With the power of the cosmos at their fingertips, those supervillains that call the stars their home are next-level threats to their superhero enemies. Reflecting the burgeoning field of space exploration that saw a surge in the ‘60s and ‘70s, comic books sought to feature characters from a variety of other worlds and even other universes altogether. Soon, there wasn’t just the Marvel Universe, but the Multiverse, and dimensions between them. With the inspiration brought on by NASA’s moon landing, and the heroic steps taken by humankind into space, there were certain anxieties and fears about what it would find. Cosmic supervillains echoed the sort of nemesis Earth’s inhabitants and mightiest heroes might face if they engaged in interstellar travel. Cosmic villains had the ability to reorder time, manipulate matter, shoot bolts of radiation, and even cheat the end. Their powers seemed far superior to the supervillains of Earth, for they weren’t governed by the laws of its gravity and its science. They were aliens, deities, celestial beings, and extra-terrestrial warlords bent on conquering every universe they came in contact with.
The only problem was, as new cosmic villains were introduced, each with their own awesome abilities, it became unclear how their powers were going to be moderated. In a genre where superhuman abilities are de rigueur, and the ability to crush a planet with a thought wasn’t outside the realm of reality, who would reign supreme among these galactic gladiators? It resulted in contests of strength that swept across time and space, engulfing numerous storylines and franchises. The definitive ranking of cosmic supervillains is as mercurial as the chaos from whence they emerged, but fascinating to speculate.
Though Venom may be appearing as an anti-hero in his feature film debut, he’s spent the majority of his time in the Marvel Universe being a villain. The alien Symbiote that took over Eddie Brock’s body and granted him the ability to drastically alter his shape also warped his mind. When it was originally introduced, it fed on his anger towards Spider-Man and granted him more powers the more he raged out.
Whether it’s flaying flesh from bones or morphing into a hulking creature ten times his size, Venom has undeniable might because of his cosmic-given abilities.
24 RONAN THE ACCUSER
A hulking religious zealot that never turns the other cheek, Ronan the Accuser is a chief warlord of the Kree Empire and a constant antagonist to Star-Lord. His ability to destroy worlds with his armies is as great as his temper.
His character history is complex (though Guardians of the Galaxy depicted him as a one note villain), and he is often seen as the right hand of Thanos. In recent years. he has been depicted as an anti-hero, but his thirst for galactic conquest cannot be quenched.
A one-time herald of Galactus, Terrax was once Tyros, a powerful warlord from the world of Birj. He was subdued by the Fantastic Four at the behest of Galactus (his requirement for helping them defeat Sphinx), and when he was exposed to Galactus, he became Terrax. His ability to manipulate all manner of rock was increased tenfold. Terrax went on to manipulate nearly any terrain he touched.
This ability, combined with his wielding of the cosmic axe (a gift from Galactus), makes him a frightening harbinger as he finds worlds for Galactus to destroy.
At various points in the timeline of the Marvel Universe, Galactus has wielded the Power Cosmic, one of the most powerful forces in existence. There are few things that can combat it, save the Opposing Force, its equivalent in the Negative Zone and wielded by the mighty Ravenous.
The right hand of Annihilus, Ravenous was commanded to hunt down the heralds of Galactus while on one of his many world-ending campaigns. He has allied with Ronan and the Kree Empire, and taken down many of Marvel’s mightiest heroes.
21 MICHAEL KORVAC
Once a computer technician on Earth-691, Korvac was a traitor to the human race and allied with the alien Brotherhood of Baldoon once they enslaved the planet. His overlords grafted him to his own computer, effectively making him a cyborg. Unfortunately for them, this allowed him to download several epic abilities into his systems, including the powers of the Grandmaster and Galactus.
Korvac has even wielded the Power Cosmic, making him one of the most powerful beings in all of the Marvel Universe. He’s used it to defeat the Avengers as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Once the King of Baluur in the Negative Zone, Blastaar he sought to conquer Earth after following Mister Fantastic through an interstellar portal. He was ultimately defeated, and when he returned to his world his set about taking Annihilus’s Cosmic Control Rod to increase his powers and upset the Balance of Power.
In addition to the Cosmic Control Rod, Blastaar has also gone after many of the Infinity Stones in an attempt to usurp Thanos and his bid for the Infinity Gauntlet, but he has been unsuccessful.
Infinite years old and immortal by all accounts, Aegis (along with Tenebrous) is one of two proemial elders of the cosmos. Aegis was known as the Lady of Sorrows after being corrupted by her peer, Diableri of Chaos, and wreaked havoc on the universe until Galactus imprisoned her in the Kyln prison.
Aegis can gather to her, and manipulate, near incalculable levels of cosmic energy. She can also match both the Silver Surfer and Galactus in strength and speed, making her a formidable foe.
18 DIABLERI OF CHAOS
Like Aegis and Tenebrous, Diableri was one of several proemial gods tasked with shaping the newly formed universe into what it would eventually become. Diableri of Chaos, as he came to be called, used his Chaos Sprites to provide chaos amidst order, and achieve a harmonious balance.
When the universe no longer needed tending and his reason for existing was eliminated, he sought new ways to sow chaos, and used his god-like strength and power to send the universe into civil war with the gods. It was Galactus who ultimately destroyed him and his corruptive ways.
Like his fellow proemial gods, Tenebrous was tasked with shaping the universe into what it would ultimately become, but unlike them, he was also in charge of the “Black”, or the living matter that binds the whole universe together.
Like Aegis and Diableri of Chaos, Tenebrous has god-like strength and power, and can stand his own against Galactus. His only weakness is exposure to the energy between the universe and the Negative Zone. He survived imprisonment in the Kyln facility, and survived the Annihilus Wave.
The source of Juggernaut’s powers come from the mystical cosmic entity known as Cyttorak. A deity of Earth banished to the Crimson Cosmos, Juggernaut is able to control his powers with the use of the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak.
Cyttorak, being god-like, has unlimited mystical abilities. He is as old as the ancient gods and goddesses worshipped on Earth and his powers, along with those he gained cosmically, have been used by heroes and villains alike. He is even able to conjure up into being entire races of people to worship him and do his bidding.
An alien from the world of Eyung, The Overmind is one of the Eternals as well as being one of his world’s most proficient gladiators. Beginning his life as Grom, he was selected to become the receptacle to over several hundred millions minds when the Gigantians attacked his people.
His psychic abilities are unparalleled, especially when you consider that he carries millions of Eternal minds in his consciousness. He can push the Stranger, as well as Galactus, to their mental limits. He is a mighty warrior and a veteran of many intergalactic wars.
Often referred to as the King of the Negative Zone, Annihilus is a cosmic villain for whom ruling one dimension was not enough. His quest for power and the subjugation of the universe beyond his own led to the events of the “Annihilation Wave”. He was able to leave the Negative Zone with several vast armies, battling the likes of Star-Lord and the Silver Surfer until he was taken down ultimately by Galactus.
His weapon of choice, the Cosmic Control Rod, allows him to channel and direct vast amounts of cosmic energy. He has defeated superheroes as mighty as Thor, and continues to be a threat whenever he is reincarnated.
13 MOLECULE MAN
Originally a lowly and anxious lab technician named Owen Reece, a freak accident with a particle generator exposed him to an unknown form of radiation. He acquired psionic powers of the cosmic level. The event created a wormhole where Reece could be observed by the omnipotent entity known as the Beyonder.
Molecule Man was the name Reece took because he could manipulate molecules around him, but the scale to which it extended was incredible. He is a multiversal composite entity, which means a Reece multiplied to exist in every universe, and if one should perish, that entire universe will perish with him, a point he uses to manipulate others.
12 THE MAGUS
Once considered the perfect human known simply as “Him” (and also “Adam”), The Magus is his dark aspect that became a powerful supervillain. The Magus controls the Universal Church of Truth, a religious empire of zealots that will do whatever abominable thing he desires.
The Magus possesses all the powers of Adam Warlock, including matter manipulation, the use of vast amounts of cosmic energy, as well as “ultra senses”, or cosmic awareness. He has also at different times possessed the Infinity Gauntlet and the Soul Gem.
Though Hela may not technically be defined as a cosmic entity, she is a deity, and since many deities are cosmic entities, she exists in a gray area. Nothing is more of a gray area than the Underworld that is her domain, where she exists as the Goddess of Death and Chaos, and rules over legions of undead warriors.
Hela was once a daughter of Odin, and when he banished her to Hel in favor of a more peaceful existence for Asgard, she became one of the most ruthless supervillains the Marvel Universe had ever seen.
10 EGO THE LIVING PLANET
An entity doesn’t get more cosmic than a cognizant planet. The living planet Ego was the result of a cosmic supernova and the Stranger giving him consciousness based on a more humanoid form, Egros. He was often pitted against his brother-planet Alter-Ego to see who would emerge victorious.
With a hunger to rival Galactus, he eats space vessels, living beings, and entire worlds to power his movement through space and give him energy. He is thrown to fits of violent arrogance, which results in cataclysmic destruction.
9 THE FALLEN ONE
The very first herald of Galactus, and prone to destructive fits of rage and aggression, the Fallen One was cast from his duties due to his mercurial nature. He was powered by dark energy in lieu of cosmic radiation, and has control of Black Matter, the substance which binds all the universes together.
Along with being able to traverse space at lightning speeds, The Fallen One can manipulate matter, control the electromagnetic spectrum, and has enough strength to take on both Galactus and Thanos.
The main antagonist of Doctor Strange, Dormammu is the supreme ruler of the Dark Dimension, and an amalgamation of mystical, supernatural, and cosmic properties. He poses a threat to life and the universe itself every time he attempts to leave his Realm of Darkness and take over Earth.
He can achieve any shape he desires, and control any sort of energy he wants across space and time. He is strongest in the Dark Dimension, powered by the worship of his followers, and is considered to have few weaknesses.
Based on the Faustian villain, Mephisto was the cosmic demonic force that proved the Silver Surfer’s biggest foe. Mephisto, one of the Marvel Universe’s most iconic villains, has quarrelled with superheroes and supervillains alike.
Mephisto’s powers consist of the manipulation of dark magic and dark cosmic energies. He can absorb energy from those around him, including extraterrestrials, using their life forces to manipulate his shape and the reality around him. If he is smashed, he simply regenerates, and has been known to destroy galaxies.
Based on the Japanese demon of the same name, Mikaboshi is a deity that battled with the Demogorge for control of the universe. In his relentless pursuit of the Grasscutter, a sword of great power, he sought to eliminate the Kami, a race of inter-dimensional beings worshipped in their own right.
Mikaboshi is from a time of darkness before the universe came into being. He can take on anyone from Thor to the Olympian gods by bending matter, shape-shifting, and shooting mystical energy blasts. He very nearly succeeded in destroying all of the Multiverse by absorbing it.
5 THE BEYONDER
The Beyonder was, at one point, touted as the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe, cosmic or otherwise. Introduced in the Secret Wars storyline, he captured superheroes and villains alike to fight against each other in gladiator games on Battleworld.
The sum total of an entire multiverse that can take humanoid form, the Beyonder represents its curious side, hence the desire to see the never-ending battle between good and evil play out before him. Though his powers are incredibly vast, they’ve been stolen by other villains, such as Doctor Doom.
4 THE PHOENIX FORCE
The result of a bond between Jean Grey and the immortal force of passion and virility in the universe, the Phoenix Force began its life in the void between states of existence during the events of "The Dark Phoenix Saga", and remains one of the greatest villains in the Marvel Universe to this day.
The Phoenix Force has had many hosts, many of which have been some of the most powerful heroes in the X-Men ranks, but it has torn just as many apart, and even reduced to rubble entire planets. In the wrong hands it could destroy the entire Marvel Universe.
Thanos is known throughout the Marvel Universe as one of the biggest cosmic threats to exist. Compelled by a ruthless pursuit of order, he crushes entire galaxies beneath his fist. Recently appearing in both the Guardians of the Galaxy films and Avengers: Infinity War, he has been portrayed as a villain with a complex history.
Though not as all-powerful as some cosmic entities in superior strength and stamina, he is a destroyer of worlds that has shown the dedication and drive enough to retrieve the Infinity Gauntlet and wield it without hesitation.
When the very first universe came into existence, well before the multiverses formed, Abraxas came into being. He was the destructive antithesis to Eternity, the being that embodied the creation of the universe itself. To prevent Abraxas from upheaving the order of things, Eternity made sure he couldn’t emerge in any other universes as they appeared.
Abraxas is powerful beyond human understanding, a cosmic being that can manipulate the very fabric of time and reality, bending it to his will until his destructive ends are achieved.
Perhaps the most well known and most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe, Galactus is one of the most formidable wielders of the Power Cosmic and as a result, one of the most devastating villains. To sustain his sheer being, he must devour entire worlds and all their inhabitants.
Once a mortal named Galan, he merged with the sixth Sentience of the Multiverse itself, to survive its “Big Bang” and wait for the rest of the universe to take shape. Omnipotent and omnipresent, Galactus is nearly unstoppable in his quest for galactic domination.