Like media in general, and for obvious reasons, comic books repeat certain tropes. Tropes make good stories and good characters. And the evil doppelganger has long been one of the most enduring tropes. It’s a logical extension. When you have a hero, the easiest possible villain idea is What if the hero, but evil?
Sometimes, it’s done more thematically or subtly. For example, when your hero is a good guy who looks like a grim avenger of the night, his opposite would be…oh, I don’t know…a monstrous psycho who dresses up like something cheerful. A clown, perhaps.
But true evil doppelgangers are a little more direct than that, and they usual share power sets with the good guys. So here are ten evil counterparts that are perfect mirror images of their chosen heroes.
First, an Honorable Mention:
The Squadron Sinister is an evil parallel to the Squadron Supreme, who themselves are ersatz counterparts of DC Comics’ Justice League. They’re very much their own thing, and actually appeared before their heroic counterparts did.
Check out the Secret Wars miniseries, an underrated little story starring the Squadron Sinister. It’s a crime story in which they all constantly back-stab each other. It’s really darn fun.
Venom may be the most popular of the characters we’re going to talk about today, and by a pretty wide margin. The guy has a solo series with numerous fans, and Tom Hardy’s playing him in a movie coming out this year. Most people don’t get that.
The story of Venom dates back to the original Secret Wars, in which Spider-Man got a weird costume that bent itself to his will, which he questioned NOT AT ALL. It turned out that the suit was actually an alien life form commonly referred to as a Symbiote. Needless to say, Spider-Man freaked the hell out and removed the costume. But he still liked the design, so he just made a replica out of normal, non-parasitic clothing. Some time later, the Symbiote got out and bonded to Peter again.
Around this time, a journalist named Eddie Brock was in disgrace over his shoddy and incorrect reporting, as exposed by Peter Parker. As Spider-Man ripped the Symbiote from his body, Eddie was praying for guidance in the church below. The Symbiote dripped down through the ceiling and bonded to Eddie, at which point they both realized how much they hated Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.
A match made in heaven, they went on to terrorize Spider-Man for a long, long time.
9. Cyborg Superman
I mean, is it any surprise that the guy who looks like Superman and made a baby with the Terminator is an evil psycho?
It was apparently supposed to be. After Superman died fighting Doomsday, four new Supermen took his place, three of whom claimed to be the real deal come back from the dead. Cyborg Supes looked like the definite villain of the bunch, but earnestly promised that he was the real Superman.
And despite his frightening metal face, a lot of people thought he was telling the truth, even the President! I mean, it was Reagan, so, like, okay, I buy it, but still!
The truth eventually came out that the Cyborg was actually Hank Henshaw, an astronaut who was thought to be dead after a Fantastic Four-esque space journey that took place years earlier. But after that, he tried to kill Superman, then decided that he’d rather try to kill Green Lantern.
Busy guy, that Cyborg.