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Everything was funny and lighthearted until this guy showed up
In order to add more tension to a series which has been, up until that moment, lighthearted and comedic in nature, a villain is introduced which is played completely straight, in contrast to the bumbling and comedic villains the heroes have faced before.
This villain's arrival is usually heralded by a sudden downturn in humor, to show the audience this guy means business. In other words, a catalyst for a drastic change in mood toward the dark and dramatic.
His actions including constantly smiling when doing horrible acts as well as making cruel jokes when commiting mass destruction, Rarely loses his cool while doing this and always maintains a prepetual smirk which makes him pretty entertaining for most of the story when he's a Chessmaster, but by the end, he's just plain freaky and scary.
He basically cracks jokes when causing ALMOST causing the Heroes deaths, and he also plans to stab his own boss in the back and gain control over a massive amount in order to ensure that everything but himself is destroyed so he could recreate the universe in his image. Until he is destroyed he ends up deciding to erase all universes anyway as he is severly damanged, meaning that one of his last actions was one that would ensure the deaths of what is implied to be at least THE UNIVERSE'S ENTIRE POPULATION.
He seem like a decent and polite enough guy at first glance, but underneath he's completely heartless and has no respect for anyone and is highly intelligent or highly powerful.
Sometimes they are petty, horrendously selfish person who relies on emotional abuse to control their minions
Othertimes they are a calculating, almost godlike creature who has literally shed his emotions and has little to no presonality.
Sometimes he seems like a cute Ineffectual and Sympathetic Villain working behind the scenes and doesn't look like much at glance, but going by how he manipulates his opponents, it seems likely that he could gone and destroyed the heroes while they were searching for him if really wanted to, and he's only stopped because the Heroes use a massive attack that him vulnerable and destroy him.
He Manipulated both the heroes and his own allies for his own ends.
It is also heavily implied that he was responsible for several of the events of the story prior to his apperence
WHILE THIS GUY CAN DISPICIBLE, In actuality having a character like this in a story shows the heros overcoming a challenge that much more important.
In some RARE depictions, said villain may still have some light-hearted or comical traits, but it is very jarring to find a character who is as insane and destructive as him.
He still gives a much higher sense of dread and genuine threat to the heroes than previous adversaries.
Some cases of this guy may be harder to define by comparison in a particularly ineffective Rogues Gallery, though a clear cut example at the very least can actually place the protagonist in real danger compared to the Harmless Villain that poked his poodle in a previous story arc.
He is fortunally always destroyed by the Heroes
However, the story doesn't actually have to overarching plots and the Darker elements brought about by those characters may only lasted for their specific story arcs or in some cases the story only gets dark when they appear in the scene, being more or less forgotten about once their arc is over and going to being funny and lighthearted once the problem has been delt with.