Villains or Rivals?

So my question for you all, the best of the best of fans, is who are the villains and who are the rivals? For whichever hero strikes your fancy, but let’s try to stick with DC considering the forum.

To distinguish the two, I’ll describe what I consider each here. In my opinion, a villain is the bad guy that needs to be opposed or lots of people are going to be hurt, they intend harm, theft or destruction for personal benefit or are simply berserkers.

Whereas, a rival is someone who’s intent may be opposed to the heroes, but is also someone who balances their viewpoint and arguably prevents that hero from potentially becoming a zealot if said viewpoint was left unchecked in a vacuum

Villains are people like Joker, while red hood is a good example of a rival


I would go so far as to say there are villians, rivals and those who are diametrically opposed. Those who are diametrically opposed include: Joker to Batman, Lex to Superman, Two Face to Gordon, Calculator to Batgirl, Count Vertigo to Green Arrow, these characters represent perfect opposites a yin to a yang supposedly.

A villian however represents that traditional antagonism seen in pop culture, such as Orm vs Aquaman, or other combos that involved hatred due to being an obstacle or a sense of falsely perceived injustice.

A rival is a character that the main character oft competes against in hopes to bring them to the good side so to speak. Think Godspeed to Flash, or Catwoman to Batman, etc.


“Rivalry” has no moral or ideological conflict at its center. Marvel and DC are rivals, neither is the “bad guy”. In Batman Brave and Bold, Green Arrow and Batman have a rivalry even though they are friends and co-workers. Tango and Cash are rival cops united by fate.
I guess both can be antagonists, but they are different concepts.

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Darkseid as villain who needs to be stopped, Also Luthor, & Hector Hammond. I’ll add Alexander Luthor & Anti monitor. Supes, Hal Jordan, & Bats to oppose them.

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