He's the best. If you don't know why, then you haven't been paying attention. No matter where you go, everyone knows the Batman, and everyone knows that he is awesome. The best fictional character of all time. The Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight. Every name screams of anguish and darkness. There is a pit of darkness inside this character that is truly horrifying, but somehow, everyone wants to be Batman. After all, he is just a man, but he is also more than that. He is the Night, he is Vengeance, he is Batman.
The first, the most inspiring and the one by which all others are judged.
When life sucks, it takes a big person to put on a smile anyway, Spider-Man does that and saves people's lives for no credit. As far as heroes go, Spidey is probably the greatest, he's just not the best character.
Sigh, oh Cyclops, how you get abused. Why does everyone hate you? Oh, that's right, because Marvel decides to ruin their main characters to make their newer ones seem better (see Hank Pym for further confirmation). The X-Man takes this spot because he has endured the harshest challenges life has to offer, and keeps walking tall anyway.
5. Wonder Woman
As far as feminine empowerment goes, William Moulton Marston was well ahead of his time. WW defines the strong woman, but still holds that gentleness, kindness and femininity that makes her so appealing to men and women alike. Also, she has the weirdest equipment of any character.
6. Emma Frost
Machiavelli has never been sexier. Emma is too bad to be good, and too good to be bad. She is fun to read, which is a rarity these days. Also, no one gives Emma $&%*, it does not matter who you are, Emma knows her place; and it's above everyone. You gotta love someone that confident.
You could be hit by a car, kicked in the nuts by a camel, and catch the Plague all in one day, and Daredevil's life still sucks more. Elektra; beatiful and talented; also an assassin; also dead. Karen Page; beautiful and intelligent; also a drug addict; also dead. Milla Donovan; driven insane by an enemy. So, the lesson is, knowing Daredevil is bad for your health. But what makes DD so good? He's the premier disabled hero, and his costume is just plain cool. But if nothing else convinces you, DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN. "And I have shown him... that a man without hope, is a man without fear."
The only reason he isn't higher is because I forgot about him. The greatest villain in all of comics is also the greatest villain in popular culture. Read the Killing Joke for proof, if you still need convincing after that, there's the Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Returns, and a host of other stories.
That's a sufficient argument in of itself. But Hulk's commentary of the duality of man, his alter ego, the magnificent Bruce Banner, and his various incarnations (which have all remained interesting, so long as they're green) that make the Hulk such an appealing gigantic, green goliath.
Aside from his fantastic design and awesome powerset, what is that that makes Darkseid so amazing a character compared to other villains. One thing that, for me, puts Darkseid over other icons like Lex Luthor is how creative and original Darkseid is. Whereas Lex, while an amazing villain, is just a Machiavellian businessman/scientist, who is more defined by the hero he's fighting. Add to that uniqueness the fact Darkseid represents an entire lore (the New Gods) and the death of the Silver Age (when Kirby moved to DC from Marvel), the Lord of Apokolips is truly one of the best.