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A supervillain is a variant of the villainous stock character that is commonly found in American comic books, usually possessing superhuman abilities. A supervillain is the antithesis of a superhero. A female supervillain is sometimes called a supervillainess, although the word supervillain is commonly used for females also.
Supervillains are often used as foils to present a daunting challenge to a superhero. In instances where the supervillain does not have superhuman, mystical, or alien powers, the supervillain may possess a genius intellect or a skill set that allows them to draft complex schemes or commit crimes in a way normal humans cannot. Other traits may include megalomania and possession of considerable resources to further their aims. Many supervillains share some typical characteristics of real world dictators, gangsters, and terrorists, with aspirations of world domination or universal leadership.
The Joker, Lex Luthor, Loki, Magneto, Doctor Doom, Darkseid, Venom, Ra's al Ghul, Galactus, Apocalypse, and the Green Goblin are some well-known comic book male supervillains in popular culture and have been adapted to film and television. Some notable examples of female supervillains are the Catwoman, Mystique, Harley Quinn, Talia al Ghul, and Dark Phoenix.
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