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50 Greatest Friends and Foes of Spider-Man: Villains #15-11

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! We continue with Spider-Man’s villains #15-11…

Here is a master list of all the characters revealed so far.


15. Carnage

During the early 1990s, Venom was becoming so popular that Marvel began to think that he could survive as a lead character. If that was going to be the case, though, then they would need a “replacement” of sorts – a Venom without that pesky “thinks he is really the hero of the picture” personality. So they came up with Carnage, the spawn of the Venom symbiote, who bonds with Eddie Brock’s one-time cellmate, Cletus Kassidy, who is just straight out a psychopath. The combination is a big bad killing machine…

This leads to Spider-Man and Venom actually teaming up to stop Carnage on more than one occasion.

Carnage was seemingly killed by the Sentry in the formation of the New Avengers, but he somehow managed to survive being torn in half and thrown into outer space, so he is back to being his typical evil self.

14. Jackal

The Jackal was Spider-Man’s professor during college, but…well, we’ll let him explain his situation…

Yep, the Jackal was responsible for the first Clone Saga AND the second Clone Saga! He’s essentially a lunatic who likes to mess around with clones and genetic experiments. He has certainly played a major role in Spider-Man’s life.

Most recently, he was responsible (in part) for giving most of the inhabitants of Manhattan the same powers of Spider-Man.

13. Mac Gargan (Scorpion/Venom)

Mac Gargan’s pursuit of power has been a constant ever since J. Jonah Jameson funded the experiment to create a being powerful enough to defeat Spider-Man. Said procedure sadly turned the subject insane…

Consistently throughout his career as a villain, he kept trying to get more and more powerful (this typically entailed getting fancier tails…and yes, the pun was intended). This came to a head when he bonded with the Venom symbiote becoming the newest Venom. This lasted for nearly ten years before the symbiote was torn from his body following the fall of Norman Osborn’s dark reign.

Recently, Gargan has returned to the Scorpion identity (and a new fancy tail). Some villains never learn.

12. Vulture

There’s a certain soothing charm to a villain like the Vulture who you can always count on to just be an old dude using mechanical wings to steal stuff…

He really is not much more complicated than that. He’s an old guy who steals stuff with mechanical wings. It is a beautiful simplicity. Well, he also has a plot one time where he turned himself into a young man. That was shortlived, however, and he was soon back to being an old man who steals stuff using mechanical wings. He has been part of every incarnation of the Sinister Six, because he is the perfect villain to just slot into a group dynamic. He is cool but doesn’t dominate a scene. He is a great character.

He recently showed up in Amazing Spider-Man (before the even more recent Sinister Six arc, that is) and he was up to his old (and always current) tricks – stealing stuff using mechanical wings. Why change a classic?

11. Rhino

For most of the Rhino’s career, he has been marked by two things. 1. The awesome suit he wears to tear stuff up and 2. his stupidity. There have been actual storylines revolving entirely around his stupidity and his suit (in one of the Deadly Foes of Spider-Man mini-series).

Things changed recently when writer Joe Kelly had the Rhino retire from crime and surrender himself to the police. He was sentenced to prison but was released fairly early into his sentence on parole. He met a good woman and decided to retire from a life of doing bad things. However, a new Rhino showed up trying to challenge him to a fight for the right to the Rhino name. He turned down the challenge, telling the new Rhino the name was his to take. The new Rhino couldn’t take that so he tried to compel the original Rhino into fighting him by threatening the Rhino’s wife. Spider-Man and the Rhino’s wife convinced him not to accept the challenge. It was a sweet moment.

Sadly, soon afterwards, the new Rhino attacked the Rhino and his wife, killing the innocent wife. This drove the Rhino to return, killing the new Rhino but also carrying a new hatred for Spider-Man, feeling that if Spidey had just let him kill the guy earlier, the Rhino’s wife would still be alive.

So now the Rhino is marked by his dark drive for vengeance against Spider-Man.


Ah, Silver-Age Marvel…when “I have wings” was considered a serious super-power that could strike fear into the hearts of bystanders.

I think it’s fair to say that Tom DeFalco, well before Joe Kelly, had started to fix the Rhino up a bit. DeFalco was the guy who made him a Russian immigrant, when, previously, he’d been a distinctly American goon hired by Russian spies as a test subject.

DeFalco also gave the Rhino a different speech pattern to go with the new background, which instantly seemed to boost the character’s IQ to near-average-human levels. And finally, he gave him a motivation for crime beyond “remove/reattach stupid suit,” namely, earning money to bring the rest of his family over to the U.S.

Other writers then studiously ignored most of this because of their fond memories of Dumb Rhino stuck in his Stupid Suit, until Kelly came along, remembered DeFalco’s work, and built on it.

Reading the ‘Not Brand Ecch’ reprints in the back of the new Spidey Omnibus. Brilliant! When are we getting a ‘Not Brand Ecch’ Omni???

was wondering when carnage would show up on this list. for he showed how nasty the symbiote can become if bonded to a pycho. the rhino always liked the character even if his mind was not up there at like doctor octopus level . vulture another thought would be in the top ten.

The Vulture is actually a *bit* more complicated than that. He’s a genius inventor who could have made a fortune selling the technology involved in his flight gear, but figures stealing is more fun. He also likes showing up those young whipper-snappers, and sees committing daring, inventive crimes as a way to do that. (Rather like the much later Junkman, from Astro City.) He’s a laid-back old dude who doesn’t do the revenge schtick. (Though he has been known to lose his temper. ;-)

Still, a straightforward, entertaining character.

Well, the Rhino was certainly on my list. I always liked the Scorpion too, but my dislike of the Symbiotes kept him off my final tally. I always thought the Jackal and Carnage were pretty ridiculous for nearly opposite reasons: one’s super hokey and the other is so ’90s “xxxxtreeeeme!!!” The Vulture I always kind of liked but had trouble taking seriously for the reason Brian talks about: if Angel was just a guy with wings, the Vulture was just a really, really old guy with wings.

It’s probably a lost cause by now, but “symbiote” comes from a mistake made by author Hal Clement in one of his novels. He corrected this to “symbiont” in the sequel, with an explanatory note in the forward.

sandwich eater

April 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

Now we’ve gotten to the classic villains. I quite like Carnage; he’s kind of like Spider-Man’s version of the Joker in that he is a nihilistic psychopath. Vulture, Scorpion, Rhino, and the Jackal are also great villains.

Carnage sucks. Jackal sucks more.

Clearly we’re just warming up for Turner D. Century, Swarm and Stegron the Dinosaur Man in the Top 10.

Here’s hoping that Kingpin eventually finds himself on this list.

I dunno man, between the three I just mentioned and White Rabbit, Rocket Racer, the Spot, Big Wheel, the Hypno-Hustler, the Answer and Thanos in his Thanoscopter, I don’t think there will be room for ol’ tubby.

“Clearly we’re just warming up for Turner D. Century, Swarm and Stegron the Dinosaur Man in the Top 10.”

And WHO. Marvel’s most immobile super-villain

“I dunno man, between the three I just mentioned and White Rabbit, Rocket Racer, the Spot, Big Wheel, the Hypno-Hustler, the Answer and Thanos in his Thanoscopter, I don’t think there will be room for ol’ tubby.'”

While not *too* likely, a few of those have cult-followings as Spidey foes and might sneak in. I think White Rabbit in particular has a lot of closet fans due to her look.

The Vulture works well as a reliable foe. I like that in this youth dominated culture, each time they try to replace him with a younger version, Marvel finds that everyone actually prefers the old guy

I will say that the first three that I mentioned are totally in my own Top 10, no irony required, though I don’t necessarily associate Turner primarily with Spidey. I might have had White Rabbit in there as well. But I don’t hold out much hope, alas.

I can’t cast stones. WHO, White Rabbit, and Answer all made my list as well. Mud-Thing would have made it too but he didn’t qualify, being a Sandman-Hydro-Man hybrid

Vulture was near the top of my list, I was hoping he’d be higher, but at least he beat Carnage!

And Stegron was on MY list too! Didn’t expect anyone else would think of him so hey, maybe he’ll make top 10!
As he fully deserves!

Can anyone tell me in which issue of New Avengers did the Sentry kill Carnage? Also I hate Carnage. Just recording my opinion for posterity.

I think it’s funny how, in the Scorpion page, you could remove virtually all the written words and it would still work beautifully – probably better.

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