Comics Features

10 of DC’s Scariest Characters

Written by Dara Berkey

Halloween is upon us! Over the years comic books have produced some creepy and scary characters for us to enjoy. DC Comics has a good number of scary characters, especially since Batman tends to draw in the scariest and the craziest to Gotham and the DC Comics magical stuff is pretty intense. Half of this list are Batman’s rogues.  Just saying. Enjoy! 

10. The Mad Hatter

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Jervis Tetch is one sick dude. He’s a master manipulator. He has an unhealthy obsession with everything Alice in Wonderland.

(Actually watching Batman: The Animated Series and the other Batman series because of Mad Hatter gave me an aversion to Lewis Carroll’s high-as-a-kite world.  I will not watch the Johnny Depp movies where he stars as the Mad Hatter either.  It’s beyond creepy).

What’s worse that he’s implied to be a paedophile in more modern comics. I can’t stand people like that. His mind control technology is beyond dangerous. There had been plenty of times that Mad Hatter got the drop on one of the Bat-family because of it. I suppose he’s more creepy than scary, but there are moments when he’s scary.

9. Swamp Thing

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Let me state that Swamp Thing is a hero and a good guy. He fights to protect his swamp, humanity from supernatural and terrorist threats and the overall environment. But he’s a giant plant elemental that looks like a mass of vegetable matter. He’s green, probably smelly (cause of the whole living in the swamp thing), blob and let’s be honest with yourselves and myself, if I met Swamp Thing or something similar, I totally would freak out. I mean, no one would want to screw with the giant protective swamp monster. Has anyone seen some old horror movies? 

8. Killer Croc

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A thinking crocodile-man, who’s strong, hungry and has very large teeth. Are you serious? He’s always lurking in the sewers or just lurking in general, which is creepy in itself. Killer Croc, why wouldn’t you find this dude scary? And he’s a cannibal. However, he is one of the Batman Rogues who is redeemable. In the New 52, it was mentioned that he refused to kill Roy Harper because he wanted an assisted suicide and he becomes Roy Harper’s AA sponsor. Still, he’s freaking terrifying.   

7. Solomon Grundy

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He’s a zombie born out of the mystical swamp right outside of the Gotham City. He’s partly decomposed and made up out of swamp matter (god that must reek). The name comes from the same nursery rhyme, where he’s “born on a Monday.”. He sometimes gets destroyed, but here’s the kicker. He’s always revived. Like Killer Croc, Solomon Grundy has some redeeming qualities to not make him a vicious monster. However, he’s super strong, sometimes on par with Superman (depending on the writer), and can be super dangerous. 

6. Victor Zsasz

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Victor Zsasz is a monster. He’s one of the most horrifying serial killers. His m.o. is murder by knife. The man carves tally markers into himself for every victim he kills. Serial killer Victor Zsasz is one of Batman’s newer Rogues. Zsasz was created in 1992 by Alan Moore. His origin story is that of every Criminal Minds-like serial killer. The death of his parents sent him spiraling. Zsasz doesn’t have a time, though he does like killing women. He’s absolutely terrifying especially when he constantly breaks out of Arkham to resume his killing.  

3. Doomsday

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Doomsday killed Superman. Doomsday is an unthinking killer who once unleashed carved a path of destruction. A deadly monster born from the depths of pre-historic Krypton, Doomsday crashed to Earth once some debris from the destroyed planet arrived. Doomsday’s power is on par with Superman’s. There’s not many beings that can be on par with frigging Superman. He’s scary because there might be a day when one comic book writer decides that Doomsday will get to kill Superman but Doomsday survives it. Who would be able to stop him? Wonder Woman and Shazam maybe, but what if they can’t do it either?   

4. Darkseid

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I hate Darkseid. I really don’t like him. He’s one of the most powerful beings in the universe, always on the hunt for the Anti-Life Equation and at war with the New Genesis’s New Gods and Earth’s Old Gods. The character was inspired by Adolf Hitler and the world of Apokolips on Nazi Germany, which probably explains why I don’t like Darkseid at all.  He’s just a tyrant. He wants to reshape the universe into his likeness. That’s scary. 

3. Black Lantern Corps

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An entire lantern corps of zombies, of heroes and villains that had died?!  The Blackest Night storyline was DC’s zombie apocalypse. The purpose of the Black Lantern Corps…was to eliminate all life from the DC Universe.  WTF?! That’s ridiculously horrific. There’s a lot of wanting to eliminate life from the universe, which is a very bad thing. 

2. The Scarecrow

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To talk about fear and Halloween and scariest characters, I would be remiss to not to include the Scarecrow in this list.  Dr. Jonathan Crane specialised his research on the human emotion of fear. Then, he lost his mind and used ‘fear toxic’ to invoke people’s deepest darkest secrets. Facing your fears is one thing that can paralyze a hero. Fears are a primal emotion. Imagine your greatest fear and imagine having to live through it when with fear toxic. A master of psychological warfare, Scarecrow is number two on this list for a reason. 

1. The Joker

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The Joker is the most terrifying, scary character in the DC Universe. His madness is infectious. The infamous Joker toxic can put someone in a state of frozen-faced laughter. Joker has no remorse. He has only one obsession—defeating Batman. The Joker is strong, he’s violent, he loves chaos and anarchy and he will kill without any provocation. Even in cartoons meant for children, the Joker is terrifying. It’s not only what Joker does, but what he means. Think of The Killing Joke—a good person can have one bad day…

DC Comics is full of horrific characters—mostly villains, in my opinion and mostly concerning Batman’s enemies.   Joker will always probably be number one on such lists because he’s one of the most notable villains in the world.  The others are scary too, but there’s always been something special about the Joker.  

What do you think? Who do you think is the scariest DC character? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Dara Berkey

Superhero nerd. History nerd. Favorite personal hero--Shazam/The Original Captain Marvel. Favorite female hero--Any of the Batgirls. Favorite male hero, other than Shazam--Any of the Robins.

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