Comic Book Antagonists: Super-Villains or Super-Visionaries?

Ra’s Al Ghul

In the comics, Ra’s Al Ghul is often described as a 700 year old international terrorist, his arch enemy being the Batman. With the magical powers of the Lazarus Pits he has been able to live such a long life to see the world entering the modern age, a period of significant development in the fields of science, politics, warfare and technology. Cognizant of industrialization destroying much of the world’s natural beauty, he abhors humans and their activities, setting him up to a path of eco-terrorism.

He concludes his ultimate aim in life to bring perfect environmental balance on earth, by annihilating most of humanity. By and large, he tries to eliminate the human race by a biological warfare such as genetically engineered virus, only to be stopped by the Batman or the Justice League rightly on time. The movie (Batman Begins, 2005) version of the character believes Gotham city has become “a breeding ground for suffering and injustice” and that it has become beyond saving due to the corruption, tyranny and discrimination, that it should be destroyed. He believes the criminals mock the society’s laws and hence have to be executed.

On the whole, Ra’s Al Ghul’s character is seen as one with a dystopian world view, one who despises man’s deeds that bring severity upon the environment.


Ultron is a supervillain robot which has been created and destroyed over multiple times throughout the Marvel Comics publication history. The one version which is popular among the superhero fans is the Ultron created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in the movie ‘Avengers: The age of Ultron’. While the Ultron Program was initiated to bring about world peace through a global defence program, spending a few minutes in the internet made it realize that human race has to be vanquished to bring about the same.

He sees war, rampage, riot, destruction all brought about by humans and becomes in distress, which leads him to the thought of eliminating mankind to save earth. Even at the moment of failure, Ultron was of the belief that men create what they dread; that men of peace build engines of war.

Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias

This one is from my personal favourite among comics; ‘Watchmen’ from DC Comics. Adrian Veidt is reckoned to be the smartest man in the planet and Ozymandias was his superhero alter-ego. The Keene Act deems all vigilante crime-fighters to reveal their secret identities and Veidt markets his ex-superhero image to become wealthy and acquires the persona of a humanitarian.

A situation of high tension exists between the United States and the Soviet Union following an energy crisis and the world is in the brim of an impending nuclear face-off between the two major superpowers. Once and if the nuclear warfare happens between US and USSR, it would kill billions and even has the possibility to wipe out everything on earth. The US has the ostensibly indomitable and invincible Dr. Manhattan by their side which is further a factor of provocation for USSR. Dr. Manhattan believes that solving the energy crisis along with Veidt will help in releasing the tension between the two nations and pertinaciously works for it.

Being aware of an imminent nuclear tussle, Veidt kills millions in New-York and other cities around the world by the explosion of a biologically engineered telepathic creature and frames Dr. Manhattan to have done it. Upon this, both US and USSR joins hands against their newfound enemy of mankind; Dr. Manhattan. Thus Veidt’s plan to save billions by the death of millions appears to work out.

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