If there’s one thing that supervillains like to do, it’s come up with evil schemes. They’re always plotting ways to gain fantastic powers or become exceedingly wealthy so they can crush their superhero rivals and rule the world. As such, it’s actually the villains who are the driving forces in many comic books storylines. Even though the hero is always the protagonist, generally, all they do is react to the situations the villains place them in. But it can be hard coming up great plans for global domination month after month—which is probably why sometimes even the most meticulously laid plans from the smartest supervillains seem to miss the mark. Here are some of the most hilariously hopeless supervillain plots we’ve ever heard of.
12. Doctor Octopus Tries To Become Spider-Man’s Uncle
Most supervillains would probably never think to marry an old lady just to steal her inheritance, but, then again, most supervillains probably wouldn’t rock a bowl cut either. In one of the most laughable schemes to ever occur within the pages of Spider-Man, the mechanical armed mad scientist discovers that Peter Parker’s elderly Aunt May has inherited a fully functional, abandoned nuclear facility. Exactly why the facility is both fully functional and abandoned is a mystery that ultimately goes unanswered but all the reader needs to know is that Doc Ock wants it and he’s not willing to just steal it like any normal, self-respecting villain would.
When Spider-Man learns about his enemy’s dishonest intentions to wed his aunt, he rushes out to try and halt the ceremony, but before he can crash the wedding, someone else beats him to it. Having also learned about Aunt May’s inheritance, third-rate Spider-Man villain Hammerhead tries to cut in on the action and kidnap her. Luckily Spider-Man beats him to it and carries his unconscious aunt off to safety while Hammerhead and Doc Ocks get left behind as the nuclear plant goes into meltdown. Perhaps someone should have explained to them that just because you marry someone doesn’t automatically entitle you to all their stuff.
11. Nazis Try to Weaken America By Raising the Price of Milk
In a Wonder Woman story printed in 1942, Wonder Woman’s alter ego, Diana Prince, comes to the startling realization that the price of milk seems to have increased. Immediately sensing foul play, Diana heads off to speak with the president of the International Milk Company who informs her that that his company has an illegal monopoly on milk. Like any good villain, the milk monopoly man then proceeds press a button on his desk that conveniently opens a trap door exactly where Diana is standing.
After transforming, Wonder Woman learns that the Nazis are the real culprits behind the despicable plot and that it was their intention to spend millions buying all the milk companies in America so they could raise the price of milk to unaffordable levels, thus weakening the bones of every poor kid in America. Then, in no more than 20 years’ time, Americans would be so weak that wouldn’t stand a chance of fending off the strong-boned German Nazis. It was a brilliant plan that just might have worked if Wonder Woman didn’t show up and spoil everything.
10. Ra’s al Ghul Tests His Parenting Skills on Robin
Let’s face it, Red Robin was never the coolest superhero. Which is probably why the writers at DC gave him some of the worst plot lines imaginable. In one of his more recent stories, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins capture Tim Drake, a.k.a. Red Robin, and subject him to trials to determine if he would make a good heir to Ghul’s dynasty. Essentially, Ra’s captured Robin so he could interview him to be his son. Supervillain plots certainly don’t get much more dastardly than that.
9. Magneto Disguises Himself As a Hippy
In New X-Men, Magneto is thought dead and viewed by many as a martyr for mutant rights. But of course he wasn’t really dead. Marvel just pretended he was dead so they could have Magneto take on a new persona as Xorn—some hippy guy who practices meditative healing. In the end it was revealed the Xorn was really Magneto all along and it was all part of his plan to take some sort of petty revenge for events that no one really cared about. It was really lame.
8. Jonathan Kent Becomes a Villain to Help Superboy Capture a Villain
Granted, a lot of stories from the Silver Age of comics rank pretty high on the ridiculous scale, but even by those standards the events of Superboy #84 would sill have to be regarded as fantastically foolish. In the comic, gangster Vic Munster is seen enlisting the help of a new villain to help him defeat Superboy. Amazingly, the new guy, who uses the utterly terrifying handle “The Rainbow Raider,” actually manages to defeat the young Clark Kent by using the brainwashing powers of his colorful flashing helmet to force Superboy into doing evil deeds. But someone should have told Munster never to trust an unestablished supervillain because, as it turned out, the Rainbow Raider was actually Superboy’s adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, who temporarily took on the role of the villain so Superboy could get close enough to Munster to take him down. But wait, why didn’t Jonathan just use his helmets brainwashing powers on Munster in the first place?
7. The Beard Band Devised a Plan To Make Beards Fashionable Again
For an investigative piece he’s working on for the Daily Planet, useless superhero sidekick Jimmy Olsen decides he’s going to attempt to infiltrate the secretive organization of hairy-faced individuals known as the Beard Band. But rather than simply avoiding a razor for a few days so he could gain admission to the group legitimately, Jimmy tries to gain access by using a fake beard, which unfortunately fails to pass the group’s complex verification process. He’s about to give up and go home when a guy on the street conveniently offers him a tonic that’s said to grow him a real beard instantly. After downing the tonic, Jimmy grows a nice thick beard that passes the inspection of the Beard Band.
While inside the club, Jimmy is present for a meeting in which he learns the shocking truth that the real purpose of the Beard Band is to try and make beards fashionable again. That’s right. They’re not seeking fame or fortune or anything like that, all they want is respect and admiration for the beard.
6. Doctor Doom Tries to Send the Baxter Building to the Sun on a Rocket Plane
Despite being regarded as a god in Marvel’s recent Secret Wars story arc, back in 1962 Doctor Doom’s plans were anything but divine. In his second-ever appearance, in Fantastic Four #6, Doom makes plans to do away with his former friend and lifelong nemesis in a very stupid way—by teaming up with Namor the Sub-Mariner and using a rocket to send the Fantastic Four’s headquarters on a collision course with the sun.
While this plan might make a lot more sense than barging in through the front door and trying to fight the superhero team on their home turf, which is outfitted with all sorts of high-tech defenses, was this really the best plan that Doom could come up with? He seems to have completely overlooked the fact that, had they wanted to, Ben, Sue and Johnny could have just grabbed onto Reed and had him stretch into a giant parachute to bring them all back to the ground safely. But, as it would happen, the Fantastic Four wanted to do everything they could to save their home, so they had to rely on Namor, who had just been betrayed by Doom, to break onto the rocket plane and use it to return the Baxter Building to its rightful address in Manhattan.
5. Reverse-Flash’s Plan To Kill The Flash’s Wife Backfires
The Flash and time travel have always been a huge can of knotted worms, and excellent evidence of that can be found in Flash #324 in which Professor Zoom, a.k.a. Reverse-Flash, decides to try to kill Barry Allen’s second wife, Fiona Webb, on her wedding day. It’s all a part of a plan to make The Flash go insane, but it all falls apart when Barry shows up and delivers a killer clothesline to Zoom that breaks his neck. The scheme is made all the more worse by the fact that Zoom was from the future and should have known how the events would unfold.
4. Kraven’s Last Hunt
“Kraven’s Last Hunt” was a 1987 Spider-Man story arc that was originally supposed to make Kraven the Hunter seem like a formidable foe. However, in the end, all it resulted in was the villain’s disappearance from comics for a while. As the story nears its conclusion, Kraven shoots Spider-Man, buries him, and steals his superhero identity to violently take down another enemy named Vermin. But, as it turned out, Spider-Man was never really dead, which Kraven also planned for because he wanted to prove he could beat his nemesis. Then he shot himself, because he was the real winner. Checkmate.
3. Doctor Doom Tries to Defeat the Fantastic Four by Going Blind
The old body switcheroo is one of the oldest tricks in the supervillain handbook. It’s an especially contemptible scheme because it allows the villain to soil the hero’s reputation and commit any number of heinous acts while under their guise. But when your plan is to trade bodies with a superhero in order to infiltrate and defeat some other superheroes, it might help if the guy you choose has some super powers of their own.
Not only does Daredevil not have any real superpowers to speak of, he’s completely blind. Unfortunately for Doctor Doom, that didn’t stop him from switching bodies with the Man Without Fear as part of his plan to kill the Fantastic Four. Though he never explained explicitly how he hoped to accomplish the feat, once inside Daredevil’s body, Doom pretty much just became a helpless blind guy. Meanwhile, Daredevil has the time of his life in Doom’s indestructible power armor and used it to easily escape the prison where he was left.
Upon hearing that Daredevil is wreaking havoc in his body, Doom races back to his mansion and promptly switches bodies back with him. Definitely not a high point for a villain that’s considered among the smartest people in the Marvel universe.
2. Criminals Try to Get Rid of Batman by Finding Him a Wife
Let’s face it, Batman makes it pretty tough to make a decent living as a criminal in Gotham City. With access to vast resources, Batman can devote pretty well all of his time to getting stronger and coming up with cool new gadgets to help beat down the baddies. If only there were some way to keep the caped crusader occupied with trivial tasks, then the criminal underworld could get the foothold they need to take back Gotham, right? Well, that’s exactly what a gang of ruthless thugs had in mind when they devised an evil scheme with the potential to take Batman out of picture permanently—by finding him a wife.
You see, if Batman were married there’s no way he would be able to spend as much time patrolling the streets because he’d be stuck at home fixing the sink and watching Downton Abbey most nights. With that mindset, the gang goes about setting up a million dollar ad campaign designed to bag Batman the perfect time-sucking bride. Shortly after the plan is set in motion, Batman and Robin are swarmed by hordes women who just can’t wait to see what they’ve got packed inside their bulging utility belts. With the dynamic duo pre-occupied, the criminals seize the opportunity to run out and steal a bunch of fur coats, because apparently looking fabulous was more important than robbing banks at the time.
1. Lex Luthor Steals a Bunch of Cakes
You might have heard of this evil plot since it was famously turned into an internet meme a few years ago. It has its roots in 1978’s Super Dictionary, which was a somewhat educational book designed to teach youngsters the definitions of words as well as some basic math. The book was published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston and featured a number of notable DC characters including Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and the Flash. But the most hilarious entry in the book belongs to Lex Luthor and it reads like this: “When no one was looking, Lex Luthor took forty cakes. He took 40 cakes. That’s as many as four tens. And that’s terrible.”
Given that Lex Luthor is an entrepreneurial genius who more than likely could easily afford to buy 40 cakes, this evil plan seems just a tad outside of his usual wheelhouse. Nevertheless, the Super Dictionary does fall in line with DC’s comic book continuity, as evidenced by Superman #709, released in 2011, in which readers are treated to a flashback of Luthor pulling off the cake caper as a child. So you see, the Superman villain was just working his way up to all those plans of world domination.