Marvel & Sony, Do Not Read1 of 12This week, Marvel teased the upcoming release of a new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer with a short clip and some new informationabout the film’s villain, the Vulture.
With an updated origin (he’s a scrapper using scavenged tech to turn his vendetta on Tony Stark into a life of crime) and Oscar nominee Michael Keaton in the role, the Vulture looks like one of the MCU’s coolest villains in a long time.
But there are a lot of other Spider-Man villains who Marvel and Sony could have chosen that would have been – how can we put this delicately? – really lame.
Sure, Spidey’s got one of the best villain line-ups in comic books, but like all the best heroes, he’s also got some super-stinkers barking after his web-adorned heels.
THE LOOTER2 of 12Ah, the Looter. Enemy of Spider-Man, threat to nobody. Although Todd DeZago and Mike Wieringo did some pretty funny stuff with the character during their Spider-Man run, there's about 30 years of nonsense between the Looter and anything worth reading.
Pretty much the Looter found a meteor which he naturally decided to investigate, hoping it would hold the mysteries of the universe or whatever. It shot green gas all over him (yuck), which he assumed gave him super strength.
He just assumed that. It didn't.
He figured that now all he had to do was take out Spider-Man, and the world would be his oyster. Unfortunately, since he's just a jerk with the proportionate intelligence and strength of the inert green rock he carries, his only real defense against Spider-Man was giving him pangs of guilt for demolishing a simpleton. Guess we'll never have to raise a salute to President Looter. Oh, well.
THE SPOT3 of 12Half-human and half-punctuation, it's true that the Spot was pretty cool in some of his recent appearances, but he's still basically a guy in Dalmatian pajamas who can turn into a living hole. Wikipedia describes him as having the power to "enter himself," which has too many ramifications to even ponder on a family-friendly website.
The Spot also has the distinction of uniting with the second person to don the terrifying mantle of the Kangaroo (more on him later), and two guys who aren't even interesting enough to be on this list (Grizzly and Gibbon) as the Spider-Man Revenge Squad, a.k.a. the Legion of Losers, whom Spider-Man defeated by letting them win, and following them back to their hideout. The group broke up when two of their members suddenly felt bad about being criminals in the middle of a bank robbery.
THE IGUANA4 of 12Everybody loves the Lizard, right? Isn't it cool how he turns from normal, unassuming Curt Connors into a big, weird lizard man? Wouldn't it be cooler if he was Curt Connors's pet iguana, who turned into a half-human lizard man during a full moon? What's that? It wouldn't? Oh, well, woops, 'cause here comes the Iguana.
The Iguana was exactly like the Lizard, except that he gained human intelligence by night. He also gained a hypnotic stare, and a weakness to blinding light. Iguana was constantly trying to lure Curt Connors, Spider-Man, and others into dark spaces so that he could transform and hypnotize them, which is some advanced stuff for a class pet. He was defeated when Spider-Man hit him with the same device that changed his physiology, and he fatally exploded.
SWARM5 of 12Anyone apiphobe will tell you that bees can be terrifying clouds of stinging nightmares. But what's scarier than a swarm of bees? Why, a human-shaped swarm of Nazi bees, of course. Fritz von Meyer was a former Nazi scientist who moved to Argentina to become a beekeeper. Upon finding a strain of mutated bees, he attempted to take control of the hive by defeating the queen. When that didn't work, because that's not how bees work, the bees devoured all of von Meyer's flesh (also not how bees work), and collectively took on his consciousness and Nazism (definitely not how bees work). It's a miracle this character wasn't called "Zyklon Bee."
Von Meyer went on to be defeated by Spider-Man's use of Raid so many times that eventually Swarm's bees became instinctively afraid of him. He used his power of being a giant collective of racist bees to turn into arrows, fists, and other Looney Tunes type stuff for years, even facing the Avengers, until Venom, who is very gross, dove into the Swarm, and devoured von Meyer's skeleton, which was the only thing bonding them together.
KANGAROO6 of 12Guess what this guy does. Guess where he's from.
Frank Oliver was basically the Jane Goodall of Kangaroos, except with less of a science background, and more of a punching-guys-in-the-face pedigree. As the story goes, Oliver spent so much time around Kangaroos that he inherited their incredible leaping ability, which is definitely something that happens when you spend too much time around Kangaroos. After leaving the Kangaroos, he started a successful boxing career, which ended prematurely when he fatally jump-kicked an opponent. Since that's illegal even in Australia, Oliver fled to the US, where he consistently eluded customs agents by jumping, always jumping.
Feeling depressed and outcast, and being a reasonable person, Oliver decided to take a serious look at his life choices, and entered therapy where he finally found the basis for his rage and his obsession with marsupials. Actually, none of that happened, and instead, since he was actually a ridiculous person, he decided to embark on a life of jumping-based crime. Challenging Spider-Man again and again, despite the fact that his only real skill is something that Spider-Man is pretty much a master of, Oliver wound up destitute and homeless. He was vaporized when trying to stage a comeback by stealing radioactive isotopes from inside a nuclear reactor. Another case closed.
STEGRON7 of 12Yet another terrible Lizard spin-off, Stegron was actually Vincent Stegron, a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist who teamed with Curt Connors to visit the Savage Land and study dinosaur DNA. Being a Class-A jerk, Stegron stole Connors's Lizard formula, and mixed it with dinosaur DNA, conveniently turning into a stegosaurus-like monster with the ability to control dinosaurs, a power which is essentially useless outside of the Savage Land. After reverting to his human form, he blackmailed Curt Connors into helping him Jurassic Park up some cloned dinosaurs. This failed because Stegron is a failure and he was taken into custody.
Despite the fact that he is extremely vulnerable to cold, Stegron insisted on returning to the Savage Land over and over, since that's the only place he isn't a complete waste, but always managed to find himself subdued by the cold because as any 5th grade geography student can tell you, the Savage Land is in the Arctic Circle, and that whole place is made of really cold ice. Possible Vitamin D deficiency aside, one of Stegron's bids for power involved using the Rock of Life to turn all New Yorkers (especially those with animal-based super-powers) into savages. Spider-Man actually defeated him with the help of his Spider-Armor, inspiring action figures for years to come.
SPIDERCIDE8 of 12Spidercide has the distinction of arguably being the worst character introduced by one of the most hated stories of all time. A Multiplicity-esque clone of a clone of a clone of Peter Parker, the hilariously named "Spidercide" was another of the Jackal's machinations designed to convince readers that the Peter Parker they had been reading for years was actually a clone, and that Spidercide was the original Parker. Spidercide had all of the powers of Spider-Man, plus all of the abilities of Play-Doh. He also had a delightfully '90s version of the original Spider-Man costume, with inverted colors, huge footless boots, and a toothy, Venom-style grin.
There are only about 72 "evil" versions of Spider-Man. One of them is Venom. 70 of them are garbage. Only 1 of them has the power to turn into a puddle of slime, and to shrink and grow and keep coming back to life even when writers try to kill him by throwing him off the Daily Bugle. Incidentally, that one (it's Spidercide did you guess?) is also garbage.
STYX & STONE9 of 12The Siegfried and Roy of crime, Styx and Stone are quite possibly the worst villainous tag-team since Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Honky Tonk Man formed "Rhythm and Blues."
Styx and Stone are yet another horror story rooted in medical experiments performed on the homeless. Gerald Stone was a scientist trying to cure cancer, and in doing so, accidentally turned a homeless man into living cancer, which is pretty much as far from the desired outcome as you can get. Since he felt, like, really bad about turning some hapless transient into a ravenous monster of living death, Stone immediately realized that, rather than seek help from the Fantastic Four or any of the literally hundreds of super-geniuses in the Marvel Universe, the only way to help "Styx" was by donning a pair of Rocket Launchers, and hopping on a hover-sled, and becoming mercenaries to raise money for a cure.
These two master criminals didn't really get up to much. In their first thrilling adventure, they were hired to kidnap Mary Jane Watson, but failed critically because she was married to Spider-Man, and he pretty much hates crime. Later, they were arrested for attempted murder because Styx almost killed Venom, which is not even a joke. They were last seen fleeing Cardiac, who only barely escaped this list himself.
GREY GOBLIN10 of 12Grey Goblin is on this list primarily for what he represents. Gabriel Stacy was introduced, along with his twin sister Sarah, as the bastard son of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn. Having aged to adulthood in only a few years, thanks to Osborn's Goblin-formula enhanced blood, the twins were convinced that Peter Parker was their real father, and was responsible for their mother's death. In actuality, the story revealed that Gwen Stacy was planning to raise her children with Peter as their father, and Osborn killed her to prevent her betrayal. Gabriel found some of his father's gear, and became the Grey Goblin, following family tradition.
What's important here is that this story destroyed the history of Peter and Gwen's relationship, establishing the idea that Gwen had not only cheated on Peter with his archenemy, but had borne his children behind Peter's back. This story saw Peter literally digging up Gwen's grave, as shockingly disgusting an image as any ever conceived in comics. Although the story's writer, J. Michael Straczynski was not permitted to erase the story from canon as part of his "One More Day" retcon, the story has rightly been ignored by nearly all other writers.
BIG WHEEL11 of 12After hiring Rocket Racer to steal evidence that he had embezzled from his company, Jackson Weele got it through his head that he just had to be a supervillain. With a singular passion, he went to the Tinkerer's Bargain Basement Supervillain Emporium, and asked them to splice his DNA with something menacing, like a shark. The exchange most likely went something like this:
The Tinkerer: "Sorry, we've got a shark guy."
Big Wheel: "OK, How about, like an ape of some kind?"
Tinkerer: "Nope. Taken."
Big Wheel: "Hmm, alright. What about a slug?"
Tinkerer: "Believe it or not, that's taken."
Big Wheel: "Well, what do you have left?"
Tinkerer: "...Looks like we've got a wheel."
Big Wheel: "A wheel??? Wouldn't that be kind of silly, since my name is Jackson Weele?"
Tinkerer: "Well... It's a big wheel."
So Weele took what he could get, and started riding around in a giant metal wheel with guns on it, which is a textbook example of a poor life decision. Weele's only redemption is that Christos Gage later revealed that he had joined a group called "Vil-Anon," a support group for former villains, and was trying to fight crime. Spider-Man even let him tag along on a few patrols before Weele realized that he was a complete waste of a hero, as well as a villain. It just goes to show that a good writer can do something interesting with even the worst character.
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