No hero in the Marvel Universe has a rogues gallery as famous—or infamous—as Spider-Man. While most heroes have one or two A-list villains that everyone knows, Spider-Man has a dozen. Big names like “The Green Goblin,” “Doctor Octopus,” “The Lizard,” “The Vulture,” and “The Sandman” have been associated with the wall-crawler for over 50 years now. When fans think of them, they think of Spider-Man.
It may be surprising to some, but Spider-Man doesn’t have exclusive rights to beating up anyone in his rogues gallery. Some have tangled with other heroes of the Marvel Universe. Did facing someone other than Spidey turn out in their favor? This list will help us answer that question, but of course will not be able to cover every individual altercation that has occurred over the past 50 years. Spider-Man’s team-ups with other heroes will also not be featured. All that said, here are 15 Spider-Man Villains Who’ve Fought Other Heroes Behind His Back.
Quentin Beck was a special effects artist working in Hollywood who was beginning to have doubts about the future of his career. So in classic supervillain fashion, Beck turned to crime as “Mysterio” and became a frequent foe of Spider-Man, with his efforts to defeat the wall-crawler always ending in failure.
Beck’s life went from bad to worse when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Without much time to live, Mysterio wanted to go out in style, but unfortunately Spider-Man was unavailable. As it often happens with superheroes, Spider-Man had been replaced by a clone, forcing Mysterio to find the next best thing: Daredevil.
Mysterio put on a grand scheme, as he caused the death of Daredevil’s longtime love interest Karen Page and framed Daredevil’s best friend Foggy Nelson for the murder. His plan was so successful that he nearly drove Daredevil to suicide. However, Daredevil overcame his grief, uncovered Mysterio’s plot and defeated him. Feeling like a complete failure, Mysterio took his own life.
14. Venom (Eddie Brock)
Venom is considered to be one of Spider-Man’s most powerful foes. As dangerous as Venom is, you would expect him to have an easier time fighting someone with a lower profile. You certainly wouldn’t expect Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) to capture him without throwing a single punch. All he had to do was throw an energy net on him before dragging him back to prison.
Later on, when Venom thought he had killed Spider-Man, he gloated about the victory to Spider-Man’s friend Darkhawk, sending the hero into a frenzy. Venom had to play dead in order to get Darkhawk to leave.
13. The Shocker
While the Avengers were busy saving the universe from the Magus during the Infinity War, Doctor Octopus led a team of villains including the Shocker in an attack on Avengers Mansion but were intercepted by the Guardians of the Galaxy, who at the time consisted of Charlie-27, Starhawk, Major Victory, Aleta Ogord, Nikki and Talon.
The two teams fought it out for a while until the arrival of a group of evil doppelgangers created by the Magus. Forced to team up, the heroes and villains destroyed the doppelgangers. Doctor Octopus ordered the team to attack the battle-weary Guardians, but in a rare showing of good will, the villains refused. Even the Shocker, a hardened criminal his entire life, would have no part in an attack on their allies.
Don’t take that the wrong way though; sparing the Guardians of the Galaxy was not a sign of things to come. Shocker continued on as a second-tier villain, losing again and again to Spider-Man until one day when the Shocker declared, “Don’t mock the Shocker!” and hit the Punisher with a blast that knocked him clean over the horizon, gaining the villain new respect from the criminal underworld.
12. Morbius the Living Vampire
Dr. Michael Morbius was a scientist dying of a rare blood disorder who used an experimental treatment involving vampire bats to cure himself of his affliction. The experiment turned him into a creature with vampire-like abilities. Morbius soon became an adversary of Spider-Man and an occasional ally.
In an unsurprising turn of events, his ties to vampirism brought him into conflict with Blade the Vampire Hunter. It was a bite from Morbius that enhanced Blade’s physical abilities. Prior to the bite, Blade was only immune to the effects of vampirism and had no real surperhuman traits.
After his latest defeat at the hands of Spider-Man, Sandman was put in prison with the Trapster. Together the two escaped and met the Wizard, who convinced them to team up against the Fantastic Four. After recruiting the Inhuman Medusa, they dubbed themselves the Frightful Four and attacked their heroic counterparts. The Fantastic Four barely survived the first two encounters, and finally managed to capture them in their third battle.
For a period of time, Sandman continued to appear as a member of the Frightful Four, but didn’t always need their help to oppose Marvel’s First Family. He found a powerful ally in Blastaar, an alien warlord who had escaped from the Negative Zone. When the two were defeated, Blastaar was banished back to his prison. Sandman saw a chance to free Blastaar from the Negative Zone when he heard news of a ship developed by the military that could bridge the dimensions of space.
Sandman manipulated the Hulk into helping him steal the ship but eventually Hulk realized he was being used and turned against him. Failing to beat him, Sandman teamed up with the Mandarin for another shot at the Hulk. When their attempt fell short, Mandarin betrayed Sandman by leaving him trapped inside a giant pressure cooker. When the Sandman stepped out, his body was composed of solid glass. Left defenseless, Hulk could have killed him but Betty Ross convinced him to stand down, allowing Sandman to live to fight another day.
Hammerhead is a high-ranking member of the crime family known as the Maggia. With the personality of a 1920’s mobster and a skull surgically reinforced with metal, Hammerhead has been a recurring foe of Spider-Man since 1972. Less formidable than Spider-Man’s other enemies, Hammerhead is usually defeated rather easily and is often depicted as a henchman or as a secondary villain.
After faking his death with a helicopter crash, Hammerhead was visited by the Human Torch. Wearing a metal exosuit built by the Tinkerer, Hammerhead was able to land a few blows on the Torch before his suit was damaged. Preferring death over capture, Hammerhead took a dive from a roof but seemingly survived.
Following Hammerhead’s arrest and incarceration, he was to be transferred to a different prison. To prevent any attempt at escape, Luke Cage and Iron Fist were hired to oversee the transfer. Two of Hammerhead’s minions, Eel and Man Mountain Marko, attacked the duo. As a two-on-two brawl ensued on top of the truck carrying the prisoner, Hammerhead managed to break free. Just as the Heroes for Hire overcame the villains, Hammerhead crashed the truck—right into the prison where they were headed. Whoops.
As an expert in engineering and mechanics, Abner Jenkins designed and built a suit of armor equipped with gadgets and a set of wings. Once becoming the Beetle, he used his new armor to battle the Human Torch and the Thing but was defeated. In seeking revenge on the Human Torch, he kidnapped the Torch’s girlfriend, drawing the attention of both the Torch and Spider-Man. This encounter marked the beginning of his reputation as an enemy of the wall-crawler.
Beetle was later put under the control of the Collector to assist in capturing the Avengers. Beetle battled Hawkeye in a contest of gadgets that was ended with a bolo arrow, leaving Beetle tied up. After he was able to get free, he launched another attack on the Avengers. In one of his most impressive showings, Beetle was able to use his wings and the element of surprise to knock out Captain America. Though he failed to beat the rest of the Avengers, at least he can still say that at one time, fluke accident or not, he beat Captain America.
In a later encounter, Beetle did less impressively against Daredevil, who managed to defeat him by removing the source of his power—his helmet. Beetle also served alongside an army of supervillains assembled by Justin Hammer to fight Iron Man. Over the course of his career, Beetle has engaged in a series of failed rematches with both Daredevil and Iron Man.
If there is anyone the Kingpin of Crime hates more than Spider-Man, it’s Daredevil. After having several of his schemes foiled by Daredevil, Kingpin finally learned of his secret identity through information sold to him by Daredevil’s drug-addicted ex-girlfriend, Karen Page. Seeking to even the score, Kingpin used his new knowledge to ruin Daredevil’s personal life, resulting in the loss of Daredevil’s license to practice law.
Kingpin’s feud with Daredevil has lasted for many years, and it has been argued that Daredevil—not Spider-Man—is Kingpin’s greatest nemesis. This is illustrated by the fact that Kingpin was featured as the main villain in the first season of the Netflix TV series.
The ultimate impersonator, Chameleon, is known for being the first foe faced by the wall-crawler in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man. Early in his career, he had a string of run-ins with other superheroes beginning with Iron Man and Captain America. He disguised himself as Cap as part of a scheme to trick the two into fighting each other. Everything was going according to plan until Hank Pym arrived on the scene in his “Giant-Man” persona and spotted the Chameleon observing from above.
Chameleon later disguised himself as Pym in an effort to steal some of his documents when he was contacted by Bruce Banner. Banner was trying to find a way to return his lover Jarella to the Microverse. After Chameleon manipulated Hulk into shrinking himself, he planned to sell the shrunken Hulk to HYDRA when he was intercepted by Pym. An ant-sized Pym defeated Chameleon by tripping him with a cord.
After a series of failed attempts to defeat Spider-Man, the Rhino received an upgrade to his artificial skin from the same scientists who first enhanced him. They sent him on a mission to capture Bruce Banner for his knowledge of gamma radiation. After Banner’s transformation into the Hulk, a showdown of epic proportions followed as the two slugged it out. Though the Hulk beat him into a coma, this was not the end for the Rhino. After being awakened by the Leader, the Rhino returned to menace the Hulk on several occasions, making him one of the Hulk’s greatest enemies.
A notable moment for the Rhino came in the “Ends of the Earth” storyline when Rhino used an Asgardian artifact called the Horn of Jormungand to impale Thor. Not many villains can claim the distinction of taking down the God of Thunder.
5. Doctor Octopus
Arguably the greatest Spider-Man villain of all-time, Doctor Otto Octavius doesn’t have the best track record against other heroes. Though he has managed to defeat the Punisher, he has been on the losing side in fights with Daredevil, the Hulk, Captain America, Mr. Fantastic (who simply turned off his robotic arms), Iron Man, a team-up of Dazzler and Angel, and a team-up of Hawkeye and Sandman.
One of Dr. Octopus’ finer moments came when he threatened Iron Man with a bomb that would destroy New York. Dr. Octopus believed that he was superior to Iron Man, and after trouncing him in combat, forced him to admit it. To convince Dr. Ocotopus to deactivate the bomb, Stark even called him “Master,” something egomaniacs like Stark never say. Satisfied, Dr. Ocotopus told Stark that there was never any bomb; the whole thing was a bluff.
Dr. Octopus wasn’t done yet. He hatched a plan to obtain the ultimate victory over his archenemy, but the plan was so complex that it involved more than just a clash with Spider-Man. The goal was to take control of Spider-Man’s body, but this was a task his science alone could not achieve. He determined that one piece of tech he needed belonged to Mr. Fantastic, and another belonged to Hank Pym. In a stroke of genius, Dr. Octopus managed to break into the Baxter Building and the Avengers Academy to steal the tech, effectively outsmarting two of the smartest men in the Marvel Universe.
Though the Scorpion thinks of Spider-Man as his greatest enemy, it’s a good bet he keeps Captain America near the top of his list. The first time they crossed paths was when Scorpion was on the street looking for a chance to test his powers after a long hiatus. The idea was to rob a random civilian. After attacking the next man who came around the corner, the Scorpion managed to take him by surprise and steal his briefcase. Scorpion might have made a different choice if he had known his target was Captain America himself.
Cap wasn’t happy that his briefcase was stolen, especially since it carried his shield. After pursuing the Scorpion, it only took him a couple of pages to dispatch him. The two have met a few times since then, but the Scorpion, having learned his lesson, always brought friends before engaging Cap in a rematch. One of his most frequent partners-in-crime was Mr. Hyde.
3. Kraven the Hunter
Kraven is a skilled hunter from Russia who lives for the thrill of the hunt, so how could he resist when he discovered Zabu, the last living saber-toothed tiger? After traveling to the Savage Land, Kraven succeeded in capturing the animal and returning it to New York City. Hot on his trail was Ka-Zar, Lord of the Jungle and loyal friend of Zabu. After a hard-fought battle, Ka-Zar was able to drive him away. The two jungle warriors have faced off several times since.
Much like other Spidey villains on this list, Kraven too has fought with Daredevil. In an effort to lure Daredevil into a fight, Kraven kidnapped his then-girlfriend, Black Widow. After allowing her to escape, Kraven was put at a disadvantage and had to fight the two of them at once. Yet despite the odds, he somehow won the battle and threw Daredevil off a cliff. Daredevil would have been killed for sure if he wasn’t teleported to another world by Moondragon.
2. Hobgoblin (Phillip Urich)
This incarnation of the Hobgoblin utilizes all of the gear once used by the original, with the addition of a flaming sword and his own “Lunatic Laugh.” He started working for the Kingpin, and was sent on a job to deal with Hercules who had taken out one of Kingpin’s gangs. Normally the situation would seem impossible, but this happened at a time when Hercules was without his strength. The Prince of Power was now relying on his skills and an arsenal of magical weapons. Believing the fight to be winnable, Hobgoblin decided to boost his profile by filming the battle with hidden cameras.
Hobgoblin used pumpkin bombs to bury Hercules beneath a pile of debris, but the Prince of Power freed himself and got back into the fight. Hobgoblin still had more tricks up his sleeve, but in the end Hercules proved to be too much for him. His plan had backfired in every possible way: not only did he lose the fight, but the reputation boost he expected to gain from this went to Hercules instead. The only silver lining for the Hobgoblin was that Kingpin was able talk Hercules out of turning him into the authorities.
1. Norman Osborn
The Green Goblin will always be remembered best for the murder of Gwen Stacy, but since his resurrection, Norman Osborn has earned the hatred of many, making him not just an enemy of Spider-Man, but an enemy of the Marvel Universe.
As Osborn rose to prominence as a figure of authority, he became a thorn in the side of numerous characters including the Avengers and the X-Men. Even against powerful foes such as these, Osborn was good at getting what he wanted: he gained the reputation of a hero, adopted the identity of “Iron Patriot” after acquiring a suit of armor similar to Stark’s, he had Charles Xavier and Beast locked in holding cells, he arranged the murder of the Punisher, created his own teams of Avengers and X-Men, arrested Luke Cage, had Hawkeye tortured, and organized what was nearly a successful invasion of Asgard. It took the combined forces of the Avengers to finally put a stop to Osborn and his army of supervillains.