Every superhero is defined by several key factors - their superpowers, their choice of attire, their everyday moniker as a regular citizen, and their closest friends/family are among those signature attributes. Another one of those crucial elements that make a superhero such a global icon is their infamous Rouges Gallery. Batman always engages in the most epic of feuds with Joker, Superman is regularly terrorized by Lex Luthor, Professor X and the X-Men usually butt heads with Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants, etc. In the case of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker's web-crawling alter-ego is surrounded by some of the most crazed and treacherous baddies in comic book history. We're going to do the (dis)honor of listing all of the (worst?) best Spider-Man villains that we secretly cheer on whenever they come to blows with good old Spidey.
Look Out! Here are the 22 Best Spider-Man Villains
1. Doctor Octopus
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (1963)
You can't possibly compile the very best Spider-Man villains and not mention the evil genius known as Dr. Octopus. The unrelenting mechanical tentacles attached to this lunatic bring plenty of pain to Spider-Man and anyone that gets in the doctor's way. On top of all that brawn, Dr. Octopus also uses his brains to try and outwit Spidey every chance he gets. Never forget that this dude did the unthinkable by implanting his mind into Peter's body shortly after the hero's death and taking over his position to become the "Superior" Spider-Man. It doesn't get any more wicked than that.
2. Green Goblin
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (1964)
With all the money pouring in from Oscorp and the technological advancements being implemented into the company itself, it's no wonder why Norman Osborn's crime-ridden alter-ego is outfitted with so much firepower. Spider-Man gets put through the wringer whenever the Green Goblin violently glides onto the scene - he and his trademark "Goblin Glider" are responsible for some gnarly behavior, such as killing Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacy. The Green Goblin is a vicious individual that is the biggest menace in the skies of Spidey's home base of NYC.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (1967)
Wilson Fisk aka "Kingpin" doesn't just have it out for Daredevil - he also makes a habit of targeting Spider-Man from time to time. His role as a lethal crime lord has afforded him the funds and hired hands that make a habit out of screwing with Spidey. And whenever Spidey gets close enough to throw hands with the boss himself, Kingpin taps into his massive physique and scary levels of strength to bring the pain to the web-crawler. We shed a tear every time that scene of Kingpin bashing Peter's poor body to death in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse...
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (1984)
An alien symbiote found the second perfect host body in Eddie Brock and in the process, the mammoth Venom was born. And at first, the hulking creature gave Spider-Man hell every chance he could. Brock's version of this villain used his complete and utter distaste for Peter to inspire him to hunt Spider-Man down. And whenever they got into another bout of fisticuffs, Venom's overwhelming strength definitely gave Spidey a good run for his money. Venom eventually fought for the side of good as a "lethal protector." But at first, he was a constant headache for Spidey that pushed him to the limit during their most epic encounters.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #359 (1992)
Once that relentless alien symbiote found another host in the form of the maniacal serial killer named Cletus Kasady, another one of the best Spider-Man villains came to fruition. And that Spidey menace ended up being Carnage, which is equal parts sadistic, homicidal, and certifiably psychotic. Carnage's original run was so fearsome that Spidey and Venom were forced to join forces just to have a fighting chance. Anyone that makes two former foes come together to take a single force of destruction out has to be considered for a list like this.
6. Kraven The Hunter
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (1964)
What we have here is a man that loves the thrill of the hunt (maybe a little too much...). Kraven: The Last Hunt showcases him at his most unrelenting and sadistic self. After years of failing to take down Spider-Man, Kraven finally claimed his prey by burying the hero alive and donning his suit during his short stint as the web-swinging hero himself. Kraven the Hunter is one of those Spider-Man villains that legit scares us 'cause he could totally be a real person if that person was a hunter that's way too dedicated to their craft/hobby.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #13 (1964)
Thank god for Spidey's "Spider-Sense" and strong ability to discern the real from the fake. If he didn't have those two superhuman skills in his repertoire, Mysterio would have found a way to put him down for good. This villain's past life as a Hollywood stuntman and his affinity for using special effects to make Spider-Man second guess what he's seeing are his two most noteworthy traits. Say what you want bout the dude wearing a fishbowl over his head - Mysterio will make you stop giggling as soon as his next bit of trickery comes to life in front of your very eyes.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (1963)
Spidey fans have long realized how different members of the vast animal kingdom led to the inspiration of the hero's wealth of bad guys. Another clear example of that ongoing trend is one of the biggest OGs in Spider-Man supervillain history, Vulture. The alter-ego of Adrian Toomes takes to the skies on regular occasions with reckless abandon and fights tooth and nail with Spider-Man whenever the chance arises. Those sharp claws and those extended wings of his make Vulture an airborne threat that scares the hell out of us.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #46 (1967)
We kind of have a bit of respect for Shocker's one true love in life - CASH MONEY, BABY! And in order to get as much of it as he can, he dons a powerful battlesuit capable of sending out vicious vibrational shock waves during his duties as a mercenary-for-hire. We gotta be honest - if we had the opportunity to increase our savings account to an astounding level, we'd totally do the same things Shocker has done and are still doing. Taking this guy down in 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man was a lot tougher than we thought, by the way!
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #20 (1965)
You never have to wonder how a fight between a spider and a scorpion will go since you can open up a random Spidey comic and see how it goes down when this villain pops up. MacDonald Gargan's high-powered skillset comes from his power suit and the many genetic enhancements applied to his DNA. With those powers in tow, Scorpion has shown up numerous times to give Spider-Man that work. Those deadly tail whips of his and all those superhuman traits that power him combine for an immense threat to Spidey's well-being.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #6 (1963)
Poor Dr. Connors. The good doctor just wanted to do some research on growing one's limbs back with the power of certain types of reptiles. By applying that science to himself in an attempt to regrow his right arm, another oversized creature was born which resulted in Spider-Man having to contend with a friend-turned-foe. The Lizard is swift, mighty, and damn near unstoppable whenever his levels of rage reach an even higher level. Although the man at the heart of this villain has some good left in him, it's hard to take note of it whenever the big scaly baddie starts raging.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (1963)
Flint Marko is a lifetime criminal. And with the ability to turn his body into sand at will and use it to overwhelm everything in his vicinity, Sandman is even more of a tough customer that can slip into a bank and deplete it of all its funds in one fell swoop. Spider-Man has had to employ some unconventional means in order to bring him down and some of them employ the use of water since it's Sandman's primary weakness. Catch him far away from a body of water and Sandman proves to be a headache for Spidey, which grants him his rightful spot on this list of the best Spider-Man villains.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #41 (1966)
Once Rhino gets going and picks up a whole lotta speed, his potential for mass destruction knows no bounds. And even though his brainpower is pretty low, this beefy supervillain is still capable of presenting huge problems for Spidey. A mixture of mutagenic chemicals, radiation treatments, and a protective polymer suit provides Rhino with the unbelievable power and speed he's regularly equipped with. It's always a good time whenever Rhino's brawn comes into contact with Spider-Man's brain.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963)
This collection of the best Spider-Man villains wouldn't be complete without the very first evildoer Marvel's web-slinger ever came up against. And what a hell of a debut he gave comic book fans way, way, way back in the day. As his name suggests, he's a master of disguise that can damn near impersonate anyone and everyone. Anyone that has it in him to produce robotic clones of Peter's deceased parents just to mentally screw with the man has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
15. Morbius, the Living Vampire
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971)
"IT'S MORBIN TIME!" Sorry, we just had to get that one out. The cinematic take on this character is horrid, but the one that terrorized Spider-Man in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man is the one everyone rocks with the most. With enhanced senses, advanced regenerative abilities, and extra sharp talons, Morbius presents one of Spidey's most vicious foes. These days, he's taken on the role of a fan-favorite antihero. But during his days as a sinister bad guy, Morbius engaged in some of the most violent encounters with Spidey and engaged in some truly disgusting behavior.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #9 (1964)
We'd be super stressed if were Spidey and had the knowledge that there are multiple versions of this electrified menace wreaking havoc across the Marvel Universe. And that's because of Electro's "eccentric" personality traits and "shocking" toolset, which causes Spider-Man to fight for his life every time they cross paths. Electro is a madman that's always up for electrifying everything and everyone unlucky enough to cross paths with him. This dude is another OG member of Spidey's starting cast of iconic supervillains.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (1983)
Like the Shocker, the Hobgoblin has multiple aliases that are all severe hazards in the face of Spider-Man. Roderick Kingsley, Ned Leeds, Phil Urich, and more have all donned the horrifying suit, took to the air atop the signature glider, and forced the good people of NYC to run in the opposite direction whenever he lets those explosive Jack O'Lanterns bombs start flying. The Green Goblin freaks us out, for sure. But the Hobgoblin instills an extra bit of fear into us whenever we see him chasing down Spidey on those comic book panels.
18. Black Cat
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #194 (1979)
We've witnessed this woman emerge as another one of Spidey's gorgeous heartthrobs - it's always wild how she has Peter so flustered behind his mask whenever they link up on a rooftop. But we have to acknowledge the real reason for Black Cat making this list of the best Spider-Man villains - she's a master cat burglar that initially forced her future lover to put a stop to her criminal deeds. She didn't make it easy for him, though - Black Cat's expert use of numerous styles of martial arts and acrobatics guaranteed that Spidey would have his work cut out for him.
19. Mister Negative
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #546 (2008)
Mister Negative sticks out to us as one of the coolest-looking villains Spider-Man has even come up against. The guy's former life spent as a Chinese gangster that indulged in human trafficking is bad enough. But it's his action under his supervillain moniker that makes him stand out even more as a POS. Mister Negative has attempted to create a bioweapon with a sample of Spidey's blood to wipe out rival gang members, for God's sake! His powers, which include healing, mind-control, and charging regular weapons with his energy are pretty damn fearsome when in action.
First Appearance: Web of Spider-Man #36 (1988)
The tumultuous world of Spider-Man sure is filled with a slew of crime bosses, isn't it? Another one that's worth showcasing here is the super-intimidating Tombstone, whose physical prowess is nothing to play with. His abnormally huge body stature can damn near withstand the most severe natural elements, plus his filed-down sharp teeth add to the terrifying design of this oversized baddie. When it comes to superhuman bad guys for Spidey, Tombstone is one of the best.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #30 (June 2001)
The Spider-Men (and women) that exist across the vast reaches of the Marvel multiverse all fear this individual. Morlun hops across that infinite place of existence with the sole goal of draining the life force of various versions of the web crawler, which increases his power tenfold and puts him on an equal level of power, agility, and stamina with his mortal foe. Spidey managed to take Morlun out at one point, but it led to him losing his life in the process. This ancient multiverse-hopping villain is terror personified and someone that has existed for ages, which explains why he's accrued such power.
22. J. Jonah Jameson
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963)
What a hater! J. Jonah Jameson not only makes life hard for Peter by underpaying him for his photojournalism work, but he also puts salacious and unfounded stories out about Spider-Man out of pure spite. He may not present a physical threat to Spidey, but Jonah should still be considered one of the best Spider-Man villains due to his unhealthy infatuation with throwing dirt on NYC's web-slinging savior. We love the guy's signature toothbrush mustache, though!
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