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The Top 10 Villains of Spider-Man

Updated on August 23, 2017

The Enemies of Spider-Man are Crawling Out of the Woodwork

...but that won't stop our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. Little did Peter Parker know, on that fateful day when bitten by a radioactice spider, he was destined to swing on strands of webbing, with the strength and agility of a proportional spider.

Fighting strange and unpredictable foes since 1962, Spidey first appeared in Marvel's Amazing Fantasy #15. Overnight, the readers were drawn to the Web-head as he faced down some of the most colorful, deranged and maniacal masterminds ever to grace our imaginations. One of the most popular superheroes, his unusual encounters occurred mainly while a teenager, in a high school or college setting.

But Petey's graduated from all that; he's grown up now. Not surprisingly, so have some of his greatest enemies. They've become stranger, more unique, and deadlier with each meeting.

And you're about to meet them. Hang around. Presented in this article are The Top 10 Villains of Spider-Man; the unusual and corrupt, brilliant and macabre super bad guys who almost squashed him like a bug!

Spidey Villain #10: Kraven the Hunter - "I have no fear--he will be a worthy foe!"

The mystery of Sergei Kravinoff, a once big-time game hunter, and the Kravinoff family, is steeped in Voodoo mysticism. Kraven himself started his predatory supervillain career in Amazing Spider-Man #15, by imbibing a strange potion that temporability gives him the speed of a cheetah, the strength of a charging bull rhino, and the agility of an ape. Once infatuated with the need to hunt man, here he sought to capture and kill "the greatest hunt of all". (Of course, that meant the Web-Swinger.)

Of all of Spidey's enemies, Kraven was one of the successful; he killed Spider-Man with a single shot. Or so we thought; it turns out the poison dart was either a long-lasting tranquilizer or too weak to destroy the spider-enhanced metabolism. Either way, this gives him credit as one of his greatest villains.

And ironically, Kraven may end up being one of Spidey's "most insane". Believing to have finally bested him in the storyline Kraven's Last Hunt, Sergei actually commits suicide, believing his quest accomplished. But don't worry; that didn't finish this extraordinary hunter; Kraven was resurrected through the efforts of his equally strange and unique family.

Kraven's Last Hunt - Spider-Man vs. Kraven the Hunter in an all-out epic battle!

What happens when the our favorite wall-crawler is embattled in a confrontation against one of the deadliest hunters to walk the planet? Now you will know; watch as Peter Parker is prodded into every trap, confused and disoriented, as he is ultimately led into a fight with one of his greatest foes.

For other Kraven the Hunter merchandize, click here.

Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt
Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt

This is a great piece of work that actually sets up from the perspective of the slightly deranged and deadly hunter. A compilation of Web of Spider-Man #31-32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, and Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132, this is often counted of one of Spidey's best fights. You won't be disappointed!


Spidey Villain #9: Mysterio - "Fool! I'm prepared for anything you can do!"

When spidey first picked up his superhuman powers, he thought he'd go into television. Little did he know, one TV stuntman named Quentin Beck was already interested in duplicating them to commit crimes. Studying Spider-Man's unique powers, he built a series of devices incorporated in a special stunt suit that could recreate or negate Spider-Man's abilities. Donning a fishbowl size helmet with an air-breathing apparatus and sonar functionality, Quentin called himself "Mysterio", working on themes of horror and terror, to misdirect and confuse the wall-crawler.

But it's not the gadgets, mastery of hypnosis, and illusionist skills that makes Mysterio so devastating as a Spider-Man foe, it's his clever traps and diabolical schemes. Mysterio is one of those brilliant super-villains that falls into the mastermind cateagory. He'll create a series of plots to lead the wall-crawler into an abandoned carnival or warehouse, and then unleash pure fright, with attacks coming from all directions.

Spidey has had tough times with Mysterio; he's one of the few opponents that have figured out how to circumvent the fabled "Spidey Sense". To that end, Spider-Man has always had a difficult time figuring out just what he's fighting, whether it's a fake machination, or something real.

For that purpose, Mysterio has always remained at the forefront of the Wall-Crawler's supervillains.

Collect Mysterio! - The Spider-Man Origins: Mysterio figurine

Can you imagine have a full assembly of Spider-Man's greatest villains adorning your shelf in a tribute to the Wall-Crawler? I can. You can pick up this awesome Hasbro figure now.

Spider-Man Origins - Mysterio
Spider-Man Origins - Mysterio

The Spider-Man Origins: Mysterio figure is pretty cool in that it comes with 3 faces you can attach to the head inside the bubble. He's also fully poseable and comes with a display stand. This is a great addition to a Spider-Man collection.


Spidey Villain #8: The Sandman - "All you have to do is get past me!"

One possible precept of being a great Spider-Man supervillain may be showing up first to beat up on the wallcrawler. That's what Flint Marko, A.K.A. The Sandman did, appearing in Spider-Man #4 back in September 1963. Escaping from a maximum security prison, a federal manhunt cornered the fugitive in an atomic research center, capturing him in an experiment gone arwry. Thought to be dead, Marko emerged, alive, and with fantastic shape-shifting powers.

But shape-shifter is a loosely-defined way of categorizing The Sandman; there's so much more. With a body composed of living granules, he can sift through the cracks in wallls, flood machinery, create devastating and blinding storms, and become as intangible as the wind or as durable as granite. This has given Spider-Man his most difficult battles, constantly having to stay on his toes, using creative tactics to beat the ever-changing menace.

Yet the harder he falls, the smarter Marko seems to get. Once a small-time criminal, he's morphed into something of a clever opportunist. He's joined with numerous groups: The Sinister Six, The Frightful Four and even worked with The Avengers. What works against him is his criminal background and powers. More often, he just gets greedy or focuses on revenge, other times, his body just doesn't work right. (At one time, he dissolved in water, only to form two sandmans, one for good and one of evil.)

And that's why, for Spider-Man, Sandman has become one of his most dangerous supervillains; it's just too hard to fight something untouchable one moment, and invulnerable the next.(besides, the ole' Spidey costume can only handle so much sand).

The Sandman appears in Spider-Man 3 - Spidey vs. Dirt...on the big screen!

The Sandman was popular enough that he became one of the premier supervillains to face off against Peter Parker in the 3rd of the Spider-Man movies. Want to see what fighting living sand looks like? Check this movie out!

Spidey Villain #7: The Lizard - "At last, I see fear in your eyes!"

One of the most inspiring and continually present supervillains in Peter Parker's unique life has been his former college professor and later mentor, Dr. Curt Conners, an aspiring biologist (and neogenic) innovator in the world of genetic therapy.

Oh wait, we've got the wrong guy! It's not Dr. Conners that beats up on Spider-Man every other issue, it's his alter-ego, the reptilian Lizard. Ever since Spider-Man #6 (November 1963), this misguided bad guy has become more furious and deadly, originally battling the wall-crawler in swamps and on campus to later appear in the sewers and the bowels of the city.

He might not think of himself as a villain, though. The Lizard's biggest problem arises from his reptile-instinctual brain; once Conners undergoes the tranformation, he loses all sense of control and intellect. Couple that with his incredible strength, limited telepathy with similar creatures, and amphibian-based abilities, he becomes Spider-Man's greatest nightmare!

So what makes the Lizard such a force against Spidey? It's those gecko pads on his hands and feet, the rock hard alligator-like hide, and that sweeping tail; he becomes a perfect assailent, controlled and manipulated by other masterminds, in their quest to take out our favorite arachnid. Time and time again, Parker's best weapon in beating the Lizard is in finding a temporary cure to turn him human. That's the only thing that's worked so far...

The Lizard in a Spider-Man Novel - by Diane Duane

If you want to get a fresh perspective of the Lizard, the story "The Lizard Sanction", is not only well-written, but serves as a great episode where Peter Parker encounters Dr. Conners, hidden within the everglades, host of terrible mutation process.

Spider-Man The Lizard Sanction (Marvel Comics)
Spider-Man The Lizard Sanction (Marvel Comics)

Written by Diane Duane, this hardcover is actually a novel, and received good reviews. Spider-Man heads to the everglades where he is confronted with perhaps his greatest nemesis, The Lizard, as he attempts to help his unwary alter-ego Dr. Curt Conners. It's a great read, and I'd recommend any of Diane's books.


Spidey Villain #6: The Jackal - "Hah! The Jackal's claws dig deep, wall-crawler..."

The Jackal
The Jackal

Many people have befriended Peter Parker in the past; unfortunately for our web-slinging wall-crawler, they eventually turned out to be hostages, innocent bystanders, or deadly super-villains.

And that's where the maniacal Jackal comes into the picture. Appearing first in Spider-Man #129 (Feb 1974), this devious criminal mastermind began forming villainous pacts while fiendishly manipulating Spider-Man's public and private identity. Aside from fighting him at every turn, Parker started seeing glimpses of his former girlfriend (Gwen Stacy) while other accounts of Spider-Man were spotted throughout the city. He was starting to lose his mind!

So how did the Jackal do it? How did he know exactly how to break our favorite wall-crawler? The answer lies in his secret identity: Miles Warren, Peter's friend and professor of biology in college, appearing years earlier in Spider-Man #31 (Dec 1964). Harboring a secret love for Pete's old Girlfriend, he blamed Spider-Man for her death. Through all these years he's been planning vengeance.

This unstable hatred, it turned out, could be perfectly executed through his research and abilities, for Dr. Warren had learned the process of cloning. After a series of trials, he created clones of himself, duplicates of Gwen Stacy, and replicates of Spider-Man, who (to his glee!) turned out to be none other than Peter Parker!

Soon, Spider-Man would face one of his greatest threats: versions of himself! (One of them ended up assuming a new identity as Ben Reilly, The Scarlet Spider.) The Jackal was everywhere. To this day, the Jackal's demise is unsure. Spidey believes he was killed, but how can you really know?

Capture the Jackal! - This fiend makes a great trophy.

If you're a collector, or like Spider-Man memorabilia, this figure of the Jackal stands alone as one of the premire collectibles for a shrine to the wall-crawler. And that's not all! If you really like Spidey collections, look here for other amazing figures. Imagine being able to build a collectable kingdom, or simply have a cool paperweight on your desk.

Spidey Villain #5: The Hobgoblin - "At long last! I have succeeded -- where so many others have failed!"

The Hobgoblin
The Hobgoblin

Often the most dangerous foes of Spider-Man are the ones that not only have great super powers, but a cunning mastermind intellect. They tend to use others to batter him around until they're ready to unravel their greater schemes. That's how the criminal mind and brilliance of Roderick Kingsley threatened the wall-crawler on numerous occasions, becoming, easily, one of his greatest foes.

But not under his own identity; carefully using a series of plots and manipulations, Kingsley discovered the lair and implements of the Green Goblin, presumed to be dead. Fearful that the goblin serum would kill him, he tricked a lowly thug into first undergoing the process and costume to fight Spider-Man.

Of course it didn't work; as soon as the would-be attacker, now named the Hobgoblin, was thrashed, Kingsley remotely crashed his glider, killing him. But now he was ready; reformulating the chemical process, he quickly turned from a smart and cunning thief into the real super-villain, stronger than the original, with all the special gadgets and tricks of the original Green Goblin.

As the true Hobgoblin, Kingsley's now turned into a devious opponent with speed, strength, and reflexes which match, and possibly surpasses, Spidey's. This is in addition to his already clever tricks, such as treating Peter Parker's friend, Ned Leeds, to a hallucinogen, making him think that he was actually the high-gliding, Halloween-like menace!

And therefore, Kingsley represents the true Hobgoblin, but there are caveats to this information. That's because other Hobgoblins, as mysterious as the entire secret identity surrounding Kingsley, have popped up from time to time. There's no telling if this is his doing or if something else it at play. To date, Kingsley is believed to be dead, with another Hobgoblin serving the Kingpin, in his place.

The Hobgoblin 10" Tall FIgurine - Collect the Hobgoblin

Fully poseable, this 10" tall action figure comes with all the accessories included; inscribed in the muscle contour and face are highly distinct details making this a great collectors item.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin 10" Deluxe Edition Action Figure
Spider-Man Hobgoblin 10" Deluxe Edition Action Figure

This is one of the Deluxe Edition collectables and is a great piece for your Spider-Man collection or toy for young fan. The included container also serves as a custom display case.


Spidey Villain #4: The Kingpin - "With Spider-Man gone, my plans can now reach fruition!"

The Kingpin of Crime
The Kingpin of Crime

To the global markets and political figures of the world, he is Wilson Fisk, entrepreneur and charitable soul, benevolent in the gifts he sprinkles throughout the nation. But known to Spider-Man and a select assortment of do-gooders, this extraordinary mass of physical strength is more appropriately titled The Kingpin, a powerful mastermind of the underworld and crime.

Any Spidey fan will tell you; most of his greatest battles involved Kingpin's manipulations and creations in one form or another. And there's a reason that the two are constantly tangling time and time again. You see that thug over there? That car-jacker on the corner? Those drug-dealers near the convenient store? They are all pawns of the Kingpin organization; every time our web-head takes one of them out...that's another illegal dollar loss and a sticky thorn in his side.

To that end, Kingpin has sent numerous resources at the wall-crawler (many villains on this list have been hired by him over the years); he's even managed to co-op other superheroes into taking him out. His scientists are also known to have created The Spot and The Answer, two super-villains that had Spider-Man on the ropes. Ultimately, this includes the entire Spider-Slayer projects, which are reported to have the Kingpin's fundings and backings.

If that's not enough, Kingpin's wealth and criminal genius are not the only thing going for him. It turns out that he can take Spider-Man on in a one on one fight. Although he appears blubbery, he's shown that his bulky frame is composed entirely of pure muscle. Coupled with his mastery of sumo wrestling, Kingpin has not only terrorized the world, but caused poor Peter Parker to lose sleep on many occasions.

The Kingpin has foiled many a supehero. - And has even ventured into Hell's Kitchen.

While you may not have seen The Kingpin among the recent web-slinger's movies, he's actually appeared in the Daredevil film, played by none other than Michael Clarke Duncan. Other stars are: Ben Affleck as Daredevil, Jennifer Garner as Electra, and Colin Farrell as the deadly Bullseye.

Daredevil (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
Daredevil (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]

The Kingpin was not only one of Spidey's great villains, but has been a mainstay with ole' Horn-Head, The Man Without Fear, also known as Daredevil. This story is great; it's an origin of the mysteriously, blind lawyer, Matt Murdock, and how he came to acquire the hyper-sensitive powers that allow him to be a crimson crime-fighter at night!


Spidey Villain #3: Mac Gargan - "Hold it, Spider-Man! You're not going anywhere!"

Mac Gargan, Scorpion, and Venom
Mac Gargan, Scorpion, and Venom

He was once a lowly, hot-headed streetwise private investigator, easily outsmarted by our friendly neighborhood web-slinger. But things changed for Mac Gargan one day when J. Jonah Jameson funded him into a neogenic experimentation, imbuing him with the proportional abilities of the Scorpion, a spider's greatest predator.

From that day forward, Gargan took to the city, haunting Spidey's every move. In conjunction with his augmented strength, speed and pincer-endowed hands, he took the name Scorpion, supplied with a mechanical tail capable of rending flesh or squirting acid.

But, even then, as formidable a foe as The Scorpion became, his destiny in the super-villain career hadn't fully revealed itself. Years later, he would be approached by an alien creature known as The Symbiote (a black, inky substance which had previously bonded with Peter Parker and another host). Accepting this union, Gargan became the new Venom, more monstrous, fierce and horrible than any of his predecessors. Already powerful, his new body further increases those abilities and adds tendril webbing and slashing claws. Worse than ever, he also contracted the symbiote's immunity to the fabled spider-sense.

The side effect of The Symbiote also increased his appetite; now Gargan occasionally hungers for flesh; he's eaten anything from a human to a Skrull. This has truly turned Gargan into something less human and more deadly (originally, he believed he was a misunderstood good guy).

Venom has always been one of Spider-Man's greatest nemesis; what he lacks in originality and brilliance is made up by his instinctive nature, a human and alien bonded mind that already knows every move the wall-crawler can make. As the Scorpion, Gargan was already deadly, but once he fused into Venom, this is one super-villain Parker tries to avoid.

The Scorpion or Venom? - Gargan at his best.

Now that Mac Gargan has filled the shoes of two super-villains, which one do you believe better suits him? He's always been the original Scorpion, but as Venom, he's technically the third to bond to the symbiote. (Peter Parker was the 1st; Eddie Brock was the 2nd, donning the name "Venom".)

Which super-villain would you like Mac Gargan to portray the most?

Spidey Villain #2: Dr. Octopus - "And now, Spider-Man, I grow bored with this game!"

Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavious
Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavious

Otto Octavious. Otto Octavious. Say that three times real fast and you'll get a brief understanding of the difficulty, not just in pronunciation, but in many amazing battles between the web-slinger and the intellectual greatness of the man who became Dr. Octopus.

Although most bad guys tend to fit a mold of greed and insidiousness, Otto was originally a decent, but highly advanced researcher, deeply submerged in his work until an unfortunate explosion bonded his mechanical harness to his spine. Shortly thereafter, the four writhing limbs would fall completely under his command, giving him many advantages in combat, maneuvering, and pure physical leverage.

One of the draws of Dr. Octopus is that he's also a legacy super-villain of Spidey's, having appeared in Spider-Man #3 (July 1963). After gathering a level of popularity, and nearly unmasking the wall-crawler, he has never looked back.

Masterminds are always trouble for Spider-Man; you'll see, commonly, where he has to defeat multitudes of minions or experimental inventions, only to face the real evil later. And that's where Dr. Octopus fits in; not only is his robotic arms deadly, but his creative, super-intellect is usually at work building deadly traps and destructive inventions. For that reason "Doc Ock" is never easily taken down; whenever Spidey encounters him, it's clearly part of an elaborate scheme.

Although he is known to work with other super-villains, Otto Octavious is recognized as the first founder of the anti Spider-Man group known as "The Sinister Six", a plethora of rogue villains that beat the wall-crawler within an inch of his life.

Spider-Man battles Doc Ock! - On Blue-Ray.

In the movie, Spider-Man 2, Spidey's main foe is none other than Dr. Octopus. You'll be able to see Otto Octavious as he becomes the mechanically-armed menace, threatening to blow up the entire city of New York!

Spidey Villain #1: Norman Osborn - "Now for my first victim...The Amazing Spider-Man himself!"

Norman Osborn, The Green Goblin
Norman Osborn, The Green Goblin

Have you ever heard of the Green Goblin? Probably so if you've enjoyed reading Spider-Man comics over the decades. He's one of the premiere, most devious, insane and suicidal bad guys Parker ever ran into. He was also Norman Osborn, the father of Pete's best friend, Harry Osborn. During that part of his career, Spidey was unmasked and nearly killed, only barely surviving the crazed encounter.

Thought dead many times, Norman Osborn, though, turned out to be much more than a super-villain imbued with super strength and agility from a chemical process which also affected his mind. Sure, he was the original Green Goblin, but later we learned that he was a man of many unpredictable designs.

In the world of Spider-Man (and even a multitude of many superheroes), Norman has represented one of the greatest threats to the United States and the globe. This event, which encapsulates his rise to power, is known as the "Dark Reign".

During this gloomy period, Osborn managed to become a national hero for taking out a key figure during a Skrull invasion (the Queen) and saving the world. From there on, he rose in prominence, removing S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury, and installing his own organization known as H.A.M.M.E.R. which has thwarted nearly every hero as much as Spider-Man. Osborn even removed and reinstalled his own version of The Avengers (of which Spider-Man was, or still is, a member) and made them outlaws.

Perhaps being the Green Goblin was enough; as the glider-riding, Halloween-styled madman, Osborn terrorized Spider-Man daily. Not only did he defeat him, but he was consistently putting Parker's Aunt May and Mary Jane in danger (it turns out they are great for kidnapping). Unfortunately, though, Norman Osborn was driven to a greater evil, one defined by a need to take an entire nation hostage and an imagination beyond the wall-crawler's expectations.

Wealth, power, resources and...yes, he can always revert back to being the Green Goblin. Osborn's got it made.

Alert: Norman Osborn is... - Avenger?

Just when you thought you were safe...just when it seemed that Earth's Mightiest Heroes could save you from the brink of despair...wait! Who's face is that on an Avenger's ID Card?

Why that's Norman Osborn!

Thanks for dropping by! Please feel free to comment on anything you've seen or heard pertaining to Spider-Man's Top 10 Greatest Villains. After all, there's so much information that this article can only get better if it takes everything into account.

You're also welcome to provide anything else you feel of interest; if you would like to see more information or want to critique. Thanks again!

Reader Feedback - Spidey needs some input!

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    • Nathan Kiehn profile image

      Nathan Kiehn 5 months ago

      As a huge Spider-Man fan, I loved looking over your opinions of Spidey's enemies. He has such a fantastic Rogues Gallery, and I love that you included all the links to show us just how embedded these characters are in pop culture.

    • profile image

      That guy 3 years ago

      Kingpin and jackal aren't ahead of kraven, lizard and sandman, also where's electro?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Carnage electro rhino and Eddie Brock were not on this list to me Eddie Brock is a better venom then Mac gargan

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Carnage should be 6 not jackal

    • profile image

      kyle-aston-395 5 years ago

      @anonymous: how bout carnage

    • profile image

      kyle-aston-395 5 years ago

      here's my top ten 10 kingpin 9 kraven 8 scorpion 7 lizard 6 hobgoblin 5 green goblin 4 electro 3 anti venom 2 mac gargan venom 1 carnage / toxin

    • profile image

      kyle-aston-395 5 years ago

      wot the hell no carnage

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Idk, maybe um.. VENOM as in Eddie Brock!?

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 6 years ago

      I always collected spidey, I always liked when he had to battle Mysterio....

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 6 years ago

      nice lens!

    • PastorSam LM profile image

      PastorSam LM 6 years ago

      I remember reading the issue that Hobgoblin came into existence.

      Great Addition.

    • ravi551854 profile image

      ravi551854 6 years ago

      nice and cool lens i like this