Pop Cult India: Top Super-Villain Groups

The recently released Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a spur of announcements by Sony have confirmed the development of a Sinister Six movie. Anyone familiar to the Spidey universe will instantly notice the Easter eggs and allusions in Marc Webb’s latest instalment. While the build up to a super villain team-up on screen may not be as subtle as the Avengers assembling, it sure is exciting.
The formation of a villain alliance is the quite practical if one observes the hero to villain ratio in any series. However their clashing personalities, ego struggles and mutually destructive goals often make these organisations volatile. Yet some groups have been well ordered even in chaos.

Secret Six

No it’s not “Sinister”, this is a different group. The Secret Six was initially a DC universe strike team formed in 1968. Its 2nd incarnation was comprised mainly of villains and the 3rd incarnation went on to become one of the greatest comic book runs in history. Iterations of this group are always assembled by a mysterious character known only as “Mockingbird”, assumed by each member to be one of the other five. The critically acclaimed 2008 team included the likes of Bane, Catman and Deadshot.
They’re a close group that doesn’t generally plan huge world domination missions; in essence they are an evil mercenary group consisting of flunkies. However, if you give them orders, motivation and maybe some supplies and all hell breaks loose.

Sinister Six

One of the most popular villain teams is the Sinister Six, so it’s no wonder they’re getting a dedicated feature film. They originally appeared in the 1st Amazing Spider-Man annual way back in the 60’s. Most of the readers probably remember them from the famous 2-part episode in Fox’s animated series. The team roster keeps changing and one version actually featured 12 members. Doctor Octopus is probably the most popular member of the group though, he was also the original organiser. They have only one motive: to kill Spidey.
The reason the Sinister Six makes the list is because it was one of the first of its kind. On countless occasions they have beaten Peter physically and emotionally. It’s a classic that can be destructive in the hands of an able writer.

Secret Society of Villains

The SSoV is quintessentially the Justice League of villains or the “Injustice League”. Aggregate one member from each of the JLA hero’s rogues gallery and voila. When the group premiered it was created by Darkseid and in later years had different leaders with the most prominent being Lex Luthor.

The group is quite prestigious and generally featuring A-list villains unlike the Secret Six. Top-tier baddies like Sinestro, Parasite and Grundy have been members of this club.
The SSoV generally hatches global scale master plans in every portrayal. The group does suffer from infighting and incidents of members pursuing personal quests, but when they pull together a menacing idea the Justice League has quite a lot to work against. Hence, you would notice their defeats are generally caused by one of their individuals becoming emotionally or physically AWOL.

Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

Only two months younger than the Sinister Six, the Brotherhood debuted in the 4th issue of the original X-Men ongoing series. The X-Men have faced off against a good set of villain groupies but the Brotherhood can be classified as their prime adversary. They’ve appeared in almost every form X-Men media to date.
This 50 year old institution (yes they have principles and ideologies) was founded by Magneto and later resurrected by Mystique. Many infamous evil mutants like Toad, Avalanche and Pyro have featured on their roster. The Brotherhood is basically an anti-human mutant terrorist organisation. Their plans generally involve utopian ideas and homo-sapien eradication. In a lot of ways they represent a greater real world problem. It’s poetic when you think that Magneto was once hunted by Nazis and now his world view of perfection barely differs from them.

Crime Syndicate of America

CSA is basically a parallel universe counterpart of the Justice League of America. In their first appearance they hailed from Earth-3, a universe with a reversed history of ours (the good guys were bad and the vice-versa). The team consists of Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring; evil alternate versions of the prime JLA members. Unlike other super-powered teams the CSA roster has remained consistent throughout its publication. The best example of their devastating might would be the animated movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
The reason they top the list is that they have the exact same powers and abilities as their arch nemeses. Imagine if an omniscient god was against you or if the most dangerous mind alive was planning to kill you. The CSA is a well-organized and extremely powerful team that poses a considerable threat to the not just their world but to the multi-verse as a whole.

Conclusion

Before the article ends, I must mention some of the teams that narrowly missed the mark:

  • Masters of Evil: The nemeses of the Avengers.
  • The Hellfire Club: A highly organized ancient group of aristocratic evil muties.
  • Sinestro Corps: The Yellow Lanterns who harness the power of fear.

A hero is only as good as his villain and a Superhero team is only as legendary as the Super-villain group they are pitted against. The number of evil-teams is dwarfed by the vast multitude of teams, but they have caused some of the greatest plot points and even triggering some of the grandest comic crossover events. Let’s hope their big screen portrayal justifies their crucial role in shaping comic book history.