Greetings from the Odinson,
This week, I’m here to finish my list of unconventional rivalries. For Part 1 click HERE.
Another list of Unconventional Rivalries: Spider-Man Edition Part 2
There are a gaggle of fantastic Rogues Galleries in the worlds of comics. Right at the top of the list has to be the dastardly foes of Batman, the Flash, and the X-Men. However, above them all, pound-for-pound, the Odinson would rank Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery as the #1 band of super crooks in all of comics. It is always thrilling as Spidey runs through the gauntlet of his foes, but even more thrilling is seeing how our favorite wall-crawler’s arch foes stack up against the rest of the Marvel U.
Hobgoblin – During the Acts of Vengeance caper, ole Hobby tried to punch above his weight class when he attacked Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts. When Hobgoblin tried to steal the powers of Darkhawk, the only thing that kept the neophyte hero from killing him was an intervention by Spider-Man! When Ghost Rider set his sights on Hobgoblin, once again, the only thing standing between the Spirit of Vengeance and Hobgoblin’s much deserved comeuppance is Spider-Man. Sheesh! Spidey spends just as much time saving Hobgoblin’s life as he does punching him in the face.
Of all of Spidey’s foes, the Hobgoblin has probably had the least success outside of the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel U.
Chameleon – The very first time Captain America and Iron Man ever traded blows was because they were fooled by this master of disguise in Tales of Suspense #58. In Tales to Astonish #62, the Chameleon infiltrates Gamma Base and comes face-to-face with a foe whose might is far superior to Spider-Man’s. However, in Incredible Hulk #154, he got over on a diminished Jade Giant. In Marvel Team-Up #27, he even tricked the Hulk into helping him. He also tricked Daredevil into fighting the hotheaded Torpedo.
Carnage – Eddie Brock’s symbiote’s offspring has been a major thorn in the side of the Marvel U since day one. Not the least of which was the mass destruction and mayhem he caused during the Maximum Carnage spree where it took a cadre of Marvel Heroes, including Spider-Man and Venom, Deathlok, Morbius, Black Cat, Iron Fist and Captain America, to end his murderous rampage. Carnage gives the Avengers all they can handle when they try to stop him from taking over a small town in Carnage U.S.A. And, the Merc with a Mouth gives Carnage all he can handle in Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool. I would say, without a doubt, the most one-sided battle in Carnage’s history was when Sentry tore him in half in Breakout.
Kraven the Hunter – As one of the few arch villains in comics that has actually scored a decisive victory over his main enemy, Kraven is one of the Odinson’s favorite Spidey foes. He has made a career of hunting the most dangerous prey including not only Spider-Man, but also taking aim at Marvel heavyweights like Ka-Zar, Daredevil, Tigra, Black Panther, Deadpool, Wolverine, and Captain America!
Sandman – This blue collar villain has made a career as muscle for hire. Alongside the sinister Mandarin, Sandman traded blows with the mighty Hulk. As a member of the Wizard’s Frightful Four, he has battled the Fantastic Four on many occasions. The rookie hero Nova cut his teeth battling the power of Sandman. When he worked for Silver Sable, he battled Excalibur. But, when Flint Marko turned on Sable and set out to take her down, the Thunderbolts got caught up in his sandy wake.
Electro – Max Dillon is another one of the Odinson’s favorite Spidey villains. He possesses the power of electricity and should be a Magneto level bad guy. The problem is, unlike Magneto, Dillon isn’t too bright. That is perhaps the main reason heroes like Daredevil, Falcon, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, have always gotten it over on him. To be fair, Electro does have a T.K.O. on Captain America. However, writer Brian Michael Bendis completely disagrees with the Odinson’s assessment of Dillon’s power as he had Iron Man, in Breakout, incapacitate Electro in a showdown that took the entirety of one panel.
Scorpion – Mac Gargan is another super crook with immense power, but very little between the ears. He is constantly testing his might against heroes like Captain America, Falcon, Daredevil, Ms. Marvel, the Avengers, and Alpha Flight, and constantly coming up short, even though he is physically stronger than most of the heroes he faces.
Rhino – Rhino is one of those tween villains. Even though he is most associated as a Spidey villain, he is just as much an adversary of the Hulk. Things really get interesting when the monstrous strength of the Rhino tries to run through other denizens of the Marvel U like Cardiac, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Luke Cage, Ka-Zar, the Thunderbolts, Deadpool, and the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing.
Mysterio – This master of illusion is criminally underrated as not just a Spider-Man villain, but as a major villain for the entire Marvel Universe. The harrowing events of Guardian Devil, a caper that nearly destroyed Matt Murdock’s mind and soul, was all part of Quentin Beck’s Machiavellian plan. And, less we all forget, in Old Man Logan, Mysterio pulls off something nobody from Apocalypse to Magneto to Stryfe could ever accomplish, the utter and violent destruction of the X-Men.
Norman Osborn – The first time I can ever remember Osborn fighting anybody other than Spider-Man was in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends when Ice Man and Firestar were a part of the proceedings. The only other time I recall was during The Contest when Moon Knight took a shot at the title and the Green Goblin proved that Marc Spector was no Spider-Man. In the years since then, Norman Osborn has become a major player in the greater Marvel Universe. He became the leader of the Thunderbolts, took control of SHIELD and rechristened it HAMMER, assembled the Dark Avengers and the Cabal, invaded Asgard, and has basically become a thorn in the side of everyone from the Avengers to the X-Men.
Doctor Octopus – Without a doubt, Otto Octavius is the Odinson’s All-Time favorite Spider-Man villain. He is as smart and capable as any villain, and hero for that matter, in the entire Marvel Pantheon. In fact, much like how Doctor Doom’s ego is the only thing that prevents him from ruling the world, the only thing that holds Octavius back is that he’s off the reservation, bats in the belfry insane.
Over the years, Otto has gone toe-to-toe with Captain America, Daredevil, Dazzler, Mister Fantastic, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. He was once part of a gang of villains that nearly murdered She-Hulk. This is a guy that has beaten the Hulk, THE HULK, into unconsciousness! He outsmarted Iron Man! During the Ends of the Earth campaign, Doctor Octopus enslaved Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! And, this is a man so diabolical that he took over his most hated foe’s life and then proceeded to defeat all of Spider-Man’s own foes in a Superior fashion!
Otto Octavius is a name that should be held in as high regard as any other Big Bad and feared all throughout the Marvel Universe.
Oddly enough, Shocker, Vulture and Lizard don’t seem to venture outside of the Spidey sphere often enough to create the occasional rivalry. Morbius is more of an anti-hero rather than a villain. And, the Kingpin has become one of the premiere arch villains of New York City, so he has grown beyond being just a rogue in Spidey’s gallery. Finally, the same can be said for Venom. Eddie Brock started out as a Spider-Man foe, but matured into an anti-hero, and now he is just flat-out a major player in the Marvel scene (see King in Black) that interacts with everybody all the time.
Spider-Man has arguably the greatest Rogues Gallery in all of comics, and perhaps the most dangerous. Just ask the rest of the Marvel Universe.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE.