10 Greatest Spider-Man Villains
Spider-Man has a noted web of interesting villains who are always looking to squash the pesky neighborhood hero. They constantly combat him throughout his comic book adventures, having been transformed by science, seeking vengeance for perceived slights, and causing chaos for the greater New York area.
Many have even been featured in Spider-Man films, while a few, like Michael Morbius and Venom, have gone on to star in their own solo films.
Let’s take a look at the 10 greatest Spider-Man villains of all!
A foe from Spider-Man’s early years, Morbius has gone on to become a popular hero in his own right, with frequent appearances in multiple comic runs. He’s even got his own franchise, which started with Adventure into Fear #20.
Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Dr. Michael Morbius was a scientist with a disfiguring blood disease. As have so many other mad geniuses, he attempted to cure himself with science. He ended up a blood-sucking vampire with super-strength, the power of flight, and healing abilities.
In later story arcs, the character was more of an edgy hero than an evil villain.
Morbius is also getting his own feature film, which looks deliciously dark and edgy. You can watch the trailer here.
9. The Lizard
The Lizard is one of Spidey’s most well-known opponents. First appearing in 1963, he’s exactly what his name suggests – a lizard-man with lethal abilities and psychotic motivations.
The Lizard can be described as the unfortunate result of the abuse of science. A well-known researcher named Dr. Connors subjects himself to his own experiments, hoping to produce a human with reptile-like regenerative abilities. The unintended result is teeth, claws, scales, and a really bad attitude.
In many issues of the comics, Connors is able to maintain his human form. Cures and stopgap measures are made intermittently to keep him from transforming again, but he still always seems to go back to his dangerous Lizard persona.
Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin, is one of the most ruthless baddies our hero has ever faced. He’s an incredibly rich crime lord who will sacrifice anything and anyone to get what he wants.
He became the most powerful criminal in New York, an amazing feat due to his lack of super powers. Still, he’s very physically strong, and can go toe to toe with super-humans like Spider-Man. His mass, height, and laser cane make him quite imposing.
Certain versions, like in the Spider-Verse film, show an even larger Kingpin, capable of killing even Spider-Man with a single punch to the face.
First appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #13, Mysterio is an enigmatic trickster, using science and illusion to outwit Spidey and co. He often uses gaseous drugs against his opponents, and his fighting skills are well-honed.
Mysterio is actually an actor named Quentin Beck. His knowledge of special movie effects gave him all he needed to start a life of crime, starting by trying to frame Spider-Man for a bank robbery. Over the years, he’s been defeated numerous times by various villains, but he keeps coming back for more.
6. Doctor Octopus
If you ask someone to name a traditional Spider-Man villain, their minds will likely be flooded from dozens of choices they’ve seen in film or print. But one of the first enemies they’ll think of will be Doctor Octopus.
Doc Ock is a freak of science with a vengeful spirit and a towering intellect. Four mechanical arms are grafted onto his back, and he controls them with lethal precision.
Doc Ock has had some strange story arcs throughout the series, dying and being resurrected on more than one occasion. He even switches bodies with Peter Parker at one point, becoming the Superior Spider-Man.
5. The Sandman
The Sandman is one of the strangest of all comic villains. He’s also one of the deadliest.
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Sandman first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #4. A freak accident involving radioactive sand transforms a criminal named Flint Marko (real name is William Baker) into a living mineral. He is able to retain his human form whenever he wishes, but he can break down into an avalanche of sand and change into various shapes to aid him in combat. He can take a punch, too – his sandy structure makes him invulnerable to most attacks.
Sandman’s character development is particularly interesting. He actually had an affinity for sand before he got his powers, making sand sculptures as a child. His motivations change in various comic and movie storylines – sometimes he’s a criminal with a complicated family history, and other times he’s a more tragic character showing traces of redemption. In Spider-Man 3, his thievery is motivated by his need for money to pay for his daughter’s medical issues. In this film, Flint Marko was also involved with the death of Uncle Ben.
Dmitri Smerdyakov, AKA the Chameleon, is Spidey’s oldest super-villain, appearing in the first issue back in 1963. In later issues, he was revealed to be the half-brother of Kraven the Hunter.
Chameleon is mostly an illusionist, often impersonating people for his own personal gain. His belt has the technology to make him look like virtually anyone. He is also full of hatred, which grows even further when his brother, Kraven, kills himself.
Chameleon has been loved by fans for decades for his mimicry and political intrigue.
3. Green Goblin
The Green Goblin might just be the most well-known of all Spider-Man villains. He’s one of those villains we all just love to hate – he’s got a great story, a great design, and great character relationships.
First appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man #14, the Green Goblin starts out as a villain with an unrevealed identity. He flies around on a glider and uses high-tech weaponry, including Halloween-themed explosives.
It’s later learned that this nightmarish villain is actually the wealthy industrialist Norman Osborn. He is exposed to a strength serum his company was working on, which transforms him into a maniacal picture of insanity.
In later issues, others would take up the role of the Goblin, including Norman’s son and Peter Parker’s best friend Harry Osborn.
Of all the villains on this list, the coolest looking is probably Venom. He’s vicious, strong, and has Spider-Man’s abilities and then some.
Fully revealed in 1988 with Amazing Spider-Man #300, Venom is a powerhouse of teeth, muscles, and insanity. In a few issues before #300, Spider-Man had been wrestling morally and physically with his new black suit, which was made up of an alien symbiote that arrived on a meteorite. The suit nearly succeeded in taking over the hero, but he eventually overpowered it. The alien being then attached itself to Eddie Brock, a journalist who had a beef with Peter Parker. This time, the symbiote succeeded, and a new monster was born.
Occasionally, Venom shows some heroic tendencies, even going as far as rescuing certain people. However, he still usually has no love for Spider-Man.
Various people have been merged with the Venom symbiote, and the results are often disastrous.
Brock and the symbiote were eventually separated, but Venom’s reign of carnage wasn’t over. The parasite found its way back to Brock while he was in prison, but something different happened this time. The symbiote reproduced, and one of the slimy pieces merged with a new host, a murderer named Cletus Kassidy to become Carnage. Just as the name Venom represented hatred, the new character’s name represented chaos, the ultimate result of evil alien merging with evil man.
Carnage is just like Venom, except nastier and more powerful. Spider-Man and Venom have actually had to team up to even stand a chance against the stronger symbiote.
Carnage has been featured in many different comics, including the awesome Carnage: Family Feud by Zeb Wells, which featured an even bigger Carnage joined by Shriek and a dog-like symbiote offspring.
The reason Carnage ranks as the number one Spider-Man villain isn’t just because of his power or his design. It’s because of his sole motivation – destruction of anything and anyone.
Who is your favorite Spider-Man villain? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!