''The Avengers''' diabolical Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) is just the latest intergalactic miscreant to threaten mankind. Our writers weigh in on the universe's biggest bad guys

By EW Staff
May 11, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

1. Darth Vader
Original Star Wars Films, 1977-83

You could make the case that the Emperor is more evil, and Boba Fett has much cooler gadgets (rocket pack, fibercord whip, flamethrower, etc.), but did either of those clowns ever cut off his own son’s hand just for jollies? Darth Vader is the baddest of the badass space villains. At least he was before we met him as a kid yelling ”Yippee!” — an entirely different form of badness. —Dalton Ross

2. General Zod
Superman II, 1980

Monumental strength, heat vision, superbreath — Superman truly meets his match when his fellow Kryptonian escapes the Phantom Zone and descends on Earth. As the ruthless General Zod, Terence Stamp is both supremely arrogant and mesmerizing. Plus, we really dig his pleather-trimmed jumpsuit. Kneel before Zod indeed. —Rachel Orvino

3. HAL 9000
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

You almost feel sorry when that last flicker of red light goes out of HAL’s ”eye” near the end of Stanley Kubrick’s operatic space adventure, but the computer with the soothing voice is a ruthless killing machine when threatened. More human than the astronauts, HAL boasts a terrifying combo of dueling logical and emotional tendencies. —Jeff Labrecque

4. The Alien Queen
Aliens, 1986

Like many females, the alien queen in James Cameron’s sci-fi classic has a strong maternal instinct. Unlike many females, she produces monster-containing eggs, impales Lance Henriksen on her big pointy tail, and almost drags Sigourney Weaver into the icy vacuum of space…the bitch. Hey, Sigourney said it! —Clark Collis

5. Khan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982

It’s not wise to piss off Khan Noonien Singh (the pec-tacular Ricardo Montalban); this genetically superior ex-prince really knows how to hold a grudge. In his dogged pursuit of Capt. James T. Kirk, he kills dozens, nearly destroys the Enterprise, and leads Spock to sacrifice his life to save his friends. All together now: ”KHAAAAAAN!” —Adam B. Vary