We love Thanos. He's one of few blatant rip-offs of a rival company's character that has completely surpassed the character he was based on. While Darkseid has been rocking the whole "Space Hitler" thing for 46 years, there hasn't been much done to make him more interesting and relevant to today's comics readers. Especially when you have a generation of children raised in a world where there are few dictators left standing. Thanos, on the other hand, has grown and evolved since a Jim Starlin created him in 1973. His schemes and goals have changed over the years, from courting Death in one story and gathering the Infinity Gems to woo her, to fighting with Deadpool for her affections in another. Despite his evil nature, he can just as easily flip sides and work with the heroes against a greater threat, which he has done numerous times. Including, maybe tellingly, 1992's lackluster "Infinity War" crossover event.
But if you read Marvel Comics regularly, you'll know we've seen what happens when Thanos has won it all. Twice. First in 1991's "Infinity Gauntlet," and then again in Marvel's "The End" miniseries in 2003. Given that we know what success looks like for Thanos, it might make it hard for some readers to get 100% behind the Mad Titan as he embarks on his first ever ongoing series this fall by Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato.
The series' announcement did get us thinking, however. Aren't there other villains a bit more dangerous than Thanos in the Marvel Universe? And if so, what does success look like for them? So we've put together this handy list of the 11 Marvel villains more dangerous than Thanos, and potentially worthy of their own ongoing down the line.View article on one page
It's easy to forget that Dracula is an honest to goodness villain in the Marvel Universe. He hasn't had a regular series since the '70s, and since then his appearances are sporadic at best. Don't get us wrong, Dracula stills pops up from time to time and in odd places, like the "Fear Itself" crossover event, but it's been so long since Dracula could be described as a serious threat and foe of a Marvel hero with their own running series. Color us confused as to why Dracula hasn't been a more frequent adversary for Dr. Strange given that the Sorcerer Supreme is responsible for wiping out most of the vampires in the Marvel Universe, but we feel like he's a villain with potential. Moreover, even in his occasional use and appearances, he's still more of a threat than Thanos is to most of the Marvel Universe.
Thanos doesn't do anything small. It has to be big, and it has to be planned and researched. Years could go by before he does anything, and when he does it may not always work out for him. That means he has to go back to the drawing board. That's a stark contrast to Marvel's Dracula. While also a schemer, Dracula is a more immediate threat to Marvel's heroes thanks in part because... Well, he's a vampire. He needs to feed. There's no time for dumb schemes involving magic space rocks held by weird characters you'll never see or think about again. This vampire king is highly motivated, and as a bonus, he has a score to settle.
Mostly portrayed as heroic in the most recent batch of X-Men films starting with "First Class" and running through "X-Men: Apocalypse," Mystique has plagued the X-Men in the comics for years. From being a key figure in the "Days of Future Past" storyline to today's backstage machinations of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the X-Men lineup, there's no facet of the lives of the X-Men that Mystique isn't involved with. In recent years she has also played a bigger role in messing with the larger Marvel Universe. With her long history of being a supervillain in the Marvel Universe, it'd be impossible (and unfair) to make a list like this without giving Mystique a place on it.
Her immediate connection to most of the X-Men characters and her past and possibly future involvement in manipulating S.H.I.E.L.D. agents also makes her a larger threat than Thanos. Thanos could come by, wave his hand, and wipe out half the universe, but his plans have a tendency not to stick. Mystique is Thanos' polar opposite, her activity has lasting ramifications that nothing short of time travel can fix, and given her ability to blend seamlessly into the background, she has the capability of being a threat without even needed to make her presence known. No floating space chair for this villain.
In truth, Ultron should be ranked higher on this list. But despite the excellent voice acting work of James Spader, the second Avengers movie is going to leave a permanent stain on the character's reputation. Instead of being portrayed as an evil space king (you did read the "Annihilation" event, right?), or even an omnipresent menace that's multiple steps ahead of his adversaries because we live in a world filled with cameras and microphones, we got... Well, we're not quite sure how to describe it. He wanted to kill everyone, but also make sure no harm came to Scarlet Witch? What exactly was his plan? How was he going to survive a meteor blast? If he had a beef with Tony Stark for creating him, why didn't he just go after Iron Man? Ultron was visually impressive, and we got to see him control his standard robot army, but thanks to some nonsensical writing and decision making on the character's part, that's the Ultron we're going to remember.
Which is a shame, because even if you break Ultron down to his most basic core elements: Daddy issues, psychotic rage, Adamantium body and the ability to make infinite copies of himself, that alone should qualify him as an impressive villain and a greater threat to Thanos. Again, Thanos doesn't have a stake in anything that he does beyond wanting to impress Death. There's no emotional component, although in "The End" he does admit he has some affection for some of the heroes he's fought against. Ultron, in his most basic form, has a heavily invested stake in his actions as they're deeply personal. No matter how twisted.
Hoo boy. If it takes more than a sentence or two to describe a villain, there's a good chance that villain isn't all that great. By that standard, Kang fails miserably. The sometimes Fantastic Four, other times Avengers baddie is a fan-favorite, though, and given his mastery over all 20th and 21st Century knowledge, to say nothing of some sweet 40th Century battle armor, it's easy to understand why. Sometimes a cool look is all you need to paper over a terrible character. Right, Gambit?
That said, there's no question that Kang is a visually cooler villain than Thanos from a cinematic perspective. But in terms of sheer threat to the Marvel Universe and its heroes, Kang can screw with the timeline as much or as little as he wants. That's not something Thanos can do without the Time gem, and that means there's a whole lot of time and effort spent on his part to first go and get a shiny gem, then use it, and hope that he holds onto the thing long enough for his plan to work. Oh, and as an added bonus: If someone else gets the gem, they can just fix what Thanos did. With Kang, sure, they can also fix what he does, but there's no process involved with him messing with the timeline. He just does it because anyone related to Victor Von Doom is inherently a jerk.