DC’s recent Cinematic Universe reshuffle resulted in the cancellation of the upcoming bat girl movie, regarding fans on the future of the DCEU. The news might be unsettling for some, which may lead fans back to more heartwarming adaptations of their favorite characters. Superman: The Animated Series is a favorite that remains one of DC’s more lightweight options.
Of course, there are still moments and characters from the show that might freak fans out. Superman has faced several terrifying villains that range from creepy to downright disturbing over the course of the animated series. These villains could stand up to any of the DCAU’s darkest heroes and criminals while scaring them.
ten The curator imprisoned survivors of lost races in a cosmic zoo
Superman: The Animated Series explored Kal-El’s origins as the last survivor of Krypton’s destruction. While a protector of Earth, he also found himself involved in many space missions. His status as the Last Kryptonian caught the attention of a menacing alien known as the Preserver.
The Preserver hired Lobo to help imprison Superman in his cosmic zoo. It housed the last members of other alien species like Superman and Lobo. The Preserver had a cold, calculated nature that initially seemed frightening. However, it revealed a terrifying alternate form that was able to hold its own against both Superman and Lobo.
9 Luminus used his advanced light-based technology for revenge
Superman has definitely earned his share of villains in the animated series, though he’s not the only one. Intrepid Daily Planet journalist and one of the world’s greatest detectives, Lois Lane, has also drawn the ire of a creepy supervillain known as Luminus. Scientist Edward Lytener became an informant for Lane in his story against Lex Luthorwhich ultimately ruined Lytener’s life.
He used his advanced light-based technology to become Luminus so he could exact revenge on Lois Lane. His chilling, unrequited infatuation with Lane gave the villain a darker side. He could create powerful lasers and hard light duplicates. Luminus also created a suit that emitted red solar radiation which also made him a frightening threat to Superman.
8 Brainiac is a Kryptonian AI who sought and destroyed knowledge
fans of Superman: The Animated Series encountered a new version of Brainiac in the very first episode of the cartoon. It debuted as a planetary supercomputer for Krypton before escaping the doomed planet just before it exploded. Brainiac then embarked on a new mission to learn all he could about the universe once freed from Krypton.
Unfortunately, Brainiac’s quest for knowledge also had a dark side. He destroyed any new cultures or civilizations he discovered after absorbing all of their knowledge. Brainiac’s dark motivations have mixed with his cold robotic body to terrify some fans. However, it was Superman’s inability to completely destroy the evil AI that really made Brainiac a horrible villain.
The mercenary named John Corben first worked for Superman’s great rival, Lex Luthor. Luthor manipulated him into having an experimental operation that he believed would save his life from a rare disease. Instead, Corben’s mind gained a powerful robotic body powered by a Kryptonite heart.
Corben took on the identity of Metallo and used his strength and Kryptonite heart to become one of Superman’s most iconic villains. However, his cyborg body lacked the ability to feel, which quickly became a nightmare for Corben. Metallo’s torn artificial flesh exposed his metal skeleton like a classic horror movie monster.
6 Rudy Jones was horribly transformed into an energy-guzzling parasite
The Parasite is one of Superman’s deadliest enemies due to its energy draining abilities. Rudy Jones was a janitor at STAR Labs who agreed to help with a hazmat heist. Radioactive chemicals coated Jones, horribly transforming his body. He became a powerful purple monster that sucked life energy from other beings.
The Parasite developed a taste for Superman’s energy, as he also gained his Kryptonian abilities. He was an almost unstoppable creature when he had Superman’s powers. The Parasite’s transformation made him physically scary, but his need for Superman’s energy made him desperate and dangerous.
5 The Joker took on the Man of Steel in the world’s best crossover
The Joker earned his reputation on Batman: TAS, but he also spent time in Metropolis. The “World’s Finest” crossover episodes featured a team-up between Lex Luthor and the Clown Prince of Crime. The criminal duo then caught the attention of the combined Dark Knight and Man of Steel.
The Joker is a dark jester whose clownish appearance hides a truly sadistic supervillain. It’s an unpredictable evil that brought something new to Metropolis when it appeared in Superman: The Animated Series. The Joker’s unique brand of chaos combined with chunks of Kryptonite nearly ended Superman and sparked a new fear of clowns in Krypton’s Last Son.
4 Darkseid is a new god of Apokolips with equally terrifying followers
Superman has frequently dealt with a group of heavily armed criminals known as the Intergang. The Apokolips Armorers provided the weapons to Intergang as part of the first part of an invasion. The mighty New God known as Darkseid ruled Apokolips. The hellish planet filled with hearthstones, monstrous creatures, and equally terrifying characters all followed Darkseid.
He is a powerful and determined conqueror who has set his sights on Earth and Superman. He works with sadistic villains like DeSaad and Granny Goodness, who formed the powerful Female Furies. Darkseid’s incredible strength makes him one of the few challenges for Superman. He also has a devastating Omega effect that fires from his eyes to strike fear into his enemies.
3 The alien parasite known as Unity attempted to take over Smallville
Darkseid wasn’t the only alien threat Superman encountered during the cartoon. However, the parasite known as Unity was definitely one of the scariest aliens to appear in Superman: The Animated Series. Unity was an alien conqueror who landed on Earth near Smallville after leaving the other worlds he had already consumed.
The unit infected the minds of the citizens of Smallville like Clark Kent’s adoptive mother by controlling the worms. Unity continued to grow by feeding off the hosts of Smallville who were all connected by a web of tentacles. Superman and Supergirl were eventually able to separate the Unity hosts using their X-ray vision, but the alien parasite had already left its mark on fans.
2 Karkull is a dark magical demon capable of injuring Superman
Superman and Doctor Fate have teamed up to deal with a powerful mystical threat known as Karkull. This version of the character was quite different from Karkull’s comic counterpart. Karkull’s redesign as a dark demon made him infinitely more terrifying than the scientist-turned-sorcerer of the comics.
Superman: The Animated Series version of Karkull hoped to turn Earth’s population into shadow slaves under his control, and he nearly succeeded. Superman’s weakness in magic meant that Karkull had the upper hand in their fight. If it weren’t for DC’s most powerful magic user, Superman would have fallen to the horrid Karkull.
1 The Faceless Toyman is one of Superman’s most disturbing villains
Winslow Jr. was the son of a toymaker who died in prison. Intergang’s Bruno Mannheim forced the poor toymaker to take the blame for his criminal operation. Winslow Jr. had a troubled childhood which influenced his dark new personality. He became the Toyman to get revenge on Mannheim. Toyman wore an oversized doll head as one of the smartest villains in Superman: TAS.
Toyman’s childlike mentality has made his murderous impulses even more disturbing to fans of the usually light-hearted series. He used deadly toys and other gadgets to stun his targets. Toyman’s creepy voice was unnerving to fans, and his constant smile, even in battle, could annoy even the strongest heroes.
NEXT: 10 DCAU Episodes That Tell The Same Story