Marvel Comics made its debut in 1939, and more than 80 years later and hundreds of villains, it is still going strong. The point of a comic book villain is pretty simple: storylines that feature Spider-Man shopping or Thor attending a baseball game would be kind of pointless. But if you throw in a few seemingly indestructible bad guys (and ladies), you’ve got some drama that makes reading the comic or watching the movie worthwhile. Logical, no? Now that we’ve blown your mind, here are 9 of our favorite Marvel villains who love making life difficult for our heroes.
If there’s one Marvel villain who can boast to being more powerful than Thanos, it’s Galactus. Even Stan Lee, who created this character after supposedly pondering how the Fantastic Four would fare if they had to battle God, conceded that Galactus would win a hypothetical fight against the mighty Thanos. He eats planets because he can. He’s even managed to unite heroes and villains once they realized they’re all screwed if they don’t put aside their differences to fight a common threat.
2. Red Skull
It would be enough for Red Skull to be considered an evil villain by virtue of him having that scary red skull of his, but the fact that he was also Hitler’s protégé seals the deal. He made his first appearance in the Captain America comic book series in March 1941, three months before the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. In one alternate version of history — according to the Ultimate Marvel series, he was even responsible for assassinating President John F. Kennedy. That’s beyond evil!!!
When you’re awesome like Wolverine, it’s an absolute must that you have an arch-nemesis who is equally amazing. Sabretooth definitely fits the bill. He and Wolverine were both part of the Cold War supersoldier program that ultimately led to their bitter rivalry. They are essentially equaled in terms of mutant abilities, but the difference is that while Wolverine makes an effort to control his powers, Sabretooth deliberately loses control. Meow!!!
4. Dark Phoenix
If you’re not entirely familiar with the X-Men comic book and movies, the origins of Dark Phoenix is a highly convoluted story that is likely to leave you baffled. But let’s just put it this way: The X-Men go on a space mission and their lives are jeopardized when their shuttle is damaged. Lady Jane Grey pilots the shuttle and is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. Dying, she calls out for help and is saved by a powerful entity called the Phoenix Force. Grey ends up gaining all these new powers and becomes uncontrollable, even destroying an entire galaxy because, friends, that’s just how strong she was. Knowing she poses a threat to the entire universe, she kills herself. While she’s gone, the original Grey manages to survive. How? It’s just a comic book, folks.
5. Doctor Doom
When your name is Victor Von Doom, your destiny in life has pretty much been chosen for you. Although he goes by “Doctor,” he did not in fact graduate from evil graduate school. The point is that he’s so smart and arrogant that he believes he doesn’t need any formal education. In any event, he’s spent decades causing headaches for Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Black Panther, and other heroes in the Marvel Universe. While he’s appeared in several movies, he’s never been the central character. That needs to change!!!
The casual Marvel movie watcher might only recall Thanos if they managed to catch a brief glance of him during the closing credits of The Avengers, but devoted fans of the comic books know that he’s one of the most powerful baddies the universe has ever known. This is due in large part to him possessing the Infinity Gauntlet, which he’s used to kill several Marvel heroes. Aside from fighting the Avengers, he’s also battled the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Badass indeed!
First of all, this evil mutant from the X-Men comics is a shapeshifter, so that already makes her more awesome than 99% of all villains in the history of human imagination. But the fact that she manages to look sexy in her original form — blue skin and yellow eyes — is what sets her apart. It should also be noted that she’s the mother of X-Men hero Nightcrawler and villain Graydon Creed. How many other villains can claim to have given birth to other awesome comic book characters? Nobody else on this list, that’s for damn sure!
The way in which Spider-Man’s arch nemesis was conceived is interesting. It all started when Spider-Man damaged his suit and needed a replacement, so he opted for one that was black and white. The suit acted sentient, and the fine folks at Marvel decided, “Hey, let’s create a backstory in which the suit is actually an evil alien” and tada! We got Venom.
9. Green Goblin
Green Goblin is yet another of Spider-Man’s many enemies, which kind of makes you wonder. If so many people hate Spider-Man, there comes a point when maybe he’s to blame? On the other hand, Green Goblin killed Peter Parker’s girlfriend, and we can all agree that it was a really rude thing for him to do. When Spider-Man got his revenge by killing Normal Osborn — the original Green Goblin — that seemed to be the end of that character. Oh, but it wasn’t. His son Harry succeeded him, and there have been a few other villains who wore the Green Goblin’s costume. So it seems he’ll never really go away, which makes all of us winners. Except perhaps Spider-Man.