Partly because of last week's post Is There A Certain Type Of Character You Like To Write About?, I'm wondering about the other side of the equation: Villains.
A few characteristics seem to repeat themselves throughout fiction, with physical deformities being one that comes quickly to mind. There's usually a scarred, one-eyed, wheezy, or otherwise imperfect (occasionally just ugly) antagonist to be found, which I guess is supposed to be a reflection of the his or her inner qualities. On the other hand, of course, there are the perfect, attractive antagonists who achieved their beauty through nefarious means.
Then there is personality. Most villains are as smart if not smarter than the protagonist; some are relatively balanced except for a major destructive flaw; some have a rough history; some tried to do good and turned bad; some were inclined toward crime/violence/etc. at the onset.
What do you like to see in a villain? Are there any traits that you think are always cliches, regardless of the story? What is your antagonist like?
-----The Golden Eagle