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Top 10 DC Comics Antiheroes

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Craig Butler
There’s right and wrong, but these people may have a different definition of those terms. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down the Top 10 DC Comics Antiheroes. For this list, we’re looking at characters from the DC comic books who don’t always act in the most heroic ways – but who also may not exactly be straight-up villains. Hey, it’s complicated.

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There’s right and wrong, but these people may have a different definition of those terms. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down the Top 10 DC Comics Antiheroes.

For this list, we’re looking at characters from the DC comic books who don’t always act in the most heroic ways – but who also may not exactly be straight-up villains. Hey, it’s complicated.

#10: Deadshot

Deadshot was originally a forgettable Batman foe from the 1950s, but he got a serious makeover in the 1970s. As a teenager, he tried to kill his abusive father but shot his brother instead. This made him vow to never miss again, and he trained to become the sharpest shooter in existence. He became a mercenary and eventually joined up as a key member of the Suicide Squad. He’s played both sides of the hero-villain fence, but always with a personal morality. Ultimately more hero than villain, he’s not above taking out enemies with lethal force if it’s absolutely necessary.

#9: Jonah Hex

This Wild West bounty hunter was a scourge to any baddie with a price on their head. Jonah’s abusive father traded him to the Apaches when he was a teenager. When he sought revenge on one of his tribesmen who wronged him, he was hideously disfigured. His frightening visage contributed to his loneliness, as it scared away many who might have become friends. Hex is about as relentless as they come, and if a guy has done wrong, he will use any means to bring him to justice. But by the same token, he has the back of anyone who is innocent or wrongly accused.

#8: Arsenal (Roy Harper)

Originally Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy, Roy Harper eventually took the name Arsenal to distinguish himself from his mentor. An archer of incomparable skill, as Arsenal he also commands a wide range of weaponry. A heroin addiction, and later, the loss of his daughter Lian and an arm set Roy on a path of deadly vengeance, culminating in the murder of the man who killed his daughter. Roy took on a darker, more nihilistic approach during this period. The New 52 reboot altered Roy, changing him into a recovering alcoholic who had been used and misused by Green Arrow. But these changes were axed during the DC Rebirth.

#7: Amanda Waller

In some versions, this founder of the Suicide Squad possesses a physically imposing frame. In others, she’s more the type whose taut, slender body belies its physical capabilities. In either case, she is a ruthless, manipulative mastermind who believes the fight for justice demands extreme measures. Her Suicide Squad mostly made up of villains seeking an early release from their sentences, are totally expendable. If they live through a mission, fine. If not, they knew the risks they were taking. She’s similarly single-minded when it comes to her teams at Checkmate and ARGUS. But underneath it all, readers sense that the consequences of her decisions cause her some sleepless nights.

#6: Rorschach

There are no shades of gray in Rorschach’s world. There is good. There is evil. There is nothing in between. Scarred by his mother’s neglect and abuse as a child, his breaking point came after a particularly gruesome case. He discovered a man had killed a young child and fed her remains to his dog. Sent over the edge, Rorschach meted out his own justice, killing the murderer in the process. After this, Rorschach gave up any pretense of civility. Criminals were given punishment according to his code. He died because he was willing to expose a scheme which had cost the lives of millions even though it may have prevented all-out nuclear war… and maybe he was right.

#5: Black Adam

Originally one of Captain Marvel’s fiercest foes, Black Adam was a hero the wizard Shazam created in ancient Egypt. But when he became corrupted, Shazam imprisoned him. He escaped in modern times and spent time with both the Justice Society and the Injustice Society. Eventually, Adam became ruler of the country of Kanhdaq. Throughout, Adam behaves in a manner which is both heroic and villainous. Even when acting as a hero, however, he can be pitiless and merciless in the way he attends to his enemies. And with the magic he has at his command, he is a force to be reckoned with.

#4: John Constantine

One of Alan Moore’s most intriguing creations, Constantine is a cynical, world-weary and shoddy detective with a bent for the supernatural. A superb con artist, Constantine has a way of manipulating even people who ought to know better. Rarely does Constantine ask a favor that doesn’t come with major, often fatal, consequences. While his magical powers pale next to heavy hitters like Dr. Fate or the Spectre, his shrewd mind enables him to play the long game. With his eye on the ultimate outcome, he readily sacrifices both foe and friend alike for the greater good. Yes, his conscience suffers – but at least he stays alive.

#3: Harley Quinn

Originally created as a daffy, comic relief character in “Batman: The Animated Series,” Harley Quinn has become a much more complicated and ambiguous character. This fan favorite was originally a psychologist who tried to cure the Joker and instead became demented by her affection for him. In the New 52 reboot, Harley reformed and was fighting more or less on the side of the law. However, her methods weren’t exactly hero-material. She has become a major part of the Suicide Squad, which seems like a good place for her on-again, off-again relationship with reality.

#2: Red Hood (Jason Todd)

So first you’re Robin, then the Joker kills you, then you come back from the dead as a resolute vengeance-seeker. What next? When Jason Todd came back from the dead, the fact that Batman hadn’t killed the Joker in revenge unhinges him. Adopting the identity of the Red Hood, Todd went on a spree, eventually becoming a crime lord and creating major chaos in Gotham. Apparently, Todd’s mind was affected by his resurrection. Later reboots have altered parts of his backstory and made him more heroic. He may not be as pure a hero as Superman, but his darkness has been toned down.

#1: Catwoman

Has any character had as ambiguous a relationship with good and evil as Catwoman? Originally a cat burglar, she later claimed to have turned to crime as a result of getting amnesia. Turns out that was a lie, though. Anyway, she has been both a nemesis of and a helper to Batman through the years – as well as a love interest. After the DC Rebirth, Catwoman continued to flirt with both law and crime but seemed to fall more on the side of the former. The confusion over her loyalties has made her a fascinating and complex character – and create reactions from Batman that give him further depth as well.

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