The Spider-Man universe is full of legendary villains, all of them with the intention of causing the destruction of a certain friendly web-thrower from the neighborhood. Since his iconic debut in 1962, Spider-Man has done his best to keep New York City criminals at bay, providing generations of fans with memorable matchups for nearly 60 years.
However, considering Spider-Man’s frequent run-ins with the criminal world, it’s understandable that some adversaries have made more of a mark than others over the years.
Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka Chameleon, was first introduced in 1963 and has since become one of Spider-Man’s most troublesome foes. Interestingly, Chameleon is considered to be the first supervillain Spider-Man faced in the comics.
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The chameleon is especially threatening, since it is not only capable of adopting the appearance of whoever it wants, but it is also capable of imitating their voice. At one point, he even tricked the NYPD into thinking he was really Spider-Man and has also posed as Peter Parker.
Juggernaut, while often associated with the X-Men, has also had several near-fatal confrontations with Spider-Man. In Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut, Spider-Man is forced to take on the unstoppable Juggernaut in several nerve-wracking matches.
At first, Spider-Man is unable to match Juggernaut’s incredible strength; however, he is able to temporarily slow down his enemy by luring Juggernaut to a nearby construction site full of wet concrete. But it turns out that not even cement can stop Juggernaut.
Venom is perhaps one of Spider-Man’s most iconic adversaries, mostly because of his conflicting morality. Although he is often depicted as a villain, he frequently teams up with Spider-Man to combat greater threats (such as Carnage), further characterizing him as an anti-hero.
Eddie Brock harbored resentment towards Spider-Man early in his career as a journalist, which attracted an alien symbiote that allowed him to become Venom. The bond with the symbiote turns out to be extremely dangerous, as it not only grants Brock superhuman abilities, but it effectively feeds on his hatred of Spider-Man, making him an undeniable threat.
He first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man # 30. Morlun’s superhuman abilities make him one of the most dangerous enemies in the Spider-Man universe. He has been tasked with the singular purpose of destroying all Spider-Totems in all dimensions, including parallel universes.
After capturing the « Master Weaver » in ancient times, Morlun gained the ability to travel between dimensions at will, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. In the comics, Morlun mistakenly believes that Peter Parker is a « pure » Spider-Totem. Upon realizing this, Spider-Man injects himself with radiation, causing Morlun to disintegrate by drinking Spidey’s blood.
Kingpin, who is literally and figuratively larger than life, debuted in 1967 in Amazing Spider-Man # 50. He is considered one of the most powerful crime lords in New York City, attracting the attention of several heroes, including Daredevil.
Many heroes have mistakenly underestimated the Kingpin, assuming that his gigantic figure is the result of obesity. But in reality, Kingpin is made mostly of muscle, which gives it incredible strength. And not only that, but he is adept at various forms of combat, including sumo wrestling, making him a surprisingly dangerous villain in the Spiderman universe.
5 Red Goblin
Norman Osborn has taken many different forms as the « Goblin ». However, none are as dangerous and intimidating as the « Red Goblin ». In Amazing Spider-Man # 32, Peter Parker uses nanites to effectively eliminate Osborn’s ability to use his Green Goblin formula.
Seeking to regain his powers as a Green Goblin, Osborn ends up coming into contact with Carnage’s symbiote, forming an instant bond. More lethal than ever, Osborn is able to control the symbiote and eliminate the nanites, allowing the villain to revert to being the Green Goblin. With the power of the Carnage symbiote and his Green Goblin formula, Osborn nearly managed to defeat Spider-Man on several occasions.
4 Fire Lord
Spider-Man’s battles with the near-unstoppable Herald of Galactus, Firelord, demonstrate his incredible abilities and strength as a superhero. Not only can Firelord travel through space, but he also wields « Cosmic Power », which allows him to destroy entire buildings without blinking.
Surprisingly, Spider-Man is able to defeat Firelord mindlessly during an epic battle in The Amazing Spider-Man # 26. In the comic, Firelord travels to Earth and almost immediately confronts Spider-Man. The two face off, and Firelord is eventually outmatched by Spidey, who is forced to resort to brute force and his spider sense.
3 Butcher Shop
Living up to his name, Carnage is more deadly and powerful than Venom, mixed with the madness of Cletus Kasady, a notorious serial killer from the Spiderman universe.
Carnage becomes so powerful that he indirectly forces Eddie Brock and Peter Parker to temporarily put their differences aside and fight the supervillain as teammates. At one point, Carnage’s symbiote even bonds with Spider-Man, creating the terrifyingly powerful Spider-Carnage.
Mysterio has seen a recent surge in popularity due to his portrayal by Jake Gyllenhal in Spider-Man: Far From Home. First introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man # 2 Quentin Beck, (Mysterio) begins to harbor an unmistakable hatred for Spider-Man after Spidey foils his criminal plot to make money.
Relying on his abilities as a stuntman and special effects expert, Beck decides to get revenge on Spider-Man. Like Mysterio, Beck employs deception tactics and special effects, often using a wide range of ingenious inventions. At one point, he’s even capable of replicating Spider-Man’s iconic web-throwers.
Although not exclusively a Spider-Man villain, Thanos is undeniably one of the most dangerous characters in the Marvel Universe. Its mere existence is a threat to the universe, as more and more planets are victims of its galactic tyranny.
In addition to his incredible powers as a Titan, Thanos is also credited with destroying the symbiote homeworld. As a result, some of the alien symbiotes fled to Earth and eventually formed bonds with Brock (Venom) and Cletus Kasady (Carnage). Spider-Man and Thanos had an especially notable showdown in Infinity War, where Spider-Man’s abilities are put to the test.