Magnificent Bastard/Comic Books

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Ozy beat you to it!

It would be easier to list the heroes who don't have at least one of these in their gallery. Their villains tend to be larger than life and are often colorful, greatly increasing the likelihood of getting a villain that meets the rest of the criteria.

  • The Joker. He has pulled every Gambit in the book in his seventy-year-long career.
    • Another Batman example is Ra's Al Ghul, who, out of all the Batman villains, poses the biggest threat globally. He too, like The Joker, has pulled almost every single plan and gambit one could think of for his final goal of wiping out ninety percent of the world's population. Add his polite exterior and cunning mind, and you have one Batman villain who is not to be trifled with.
    • Coming into her own after her father's death, Talia Al-Ghul is one of the few to ever pull one over on Lex Luthor, exposing his crimes to the public and transferring his assets way. Talia later takes over the League of Assassins and upon Batman's death, she purges the remnants of the Black Glove, revealing she has installed a device within her own son to allow herself to control him when needed. After Bruce Wayne's reemergence, Talia masterminds 'Leviathan' to wage war against him, bringing Gotham to the brink of destruction, even resulting in Damian's death and Bruce's near demise as well, with Talia being one of the few to ever push him to the brink, showing herself as truly her father's daughter.
    • Bane appears to be a hulking brute, but is in reality far craftier than he appears. In his first appearance in the Knightfall storyline, Bane achieved fame by psychologically manipulating Batman to drive him to the mental and physical brink before revealing Bane had deduced his secret identity. Ambushing Batman, Bane snapped his back over Bane's knee and proceeded to reign over Gotham until his defeat. Since then, Bane has been acknowledged by even Ra's Al-Ghul as one of the few men worthy to succeed him and has learned from every defeat to rise stronger than before. As a member of the Secret Six, Bane displays a deep affection for his surrogate daughter Scandal Savage and shows a deep sense of honor and loyalty to his team until the end when realizing his potential again, Bane manipulates them into one grand battle and defeat to shed all attachments and emerge stronger than before. Of all Batman's foes, only Bane has the distinction of being the man who once broke the bat himself.
    • The Riddler almost reaches this trope at times, particularly when he teamed up with Ra's Al Ghul. However he failed to become the Chessmaster due to the fact that he used one of Ra's Al Ghul's Lazarus Pits to cure his brain cancer, but didn't manage to hide it, resulting in Batman threatening to disclose it to Ra's, if he revealed the Bat's true identity. However, he has proven to be worthy of this title when he manipulated a black sorcerer, who was one of his former allies, into killing several people, used Dick Grayson to eliminate the magician and escaped with his money. And he almost lost his life TWICE in order to make his plan successful.
      • His most Magnificent act of Bastardry was surely his reformation: he still gets to compete with Batman, but now he gets paid to do it, the police don't chase him, and there are many, many fewer Bat-beatings to be endured. The fact that good guy Riddler is an even bigger annoyance to Batman than bad guy Riddler is the icing on the cake.
        • As of the New 52, The Riddler qualifies. Zero Year portraits him as the mind behind Wayne Industries, serving as Philip Kane's consultant. In order to secure Philip's position after Bruce's return, he hires the Red Hood Gang to dispose of the latter, knowing well that the former is a member of the gang and has to comply. When Philip threatens to kill him, he nonchalantly reveals he is aware of the metal piece inside Philip's head and uses a giant magnet to incapacitate him. Then, he causes a massive black-out just before a hurricane hits the city counting on the GCPD to unwittingly give him complete access to every computer system in Gotham by bringing the light back. To be sure Batman doesn't interfere with his plan he also manipulates the desperate Doctor Death by funding his ethically dubious research in order to provide a distraction for the Caped Crusader. And the best part is that he succeeds, and hundreds of people drown in the hurricane as a result. What truly makes him worthy of this trope this time is the fact that, at least for now, he has never shown signs of being a Smug Snake, or losing his temper even when things didn't go as he predicted.
    • Lady Shiva, mother of Cassandra Cain, is the best assassin and best martial artist in the world. Once she lost her beloved sister at the hands of David Cain, Shiva was forced to bear Cain's child, who she intended to use to one day surpass her. Shiva regularly guides other heroes and villains alike to become stronger, with a cult around her that worships her as a goddess. Shiva only uses them as pawns in her own schemes, and when she meets her daughter Cassandra she slowly guides her to become Shiva's own ultimate opponent, admitting that she had Cassandra to one day surpass and kill her. Shiva remains one of DC's boldest and most complex villains, always charismatic and dangerous no matter where she appears.
  • Prometheus is another one in The DCU. He's got no superpowers, but he's stampeded through the Justice League three times now, and has pulled off ridiculous stuff like completely disabling the Flash by lying to him, or talking Superman into suicide, or blackmailing the League into letting him go after destroying Star City. He even teamed up with Luthor once (they caused World War III, no big deal), which led to a Crowning Moment of Funny as Prometheus showed Luthor around his "crooked house for a crooked man", as the two masterminds passive aggressively snipe at each other.

Prometheus: I built my crooked house here, under the foundations of reality, where I could nibble away at the roots.
Luthor: You wrote excruciating poetry as an adolescent, I can tell. You were published by your school magazine...
Prometheus: Yeah, I guess we are pretty similar types, Luthor. Smart kids nobody ever really understood...
Luthor: Mm.

  • Lex Luthor, of The DCU. Since the eighties, he's been well entrenched in Magnificent Bastardry, running the gamut from Diabolical Mastermind, Mad Scientist, Corrupt Corporate Executive, and even President Evil, surviving every setback and always running the Man of Steel close. Firmly established as the leader of Earth's supervillain community, Luthor has led numerous incarnations of the Injustice Gang, Legion of Doom, and Secret Society of Supervillains, and has taken all-comers, emerging victorious over the likes of Brainiac, General Zod, Grodd and Vandal Savage to claim the title of Superman and one of DC Earth's most deadly villains, even briefly becoming a godlike being. Every bit as unstoppable as his archenemy, Luthor has proven time and again that his incredible mind is more than a match for Superman's physical might.
    • General Dru-Zod II is one of Krypton's greatest criminals, and one of Superman's deadliest enemies. Confined to the Phantom Zone after his failed coup d'etat, Zod used his own son as a pawn in his plan to escape into the material realm during the events of Last Son, and forced Superman and Lex Luthor to ally in order to stop his takeover of Metropolis. Released again during New Krypton, Zod effortlessly incorporating the plans of others into his own, using civil unrest in Kandor, Sam Lane's various plots against the city, and Brainiac's invasion to reestablish himself as a populist military hero, and take control of Kandor from Alura Zor-El. Surviving Lane and Luthor's last-ditch effort to annihilate New Krypton, Zod and his surviving soldiers nearly conquer the world in the War of the Supermen, before the efforts of Superman, the JLA, and his own son saw him banished once more to the Phantom Zone. Always a brilliant strategist, and possessed of the raw strength to rival Superman, the Post-Crisis Zod can stand with Luthor as one of the Man of Steel's most capable and versatile foes.
    • The Prankster proved to be one of these in "The Art of the Prank", Superman #660, when dealing with Nitro G, a low-rate criminal with explosive powers that tried to strong-arm him into selling copies of his devices as weapons. And given that Prankster is a normal human, he couldn't simply beat Nitro G in a normal fight. So, he had to go by another route. Suffice to say Nitro G ended up naked, scarred, bruised and humiliated, begging Superman to take him to jail, in front of a laughing crowd while the Prankster ended up with more cash and more customers due to the publicity in his distraction-for-money business.
  • Lord Gerald Shilling is the archnemesis of Revolutionary war hero and frontiersman Tomahawk. A Master of Disguise and consummate professional, Shilling is the chief British spy who will kidnap his mark, and perfectly assume their identity so well that it is nigh impossible to tell there has been a replacement. Shilling proceeds to gather information before making his escape, always leaving behind a perforated shilling piece as a Calling Card. Shilling is also fully capable of daring escapes when his cover is blown, never hesitating to engage Tomahawk in a duel if the situation calls for it and always manages to escape even when captured.
  • Loki, Marvel's expert free-form, improv manipulator. Not only does this guy play the big boys in the Marvel Universe, this is a guy who regularly improvises the end of freaking nine worlds armed primarily with mischief and his lying tongue. And he's brought about Ragnarok multiple times. How many baddies have the chops to pull that off? He also lies regularly so well that no one can tell his lies from truth. Loki almost always gets what he wants.
    • He's even made a deal with Mephisto and come out on top.
    • Convinced Thor to end the universe during the last Ragnarok cycle.
    • Manages to never get killed by his pawns.
      • In part because he's used magic to give himself Nigh Invulnerability and his tongue to convince the various gods of Death that they'd be better off letting him be resurrected everytime something bad happens to him- after all, you don't want Loki running around your afterlife, do you?
      • In the end, the only way Loki could die was because he chose it, a scheme to escape himself. His reincarnation keeps up his fine tradition of bastardry... without any of his previous powers.
  • Vril Dox II from L.E.G.I.O.N. (a modern-day "prequel" series to the Legion of Super-Heroes), a slick Insufferable Genius, orchestrates the total disruption of two planetary governments in pursuit of justice in just the first six issues. He's so cold, he practically tamed Lobo.
  • Doctor Doom is a perfect example in the Marvel Universe. When you can take on a GOD without flinching...
    • Many comic book masterminds consider the moment where they successfully stole the power of a cosmic entity as the crowning moment of their career. Doom calls it Tuesday.
    • Also, most masterminds would consider the day they successfully conquered a planet as the crowning moment of their career. Doom calls it Thursday.
    • Interestingly enough, the one main trait of a Magnificent Bastard that Doom subverts is a lack of pettiness. Doom's main purpose in life is his completely petty jealous grudge against Reed Richards; he just pursues it in such a grand-scale, badass and hammy manner that he appears to be the epitome of this trope. Ditto for Lex Luthor.
  • The Kingpin, also part of the Marvel Universe, until the "Last Rites" storyline. He was a major enemy of both Daredevil and Spider-Man, yet for the most part avoided being shut down by either and when they do succeed in bringing him down, he always find a way to climb back to the top.
  • Under Kevin Smith's pen in the story arc Guardian Devil, Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio, is presented as a genius, theatrical puppet master seeking to cement himself in history as a "legitimate" supervillain after a career of being nothing more than a B-lister. Upon being diagnosed with cancer, Mysterio makes it his mission to drive the hero Daredevil to insanity, playing on the man's religious faith by using a combination of manipulation, disguises, and hallucinogenic drugs to make him believe a baby under his care is the Antichrist and needs to be killed. Convincing Daredevil's lover Karen Page she has AIDS, framing his best friend Foggy Nelson for murder, and hiring Bullseye to kidnap the baby and kill anyone in his path (leading to Page's death in Daredevil's arms), Mysterio locks the child in a chamber that will soon suffocate her if Daredevil doesn't go along with the villain's devised 'final act' of his grand plan. In the end, upon realizing he hasn't broken Daredevil, Mysterio gives him the baby back and proceeds to blow his own brains out in a final act of defiance towards both the hero and his own cancer, refusing to be taken down by anyone but his own hand. Despite his otherwise goofy or ineffectual outings, Mysterio here is a brilliant strategist, excellent manipulator, and holds all the charm that a Large Ham skilled in film and theater would possesses.
  • Baron Helmut Zemo, heir to the deplorable Heinrich Zemo, eventually rejects his father's fascist ideology. One of captain America's greatest enemies, Zemo led a near perfect defeat of The Avengers in the Siege arc, ending by engaging Captain America himself and coming close to victory. Constantly returning with daring new schemes, Zemo even kidnapped abused and neglected children to give them a loving home with himself and his wife, and later formed the Thunderbolts as heroes specifically to give them cover for more villainous activities. Eventually deciding to save the world by conquering it, Zemo returns time and time again, sometimes as a deadly enemy and other times ready to defeat more evil villains than he himself, proclaiming he could never harm a world he works so hard to save.
  • Namor, the Marvel king of Atlantis and on again off again super villain can pull this off on occasion. Like when he joined the heroic "Illuminati" of Iron Man and Mr.Fantastic, and the villainous Illuminati of Doom and Norman Osborn immediately after.
  • Thanos of Titan, another example from the Marvel Universe, and arguably the quintessential one, at least for the company's cosmic landscape. A premier mover and shaker in many important storylines (if not the main focus altogether), he has a knack for successfully manipulating both sides of the fence (sometimes both at once) time and time again, despite his true nature being common knowledge to everyone.
  • Magneto himself is a Holocaust survivor who is hellbent on seeing that no such evil ever befalls the mutants. Becoming a terrorist, Magneto manipulates his followers, allies and enemies alike, constantly waging war to better the lot of mutantkind, even against his best friend Charles Xavier. At one point Magneto even blackmails the world with nuclear weapons to set up a home for Mutants, and even foiled Doctor Doom's attempts at domination at another point. Deciding to protect the world and mutants in his own way, Magneto has returned countless times to commit acts he admits are unscrupulous, but necessary, constantly keeping himself from slipping too far into true evil while protecting his people from all threats.
  • Iron Man's archenemy, The Mandarin, is his mental and physical superior, and one of the few people who Tony Stark genuinely fears. With looted alien technology at his disposal, and a worldwide network of agents prepared to do his bidding, Mandarin has nearly brought down both the American and Chinese governments, requiring Iron Man to ally with the Chinese Communist leadership and its super teams in order to stop him. Infiltrating SHIELD during the "Extermis" storyline and Iron Man's own mind during "The Long Way Down" and "The Future" Mandarin has a proven ability to turn up in places he should not, and deal incalculable damage while there.
  • Kang the Conqueror, born Nathaniel Richards, turned to conquest due to being bored by a utopia in the 30th century. Forging a galaxies-wide, centuries-spanning empire by his tactical genius, Kang routinely returns to the 20th century to engage the Avengers, repeatedly outsmarting them and always coming close to ultimate victory. Combining an insatiable drive to conquer with an odd sense of honor, Kang often fails solely due to future versions of himself interfering. At one point, Kang even manages to divest his destiny from his future self and forms a council consisting of alternate Kangs, only to completely outwit and destroy them. In The Kang Dynasty, Kang razes Washington DC and masterminds a near complete take over of earth, planning even in defeat to leave his empire to his son Marcus, before being forced to kill Marcus for his betrayal when Marcus rescues him. Kang repeatedly shows he is one of the Avengers' most resilient and dangerous enemies, stopping at nothing until all he can imagine falls under his dominion.
  • Frank Castle, The Punisher, has waged a one man war on crime for decades as a way to punish both the guilty and himself. At one point, Frank even gets himself arrested and sent to Riker's Island, just so he can put into play a scheme to murder the men who killed his family. Constantly demonstrating a wicked intelligence, Frank constantly manipulates criminals into traps and Out-Gambits others who try to get the best of him, before finishing his enemies off, not afraid to expose himself to injury, torture or death in the process. Even when faced with the unexpected, Frank is constantly able to rebound and get the better of his enemies, often tolerated by the police for his inflexible moral standards even as he leaves a mountain of guilty corpses behind him. In the final arc, Frank goes against The Kingpin himself, who now owns the criminal underworld of New York, deprived of much of his own former assets, and ends up completely destroying his operation before finishing him off, remarking only "Your city, my world."
  • General Wade Eiling from Captain Atom. First, he framed Nathaniel Adam for drug smuggling, mutiny, and murder, when in fact Eiling had been secretly running the conspiracy responsible for those crimes. Then he talked Adam into participating as a guinea pig in the "Captain Atom Project", which led to Adam's apparent death. Then Eiling married Angela Adam, Adam's "widow." Then, when Adam rematerialized eighteen years later, now possessing superpowers, Eiling was able to talk him into masquerading as a superhero to spy on the Justice League as part of the Captain Atom project, by telling him that this would give him the opportunity to clear his name, and even reconnect with his children, who of course thought of Eiling as their father. Even after Adam did prove his innocence, he never uncovered Eiling's involvement in the frame-up, and continued working for Eiling. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. What makes this especially impressive is that Adam is very smart, and is no slouch at political intrigue. Since Eiling was created by Cary Bates and Greg Weisman, who went on to create Gargoyles and David Xanatos, this is probably not surprising.
    • Eiling ultimately got his commuppance: dying of cancer, he tried to transfer his mind into an immortal, nigh-indestructible body... that of the Shaggy Man. The process backfired as Shaggy Man's primitive animalistic body quickly turned Eiling into a mindless savage. It didn't help that Batman and Superman, upon fighting Eiling in his new body, promptly teleported him onto an asteroid in the middle of deep space, in order to get rid of him once and for all. Sadly, while Eiling DID eventually escape the asteroid, months of being stuck all by himself on a small asteroid in the silent void of space with a primitive brain effectively drove Eiling insane and caused him to lose his manipulative bastard skills.
  • Tao of Wild CATS and Sleeper. Genetically engineered tactical supergenius turned nearly unstoppable crime lord, Tao wins fights just by opening his mouth - by the time he's done with you, you'll probably have signed up with him. (Failing that, you'll be mindwiped, in a coma, or have been shot by your own allies - going up against this guy doesn't pay.)
  • Groucho Marx plays this role of Lord Julius in Cerebus. Incidentally, Dave Sim writes and draws a perfect Groucho.
  • Spider-Man villain Roderick Kingsley, the original Hobgoblin, managed to trick Spider-Man and the Kingpin into believing the Hobgoblin was deceased Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds for a good 10 years real time before being caught. He then blackmailed the Green Goblin into breaking him out of prison, and is currently living in luxury in the Caribbean. Not bad for a guy who was originally a fashion designer.
    • Just to drive this point home, because Roddy is so often overlooked: he manipulated and murdered one of Peter Parker's co-workers, killed several dozen people, began a coup to take down the Kingpin, scammed two generations of Osborns, caused a gang war, and served probably one month, comic-book time, in jail for it, before being able to sneak off to the Caribbean. Well, until he returned from retirement and was killed.
      • What makes him even more devious? He's franchising supervillain identities. He let Phil Urich continue being Hobgoblin after he beat the pretender for a cut of whatever he earns. He apparently has someone in Mysterio's old gear while he's chilling in the Ultimate Marvel universe and it seems that it may be the 616 version of Miles Morales.
    • Depending on the Writer, Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin can be this, whereas he's a Smug Snake otherwise. When Norman isn't acting Insane, he able to even out scam Kingsley! In the earlier example of Kingsley tricking Osborn into helping him escape from prison, Osborn was aware of that and bought Kingsley's company while making Kingsley believe he was falling for his trap.
  • Bomb Queen, the Stripperiffic Villain Protagonist of her self-titled Image Comics book. The iron-fisted dictator of New Port City has, in no particular order: wiped out the rest of her original villain team; turned New Port City into a place where nothing is illegal in designed "Crime Zones"; stolen a government supercomputer, the powers of the demon lord Desarak and her clone Bomb Teen (the latter of which was "born" from her supercomputer); kept New Port City's mayor under her control with sex and verbal assaults, casually killing anyone standing near him when she blasts a hole through his office wall (repeatedly to the point of being a Running Gag); orchestrated terror attacks on the cities of other Image superheroes; repeatedly foiled the plots of the Government Conspiracy (which created her) to have her killed; and indirectly killed an innocent girl roped into her co-worker's attempt to interview Bomb Queen for their website. She is still a Villain with Good Publicity within her city, if only because her constituents are Complete Monsters who moved to New Port City in order to indulge in their vilest sins. Outside her city, she has absolutely no protection under US law; she manages to avoid justly-deserved punishments every time.
  • In I Vampire, Mary the Queen of Blood was born Mary Seward before being turned by her lover Andrew Bennett. Happily embracing her vampiric urges, Mary spends years plotting and building her forces until she initiates a ruthlessly brilliant gambit that nearly sees the vampires take over the entire world in a single day, before manipulating and playing Andrew as well. When her plans are thwarted, Mary ends up depowered and returned to human form before getting her drive back to stop the corrupted Andrew before he destroys the world, even using her death to become a powerful supernatural being that ends up saving the world and achieving redemption in the afterlife. As Mary herself says "being a vampire gave me powers. Being me made me awesome."
  • Lucifer is nearly the most Magnificent of all Bastards. Like a true Magnificent Bastard he isn't above putting himself on the line of fire, and can make and discard a hundred plans in a moment. He handily gets the better of just about everything in the universe, but barely manages to compete in the same league as God.
  • John Constantine commits acts of Magnificent Bastardry on a regular basis, but he achieved awe-inspiring heights when, while dying of lung cancer, he risked destabilizing the cosmos by starting a war in Hell when he sold his soul to all three of Hell's most powerful lords--just so he could blackmail them into saving his life. And then he didn't even quit smoking. But the thing which truly crowned him as a Magnificent Bastard? He turned around to the three lords of Hell, the rulers of all of damnation, gave a little smirk, and flipped them off, stating rather non-nonchalantly "Up yours."
  • Gary Jackson. It was recently revealed that he faked his own death, entered the Witness Protection Program to escape the Mob, and is currently buying up his old company. He also has a swagger that commands respect from coworkers and fanboys in universe. The game system he created has much of his persona on display.
  • Edwin Alva in the series Hardware. He catches a case of Redemption Equals Death, unfortunately.
  • The Sultan Agameen from the indie graphic novel Artesia. He's handsome and dresses well - gold-threaded silk and fine plate are all the rage in Thessid-Gola this season. He is eloquent and treats his arch-enemy, Artesia herself, with respect. He is an incredible strategist and tactician...and he is protected by a goddamn Dragon spirit.
  • Romulus and Daken of Wolverine: one pitted the most ruthless killers in a game of succession and manipulated Wolverine for a hundred plus years, the other... Just read Dark Wolverine #77.
  • Sinestro, post-Green Lantern: Rebirth. The guy organised a war between his new corps and the Green Lanterns. He manipulated Parallax, the Cyborg Superman, Superboy-Prime and the freaking Anti-Monitor. And when he's beat? He reveals that, all this time, he was using it so that the Green Lanterns become a better police force, by getting them to subvert their Thou Shalt Not Kill rule. Brilliant!
    • Before that, in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 (1986), Sinestro was able to manipulate the omnipotent Sector 3600 into breaking the Sciencells, allowing Sinestro and the sector to escape.
  • The titular "V" in V for Vendetta is a masked revolutionary dedicating to crafting "The Land of Do-As-You-Please" from the fascist hellhole Britain has become. Destroying Parliament, V later seizes control of the broadcasting center of London to inform the country of his intentions and escapes by having the station head dressed up as him and used as a decoy. Slowly eliminating all of those at the Larkhill Concentration Camp who could have identified him, V is revealed to be manipulating almost everyone else, hacking into Britain's dictator, Adam Susan's supercomputer and guiding a widow of a man he'd killed to eliminate Susan. V proceeds to force Evey Hamilton into being his successor by forcing her to accept her true self under torture, and later even works his own death into his plans to convince Evey to become his successor and tear down the established order.
  • Ozymandias from Watchmen. Right up until the end, he's the most beloved man on the planet, seemingly admired by everyone but Rorschach and the Comedian. Rich, handsome, a star gymnast well into middle age, and the smartest man in the world, the man's got style and class. And his master plan, which involved manipulating hundreds of scientists and artists and gets both Cold War superpowers to lay down their arms, succeeds, at least for the time being. And he survives the story, despite an assassination attempt at almost point blank range - he catches the bullet - and getting on a virtual god's bad side.
  • Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad and Greg Rucka's Checkmate. Though she's occasionally played as a Smug Snake elsewhere, nobody can deny she's one of the few people capable of putting Batman against the wall. She is a heavy-set, nigh-menopausic black woman who escaped the Cabrini-Green area well after she had her children. And she is the leader of the very seriously titled Suicide Squad, capable of commanding both the fear and respect of the supervillains in her employ and staying on top of the pile in the politics game and as a vicious field agent by sheer force of personality, brute intellect, and this trope. This should tell you what kind of person Amanda is. To put it in perspective, both Lex Luthor and Batman have long since decided not to fuck with Waller. By personal experience.
  • Greg Pak's Bruce Banner is this after taking a level in Badass.
    • To illustrate that point, during the Dark Reign storyline, Norman Osborn tried to turn Banner(who had been Brought Down to Badass) back into the Hulk, because he felt that Banner was more of a threat to his plans than the Hulk could ever be.
  • A somewhat obscure one, but recurring Cenobite Hunger the Hellraiser comics by Epic.
  • Maxwell Lord in the Brightest Day tie-in Generation Lost. Just go look at the page.
    • In issue #1 alone, he comes back from the dead to mind-control two cops into shooting each other, beats Booster Gold half to death with a pipe, infuses himself with the blood of a small army of random extras, wipes the memory of his existence from the minds of *everyone in the entire world* (except our small band of plucky heroes), and rounds it all off with a glass of claret and a cigar on the battlements of Checkmate HQ. Magnificent.
  • Sin City is filled with manipulation but Dwight McCarthy is probably at the top of the heap. To give you an idea, in his first storyarc, he was on the run form the cops, severely wounded, had no place to go, and had the Old Town girls ready to kick him out of the neighborhood or be killed by Miho. After about one page of dialogue, he got Miho on his side and had the Old Town girls not only giving him shelter but helping him get revenge on the Big Bad.
  • In the Sonic The Hedgehog comics, the villain Mammoth Mogul was originally conceived as one of these, but could never really pull it off. That is, until he essentially said to the heroes, "Hey, I just remembered I'm immortal. So here's my new plan: I'll live in this sweet casino I just had built, amuse myself by taking pot shots at you whenever I can, and wait for you all to die of old age. I can beat you by outliving you." You gotta love him for that.
    • Dr. Eggman definitely does by the Genesis arc. After laying low for a while, he secretly transforms his headquarters into a flying fortress/weapons platform, uses it to rewrite reality, and (nearly) fatally guns down Sally in the process; this is made even better by him savoring his victory by sipping from a glass of wine while firing his superweapon.
      • The man reasoned his way out of insanity, and emerged more dangerous than ever before. Hell yes does he qualify these days.
    • And let's not forget Dr. Finitevus, who straddles the line between this and Complete Monster -- he effortlessly manipulates the Guardians (including Knuckles), Dimitri, and two whole factions of the Dark Egg Legion in order to ensure that a new Enerjak can be created. And then he escapes scott free by jumping off Angel Island and disappearing into a Warp Ring with a smirk.
    • Given recent events, we can probably add Ixis Naugus to this list as well. Following his recovery from madness, he undertook a plan to make himself a Villain with Good Publicity by using Mina Mongoose's music as a conduit for his magic, turning the distrust that the citizens of New Mobotropolis had for NICOLE following her brainwashing by the Iron Queen into paranoia and hatred. He then appeared before the public and promised to "save" them from NICOLE with his magic if they just agreed to make him their king. And it works, much to the shock of both the main characters and the readers. He's also become a master of Xanatos Speed Chess, apparently, as he's quickly managed to adapt to sudden situations in such a way that only improves the image this plan created for him. This includes defending the city from attacks by Eggman and the Battle Bird Armada, and acting as though his accidental deroboticization of Bunnie during a publicity stunt was intentional (the look on his face makes it clear, however, that he's as surprised as anyone else).
      • Giving himself some more points in the Magnificent Bastard department, he allows his mole to be put on trial and found guilty of treason and then uses his position as king to grant him a pardon, thus keeping Geoffrey free without breaking the law. It's actually quite impressive.
      • And then there's the fact that he pretty much plotted the Great War between the Mobians of Acorn and the Overlanders. Feeling threatened by the royal court's cheif engineer Nate Morgan's inventions and rise of influence in the king's eyes, he made an alliance with General Kodos, whose hatred of Overlanders Naugus had no problems to use to win him over, and then pulled up a scheme where a patrol of Overlanders and Kodos' patrol, with Morgan in it, would meet with each others and, with the help of his magic, would cause their xenophobia toward each other to turn violent. The outcome worked as it did, leaving only Kodos and Morgan alive, and he and Kodos quickly blamed Morgan for treason, causing him to be kicked out of the kingdom. Not only did this get rid of his main rival in the court and made him the top dog again, but it also made the relationship between the Mobians and the Overlanders go into red alert. Aware that a war was inevitable, he created the Zone of Silence to hide in while the war would go on and wait for the outcome, both of which were win-win to him: if the Mobians win, he'll return and simply take over a much stronger kingdom. If the Overlanders win, he'll return and take over what's left and rebuild the kingdom from the ruins. Only one mistake hindered his plan: he didn't create any way out of the zone, leaving himself locked in a prison for years to come.
  • Mr Natural lives to manipulate people despite his facade of being a little old man, from his early days as a patent medicine salesman to getting Flakey Floont into trouble by forcing him to truly follow the zen practices he cherished.
  • The first Zoom could be considered this considering he tricked most of the League (including Wally) into thinking he was Barry back from the dead, killed Iris, and almost killed Barry's second fiance.
    • He also brought his nemesis back from the dead to insure his own existence then found a way to break the universe badly enough to be able to kill Barry again without it affecting him. This caused the entire DC Universe to reset. See The New 52. The best part is, he got Barry to break the universe for him in an attempt to fix something Zoom had done.
  • Dubbelosix fron Asterix and the Black Gold. With a James-Bond-esque chariot, and a trained housefly (with an unnaturally long life) to deliver his messages, he's a force to be reckoned with.
    • Tortuous Convolvulus from Asterix and the Roman Agent. Wherever he goes, he sows mistrust and discord For the Evulz.
    • Julius Ceasar anyone? It says a lot about the man that after years of publication and having his plans fail constantly, he is still treated as a genuine threat by both the fanbase and the characters. The fact that he is incredibly cool under fire probably helps--when confronted by two (superpowered) heroes, our non-powered viillain states that "If you have come to kill me, I will have you know that I intend to sell my distinguished life dearly." You never doubt him for an instant.
  • Writers often try to make The Phantom Blot a Magnificent Bastard, and sometimes they even succeed. At his best, he hatches truly convoluted schemes that have Mickey Mouse (often portrayed as little short of a Great Detective himself in such stories) running around clueless for a long time before he even begins to figure them out; and has a dark, threateningly cool presence. That said, most stories can't seem to pull this off too well.
  • Arpin Lusene is Scrooge McDuck's most intelligent and competent foe. A charming French millionaire playboy who lives a double life as a Gentleman Thief, Lusene vows to steal Scrooge's entire fortune in front of the whole world before going into retirement. After accidentally coming into the possession of the dangerous Omnisolve, Lusene gets the brilliant idea to coat a stolen suit of armor with the substance, turning himself into an unstoppable Juggernaut of a Black Knight who nearly destroys all of Scrooge's riches to fake having stolen it. After Lusene's defeat, he returns and uses subterfuge to regain his suit of armor, then makes his previous plan fool-proof. Scrooge scuppers his original plan to empty the Money Bin by threatening a media blackout, so Lusene settles for destroying Scrooge's other trophies housed in the Duckburg museum, and nearly dissolves poor Donald after accidentally being trapped with him by Scrooge. Even despite being ultimately bested by Scrooge, Lusene always accepts his defeat gracefully, both regarding the other as a Worthy Opponent.
  • Hunter Rose in Grendel was born Eddie in New York. A natural genius with exceptional physical talent, Hunter reinvented himself and returned to New York as the mysterious Grendel. Dominating the criminal underworld, Hunter brought most criminal syndicates under his thumb while showing no mercy to traitors, child pornographers or pimps. Viewing everything as a game, Hunter manipulated the cops and criminals alike, as well as his archnemesis, Argent the Wolf. Constantly a step ahead of his enemies, Hunter even tricked Argent into being seen as a savage beast in front of Hunter's adopted daughter, Argent's beloved Stacy, to destroy her love for him. A ruthless, charming manipulator, Hunter reflects the darkness of New York and constantly shows himself a step ahead of all challengers.
  • Anathos, from Les Legendaires, big time. He put in place a Xanatos Gambit years before his first appearance in the serie in order to come back amongst the living. Whereas most characters will fall for the No Man of Woman Born trick, this guy was so Dangerously Genre Savvy he used it to his advantage as part of his plan B. As a result, the Gambit worked, despite the opposition of the protagonists, the Big Bad and even an Eldritch Abomination. Not to mention he scarred the heroes to life and almost eradicated humanity...

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The megalomaniacal Dogbert, pet of Dilbert. Though a multi-billionaire and former ruler of the world, he often works as a business consultant simply for the fun of conning people and stirring up trouble.
  • Jason from FoxTrot. He constantly comes up with newer and ridiculous ways to annoy and prank his siblings, especially Paige.