Greetings from the Odinson,
As generic as it sounds, the old adage a hero is only as good as his villain is as true today as it ever was. There are so many great villains out there from Lex Luthor to Darkseid, Hannibal Lecter to Agent Smith, but nowhere in the multiverse will you find bigger Big Bads than in the Marvel Universe. The House of Ideas has more diabolical schemers that have accomplished more and scored more victories against their do-gooder counterparts than any other fictional universe to date.
To make this list, the villain really has to be the worst of the worst. I’m talking about evildoers with some really wicked accomplishments. The Kingpin of Crime? Wilson Fisk is small potatoes. He’s too busy squabbling over little bits of turf with other mob bosses to register as any kind of real threat to the world. How about the Leader? His accomplishments are too few and far in-between. Plus, though he is a diabolical schemer, most of his plots involve petty revenge scenarios against a monstrous brute. How about the sinister Mandarin, the high-flying Wizard, AIM, Hydra, or the Hand? All of them have had varying degrees of success, but nothing compared to the names on this list.
Loki? The Laufeyson may be known as the god of evil but at heart, he is but a trickster. Sure, he makes life for Thor and the Avengers a living hell every chance he gets, and occasionally has playdates with the X-Men, New Mutants, and Spider-Man, but other than making trouble in Asgard, his Earthly evil deeds are fairly trivial.
Dormammu? The ruler of the Dark Dimension may possess power on par with the biggest Big Bads in the multiverse, but his threat, thanks to the likes of Doctor Strange and Odin, has been pretty much contained to his own little corner of the multiverse. The Big D is more akin to the Boogeyman than anything else.
Who is the Biggest Big Bad in the Marvel U?
10 – Apocalypse – Threat Level: National. The Rep: At over 5,000 years old, En Sabah Nur is reportedly one of the very first mutants to ever walk the earth. With uncanny powers that seem to be whatever he needs them to be at any given moment, Apocalypse is easily one of the most formidable and imposing bad guys in the Marvel U. His creed is only the strongest survive, and in his perfect world that means humans have got to go. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: You’d probably think the Odinson would put Age of Apocalypse here, right? The problem with AoA is that it did not come about because of anything Apocalypse did. No, that dystopian alternate reality came about because of the actions of the demented Legion. Apocalypse’s biggest accomplishment came during the Fall of the Mutants when his celestial starship almost leveled Manhattan and he orchestrated Warren Worthington’s fall from grace.
9 – The Red Skull – Threat Level: National. The Rep: He’s a Nazi super criminal with a diabolical keen mind for evil that has plagued mankind since the harrowing days of World War II. Many times he has brought the nation to the brink only to be thwarted by the Sentinel of Liberty. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: Johann Schmidt’s devilish deeds are quite numerous. From activating the Sleepers to orchestrating The Choice, from The Assassin Nation Plot to the nightmare of Red Glare, he is a schemer through and through and always plotting his next coup. However, his most despicable deed to date, and this is saying something about a super Nazi, has to be The Red Shadow, where he exhumed the body of Charles Xavier, removed the man’s brain, and through the use of super science, took the powers of Professor X for himself. He used this to ultimately access the power of Onslaught and ignite the fires of Axis!
8 – Norman Osborn – Threat Level: National. The Rep: Marvel’s answer to Lex Luthor, Norman Osborn is a brilliant and powerful business man, but there’s just one small problem, he is completely insane. He has a split personality. One moment he is a debonair business tycoon, the next he is the Goblin, a completely psychotic super human madman hell-bent on Spider-Man’s destruction. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: Being the father of Peter Parker’s best friend and ultimately murdering the woman Peter loved, to say that Norman Osborn has put Spider-Man through hell is a huge understatement. However, his most diabolical achievement is when he ushered in a Dark Reign. He usurped control of SHIELD and ultimately shifted power in the world from the forces of good to the machinations of evil. Yes, for one brief moment in time, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were the criminals and the bad guys were called “heroes.”
7 – Magneto – Threat Level: Global. The Rep: He is the Master of Magnetism and the founder of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Unlike his old friend, Charles Xavier, Magneto does not want to co-exist alongside humans, he wants to rule over them. Though he has wavered back and forth over the years from full on bad guy to anti-hero, the world must always fear Magneto because they just don’t know which side of the bed he will wake up on today. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: There is a lot of blood on Magneto’s hands, not the least of which is the time he sank a Russian submarine with its entire crew to the bottom of the sea (Uncanny X-Men #150). But his most despicable act came in the Ultimate Universe when after murdering his friend, Charles Xavier, Magneto shifted the magnetic poles of the Earth causing global catastrophes not the least of which was the utter destruction of New York City. Ultimatum not only saw the deaths of millions including many major heroes and villains, but it was a horrible blow to the Ultimate Universe itself. One from which it never recovered.
6 – Ultron – Threat Level: Global (with potential for Galactic). The Rep: Think of the Terminator on steroids and you still aren’t even close. Created by Hank Pym, Ultron is an A.I. that believes human beings are obsolete and deserve only extermination. Ultron’s Adamantium body allows him to stand toe-to-toe with heavy hitters like Wonder Man and Thor, and the robot’s computer brain allows Ultron to outsmart even Iron Man and its own creator, Hank Pym. Ultron is truly a terrifying adversary for even though the heroes barely win in the end, Ultron always comes back, stronger and deadlier than before. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: From Annihilation Conquest to Age of Ultron, Ultron has so many evil deeds to choose from, however, Ultron’s most notorious deed to date has to be Ultron Unlimited when in a matter of hours this vile machine murdered the population of an entire nation and then transformed the corpses into cyborg-zombies. That is truly evil.
5 – Onslaught – Threat Level: Global (with potential for Multidimensional). The Rep: All men have evil in them. But, when you are Charles Xavier and possess the most powerful telepathic mind on the planet, sometimes that evil can manifest itself in the most dangerous ways. Onslaught is a creature of pure psychic energy that possess the combined power of Professor X, Magneto, Nathaniel Grey, and Franklin Richards! His Most Despicable Accomplishment: When the creature known as Onslaught made his bid for global control, it launched a multipronged attack that touched every single corner of the Marvel Universe. In the end, it took the combined efforts of the Hulk, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men to stop the monster. Ultimately Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel’s First Family had to sacrifice their lives to win the day! Onslaught’s actions not only led to the fall of Marvel’s greatest heroes, but it opened the door to Heroes Reborn, one of the darkest chapters in Marvel History.
4 – Mephisto – Threat Level: Interdimensional. The Rep: This fiendish devil is the embodiment of pure evil. He rules over the stygian depths of fire and brimstone, cultivates the damned, and covets the eternal souls of man to feed his demonic power. Mephisto has completely dismantled and bedeviled the greatest heroes in the world including the Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Factor, Daredevil, and the X-Men. Only heroes as powerful as Thor and the Silver Surfer can even stand up to him. Mephisto has even stood unflinching in the face of Galactus the Devourer of Worlds! Only the potentially unlimited, albeit mostly dormant, powers of Franklin Richards has ever put the demonlord in his place. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: Mephisto is at the crux of arguably the most talked about, highly debated, polarizing, and controversial storyline in Marvel History – One More Day.
3 – Annihilus – Threat Level: Galactic (with potential for Multidimensional). The Rep: This insectoid-like creature is encased in a nigh indestructible exoskeleton empowered by the Cosmic Rod which grants him incredible powers and pseudo immortality. He has already conquered the Negative Zone, a parallel universe to our own, and now he wants more! Annihilus has stood toe-to-toe with both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers and he even murdered Quasar, the Protector of the Universe, in one-on-one combat! His Most Despicable Accomplishment: The events of Annihilation sees Annihilus and his never-ending swarm known as the Annihilation Wave invade the 616 and cut a swath across the galaxy of death and devastation the likes of which the Marvel Universe has seen only once before. The attack was so brutal that the entire Nova Corps was wiped out in the opening minutes of the campaign. It took a coalition of Marvel’s cosmic heroes, villains, and empires in order to stave off ultimate (I can’t help myself) Annihilation.
2 – Thanos – Threat Level: Multi-Universal. The Rep: He’s the Mad Titan. He is a nihilistic demigod whose sole purpose in life is to court Death itself. It’s probably neck-and-neck between Thanos and Galactus as to who is the most feared being in the cosmos. The difference is Galactus is a force of nature with no malice toward those he ultimately destroys. Thanos on the other hand is a being of pure evil that takes great pleasure in the death and destruction he has wrought. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: From the Final Threat to the Thanos Imperative, Infinity to the Infinity Saga, with a death toll that registers in the, dare I say it, infinite, the Mad Titan has earned his dark infamous reputation. But, one deed above all others ranks highest – The Infinity Gauntlet. After outsmarting and outmaneuvering the Elders of the Universe, Thanos gathered together the Infinity Stones and with one snap of his fingers wiped out half the population of life in the entire universe!
1 – Doctor Doom – Threat Level: Unfathomable. The Rep: Victor Von Doom is arguably the world’s smartest man, he wears a suit of armor that rival’s Iron Man, and he is a sorcerer on par with Doctor Strange himself. He is the ruler of his own European kingdom, but his ambitions do not stop there. He will never be satisfied until the entire world, nay, the entire cosmos, nay, the entire scope of reality is firmly within the iron grip of DOOM. His Most Despicable Accomplishment: What can you say about a villain that has actually conquered the world (see Doctor Doom Triumphant), twice (see Emperor Doom)? A man that has actually stormed the gates of hell (see Fantastic Four Annual #20), twice (see Triumph and Torment)? A man that defeated the near infinite power of the Beyond through sheer force of will (see Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10-11)? To try to list all of Victor Von Doom’s dastardly achievements is futile, but his most mind-blowing deed to date has to be Secret Wars. For two years Marvel’s mightiest and brightest heroes tried to stave off ultimate annihilation, but in the end, there was only one man that could save the multiverse from destruction – DOOM. When the rest of the multiverse collapsed into nothingness, Victor Von Doom held the remnants together with his iron will in a pocket reality known as Battleworld. It was a fractured world created in his own imagine. So, even though he may be the greatest Big Bad in the history of the Marvel Universe, everyone has only one man to thank for the continued existence of reality, and that man’s name is DOOM.
There you have it folks. A hit list of Big Bads like that is the reason why the Marvel Universe is home to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell