<i>By <a href=http://twitter.com/LucasSiegel>Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Editor</a> and <a href=http://www.twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>Villains. Enemies. Arch-Nemeses. Bad guys. <p>Without these nefarious fiends trying to take over the world, kidnapping loved ones, blowing up planets, or simply breaking out of various prisons and hospitals, our heroes would get perilously bored, and have no one to web up, take down, or super punch into next Tuesday. <p>In <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?gid=4271>"Ends of the Earth,"</a> the current storyline in <b>Amazing Spider-Man</b>, Doctor Otto Octavius, Doc Ock, is leading a cabal of villains in a complete take down of Spider-Man and the world as he knows it. In this summer's <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/brian-michael-bendis-spider-men.html><b>Spider-Men</b></a>, the Spideys of two worlds will work together to defeat the villainous Mysterio (himself a big part of EotE as well). <p>And so we revisit this villainous spotlight with the rogues gallery of one Peter Benjamin Parker: the Amazing Spider-Man. Spidey has had a whole lot of villains over his five decades, and narrowing this list to just 10 is frankly a nearly impossible and mildly painful experience. Regardless, we here at Newsarama argued, threw punches, and did countless hilarious montages of us scribbling on sheets of paper and dry erase boards to '80s "get it done" pop music until we came up with these 10, averaged out from personal lists from several of our contributors. <p>So click through for our Definitive 10 Best Spider-Man villains, and head over to Facebook to tell us yours! <p><b>More Villains!</b> <p><li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-greatest-supervillain-teams-all-time.html>The 10 Greatest SUPERVILLAIN Teams of ALL TIME!</a> <br><li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-greatest-x-men-villains-120207.html>The 10 Greatest X-MEN Villains of ALL TIME!</a> <br><li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-greatest-justice-league-villains-120126.html>The 10 Greatest JUSTICE LEAGUE Villains of ALL TIME!</a> <br><li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-greatest-avengers-villains-120111.html>The 10 Greatest AVENGERS Villains of ALL TIME!</a> <br><li> <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-best-batman-villains-111116.html>The 10 Greatest BATMAN Villains of ALL TIME!</a> <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
Miles Warren was responsible for the Clone Saga. <p>We could probably end the entry for Warren better known as The Jackal right there, and most people would be OK with that. Yet Warren took things a step further than cloning Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy a few (dozen) times. Recently, his machinations expanded, and he used his scientific acumen to gift millions with Spider-powers in the "Spider-Island" storyline. <p>Warren is the best kind of Spider-Man villain, and a type you'll see several more times on this list; as much as he can match Spidey punch for punch, the real match-up comes brain to brain. His brilliance, and his willingness to use it for evil means, is his real weapon. And hey, he <i>did</i> give us Scarlet Spider, so he's not all bad, right?
To the uninitiated, Hobgoblin might appear to be simply a Green Goblin ripoff. Those people are very wrong. (In fact, in the continuity of the '90s <i>Spider-Man</i> cartoon, Hobgoblin actually came first, but that's a whole other thing.) <p>There have been three major Hobgoblins in Spidey history Roderick Kingsley, Jason Macendale and Phil Urich and each one has been a formidable threat. Kingsley was the original, and his mysterious early appearances in the '80s are some of the most celebrated Spidey stories of that era. <p>Jason Macendale took the whole supernatural "goblin" motif to a new level, and was actually possessed for a time by a demon entity which eventually came to calling itself "Demogoblin." <p>The current version, Phil Urich, was once the heroic Green Goblin but is now essentially a twisted version of Peter Parker moonlighting as an assassin while helping out his uncle Ben at the Daily Bugle, and manipulating his way into the heart of the unknowing Norah Winters. <p>All three Hobgoblins have been major threats to Spider-Man, and a relatively rare example of updating an existing concept and having lasting success.
Flint Marko has been one of the many on-again, off-again villains in the Spider-Man rogues gallery. Premiering in just the fourth issue of <b>Amazing Spider-Man</b>, this shape-shifting character literally made of sand has had some variations over the years, with power levels ranging from just-above-street-thug to city-level-threat. <p>Despite a couple of hero turns (Marko was even a reserve member of the Avengers!), his recent re-invigoration in the "Gauntlet" storyline showed a Sandman at his most powerful. Unleashed, he created his own sand castle and had the ability to control massive amounts of the grains, proving to be one of the strongest foes Spidey has faced. <p>Sandman also appeared in the film <i>Spider-Man 3</i>, implicated as involved in the death of Ben Parker. And that's all we'll say about that...
Dmitri Smerdyakov is actually the first supervillain ever faced by Spider-Man, first appearing in <b>Amazing Spider-Man #1</b>. That alone would give him a permanent place in comic book history, but it's his various misdeeds over the past 50 years that earned him his spot on this list. <p>In the '90s, Chameleon helped mastermind a plot that nearly broke Spider-Man's psyche the return of Peter Parker's parents, long presumed dead. In reality, the "parents" were actually robots, the kind of thing that happens in comic books more than you might guess. That revelation led to one of the darkest periods in Spider-Man's history, and the guy hasn't let up he recently impersonated Peter Parker, and is currently a member of the Sinister Six. <p>Chameleon is also a go-to character when writers want to truly explore the psychological aspects of Spider-Man's world, as seen in the work of J.M. DeMatteis and Paul Jenkins the latter who actually had Chameleon proclaim his love for Spider-Man. (It was awkward for all involved.) <p>And more than any of that, there's still lots of dramatic mileage in the fake-out opportunities provided by a character who can impersonate nearly anyone, which, when employed correctly, still manages to be surprising after all of these years as seen in his recent impersonation of former vice president Al Gore during "Ends of the Earth."
Modern fans may be saying "Kingpin? But he's a Daredevil villain!" And you wouldn't be wrong. Wilson Fisk, the crime Kingpin of New York has certainly been a thorn in Daredevil's side more often than not. But before he tangled with the horn head, he was one of the web head's biggest (heh) foes. <p>He started out in issue 50 of Spidey's original series, having taken control of the crime networks in New York when Spider-Man was "no more." Ironically, his stepping into power (and kidnapping J. Jonah Jameson) was the impetus for Peter to web-up once again. While much of his focus has been on other characters like the aforementioned blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen since then, Kingpin has played an increasingly large (ahem) role in <b>Amazing Spider-Man</b> as of late, gaining temporary spider powers during "Spider-Island."
There are three men that have worn the fishbowl helmet and used special effects to terrorize Spider-Man and his friends and allies, but the others are nothing without Quentin Beck, the original. Mysterio is a mainstay on most incarnations of the Sinister Six, the frequent assemblage of Spidey's villains. <p>Armed only with advanced special effects knowledge, limited creativity, loads of insanity and a flair for the dramatic, it may not sound like Mysterio is much for Spidey to handle. Regardless, he's given the webslinger plenty of problems, and has even seemingly come back from the dead. Mysterio is still waiting for his defining moment, his big win, but despite some shortcomings, this SFX maven should never be counted out or underestimated. <p>Mysterio is a big player in "Ends of the Earth" and has already been revealed as the mastermind that brings Peter Parker of the 616 Marvel Universe and Miles Morales of the Ultimate Universe together in this summer's <b>Spider-Men</b>.
Kraven the Hunter might not be on this list and definitely wouldn't be this high without one story: 1987's "Kraven's Last Hunt." <p>The six-part storyline, written by J.M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Mike Zeck, is one of the all-time Spider-Man classics, a psychological thriller that showed something that virtually never happens in superhero comics the bad guy winning. Kraven, a long-time enemy and member of the original Sinister Six, shoots Spider-Man with a dart that leaves him comatose for two weeks, buries him, and then puts on a copy of Spidey's costume and goes around New York City fighting crime in his mind, proving not only that can he defeat Spider-Man, but that he can beat him at his own game. <p>The real surprise came with what happened next. Feeling like he accomplished his goal, Kraven committed suicide. Several people subsequently tried to fill his role mainly Kraven's sons Vladimir and Alyosha but it's a death that lasted up until very recently, when Kraven was resurrected in 2010 storyline "Grim Hunt." Now that Kraven is back in the Spider-Man rotation, a new generation of fans are able to see what makes him cool, and "Kraven's Last Hunt" still stands as one of the greats.
Venom is the newest character on this list, debuting in 1988. He's also ranked among the highest. This isn't a coincidence few characters had as great and as quick of an impact on Spider-Man and comic books in general as Venom. <p>Pairing Eddie Brock, a disgruntled ex-journalist, and Spider-Man's jilted alien costume that he acquired in <i>Secret Wars</i>, Venom is perhaps the most successful iteration of "evil version of the hero" in all of comics. Thanks in no small part to unique renderings by co-creator Todd McFarlane, Venom became so popular that he starred in his own book within a few years, a stretch of limited series that ran from 1993 to 1998. Venom's also appeared in several animated series, multiple action figures and the 200 film <i>Spider-Man 3</i>, where he was portrayed by Topher Grace. (Hey, who else would play "evil Tobey Maguire"?) <p>In those books, Brock took the role of a "lethal protector" antihero, but returned to his villainous ways in the 2000s when desperate and dying of cancer caused by the symbiote. Currently, the role of Venom is filled by Flash Thompson in a well-received ongoing series and Eddie Brock is once again trying to be a hero though his current status quo as the new Toxin might make that difficult. Venom, both as a character and a concept, remains a popular and integral part of the Spider-Man mythos.
Otto Octavius is one of Spider-Man's most enduring and iconic villains, and the only reason he isn't No. 1 is because well, you've probably figured it out, but you'll see for sure soon enough. <p>First appearing in 1963's <b>Amazing Spider-Man #3</b>, Doc Ock established himself as a major threat right off the bat, and even unmasked Spider-Man in his second-ever appearance in <b>Amazing Spider-Man #12</b>. (Luckily for Spidey, his powers were depleted so people just assumed Peter Parker was playing dress-up.) As one of the many great mad scientists in Spider-Man's rogues gallery, he's not only menaced Spidey, but also the Marvel Universe as a whole, at one point even gathering his own version of the Masters of Evil. And in the ultimate act of villainy, he even once nearly married Peter Parker's Aunt May. <p>Doctor Octopus, depicted on film by Alfred Molina in <i>Spider-Man 2</i>, is actually dying from accumulated injuries in the current comics which isn't stopping him from occupying his familiar role as the leader of the Sinister Six, and recently intellectually besting Tony Stark. He is also the main focus of the current big Spider-Man event, "Ends of the Earth" not bad for a pudgy guy with a bowl cut and bad vision.
Almost unanimous as #1 in our in-house poll, Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, is without a doubt Spider-Man's greatest villain. There's no denying that Norman is a genius, like Doc Ock or Jackal. Norman is violent and vicious, like Venom, and Hobgoblin, and insane (and delusional) like Mysterio. Norman is a leader capable of inspiring and gathering forces of powerful people, like Kingpin. His obsession matches Kraven's, his cunning surpasses Chameleon, and as for power, Norman has more than Sandman could ever hope to grasp. <p>There's also that one little detail: Norman Osborn killed Gwen Stacy, the love of Peter Parker's life. In a defining moment, the man who took up the responsibility of the power he held due to loss of a loved one lost another, and it almost broke him. <p>The Green Goblin has been immortalized in animation, games, and film. In the Ultimate universe, he's directly responsible for Peter Parker (and now even Miles Morales) getting the proportional strength of a spider. <p>And over in the regular Marvel Universe, Norman Osborn has shown himself to be the real villain, far and above anything Green Goblin could ever achieve. Osborn manipulated the media, heroes, and the government itself to allow him control over virtually every superpowered American for a time, and with his new team of Dark Avengers (and alliances with Hydra, AIM, and more), threatens to be the greatest villain in the world. While he may now be an Avengers and world-level threat, whenever it comes time to take down Norman Osborn, you can bet Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, will be the one to throw the knockout punch.