After having a multi-hour debate on this topic I think it is only fair that an article need to be written describing who the greatest villain that Spiderman has to face is. There are some contenders and we will give a brief take on each of the villains selected in this argument. In advance, we apologize if someone on this list is not who you consider to be the best villain that Spiderman has to face over the course of his web-slinging adventures.
Spiderman is a very complicated character and his villain’s backstories are even more complicated than his own backstory. Some of them became villains purely by accident and others became villains purely by lusting after evil in order to enact revenge on someone or something. Spiderman had to get involved in order to save New York from being totally annihilated by these evil men. Instead of focusing on the movie adaptations we have decided to focus primarily on the comic origins of our characters. Furthermore, all ideals brought up in this article may in fact not be agreed with and I do ask that the comments be made respectfully.
For this list we have chosen 5 villains that Spiderman faces over the course of his time in the suite. Each of these characters was chosen with specific intention that they are in fact a great rival of Spiderman and offer him a tough test, Instead of providing context on just the villains we need to first explore Spiderman and his own backstory.
In 1962, Spiderman was created by Stan Lee. Lee was coming off success from The Fantastic Four and had an idea for a character that audiences, especially young adults, would find more entertaining and relatable. Spiderman’s first appearance came in Amazing Fantasy #15. There he appears as a teenager who was bitten by a radioactive spider. Parker was not very well liked by those he went to school with. Constant bullying from the student body at Midtown High School. Peter is sure about only one thing in the world it seems; his love for Mary Jane Watson.
Parker surrounds himself with a pretty solid group of people who all become intertwined in his life as he becomes Spiderman. Harry Osborn, son of eventual Green Goblin Norman Osborn, is arguably Peter’s best friend but throughout the comics struggles with addiction and his father’s lack of affection for him. Peter did not always love Mary Jane though as prior to meeting her he dated Gwen Stacy who in the comic version of his story was a very big portion of his life until her untimely death at the hands of the Green Goblin. Gwen’s father also meets his demise at the hands of another Spiderman villain who will be discussed later.
Peter Parker’s purpose was to save New York City by any means that he knew how. Spiderman was the alter-ego with which he could take that speech about “Great Power comes with great responsibility.” This is something that not only applies to Spiderman but applies to us in our everyday, non-superhero filled lives. He is arguably the most relatable hero that we have in the Marvel Universe.
Villain #1: Carnage
This was a hard choice because there is also an argument that could be made for Venom to take Carnage’s spot. However, my argument for that would be that at a certain point in the comic stories Venom teams up with Spider-Man and appears to be more of an anti-hero as opposed to being an all-out villain. His symbiotic relation however, Carnage, is an absolute villain and deservedly so. For the sake of our argument we will also be focusing on the most important of the various carnage hosts. Cletus Kasady.
After being locked up for his crimes against the city of New York, Eddie Brock is paired in jail with a man that has done much more horrible things than Eddie did as Venom. His cellmate is a man that is a notorious serial killer and overall maniac that deserves every bit of psycho analysis needed. Cletus Kasady killed his grandmother by pushing her down the stairs as a child. He also killed his mother’s dog as well as attempted to kill his mother. Kasady’s father took matters into his own hands just as Robert Thorn did to try to murder Damian in The Omen. Unfortunately, when it came to this matter, his mother still loved him and believed that she could help him. Until, she decided that it was best to send him elsewhere. By sending Kasady to an orphanage he was picked on and abused by the other children. Kasady murdered a orphanage administrator as well as a girl who he had asked out on a date and had laughed at him. Kasady had found his purpose which was to be a villain from the beginning. He notes that laws are just words and nothing more. In a sociopathic way he felt that he was “freeing” people from their demons in their own lives by harming them.
Kasady was locked up for an unknown crime and met Eddie Brock through being locked up in a psychiatric part of the prison. Kasady and Brock did not at all get along but the Venom Symbiote allowed him to escape from prison. Well, some remnants where left behind and began to attach themselves to a new host. They entered Kasady through an open wound in his hand and Kasady being a more violent soul bonded much differently than Eddie Brock did to Venom.
Carnage is vital to the story of Spiderman because when even Venom thinks that he is a threat to New York that should say something. Carnage reoccurs at many points during the Spiderman comic series and even at one point bonds with Spiderman at one point. Carnage is a vital character in the storyline and will hopefully get his own film in the near future as he is set to appear in Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage played by Woody Harrelson who portrayed Cletus Kasady in the first Venom film.
Villain #2: Green Goblin
Like Carnage, the Green Goblin is representative of pure evil and has no intention of helping out the citizens of New York but appears to be more interested in forming a coalition of evil against Spiderman and his vigilante ways. The Green Goblin’s story is a bit complicated as like some villains his alias changes throughout his existence and even includes two people who are very important in Spiderman’s life from the moment that he stepped onto campus at Empire State University.
The original Green Goblin was Norman Osborn, an extremely wealthy scientist whose wealth was inherited from his father. Norman developed anger at a young age as he has always wanted his father to show love and affection for him but never did. Norman became disgusted and attempted to move as far away from his family as he could. When he went to college he met his sweetheart and they bore a son named Harry Osborn. Harry will become important later. Norman builds his own company but loses his loving wife when Harry was just a year old. This causes tensions between the father and the son just as Norman had been with his father.
Being always fascinated with chemistry and sciences Norman began running experiments that involved the US Military and trying to help its soldiers became more apt to dealing with stress and become more violent during combat. His formula induced a state of total mindfulness while also giving superhuman strength to the individuals under its spell. While creating it in the lab Norman accidently got a dose of himself when the chemical reaction caused a green smoke to erupt into his face. As the Green Goblin, Norman becomes more intelligent and his physical abilities are way more than that of a typical combat soldier. Instead of using these abilities for good, Norman decides that he must rule the city of New York and enact revenge on those at Oscorp who wronged him. Spiderman stands in his way and there rivalry begins.
Norman is discovered to be the Green Goblin by Spiderman and while fighting him is electrocuted causing him to lose any memories of being the goblin. Norman is left in a vegetative state along with amnesia of what actually happened under his time as the Goblin. However, Peter does something that he later regrets. Peter never tells Harry that his father was the Green Goblin and that he is not Spiderman. Norman eventually returns to the Goblin persona after bouts of PTSD while being presented about supervillains by Captain George Stacy, father of Gwen Stacey, Spiderman’s girlfriend. Norman knows that Peter is Spiderman and wants revenge for what happened to him. While all of this is going on, Harry is in the hospital after overdosing on drugs. Norman feels that Peter let him and his son down and wants to make Peter Parker pay any way that he knows how. He kidnaps Gwen Stacey and holds her for ransom with the chance to kill Spiderman. While trying to save her, Norman accidently knocks Gwen off the bridge where she is being kept hostage. Spiderman wants his revenge and eventually finds Norman only to impale him with his glider killing him. Years later, Harry finds the costume and takes on the goblin persona. His father’s death forces him to want revenge on Spiderman as well. However, this is not the correct time to finish the tale of the Green Goblin as we want to primarily focus on the original villains themselves.
Villain #3: Dr. Octopus
Very similar to the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus’s alias is a mentor to a young Peter Parker. Dr. Otto Octavius as he is known prior to becoming Dr. Octopus was a very shy child. He grew up with an abusive father who was a factory worked in upstate New York. Due to his father’s behavior, young Otto decided to throw his life into books and education. He was a gifted thinker and not aggressive at all. While beginning his studies at university however, his father died. He began his fascination with physical sciences. His primary interest was in nuclear physics. Dealing with complicated experiments and highly dangerous materials Octavius wanted to make safety a top priority. He created robotic arms to help him with his experiments. Otto was buried in his work but found time to be social otherwise. His true love was a woman named Mary Alice Anders. Otto then preceded to ask her to marry him which she said yes to. Otto’s mother was not at all impressed and felt that Mary Alice was going to ruin his life just as a man had ruined hers. Otto took this to heart and decided that his mother was right. He broke off his engagement with Mary Alice only to find out that his mother was dating a librarian. He quickly pursued and berated his mother for ruining his life. This caused her to have a heart attack. With anger in his heart for what had happened and being distracted from his work, Otto decided that he needed a new career. His decided that he needed a change. While during an experiment one day he got that change.
During a demonstration a tiny radiation leak fused the arms to his body permanently and he from hence forth was known as Dr. Octopus, a name that was given to him as an insult but that he was not bothered by. Dr. Octopus was a reoccurring villain throughout Spiderman’s time. In fact, Dr. Octopus was one of Spiderman’s tougher villains as dealing with 6 arms instead of two can be more difficult. Dr. Octopus remained as the same alias throughout the comics and met his untimely end at the behest of Spiderman and due to his body taking numerous amounts of punishment during his villainous career.
Villain #4: Kraven the Hunter
When it comes to Spiderman villain it is hard to argue against Kraven the Hunter. He is the only character in this list that has not been featured in a previous Spiderman film. Kraven has a more complicated history than most. He also interacts in the comics with other Marvel heroes including Black Panther, Wolverine, and even The Punisher. Kraven’s backstory is even a bit more interesting than most villains in Marvel Comics. His alias is Sergei Kravinoff. Kravinoff developed a love of hunting at a very young age and decided that as a big game hunter he always needed a new challenge. His sole purpose in Marvel is to play “The Most Dangerous Game.” Kraven was trained by a man named “Gregor” and Gregor taught him many things about duty and honor when hunting.
The most important of Gregor’s teachings was that an animal deserves respect and using a bow and arrow is not always the best method to kill an animals. Sometimes brute strength is in fact the only true way to kill anything. Kraven became obsessed with mysticism and serums. One of which he consumed in order to gain maximum strength and agility. Kraven has tools such as poison darts and swords that affect Spiderman’s ability to defeat him. However, Kraven is obsessed with becoming the greatest hunter in the world and by killing Spiderman he will be able to claim that title. He forms a group called the Sinister Six along with Dr. Octopus to destroy Spiderman for good.
As per usual Kraven fails to destroy Spiderman and the city of New York is saved. However, he is continually resurrected with the help of other fellow villains who want to destroy Spiderman as much as he does. Kraven has not appeared on the big screen but the rumors are that Keanu Reeves may well portray the hunter in the upcoming Spiderman film No Way Home.
Villain #5: Electro
Electro is a very controversial villain in the world of Spiderman. Max Dillon was an electrical engineer and lineman who was struck by lightning by accident and was granted the power of electricity. He uses electrical equipment to charge himself like a battery and from there he used his powers for evil. He was approached by Magneto initially to become a member of the Mutant Brotherhood of Evil. He refused Magneto’s invitation as it did not ally with his individual approach. However, years later Dillion was approached by Dr. Octopus to join the Sinister Six and by joining this group he vowed to take down New York City by any means necessary. Spiderman was the only one willing to stop him and the Sinister Six from doing so. In their first fight, Spiderman was nearly blown to bits due to the heavy amounts of energy that Electro could hold. Dillion’s biggest weakness is his personality. He would rather fight first and strategize later. This causes him a lot of trouble when fighting other heroes. Electro though is also one of the few villains that has repeatedly gotten the best of Spiderman. This adds some points to his score for the greatest villain in Spiderman’s Universe.
So there were some villains that we left out of this list due to various reasons. However, they may be in your list. We did not do this intentionally but rather because we felt that some villains had a stronger case than others.
Mysterio: Quentin Beck, A stuntman turned villain by using his special effects knowledge to inflict pain upon others. He was mainly involved in crimes such as racketeering and bank robbery but not murder. He later joins the Sinister Six to destroy Spiderman.
Sandman: William Baker, Radiated and comes into contact with sand and has the ability to turn himself into Sand at any given moment in time. Sandman is notorious for bank robbery and murder. He later allies with other Spiderman villains to destroy Spiderman once and for all.
Kingpin: Wilson Fisk; Notorious crime figure whose operations include murder, racketeering, as well as others. Fisk’s main enemy is in fact Daredevil but he and Spiderman ally with each other on occasion to fight the Kingpin. Eventually, Fisk must step down at the Kingpin due to not being able to get rid of Spiderman.
Hobgoblin: Roderick Kingsley, a billionaire socialite who creates an alternate ego from Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin. Kingsley is followed by various others who don the Hobgoblin costume but is never able to live up to the standards of the original Green Goblin.