Rhino is one of the Spider-Man villains that has had several different retcons, especially as he has been used in popular media outside Marvel Comics. In every version outside the Ultimate Universe, Rhino is known by the name of Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich. In some versions, he is a Russian immigrant and in others, he is born in the U.S. but is still clearly Russian. The original Aleksi is a member of the Russian Mafia who willingly underwent a series of chemical and radiation treatments, which was initially designed to just give him an artificial skin covering to give him super strength. Yet he rebels against the Mafia and destroys their laboratory.
After his initial criminal activity, Aleksi is arrested. But once out, he is offered more augmentation. This time, using the same gamma radiation that gave the Hulk his powers. Yet he eventually wears a Rhino exo-suit, which becomes permanently attached after a rocket crash. He then takes on jobs with the promise of surgeries to help. All of these procedures led to Aleksi’s mind going downhill, making him easy to manipulate or send into a blind rage. When he’s charging, Rhino can destroy nearly anything in his path. This makes him dangerous, and a key asset for many crime bosses, thus putting him in conflicts with Spider-Man very often.
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood characters in Marvel Comics is Flint Marko. While his story has been re-told many times, it is actually his expulsion from school that leads to Marko needing to turn to a life of crime. He was expelled for fixing a football game, which he only did to help a friend in huge gambling debt to a local mobster. His criminal activity increases as he gets older, leading to being sentenced to prison on Ryker’s Island. Flint manages to escape but ends up reaching a beach which also happens to be a nuclear testing site. He came in contact with sand there, which had been irradiated by an experimental reactor.
Marko’s body and the radioactive sand bond together, effectively changing Marko’s molecular structure into sand itself. With his newfound abilities, he takes on the moniker of “Sandman.” The powers allow him to shape-shift, control the density of his body, manipulate his size and mass, along with being able to manipulate the Earth around him. Eventually, he grasps how to fly using sandstorm abilities too. Sandman, in spite of everything, is not a terrible person underneath it all. Thus, he was able to be redeemed to become an ally to Spider-Man. He is even asked to be an Avengers reserve team member too.
Debut:Free Comic Book Day: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (May 2007)
Created By:Dan Slott & Phil Jimenez
Mister Negative is the only member of our Spider-Man villains list that was created after the year 2000. Initially, he was an unnamed Chinese gangster and human trafficker who was captured by the crime boss Silvermane. He was brought in, alongside the future Cloak and Dagger, to become test subjects for a drug created by Simon Marshall. The experiment gives the person control over both the Darkforce and Lightforce. These forces are extra-dimensional forms of energy that can be manipulated by those attuned to them. Treat them similar to the force in Star Wars, where there is a light and dark side of the force that only force users can access.
Cloak and Dagger would have this split, where Cloak took on abilities with the Darkforce while Dagger took on abilities from the Lightforce. However, the gangster was given access to both. This effectively gave him two very opposite personalities, Mister Positive and Mister Negative. Positive was a philanthropist who went by the name of Martin Li and became the founder of the F.E.A.S.T. Project that helped the homeless. The other, Mister Negative, is a ruthless crime lord who leads the Inner Demons Gang. The two sides have no memory of the other, making Martin quite dangerous. He even has the power of controlling minds, charging melee weapons with his Darkforce energy, a healing touch, and enhanced strength & reflexes.
The story revolving around this character has altered a bit over the years. However, the original is the one people know best. Dr. Curt Connors worked as a surgeon for the U.S. Army, where he performed emergency battlefield surgeries. Yet during one wartime blast, his arm was badly injured and had to be amputated. When he returned home, Connors became a notable geneticist. Obsessed with reptiles and how lizards especially grew back limbs like tails, he developed a serum based on lizard DNA. Ideally, if it works, humans will be able to grow back missing limbs too. Confident in his research, he tests this on himself.
While his arm did come back, the serum changed him into a human-sized lizard. While Spider-Man helped to undo the transformation, The Lizard remained a part of Connors’ mind. Thus, he’d come back off and on. Eventually, The Lizard was able to retain all of Connor’s intelligence, accompanied by a warped mind. In fact, he tried to turn mankind into reptiles just like him a few times. Dr. Connors often suffers from the Lizard’s effect on his mind, making him live in constant fear that it’ll return one day and take him over for good. While The Lizard might be one of the most notable Spider-Man villains, Connors is a dear friend that Spidey often tries to help.
Mysteriowas originally a Hollywood stunt man and special effects artist named Quentin Beck. However, he feels the career here is a dead end. He wanted to become an actor but this did not go very well. Realizing his intelligence with magic and special effects could be useful for criminal activity, he leans in that direction instead. Now going by the name Mysterio, Beck realized if he enhances his technology, he could create master illusions that look and act incredibly real. He’s also relatively prepared for a lot of what Spider-Man could bring to the table.
In their first battle at the Midtown Museum, Mysterio manages to obstruct Spider-Man’s notable spider-sense with gas and even manages to dissolve Spidey’s webbing with a chemical abrasive. Mysterio is then tricked into revealing he robbed the museum by Spider-Man, putting him in jail and ending his Hollywood career. Thus leading to an official life of crime. Of course, Mysterio does create illusions but he is also a skilled chemist and roboticist, which he puts to good use against Spider-Man. His notable helmet allows Mysterio to see out but no one else can see in, making his identity a “mystery.” It also protects him against his own illusions.
Electro has always been one of the more intriguing Spider-Man villains, considering his abilities more than over-power him. Thus, one would assume he should be able to put Spider-Man away pretty easily. Yet what always held him back from doing so is that he can only use his powers when he has the charge to do so. There are now a few different stories surrounding Electro’s origin. But the original is that Max Dillion worked as a lineman for the electric company before he was struck by lightning as he was working on a power line. This lightning strike itself was not really what gave him powers.
Rather, Dillion seems to be a mutant that had dormant mutant powers that allow him to manipulate electricity. The lightning hit him with a burst of energy, thus causing his mutant power to spark within him. Effectively, he is now a living electric capacitor that must absorb immense amounts of electricity to charge himself up. The more energy he absorbs, the more powerful he will be. On top of this, extra energy allows him to fly and use superhuman strength and speed. Most energy sources only have small amounts of energy to absorb, and Electro works through quite a lot of it. This is why Spidey just has to force Max to use his power to tire himself out.
Several people have become Venom in Marvel Comics. That is because Venom is essentially a symbiote from an alien planet far from Earth. This symbiote needs a host to survive and can pop around from living being to living being. Yet it is hard for the symbiote to stay with one host unless that host happens to be a good match for it to bond with. Initially, the best host for Venom was Peter Parker. This is what gave us the infamous “Black Suit Spider-Man.” Yet the symbiote is alien to Earthly beings and therefore does not understand them or Earth itself, making it relatively nefarious. Parker then rids himself of the symbiote to avoid problems.
Yet just five months later, it bonds with Eddie Brock, one of Peter Parker’s rivals at the Daily Bugle. Since Brock hates Parker while also hating Spider-Man, Venom helps his host remove the barriers holding him back. This turns Venom into a prominent villain. Eventually, Brock is able to control Venom more and become an Anti-Hero. In another universe, Parker’s school bully Flash Thompson bonds with Venom. Since Flash loves Spider-Man, he has no ill-will toward him. He is also able to control it better than Brock, becoming an anti-hero almost immediately. Yet he started out as one of the biggest Spider-Man villains the webhead had.
Kingpin has truly become a major Daredevil villain, but he’s also one of the biggest Spider-Man villains too. Wilson Fisk is a large man, which some assume is enough to make him a threat. But truthfully, that is only part of what makes him such a big threat. Fisk is one of New York City’s most prominent crime bosses. This means he has connections to people that can help him accomplish whatever he wants. He’s also relatively rich and can pay whatever it costs to get what he wants. Of course, he will get his hands dirty when he has to. Kingpin is a great tactician, but when he has to go into battle, he’s a major threat.
He has access to weapons such as a laser gun-equipped cane and a diamond stick-in, filled with sleeping gas. This goes along with his suits, which all contain kevlar armor that means he can survive even point black shots from guns. Plus, this same armor makes him tough for Spider-Man to fight. The size alone makes Fisk difficult, but with the armor, Spider-Man cannot beat him with most punches and kicks. Even with his superhuman strength. Fisk also does not care how far he must go and is known for his brutal fighting style. Resulting in memorable blood encounters with Spider-Man on top of those with Daredevil.
Kraven The Hunter happens to be the brother of Cameleon, but they are nothing alike. Kraven’s name is literal, he’s a big-game hunter who loves going after the biggest and most difficult threats. He considers himself to be the world’s greatest hunter and loves a challenge. This made him want to go after characters with animal-like names. That includes Black Panther, whom he hunted but was not as successful going after. Eventually, Spider-Man becomes his target, leading to him becoming one of the most notable Spider-Man villains ever. He’s unsuccessful many times but eventually does succeed in taking out Spider-Man… sort of.
This is part of the infamous Kraven’s Last Hunt storyline. Which is all about Kraven taking out Parker, then becoming the new Spider-Man to prove he can do the job better. Of course, Parker was not really ended by Kraven and eventually stops him. But the two have numerous battles, where Kraven never holds back. Spider-Man often does, which puts him at a big disadvantage. Kraven is an experienced tracker and tactician, so there is really nowhere Spider-Man can hide. He has to take on Kraven head-on. Due to the weapons and traps he uses, he is already difficult. Yet he will also use others to force Spider-Man out. Nothing is off-limits for this man.
Norman Osborn is a very wealthy man, which was built on his genius-level intellect, who is initially considered a relatively good man. But once he used a Goblin formula, his brain was altered. This possesses him to do a lot of odd, crazy things whenever the “goblin” inside takes over. This formula actually enhanced Osborn pretty significantly in several areas. Once it effectively went into his system, Norman had enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, and reflexes. On top of that, he was also able to develop regeneration abilities.
Now going by the name Green Goblin, he develops technology to assist him in his new criminal ways. This includes several goblin-themed weapons like the infamous pumpkin bombs. This is on top of the Goblin Glider. He’s often portrayed as Spider-Man’s greatest enemy, not just one of the Spider-Man villains he sees on rare occasions. However, this is likely due to how personal he affects Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Likely the biggest story he’s connected to is the death of Gwen Stacy, yet he also attacks several others close to Parker. There is not a line Goblin won’t cross, and he only does what he does simply out of hatred for Spidey. Nothing more.
Dr. Otto Octavius was originally a gifted scientist who was considered a good person. He actually was working on a robotics project, which resembled the tentacles of an octopus. He was making them for use in numerous areas, especially for other scientists. They’re just worn on the back of the body and everything is operated by the user’s mind or movements. Yet the harness and tentacles become fused to his body during a lab accident. At one point, the story was that the tentacles somehow affected Otto’s brain. Since they were initially made to move with the thoughts of the user, they could easily mess up and do just the opposite. That seemed to be the case for Otto and his decision-making. Thus, he turns to a life of crime, becoming one of the top Spider-Man villains along the way.
Yet he eventually grows obsessed with taking down Spider-Man. This led to Octavius developing the Sinister Six team. He also learns Spider-Man’s identity as Peter Parker but has usually kept it to himself rather than tell others. Which seemed to pay off, as he was getting close to death during the 2012 Dying Wish storyline. He felt he could survive if he could switch bodies, but that is impossible..until it wasn’t. Otto somehow switched bodies with Peter, then lets him die in his body. That led to Otto becoming the “Superior Spider-Man,” where he wanted to prove he could be a better Spider-Man. While Peter is eventually resurrected, the movement into Parker’s body made him leave crime behind. But the fact that the original Spider-Man was killed and replaced by Otto is something no one else can claim.