10 best Spider-Man comic villains, ranked
With nearly 60 years of adventure under his belt, Spider-Man has built one of the biggest rascal galleries in comic book history. Memorable for their diverse abilities and backgrounds, Spidey’s villains include characters from all walks of life, from overpowered thugs with monetary motivations to mad scientists determined to rule the world.
As their ambitions and enmity towards the wall-crawler grew over the years, so did their creativity. Spider-Man’s antagonists return regularly after each defeat to find new ways to turn his life upside down. While he has faced dozens of different enemies throughout his heroic career, some of the web-slinger’s thugs stand out above the rest.
ten Sand seller
A petty criminal mutated by freak accident into a living being of sand, William Baker is one of Spider-Man’s oldest and most persistent enemies. Having already racked up a long rap sheet before acquiring his powers, Baker, as Sandman, would use these new abilities to continue his life as a criminal and continue to fight the wall-crawler on multiple occasions.
After countless defeats at the hands of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, Sandman finally attempted to reform himself and briefly obtained probationary member status in the Avengers. Unable to handle the pressures of heroism, the Sandman would gradually revert to his previous ways, again putting him in conflict with the web-slinger. While sometimes motivated by revenge, Sandman’s goals are usually financial gain. Despite his dangerous abilities, the Sandman is still the same petty criminal to the core.
An accomplished special effects designer and Hollywood stuntman, Quentin Beck wanted recognition and fame. After failing as an actor, he decided he would earn his infamy by publicly defeating Spider-Man. Using his technical expertise to become the costumed villain Mysterio, his first attempts at this venture would be unsuccessful, but Beck would prove to be persistent.
Ego-driven and resourceful, Mysterio, through constant innovation, has become a master hypnotist and illusionist, using chemical hallucinogens and intricate mechanical constructs to frequently torment the wall-crawler in some of his most mind-boggling adventures. Mysterio has never lost sight of his long-standing quest to avenge his early defeats and claim the notoriety he feels he deserves.
When his wife left him due to his lack of ambition, power lineman Max Dillon became obsessed with accumulating wealth and abundance. When an unexpected turn of events allowed him to manipulate massive amounts of electricity, Dillon decided to use these powers to earn his wealth through criminal means and became the costumed villain Electro.
As one of the first enemies the rookie hero ever encountered, Electro faced Spider-Man on multiple occasions, with Dillon eventually gaining the ability to convert his entire body into living electricity. Dangerously powerful, Electro continues to be one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes, but his impulsiveness and lack of forethought often leads to his defeat.
7 The lizard
One of Spider-Man’s most tragic foes, Dr. Curt Connors first appeared as one of Spider-Man’s closest allies. When attempting to regrow a lost limb by splicing its genes with reptile DNA, Dr. Connors accidentally transformed into a monstrous lizard.
As Lizard, Dr. Conners embodies the famous story of Jekyll and Hyde as he helplessly transforms into an evil reptilian. While Connors may have been able to control the animal impulses of his Lizard identity at times, these are rare and fleeting moments, and the slightest trauma can easily upset his control. Despite many attempts, Peter was never able to fully cure Dr. Connors of his condition, a personal failure that often weighs heavily on him.
6 The pivot
A ruthless New York underworld boss Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin of Crime, is more commonly associated among fans as an enemy of the hero Daredevil, but shares an equally antagonistic backstory with Spider-Man. Possessing no real superpowers, Fisk is nonetheless a massive and imposing man, measuring 6’7 “and weighing over 400 pounds.
Kingpin’s real strength is his intelligence. Clever, manipulative, and uncompromising, Fisk’s ploys to consolidate and control New York’s seedy underbelly have brought him into conflict with Spider-Man on numerous occasions. Kingpin is perhaps most notable for creating Black Cat, a former Spider-Man foe who has since become a staunch ally.
5 Kraven the hunter
Born into the Russian aristocracy at the turn of the 20th century, Sergei “Kraven” Kravinoff trained to become one of the world’s greatest hunters and trackers, seeking to prove his superiority over all living creatures. After consuming an elixir made from rare herbs found deep in the jungles of Africa, he gained strength, speed and agility, while extending his life and vitality.
In his obsessive quest to hunt and subdue increasingly dangerous game, Kraven has finally set his sights on Spider-Man. This obsession grew in the critically acclaimed film Kraven’s Last Hunt storyline, in which Kraven buried Parker alive, then briefly donned his costume to prove he could be a Spider-Man even better than his prey.
Born when Spider-Man’s rejected alien black suit bonded with disgraced reporter Eddie Brock, Venom’s initial motivation was to systematically destroy Peter Parker’s life. Attacking him in a more personal and sadistic way than most enemies, Venom’s knowledge of Peter’s identity and his ability to bypass warnings from his spider-sense made him an unpredictable and terrifying threat.
Possessing all of Parker’s special abilities, along with the greater strength and versatility of the alien symbiote, Venom is the dark mirror image of Spider-Man. Although they’ve developed a difficult truce over the years, Spider-Man and Venom will likely never fully trust each other.
3 The Jackal
The deranged genius behind the infamous Spider-Man Clone the saga, Miles Warren, better known as the Jackal, was once a professor at Empire State University, where Peter Parker and his then-girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, were enrolled. Obsessed with his student Gwen, Warren was devastated by the news of his untimely death and dedicated himself to developing experimental cloning technology in the hopes of bringing it back to life.
The Jackal’s cloning experiments would lead to years of complicated wall robot plots that culminated with the introduction of Ben Reilly, who was considered the “real” Spider-Man for a brief period before being revived. Throughout his history with the web-slinger, The Jackal has continued to blame Peter for Gwen’s death and has returned periodically to wreak havoc with his seemingly endless supply of clones.
2 Doctor Octopus
The brilliant but manic Dr Otto Octavius â€‹â€‹has nothing less than world domination as his ultimate goal, but has frequently taken a detour to continue revenge campaigns against the web-slinger. As one of Peter’s most ambitious and methodical enemies, Dr. Octopus, with his almost indestructible mechanical appendages, possesses the physical ability to crush the wall-crawler but prefers to use his intellectual genius and devilish creativity to prove his mental superiority.
Doctor Octopus is the mastermind behind the formation of the Sinister Six, has held the planet hostage with a giant global warming acceleration lens, and cheated death on multiple occasions. His greatest achievement, however, was changing bodies with Peter during the “Superior Spider-Man” storyline, impersonating Parker’s civilian identity and becoming a more ruthless and efficient version of the hero.
1 Green goblin
Peter’s Batman Joker Norman Osborn, also known as Green Goblin, invested more time and resources in destroying Parker’s life than any of his other thugs. With their civilian life intertwined with Peter’s friendship with his son Harry Osborn, Norman has often targeted not only Spider-Man, but Peter Parker’s friends and family as well.
The Green Goblin’s preferred modus operandi usually involves some form of psychological or emotional torture to further diminish the confidence of his nemesis. As one of Spider-Man’s most heinous adversaries, Norman Osborn is responsible for Peter Parker’s most important personal failure: the death of his first true love, Gwen Stacy.
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