It’s kind of unfair how so many heroes get awesome weapons. What’s a villain supposed to do against Iron Man’s armor, Captain America’s indestructible shield, or Thor’s mighty Mjolnir? More often than not, even well-done bad guys are relegated to using a gun or some other run of the mill weapon. Or they just knock off whatever the hero uses and act all cool despite being rip offs.
Thankfully there are still plenty of awesome villainous weapons from movies, TV shows, and books. In fact, some of these put the heroes to shame. But what’s the difference between a weapon that could be used by both good and bad guys alike (like the lightsaber) and a truly villainous weapon? There’s something innately sinister about these tools that just wouldn’t seem right in the hands of the hero.
From deadly little rings to massive battle stations, the best weapons used by the bad guys are both frightening and awe inspiring.
There are several freeze guns around, with almost all of them used by the bad guys. Captain Cold has two pistols that he wields to fight The Flash, despite not having any superpowers. Mr. Freeze uses a gigantic cannon that hooks into his suit, which keep him at frozen temperatures in order to survive. In either case, freeze guns quickly wreak havoc and even do a number on superpowered heroes. Any bystanders caught in the way are often frozen solid. Whether that’s fatal depends on the story.
Most Villainous Feature: Most people hit with a freeze ray are promptly shattered to bits. That’s a brutal death for anyone.
The Death Star
The biggest weapon ever? Unicron doesn’t count. The Death Star may be a moon base, but it really is like one giant gun with its planet-destroying laser the focus of its existence. Legions of Tie Fighters are used for its defense, but even thousands of disposable soldiers can’t make up for the fact that your mega weapon has a gigantic weak spot that leads to its spectacular explosion. Still, it’s one of the most iconic pieces of Star Wars lore.
Most Villainous Feature: With a single blast, anything hit will instantly be blown to smithereens in a blatant disregard for life. No other weapon can top the destructive capability.
Anyone wearing a glove with giant razor claws at the end of each finger would be scary enough. But combine that with a horribly burned face and the ability to kill you in your dreams and it’s even worse. Freddy Kreuger may kill his victims in all sorts of reality-bending manners, but his razor-covered glove makes him a far more intimidating villain than his red and green striped shirt. It’s murderous capabilities offset its daily life-disrupting clunky nature.
Most Villainous Feature: Probably the fact that it’s a leather glover with long metal claws on each finger. Absolutely nothing good can come from wearing this thing.
The Predator is decked out with all kinds of weapons – some more low-tech than others. But the laser firing shoulder cannon is its most brutally efficient. Projecting a signature three dot laser target and emitting a whining noise whenever in use, it’s clear that anyone marked by The Predator’s cannon is not long for the world. Since it’s able to blast holes through people and turn targets into a bloody pulp, any opponent needs to get rid of the cannon if they hope to survive in a face off.
Most Villainous Feature: For a weapon used by a hunter, it’s incredibly unsportsmanlike. Especially when The Predator uses it will completely invisible.
While the Green Goblin and Hobgoblin may use pumpkin bombs to fight, it’s the Goblin Glider that makes them truly fearsome. Powered by a rocket and steered by its pilot leaning back and forth, it’s clearly not a weapon that would have any practical application in the real world, but it manages to not stick out like a sore thumb. Over the years, creators have added more and more armaments to the glider, including missiles, machine guns, and blades.
Most Villainous Feature: The crouching. No hero would ever ride around with knees akimbo flying pelvis first toward targets.
A humongous blade that can only be wielded by the terrifying fire demon Surtur, the Twilight Sword is not just a mighty weapon, but could wipe out the entire universe. The blade was actually made by the demon lord by exploding an entire galaxy! Once lit, the Twilight Sword can scatter fire across the universe, lighting it ablaze and destroying everything in existence.
Most Villainous Feature: Anything that can destroy everything is clearly an evil weapon. That goes for real life, too.
Crimson Gem of Cyttorak
The living embodiment of an evil spirit, whoever grasps this ruby gem will be imbued with the power of the Juggernaut. Those with the mantle of the Juggernaut have enormous strength and stamina and do not even need to eat or breathe. However, the power also drives its users toward violence and any Juggernaut who does not embrace destruction and hate will not be able to wield the gem’s complete power.
Most Villainous Feature: Anyone who takes power from the gem doesn’t just become a big jerk, they become outright homicidal. Not great for heroics.
Cosmic Control Rod
Most often used by evil alien despot Annihilus, the Cosmic Control Rod gives its wielder control over enormous power in a very loosely defined manner. Anyone who holds the tiny rod can increase their lifespan, reverse injuries, gain the ability to fly, increase their own strength, and fire humongous energy blasts. It’s the one size fits all of supervillain weapons.
Most Villainous Feature: It just does way too much in a really vague way! And that frightens me.
The illusive key to dominating the spirits of sentient beings throughout the universe, the Anti-Life Equation is pursued by the evil Darkseid. For years, the idea of the Anti-Life Equation was kept very vague, mostly just being used as a MacGuffin for the villain’s despotic quests across space. Eventually, it was shown to being a very long equation talking about despair and terror, which puts anyone under its spell when said. Very strange.
Most Villainous Feature: It gives the user total control over anyone affected. Not out of sheer force of will, but by crushing their souls under sheer despair.
The name kind of speaks for itself. Doctor Octopus’ mechanical tentacles were made for scientific experiments, but they work just as well as weapons. While they were used to handle dangerous substances, they were fused to Dr. Otto Octavius’ body during an explosion. While they have been destroyed and remade multiple times, each with stronger metal. Their lightning fast reflexes are enough to give the agile Spider-Man serious trouble in battle.
Most Villainous Feature: These things are essentially tentacles. Tentacles are evil, just ask anyone whose ever had a run in with a squid.
Wielded by The Mandarin, these magic rings are the antithesis to Iron Man’s technology. The rings are actually from a distant alien world and are living creatures themselves. Each has a different power, including: Ice Blast, Mento-Intensifier, Black Light, Disintegration Beam, Electro-Blast, Vortex Beam, Flame Blast, Impact Beam, White Light, and Matter Rearranger. It’s quite overpowered.
Most Villainous Feature: These things are powered with such oddly specific abilities. Specificity is the hallmark of villainy.
Somehow equal parts scary and ridiculous, The Penguin uses an assortment of trick umbrellas in order to commit crimes and fight Batman. They may look like normal black umbrellas, but they can house blades, machine guns, helicopter wings, and deadly gas. It’s incredibly cheesy, but somehow it works with the character. Of course, it’s mostly abandoned in more serious takes on The Penguin.
Most Villainous Feature: Any weapon that’s disguised as a benign everyday object is truly wicked. I don’t see Batman shooting Batarangs out of cell phone.
Boiling down to basically the worst drug trip ever, anyone who inhales The Scarecrow’s fear gas will hallucinate his or her worst fears. Whether it’s sprayed, ingested, or injected, anyone who is exposed to a potent blend of fear toxin will suffer nightmarish illusions that torture them and unwind their mind. The worst doses can possibly drive a victim completely insane forever and even stalwart heroes can fall prey to Scarecrow’s weapon.
Most Villainous Feature: Scaring people is mean. Scaring people through drug use is evil. You gotta earn that intimidation!