DC Comics has been home to some of the most iconic villains in comic book history, and over the years, these villains have gone through some incredible transformations that have made them even more powerful and dangerous than before. From gaining access to incredible new technologies and abilities, to becoming imbued with otherworldly powers, DC villains have undergone some impressive upgrades that have taken them to the next level. In this article, we’ll be looking at 10 dc villain upgrades that took them to the next level. Get ready to discover how some of the most infamous villains in the DC Universe have become even more dangerous than ever before.
10 DC Villain Upgrades That Took Them To The Next Level
Darkseid is already recognized as one of the most potent antagonists in the DC Universe, and an upgrade to his abilities would seem unnecessary. Nonetheless, Darkseid has undergone various transformations throughout his appearances in different stories, resulting in his powers being amplified. One such instance is in Justice League Odyssey #24 (written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Cliff Richards), where he gains control over reality itself. During his clash with the Justice League Odyssey team, Darkseid seized the Revision Mechanism, which granted him dominion over time. This newfound power enabled him to manipulate time as he saw fit, which he intended to use to eliminate the Justice League. As Darkseid described it, he became the “Lord of Time,” making him an even more imposing foe to his adversaries.
For nearly a year, DC’s Year of the Villain event took center stage, featuring a narrative where Lex Luthor fused his DNA with that of Martian Manhunter. The outcome was the creation of Apex Lex, a new iteration of Luthor, who retained his villainous intellect and gained the extraordinary powers of J’onn J’onzz.
Apex Lex proved to be nearly invincible, traveling through the DC Universe as a servant of Perpetua, with the goal of shifting the multiverse towards destruction. He led an army of super villains that he personally upgraded to wage war against the heroes. This formidable alliance of villains made Apex Lex an even more significant threat, and it took the combined efforts of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes to oppose him.
Batman Who Laughs
Before the conclusion of Dark Nights: Death Metal, Batman Who Laughs was already a fan-favorite and an immensely potent adversary in the DC Universe. However, he was not satisfied with his existing abilities and decided to merge his consciousness with that of Doctor Manhattan from another universe.
The result of this fusion was the emergence of The Darkest Knight, an omnipotent villain who posed a tremendous threat to the DC Universe. With arguably the most significant power-up in DC’s history, The Darkest Knight had the capability to annihilate the entire multiverse and reshape it according to his will. His power was virtually unrivaled, making him an enemy of immeasurable danger to all the heroes of the DC Universe.
Initially, the Ultra-Humanite was a mastermind villain akin to Lex Luthor, who relied on his exceptional intelligence to outwit Superman in the DC Universe. However, after a prolonged absence from the DCU, the Ultra-Humanite made a comeback, this time inhabiting the body of a mighty ape.
The white ape incarnation of the Ultra-Humanite is regarded as the definitive version of the character and a significant upgrade in every respect. It granted the genius villain peak physical capabilities, combined with his brilliant mind, creating a perfect fusion of mental and physical prowess.
Bane is widely recognized by fans for his reliance on his venom serum. Nonetheless, the supervillain is formidable even without the serum, and several narratives portray him with minimal or no use of it. Frequently, he reserves the serum only for moments of battle when he needs to enhance his physical abilities.
Bane’s power level is directly proportional to the amount of venom he uses. In some stories, he grows to gigantic proportions due to the serum’s effects. Moreover, some narratives depict Bane experimenting with more potent versions of his venom, resulting in even more significant physical enhancements. However, these newer versions of venom come with the downside of making Bane more unpredictable and dangerous.
As part of DC’s Year of the Villain, Lex Luthor embarked on a mission to empower each supervillain he encountered in the DC Universe. In the case of Black Manta, who was determined to defeat Aquaman, Luthor went beyond simply offering an upgrade. He promised to reunite the Hydes, Black Manta’s family.
Black Manta’s father was transformed into an artificial intelligence and integrated into a Mecha Black Manta suit, enabling him to assist his son in his quest to take down Aquaman. After being reprogrammed by Black Manta, Mecha Manta was dispatched to the surface with formidable weaponry, including Manta’s signature laser blasts from its eyes.
While the Joker is widely considered to be one of Batman’s most dangerous foes, his power is ultimately limited by his human physiology. However, the idea of a superpowered Joker is truly terrifying, particularly if he possesses reality-warping abilities. This is precisely what happened in the Emperor Joker crossover, as the Joker gained the powers of Mr. Mxyzptlk.
In terms of sheer scale, this represented an incredible upgrade in power for the Clown Prince of Crime. However, the Joker’s twisted imagination took things even further, resulting in a series of outlandish and often disturbing scenarios. Although the story was frequently over-the-top, it nevertheless showcased the Joker at his most extreme.
He is known for his tenacity and skill, making him a force to be reckoned with in the DC Universe. However, he received an upgrade that some readers found over-the-top. In Pariah’s mission to restore the original multiverse, Deathstroke acted as his agent on Earth. During the battles, he gained control over the power of the Great Darkness, allowing him to take control of villains. However, when Pariah was defeated, the power shifted to Deathstroke, making him a hulking powerhouse. This upgrade was out of character for Deathstroke and seemed implausible to many readers.
DC’s legacy villains from the Golden Age era are often overlooked, but they possess a significant threat to the heroes. Psycho-Pirate II is one such villain, whose power to manipulate emotions made him an intriguing foe. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths event by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Psycho-Pirate joined forces with the Anti-Monitor and served as his minion until he was defeated.
Later, it was revealed that being in proximity to the Anti-Monitor had imbued Psycho-Pirate’s mask with multiversal energies, allowing him to summon beings from the old DC multiverse. This made him an even more formidable opponent, but his madness made the upgrade somewhat absurd.
Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, is a compelling villain in Batman’s rogues gallery due to the internal struggle between his two personalities. While Harvey is still a good man, Two-Face’s willpower dominates, presenting a unique challenge for Batman as he remains the most promising candidate for reform. In a different iteration of Gotham City, however, Harvey Dent’s life took a different turn when he used Bane’s venom. Renamed as Judge Dent, the villain became more of a dark antihero similar to Marvel’s Punisher, dispensing justice through the use of guns, and protected by the potent venom.
Also Read: 10 Marvel Villain Upgrades That Took Them To The Next Level
10 DC Villain Upgrades That Took Them To The Next Level