Caught in the Web: Spider-Man's Most Memorable Villains
Over the years, Spider-Man has certainly made a lot of enemies. All that wisecracking and wallcrawling has seen Ol’ Webhead get into trouble with one of the most colorful rogues’ galleries in comics. Here are some of Spidey’s more unforgettable villains.
Perhaps no one villain has tormented Peter Parker more than Norman Osborn’s alter ego. With his cackling mask, Goblin Glider, and Pumpkin Bombs, it would be easy to dismiss the Goblin as a Halloween reject. However, Osborn has proven to be a malevolent and unhinged character who has had no problem with destroying people that Spider-Man holds dear. As father of Peter’s best friend Harry, Norman’s revelation as the Green Goblin hurt Peter even more. He infamously killed Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man # 121-122, but not before fathering twins with Gwen. Though Osborn once adopted the identity of the “Iron Patriot” and acted as director of S.H.E.L.D., he has been at his nastiest as the Green Goblin.
When you take over your enemy’s body and his life for over two years, you’ve got to be a villain of the highest order. That’s what Otto Octavius did to Peter Parker as his own body slowly withered away. A brilliant scientist whose apparatus with four robotic arms was fused to his body, the portly “Doc Ock” was founder of the Secret Six, a team of villains dedicated to ending Spider-Man. After years of villainy had taken their toll on his body, Octavius was able to switch minds with Peter, taking over both the hero’s body and life. His disgust for Peter made him want to be a “superior Spider-Man,” but his ruthlessness and callous disdain for others still reared its ugly head.
A tale of rejection, redemption, and synthesis is what produced the most famous form of Venom. The alien symbiote that once formed Spider-Man’s black costume wanted to merge completely with Peter Parker. When Peter rejects it, the symbiote finds a willing victim in Eddie Brock, a photographer who holds a grudge against Peter. Their subsequent merger proved to be nearly deadly for Spidey as the newly-formed Venom possessed all of Spidey’s powers and could not be sensed by the hero’s “spider sense.” Though the Venom symbiote has left Brock and bonded with Flash Thompson, most of us will always remember seeing the fangs and tongue of Venom in their initial appearance with Brock.
Kraven the Hunter
The appearance of Sergei Kravinoff might be a bit over the top, but his bloodlust for hunting big game is no joke. After hunting for prey worldwide, Kraven the Hunter set his sights on the biggest prey of all, Spider-Man. Taking a potion of jungle herbs to enhance his strength and senses, Kraven has tried on several occasions to hunt Spidey down with no weapons, just his bare hands. In “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” Kraven finally hunts and drugs Spider-Man, even posing as a more violent, vigilante version of the Wallcrawler. Several people close to Kraven, including his lover Calypso, wife Sasha, half-brothers, and children, have all tried stepping into the Hunter’s shoes and take down Spidey once and for all.
Felicia Hardy is the daughter of a world-class cat burglar. Raped by her boyfriend in college, Felicia trains herself in fighting styles and acrobatics. When her rapist dies in a drunk driving accident, Felicia follows her father’s footsteps as the Black Cat. Coming into conflict with Spider-Man saw Felicia flirting with the Wallcrawler constantly, even becoming an unofficial sidekick for a time. Romance between Spider-Man and the Black Cat has fizzled out several times as he looks for a more “normal” relationship, but the sexy seductress always manages to snuggle her way into his web when she’s in town.
In the mood for more Spidey? Check this out for a previous rundown on Spidey’s big bads.