Ranking the Top 10 Marvel Comics Rogues Galleries - Nerdist
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Ranking the Top 10 Marvel Comics Rogues Galleries

For over 60 years, Marvel Comics has provided some of the best villains in all of pop culture. Many of which were elevated over the past few years thanks to movies and TV. But which Marvel hero or team has the best rouges gallery? We break down 10 of Marvel’s most iconic characters’ respective recurring villains, from least impressive to the very best.

The iconic Marvel Comics villains, by Alex Ross.
Marvel Comics

10. The Incredible Hulk

Abomination, Red Hulk, and the Leader,
Marvel Comics

The Incredible Hulk is one of comics’ most iconic heroes, not just Marvel’s. But his villains are pretty one-note most of the time. There are two great exceptions to this—his equally gamma-powered adversaries, the Abomination and the Leader. But most of his other villains are just other big monster types. Although the U-Foes, a group of bad guys with the Fantastic Four’s powers, always had potential. Now, if you count all the Marvel heroes Hulk has fought, like Wolverine, the Thing, Thor, Iron Man, and everyone else? Well, then this entry might be at the top. But we can’t really call our favorite heroes “villains,” can we?

Notable villains: Thunderbolt Ross (Red Hulk), the Leader, the Abomination, Wendigo, the U-Foes, Zzzax, Ravage.

9. Iron Man

Iron Monger, the Mandarin, and Justin Hammer.
Marvel Comics

Tony Stark is a fantastic character, with a great personality to write stories around, and a resonant origin. But, we hate to say it, his rogues gallery is pretty lackluster. Besides the Mandarin, who creates a cool “magic vs. science” vibe, most Iron Man villains are just dudes in armor. Iron Monger, Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man. Seeing a pattern? Although, we are partial to the giant alien dragon-looking creature he fights, Fin Fang Foom. So when does he get to be in the MCU?

Notable villains: The Mandarin, Iron Monger, the Crimson Dynamo, Whirlwind, the Controller, the Grey Gargoyle, Whiplash, Justin Hammer, Unicorn, Zeke Stane.

8. Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange and his villains.
Marvel Comics

The Sorcerer Supreme has some powerful and visually memorable adversaries. Since they are all pretty much magic-based, they come with cool visuals that fans always remember. Like Dormammu, who in the comics looks just like a ball of fire with eyes on a human torso. Add In a few more like Nightmare and Shuma-Gorath, and Strange’s villains qualify as giving most others a run for their money.

Notable villains: Dormammu, Baron Mordo, Nightmare, Mephisto, Satannish, Urthona, D’yspare, Scarlet Witch, the Dweller in Darkness, Umar.

7. Captain America

Captain America punches the Red Skull
Marvel Comics

The Sentinel of Liberty would be higher on this list if we just counted Nazis he punched in WWII. That kind of feels like cheating, though. Although Steve Rogers doesn’t have the same amount of memorable adversaries as some of his fellow Marvel icons, he does have enough to get him recognition. Red Skull and Baron Zemo, just for starters. And Cap has several massive criminal organizations he can count as rogues, like Hydra, A.I.M., and the Serpent Society. And if you throw in Iron Man to the assortment, that’s a pretty impressive list of villains, all in all.

Notable villains: Red Skull, Baron Zemo, Arnim Zola, Crossbones, M.O.D.O.K., A.I.M., Hydra, Baron Von Strucker, Batroc the Leaper, Serpent Society.

6. Daredevil

Daredevil, surrounded by many of his greatest villains.
Marvel Comics

In his earliest days, Matt Murdock didn’t have the coolest villains. He had baddies like Stilt-Man and the Jester (a total Joker knockoff) to contend with. Although there were a few formidable ones, like the Owl. But in later years, when Daredevil comics got Frank Miller-ized, he started to get greater adversaries, like the Hand and Typhoid Mary. He also took Spider-Man villain Kingpin and totally made him his own, to the point some fans don’t even realize he even was a Spidey bad guy first.

Notable villains: Kingpin, Elektra, the Hand, Bullseye, Typhoid Mary, the Purple Man (Killgrave), Mr. Fear.

5. Thor

Loki, Hela, Surtur, and Gorr, the villains of Thor.
Marvel Comics

The Odinson has some formidable bad guys, many drawn straight from Norse Mythology. Starting of course with his own foster brother, Loki. But there’s also Hela, the Enchantress, Malekith, and many more. Thor has enough deadly foes that even after four movies, some of the best ones from the comics have yet to make it to the big screen. Next to Fantastic Four, the Mighty Thor comics were the place where Stan Lee and Jack Kirby poured most of their creativity. The result was lots of memorable villains that have stood the test of time.

Notable Villains: Loki, Laufey, Hela, the Enchantress, Surtur, Skurge, Gorr the God Butcher, Malekith, Mangog, Ulik, the Wrecking Crew, the Destroyer, the Midgard Serpent, Skurge the Executioner, Kurse.

4. The Avengers

Kang and Ultron, the Avengers greatest villains.
Marvel Comics

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes often fight the biggest bads of the Marvel Universe. And yet a lot of them, like Dr. Doom and Magneto, don’t qualify as “Avengers villains” first. But there are a few that the Avengers can lay claim to, and they elevate their rogues gallery by quite a lot. We’re talking about the likes of Ultron, Kang, Count Nefaria, and the Masters of Evil. But not villains of individual Avengers who fought the team occasionally, like Loki or Red Skull. Thanos was mainly a Silver Surfer bad guy, but because of his fighting the team in iconic stories like The Infinity Gauntlet, we count him as an Avengers villain as well.

Notable villains: Ultron, Kang, the Masters of Evil, Michael Korvac, the Kree and Skrull Empires, the Supreme Intelligence, the Legion of the Unliving, Taskmaster, Count Nefaria, Grim Reaper, the Hood.

3. The Fantastic Four

The villains of the Fantastic Four, drawn by John Byrne.
Marvel Comics

In the movies, the Fantastic Four might not have been the franchise that Spider-Man, X-Men, or Avengers became. But in the comics, they are still Marvel’s “First Family.” With some of the best adversaries in all of comics, not just at Marvel. Their villains are so great in fact, many other Marvel heroes have poached from the FF’s villains list. When your enemies include Doctor Doom and Galactus, it’s no wonder those of most other Marvel heroes pale in comparison.

Notable villains: Dr. Doom, Galactus, Mole Man, Annihilus, the Super Skrull, Namor, the Frightful Four, Blastaar, Dragon Man, Ronan the Accuser, Puppet Master, Diablo, Molecule Man.

2. The X-Men

The villains of the X-Men, as drawn by Jim Lee.
Marvel Comics

Marvel’s merry mutants didn’t start out as the publisher’s biggest franchise. A few of their early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby villains were iconic. Mainly, Magneto, Juggernaut, and the Sentinels. Many were deeply forgettable. But then, X-Men exploded in its second time at bat in the ‘70s. From there, they added iconic and memorable bad guys like the Hellfire Club, Apocalypse, Mojo, and many others. But their biggest villain was one of their own. When original team member Jean Grey turned into the Dark Phoenix, she nearly destroyed her friends and the known universe.

Notable villains: Magneto, Juggernaut, the Sentinels, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Mystique, Sabretooth, Omega Red, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Brood, Lady Deathstrike, Cassandra Nova, Mojo, Shadow King, Sauron, Dark Phoenix, the Goblin Queen, humanity.

1. Spider-Man

Spider-Man vs. his many rogues.
Marvel Comics

Although we’d give “best superhero rogues gallery” overall to Batman, in the Marvel universe, that honor goes to Peter Parker. Spider-Man’s villains each have a unique visual hook or power set that makes each of them stand out. And many, like the Green Goblin and Venom, have a deep personal beef with the wallcrawler, that lends pathos to their decades-long rivalries. Spider-Man has had eight live-action films, and they still haven’t covered some of his best comic book foes. In the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man simply has the cream of the crop for his roster of bad guys.

Notable villains: Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, Sandman, Vulture, Scorpion, the Lizard, Venom, Carnage, Hobgoblin, Rhino, Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, Prowler, Shocker, Molten Man, Hydro-Man, the Jackal.

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