Chameleon happens to be one of the oldest Spider-Man villains. Born Dmitri Smerdyakov, he immigrated to the United States after a hard life in Russia. He seemed to have a talent for imitating his friends and neighbors as a youth. After immigrating from Russia, Dmitri did not have very much money. To fix this, he decided to get into crime under the “Chameleon” moniker. Boldly, he committed his first crime as Spider-Man but was quickly arrested. Chameleon would go on to impersonate several major names, including J. Jonah Jameson, General Ross, and several others. While some assume his talent came from superpowers, they didn’t… at first.
He initially used makeup and elaborate costumes to impersonate people. Dmitri used a device in his belt buckle that emitted gas to help him mold his features to fit the person he impersonated. He’d later steal a microcomputer from Spencer Smythe to use with his device to allow for more impersonations, and he even used a costume made of memory material that could be altered to fit anything. The buckle also analyzes the appearances of anyone Chameleon encounters via video receiver, and then adds their face to his database. Later on, Dmitri’s skin is surgically mutated by a serum that allows him to take over anyone’s appearance at will. His fabric then responds to his nerve impulses to change into whatever he needs.
The Hobgoblin has popped up quite often in Marvel Comics since the early 1980s. There are also several people who have taken on the role as well. The initial Hobgoblin was Roderick Kingsley, who worked as a fashion designer in New York City. One day, he is able to gain access into one of Norman Osborn’s secret lairs where his Green Goblin equipment was stored. Kingsley stole a lot of the gear and then perfected Osborn’s inventions and even the Goblin formula. This was able to enhance his abilities and even his intelligence, without making him insane as it did with Norman. Thus, he’s one of the few Spider-Man villains that did not need to be insane to be a criminal.
Hobgoblin decided to go with a Halloween-inspired appearance but kept a lot of the same weapons Green Goblin had. That includes the pumpkin bombs and Goblin Glider itself. Kingsley ended up becoming one of the biggest Spider-Man villains of the 1980s and 1990s. However, several others took on the mantle. Ned Leeds, one of Peter Parker’s co-workers at the Daily Bugle, was willingly brainwashed to serve as a stand-in for Kingsley as Hobgoblin. This was done in case Roderick was ever accused of being the Hobgoblin. Yet he feels this must end, but his life is ended before he can give up Kingsley to the authorities. Naturally, the most notable Hobgoblin beyond these two is Peter Parker’s best friend and Norman Osborn’s son, Harry Osborn.
The original Prowler, debuting in 1969, was Hobie Brown. Brown is an African-American teenager that also happens to be a genius. He developed impressive technology that could aid him as he decided to become what was essentially a petty thief. Hobie is not a bad guy for very long, as Spider-Man helps to redeem him. He becomes an ally to Spider-Man and a hero himself. Yet perhaps the most notable version to hold the Prowler title today is Aaron Davis. He’s from the “Ultimate Universe” where Miles Morales happens to be that universe’s Spider-Man. Davis is not exactly a terrible person at all and has lines he does not cross.
He began a life of crime along with his brother Jefferson at a young age. Jefferson turned his life around after getting married, eventually leading to the birth of Miles. Aaron did not, and ends up getting roped into a criminal enterprise that exploits his skills. Miles eventually fights with his uncle and assumes he ended his life. But sometime later on during the Secret Wars story-arc, Davis is revealed to be the new Iron Spider. The Prowler suit is pretty impressive, as it gives him the power to wall-crawl, glide/fly, and gauntlets that shoot air blasts and sleeping pellets among other projectiles. Plus, the suit would not be complete without its titanium-laced claws.
The Vulture happens to be one of Spider-Man’s earliest villains. Like other Spider-Man villains, there are a few versions of the Vulture. However, the one everyone knows and remembers is the original, Adrian Toomes. Of course, Toomes is a brilliant man who is also an impressive electrical engineer. The issue is that Toomes is often maniacal, especially when he is unable to get exactly what he wants. In fact, due to one manic episode, he decided to build a suit that is capable of flying at incredibly high speeds. Toomes decides to turn to a life of crime under the moniker of the “Vulture,” which results in many battles with Spider-Man.
He eventually even teams up with five other notable Spider-Man villains to become the original Sinister Six. Toomes created what is essentially a one-of-a-kind suit that is actually made only for him. He used electromagnets to tailor the suit’s harness to his body, which essentially operates similar to a modern-day military-grade exoskeleton. Unlike those, his suit gives him the gift of flight but also allows him to have enhanced physical traits too. This, combined with his intellect, makes the Vulture one of Spider-Man’s toughest villains.
We might already be getting a lot of flack for even adding Mephisto to this list at all. He’s known to be mostly a Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider villain. He remained mostly connected to them for a long time. However, in later periods, he ends up in battles with Spider-Man quite often. Mephisto is essentially Marvel’s version of The Devil. He is said to be responsible for a lot of the evil that has taken place on Earth. In fact, Mephisto is said to be responsible for both Norman & Harry Osborn’s turn to the dark side. Harry eventually dies after this turn, which is key to remember. Soon, May Parker is going to die so Peter makes a deal with Mephisto to save her. Yet this being has no concept of good, so anything he does for another comes at a massive price.
For many, he would simply take their soul. Yet Spider-Man would be taking eternal punishment for a righteous reason, which disgusts Mephisto. This gives him the idea for another plan. Due to hating the happiness of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, he decides to retcon their lives. In this new reality, MJ and Peter never get married. However, this is a huge issue as the two would still have knowledge of each other’s existence. Thus, at MJ’s request, Mephisto erases all knowledge of Peter’s identity. Yet a lot comes with that, including that their future daughter will be erased too. In this new reality, Harry is now alive as the timeline change brought him back and we find out that Norman faked Harry’s death. Mephisto literally changed the entire life of Spider-Man.
Some see Scorpion as a joke, but he is actually one of the Spider-Man villains where Peter cannot assume his powers will help him. Rather, he has to use intellect. He actually debuted under his actual name, Mac Gargan, before debuting as Scorpion. Initially, Gargan is hired by Daily Bugle Editor-in-Chief, J. Jonah Jameson as a private investigator. He wants to know how Peter Parker is able to get pictures of Spider-Man so easily. Jameson hates Spider-Man at this point and decides to make Mac into a deadly enemy for the webhead. He feels this can be done by using a procedure that has barely been tested but shows promising possibilities.
The procedure goes terribly wrong and leaves Gargan with a now unremovable scorpion-themed armor. On top of this, he develops predatory instincts similar to that of a real scorpion. Due to the mutation, he turns to a life of crime. That also included trying to get revenge on both Spider-Man and Jameson, whom he blames equally for what happened to him. The armor gives him super strength, speed, stamina, agility, durability, and reflexes. The tail is cybernetic and capable of shooting various projectiles. Oh yeah, and the precognitive scorpion-sense operates a lot like the “Spidey Sense,” making a battle with him incredibly tough for Spider-Man.
Shocker has always been one of the long-standing Spider-Man villains that he battles on a regular basis. Of course, outside of Marvel Comics, he has never properly been represented in media. Herman Shultz is considered a genius invention and self-taught engineer. He’s one of the best safecrackers in the world too. One of his biggest inventions is a pair of gauntlets that produce very powerful vibrational shock waves. There is a lot of risk in his job, and the gauntlets will protect him from potential issues with authorities. Plus, vibrational or shock waves have various uses.
Shultz eventually makes a protective battlesuit that incorporates his gauntlets, deciding then to be known as “Shocker.” This leads to Herman becoming a mercenary for hire, and a popular person to hire for New York’s most powerful and influential crime lords. Due to that, he ends up battling with Spider-Man very often. While he does not possess real powers like Spider-Man, his suit is able to absorb some kinetic energy from attacks that can then be deflected back. His gauntlets use Vibro-Shock technology, which can act as somewhat of a deflector and absorber. Meaning Spider-Man often has to use web attacks to take him down over brute force.
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.