We’ve all told a lie here and there just to get out of sticky situations, haven’t we? Sure, that’s a simpler way to get what you want, but lying isn’t the answer. Sadly, though, a nice chunk of comic book characters, both good and bad, are habitual liars. They trick and lie to many for a variety of reasons, and while it may be morally wrong, they continue to succeed in the art of deception. Love them or hate them, these characters leave an impression on all readers.
Now, let’s run down who’s the dirtiest of liars to ever pop up in comics. Warning: there are some major story spoilers in here.
10. Professor Xavier (X-Men)
Kitty Pryde was 100% right to have once shouted out “Professor Xavier is a jerk!” Why? Because he’s one of the largest a-holes to ever use his psionic abilities for his own gain. The worst misuse of his talents came to be when he wiped Scott Summers/Cyclops’ mind clean from any memory of his now-dead brother Vulcan. All right, so Vulcan was kind of a big bad guy, but Xavier had no right to erase that from Scott’s head. Sure, his intentions are good; but don’t be abusing your powers like that, Professor.
9. Alex Wilder (Runaways)
There’s nothing wrong with trying to be on your parents’ good side…that is, unless you’re trying to screw the rest of your friends and humanity in the process. That’s the situation Alex Wilder found himself in as a group of teenagers ran away from home because they found out that all of their parents happened to be major villains. Despite the fact that they may be on the wrong side of the law, Alex decided to help his parents by subtly leaving clues as to what their next move was. His intentions were true to his parents, but he was endangering all of humanity in the process, so he definitely got what he deserved in the end.
8. Tora No Shi (Witchblade/The Darkness)
Being a hitman requires that you learn to be at least a little bit crafty in order to get at your target, and Tora No Shi has no problem whatsoever with that. The violent character uses his skill of deceit for his own personal gain, which was accomplished at one point when he switched loyalties from the Yakuza to the Mafia and continued his slaughtering streak after the reveal was made. Not only is Tora great at manipulation, but he’s a guy you’d never want to piss off. He’s popped back up in The Darkness and Witchblade comics for a while now, and has proven he’s one of those stubborn, blood-thirsty characters that may never really die.
7. Darkseid (Superman)
I have only two words for you: Anti-Life. Darkseid has used the Anti-Life Equation multiple times in his comic book lifetime, in order to control the free will of any being. While Darkseid has always been a rather nasty villain, taking over the minds of many through email deception is a bit much. Still, Darkseid manages to gather a group of super villains to do his bidding in Final Crisis, even if it is against their will. Stop trying to defeat the Justice League with your lies, Darkseid; all it’s going to do is make you a bigger loser in the end.
6. Norman Osborn (Spider-Man)
There’s plenty of examples that show how Norman Osborn rightfully takes the top spot as the biggest nemesis in Spider-Man’s life. What he’s done to our favorite web-slinger is unforgivable, especially that one time when he convinced Peter Parker that he was a clone of actual clone Ben Reilly. Osborn twisted the emotional knife through Parker’s heart some more as Spidey eventually found out that not only was his dear Aunt May alive after being presumed dead, but she was being held prisoner by his deadliest enemy. Man, that is a lot of duping on Norman’s part. Some liars would find that to be admirable.
5. PJ Maybe (2000 AD)
The character PJ Maybe has been a person who’s been deceiving anybody who’s crossed his path since his childhood. He’s murdered many, therefore being one of the few unlucky people to be on Judge Dredd’s really bad side (as opposed to the moderately bad side that everybody else in the world is on). But being on the wrong side of the law doesn’t stop PJ Maybe from assuming other people’s identities as he lies and kills his way into some form of sanctuary from the many crimes he’s committed over the years.
One of his largest dishonest moments happened when he not only pretended to be Pedro Julio Montez, but faked his own death and did that in order to do a wave of revenge killings. For a while, Dredd and company had a hard time pinning down PJ Maybe as he took over the identities of a couple more people in order to avoid jail time, a scheme which included switching out real and artificial hearts. That’s got to hurt.
4. Mastermind (X-Men)
Why don’t we go ahead and give Mastermind a crown for being one of the best deceivers in comics? Because he totally is, thanks to his mutant ability to create telepathic illusions. His biggest moment happened when he mentally warped Jean Grey’s mind, putting her under the illusion that she was in the Victorian ages. Not only did she believe she was married to Mastermind, but she was also manipulated into battling against the X-Men. When Jean finally discovered that she had been under Mastermind’s illusion the whole time, she mentally destroyed him. The moral of this story is to never dupe a telepath, especially when she’s possessed by the Phoenix Force.
3. Ava Lord (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For)
Don’t believe a single thing this lady says, especially if you’re a colossal sucker for femme fatales like poor Dwight McCarthy. Ava is one of the biggest fibbers in all of Basin City, as she uses her rocking body and cunning mind in order to climb to the top of the corrupt town. She’s such a smart little liar that she can make any man do her bidding. Dwight unfortunately caves in and kills her husband, not finding out until later that Ava made him do that so she could gain more power over the city.
2. Light Yagami/Kira (Death Note)
If you’ve read Tsugumi Ohba’s manga Death Note, then you would know to never mess with Light Yagami if he existed in the real world. The highly intelligent student not only excels at every subject taught to him in school, but also in killing many under the pseudonym Kira. When he’s not claiming his next victim through the use of the Death Note, he’s deceiving many by constantly lying about his knowledge of Kira in order to avoid the punishment for his numerous crimes.
Light’s greatest accomplishment through the art of deception had to be the carefully conceived string of lies he used in order to keep the genius police detective L from gaining evidence to put him away forever. Not only does Light/Kira crush most of the Japanese police force but single-handedly finishes L. While the conclusion of the series shows that manipulation does not always prevail, Light is still one of the most cunning little liars out there.
1. Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias (Watchmen)
Being the smartest man on the planet means you could lie your way through basically anything. In this case, Adrian Veidt decided to put on a humanitarian public persona in order to work on his twisted plot to slaughter millions in order to bring the world together. Like a beauty pageant contestant who wants world peace, he found what was definitely the most sinister way to achieve that. His plan came to fruition and the world was brought to its knees, forced to unite in order to save themselves from an unknown threat that Veidt created himself. Okay, so sometimes deception does conquer all, but we don’t encourage you to do the same. Say no to killing millions in order to obtain peace.
Honorable Mention: Aristides Silk (Tintin)
Now, Aristides Silk isn’t necessarily as bad as some of the villains put on this list, but what he does isn’t good either. He’s a notorious pickpocket thief, but denies up and down that what he’s doing is stealing from others. While this offense isn’t as serious as the lies that some super villains have spread over time, Silk shouldn’t be fibbing about this. Stop being a kleptomaniac and return those wallets already, you silly man.