“The 25 Greatest Comic Book Villains of All-Time” countdown rolls on…
20. Juggernaut (X-Men)
One of the X-Men’s oldest and most dangerous foes. Unlike most X-Villains, Cain Marko, who is the stepbrother of X-Men founder Charles Xavier, is not a mutant. After suffering abuse from his father and seeing him favor Charles, a deep resentment grew inside Marko towards the man that would one day become Professor X. When he discovered the Gem of Cyttorak, Marko was transformed into a “living Juggernaut.” With his nearly unmatched strength, invulnerability, and the inability to be stopped by any force when he is in motion, he finally had the means with which to kill his stepbrother. Juggernaut is the personification of destruction. He can and will destroy anything that gets between him and his objectives, whether it be a building or a person. His only true weakness is a vulnerability to psychic attacks, so he wears a special helmet that blocks telepathic abilities. While he has mostly been an antagonist of Marvel’s mutant teams, he has also gone toe-to-toe with Spider-Man multiple times, and has squared off against the likes of the Fantastic Four and Dr. Strange.
19. Kingpin (Daredevil/Spider-Man/The Punisher)
Marvel’s number one crime boss. Originally created as a villain for Spider-Man and has crossed paths more than once with the violent vigilante The Punisher, but he really came to prominence as the nemesis of Daredevil. In a realm of super powered beings and over-the-top personalities, Wilson Fisk represents a real-world type of bad guy. He’s a cruel, methodical lord of organized crime who operates under the guise of an unsympathetic, greedy, shrewd (but legitimate) businessman. He will utilize whatever means are at his disposal to get the deal done…whether it’s intimidation, blackmail, threats of violence (or actual violence), assassination, or corporate attorneys. Being responsible for the death of Daredevil’s love interest and fellow crime fighter, Elektra, when he hired the assassin Bullseye to kill her, assured his inclusion among the worst villains comics has to offer.
18. Cobra Commander (G.I. Joe)
While most people know of Cobra Commander as the always outsmarted and outmatched antagonist from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon, the character was handled much much differently in the comic book of the same name. In the comic, Cobra Commander is ruthless, brilliant, and extremely treacherous. He is the most dangerous terrorist in the world. He has an unwavering desire for world conquest, a hi-tech arsenal produced by the greatest weapons manufacturers (Destro’s M.A.R.S.), some of the greatest scientists in the world under his employ the create all kinds of chemical, biological, and technological weapons and gadgets, and an army of highly trained soldiers completely loyal to his cause. He has assassinated world leaders, created chaos and uprising around the world, and was even granted political sovereignty for Cobra Island (the headquarters of his criminal operations). He has also proven to be just as dangerous to those within his organization as those outside it, torturing and/or killing those whom he feels have failed or betrayed him.
17. Thanos (the Marvel Universe)
The villain known as the “Mad Titan” is unique among the top big bads in that he isn’t really the arch-enemy of any particular hero. His obsession with and worship of the embodiment of Death has lead him to battle with most of the Marvel Universe. He killed Drax the Destroyers family. He cruelly trained Gamora to become a killing machine. He has even gone up against the planet-eating Galactus. But his most heinous act of villainy occured when, with the power of the Inifinity Gauntlet, he wipes out of existence half the life in the universe…all in an attempt to prove his affections for Death (because nothing says “love” like universal genocide). In an effort to stop Thanos, the vast majority of heroes (and even a few villains) in Marvel comics joined forces. During the ensuing battle, Thanos killed almost the entire army that had assembled against him, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Thor, Captain Marvel, Cyclops, Iron Man, and Vision. Eventually the Gauntlet was taken from Thanos and the lives of those he killed were restored, but his actions solidified him as one of the greatest, most maniacal, and deadly adversaries that comics has ever produced.
16. Dr. Octopus (Spider-Man)
Dr. Otto Octavius is Spider-Man’s most enduring foe. In fact, Doc Ock was once considered the Wall-Crawler’s arch-enemy. Dr. Octopus has been a thorn in Peter Parker’s side almost as long as the latter has donned a costume. Octavius is obsessed with defeating his nemesis. So much so that when he couldn’t kill him on his own, he brought together five more of Spider-Man’s more dangerous enemies to create the Sinister Six. He has even infiltrated the Web-Slinger’s personal life, at one time being married to Peter’s beloved Aunt May. The strangest chapter in their long history is that now Otto Octavius and Peter Parker have had their minds swapped, so Dr. Octopus is now actually Spider-Man. While I’m not a fan of the move, Marvel has certainly added another interesting layer to this battle.
To be continued…tomorrow #’s 15-11.