10 Villain Protagonist Comic Books Which Are Worth Grading

10 Villain Protagonist Comic Books Which Are Worth Grading


Remember The Silence of the Lambs? The twisted film hooked audiences by exploring the sadistic mind of a serial killer. What’s interesting about this movie (besides the stellar performances from Jodi Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Ted Levine) is its defiance of ‘normal’ standards. Buffalo Bill is as perverted as they get: but he sure makes a terrific protagonist.

Modern comics have gone in a somewhat similar direction by giving villains a chance to shine. And, while we have nothing against our Spandex-wearing social warriors bashing goons, it’s a nice break from the age-old trope you see when grading comic books. Sometimes (not always), the evil main character will get a sympathetic storyline, giving readers more insight into what kicked off their criminal descent.

So, are you looking to buy graded comic books but want to try something new? We’ve got your back! Here are some of the top villain protagonist comic books you should absolutely add to your graded comic books collection.

  1.   Suicide Squad 

A band of supervillains with a license to kill? There’s no way that can go badly, or can it? 

Officially known as Task Force X, the Suicide Squad undertakes high-risk operations for reduced/commuted prison sentences. It doesn’t matter what they’re capable of- every member is expendable, fitted with an explosive device that will detonate as soon as they try to escape.

Due to their rigorous assignments, the squad has always been in flux. It has seen the likes of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Enchantress, among others.

Suicide Squad has plenty of storylines for you to choose from, including 1959’s Brave and the Bold #25, 1989’s The Janus Directive, and 2013’s Discipline and Punish. When it comes to comic book grading, these copies are always worth a shot!

  1.   Doctor Octopus: Year One

Most Spider-Man enthusiasts are familiar with Doc Ock’s work. However, Year One (2004) offers a glimpse into the supervillain’s difficult childhood. Otto Octavius was a genius right from the get-go, but struggled with his appearance and weight. Tormented at home and bullied at school, young Otto was entirely miserable.

Yet, once he comes of age and enters MIT, Otto becomes a snotty, pompous brute: still bullied but beginning to develop some defenses. When a professor recognizes his intellectual capabilities, Otto realizes he has some control over his destiny. But as it turns out, he never intended to use his powers for good.

  1.   Batman: The Killing Joke

Ah, the Joker. The David Beckham of DC villains. Even if you hate his guts, you can’t help admiring his unhinged personality. But what if we told you that the Joker was a tragic character?

Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke depicts how an unnamed engineer quits his job to become a stand-up comedian- and fails. In a desperate bid to support his pregnant wife, he agrees to guide two criminals through a chemical plant (his former workplace) so that they can rob the playing cards company next door. Meanwhile, the police inform him that his wife has succumbed to a household accident. 

At the plant, the engineer encounters Batman and plunges into a waste pound lock to save himself. Once he emerges, he finds that the chemicals have dyed his hair green, bleached his skin white, and stained his lips red. This disfigurement, combined with his loss, drives him over the edge and marks the genesis of the Joker.

  1.   Lex Luthor: Man of Steel

Superman has been called many things: defender of truth, dispenser of justice, and harbinger of peace. Although the world may see him as a messiah, one man doesn’t- Lex Luthor.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel explores the megalomaniac’s motivations behind antagonizing Superman. He views the red-caped crusader as a demigod who looks down upon men. Luthor, on the other hand, comes across as a charitable man, much unlike the ruthless, corrupt killer most of us are accustomed to.

You should definitely get your hands on this graded comic book pronto. Not only is it a must-read, but it also establishes a concrete drive for Luthor’s character. 

  1.   Catwoman: When in Rome

Most graded comic book stores will have at least one edition of a Catwoman comic where she’s butting heads with the Dark Knight. However, in Catwoman: When in Rome, the elegant burglar travels to Italy to find her lost parents. The six-issue miniseries narrates her adventures as she deals with the Italian mafia and her issues from Gotham City. 

While there is a fair bit of danger involved, this graded comic book is about easing off. By leaving Gotham City, Selina Kule unplugs herself from her immediate issues and focuses on rebuilding her life. After all, even superheroes need breaks sometimes!

  1.   Irredeemable

What happens when the planet’s greatest hero becomes its most merciless supervillain?

Written by Mark Waid, Irredeemable follows the Plutonian, Earth’s champion and the first mighty superhero as he begins to wage war on humanity for no apparent reason. It’s an engaging take on the less-explored hero-turns-villain stereotype.

That said, as the former purveyor of justice shifts to the dark side, you can’t help but root for him! 

If you have a copy of this comic book, comic book grading is the way to go. Who knows, you might make a fortune off it shortly!

  1.   Magneto: Testament 

Say what you will about Magneto, you cannot question his loyalty. Eric Lehnsherr stands for his people. He is proud to be a mutant and wants the best for his kind. Perhaps most importantly, he knows what it’s like to watch a community fall prey to genocide.

His story, Testament, tells of a young Magneto (then named Max Eisenhardt) doing whatever he can to survive the Holocaust. It’s not a story of heroes fighting back. It’s about a young Jewish boy trapped in a cruel world.

A word of caution: this graded comic book is not a light read. It deals with hard topics and presents a very graphic tale of what real people suffered decades ago.

  1.   Wanted

Need a break from Marvel and DC? Ask your graded comic book store for Wanted. This limited series features an amoral protagonist, Wesley Gibson, who starts his journey as an oft-abused cubicle rat. Soon enough, he discovers he has inherited a career as a supervillain assassin in a world where villains have taken control. If you’re looking to buy graded comic books that do things differently, this one should do the trick!

  1.   Batman Annual #14

This underrated Batman fic reimagines the origin of Two-Face, another iconic DC supervillain. Jim Gordon introduces Batman to DA Harvey Dent, who can turn his catches into convictions. At first, the partnership works, and the criminals are finally imprisoned. 

But Harvey is far more unbalanced than he lets on. When he executes a vicious crime boss, he sets off a chain of events that eventually lead to the birth of Two-Face. 

Batman Annual #14 could’ve easily portrayed Harvey Dent as an insane, violent, bloodthirsty man. Instead, this grade comic book delves deep into his psychology and treats him as a tragic figure rather than just a villain.

  1.    Secret Six #1

Make no mistake: several teams in the DC Universe have used the name ‘Secret Six’. The one we’re talking about is a team of supervillains put together by Lex Luthor. They’re essentially evil mercenaries working for the highest bidder, and it’s fun to watch them take down nemesis after nemesis.  In case you spot this issue at a graded comic book store, get it without delay.


The Bottom Line

Superheroes do fill each issue with hopes of a better, brighter tomorrow. But after years of the same cycle, comic enthusiasts need a change. Focusing on a villain protagonist is an interesting twist on conventional storytelling. And, judging by the response, this trend is sure to last!

Ready to unleash your inner villain? Pick up these ten issues for a tryst with the Dark Side! Or, you can browse Wicked Monkey’s online inventory to buy graded comic books of your choosing. We feature a range of issues, artists, and storylines, so you’ll be spoilt for choice! Contact us or check out our shop to know more.

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