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50 Greatest Friends and Foes of Spider-Man: Villains #25-16

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. Future installments will deal with Spider-Man creators and Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man’s supporting cast and his villains.

You all voted, now here are the results! Bring on the bad guys! For the first day of the villains, we’ll open with ten characters and the installments will get smaller as we countdown to #1.

Enjoy!

25. Mister Negative

One of the more recent additions to Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery, Mister Negative was a gang member who was experimented on by the Maggia. The result was two powerful beings trapped in one body. Martin Li, a kindhearted man who has some sort of healing powers and Mister Negative, a sadistic gangleader who has the ability to corrupt others (turn them into dark versions of themselves).

Mister Negative has used these abilities to take control of the Chinatown mob and has fought Spider-Man on many occasions, even corrupting him once…

In his Martin Li persona, he runs the F.E.A.S.T. Project (Food, Emergency Aid, Shelter and Training), a shelter and food kitchen that Aunt May volunteers at. The extent of Li’s complicity in Negative’s actions is still unknown.

24. Hobgoblin/Jack O’Lantern (Jason Macendale)

Jason Macendale was a difficult villain to write during his day. As part of the big reveal of who the Hobgoblin was, it was revealed that the original Hobgoblin had actually been KILLED a few months earlier and that there was now a new Hobgoblin. So the Spider-writers had to figure out who the new Hobgoblin would be and it was determined that it would be his old rival, the costumed villain known as Jack O’Lantern.

Now that he was the new Hobgoblin, Macendale did not exactly have much of a hook. He was just a typical mercenary supervillain, so Gerry Conway came up with the idea of having Macendale become an ACTUAL goblin!

This was his status quo for most of the 1990s. Once cured, he had a brief resurgence as a cyber-aided villain (during Ben Reilly’s time as Spider-Man) but when the original Hobgoblin returned (Surprise! The guy Macendale thought was the Hobgoblin was wrong!), he was killed off.

23. Juggernaut

Juggernaut and Spider-Man have not fought that many times over the years, but here is a case where quality definitely surpasses quantity, as the classic fight they had in Amazing Spider-Man #229 and #230 (by Roger Stern, John Romita Jr. and Jim Mooney) still lives on in Marvel lore…

Not really much else to say about ol’ Juggs. That story is the key.

22. Hobgoblin (Phil Urich)

Daily Bugle intern Phil Urich (nephew to star reporter Ben Urich) was a short-lived costumed superhero known as the Green Goblin (using a storage facility he found of the Goblin’s gear including the Goblin formula – think the original Hobgoblin’s origin only used for good).

When he quit as the Goblin (after his equipment became damaged), he helped start a support group for former superheroes. However, he suffered a mental breakdown and fought against his fellow former heroes. He then made his way to New York where he worked for his uncle again. His mental instability came into play once again as he went looking for another Goblin stash to impress Norah Winters, a reporter at his uncle’s paper who was working on so-called “Goblin cults” that worshiped the Green Goblin. While there, he came across the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, who mocked Phil as being a “Goblin knock-off.” This just broke Phil’s mind (as remember who was telling him this), so Phil exhibited a paralyzing “lunatic laugh” that he had used as the Green Goblin (a side effect of the formula) to freeze Kingsley in his place. Phil then decapitated Kingsley and took over as the new Hobgoblin.

As the new Hobgoblin, Phil is quite mentally disturbed…

In addition, he uses information about himself as the Hobgoblin to get close to Norah so that she would be romantically interested in him. So far it has begun to work.

21. The Burglar

Little is known of the man who broke into the Parkers’ Queens home after escaping from a TV station (where newly minted minor celebrity Spider-Man allowed him to escape) and murdered Ben Parker, but what is known is that the impact of his actions have played a major role in the creation (and the sustained efforts) of Spider-Man.

As it says in the comic, he is a constant reminder that with great power comes responsibility.

Oh, and he also returned to the Parkers’ home to steal some gold or something later on and Spider-Man scared him to death.

20. Morlun

Morlun has an interesting place in Spider-Man history in that he is a bit difficult to use again, as he is so tied in with the idea that Spider-Man gained his powers from a magical spider that just happened to ALSO be doused with radiation. It is a hard sell when so many people are used to the famous version of the origin. And you see, Morlun’s whole purpose is that he hunts down and lives off of the energy force from people who GET powers from mystical animals (“totems”). Still, if you get past that stuff, he was one devastating villain, especially his eerie calmness…

Imagine a villain who could track Spider-Man while he is out of the costume? Imagine a villain with no moral qualms about just attacking civilians if Spider-Man won’t come out and fight him? Imagine a villain who really seems like he can’t be stopped? That’s Morlun.

Morlun also ate Spider-Man’s eye one time (perhaps it is best you don’t ask about that story).

19. Morbius

Michael Morbius’ origins were much like Doctor Curt Connors, in that he tried to find a cure for a health problem he had (a rare blood disease) and ended up giving himself something much, much worse. He transformed himself into a pseudo-vampire. A pseudo-vampire still means he feeds on blood, which is not good for other people…

Over the years, though, Morbius’ role as a villain has mostly been driven by his obsession with finding a cure for his condition. Essentially, he’s willing to go to extremes to find a cure for his condition. And if that means doing some unethical things at times, he’ll do it.

When NOT obsessed with a cure, however, he’s actually a pretty decent guy. He and Spider-Man have been allies almost as frequently as they have been enemies.

18. Chameleon

The very first costumed super-villain that Spider-Man ever fought, the Chameleon holds a special place in Spider-Man history. Not such a special place that he wasn’t used as a solo villain for another 79 issues. Heck, when he next took on Spider-Man solo, they could not even remember what issue he debuted in…

Over the years, his relationship with Kraven the Hunter became the primary aspect of his usage (Chameleon’s sole appearance between #1 and #80 was in #15 where he thinks to bring in his old friend Kraven the Hunter to hunt down Spider-Man). His initial friendship was later expanded into being half-brothers with Kraven. And when Kraven died, he became obsessed with punishing Spider-Man in Kraven’s name. This led to a deal with the Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) to trick Peter Parker into thinking that Richard and Mary Parker were still alive (but in actuality, they were robots created by Chameleon to get Peter to reveal that he was Spider-Man).

After a series of mental breakdowns, Chameleon popped back on to the scene claiming that the mental problems were all a ruse to make people forget about him as a capable villain so they’d never expect him. He has popped up a few times since Brand New Day as a traditional super-villain, including working with Doctor Octopus’ Sinister Six.

17. Shocker

When he made his return in the incredible Mark Waid/Marcos Martin story “Unscheduled Stop,” where he shows up to kill a subway car full of jurors (a subway car Spider-Man happened to be on), the Shocker even makes a bit of fun at his own expense at how that is the type of villain he is – the dependable type who is there to do a job and he is not going to bring a ton of drama with him.

I think that is a major part of Shocker’s appeal. That, and John Romita (as is his wont) made him one heck of a costume.

16. Green Goblin (Harry Osborn)

While a bunch of characters got votes for both lists (including a few characters already revealed to you, like Morbius), only Harry Osborn showed up on both of them (unless you count Curt Connors and the Lizard as the same person). I think this is because Harry genuinely always seemed as though his villainy was a side-effect of his mental problems. While other villains have had that issue, as well, everyone had already gotten to know Harry for quite a long time before he succumbed to the so-called “Osborn legacy.”

Writer J.M. DeMatteis did a lot of great work with Harry’s descent into madness in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man…

Chilling stuff. Luckily, once they returned his father to the land of the living, Harry was able to return to the side of the good.

31 Comments

I’ll be the first to say that I like Harry Osborn Green Goblin more then any other Goblin. More then Norman, more then Rodrick Kingsley. I thought the personal history he had with Peter as former best friends was interesting, and J.M. DeMatteis’ stories often were great character studies about what made these guys tick.

@Jeremy

I totally agree, that is why I had Harry as my # 1 villain. That and he was the first Goblin I was introduced to when I started reading comics. I kinda thought he might be able to squeeze into the top 10, oh well.

Although those issues with the Juggernaut were great, I consider him to be an X-Men villain not a Spider-Man foe. Morlun is ok, but I really hate that magic spider crap so the mystical origin and Morlun are best left forgotten. Also, I think that Mr. Negative proves that all the best superhero/supervillain names have been taken already.

I think that Spider-Man has such a great rogue’s gallery. (He and Batman probably have the best villains.) I wonder if Swarm is going to appear on this list.

Nobody from my list here, but Morbius totally would have been if I’d remembered him. The Burglar is a good one too–hadn’t occurred to me. I’m not wild about the new villains and don’t much like the Goblins (the first Hobgobin least of all, because there was so much unearned hype around him), but I don’t begrudge anyone their favorites. I don’t really think of Juggy as a Spider-Man villain, but there have been some good Spider-Man stories up against him, so fair enough. I do like the Shocker and the Chameleon, but I’m glad they only pop up every once in a while to keep things fresh.

sandwich eater: I dunno, but I hope so. You’ve gotta love a Nazi made of bees.

Hey, I just noticed that the page used above “corrects” Spidey’s pupils in the iconic panel where he recognizes the Burglar’s face. I guess I understand the impulse, but it’s weird to see because I’ve always seen it replicated with the pupils still there. (In Marvel Masterworks, f’rinstance.)

Two I voted for that Im pretty sure have no chance of showing…Calypso and Tombstone.

Mr. Negative though guys?? Really?

Poor Chameleon. You basically introduce Kraven to the world in ASM 15, you fight the freaking Hulk…. And everyone still gives you the brush off like you weren’t doing anything for 79 issues.

Ed (A Different One)

April 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

That Spidey vs. Juggernaut throwdown was the pinnacle of my favorite ASM run (Stern/JRjr), though there were several other good issues in there as well (the Cobra & Mr. Hyde couplet was a close second IMHO). I know we all have a tendency to consider the issues we read as kids to be the “best”, but, man, I really think those Stern issues were something special. Spidey just hasn’t felt the same since. Like something vital was lost after that or something.

It’s intersting now to look back at the building/store that Juggernaut walked through to shake Spidey and realize that it turned out to be an important plot point in the “sequal” that Stern wrote to this a few years ago.

I know I’ve said it before but, dammit Marvel, sign Stern to a long-term contract and set him loose on some of these classic characters again. You can keep Slott on ASM, just give Stern a run on a resurrected “Spectacular” title or something. Or perhaps an ongoing “Astonishing”.

And look at that classic JRjr art. It’s hard to believe that it’s the same artist who did the Morlun panels a few scrolls down. Not saying I don’t like his new stuff too, it’s just that I miss the old style so much . . .

Ed (A Different One)

April 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

Oh, and I think I would have nejoyed JM DeMatteis’s run on SSM so much more if Sal Buscema hadn’t done such weird things with his art during that run. I love Sal’s art on so many other things, I seriously don’t get what he was going for during that period though.

Dennis Carradine (The Burglar) was my #1. I’m delighted that (presumably) others had him on their lists as well. Chameleon and Shocker were pretty high up on my list too.

Wow, once Norman Osborn and Roderick Kingsley (my number 1) show up, there’s gonna be a whole lotta Goblins on this list! Does Ned Leeds still count as a Hobgoblin? It would be kind of sad if he was beaten by Macendale and Urich…

By the way Slott, thanks for screwing up the Hobgoblin AGAIN after Stern already had to come back and clear up the previous mess.

There really are a lot of Goblins on this list, aren’t there? I think it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing Dr. Bart Hamilton appearing above Harry, though.

I’m trying to remember who I gave my top slot. It was either Kingsley or Harry Osborn. Probably Kingsley, but Sal Buscema and DeMateis’s take on Harry Osborn will always hold a big place in my heart, for all the drama they were able to wring out of his crumbling marriage and love/hate relationship with Peter Parker.

Dennis Carradine (The Burglar)

Woah, source for this??

the first Hobgobin least of all, because there was so much unearned hype around him

Why unearned? It’s hard to give too deep a characterization to a villain whose identity is a secret. I feel like Stern still managed to convey a lot of information about the type of person the Hobgoblin was without giving anything away. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of Kingsley as a villain who clings the illusion of control even as circumstances grow increasingly out of hand and he’s driven to riskier and riskier behavior. The gradual disappointment of his plan to go right where Osborn went wrong is one of my favorite supporting character arcs in any continuing series. Chalk it up to different strokes, I guess.

Two I voted for that Im pretty sure have no chance of showing…Calypso and Tombstone.

I voted for Tombstone as well, so fingers crossed.

Loved J.M. Dematteis on Spectacular Spider-Man, and while I didn’t like Sal Buscema at the time (I think he was trying to McFarlane up MJ or something) he grew on me, because he was so good at getting emotion across in those stories. And for those who mentioned the whole ‘Spider-Totem’ thing, J.M. also did a bit with Puma and Black-Crow in Spectacular #191-192 that sort of mentioned that Spider-Man was connected to a greater sort of spider spirit as well.

But as for the Morlun issues, I find them much easier to take when I just assume the Spider Totem was what Ezekiel and Morlun thought was going on, but it was not actually what happened to Spider-Man. But then what to make of Madame Web insisting that Spider-Man is some part of the ‘web of life’ that she can see?

And no way is Roderick Kingsley dead. The Hobgoblin Phil Urich killed was a brain washed, secretly resurrected Dr. Bart Hamilton. The Bart Hamilton everyone thought was dead was a Skrull. I had proof, but it was stolen.

Geez, I found that issue where Harry has the dinner conversation in the quarter rack of Half-Price Books. Good read.

Also, though I can accept the position, I’m just glad Shocker made the list–he’s my #1 favorite Spidey villain.

“But as for the Morlun issues, I find them much easier to take when I just assume the Spider Totem was what Ezekiel and Morlun thought was going on, but it was not actually what happened to Spider-Man. But then what to make of Madame Web insisting that Spider-Man is some part of the ‘web of life’ that she can see?”

I always thought the end of that story, where the guy that was helping Ezekial says “maybe they were wrong” was basically confirming that this is just what they thought, but not necessarily true.

What I initially LOVED about the Totem stuff was that JMS had the initial guts to throw it out there that, “Eh, maybe this is not THE TRUTH.” I thought that was great to see. So rarely do you see creators willing to throw in a little doubt about their BIG CHANGES. Then, of course, we had the Other which decided that, no, never mind, it IS THE TRUTH. Annoying (especially since anyone reading the books at the time knew it was bound to be reversed in the future).

Why unearned? It’s hard to give too deep a characterization to a villain whose identity is a secret. I feel like Stern still managed to convey a lot of information about the type of person the Hobgoblin was without giving anything away.

Yeah, different strokes. I just wasn’t interested in the Hobgoblin from the start, as he was just a Green Goblin knockoff that was supposed to be more awesome somehow, but for my money just wasn’t. It seemed like it dragged on and on, and I just didn’t care. And that was a period when I was reading the Spider-titles pretty faithfully. Heck, I liked the Rose better than the Hobgoblin, and the Rose was pretty forgettable.

Got Shocker and Morbius in this batch!

I would have liked to see Shocker rank higher but I realize that to many people he’s just one of those ‘weak’ villains who always gets beat up. He had a good run shortly after the end of the clone saga when he upgraded himself and was teaming up with an equally revamped Trapster, that was great stuff. I also loved what they did with him in the Deadly Foes Of Spider-Man miniseries of the early 90s.

Didn’t vote for Juggernaut despite that great story because I don’t think of him as a Spidey villain. There’s another nice one-off issue where Spidey was trying to stop him even tho all he wanted to do was get some sword out of the city to help save Black Tom (or something like that), and Spidey eventually just let him go because he respected that display of friendship and they both knew the fight was a waste of time anyway.

And yeah, way too many goblins! I voted the original Hobgoblin so I guess the retcons mean it’s Kingsley, but I much preferred when he turned out to be Ned Leeds.

Morlun was okay in that fisrt story but thankfully I stopped reading the JMS run after Romita JR left (there were a few good ideas but overall didn’t enjoy most of it, I think my favorite story besides Morlun was the Digger one) so I avoided The Other, and Sins Past too. In retrospect that was probably my best decision of the last decade haha

Damn it – I actually did forget about the Rose!

Three of my votes made it on to here and two of them are getting complaints. Harry’s probably my favorite Goblin, but I honestly really like Phil. He’s giving a good presentation of “what if Peter Parker was a complete ass” and, frankly, he’s been going down this path for a while with regards to Cebulski’s work with him a few years ago.

As for Mr. Negative, he’s probably the best entirely new villain presented in the last few years of Spider-Man comics and about the only BND villain that had both solid concept AND execution. On that train of thought, despite complaints, I’d say Freak had an awesome concept, he was just completely terribly written. I guarantee that if Wells or Slott done that first Freak arc, he’d be a modern classic. I’d have loved it if, instead of the throwaway Mayan villain they did, Wells and Bachalo did Freak it would’ve probably been great.

Alistair Smythe better be on the list, i mean Come on! he is at least a better villain than Shocker, Morbius and Mister Negative and i love shocker so thats saying something

I’ve argued at length elsewhere that the real problem with the totem material is that, even as a “what if?” suggestion, it wasn’t well-fleshed out and didn’t add much beyond a few one-off baddies. I’ll post my rant in the forum for those masochistic few who want to argue about a fizzled mega-arc from some years ago. The short version is that I feel it needed to be about something more than a suggestion of mysticism for sheer suggestion’s sake, and wasn’t.

On that note, Morlun making this list quite surprises me, since I’ve always read him as a gimmick villain in his first Spider-Man arc and a terrible character in his second. I guess his initial appearance and sheer distinctiveness of concept — well, before Shathra turned up, anyway — made more of an impression on other readers than they did on me. I suppose that Morlun did have a Whedonesque sort of vicious amicability to him when he debuted, and that’s something surprisingly few Spider-Man villains have had in general. Only the Foreigner — as written by Peter David — and Norman Osborn — as written by Ellis and Bendis outside the Spider-titles — have anything like it.

still surprised to see both chameleon and harry as the second green goblin so low thought they would both be the top ten and five. and also surprised to now know that the current version of the hobgoblin is phil. not to mention like ned leeds the original hobgoblin is now dead.

Chameleon has always been a favorite of mine. Something about the no identity / different identities aspect I just love! Same goes for the Clayfaces in the Batman villians – I just cant get enough of them! I think its more the psychological damage these sort of characters on the heroes more than anything :)

I think its more the psychological damage these sort of characters [have] on the heroes more than anything.

* Missed a word!

Uninteresting-villain-becomes-Hobgoblin-then-becomes-real-goblin… in the middle of another X-obsessed Marvel crossover that as usual delivered ever-decreasing returns. This pretty much put me on the road to killing all interest in Spidey and Marvel. They should’ve added an embossed polybagged jade & diamond-encrusted cover to cap it off.

On the lighter side: I loved Harry as the Goblin. Maybe it was because they only went back to that well a couple of times & didn’t flog it to death. Hobgoblin & 90s Marvel in general, please take note.

Michael Mayket

May 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

Harry as Goblin un DeMattias really worked. Again, as I mentioned in my response to Norman it’s the relationship beyond the mask that makes it so special and terrifying.

And, nobody has really done the Kingsley Hobgoblin justice since Amazing 250 really. Hobgoblin Lives, or whatever it was called, was pretty good. Kingsley has so much potential and should never be shown as working for the Kingpin as a henchmen… that’s Macendale and Urich crap.

Omar- I thought the Peter David Foreigner was great. I didn’t vote in this, and I was sort of going along and nodding, figuring that my picks weren’t that different from anybody else’s picks, and then I read your comment and now I will be sort of ticked off if the Foreigner doesn’t make it. Probably doesn’t help that subsequent writers have written some real garbage involving him running around in spandex and gaining his powers from mysterious satellites and whatnot. I mean, I didn’t even know he had powers, exactly, aside from his brain.

I do not even know the way I stopped up right here,
but I assumed this submit used to be great. I do not realize who you might be but certainly you are going
to a well-known blogger in case you are not already.
Cheers!

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