Whenever someone utters the phrase “rogues gallery”, there are generally two superheroes who immediately spring to mind, Batman and Spider-Man, and as unfortunate as it is for the wallcrawler, he easily has the most expansive, memorable and interesting set of baddies in all of Marvel. Whether they’re earlier villains like Chameleon and Doctor Octopus, or newer additions like Venom or even Morlun, it seems the colorful cast of characters populating Peter Parker’s world have a tendency to etch themselves into pop culture both quickly and consistently, but why?
Firstly, a good villain is supposed to challenge the ideals of our hero, which in Spider-Man’s case is the idea that with great power comes great responsibility. Pitting Spider-Man against characters who actively use their powers for their own personal gain is a great way to play out this concept while keeping the villains relatable. In fact, Spider-Man’s conviction is so strong that it often rubs off on his enemies, with a significant chunk of Spidey’s rogues gallery fighting on the side of good at some point in their history. Secondly, the way in which Spidey’s villains interfere with the life of both Spider-Man and Peter Parker make for compelling drama -- reinforcing Peter Parker’s status as a scrappy underdog who never gives up. With that said, there are certainly some villains who give Spider-Man a much harder time than others, and CBR is here to take a closer look at these characters. These are the 25 deadliest Spider-Man villains, officially ranked.
It’s easy to write off Vulture as a pushover given the fact that he’s essentially an old man in a wingsuit, but Adrian Toomes has frequently proved himself to be as deadly as his last name would suggest.
Working as a crime lord out of New York City, Vulture uses his wingsuit -- as well as the enhanced physical abilities it affords him -- to orchestrate large-scale robberies and heists, often bringing him into conflict with Spider-Man. What’s perhaps most dangerous about Adrian Toomes however is his willingness to murder those who obstruct his path in cold blood, with his wingsuit even allowing him to get the better of Spidey on multiple occasions.
Although the character originated in the pages of Captain America #272, Vermin has since become a villain more closely associated with the wallcrawler thanks to their lengthier shared history. Created by Arnim Zola and Baron Zemo, Edward Whelan was transformed into the feral Vermin following a series of mutagenic experiments which granted him tremendous strength, speed and senses -- as well as the ability to control rats and stray dogs for some reason.
After following an escaped Vermin into the sewers, Spider-Man is easily bested in combat by the creature, only saved from certain doom by Kraven the Hunter, who wishes to end Spider-Man himself.
Born Lonnie Lincoln, the supervillain Tombstone was an imposing presence in the criminal underworld before he ever acquired superpowers. Notable for his albinism and sharp, filed-down teeth, Tombstone served as a mob enforcer for many years, engaging in every crime imaginable, be it gun running, dealing or worse before his eventual incarceration.
After escaping imprisonment, Tombstone almost managed to beat Spider-Man to death during a confrontation between the pair, only stopped by the intervention of Robbie Robertson. He eventually becomes even more powerful after being exposed to a mutagenic gas, granting him superhuman strength and durability.
Beginning his villainous career doing illegal odd-jobs for Russian scientists, Aleksei Sytsevich is eventually enrolled in an experiment that fuses his body with an artificial skin, greatly enhancing his strength. Escaping the facility and becoming the supervillain Rhino, Aleksei’s powers are further boosted in prison, where he’s subjected to gamma radiation.
Rhino’s strength eventually reaches incredible levels, to the point he’s even able to battle the Hulk and live to tell the tale. Known for causing huge destruction by running into objects at full speed, the only thing keeping Rhino from a higher spot on this list is his awful balance, which Spider-Man is consistently able to exploit to defeat Aleksei.
A relatively small-time crook and budding engineer, Herman Schultz managed to take his criminal career to the next level after constructing a pair of powerful gauntlets that allowed him to generate intense shockwaves and air blasts on command. These newfound abilities proved to be extremely useful during robberies, enabling him to break open safes and evade the police, quickly putting him on Spider-Man’s radar.
Though he’s hardly considered Spidey’s most dangerous foe, Shocker has gotten the best of Spider-Man on multiple occasions, often choosing to let the hero live rather than finishing him off. Nevertheless, the destructive potential of his gauntlets alone is enough to land him a place on this list.
One of the more peculiar villains in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, Spidercide is certainly no joke despite his rather ridiculous name. One of many Peter Parker clones created by Dr. Miles Warren, Spidercide is notable for having all the powers of his heroic counterpart, in addition to the ability to stretch and warp his body at will -- giving him powers similar to those of Mister Fantastic.
While this may all sound a little bit silly, Spidercide more than lived up to his name after helping Jackal release the Carrion virus in Springfield, Pennsylvania resulting in the the loss of over 2600 people.
19 ULTIMATE SPIDER-SLAYER
Following in the footsteps of his father -- creator of the deadly Spider-Slayer robots commissioned by J. Jonah Jameson -- Alistair Smythe blames Spider-Man and Jameson for his father’s eventual demise, embarking on a bitter crusade of vengeance against the two men.
Becoming the Ultimate Spider-Slayer, Smythe dons a bio-organic suit of armor that grants him superhuman strength, speed and durability but it’s the Spider-Slayer’s sheer relentlessness that makes him such a formidable villain. In fact, Smythe is partially successful in his mission, managing to end Jameson’s wife Marla, with her demise serving as one of Spider-Man’s most crushing failures to date.
Following a childhood filled with abuse and addiction, as well as exposure to Cloak’s “dark dimension” during her time as a dealer, Frances Louise Barrison finally snapped, becoming the supervillain known as Shriek.
Able to manipulate and weaponize sound, Shriek can also manipulate the minds of her enemies, using their own worst fears against them. Using her abilities, Shriek loves nothing more than inflicting pain on others, even embarking on a rampage alongside her lover Cletus Kasady (aka Carnage) during “Maximum Carnage”. Lacking any sense of mercy or morality, Shriek is amongst the most vicious and deranged villains Spider-Man has ever come up against.
17 MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE
One of the world’s leading biologists and geneticists, Michael Morbius was transformed into the grotesque creature known as Morbius the Living Vampire after splicing his DNA with that of a vampire bat, with the hopes of curing a rare blood disease.
However, Morbius was gifted with super-strength, speed, flight, hypnotism and an accelerated healing factor, as well as an insatiable thirst for blood to match. Despite serving as an antagonist to Spider-Man for quite some time, Morbius eventually began to take a more heroic route, assisting several Marvel heroes and helping those in need, putting both his superhuman abilities and genius-level intellect to good use.
Set to be played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio stands out as one of the wallcrawler’s trippiest villains to date, demonstrating an insane obsession with theatrics. A former special effects expert with an axe to grind, Mysterio’s proficiency in hypnosis, mind games, hallucinogenics and illusion-casting makes him highly dangerous under the right circumstances.
While his first few defeats at the hands of Spider-Man made him something of a joke amongst his fellow supervillains, Mysterio would later return with a vengeance, managing to pull off some truly disturbing acts and cruel tricks, particularly in the world of Daredevil.
15 BLACK TARANTULA
One of the more enigmatic members of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, much of Black Tarantula’s past remains unknown outside of the fact that the “Black Tarantula” mantle is handed down from generation to generation.
Involved in organized crime and displaying no qualms with employing lethal tactics, Black Tarantula still appears to have a moral code of sorts, often sparing innocents and occasionally teaming up with the likes of Spider-Man and Daredevil. Stronger and faster than the wallcrawler, Black Tarantula also has a healing factor to rival that of Wolverine, as well as the ability to generate laser blasts from his eyes -- all in addition to being a proficient martial artist.
Once a private investigator hired by J. Jonah Jameson to keep tabs on Peter Parker, Mac Gargan was eventually fitted with his iconic Scorpion suit by his former employer, with the goal of taking out Spider-Man once and for all. It’s this transformation that paved the way for Gargan’s journey from private investigator to psychotic criminal, with Scorpion becoming an extremely threatening presence in Spider-Man’s world.
Gargan’s suit is constantly being tweaked and upgraded, making him more and more powerful as time goes by, boasting super-strength, speed and durability, as well as a poisonous sting in the tail -- which can also be whipped at over 150 feet per second.
While many characters have taken on the mantle of Hobgoblin over the years, Roderick Kingsley is easily the man most synonymous with the villain. Unlike many of his ilk however, Kingsley was an extremely affluent fashion designer before acquiring his powers, using the Hobgoblin persona to blackmail and strongarm his competition.
Thanks to his unique design and personality, Hobgoblin is so much more than a cheap knock-off of the Green Goblin. Deadly and menacing in his own right, Hobgoblin has no problem with brutally dispatching his enemies, and sometimes even allies, using his extensive arsenal of goblin-themed equipment.
After attempting to use reptilian DNA to restore the arm he lost during the war, the brilliant Dr. Curt Connors was transformed into human-reptilian hybrid known as the Lizard, acquiring highly enhanced physical attributes in the process.
What’s interesting about the Lizard however is that his violent psyche is constantly at odds with Connors’ human brain, with the two personas becoming locked in a never-ending power struggle. The Lizard’s influence becomes too strong for Connors to handle however, with the scientist eventually giving in to his baser instincts -- even going so far as to devour his own kid in what’s easily one of the most controversial Spider-Man stories ever told.
If power and influence could be considered a superpower, Kingpin would certainly be its premier wielder. The most influential criminal figure in all of New York, Wilson Fisk often employs supervillains to do his dirty work for him, allowing him to set whatever nefarious plans he’s been concocting into motion.
While his sharp mind and widespread influence serve as his primary attributes however, Kingpin is no slouch in the combat department either. His extremely large frame is built up almost entirely of muscle, making him capable of crushing a man with his bare hands -- even proving himself to be more than a match for the likes of Spider-Man and Daredevil in hand-to-hand combat.
10 KRAVEN THE HUNTER
While Kraven the Hunter’s initial appearances in Spider-Man stories often felt like they belonged in a Saturday morning cartoon, the character was soon fleshed out into one of the darkest, most compelling villains in Spidey’s entire rogues gallery.
Having hunted pretty much every other creature on planet Earth, Kraven considers Spider-Man the ultimate prey, using his enhanced senses, speed and hunting skills to make Spidey’s life a living hell. Much like Batman, it’s Kraven’s preparedness and ingenuity that make him such a dangerous foe, and while the villain hasn’t managed to finish off Spider-Man for good just yet, he did manage to end Kaine Parker, a powerful clone of the wallcrawler.
While it might seem strange to have what is arguably one of Spider-Man’s least popular villains near the top of this list, there’s no denying the sheer chaos that Hydro-Man can deliver under the right circumstances.
Gaining his powers after an unfortunate incident with an untested power generator, Morris Bench found himself living as a sentient body of water, able to transform and manipulate his molecules at will. Able to make this water hard as concrete, Hydro-Man is also able to regenerate himself from a single drop, making him nigh on unstoppable. As if this wasn’t enough, Morris is even capable of creating tsunamis and tidal waves, easily making him one of the most destructive foes Spidey has ever faced.
Although Electro stood out as one of Spidey’s most powerful foes right out of the gate, Max Dillon has only continued to grow in power over the years, with his electricity-based superpowers serving as a constant thorn in Spider-Man’s side.
Able to manipulate and project electrical energy at will, Electro can even control bioelectricity in the human brain, allowing him to paralyze his enemies and even turn their own psionic abilities against them -- a tactic he used to defeat the Omega-Level mutant Nate Grey. It appears that Electro has even gained a certain degree of control over electromagnetism, affording him powers similar to those of Magneto, further solidifying the villain as a true force to be reckoned with.
Turning to a life of crime long before an incident at a nuclear testing facility transformed him into Sandman, Flint Marko’s subsequent shapeshifting abilities and molecular manipulation quickly made him one of Spider-Man’s most formidable foes. Powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Hulk and Wonder Man, Sandman is near-unstoppable -- with only his weakness to water keeping him from a higher spot on this list.
Depicted as the classic “villain with a heart of gold”, Sandman is known to give in to his light side on occasion, sometimes assisting Spider-Man and even joining the Avengers as a reserve member at one point, though he always seems to return to his villainous ways for one reason or another.
Initially believed to be an aged clone of the mad scientist and supervillain Dr. Miles Warren, perhaps better known as the Jackal, it was later revealed that Carrion was in fact a virus that could attach itself to different hosts and transform them into a duplicate of the villain.
Wanting nothing more than to see Spider-Man destroyed, Carrion possesses an incredibly deadly set of powers, ranging from the standard super-strength and durability to the ability to control his own density. Additionally, Carrion is proficient in both telepathy and telekinesis, and can even disintegrate matter with a mere touch, making his murderous temperament all the scarier.
Despite only being introduced as a villain in 1988 -- almost 25 years after Spider-Man’s initial debut -- Venom has arguably become the most iconic enemy of the wallcrawler. An ancient alien symbiote from the planet Klyntar, Venom initially attached itself to Peter Parker himself before its dark influence drove him away.
Bitter over Peter’s rejection, Venom instead bonded to disgraced journalist Eddie Brock, a man with an equal hatred of Peter, and a beautiful, scary partnership was born. Far stronger and more vicious than Spider-Man, Venom’s knack for attacking the wallcrawler at every turn, solidifys the monster as one of Spidey’s most fearsome foes -- and on occasion one of his strongest allies.
4 DOCTOR OCTOPUS
Possibly the most cunning of Spider-Man’s enemies, Otto Octavius became fused with his iconic mechanical tendrils after a failed experiment that saw the mad scientist reborn as Doctor Octopus. While his metallic appendages are highly effective in battle however, it’s Otto’s unmatched genius that makes him so incredibly menacing.
Consistently showing up to make Spidey’s life a living hell, Doctor Octopus is also one of the only villains to ever actually succeed in ending Peter Parker -- technically, at least. Switching bodies with Spider-Man moments before his own demise, Otto goes on to become the Superior Spider-Man, but while his methods are questionable, he soon proves himself to be a much more efficient version of the wallcrawler.
3 GREEN GOBLIN
If there’s one villain in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery considered his arch-nemesis, it’s undoubtedly Norman Osborn. Wreaking havoc on Peter Parker’s personal life like no other villain has before or since, Green Goblin is perhaps most well known for the demise of Gwen Stacy, but he still stands as Spider-Man’s greatest enemy outside of that.
Driven insane after experimenting with the Goblin Formula that gives him his powers, Osborn’s deadly high-tech equipment is matched only by his cold, calculating mind. Even after years of villainy, Norman is so highly manipulative that he managed to worm his way into government as the head of H.A.M.M.E.R. following the events of “Secret Invasion”, putting the dangerous megalomaniac in a position of great power, ironically enough.
Even without the Carnage symbiote, serial criminal Cletus Kasady is perhaps the most deranged individual in all of Marvel Comics. With no act of cruelty being considered too far for him, Kasady’s uninhibited connection to the Carnage symbiote makes him far superior in strength to the likes of Venom, using his incredible power to go on chaotic sprees at every opportunity.
In fact, Carnage lives up to his namesake so well that even Venom begins to take umbrage with his actions, teaming up with Spider-Man to take the villain down. While taking Carnage down is one thing however, keeping him down is another, with Carnage serving as a constantly looming threat for the wallcrawler.
The most prolific Spider-killer in the entire Multiverse, Morlun, along with his equally bloodthirsty family the Inheritors, is perhaps the greatest threat Spider-Man has ever come up against, requiring an entire Multiverse of Spider-Totems to take him down. Hailing from Earth-001, Morlun feeds off the energy of these Spider-Totems, casually strolling from Universe to Universe and swatting away their version of Spider-Man like a fly.
This concept formed the crux of the “Spider-Verse” story, which saw the Multiverse’s Spider-Totems go to war with Morlun and the Inheritors. While the story was a fun read though, watching Morlun lay waste to so many incarnations of Spider-Man was surprising to say the least, making him by far the deadliest Spider-Man villain of all time.