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Spider-Man has a rogue’s gallery that is one of the best comics, perhaps rivaled only by Batman’s. There are so many classic Spider-Man villains that coming up a list of the best will be pretty predictable: Dr. Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, etc. So why not celebrate the reveal that a certain B-list Spider-Man villain is probably going to be in Spider-Man: Homecoming by looking at the “best of the rest” – the top ten second-tier Spider-Man villains.
Silvermane is an old foe of Spider-Man – in numerous ways! Firstly, Silvermane (also known as Silvio Manfredi) dates back much further than many comic fans would realize. His first appearance was back in 1969 in Amazing Spider-Man #73. Created by Stan Lee, John Romita, and John Buscema, Silvermane was a crime boss in the Maggia (Marvel’s version of the Mafia) but became obsessed with his advancing age. After trying numerous ways to de-age himself, including becoming an important member of Hydra, Silvermane eventually became a robotic cyborg. He has had frequent run-ins with Spider-Man and is a key part of an under-rated element of the Spider-Man world – crime stories.
Another major member of the crime world of Spider-Man, Hammerhead was a Russian immigrant who had his skull fractured. A criminal took the unconscious Hammerhead and had a titanium, flat-top plate inserted. Soon, Hammerhead (whose real name is unknown) became a big Maggia hitman, usually styled in a gangster suit. Hammerhead has been a nemesis of Spider-Man on many occasions after making his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #113. However, he has also crossed paths with many of Spidey’s enemies, including Kingpin and Dr. Octopus. So watch out – Hammerhead always looks out for himself.
In a number of cases on this list, Spider-Man writers took a popular existing concept and tweaked it for a new character. Seeing how Sandman was an iconic Spider-Man villain, why not have a foe made out of water? So Hydro-Man (real name Morris Bench) was born in 1981 in Amazing Spider-Man #212. Spider-Man had a role in Hydro-Man’s origin, so Morris has always had it out for the web slinger. Many writers have also played off the connection with Sandman, as the two characters were actually combined into one mindless mud-man for a while.
While Spider-Man isn’t really known for being a supernatural character, there have been so many Spider-Man comics over the years, that he’s gotten to experience a little of everything. Michael Morbius, also known as the Living Vampire, came out of the horror comics trend of the 1970s. Morbius has often wanted to be good, especially in his human state. However, he frequently gets out of control in his vampire form, requiring the intervention of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
The newest character on this list, Mister Negative was created by Dan Slott and Phil Jimenez in 2007. However, his compelling visual look and the fact that Slott is still writing Spider-Man means that the Chinese criminal has gained a lot of traction over the past few years. As Mister Negative, he can control the Darkforce energy (similar to Cloak of Cloak & Dagger), but he also has the ability to control people’s minds, heal them, and make regular objects into Darkforce weapons.
Venom was one of the breakout Marvel Comics characters of the 1980s. So it stands to reason that a related character might also be popular. Whereas the alien symbiote attached to Eddie Brock took on Brock’s obsession with destroying Spider-Man, when the symbiote attached itself to psychopath Cletus Kasady to become Carnage, it wanted to destroy everything. Carnage became a more extreme and more dangerous version of Venom, which put him against both Spider-Man and Venom.
The Jackal is current playing a huge role in Amazing Spider-Man’s pre-“Dead No More” storyline. The Jackal, whose real name is Professor Miles Warren, has found a way to reincarnate people – albeit with a price. Playing with life is nothing new for Warren. The Jackal was responsible for the original “Clone Saga,” in which he tried to recreate Gwen Stacy, a former student whom he had loved. He also blamed her death on Spider-Man and created a clone of him. Although The Jackal might not be at the top of a list of Spider-Man villains, he has had a big role in many major Spidey stories.
There is something lovably bizarre about Shocker. I think it’s the combination of the strange, ugly and apparently quilted costume, confusing name (i.e., he doesn’t control electricity) and glove-based power. Still, Shocker has a distinctive look and has been persistently a thorn in Spider-Man’s side since his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #46 in 1967. His powers are actually pretty flexible and dangerous, too. Although his role in Spider-Man: Homecoming will not be huge, it’s nice to see Herman Schultz gets some exposure.
Like others here, at first glance Hobgoblin seems to be a spin-off of a successful Spider-Man villain (in this case Green Goblin). However, there were a couple of things to like about Hobgoblin. His costume was a departure from the Green Goblin’s and he was unpredictable. In fact, the secret identity of Hobgoblin became a major mystery in Spider-Man comics in the 1980s. The Hobgoblin character has been taken over by many people since his debut. He has always found a way to inject chaos in Spider-Man life, too.
Some might rank Chameleon among the top Spider-Man villains. However, I think his lack of an iconic look has diminished his recognition. This is ironic since disguise is exactly his power. Chameleon has an insidious power – an uncanny ability to disguise himself that later turned into actual identity-changing powers. These talents make him a very difficult villain to defeat. Chameleon is also the only villain on this list to be created by the original Spidey creative team – Lee and Steve Ditko. More impressively, Chameleon appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #1.
Who do you think are the best second-tier and B-list Spider-Man villains? Do you agree with the list? Who do you think should/shouldn’t have made the cut?