So y’think you know Marvel villains, do ya? Now that Marvel’s stories and characters have gone from comics you hide in your textbook during class to some of the biggest blockbusters every year and some of the most addicting Netflix shows we’ve got (yassss, Luke Cage!), it’s easy to think that we’re all Marvel experts now.
But there are tons of Marvel villains out there that are a little more under the radar who are definitely worth knowing. And seven of them are the next subjects of our Marvel Challenge!
Here’s just a little background on 7 Marvel villains you should totally know about. And if your design-y senses are tingling, make them the star of a villainous design and submit them to our Marvel Challenge!
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1. BARON MORDO
With the MCU’s Doctor Strange just around the corner, this “Moriarty to Dr. Strange’s Sherlock Holmes” (and not just because Strange will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a big bad to know about. Mordo is a super powerful sorcerer who starts training under “The Ancient One” after he recognizes Mordo’s powerful potential. The Ancient One already knows his successor is to be Steven Strange. But seeing as Strange is still a child, The Ancient One takes Mordo under his wing (more to keep him in check than anything.)
Meanwhile, Mordo is also aware that The Ancient One’s successor will be Steven Strange and jealously torments young Strange with demons through his childhood. And in trying to prevent Strange’s destiny of succeeding the Ancient One, Mordo actually ends up triggering the domino effect that sets it into motion; he leads a secret attack on the Ancient One, weakening him, which leads Strange to offer his services as a disciple.
- The MCU version presents Mordo pretty differently (from what we know so far). In the film, he’s the second-in-command to the Ancient One, scouring the world for worthy Masters of the Mystic Arts. In fact, he’s the one who initially finds Strange and brings him into the fold.
2. KINGPIN (Wilson Fisk)
If you’ve binged Daredevil on Netflix as much as I have, you know a little somethin’ about Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk. But there’s way more to Kingpin than even our bae Netflix shows us.
This Kingpin of crime was bullied throughout his childhood and, in watching others exist around him as a recluse, he figured out how to use others to help himself. He commits his first murder at just 12 years old, and quickly moves on to body building and Sumo training to start building his strength and power.
Kingpin has been called the best villain of the Marvel Universe. As comicbook.com best put it, “His ability to organize and plan means that even though he can not take Thor or Hercules in a fight, he can ruin their lives. Superheroes care more about their communities than themselves, and that is what The Kingpin threatens.”
- Most of us know him from Netflix as a Daredevil villain, but Kingpin first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man #50 – Spider-Man No More!”
- Fisk and Tony Stark team up at one point in the crusade against letting superheroes do whatever they want and cause insane property damage while fighting (think Civil War)
We don’t know a ton about this Daredevil foe. He grew up in the Bronx and only spent time with his brother and (abusive) father when they were shooting air rifles. And from a super young age, he had insanely good accuracy.
After he and his brother try to kill their abusive father by setting their apartment on fire, they get split up in foster homes. But Bullseye ends up doing pretty well, becoming a pitcher in high school who turns down a college scholarship to pursue minor league baseball. Despite being on track to hit the Major Leagues, Bullseye gets bored and decides to kill a batter who mocked him…which makes him realize how much he just loves killin’. He becomes an assassin for hire thanks to his insane accuracy.
- There’s ANOTHER Marvel character called Bulls-Eye – no connection.
- He was hired to kill Kingpin, but Kingpin ends up turning it around and hiring him.
- He starts to suffer from a brain tumor that makes him see everyone as Daredevil, and leads him to start killing innocents.
4. RED SKULL (Johann Schmidt)
If you want to see a villain that represents the events of the time in which he was created, WWII-set Red Skull is for you. After Johann Schmidt’s mother dies giving birth to him, his father tries drowning him until the doctor who delivered him intervenes. The father ends up committing suicide, leaving Johann to grow up in an abusive orphanage where he learns to view all men as his enemy.
He eventually runs away, becoming a petty thief before getting a job as a sweeper for a Jewish shopkeeper, whose daughter takes a liking to Johann. But when he makes the moves on her and she denies him…he kills her. Johann goes on to become a Nazi in WWII Germany who trains directly under Hitler, who gives him his trademark blood red skull mask as a representation of Hitler’s wrath.
- He was Marvel’s very first super villain.
- Red Skull is meant to represent pure totalitarianism.
5. CROSSBONES (Brock Rumlow)
Another villain we don’t have a ton of personal background on, Brock “Crossbones” Rumlow looked up to Red Skull as if he were a god-like figure. He’s seduced into working for a man named Albert Malik posing as Red Skull…when really Malik plans on using Crossbones and a few other mercenaries to bust into the actual Red Skull’s castle.
Skull captures Brock during this siege and interrogates him, all the while Brock pledging loyalty to his boss as Red Skull (who he still thinks is Malik). Seeing the evil in Brock, Skull hires him as his new bodyguard, giving him the name Crossbones (like a skull and crossb–you get it).
- (***Possible Avengers 3 spoiler? I don’t know, we’ll see!***) Crossbones kills Captain America after Civil War.
- Red Skull at one point declares war against Kingpin, sending Crossbones to try to kill him, but our man Daredevil intervenes.
6. SHOCKER (Herman Schultz)
One of Spider-Man’s more difficult opponents, Herman Schultz is armed with a battle suit (that he himself built) that sends out shock waves, which can open safes and give him a leg up on the cops.
His crimes range from theft to taking the whole freakin’ city of New York hostage by blacking out certain parts of the city to spell out his villainous moniker.
7. GREEN GOBLIN (Norman Osborn)
You’ve no doubt at least heard of this guy. As a kid, Norman Osborn becomes obsessed with wealth and power after his father fails as an inventor and becomes abusive. At one point as a kid, his father locks Norman up in one of the family’s completely dark houses to cure his fear of the dark, during which Osborn fears a “green, goblin-like monster” that was following him, the darkness his only safety. Cue foreshadowing.
Fast forward, Osborn is the CEO of Oscorp, when he finds a secret formula that will cause superhuman strength in whoever takes it. Naturally, Osborn concocts this chemical mix, but his son Harry – sick of his father ignoring him – toys around with the chemicals, causing the mix to blow up in Osborn’s face…literally and figuratively. He wakes up able to think more clearly than ever…but also slowly starts descending into madness.
Osborn’s new ambitions have him focused on becoming the most powerful gang-lord and controlling all of New York’s crime, calling himself the Green Goblin after that childhood experience. Naturally, he grows to hate (and become obsessed with) Spider-Man after getting constantly defeated by him. It’s during a fight with Spider-Man that Osborn is exposed to chemicals that causes the Green Goblin to become a split-personality, an entity separate from Osborn in his mind.
- Stan Lee originally wanted the Green Goblin to be this ancient creature found in an Egyptian-esque sarcophagus. It was Steve Ditko who re-imagined him into the human villain we know today.
- At one instance, Jessica Jones has a hand in arresting him.
- He’s responsible for the death of Gwen Stacy.