There are few characters in Marvel, or anything for that matter, with a rogues gallery the size of Spider-Man’s. The villains Peter Parker has had to deal with over the years are unparalleled and make up some of the very best in the Marvel Universe. It’s nearly impossible to rank these villains, but I’m going to give it a shot.
10. Black Cat
Those closest to you are the ones who can hurt you the most. Peter Parker’s on-again-off-again fling has been both a hero and a villain over the years and she has certainly cause Spidey some headaches. Just when you think she’s turned over a new leaf and has become his strongest ally, she hangs Spider-Man out to dry again. She’s far from his greatest foe, but there’s an element of heartbreak that puts her on this list.
Spider-Man is not a fan of symbiotes as he has said on multiple occasions. He’s dealt with so many of them, including one you’ll probably find higher on this list, but none have been more deadly than Carnage. What happens when you combine a serial killer with a super-powered alien? You get a murderous creature that haunts the nightmares of Peter Parker.
Mephisto doesn’t typically come to mind when thinking of Spider-Man villains but he did force Peter to make his toughest decision ever. After revealing his secret identity in “Civil War,” villains targeted Peter and those he loves. The result was Aunt May taking a sniper’s bullet and dying in Peter’s arms. Arriving with a proposal, Mephisto forced Peter to choose either his aunt or his wife, Mary Jane Watson, my offering to erase the timeline and go back to before he ever revealed his identity. The result is a tormented Peter having to say goodbye to MJ before making a literal deal with the devil. It’s possibly the most heartbreaking story in comics.
Of course, there is at least one big reason Peter needed that secret identity in the first place. New York’s biggest crime boss has had it out for Spidey from the beginning and he would do whatever it takes to ruin his life. Most of the other villains Spider-Man has faced have had their strings pulled by Wilson Fisk. He’s the mastermind behind all of Spidey’s worst days.
6. The Vulture
Sometimes you just have to go back to the classics. The Vulture was the first villain to grace the cover of a Spider-Man comic when “The Amazing Spider-Man #2” became available in 1963. The Vulture has had dozens of fights with Spidey over the years, whether it was on his own of ar part of the Sinister Six. His staying power is obvious has he appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming just four years ago and is still set to appear in Sony’s Morbius in January.
Speaking of staying power, Mysterio debuted just a year after the Vulture in “The Amazing Spider-Man #13.” The evil illusionist has created all kinds of problems for Spider-Man over the years, including revealing his secret identity in Spider-Man: Far From Home. While we haven’t gotten to see just how that plays out in the MCU yet, it’s just the latest in a long line of games Mysterio has played with the wall-crawler.
4. Kraven the Hunter
Spyder, Spyder, burning bright. In the forests of the night. What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry? When a villain is the focal point of one of Spidey’s most iconic stories of all time, you know they’re going to make this list. Plus, there aren’t many names on this list that actually succeeded in killing Peter Parker. Of course, he came back in a strange and complicated way, but for a while he was in a grave. Kraven also just has one of the coolest villain looks ever.
3. Doctor Octopus
Now we’re getting into that top tier. When you try to think of Spider-Man villains, Doc Ock is probably one of the first that comes to mind. He’s appeared in comics (obviously), movies, animated series, video games and just about any medium Spidey has ever spun his web into. Things have gotten personal between Peter and Otto Octavius over the years, in both positive and negative ways. Like I said, those closest to you…
Another villain with a complicated history with Spidey. Venom is now very much a hero in his own right, but for years he has tortured the web-slinger. Eddie Brock made it his mission to kill Spider-Man, while the symbiote that granted him his power constantly reminded him that he wasn’t as good as his rival. In recent years, we’ve gotten to explore more and more of Brock’s past and we’ve seen what made him the way he was, which helped to see his side of the story. But Venom wasn’t always Brock. Mac Gargan may have been an even deadlier version of the character. Whoever the symbiote was attached to, it has been one of Spidey’s greatest foes for a long time.
1. Green Goblin
There’s no debate here. Green Goblin is without a doubt Spider-Man’s greatest enemy. Time after time the attacks from Gobby on Peter Parker have been personal, including the murder of his first love, Gwen Stacy. Add to that the attacks on Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson and even his own son, Harry Osborn, the Green Goblin is responsible for some of the worst days of Peter Parker’s life. And yet, Peter is constantly trying to make amends with Norman, even after all of the horrible things he’s done. It was a no-brainer for him to make the jump from the comics to the big screen in the very first Spider-Man movie and it appears we haven’t seen the last of him just yet.
I hope you all enjoyed this ranking of Spider-Man’s greatest villains. Please come back soon for another ranking article!
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”