Spider-Man is undoubtedly one of the most popular heroes in comics. He is the face of the Marvel brand, has a unique, badass set of powers and an easy going personality. His alter-ego Peter Parker is relatable on many levels, and grounds the high flying adventures of Spider-Man in a very human realm. Simply put, everybody loves Spider-Man… except for those who don’t.
As a friendly-neighborhood do-gooder with a tireless work ethic and a heart of gold, Spider-Man has accumulated a vast wealth of enemies in his 50 years of existence. And while his rogues gallery is vast, some of his foes are far more dangerous than others. Watch your backs, and pay close attention to your spider sense, because here are the most dangerous 15 Spider-Man villains.
A Russian immigrant with a notoriously low IQ, Aleksei Sytsevich, also known as The Rhino, is the embodiment of brawn over brains. He took on the role of hired thug when he first moved to the United States in order to raise money to bring his family over as well. In his desperation for cash, he volunteered to be the subject of an experiment to create an unstoppable henchman. A modified suit was fused to his skin, giving him super strength and toughness that rivalled even that of, get this, a rhino! He adopted the monicker, and a whole new beast was unleashed upon New York City.
Though the Rhino was always a force to be reckoned with, he was defeated, stripped of his suit and detained after a few run-ins with Spider-Man. Upon release, he met with the same scientists who had given him his first Rhino hide and was given a serious upgrade. He was re-enforced with gamma radiation and given a new, more resilient suit, thus making him even more dangerous, and a great threat to any wall (or spider) that stands in the way of his charge.
The Chameleon, created by the dream team of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, first debuted in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #1 in 1963, making him the first super villain that Spider-Man ever tangled with. He is a shape-shifting, Soviet-sympathizing criminal mastermind with a fierce vendetta against the United States and all who reside within it. Many of his schemes to steal information for Iron Curtain countries were foiled by Spider-Man, thus giving him a fierce hatred for the Wall Crawler. The Chameleon’s true identity is Dmitri Smerdyakov, an agent who gained his alias after he financed the development of a serum that allowed him to change his physical form into any image he chose, all without the use of cosmetics.
The Chameleon has fought Spider-Man multiple times since his debut, and has a complicated relationship with Kraven the Hunter. The two are half brothers through their father, and The Chameleon grew up a servant of Kraven’s family. He was liberated when he discovered this knowledge, and gained a newfound confidence for his criminal ways. They would go on to work together to take down Spider-Man, and came frightfully close to succeeding.
Miles Warren’s career as a geneticist took root alongside the High Evolutionary in the Wundagore Mountains, where he was successful in creating human-animal hybrids with animal DNA (a feat that even the evolutionary was not capable of). He was kicked out of this institution after he allowed a human-jackal hybrid to escape. Tragically, this creature would go on to murder Miles’ wife and children out of envy.
Following these events, Warren moved to New York and worked as a biology professor in Empire State University, where he met Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. He then fell in love with Gwen, in a fatherly, yet not fatherly at all kind of way (it was pretty confusing… and gross). He was outraged when she died, blaming it all on Spider-Man. At this moment, he gave in to his grief and anger, and vowed to destroy the Wall Crawler once and for all. Using his expertise, he genetically altered himself to have claws and fangs, as well as super speed, strength, senses and regenerative powers, calling himself The Jackal. In “The Clone Saga” he began cloning recklessly, creating copies of Gwen, Spider-Man and many others, becoming dangerously obsessed in his quest for misguided revenge.
Hobgoblin is the unofficial heir of the Green Goblin, and one who has possessed many identities in his tenure as a super villain. The mastermind behind it all, the true Hobgoblin, is Roderick Kingsley, a fashion designer who has a deep connection with New York’s criminal underworld. While running from Spider-Man, a henchman of his found the Green Goblin’s lair in the sewers, and informed his master. From that point on, Kingsely decided to adopt the Goblin’s moniker, and pledged to succeed in killing Spider-Man once and for all.
Being a fashion designer, he modified the suit to something more stylish (basically a blue and orange palette as opposed to green and purple), and began his villainous career. However, he lacked the super strength that the first Goblin possessed, and decided to recreate the super-soldier serum, but without the negative side effects. He tested this on a henchman and sent him out as Hobgoblin, only to kill him when he failed to defeat Spider-Man. Kingsley would brainwash many others to become the Hobgoblin, and used his own twin brother as an alibi when he donned the costume himself. Insane, careless and dangerous, Roderick Kingsley is a creative maniac who has proven himself worthy of the Goblin name.
Flint Marko, originally known as William Baker, was a man who grew up very troubled. His father abandoned him to a drunken mother at a young age, and his first love was a misguided crush towards his teacher that would fling him into a deep depression. He became a schoolyard bully who eventually turned to a life of crime, which landed him in jail multiple times. After one particular escape attempt, he found himself caught in a nuclear test site, which resulted in sand being fused to his being, thus creating Sandman.
Sandman is particularly dangerous due to his versatility and strength. Composed almost completely of sand, he can create massive hammers with his arms that crush Spider-Man (or any foe) with all the power of the Earth. He can also disintegrate and reform at will. After a conversation with The Thing and a stint with The Avengers (of all groups), Sandman did have a period of reform, but this did not last long. His desire for wealth, a criminal lifestyle and a good fight altogether was too much for him to resist.
10. The Lizard
The Lizard is a tragic villain whose evil intentions were thrust upon him by ill-informed experimentation. His original identity was Curt Connors, a wartime surgeon who lost his arm in an explosion. After returning home, he began research on reptilian limb regeneration, eventually inventing a serum that was able to re-grow a rabbit’s leg. He recklessly tried it on himself, and though his arm did re-grow, he was transformed into the horrific Lizard in the process.
This transformation not only changed Connor’s body, but his mind as well. A reptilian instinct took control, repressing his brilliant mind and preventing him from researching a cure. He gained the ability to control reptiles with his thoughts, and was determined to turn the rest of New York into lizard monsters like himself. Spider-Man was able to successfully craft a cure and shove it down Lizard’s throat, but the effects were only temporary. Connor has since returned to lizard form several times with an even greater desire for hostile takeover. he is, at the time of this writing, in control of his mind and his powers, but only through the machinations of the New Jackal, who has restored his mind and his family. As such, he remains a deadly physical specimen and a constant threat; more so, perhaps, since he once again has something to lose.
Maxwell Dillon was an electrical worker that got struck by a freak bolt of lightning, which awakened a dormant mutation within his genes. Suddenly, he found that he was a living electrical conductor, and could store and control electricity at will. He was so strong that Magneto approached him with an offer to join Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, saying that Electro’s power rivalled his own. Electro refused, however, and took up a life of crime instead.
Seeing that nobody could touch him without receiving a deadly shock, Electro was able to pull off his criminal heists with ease. After stealing a safe from J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle editor was convinced that Electro was an alter ego of Spider-Man. This forced Spidey to confront the villain to prove his innocence. Their first encounter was nearly fatal to Spider-Man, who later resorted to rubber gloves and fire hoses to defeat the electrifying villain. Electro is a key member of the Sinister Six, and is deadly to all those he comes into contact with. Of course, currently, Electro is dead himself, having had his powers sapped and his life forcibly taken by the new Electro (and his former number one fan), Francine Frye.
8. The Vulture
The Vulture is one of Spider-Man’s oldest foes, first debuting in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #2. Adrian Toomes was once a respected inventor who was working hard on an electro magnetic harness that would allow him to fly. However, his intense focus on the project distracted him from his conniving co-workers, who undercut his stake in the company and forced him to retire. He then retreated to a new home on Staten Island and perfected his invention, swearing revenge on those who wronged him.
After getting his revenge, Toomes turned to a life of crime, and a life of murder as well. He would unwittingly kill Aunt May’s paraplegic lover, and after he absorbed the life force of an android that was imitating Peter Parker’s mother (in a bid to become young again), he would go on to attempt to kill all those who knew him as an older man. Vulture is a stalwart and key original member of the Sinister Six, and is featured as the prominent villain in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” portrayed in the film by Michael Keaton.
Kingpin is New York’s most influential crime lord, and a seriously dangerous man to cross. He first debuted in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #50, though he was not destined to remain an enemy of the Wall Crawler forever. His influence reached far and wide, and he was feared throughout the criminal underworld, as well as above it. His massive body, though seemingly obese in some incarnations, consists almost entirely of muscle, giving him near superhuman strength.
He first gained power when J. Jonah Jameson’s smear campaign against Spider-Man got to Peter Parker’s head, and he decided to give up his costume for good. This prompted Kingpin to make his move. The takeover was successful, and he then sought out Jameson, who was now writing negative articles against him, the new ruler of the city. The thugs running New York inspired Peter to become Spider-man once more, and he was able to rescue the loud-mouthed editor, but Kingpin himself managed to escape. Kingpin would be a powerful presence in New York for years to come, cashing checks and snapping necks with amoral, businesslike efficiency. He would eventually jump franchises, however, becoming best known for his machinations against his true arch-nemesis, Daredevil.
6. Kraven The Hunter
Kraven The Hunter was born a Russian aristocrat whose wealth was decimated after the Bolshevik Revolution. To regain his lost riches, he took up big game hunting, but followed a strict code of honor. He would never kill with guns or projectiles, instead resorting to his bare hands or blades. He was granted superhuman abilities — mostly enhanced strength and senses — after drinking the potion of a witch doctor, which allowed him to hunt with even greater ease. As a result of this, he became bored… a dangerous thing to be if you’re a sadistic genius hunter.
Kraven’s half brother Chameleon then commissioned him to hunt his most challenging target yet: Spider-Man. Surely taking inspiration from Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game,” Kraven began his first hunt for a (Spider) man, and found this particular one was not so easily subdued. This forced him to resort to firearms, and after “killing” the Web Slinger and burying him alive, Kraven took on the mantle of Spider-Man himself. Peter was able to escape his grave and confronted his would-be killer and doppelgänger, who opted to end his own life out of a sense of hunter’s fulfillment. Naturally, Kraven would not stay dead for long, and was resurrected by his sister to begin terrorizing Spider-Man anew.
5. Dr. Octopus
Dr. Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s oldest foes, first debuting in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #3 in 1963. Dr. Otto Octavius was a man who had it all. He was in love, had a successful career in atomic research, and had designed an innovative set of mechanical arms to help him with his work. This all fell to pieces when he took the advice of his overbearing mother, who insisted he break up with his bride-to-be, claiming her to be unworthy of him. This, naturally, stressed out Octavius, who had a shouting match with his mother that caused her to die of a heart attack (just one thing after another with this poor guy).
All of these terrible developments prompted Octavius to become careless in the lab, and an explosion fused the robotic arms to his body. Now able to control them with his mind, and with newfound criminal ambitions, Dr. Octopus became one of Spidey’s most resilient enemies. His arms are extremely powerful and dexterous, and can outmaneuver Spider-Man with ease. Doc Ock also started the Sinister Six, a group of villains dedicated to taking down the Wall Crawler once and for all. His greatest power, though, is his mind, which has cooked up many a deadly plot over the years. These include holding the world hostage over a cure to a poison he released, and even killing and replacing Spider-Man; an accomplishment not many others on this list can similarlyu boast.
Venom is one of the most recognizable and downright terrifying of Spider-Man’s enemies. After the iconic struggle on the bell tower, Peter Parker managed to disengage the alien symbiote from his body, and it fell to the church below, where Eddie Brock was brooding over a career ruined by the Web Slinger. Immediately the two bonded, and Eddie’s hatred for Spider-Man gave the symbiote more power than it imagined possible.
Created by the quartet of Randy Schuller, David Michelinie, Mike Zeck and Todd Mcfarlane, Venom has all the abilities of Spider-Man, but with the added benefits of the symbiote. He can produce organic webbing from his skin, cling to walls, has super strength and is invisible to Spider-Man’s spider sense. The symbiote also found a home on Mac Gargan, formerly known as Scorpion, and this version of Venom had complete control of its host, driving him to such violent and horrific lengths as cannibalism. This is nothing new for the character, of course, who has always been okay with killing, though mostly non-innocents. Not for nothing was he once called the “Lethal” Protector, after all.
Carnage is a psychotic killer that adopted the spawn of the Venom symbiote completely by accident. Eddie Brock was sharing a cell with mass murderer Cletus Kasady when the Venom symbiote broke in to save its former host, and left one of its “children” behind. This new symbiote bonded with Kasady’s bloodstream, and his insanity drove it to unforeseen places, thus creating the horror known as Carnage.
Carnage is especially dangerous due to his complete disregard for human life. When he first escaped the penitentiary, he began killing victims at random, always writing CARNAGE with their blood on the walls. The spawns of symbiotes are always more powerful than their forbearers, so Carnage was a serious match for Spider-Man. He has superior speed and agility, regenerative powers, shape shifting abilities, and a fierce desire to kill, making him so deadly that Spidey was forced to team up with Venom to defeat him. Together with the sonic blasts provided by a nearby rock concert, the duo was able to lock up Kasady once more. But Carnage is not one to be easily contained (or killed, surviving being ripped in half by the godlike Sentry), and before long he was able to escape his prison and begin his massacres once more.
2. Green Goblin
The Green Goblin is maniacal, unpredictable, deadly and terrifying all at once. He has a deadly arsenal of bombs, tricks and blades, and a glider that can take him to the same lofty heights as Spider-Man. So no matter where he is, the Wall Crawler is never safe. However, the most terrifying weapon in his arsenal is the Goblin’s conniving and unbalanced mind. That makes the danger the Green Goblin poses a very personal one.
In his private life, Green Goblin is Norman Osborn, father of Peter Parker’s best friend Harry Osborn, and something of a father figure to Peter. When Norman tested a serum that was supposed to turn ordinary men into super soldiers on himself, something went horribly wrong, and the Green Goblin was born in his psyche. He took to the skies on his glider and became a terror to all the citizens of New York. Though he would routinely return to his normal self and suffered amnesia multiple times, Norman Osborn would go too far when he caused the death of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s first love. The Green Goblin is a tragic and frightful figure in the Spider-Man mythos, and has earned his place as Spidey’s most popular foe.
1. Morlun and The Inheritors
A vampiric clan of hunters, Morlun and The Inheritors are supernatural creatures that seek to absorb the life force of the Totems, beings that possess the powers of both man and beast. Peter Parker is one such Totem, and became a target of the deadly and nigh-unstoppable Morlun. Morlun was originally created by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr and first encountered Spider-Man at a burning wharf, delivering a punch harder than any Peter had ever felt. From that point on, since they had made physical contact, Morlun could track Peter wherever he went, and thus began a terrifying hunt.
Spider-Man would eventually go on to defeat Morlun, but this was only the beginning of his assault. He returned multiple times, and began to attack Spider totems from other Universes, managing to kill many in the process. This went on for some time, and when the Inheritors sought to complete a ritual that would end the Spider totems for good, all the different Spider-Men from across the Multiverse got together to form a Spider-Army, taking down the interdimensional vampires once and for all. The Spider-Men and Women condemned them to a radioactive planet to die slowly, but Peter was merciful enough to give them knowledge of Sims Tower, a place where they could reside peacefully and cause no further harm to the Multiverse.
Who do you think is the deadliest of Spidey’s nemeses? Let us know in the comments!
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