DC Comics villains love to put on a big stage show and draw attention for their misdeeds. For example, Captain Cold has made it very clear in the past that he won’t be confused or mistaken for Mister Freeze, and that kind of self-centered approach to villainy represents the attitude most DC villains possess.
But occasionally, DC villains take a more subtle approach to their evil deeds. Villains sometimes pretend to be the hero in order to destroy the hero’s reputation or ruin the cohesion of a superhero team. Whatever the goal, some of the cruelest actions DC villains have taken have involved assuming the persona of a hero in order to damage their good name.
10/10 Fake face impersonated Lady Blackhawk
Birds of Prey Vol 1 #112 By Tony Bedard and David Cole
The name False Face has belonged to more than one supervillain in the DC Universe over the years. The original False Face debuted as a Batman villain who used costumes to impersonate the wealthy elite living in Gotham City and commit bank robberies.
In 2008, False Face II made its debut in Birds of prey. In the issue, False Face II wore a costume that allowed her to impersonate Zinda Blake aka Lady Blackhawk. False Face planned to kill Lady Blackhawk and take her place in Birds of Prey, but Zinda foiled her plan.
9/10 Red Hood pretended to be Nightwing
Nightwing Vol 2 #118 By Bruce Jones & Joe Dodd
Since debuting as the second Robin in 1983, Jason Todd has taken on the roles of hero, villain, and anti-hero. His fluctuating morality has often put him at odds with the other members of the Bat Family, especially the other Robins.
One of the biggest disagreements Jason had with Dick Grayson occurred in At night#118. During DC’s “One Year Later” event, Grayson arrived in New York to find out that Todd was impersonating Nightwing. One vicious fight and a tentacle monster later, Grayson emerged as the true Nightwing.
8/10 Mirage posed as Starfire
Team Titans #2 by Marv Wolfman and Kevin Maguire
Miriam Delgado, also known as Mirage, accompanied her fellow Team Titans when they traveled back in time to kill Donna Troy before she could give birth to Lord Chaos. Mirage’s powers involved the use of psionic mirages to disguise her appearance.
Once arriving in the New Teen Titans timeline, Mirage used her powers to impersonate Starfire to get closer to Nightwing, taking advantage of her disguise to trick Grayson into sleeping with her. Although Mirage and her team never managed to kill Donna Troy, Mirage’s rape of Dick and Kory made it impossible for her team to truly trust her.
7/10 Prometheus killed Retro and stole his identity
New Year’s Evil: Prometheus by Grant Morrison and Arnie Jorgensen
The supervillain origin of Prometheus involved watching his criminal parents get killed by the police. The pivotal event turned Prometheus against any form of justice. Armed with a helmet that allowed him to download anyone’s skills and knowledge into his head, Prometheus was determined to use that ability to destroy the Justice League.
As he began his plan to take down the Justice League, Prometheus kidnapped Retro, a new hero who had earned the right to visit JLA headquarters. Prometheus killed Retro and impersonated him to infiltrate the League.
6/10 Match pretended to be Superboy to break up Young Justice
Superboy Vol 4 #74 By Karl Kessel And Tom Grummett
Kon-El, also known as Superboy, is a clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. The secret organization known as the Agenda created Match from a sample of Kon-El’s DNA. When Agenda decided to campaign against the existence of young heroes, the organization used Match to take Kon-El’s place in Young Justice.
Match’s goal in Young Justice was to drive a wedge into the team and cause it to break up due to infighting. Match was almost successful, and his plan was only stopped because the real Superboy showed up to stop him.
5/10 Hank Henshaw tried to destroy Superman’s legacy
Superman Vol 2 #78 By Dan Jurgens
Hank Henshaw was exposed to cosmic rays that completely deteriorated his physical body. Henshaw’s consciousness was first transferred to LexCorp’s mainframe and then into Superman’s birth matrix. While trapped without a physical body, Henshaw began blaming Superman for his tragic situation.
After Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday, Henshaw built a cybernetic body that allowed him to impersonate the Man of Tomorrow. The impersonation of him was a desperate attempt to destroy Superman’s reputation, and Henshaw was able to decimate Coast City and nearly succeeded in sending a second warhead to Metropolis. The plan was thwarted by Supergirl, John Henry Irons, and a newly resurrected Superman.
4/10 Hush used his surgical skills to put on Bruce Wayne’s face
Batman RIP Heart of Hush By Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen
Thomas “Tommy” Elliot spent his childhood as a deeply disturbed friend of Bruce Wayne. Although both were children of wealthy parents, Elliot actively tried to kill his own parents. When Thomas Wayne saved Tommy’s mother’s life, Tommy began to hate the Waynes.
After teaming up with the Riddler and learning Batman’s true identity, Tommy became the supervillain Hush. Tommy planned to take over Bruce’s identity and had plastic surgery to make his face exactly match Bruce Wayne’s. Hush attempted to impersonate Bruce Wayne several times, but was prevented each time by Batman or one of his allies.
3/10 Deathstroke posed as Batman
Outsiders Vol 3 #21 By Judd Winick & Carlos D’Anda
Following Donna Troy’s death, the Titans disbanded. Nightwing and Arsenal ended up forming a new version of The Outsiders, along with teammates like Grace Choi and Thunder. Soon after, the Arsenal began receiving intelligence on criminal activity from someone they believed to be Batman.
However, it turned out that the “Batman” Harper had been interacting with was actually Deathstroke. This led to a fight between Arsenal and Deathstroke, in which Arsenal only escaped because Deathstroke saw the hero’s old battle wounds inflicted by gunshots from his previous fights.
2/10 Clayface teamed up with Hush to impersonate Jason Todd
Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee
In Batman: Shut up! Tommy Elliot teamed up with Clayface, who dressed up as Jason Todd. While Jason Todd would go on to gain more villainous status, at the time, he was only remembered as a dead Robin. He was undoubtedly a hero who had died in the line of duty.
Clayface’s disguise as Jason worked for a while, and Batman chased the fake Jason around town. Finally, Batman realized that Clayface was not Jason. Further retcons would have a newly resurrected Jason Todd involved in the story as well, but Hush’s original story was entirely an act of deception by Clayface.
1/10 Eobard Thawne tricked everyone into thinking he was Barry Allen
The Flash: The Return of Barry Allen by Mark Waid and Greg LaRocque
After the death of Barry Allen in crisis on infinite earths, Wally West took up the mantle of the main Flash. Years later, Wally got the surprise of the life from him when Barry Allen showed up on his doorstep one Christmas morning.
But this newly resurrected Barry Allen was more violent and cruel than the one Wally remembered. Over time, Wally realizes that “Barry” is actually Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse-Flash. With the help of Jay Garrick, Johnny Quick, and Max Mercury, Wally put a stop to Thawne’s impersonation.
NEXT: 10 Dumbest DC Villain Deaths