If there's one thing that every great superhero needs it's a great super-villain- pitting their wits against each other as they battle across the universe, usually with the fate of humanity in the balance. Without a villain threatening to take over the world, the hero would have nothing to do and no one to fight against.
So a good villain is just as important as the heroes themselves. Unfortunately, however, the villains that are created don't always live up to their promise and often leave us with a distinct taste of failure in our mouths. For every Magneto, Doctor Doom and Loki there's a Slug, Leap Frog and Peepers. The only crimes these villains are guilty of is being conceived in the first place! Although that responsibility should be held by the writers, who could possibly stand trial for their crimes against humanity.
With that in mind, take a look at the 20 worst villains Marvel has ever come up with. After this list, Marvel may well feel the need to write a long apology for their mistakes.
19 Turner D Century
We start our list off with a villain so bad and so completely useless, that it's a wonder how he managed to come into existence at all. Born Clifford Michaels, Turner D Century was the son of a chauffeur who was later adopted by his dad's boss. That's his origin story.
Because of this for some reason, Michaels grows up with a hatred of everything new. His greatest super-villain plot was to create a horn that would kill anyone under the age of 65. He was soon stopped by Spiderwoman and Spiderman. So he was basically a grumpy old man who wanted to rid the world of its youth. Maybe it was a subtle poke at society at the time. Even so, Turner D Century is a villain we could definitely do without. Although we're sure the writers are still patting themselves on the back at his name. It is a good pun!
18 Pink Pearl
There is one truly annoying trait that really lame villains have and that's to refer to themselves in the third person. Pink Pearl does this more than most. The giant fat lady is a terrorist that hides out in a circus. She has been known to try and bomb the President of America as well as Canada's Prime Minister. Her giant frame means she's pretty good at clobbering people as well as her extra layer of blubber making her almost bullet and stab proof.
With all those qualities, she could be a force to be reckoned with. If, of course, she didn't insist on her third person speak. 'Pink Pearl is sad.' 'Pink pearl is angry.' 'Pink Pearl should be wiped from the comic book universe forever!'
17 The Slug
As you will see from many other entries on this list, big, fat masses equals a bad guy. This guy is probably the lamest of the bunch. So lame in fact that he shouldn't really be mentioned in case the creators of Marvel think we're talking about him and therefore bring him back. This can never happen.
Originally a drug dealer called Ulysses X Lugman, he changed his name to The Slug and started hanging out with other villains such as The Hood. It was later revealed that he was a Skrull and then killed instantly. His giant frame meant he couldn't really move or do anything. So with no skill and a terrible name, The Slug won't be missed by anyone.
This comic book villain is what happens when pop culture, comics and music all come together in a big ball of psychedelic nonsense. In the mid '70s, disco funk was riding high on the charts, so it wouldn't be long before the funky sounds penetrated the comic book stories.
In Spectacular Spiderman, Hypno-Hustler, along with his backing singers, The Mercy Killers, jived their way into the comic books and onto the lamest villains list. With the power to utilize his disco sound, Hypno-Hustler hypnotized people so he could rob them. Luckily this trend didn't last long and Spiderman made easy work of the funky villain.
There are some villain's origin stories that make you wonder why they have such a problem with humanity and want to destroy everything. Then there are some which are understandable; Mandrill falls into the latter. Born Jerome Beechman, he was a mutant that looked a little different than everyone else. With his overly hairy and freakish appearance, Beechman was shunned by everyone, including his father, who abandoned him in the desert. That's enough to make anyone take revenge on the world. For which he did. Changing his name to Mandrill, he went on a rampage coming up against several heroes such as Daredevil, Black Panther, The Thing and S.H.I.E.L.D.
You may think that all those things might be the ingredients for a great super-villain, but you'd be wrong. The power Mandrill has is the ability to control women. An ape-like man who wants to control women. The sexist undertones aren't exactly subtle with this one.
An interesting and freakish coincidence in which real life and comic book life meet. Only a few days before the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks, Marvel introduced this new villain. Although Jihad was not a bomb-carrying terrorist, the similarities of the name and an entity wanting world domination was a bit hard to stomach.
This Jihad kidnapped some people in order to make the Fantastic Four go on a quest for him and collect some mystical items for him. Once you get over the shock value of his name and the timing, Jihad is pretty lame and forgettable as a villain.
13 White Rabbit
Lorina Dodson grew up a rich spoiled girl. Her only outlet was in her imagination and the books she read. Becoming obsessed with Alice in Wonderland, she would later use the 'White Rabbit' as her alias. Before that, Lorina married an old guy, but soon got bored of being a trophy wife and she killed him off in order to make her life more exciting.
This then started her career in crime. Buying a load of high tech gadgets including razor carrots, an armored rabbit and rocket boots, White Rabbit tried to pull off a few daring crimes- including trying to steal a valuable Easter Egg! She was soon stopped without too much effort by Spiderman.
12 Critical Mass
Maybe it's a case of comic books going overly P.C. But there seems to be an array of obese characters. Not only are comic books filling their quota of fat guys, they inevitably end up on team villain.
There is no doubt that Critical Mass was added to a Spider Man story for this reason. The short-lived villain was once a classmate of Peter Parker before bulking up and learning to fire explosives from his body. Critical Mass then decided to kidnap a Girl named Mary. Unbeknownst to him, Mary was a powerful mutant who had powers that were laid dormant until Critical Mass put a gun to her head. She then exploded, taking the building and Critical Mass with her. A short lived and pointless villain.
11 Leap Frog
There isn't a lack of 'mad' scientists in the Marvel universe with each of them using their intellect to create things in order to take down the hero. But for every Doc Ock and Dr. Doom, there's a Leap frog.
Vincent Patilio wasn't the greatest inventor to start with, so when he turned to a life of crime, it was inevitable that it would fail. Adopting an amphibian persona, Leap Frog built an exoskeleton suit that could 'leap' great distances. However, the suit didn't help and Leap Frog was repeatedly defeated by Daredevil, Spiderman and Ironman.
His real name was Peter Quinn. Peepers isn't just lame, he's downright pathetic. He was born with the ability of X-Ray vision as well as telescopic and microscopic vision. (That's right, all the powers of the eye. Hence the name peepers!) That's about the only clever thing about him. After being recruited by Magneto and The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Peepers's terrorist career didn't exactly go with a bang. He soon found himself in The Cage; a prison for superhumans. In prison, Peepers allied himself with anyone and everyone he could in order to survive. Once out of prison, and away from all his new found friends, both good and evil, Peepers decided against the life of crime and went to wait tables at a bar instead.
A pointless story arc for a pointless character. Even with Peepers's special vision abilities, we can see that this villain was a complete waste of ink!
9 Asbestos Lady
This villain is certainly a product of a different time. Before the dangers of Asbestos was known to us, everyone was using it in their buildings. The main reason was because Asbestos is incredibly resistant to heat and fire. So when Marvel wanted an opposite to The Human Torch, it seemed natural to have someone covered in Asbestos.
With her Asbestos suit and Asbestos bullets, Asbestos Lady caused many problems for The Human Torch and The Fantastic Four. However, as the dangers of Asbestos became known to the public, it was used less in storylines of the comics and in the '90s Asbestos Lady contracted cancer from her over-exposure to the lethal material and died.
8 Paste Pot Pete
A good costume can make a real difference for any hero or villain. It can show their patriotism or even make them look menacing and scary. So what happens when a villain dresses like a homeless french painter? It's not exactly going to strike fear into the hearts of people.
Add to the costume a squirt gun that essentially shoots sticky glue and Paste Pot Pete was one seriously lame villain. The Fantastic Four had no trouble putting this villain down. Not even changing his name to The Trapster could help him.
7 The Hood
This is an example of when you have a great character idea but then give that character no depth whatsoever. The fact is that The Hood could be a really cool character. He dresses in a costume that makes him look menacing; not many people would want to meet this hooded figure down a dark alley. He also picked up some great magical powers, like being able to melt people's faces as well as fly and become invisible when he holds his breath.
All these things should make for a pretty great character but there's one problem- he tries to be too cool. Following on from the popularity of anti-heroes such as The Punisher, The Hood runs around with guns and tries too hard to be a badass. With all his powers, there is no need for him to have guns; the writers just use this in order to give him a certain image. This villain isn't lame as such, just really, really disappointing, as he's definitely a case of style over substance.
6 Lifeform / Hunger
The first thing that must be addressed when looking at this villain is what the heck is it? It looks like a giant zit with mouths than anything else; Lifeform is more blob than man.
It must be said that he didn't always look like this. Born George Prufrock, he was the son of a right-wing libertarian. After growing up and getting a job with A.I.M, George was exposed to a virus which mutated his form. Battling the likes of The Punisher, Daredevil and The Hulk, Lifeform then met The Silver Surfer, who thankfully dumped him on an uninhabited planet to be forgotten forever. The unfortunate thing about this villain is that the character could have worked. Having a duel personality, with one being good and one evil, was cool. However, having a great character idea and then executing it are two different things and Marvel failed Lifeform completely.
Another 'Fat' villain from the Marvel universe. This time it's a mutant villain that can shrink down her considerable body mass to engage in all sorts of mutant espionage.
She was part of the Mutant Liberation Front. Their purpose was to perform terrorist acts in order to further the cause for mutants. Thumbelina wasn't exactly the most menacing or ruthless member. After several non-exciting missions, it was down to the X-men Iceman to put an end to Thumbelina. He turned her into a giant Popsicle and took her into custody. So, a shrinking fat lady that nobody missed. Wow.
When Marvel comes up with new heroes, they then have to come up with an equally good nemesis for that hero to battle. Unfortunately, they often seem to use all their creativity on the hero and then the villains are forgotten about. So they put all the cliches together they can think of and give us a subpar villain. This is the case with Egghead.
As Hank Pym's (Ant-Man) arch- nemesis, Egghead's schemes involved stealing documents and museum artifacts. Not exactly world domination stuff but it was enough to keep Ant-Man busy. That is, until Egghead stepped up his game and tried to shoot Ant-Man in the back. It was a cowardly act that was soon rectified as Hawkeye put him down with a well aimed arrow.
The trademark of a truly great super-villain is their power. Some can defeat entire armies with a flick of their finger, some can even destroy whole planets. There are some, however, who have no power whatsoever. This is the case with the Matador. Not only does he not have any superpowers, he doesn't have the criminal mind to plan great crimes either.
Once a popular bullfighter, The Matador quickly lost his popularity with his fans. So what do you do when everyone turns on you? Take revenge on all of humanity of course! He used his skills as a Bullfighter (which included using his cape to obscure a driver's vision so he could steal his loot) to further his criminal career. Unfortunately, when you go up against Daredevil, obscuring his vision isn't going to help. Needless to say the blind vigilante kicked The Matador's butt.
2 Stilt Man
Daredevil does seem to attract the lamest villains out there. Maybe because he's blind and therefore the villains think they don't have to try too much? Whatever the reason, another ridiculous villain to grace Hell's Kitchen is Stilt Man.
With the brilliant idea of attaching telescopic legs to himself, Stilt Man battled Daredevil on several occasions. However, when you can be stopped by being pushed over... yup that's right, Stilt Man is literally a push over! Somehow the epic battles between hero and villain don't last long with such stunts. Unfortunately Marvel didn't learn their lesson and after Stilt Man's demise, they brought out Lady Stilt-Man. Oh dear, Marvel!
2. Sugar Man
Comic books have been going for generations, with many great characters and storylines filling all those comic books. With that in mind, it's no wonder that sometimes the writers just run out of ideas. This definitely seems to be the case with Sugar Man.
During the Age of Apocalypse, Sugar Man was in charge of a slave camp that held several mutants. You might think that's a high powered job for a villain. But you'd be wrong. After a fairly standard rescue mission, Sugar Man was killed easily. That's what happens when you're an evil mutant whose only power is change your mass, a bit. So he can get a bit smaller or a bit bigger. Plus with his four arms and long tongue, he was a gross looking mutant as well. There's nothing at all to get excited about when it comes to Sugar Man.
There is a rule about great storytelling and that's to keep it simple. If you have great characters then there's no need to over complicate the plot as the characters will tell the story for you. Marvel is often very guilty of overcomplicating its plots in order to make the comic books more exciting. They've done this in particular with the X-Men franchise. Forgetting the fact that they already have time-traveling and parallel-world hopping mutants such as Cable, Madeline Pryor and Rachel Summers, they also created an equally confusing villain in Stryfe.
Stryfe is a clone of another character from the future who himself is the child of a clone of another character. Confused? You should be! Not only is the character complicated he's also dressed as a reject from Dynasty. With spikes, razors and shoulder pads everywhere, Stryfe is over the top, overblown and a complete disappointment to the X-Men universe.