5 Comic Book Superhero Villains That Started As Nerds

Superhero Villains
Credit: Inspired Images / pixabay.com

In the silver age of comics, there was an emerging debate over comic books depicting criminal activities inspiring children to commit crimes. This debate gave way to Superheroes that used science to save the world, for example, The Fantastic Four.

On the other side, it also resulted in the emergence of supervillains born out of science labs, turning nerds into superhero villains. Following are five comic book nerds that became top superhero villains:

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1. The Riddler

Comic Book Superhero Villains That Started As Nerds
(Photo: DC Comics via whatculture.com)

Edward Nygma, also known as The Riddler is a prime example of a nerd who wants to prove his intellect. And what makes him one of the top villains in DC comics is that he does not care about the damage done in that pursuit.

He starts his journey as a kind, enthusiastic computer engineer, with a deep love for puzzles.

While perfecting his virtual reality device, Riddler finds a way to read other people’s minds by plugging them into his Box and scanning their minds.

Eventually, he becomes obsessed with Bruce Wayne and becomes mentally unstable as he absorbs more and more information.

2. Poison Ivy

Comic Book Superhero Villains That Started As Nerds
(Picture: DCUniverse.com)

There is still a debate on whether one can classify Ivy as nerdy or not. However, Ivy started as Dr. Pamela Isley, and had several degrees in botany and horticulture…

She possessed enormous knowledge of toxicology, therefore there should be no doubt that Poison Ivy was a nerd before her mother’s experiment turned her into one of the top superhero villains – with a toxic touch and the power to control her pheromones.

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3. Aldrich Killian

Comic Book Superhero Villains That Started As Nerds
(Credit: Marvel, Disney, and whatculture.com)

Aldrich Killian was in Iron Man vol. 4, #1 (Jan. 2005), with bad skin, bad hair, and bad teeth. He was later shown in Iron Man 3 (MCU) as the main villain (whereas he was a bit-part character in a single comic book issue).

However, in the movie, Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, dismissed Killian because of his poor presentation skills. Driving Killian to spend 10 years developing an engine from Advanced Idea Mechanics, which would later come back and bite Stark in the ***.

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4. Electro

Comic Book Superhero Villains That Started As Nerds
(Photo: Marvel.com)

Max Dillon was equally as nerdy as Peter Parker, with him becoming obsessed with Spiderman after he was saved by the wall-crawler.

The obsession turned deadly after an incident in Dillon’s office gave birth to Electro. The incident transformed Max into a living electric generator, pushing him into the world of super-villainy.

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5. Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn
(Credit: DC Comics)

Most Suicide Squad fans know Harley Quinn as an eccentric destructive machine. Not everyone knows that Quinn was originally Dr. Harleen Quinzel before she fell in love with the Joker.

Dr. Harleen was not socially active and is a classic example of a nerd. Her being the nerd made it easy for the Joker to trap her in his love and transform her into Harley Quinn of Suicide Squad.

Having a Ph.D. in psychiatry and her educational background builds a strong case that Quinn is the #1 nerd gone bad.