance, durability and healing. He was declared immortal; after he died and went to hell, he proved too much for the demons, and when he was then sent to heaven, he wreaked so much havoc that he was permanently banished from the afterlife.


"Look into my eyes. Your soul is stained by the blood of the innocent. Feel their pain!"

Stunt motorcyclist, Johnny Blaze is a human who can transform into a skeletal superhuman being with a flaming skull and supernatural powers. The motorcycle he rides can travel much faster than conventional motorcycles and can perform seemingly impossible feats (such as scaling the sides of buildings and riding on water). As the Ghost Rider, he possesses immortality, superhuman strength, reflexes and durability. His Mystic Chain inflicts major damage, but it's his "Penance Stare" (that has the ability to inflict upon victims all the pain the victim has caused others) that is his greatest weapon when fighting against the forces of evil and the corrupt.


"Didn't I kill you already? You goddamned monster!"

Hellboy is a well-meaning demon whose true name is Anung Un Rama ("and upon his brow is set a crown of flame"). He was summoned from Hell to Earth as an infant demon by Nazi occultists during WWII (spawning his hatred for them). He was discovered by the Allied Forces; amongst them, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm who would raise him as a normal boy. In time Hellboy grew to be a large, red-skinned man with a tail, horns (which he files off, leaving behind circular stumps on his forehead), cloven hooves for feet, and an over-sized right hand made of stone. He possesses superhuman strength, healing and endurance and has been described as smelling of dry-roasted peanuts. Although a bit gruff, Hellboy shows none of the malevolence thought to be intrinsic to demons, he has a strong sense of humor and will crack jokes even in the most dire of circumstances. Hellboy is highly-trained and works for the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD), an international non-governmental agency, fighting against evil dark forces and supernatural activity.


"None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you... you're locked in here with me!"

Walter Kovacs continues his one-man battle against crime long after superheroes have become both detested and illegal with the persona of Rorschach. Rorschach considers his mask his true "face" and his unmasked persona to be his "disguise." He is extremely right-winged, and morally uncompromising, a viewpoint that has alienated him from the rest of society, even among other superheroes. Rorschach presents his views on right and wrong as starkly black and white with no room for compromise. He holds deep contempt for behavior he considers immoral and is openly derogative of heroes who do not share his unwavering views, deriding them as "soft." Rorschach is well versed in street combat, gymnastics, and boxing. He is also extremely stoic, as shown by his indifference to pain and discomfort. Despite his mental instability, Rorschach is extremely intelligent and was described as "tactically brilliant and unpredictable" by Nite Owl, and possesses surprisingly good detective and lock picking skills.


"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women."

Conan was born on a battlefield and is the son of a village blacksmith. He matured quickly as a youth and, by age fifteen, he was already a respected warrior who had participated in the destruction of the Aquilonian outpost of Venarium. After its demise, he was struck by wanderlust and began legendary adventures, encountering skulking monsters, evil wizards, tavern wenches, and beautiful princesses. He roamed throughout the Hyborian Age nations as a thief, outlaw, mercenary, and pirate. Conan was famous (or infamous) for his great strength, endurance, hand-to-hand fighting skills, and mastery of weapons as well as his occasional "beserker rages" and legendary conquests of the female flesh. As he grew older, he began commanding larger units of men and escalating his ambitions. In his forties, he seized the crown of the tyrannical king of Aquilonia, the most powerful kingdom of the Hyborian Age.


"Don't hunt for death boy. It finds us all soon enough."

The mysterious Darkwolf from Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta's animated film Fire and Ice (1983) has a burning hatred for the evil Queen Juliana and her son the megalomaniacal, Nekron. As Neckron magically sends forth waves of glaciers, forcing humanity to retreat south towards the equator, Darkwolf knows it's up to him to stop them or it could mean the end of the world. Possessing extraordinary strength and endurance, Darkwolf is the perfect warrior. He is trained in the arts of war, highly proficient with his axe and in hand-to-hand combat. He is able to enter a "berseker rage" that can overcome even the most powerful of magical control. Darkwolf is also well-versed in the arts of survival, including tracking and hunting making it possible for him to live in the harshest of conditions. He is an intimidating presence to all, enough so that even mad-starving-wolves cower in his presence. While this character never appeared in a comic, those who have seen the animated film will understand that Darkwolf deserves his place among the greatest badasses ever (and if you doubt me, go see it).


"You're a monster, and I'm killing you. It's not complicated."

The Punisher is a relentless and brutal vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his war on crime. This extreme method puts him at odds with many heroes within the Marvel Universe. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two children (who were killed by the mob during a shootout in New York City's Central Park), the Punisher wages a one-man war on the mob and all criminals in general by using all manner of conventional war weaponry. He is in peak physical condition and possesses an incredible amount of willpower. As a war veteran and marine of the U.S. military, Frank Castle is a master of martial arts, stealth tactics, espionage, guerrilla warfare, and a wide variety of weapons. And truth be told, although the Punisher isn't the most powerful on this list, he could well be the most feared. How "badass" is that?


"I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn't very nice."

Born James Howlett and commonly known as Logan, Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease, or toxin at an accelerated rate. It also slows down his aging process and enabled him to survive having the near-indestructible metal adamantium bonded to his skeleton. Wolverine is a no-nonsense, tough, anti-authoritative hero with a willingness to use deadly force to get the job done. He is an absolutely ferocious opponent who will sometimes lapse into a "berserker rage" while in combat. He is highly intelligent, fluent in various languages and an expert in multiple types of weapons, vehicles, computer systems, explosives, and assassination techniques. Due to his extensive training as a soldier, CIA operative, samurai, and spy he is almost unmatched in hand-to-hand combat, having mastered virtually every fighting style on Earth. He is also well versed in pressure points and the art of espionage. Wolverine is so "badass" that he has his very own sound effect--SNIKT!


"By day, I am Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist. At night, criminals, a cowardly and superstitious lot, call me... Batman."

Batman is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. As Batman, he operates in Gotham City, assisted by various partners and fights crime with a moral code; he does not kill and he would never use a gun. Although he does not possess any superhuman powers; he is physically at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, notably strength, endurance, and willpower. Intellectually, he is just as peerless; Batman is one of the world's greatest scientists, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise and escape artistry. He can speak all languages and is regarded as the world's greatest detective. Rather than simply out-fighting his opponents, Batman often uses cunning and planning to outwit them. He is an expert in all forms of fighting and acrobatics, as well as multiple types of weapons, vehicles, computer systems, and explosives. He is arguably a Renaissance man in the sheer variety and depth of his knowledge and skills making him perhaps the most dangerous and intimidating man on earth. I'm sure it's no surprise that Batman is the most "badass" hero (or character for that matter) ever created in fictional fantasy.

Agree? Disagree?? Let's hear it fanboys!

Check out other Hero Envy "Top" Lists:

Top 10 Superhero Capes of All Time

Top 10 Greatest Captain America Moments  

Top 10 Most Evil Villains in Comics

Top 50 Greatest Marvel Slugfests of All Time (1961-1999)

Top 5 Weirdest, Wackiest, Worst and Downright Despicable Cartoons Ever Made

My Top 20 Greatest Hulk Stories Ever

John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETROFAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.