Rogues’ Gallery: Spider-Man’s Greatest Villains
The measure of any superhero is more than just the hero themselves, A truly great hero is judged by the quality of his enemies. That’s not a problem for Spider-Man, who has one of the all-time great lineups of bad guys. Peter Parker’s alter ego has made a lot of memorable enemies over the last five decades. And he’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Spidey’s villains are so well-created that they often have fan followings of their own. It’s truly an abundance of riches, and several famous creations just didn’t make the cut this time. Better luck next time, Sandman, Scorpion, Vulture, and Electro!
Superhero Hype has narrowed Spider-Man’s best villains down to just ten. But feel free to share your top 10 Spider-Man villains in the comment section below!
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In the end, Venom was simply too popular to remain a Spider-Man villain forever. Fans loved Venom immediately after his introduction in Amazing Spider-Man #300. He was Spider-Man’s dark reflection, and Eddie Brock was literally joined with Spidey’s living Black costume/alien symbiote. Venom had almost all of Spidey’s powers, and his ability to fool Peter’s Spider-Sense made him an ever-present danger.
The only reason Venom isn’t in the top five on this list is that Marvel made him into an antihero in the ‘90s. Scorpion’s time as Venom’s host briefly made him evil again. But since the current incarnation of Venom is more likely to team up with Spidey than to “eat his brains,” then he just isn’t what he used to be.
9: The Lizard
The Lizard has had impressive longevity among Spider-Man villains. Dr. Curt Connors made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #5 as a scientist who wanted to find a way to regrow missing limbs.
Unfortunately, his formula worked too well and it turned him into the Lizard. Connors has subsequently struggled to control his Lizard persona, even when his mind controls the Lizard’s body.
Because Connors is a good man at his core, Spidey has a great deal of empathy for him. But when the Lizard is unleashed, he’s among the deadliest foes Spider-Man has ever faced.
Carnage was perhaps the biggest nail in the coffin of Venom’s run as one of Spider-Man’s top villains. Amazing Spider-Man #361 formally introduced serial killer Cletus Kasady as Carnage, the even-more evil version of Carnage.
While sharing a jail cell with Eddie Brock, Kasaday was joined with Venom’s offspring. The symbiote bonded with Kasaday to create one of the most savage killers in the Marvel Universe.
In recent years, Carnage has become an Avengers-level threat on his own. He’s also more focused on ending Venom than Spider-Man. Regardless of his apparent death in Absolute Carnage, Kasady will be back in action soon enough.
In the ‘80s, no one made Spider-Man’s life more difficult than the original Hobgoblin. At that time, there was no Green Goblin, so Hobgoblin filled the void. Part of Hobgoblin’s mystique is that not even readers knew who he was under the mask. That’s how Hobgoblin was able to frame both Flash Thompson and Ned Leeds for his crimes.
Sadly, the eventual reveal of Roderick Kingsley as the Hobgoblin ultimately diminished the character. His villainous clout just hasn’t been the same since then.
The master of illusions is another bad guy from Spider-Man’s early days. Mysterio’s skills have made Spider-Man question his reality and nearly convinced the web-slinger to unmask at one point. But Mysterio’s greatest trick may have been his crossover appearance in Spider-Men, where it was revealed that Mysterio went to the Ultimate Universe and became the crime lord he never could in the 616 Marvel Universe.
More recently, Mysterio has been under the thumb of Spider-Man’s current foe, Kindred. Whatever happens next, Mysterio still has a role to play in Kindred’s plan to destroy Peter Parker.
Wilson Fisk would easily be on the top of Daredevil’s greatest enemies. The Man Without Fear has kind of stolen Kingpin from Spider-Man’s rogues' gallery.
But let’s not forget that the Kingpin of Crime made his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #50. He was one of Spider-Man’s most challenging adversaries because of his intellect, his ruthlessness, and his surprising physical strength.
Now that Kingpin is the mayor of New York City, he’s once again making life difficult for Spidey.
Chameleon is the very first super villain that Spidey ever faced in Amazing Spider-Man #1. Chameleon’s ability to disguise himself as anyone has wreaked havoc on Peter’s personal and professional lives.
However, Chameleon's most devastating blow against Peter was making him believe that his parents had survived their deaths. Losing his mother and father a second time pushed Peter over the edge and nearly drove Spider-Man insane.
3: Kraven the Hunter
Ironically, Kraven the Hunter wasn’t truly elevated to the upper echelon of Spider-Man foes until his death in Kraven’s Last Hunt. Within that classic story, Kraven finally defeated Spidey in battle and briefly assumed Spider-Man’s identity himself. Even Spider-Man’s eventual return couldn’t diminish Kraven’s triumph. He committed suicide and happily died.
Marvel tried to replace Kraven with his previously unrevealed sons, daughter, and his wife! But Kraven was finally resurrected in the Grim Hunt storyline...only to be killed off again in the Hunted event.
Now there’s a new clone Kraven running around who’s even more insane than the original.
2: Doctor Octopus
If Doctor Octopus was judged solely on the basis of his accomplishments as a villain, he would still make a strong case for #1 on this list. He’s the founder of the Sinister Six, and one of Spidey’s most consistently dangerous enemies.
But Doc Ock also managed to steal Peter Parker’s body and make it his own. That alone guarantees him a top slot. For a time, he even made a go of being a hero as the Superior Spider-Man.
However, that spark of good is what keeps Doctor Octopus at #2 instead #1. He’s not truly evil in the way that some of Spidey’s other villains are. Doctor Octopus was even sincere in his desire to be a hero during both of his stints as the Superior Spider-Man.
Regardless, he’s back in his original body again. And it’s inevitable that he will once again cross paths with Peter Parker.
1: Green Goblin
Norman Osborn killed Gwen Stacy, the love of Peter Parker’s life. But the Green Goblin didn’t stop there. Even after his supposed “death,” Norman manipulated others into continuing the Green Goblin’s legacy. He orchestrated a complicated revenge scheme against Peter that made him think that his beloved Aunt May was dead.
Norman also arranged for Peter and Mary Jane’s daughter to be “poisoned” before her birth. But we believe that young May Parker is still out there somewhere...
Green Goblin has even overcome near fatal injuries to remain a constant threat to Peter and everyone that he loves. But as long as Norman’s alive, Spider-Man will always rise up to stop him.