Top 10 Wonder Woman Villains

A lot of superheroes are known for their vastly interesting rogues' galleries.  However, Wonder Woman often gets the short end of the stick, despite having great villains of her own.  Here's a look at my own personal top 10 Wonder Woman villains and enemies:

10.) Baroness von Gunther

The Baroness

Wonder Woman's first recurring enemy was none other than female Nazi spy, Baroness Paula von Gunther.  A crafty individual with an array of gadgets and gizmos that enabled her to escape Wonder Woman's clutches on numerous occasions, the Baroness is a perfect example of what Wonder Woman sets out to do: redeem her enemies.  The Baroness was a seemingly heartless Nazi agent, but everybody has reasons for their actions, and Wonder Woman discovered the Baroness': her daughter, Gerta, was held captive by the Nazis and she was ordered to do their bidding.  Wonder Woman, the noble heroine that she is, immediately went to the aid of Gerta von Gunther, rescuing her from the Nazis and convincing The Baroness to turn over a new leaf.  She joined the Amazons on Paradise Island, becoming their chief scientist and being known simply as "Paula."  Baroness von Gunther proves that Wonder Woman has the ability to inspire even the vilest and most evil criminals to become better people.

9.) The Duke of Deception

 The Duke of Deception
One of Wonder Woman's earliest and most persistent enemies, the Duke of Deception was one of Ares's chief lieutenants on the planet Mars.  The embodiment of deceit and trickery, Deception was a key figure in World War II, spreading his lies throughout the countries and inciting war between nations.  Once Wonder Woman interfered, the Duke found himself defeated, and not even his phantasms could stop her.  Ares (then called Mars), disappointed in Deception, imprisoned him with a bunch of female slaves.  Deception, clever as he was, manipulated the women into siding with him, overthrowing Mars and his allies and taking over the planet.  The Duke of Deception later deceived his own daughter, Lya, when she tried to overthrow him, proving Deception to be one of Wonder Woman's cleverest villains.  Deception appeared throughout the Silver Age in various incarnations, such as an alien and a handsome God (though he was usually depicted as a shriveled old man, he used his powers to make himself look much more attractive than he truly was), and was recently modernized as a member of Circe's army of supervillains.

8.) Medousa

A figure straight out of Greek Mythology, Medousa (or Medusa) proved that Wonder Woman's villains can be truly epic.  First appearing to battle Wonder Woman briefly in the 90's, Medousa skyrocketed to the top ten during Greg Rucka's run of Wonder Woman, where Medousa's sisters, Euryale and Stheno, joined forces with Poseidon and Circe to resurrect Medousa after she had been slain by Perseus.  The Gorgon, once revived, sought out to kill Wonder Woman for revenge against Athena, who had turned Medousa and her sisters into the monsters they had become.  Medousa stormed through the Themysciran Embassy, turning one of Wonder Woman's friends' sons to stone in the process.  An enraged Wonder Woman later fought Medousa in a baseball stadium on live television.  Her motivation was grand: turn everyone who watches the television broadcast to stone.  Wonder Woman blinded herself with one of Medousa's snakes, but even blind, continued on to decapitate the Gorgon in a similar manner to Perseus.  Medousa later came back to haunt Wonder Woman and her allies as they traveled through the Underworld.

7.) Doctor Cyber

Doctor Cyber

Prominently featured in the Silver Age, Doctor Cyber is essentially Wonder Woman's token insanely intelligent (or intelligently insane?) super-villain.  Her Lex Luthor, if you will.  During an encounter with a depowered Diana Prince, Doctor Cyber suffered injuries that scarred and deformed her face.  She vowed to get revenge on Wonder Woman for taking her beauty away with a scheme: to switch bodies with Wonder Woman.  Then, she'd have the perfect body to go with her perfect mind.  Her claim to fame and the reason for her placing number seven on the top ten is simple: she murdered Steve Trevor.

6.) Giganta

Despite not being used for the majority of DC Comics' history, Giganta made a splash when she first appeared in the animated series, Superfriends.  Sure, she had been used before then as a recurring Golden Age foe of Wonder Woman, but Superfriends marked the most prominent appearances of Giganta until the 2000's.  In the 40's, Giganta was an evolved ape who had joined the Holliday Girls and later caused a ruckus for Wonder Woman.  In the Silver Age, Giganta was brought back and rebooted as an evolved ape in love with Steve Trevor.  The modern Giganta is Doris Zuel, a mad scientist who, like Doctor Cyber, wanted to switch her handicapped body with someone more useful.  Although Diana wasn't available, Doris used a circus strongwoman named Olga, who for some reason had the magical ability to grow in size up to fifty feet.  In Olga's body, Doris took on the name Giganta, and was first seen among an army of female criminals banded together by Circe.  She later joined Villainy, Inc. (like the Golden Age version did before her), and battled Wonder Woman for control of Skartaris.  After a while, Giganta fell in love with superhero Ryan Choi, the new Atom.  She thought Choi could be the one to turn her over to a new leaf, but he was killed by one of his enemies.  Giganta later joined the Secret Six, working with Ryan Choi's murderer and later getting revenge.  Giganta places number six on this list because, besides Cheetah, she's the most visually recognizable villain that Wonder Woman has to offer.

5.) Silver Swan

Silver Swan
A legacy villainess who has had three incarnations: the bitter ballet dancer Helen Alexandros, the disfigured mutant Valerie Beaudry, and the scorned best friend Vanessa Kapatelis.  Helen Alexandros was the Silver Age Silver Swan, a homely young dancer who had wanted the lead in her troupe's Swan Lake.  However, she was passed over because of her acne-ridden face in favor for a woman more conventionally beautiful.  Helen, named after Helen of Troy, begged to the Gods for help.  Only one God answered her: Ares.  Ares offered Helen the ability to become a beautiful maiden called the Silver Swan, named after the form Zeus had taken to impregnate Leda with Helen of Troy.  Helen Alexandros used her dual identity to find out Wonder Woman's very own dual identity as Diana Prince.  She became Diana and Etta's roommate, all the while plotting to kill Wonder Woman so that she could stay the Silver Swan forever.  Unfortunately, the Silver Swan lost her battle against Wonder Woman, and was forced to return to her mousy appearance.  The second Silver Swan, Valerie Beaudry, was mutated from radiation.  She had somehow found herself married to an abusive man who used his wealth and technology to turn her into a living weapon.  Wonder Woman eventually convinced Valerie to break free from her husband and the Silver Swan persona.  The third SIlver Swan, Vanessa Kapatelis, was Wonder Woman's trusted friend who was manipulated by Doctor Psycho and Circe into becoming the Swan.  Resenting Wonder Woman for choosing Cassandra Sandsmark as Wonder Girl and not Vanessa, she messed with Diana's head until her inevitable recovery.  Each of the Silver Swans possessed formidable abilities: a massive sonic scream able to level cities, superhuman strength, and a degree of durability.

4.) Doctor Psycho

 Doctor Psycho
A misogynistic little man who is against everything Wonder Woman stands for.  Doctor Psycho is the only villain who can truly get inside Wonder Woman's head and discover her vulnerabilities.  He has consistently fought against Wonder Woman since the 1940's, using his illusions and manipulations to make life for Wonder Woman a living Hell.  Wonder Woman eventually overcame Doctor Psycho's illusions, using her lasso of truth, but that didn't stop Psycho from seeking out Wonder Woman's loved ones and causing them harm.  He also often allies himself with other major Wonder Woman villains, such as Circe, Cheetah, and Giganta.  In the current Wonder Woman comics, it's revealed that the reason Psycho does these horrendous things to Wonder Woman is out of love for her.  He feels it is the only way to be in her life.  He definitely takes the cake for being the most depraved, deranged villain in Wonder Woman's rogues gallery, making him the number four best villain.

3.) Circe

Another of many mythological enemies that Wonder Woman has faced, Circe is perhaps the most powerful, though also the most confusing.  Circe originally started out as a villain who despised Wonder Woman because she thought she'd steal Hecate's powers for herself.  Being a greedy Goddess that she was, Circe of course did not want that to happen.  Her hatred led to the War of the Gods, one of the biggest crossovers that focused on Wonder Woman.  She later died on numerous occasions and came back on numerous occasions.  Why is she number three on the list, you might ask?  Well, certainly due to prominence.  Although her history is riddled with confusion, she has been a major adversary of Wonder Woman's since her first appearance.  She was given a huge push in the 90's to make her Wonder Woman's Joker or Lex Luthor, but it didn't stick.  She still plays a major role in Wonder Woman, but not enough to make her the top Wonder Woman villain of all time.

2.) Ares

Wonder Woman's primary foe in the Golden Age and the reason for Wonder Woman even existing, Ares is the second best Wonder Woman villain of all time.  In the Golden and Silver Ages, Ares was known as Mars, the God of War who resided on, yep, you guessed it, the planet Mars.  The modern Ares (vastly more interesting) hasn't been used as frequently as Circe, leaving some mystery to the powerful villain.  He is best represented as a behind-the-scenes villain, one who uses his minions like the Duke of Deception, Silver Swan, Deimos, Phobos, the Crimson Centipede, etc. for his bidding.  His power level, possibly higher or possibly lower than Circe's, is vague, but one thing is certain: Wonder Woman usually has to talk her way out of a confrontation with Ares.  Power isn't everything, though, and Ares doesn't have the best track record, such as his last encounter with Wonder Woman which left him with an axe in his head.

1.) Cheetah

Three women and one man have taken the name of Cheetah, and each one has been vicious, relentless, and dangerous to Wonder Woman.  The first Cheetah was schizophrenic socialite Priscilla Rich, who had suffered from an inferiority complex that left her conjuring up "The Cheetah," a huntress who had her sights on her prey: Wonder Woman.  She couldn't stand the attention that Wonder Woman received while her own accomplishments during World War II went unnoticed, and it drove her insane.  She had several opportunities to kill the Amazon Princess, but didn't, obviously, as that would've ended the series.  Instead, Cheetah opted to toy with her, framing her for theft.  Priscilla, crafty and quick, even managed to steal Hippolyte's magic girdle, enabling her to combat Wonder Woman physically.  Wonder Woman attempted to redeem Cheetah after several defeats, but Priscilla Rich escaped each time.  Her niece, activist Deborah Domaine, became the second Cheetah, after she was mind-wiped by Kobra.  The modern version of Cheetah is Barbara Minerva, a famous archaeologist who despises Wonder Woman.  She became the Cheetah after a cannibalistic ritual in which she devoured her close friend Tom Leavens.  It gave her the power of the cat God, Urzkartaga, and made her Wonder Woman's most formidable enemy.  Recently, Cheetah has been given a power increase after killing the original, Priscilla Rich.  Her speed is almost on par with the Flash, making her a huge threat.  Briefly, a fourth Cheetah surfaced, a man named Sebastian Ballesteros.  He was later killed by Barbara Minerva.  Some may argue that Cheetah is not Wonder Woman's number one villain, but four dangerous incarnations, an appearance in the pop-culture series Superfriends, and several appearances outside of the Wonder Woman book makes her the top Wonder Woman villain of all time.

Honorable mentions should go to: Angle Man, Doctor Poison, Queen Clea, Blue Snowman, Hercules, White Magician, Veronica Cale, Hades, Maxwell Lord, Genocide, and The Morrigan.
Edited by Eyelash30

I give full props for the Duke of Deception as Wonder Woman's more better able matches as a villain simply because Ares is too powerful in my perspects, and the collective remaining have the silliness to them of an Austin Powers enemy. Ares is a GOD for heavens sake, and how does Wonder Woman try to impose against a force of nature like that ? Duke Deceit, however, is a villain of limitations in means of illusion casting , delusional spells, and I for one never trusted someone who is dedicated to abolish truth in reality. Deception would covet Wonder Woman's gold lasso to attempt to rewrite reality, Diana would hate Deception simply put most women hate liars all together.

Forgot to add Wonder Woman villain Earthworm/Herbert Hynde- dated from 1982-who only made 2 appearances to her book.

Posted by fps_dean

Circe has been my favorite Wonder Woman villain, she is both very poweful and very crafty and although I think they've been trying to make Circe Wonder Woman's archenemy since sometime in the 1987 run, I have to agree that Cheetah definitely should be #1 unless we're only talking about most recently.

Posted by fables87

This is a good list! I agree with most it. I always thought Dr. Psycho was one of her most creepiest rogues myself.

Posted by Sinestro2828

In terms of popularity and public knowledge, I'd have to agree Cheetah is number one, but it seems to me like Circe, Ares, or Dr. Cyber are better equipped to harm Wonderwoman on a grander scale (whereas Cheetah usually just faces Wondie one on one or as part of a larger super villain team). Circe's a sorceress and has all manner of magic tricks up her sleeves that can serve to counter Wondie's brute strength and fighting skills, while Ares is a god and therefore fits into the category of "Oh shit I'm in trouble" kind of villain like Darkseid is for Superman. I can't see Ares working with the Legion of Doom or Injustice League, but rather manipulating other villains from behind the scenes leading up to an epic showdown later down the road, though i can see Circe working with the Legion, providing a magic edge like Tala did in Justice League Unlimited.

Now, Dr. Cyber seems like the sort of villain who could and should become more prominent in DC comics given that she's such a perfect foil for Wonderwoman. Technology vs mythology, science vs magic. Just like how Superman has god like power but uses it for good but Lex Luthor WISHES he had god like power and will do anything to acquire it, or how Batman represents justice and order and Joker is an agent of chaos and murder. I mean, I can easily picture Cyber as a female Dr. Doom or an evil Tony Stark, throwing legions of advanced killer robots or high tech weapon equipped goons after Wonderwoman while protected by the law or a secret lair, etc. I mean, I love Cheetah and all, but most of my experiences with her comes from seeing her with the Legion of Doom or the Injustice Gang/League, as opposed to leading her own criminal empire as other arch villains tend to do. I can picture her wanting to steal and study Wondie's magic lasso and bracers etc for her own gain too. Plus...Its hard to forget a villain who apparently killed your boyfriend and first love too XD

The pics of Dr. Cyber in her gallery here on comic vine seem pretty badass too, especially the Brave and the Bold and Justice League Unlimited versions.

Posted by Daffodil

I definitely agree that Ares or Circe are equivalent to Wonder Woman as Darkseid is to Superman. But Cheetah is an enemy on a personal level. She's everything that Wonder Woman is not, and vice versa. She's cursed by Gods rather than blessed by them, she's selfish and conniving, feral and chaotic. She might not be leading an army of supervillains herself, but is Joker? Joker is unarguably Batman's #1 villain because of the personal connection he has with Batman. Has Cheetah always been written to be Wonder Woman's opposite/arch-nemesis? No, but there are times where she has, and the potential there is great. Even from the 40's, Cheetah was always the enemy Wonder Woman couldn't save. She reformed so many criminals, but Cheetah always eluded her.

Anyway, I digress. Circe and Ares are wonderful villains, and are (or should be) on par with Darkseid. But Darkseid is also Superman's #2 villain, as Lex Luthor will always be number one.

And you should definitely check out some Doctor Cyber issues! She's a such a great villain... I really wish they'd bring her back!

Posted by jphulk26

I like some of your list, especially the top 5, but some of them are goofy. Duke of Deception, Baroness Von Gunther. I find it hard to see how some of them can be modernised. I wrote a list myself of Wonder Woman top 9 villains that I´ve read, you should check it out.

Posted by Daffodil

@jphulk26: Goofy now, yes. The Joker was goofy in the golden age, too. If they made an effort, Baroness von Gunther could easily become a big villain in the DC universe. And chop of the "Duke" part of his name, and have him as the embodiment of deceit, Deception could give Wonder Woman a run for her money. I did look at your list, but I disagree with a lot of the villains you chose as they were one-offs and didn't have lasting potential (Genocide, Alkyone, the Crows).

Posted by name_already_chosen

The reason Circe has failed to get anywhere despite DC's push is that she is a generic Big Bad Evil. (I wouldn't have rated her better than 10th despite her villainous accomplishments.) In terms of her powers, the comics quickly turned her from someone who transmogrifies men into beasts into a generic (cosmic) magic-user, with no particular style or theme to her magic, not even a mythological Greek flavor. (She is also violates the feel of classical Greek myth more than does any other Wonder Woman foe.)

Circe is almost always written with no character depth to her beyond Being Sultry Evil, often presented as a cackling femme fatale more at home in the 1940s. Other Wonder Woman foes such as Baroness Paula von Gunther or The Silver Swan have interesting backstories and identifiable personality traits, but all efforts to provide Circe with one fail because they always seem to be tacked on, never influencing anything she does or says (excluding her first modern appearance).

Circe has nothing particular about her powers. Other generic cosmic magic-wielding villains compensate for the vagueness of their powers with flair and style, such as Mars/Ares, Klarion the Witchboy, June Moone the Enchantress, Morgaine le Fey, Mordru in the 31st century, Wotan, or even Tannarak. Circe seems to wield whatever the plotline requires of her, nothing less, nothing more, and it shows in her stories. In most of her appearances, there is no sense that she accomplishes her feats for any reason other than that the writer says so.

In terms of physical appearance and costume, Circe has shown no real stability. Giganta is easily recognized; the same goes for The Silver Swan and Doctor Psycho. Dr. Barbara Minerva as The Cheetah had a particularly memorable look (as well as a memorably complex personality and evolving motivations). The one thing most of Circe's depictions have seemed to have after her first appearance has been an unfortunate tendency towards sexist "headlight" art. Wonder Woman has appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine -- the least successful WW villain design is a hackneyed sexualized bad girl with a sexy predatory cat grin, which is what has happened to Circe far too often.

Posted by WolfOfRome

Hey please correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't Hades also be on this list?

Posted by RetconCrisis

Hey please correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't Hades also be on this list?

DC Hades isnt much of a villain; much like the rest of the Pantheon, he's more or less neutral, but then again so is Ares.

However, in Ares's case he has actually antagonized WW since she first started in the 40s.