The Worst Spider-Man Villains Ever, Ranked

Spider-Man has some of the best villains in comics history, but these thirteen make the Wall Crawler hide his face in shame.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2022) Cover by John Romita Jr.
Photo: Marvel

Forget Batman, forget the X-Men. The greatest rogues gallery in comics history belongs to Spider-Man. So great are his baddies that Sony continues to spend millions of dollars to launch a cinematic universe around them. And while Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Venom continue to get most of the attention, even B-level guys like the Spot have been elevated to big bads.

But let’s be honest, even Spider-Man comics have a few duds when it comes to bad guys. Even if we took out the horrendous mess that was the Clone Saga (and we aren’t going to take it out), Spider-Man would still have too many losers and redundant villains to count. So, here are the absolute worst of the worst in Spider-Man’s villain roster, characters so dull that they aren’t good for much besides getting killed in a crossover event.

The Gibbon
Photo: Marvel Comics.

13. The Gibbon

“Introducing one of the greatest new super stars in the mighty Marvel Universe!” declares the first page of Amazing Spider-Man #110, written by Stan Lee and penciled by John Romita. While ol’ Smilin’ Stan made his name with such hyperbolic statements, his praise of Spider-Man’s latest antagonist is outrageous as, well, basically everything he says about Spider-Man. Mutant Martin Blank (not to be confused with John Cusack‘s character from Grosse Pointe Blank) gets amazing agility and strength, but he’s cursed with an animalistic appearance, which makes him a freak and an outcast.

So, in short, he’s the Beast, but not as interesting. There’s a melancholy to Blank in his first appearance, but writers have struggled to carry that over in later appearances. Eventually, the Gibbon becomes a punching bag, joining a few other names on this list in “The Legion of Losers” and then turning into a good guy just to get his own action figures. The Gibbon recently died at the hands of Kraven in the “Hunted” storyline, which tried to give him a bit of dignity in his last moments. But, unfortunately, it’s too little too late.

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White Rabbit
Photo: Marvel Comics.

12. White Rabbit

Spider-Man already has a couple of pretty white-haired lady villains to fight, one of whom has an animal gimmick. And Batman already plumbed the Alice in Wonderland bits with baddies the Mad Hatter, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, and Cheshire. Yet, none of that stopped the otherwise great J.M. DeMatteis from introducing Dr. Lorina Dodson, aka the White Rabbit. Of course, DeMatteis, who knows a thing or two about goofy superheroes, might have intended White Rabbit to be a joke. After all, she emerges in 1983’s Marvel Team-Up #131, penciled by Kerry Gammill and inked by Mike Esposito, robbing a burger joint. And who does Spidey team up with to take down White Rabbit? Frog Man, the most Z-rated Z-list villain of all time.

Since then, the White Rabbit has had some more high-profile exploits, fighting not only Spidey but also Wolverine and Black Cat. But in every other case, she has to team up with better villains, such as Arcade or the Beetle. On her own, White Rabbit’s aspirations are the stuff of wonderland.

The Kangaroo
Photo: Marvel Comics.

11. The Kangaroo

Believe it or not, two different people in the MCU have used the Kangaroo moniker. The second, Brian Hibbs, has always been a bit of a joke, from his first appearance in 1993’s Cage #13 (written by Marc McLaurin, penciled by Scott Benefiel, and inked by Frank Turner) to his more recent heroic adventures.

But in terms of silliness, the new guy has nothing on the original. Where Hibbs had a (somewhat) respectable mechanical suit, the first Kangaroo Frank Oliver just had a fuzzy vest and a love of leaping. Brought to life by Stan Lee, John Romita, and Sal Buscema in 1970’s Amazing Spider-Man #81, the Kangaroo has the most obvious origin of all time. He’s an Australian criminal who learned to fight by studying Kangaroos before he traveled to the US to pursue a life of crime. The first Kangaroo only had a few appearances before getting killed off and replaced by his slightly less embarrassing successor.

Photo: Marvel Comics.

10. Typeface

To be clear, Typeface is the good type of bad new(ish) villain. He’s not super-edgy, he doesn’t have a murdered family, and he isn’t a symbiotic. But he’s still, you know, a bad villain. Written by Paul Jenkins, penciled by Mark Buckingham, and inked by Dan Green and Rodney Ramos, Peter Parker: Spider-Man #23 (2000) introduced Gordon Thomas as a Vietnam vet turned signsmith who cracked after getting laid off. That nondescript origin fit a nondescript character, and Gordon took the name Typeface after putting letters all over his face.

Honestly, it’s a bit unfair to put ol’ Typeface on this list. He only had a few appearances before getting unceremoniously killed by Venom during the superhero Civil War. Then again, a bad guy who puts letters on his face and fights Spider-Man with razor-blade O’s and A’s deserves every bit of mockery he gets.

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The Hypno-Hustler
Photo: Marvel Comics.

9. The Hypno-Hustler

Marvel has always prided itself on its relevance to the rest of the world. Sometimes that can make for characters who capture the zeitgeist, as with the original Marvel heroes. And sometimes, that approach results in the Hypno-Hustler, who first appeared in 1978’s Peter Parker: Spider-Man #24, written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Frank Springer. Born Antoine Delsoin, the Hypno-Hustler uses technologically advanced instruments to control the minds of his victims.

Not only does that M.O. fit the disco era in which he first appeared, playing at a club where Peter, Betty Brant, and Harry Osborn go to swing the night away. Since that first appearance, however, the Hypno-Hustler has only popped up a few other times, mostly as a joke in books like the Axis: Hobgoblin series and in a two-issue arc in Spider-Man’s Tangled Web.


8. Morlun

Thanks to two hit movies, the Spider-Verse has gone from a crazy comic book concept to a household word. But do you know what Spider-Verse concept no one knows? The Inheritors, the family of vampires who served as the central baddies in the Spider-Verse comics. And do you know why no one has heard of the Inheritors? Because they suck, none worse than the head of the family, Morlun.

Morlun comes from the controversial J. Michael Strazynski run, making his first appearance in 2001’s Amazing Spider-Man #30, penciled by John Romita Jr. and inked by Scott Hanna. Morlun and the other Inheritors hunt Spider-Totems from across the multiverse, feeding on their life-energy. While that might be a worthwhile concept, Morlun himself is a dull looking, generic Victorian vampire guy. The general public hasn’t had to deal with him yet, but with Morlun’s enemy Ezekiel Sims showing up in Madame Web, Morlun may be boring cinema audiences soon.

The Grizzly
Photo: Marvel Comics.

7. The Grizzly

If you had to design a costume for a villain called the Grizzly, you’d probably include some elements of the bear that inspired him, such as brown fur and claws. You’d also think to add some other stuff, like some other colors and a logo, maybe a proper mask? But then you wouldn’t be Ross Andru, penciler of the Grizzly’s first appearance in 1974’s Amazing Spider-Man #139, written by Gerry Conway and inked by Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt. Andru and co dress Grizzly like the doomed boyfriend at the end of Midsommar, giving him a big bear costume with his face sticking out of the mouth.

To be fair, the costume accurately represents the man inside, an unimaginative doofus. Unlike many of the characters on this list, the Grizzly has shown up many times since the ’70s, sometimes as a hero and sometimes as a villain. He’s worked alongside Ant-Man and insane asylum Ravencroft Institute, hoping to reform his ways, but he’s also bumbled into being a bad guy after getting duped.

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Photo: Marvel Comics.

6. Slyde

Slyde suffered one of the worst indignities that can happen to a Z-grade character. He died and nobody noticed, to the point that another writer put him in a later book with no explanation for the resurrection. It’s easy to see why Slyde’s death would slip past editors’ attention. Slipping around is Slyde’s whole thing. Chemical engineer Jalome Beacher created a chemical impervious to friction. But when his business partners cheated him, Beacher used his chemical on a silver suit to become Lube Man Slyde!

Slyde manages to annoy Spidey a few times, as his resistant suit gives Spider-Man’s webs nothing to grab. But he mostly serves as a bit player in larger team-ups, joining the Thunderbolts or working for the Kingpin. However, Slyde refused Hammerhead’s offer to form a team during the superhero Civil War, a decision that cost him his life, at the hand of Hammerhead’s enforcer Underworld. But then, two years later, Slyde shows up again in X-Men/Spider-Man #3 (written by Christos Gage and drawn by Mario Alberti), without explanation. Of course, Spider-Man’s opening quip probably explains it all. “Maybe you’re just so lame I forgot all about you,” Spidey jokes, a cold line even before Iceman shows up to freeze him.

Photo: Marvel Comics.

5. Iguana

The Lizard debuted in 1963, and has remained one of Spider-Man’s most compelling and empathetic villains. In 1978’s Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #32 — written by Bill Mantlo, penciled by Jim Mooney, and inked by Frank Springer — Spidey thinks he’s about to fight the Lizard when a giant green monster trashes Empire State University. But upon seeing Dr. Curt Connors knocked out on the floor, Spider-Man observes, “My shadowy and serpentine attacker isn’t the Lizard I know and loathe… but something completely different!”

“Completely different” is a real overstatement, and not just because the Iguana is another lizard monster. The Iguana come to be when Connors mutated a small Iguana, which somehow gave him Connors’s memories. Honestly, it’s not a bad setup, and the Iguana works as an antagonist in a one-off story. But Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage, and Nick Spencer have all brought back the Iguana in the past decade, stretching his already thin threat credibility. Spencer had the good sense to kill off the Iguana during the “Hunted” arc, and Iguana will stay dead if he knows what’s good for him.

Photo: Marvel Comics.

4. Spidercide

Of course, a character from the Clone Saga has to make this list. The Clone Saga, the winding and tangled story web from the 1990s, gave us the cool Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly, but it also spawned dull characters such as Kaine and Spidercide. Spidercide emerged as a Peter Parker clone in 1995’s Amazing Spider-Man #399 (written by DeMatteis, penciled by Mark Bagley, and inked by Larry Mahlstedt), only to learn that he had been engineered by Dr. Miles Warren to kill the other clones.

This clone soon took the name Spidercide and an edgy ’90s costume to go with it. Spidercide has largely remained a relic of the Clone Saga, where he belongs. However, when DeMatteis and artist David Badleón revisited the era for the 2022 miniseries Ben Reilly: Spider-Man, Spidercide returned as a serial killer who murdered women who went on dates with Peter Parker/Ben Reilly. Even when reimagined for the 2020s, Spidercide can’t shake that tacky ’90s edge.

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Red Ghost
Photo: Marvel Comics.

3. Red Ghost

The Red Ghost rules. I mean, he sucks — he’s an evil genius who can turn intangible and controls an army of super-Apes and also looks like Santa Claus. But that’s exactly why he rules. Scientist Ivan Kragoff first appeared in 1963’s Fantastic Four #13, a typical Cold War-era Stan Lee and Jack Kirby romp in which Russian agents fight American heroes. Kragoff attempted to replicate the incident that gave the FF their powers by exposing himself and three apes to Cosmic Rays. The experiment worked, sort of, giving Kragoff and his Simian associates strange powers.

From there, the Red Ghost became a pest to most Marvel heroes, clashing with Spidey many times. And each time, he grew more and more ridiculous. Spidey needed the help of the Human Torch to keep the Ghost and his Apes from stealing the Spider-Buggy. Later, Red Ghost and the cabal known as The Intelligence fought Spider-Man while making his new invention the Cosmicizer. As these examples show, the Red Ghost isn’t going away anytime soon, and that’s a good thing… maybe?

Gray Goblin
Photo: Marvel Comics.

2. Gray Goblin

Look, we’ve come around to Hobgoblin, who readers can appreciate as a fun troll who annoys Norman Osborn as much as he does Spidey. But the Gray Goblin sucks on so many levels, starting with his origin. The Gray Goblin is Gabriel Stacy, one of the two twins introduced in the infamous Sins Past arc by J. Michael Straczynski and Mike Deodato Jr., which reveals that Peter’s dearly departed best gal Gwen had an affair with Tommy Lee Jones Norman. When Gabriel and his sister Sarah rapidly aged to adulthood, he became the Gray Goblin, a Green Goblin knock off as dull as his primary color scheme.

Fortunately, the Gray Goblin persona has been retired and Gabriel and Sarah have been retconned as the product of cloning (of course!) instead of an affair, itself a false memory. But Gabriel keeps coming back, first as a the patriotic anti-hero American Son and now as the demonic powered Kindred. Neither of these identities inspire much excitement, but at least he’s not another Goblin.

Photo: Marvel Comics.

1. Conundrum

Like the Gray Goblin and Iguana, Conundrum belongs in the category of poor knock-offs of better villains. Introduced 1998’s Spectacular Spider-Man #257, written by DeMatteis (who is a fantastic writer, despite what this list suggests), drawn by Luke Ross, and inked by Dan Green and Al Milgrom, Conundrum has a puzzle face and creates illusions that confuse Spider-Man — exactly like Mysterio.

Sure, Conundrum’s puzzle face is kind of cool, as is the Eastern theme (which may be kind of appropriation?), but that’s not enough to make him standout in an already crowded group of baddies. In fact, the next few times that Conundrum has shown up, he’s always an accessory to a larger group, as when he gets bound to the Knull symbiote in 2019’s Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool #2. In each of these cases, the real conundrum is why anyone would remember Conundrum at all.

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