They are sometimes used as foils to superheroes and other heroes. Whereas superheroes often wield fantastic powers, the supervillain possesses commensurate powers and abilities, and could present a daunting challenge to the hero. Even without actual physical, mystical, superhuman or superalien powers, the supervillain often possesses a genius intellect that allows him or her to draft complex schemes or create fantastic devices. Other common traits include a megalomaniac streak, and possession of considerable resources to help further their aims. Many supervillains share some typical characteristics of real world dictators, mobsters, and terrorists and often have aspirations of world domination or universal leadership.
Superheroes and supervillains often mirror each other in their powers, abilities, or origins. In some cases, the only difference between the two is that the hero uses their extraordinary powers to help others, while the villain uses their powers for selfish, destructive or ruthless purposes.