Some supervillains from the Marvel universe were just so good at their jobs that their children, followers, and fans just wanted to continue their legacy even when they were defeated or retired from a life of villainy.
Some villains trained and honed the skills of their own sons, daughers, clones, or chosen disciples to become their heirs; others took on the costume and gear of the original supervillain either as a tribute to their idol, or as a means to overthrow them and gain their powers.
Other times, the physical body of a person was merely a vessel for the greater entity or magical power that is the true character of the supervillain which must be ressurected from time to time.
Whether they had the consent of the original villains or not, here are 15 Marvel Villains Who Inherited Their Identities.
14. Green Goblin
Harry Osborn was the son of Norman Osborn and the best friend of Peter Parker. Unbeknownst to him, his father was the Green Goblin, a persona he created after experimenting with some super-serum. He also did not know that Parker was the web-slinging vigilante, Spider-man.
When Norman lost all his memory as the super villain in an accident, Spider-Man did everything he could to erase all traces of the Green Goblin so that he could protect Harry. But the already distant relationship between father and son only worsened when Norman inexplicably lapsed back into the Green Goblin persona.
During this time, Harry upped his experimentation with hard drugs. When he suffered an accidental cocaine overdose, the sight of his emaciated son scared Norman back into sanity.
Unfortuantely, Harry was still on a downward spiral with his self-destructive lifestyle. When his father was killed, he blamed Spider-Man. Although he inherited his father’s fortune and managed to get the business back into shape, he felt betrayed when he discovered Spider-Man’s costume in his best friend’s apartment.
13. Crime Master
A villain who formed an uneasy partnership with the Green Goblin was Crime Master, Nicholas “Nick” “Lucky” Lewis Sr. He tried to take over all the mobs of New York but was gunned down by police on the roof of a building across from the Daily Bugle in an attempt to kill Spider-man.
After his death, his son, Nicholas Lewis Jr. took over as Crime Master and teamed up with another villain with an inherited identity: the second Big Man. Unlike his father before him, Nick Jr. did not know the secret identity of his partner-in-crime. When he later betrayed and killed Big Man, he was devastated to discover than beneath the mask, his partner was really Janice Foswell, his own girlfriend. She was the daughter of Frederick Foswell, the original Big Man. This was the last time Nick Jr. appeared as Crime Master.
The name was taken on by Bennett Brant who was kidnapped as a child by gangster, Blackie Glaxton. Glaxton was shot and killed in a shootout between his own men and Spider-man and Doctor Octopus but Brant survived and was raised by a criminal organization that groomed him to be their Crime Master.
12. Red Skull
The Red Skull wanted an heir, so he fathered a child with a washerwoman. The poor woman died during childbirth, and the Skull was enraged to find that his child was a girl.
He wanted to kill the baby at first, but one of his followers, Susan Scarbo, convinced him that she could still be a worthy heir. She offered to raise the baby herself and indoctrinate her in his views. Red Skull agreed and named the child Sinthea Schmidt, or Sin for short.
While Sin was still a young child, her father came to her and put her in a machine to speed up her aging process. She became an adult in an instant and was also imbued with superhuman powers.
While attempting to put her father’s mind into the body of Steve Rogers, an accident cause his mechanical body to explode and left her with sever facial scarring just like Red Skull.
11. Doctor Doom
Kristoff Vernard became the heir of Dr. Doom after his mother was killed by a robot when she broke the curfew in Latveria. Doom took in the boy as his own because he felt that they were supposed to be under his protection.
When it was thought that Dr. Doom had died in an explosion in caused by the alien Tyros, the Doombots decided to put all of Doom’s memories into Vernard. This made him believe he was the actual Dr. Doom for a time.
Even after the Fantastic Four attempted to reprogram him and the real Dr. Doom re-emerged in a new body created by the Beyonder, Vernard still thought that he was the real Doom and the other was one the imposter who was created by his enemies.
10. Rhino II
The Original Rhino was Aleksei Sytsevich, who was given an artificial skin by Eastern Bloc scientists, which gave him superhuman strength. He also had a thick polymer suit that covered his entire body except for his face and had two horns that could pierce through steel. The suit made him resemble a rhinoceros and is highly resistant to damage and extreme temperatures.
Sytsevich received an offer to upgrade his suit from Dr. Tramma, but he declined her offer. She gives the technology to an unnamed thug instead. The new Rhino decides to seek out Sytsevish and destroy him so that he could be the “one true Rhino.” Spider-man tried to intervene, but Rhino II was able to escape after being defeated.
9. Jack O’ Lantern
No less than five villains have taken the on the name of Jack O’ Lantern. The first was former CIA Agent, Jason Macendale, who became a mercenary after being disgraced. He later on became the second Hobgoblin.
While the first Jack O’ Lantern was primarily a foe for Spider-Man, the second incarnation of the character, Steve Levin, was under the employment of Red Skull and fought both Captain America and Spider-Man. All of the vehicles he used belonged to the original Jack. Ultimately, he was killed by the Punisher.
The third Jack O’ Lantern was Daniel Berkhart, who used to go by the villain name Mysterio. Once again, he often fought Spider-Man, but was also a foe for Daredevil. Interestingly, after being killed at one point, he was revived by Lucifer and was given abilities to reanimate the dead and became an enemy of Ghost Rider.
The fourth Jack O’ Lantern also had supernatural powers. This unnamed man claimed to be the brother of Steve Levin and could transform into a Jack O’ Lantern villain with the powers bestowed on him by a demon.
Finally, the title was given to a young boy who had a habit of disobeying his parents and maltreating animals. On Halloween one year, he was dressed as a Jack O’ Lantern and entered the house of Crime Master, Bennett Brant, who took him in and trained him to be an assassin.
Evil scientists never learn that playing around with clones and resurrection just never ends up well. Miles Warren was a college professor who created the super villain Carrion when he made a clone of himself. After his own death, his clone continued its development and became a walking corpse with the ability to disintegrate organic matter with a touch. He could also alter his density to be as untouchable as a ghost, and could even fly.
But this first Carrion caused his own undoing when he tried to kill Spider-Man with a creature he called the Spider-Amoeba. When Spider-Man escaped, Carrion’s lab exploded, killing both him and his monstrosity.
But Carrion’s name continued when Malcolm McBride became infected with the “Carrion Virus” from a test tube from Warren’s old lab. Although he went on a massive killing spree with other villains, he was eventually cured by Shriek in a rare moment of compassion.
The third Carrion was Dr. William Allen, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was inspecting Warren’s corpse. He also became infected with the virus and became the most dangerous incarnation of Carrion yet. He gained the ability to control people’s minds using the “Red Dust” plague.
7. Mister Fear
The first of several Misters Fear was Zoltan Drago who originally wanted to create an elixir to turn wax statues to life so they would serve as his private army. He failed, but discovered that his concoction could induce fear in people. Daredevil was able to stop and put him in prison, but he was killed later in New York City by the man who would become the second Mister Fear, Samuel “Starr” Saxon.
Saxon gunned down Drago for the sole purpose of stealing his gear to humiliate Daredevil. His plans backfired when Daredevil unmasked him, and he fell to his death.
However, Lawrence “Larry” Cranston was an old school mate of Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil), who secretly witnessed Saxon shoot Drago. When Saxon died, he decided to take on the mantle of Mister Fear to go against Daredevil himself. In his final attempt to destroy Daredevil, he gave the fear-inducing drug to Milla, Daredevil’s wife and put her into a permanent state of psychosis. After this, he surrendered to police and spent his time in prison living like a king.
The last Mister Fear was Cranston’s nephew, Alan Fagan, who obtained the fear gas and other equipment his uncle used after they thought he died. Fagan’s primary super hero adversary was Spider-man rather than Daredevil. But the web-slinger managed to have him put behind bars where he was attacked by men who were paid by his own daughter to carve the skin off his face. She wanted to draw out the fear toxin to turn herself into the villain, Shock.
6. Baron Zemo
Captain America: Civil War had a very different Baron Zemo from the masked villain of the comic books. Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Zemo took a back door approach to dividing the Avengers team, the original bad guy was already a foe of Captain America in his World War II days.
Dr. Heinrich Zemo first wore his signature reddish-pink hood to maintain anonymity while he invented weapons of mass destruction for the Third Reich, but the cloth permanently bonded with his face when his own chemical weapon, Adhesive X, was poured onto him. He died in an avalanche during a battle with Captain America.
Helmut J. Zemo, the original’s son, followed in his father’s footsteps to become a super villain by recreating Zemo’s work. Although he originally used the name Phoenix, he later also took on the name Baron Zemo when he fell into a vat of specially-treated Adhesive X. Unlike his father, the chemical did not bond his hood to his face since he was not wearing it at the time, but the accident forced him to always wear his mask because his face became scarred, making him look like melted wax.
5. Phoenix Force
The Phoenix Force is one of the most powerful and feared entities in the Marvel multiverse. This immortal being exists is many of Marvel’s titles but is probably most known for its link with Jean Grey of the X-Men and her transformation into the Dark Phoenix.
As the corrupted Dark Phoenix, Jean Grey destroyed an entire civilzation and in a moment of restored sanity, asked Cyclops to destroy her and the Phoenix Force. She would later on be resurrected, along with the Phoenix Force in many versions and retcons of her character but the common theme remained that the Phoenix Force was an all-powerful being that connects all life together and annihilate it too.
Jean Grey’s daughter with Cyclops (Scott Summers), Rachel Summers, was also an avatar for the Phoenix Force. Born in an alternate future, Rachel inherited her mother’s telekinetic powers and also her link to the Phoenix Force when she decided to honor her by wearing her uniform and taking the name Phoenix for herself.
The Organizer hand-picked a group of villains to become the Ani-Men. Among them was Townshend Horgan, aka Cat-Man. Along with the other Ani-Men, Cat-Man as sent to defeat Daredevil. Unfortunately, not only was he caught and put behind bars, The Organizer also decided to send Ape-Man, one of the other Ani-Men, to kill Cat-Man to prevent him from revealing their secrets. The assassination attempt failed and Cat-Man, who lost all loyalty to his former boss, spilled all their secrets.
However, Cat-Man, Bird-Man, and even Ape-Man, were able to escape prison and form the Unholy Three. During this time, they came into the employment of Count Nefaria who gave them true super powers and altered their appearances to make them physically resemble the animals they adopted as their alter egos. They were ultimately defeated by Iron Man who blew up Nefaria’s base while they were still inside.
Though there have been three Kingmakers in the Marvel universe, the first was a largely unknown villain who was a high-stakes loan shark that dealt in favors rather than cash. He granted one wish to applicants in exchange for a favor that would be determined at a later date.
The second Kingmaker was the father of Bullseye. He tried to steal his own son’s body by splicing open Bullseye’s spine, and transplanting his brain into him. What Kingmaker didn’t know was that the adamantium that laced Bullseye’s bones would prevent a successful surgery.
The final Kingmaker was Pryor Cashman who fed off the memories of humans. He could also manipulate those memories to turn good memories into bad and driving his victims into madness or cause people to kill others at his bidding.
Once he was caught, he was kept in a facility miles below the ocean. He helped stage a breakout and was able to escape, along with Norman Osborn who had recently been transferred to the same facility. He was last seen on a beach surrounded by the impressionable minds of young children.
2. Black Talon
The first Black Talon was Pascal Horta, a peaceful painter who lost his hand in an car accident. He underwent experimental surgery and was given a hand transplant from a donor – the serial killer Strangler Burns. The killer blood in the hand overwhelmed Horta’s personality and he became a murderer himself.
The next Black Talon was a voodoo priest, Desmond Drew, who turned out to be false even though he did have the ability to create and control zombies. But when his own cultists realized that he was just an impostor, they beat him to death.
The third Black Talon, Samuel Barone, assumed the voodoo name of Drew, and also had the power to create zombies. He even resurrected Wonder Man and used him to attack the Avengers.
In addition to zombies, Black Talon also used an assortment of voodoo items as his weapons. He also wore the Amulet of Damballah which gave him the power to command reptiles such as snakes and lizards.
1. Madame Hydra/Viper
Born in Eastern Europe and orphaned when she was very young, Ophelia Sarkissian was trained by Kraken and rose up the ranks to not only become the leader of HYDRA, but also took the name of Viper, one of the founders of the Serpent Squad.
Ever since the introduction of her character in 1969, Madame Hydra has fought nearly every single Marvel superhero in the universe. Her crazy schemes even caught the eye of Red Skull who helped break her out of prison to become his partner. But she proved uncontrollable, even for him. She even manipulated Wolverine into marrying her so that she could gain control of the island state Madripoor.
She was killed by Leviathan forces who were seeking an alien power source from HYDRA. Later, Hive brought her back to “life,” only this time her body was controlled by a green, tentacles mass sprouting from the back of her head.