Every supervillain needs an ultimate weapon — but what could be scarier than a natural disaster or a horrible weather emergency? You don't need a death ray if you can control the elements.
Some of the most formidable villains of comics, television and movies have harnessed the power of horrendous weather to bring people to their knees. Here's our list of the scariest weather-control villains of all time.
Top image by Ken Prior with the Cloud Appreciation Society
1. Dr. Franklin
The epic three-part Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman crossover event "Kill Oscar" united Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers to fight Soviet-hired mad scientist Dr. Franklin (John Houseman) who tries to seize control of a US-made device capable of controlling the weather. Franklin replaces government personnel with robot replicas, including female versions with tearaway faces, the now infamous "fembots". (Classic 70s dialogue: Dr. Franklin: Yes, the girl is valuable. But my Fembots can do anything she can. Russian Money Man: Not quite. As a human being, she can think for herself. Dr. Franklin: Since when is thinking for herself an asset… in a woman?) Jaime and Steve try to destroy Dr. Franklin's evil island lab with an atomic submarine, despite its being protected by a deadly hurricane and even more fembots. As the island implodes, Jaime rescues Dr. Franklin from his doomed facility, causing him to rethink his position on the value of women.
2. The Weather Wizard
Debuting in The Flash #110, Mark Mardon, an escaped convict, returns home to discover his scientist brother has died of a heart attack, leaving behind a secret formula capable of controlling the weather. From his brother's notes, Mardon constructs a device in the form of a wand, and running with the theme, calls himself the Weather Wizard, terrorizing Central City and taking the wind out of the Flash's sails in the process. He also faced down Batman and had a memorable guest spot in Justice League Unlimited — and was played by Jeff Altman from The Pink Lady and Jeff, as seen in the clip at left.
3. Nicholas Demente
Get Smart, Again! brought back Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 nearly twenty years after the original series (and nine years after The Nude Bomb) to fight a KAOS plot to blackmail the US government via another weather control machine. (And as this site points out, the "weather machine" is actually an IBM AN/FSQ-7 mainframe.) Max is stymied by a KAOS mole inside CONTROL (Star Trek's Q, John de Lancie), but he eventually uncovers the plot's mastermind, the publisher of 99's memoirs, Nicholas Demente, played by Harold Gould. The evil publisher is done in by his own machine, foiling his attempt to increase readership of his books by making the weather so awful that everyone will stay in and read. Get Smart, Again! introduced the Hover Cover (helicopters overhead drown out secret meetings) and the Hall of Hush (spoken words transfer silently into type), as the Cone of Silence was now suspended over Max and 99's bed.
In the James Bond parody Our Man Flint, the evil GALAXY organization (it's bigger than SPECTRE!) blackmails Earth with a weather control machine able to produce all sorts of natural disasters from volcanoes to earthquakes and hurricanes to tornadoes. Derek Flint (James Coburn) , the world's greatest secret agent, must track down and destroy the machine while making time to woo women, restart a man's heart with a light bulb and karate chop dozens of bad guys. The Jerry Goldsmith score and distinctive "ringtone" of Flint's boss are still popular, more than fifty years after Flint blew up GALAXY's secret volcanic island.
The 1984 five-part miniseries G.I. JOE: The Revenge of Cobra begins with Cobra Command stealing an experimental laser from a G.I. JOE convoy, which Destro uses to complete his new weapon, the descriptively named "Weather Dominator". The JOEs are able to thwart Destro as he demonstrates his power, protecting Washington and destroying the machine in the process, but the contraption splits into three pieces, scattering around the planet. Unfortunately, the splintered pieces wreak havoc on the world's
climate system, sending the JOEs on a mission to recover them individually. In the final episode, the JOEs successfully destroy the Weather Dominator once and for all, and capture Cobra Commander in the process. Destro, though, manages to escape on a helpfully positioned hang glider.
6. Colonel Cobb
In the second season of the 1990's revival of the classic 70's ITV series The Tomorrow People, an American breakfast cereal magnate named Colonel Cobb (played by William Hootkins — Jek Porkins himself — in maybe the best role of his career), uses a weather control satellite to blight his competitors' corn crops and monopolize the industry. Cobb meets his end while taunting Megabyte and Ami to capture him; his steel-handed cane becomes a lightning rod, electrocuting him with a bolt of his own self-generated electricity.
7. Sir August De Wynter
1998's wildy unpopular Avengers movie, starring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman as John Steed and Emma Peel, featured Sean Connery as mad scientist Sir August De Wynter who claims "weather is not in God's hands, but in mine". De Wynter heads the Prospero Project, which can produce rain, snow or natural disasters on demand, and blackmails the world's leaders with their weather controlling powers- all the while dressed as multicolored teddy bears. Steed and Peel manage to destroy Prospero, and De Wynter, just as a hurricane nearly devastates London.
8. Simon Bar Sinister
In the Underdog episode, "Weathering the Storm", the villainous Simon Bar Sinister invents a Weather Machine to alter and endanger Earth's weather patterns, but realizes the only way he'd be able to operate it safely would be to remove himself from the planet entirely. Being resourceful, he hijacks a moonshot rocket piloted by Sweet Polly Purebred to use as a base of operations, where he plans to bully the Earth with a series of cataclysmic floods and tornadoes. After threatening to press all of the buttons on his machine at once if the leaders of the world do not surrender, Underdog steps in to save the day, foiling Bar Sinister's plot by merely turning himself invisible, destroying the machine, and towing his henchmen back down to Earth.
9. Crimson Cowl
In Thunderbolts #24-25, the fashionable villainess the Crimson Cowl (Justine Hammer, daughter of Justin) and the Masters of Evil develop and successfully test a device called the Weather Modulator. After completing a trial run in Nebraska (and unleashing a hurricane in the process), Crimson Cowl activated machines that the Masters of Evil had placed all over the world. She demanded a ransom of one trillion dollars in exchange for the safety of Earth, but her plan was ultimately thwarted by the Thunderbolts, who managed to take down her operation and capture Crimson Cowl in the process.
10. The Weatherman
In the unaired 1997 Justice League of America TV pilot a supervillain calling himself "The Weatherman" (Miguel Ferrer) threatens to destroy the city with a tidal wave, unless he's given $20 million dollars. He also attacks New Metro using giant hailstones, a heat ray and various other weather weapons. Eventually, he's stopped by his employee Tori, who joins the JLA as Ice. The Weatherman is not to be confused with Eureka's Pete the weatherman, who tampers with a weather-control machine to prove its unreliability and save his job, thus causing some weather disasters, in the episode "Unpredictable."