Nowadays, the ‘90s are viewed with shame by comic book fans. The decade was an… interesting time in the industry. The comic book bubble burst, which nearly sank Marvel entirely. Both DC and Marvel enjoyed periods of success, too; for the former, Batman: The Animated Series and multiple Batman movies kept the company in the spotlight regularly while Marvel fought to stay alive. Spider-Man and the X-Men were some of the most popular characters in all of comics before the aforementioned collapse. Comics from the ’90s were also very distinct — wherever you looked, you’d likely see, among other things, ridiculously muscled heroes, heavily armored characters, guns, scantily clad characters and massive guns. All throughout the industry, the need to be “edgy” and extreme was painfully obvious. Classic characters and new ones alike were modeled to represent these patterns that the companies, and writers, felt readers wanted to see.
Both DC and Marvel churned out a lot of content, as they threw a lot of content at the wall and used what stuck. This idea holds especially true of villains. The companies needed new adversaries for their biggest heroes, so they valiantly tried to pump new blood into their various rogues galleries. Some of the decade’s debuts, like Deadpool and Harley Quinn, have became incredibly successful. Others were, frankly, terrible and never saw the light of day after an appearance or two. Regardless, the ‘90s produced many noteworthy characters. Here’s a look at some ‘90s villains that were successful and others that should just stay in the controversial decade.
19. SUCCESSFUL: PARALLAX
Parallax is one of the most controversial villains in DC history. To match the generally dark tone of ‘90s comics, the company decided to have Hal Jordan, one of the most famous Green Lanterns of all time, turn evil. Jordan loses his mind when his hometown, Coast City, is destroyed. Jordan becomes Parallax, an evil god-like being. Most fans disliked this version of Parallax, but the character’s best days were on the horizon.
Geoff Johns eventually made major changes to the character which shattered the Green Lantern mythos of old in the best way possible. Johns took a critically-panned character and turned it into an instrument of success, which is why Parallax should be considered one of the best villains of the decade.