When The Avengers go head to head with bad guys, they expect to walk away with broken bones. But when they go head to head with these guys, they don’t expect to walk away at all. These guys are some of the deadliest villains in the Avengers history and have amassed a heavy body count between them.
Some of these villains are cold-blooded killers. They will stop at nothing to end the lives of their victims via any means necessary, sometimes just for the fun of it. Others merely see killing as a means to an end, removing pawns from the chessboard to further their mad schemes. Some just lose control and end up levelling a city in a blind rage.
Whatever the motivations behind their body count, these 15 villains have killed thousands of people between them and aren’t going to stop anytime soon.
Here are The 15 Deadliest Avengers Villains of All Time
16 Scarlet Witch
Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, is a mainstay of The Avengers. Wanda has saved countless lives and even sacrificed herself to save others during the Onslaught incident in Central Park.
So, why is she listed as a villain? Well, during the Avengers Disassembled storyline she lost control of her reality warping powers after coming into contact with the so-called Life-Force. She discovered that she had had twin boys, Thomas and William, with the synthetic being known as The Vision. The boy’s souls were fragments of the demon Mephisto, and were re-absorbed into him. The event was so traumatic that Wanda’s memories were suppressed. When they resurfaced, Wanda lost all sense of herself and attacked her Avengers colleagues. The Vision was torn apart by a manipulated She-Hulk, Hawkeye was killed during the illusion of a Kree invasion, and Ant-Man was incinerated in a blast caused by a reanimated Jack of Hearts.
As if this wasn’t enough, Wanda was manipulated into creating a Mutant nirvana in the form of The House of M reality. When the X-Men and the Avengers began to fight back against her artificial reality, she uttered the now infamous spell “No more mutants” and robbed 90% of Mutants of their powers. Many were in dangerous situations at the time and lost their lives. Others were killed by humans due to their former status as mutants.
While she has now regained her sanity and is paying for her crimes, she remains a reviled figure in the mutant community.
Taskmaster may not be the guy to wipe out dozens in a single blast, but in one-on-one combat he’s hard to beat and he doesn’t take prisoners. As a mercenary and assassin-for-hire, he’s killed hundreds of marks for cash but he also trains killers such as Crossbones and is indirectly responsible for their victims too.
His skill set is astonishing; just by watching Captain America in combat, he can duplicate his fighting skills with his so-called Photographic Reflexes. He can also shoot like Hawkeye or Bullseye and essentially mimic any ability that is physically possible.
The only person Taskmaster has stated he cannot outfight in single combat is Deadpool. Deadpool’s chaotic thought process makes predicting his next move impossible, making him an impossible mark for Taskmaster. Beyond that, he has taken numerous contracts from both criminals, such as the mob and Hydra, and legitimate organizations such as the US government. While no official body count exists, it’s likely that he has killed several hundred men in both hand-to-hand combat and via assassination methods such as sniping.
While Taskmaster is a professional and never kills for anything other than money, it wouldn’t be wise to get on his bad side. Just sayin’.
14 Radioactive Man
As a nuclear physicist working for Communist China, Chen Lu was ordered to find a way to combat the Avenger, Thor, who was interfering with a combat zone in nearby India. Chen Lu began to dose himself with increasing amounts of radiation until he became a living radioactive being, capable of battling the Asgardian Avenger.
Radioactive Man has been a recurring foe of the Avengers, both as an agent for his government and as a villain working for Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil. His kill count isn’t especially high, as he has always been defeated by the Avengers, but his potential to be lethal is immense. As a living nuclear weapon, he has the potential to kill every person in a city by unleashing a single radioactive blast.
The only thing holding Radioactive Man back is that he isn’t especially evil. He takes no pleasure in the suffering of others and therefore isn’t prone to random acts of terror. Should he ever be motivated to commit such an act, it’s unlikely the Avengers would be able to stop him before he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands.
Viper, also known as Madame Hydra, is one of the Avengers' most lethal foes, due not only to her individual skills as a fighter, but also to her command of legions of highly trained soldiers.
Viper has an intimate knowledge of most forms of poison and toxin and, in one of her earliest schemes, attempted to poison New York City’s water supply. She was defeated by Captain America, but several of her acts since have involved poisons, most of which she is totally immune to herself. Viper is also an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, having been trained for over 20 years by the malevolent Kraken. She is also a master tactician and strategist, often using pawns to distract her enemies from her true intentions until it’s too late.
While Viper is often associated with Hydra, and even the Hand, she has also operated as a lone agent at times. Her intellect, skills set, and brutal nature make her a foe to be reckoned with. While she hasn’t killed as many people directly as some others on this list, the sheer scope of her ambitions, coupled with her skills, means she may well achieve her aims one day. She could potentially defeat The Avengers, especially if she unites their enemies against them.
12 Norman Osborn
While originally a foe of Spider-Man who went by the moniker Green Goblin, Norman Osborn came to be one of the greatest foes of The Avengers during the so-called Dark Reign.
Given credit for killing the Skrull Queen at the end of the Secret Invasion, he was put in charge of the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D as well as tasked with creating a new team of Avengers by the president. Instead of putting together a team of heroes, he gathers a team of villains such as Bullseye, Venom, and Moonstone, and gives them the identities of established heroes. He also does backroom deals with influential villains such as The Hood and Doctor Doom. Between them, they agreed to carve up the world and form a secret ruling Cabal.
During Osborn’s time at the top, he took part in the slaughter of thousands of Atlanteans by sending The Sentry to destroy them. He held numerous Atlanteans prisoner for information, and fed them live to Venom without a hint of remorse. He also led the combined forces of The Dark Avengers, H.A.M.M.E.R, and the Hood’s criminal empire in an assault on Asgard which killed several Asgardians.
Between the above, and the people he killed as the Green Goblin (Gwen Stacey and Ben Reilly, notably) he is easily one of the deadliest men on Earth.
11 Zemo and the Masters of Evil
Zemo himself is a genius with knowledge of martial arts, advanced sciences, and is a gifted tactician. His tactical skills make him the equal of Captain America in combat, and he can tackle the star spangled sentinel of liberty in a one-on-one combat situation, something few men can do.
As if the master strategist Zemo wasn’t dangerous enough alone, he often has the Masters of Evil backing him up, making him a major foe of The Avengers. The Masters of Evil are one of the few Avengers foes that can claim an outright victory over the heroes. When they attacked Avengers Mansion, they beat both Captain America and Hercules to a pulp and overtook the mansion itself. While they were eventually beaten, largely due the then Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, the Masters left a lasting impression with Hercules himself having to recover both physically and psychologically.
Given the Masters of Evil’s ability to match The Avengers man-to-man, they can easily be considered one of their greatest and most dangerous foes.
10 The Hood
Parker Robbins is just your ordinary criminal mastermind, except when he’s possessed by a demon that gives him the power to battle the New Avengers to a standstill single-handedly! When the demon that had grafted itself to his soul was exorcised by the combined mystic skills of Doctor Strange, Doctor Voodoo, and Damon Hellstrom, he went on a quest for another source of power.
Due to his association with Loki, he was led to the Norn Stones which gave him greater power than he had ever known. He used the Stones to enhance the powers of his criminal gang, and they almost defeated the combined forces of The Avengers and their allies. Defeated once more, he searched for the Infinity Gems themselves. He united half of them, and for a brief time became one of the most dangerous men in the universe. His control of the gems, however, was lacking, and he was separated from them once more.
His ruthless nature, willingness to kill without hesitation, and his lust for power mean that he will no doubt return to hassle The Avengers again, probably with another immense power source at his disposal.
9 Red Onslaught
As if being the clone of Red Skull didn’t make you evil enough, you just had to go and graft the brain of Charles Xavier onto yourself didn’t you…
The Red Skull’s clone went and did just that. In one of his first acts, he shows that he is a hypocrite (he claims to hate mutants as they are genetically impure) and uses the mutant brain of Xavier to give himself vast psionic power. Eventually taking his psionic powers to their very limit, he tricks Magneto into killing him and he becomes a psychic entity akin to Xavier’s malevolent alter-ego, and becomes the Red Onslaught.
With the power to mentally dominate his foes and broadcast waves of pure hate, The Red Onslaught forces his foes Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch to perform a risky spell to “Invert” his moral compass. The spell backfires and the heroes and villains present have their moral compasses inverted as well. While he is eventually defeated, ironically by a horde of villains who were temporarily “good”, he wasn’t destroyed and was merely returned to his previous state as the Red Skull.
And if a telepathic super-evil Nazi wasn’t enough, keep reading…
Loki was the villain that brought the original team of Avengers together in the first place. Using The Hulk as a pawn to hassle his brother Thor, Loki inadvertently assembles the heroes and is defeated. Not one to take a defeat lightly, he has taken great strides to cause the Avengers as much mischief as possible in numerous acts of revenge.
Loki is, for all intents and purposes, immortal, so he clearly has time on his side, he can merely wait until time ends the threat of The Avengers and strike them when they are old and weaker. But to do so would rob him of the pleasure he takes in inflicting pain on mortals.
While he lacks the physical might of Thor, he far surpasses his adopted brother when it comes to magic. He can take the forms of animals, warp the minds of even the most resilient mortals, and even warp reality at a level that only the Scarlet Witch and Mephisto are capable of.
While Loki’s impressive power makes him dangerous, it’s his total disregard for human life that makes him truly dangerous. Despite fathering several children with mortal women over the years, he would think nothing of wiping out a whole country if it suited his evil schemes.
7 The Kree / The Skrulls
The Kree consider Earth to be their territory, having meddled with the evolutionary process of the planet millennia ago. The Skrulls consider Earth to be their fabled promised land, prophesized in their religion to take the place of their long-destroyed home-world. Each have tried to lay claim to the planet, coming into conflict with The Avengers several times.
While both the Kree empire and the Skrulls pose individual threats to the planet Earth and its citizens, it’s their galaxy-spanning war that poses the greatest threat. Their conflict has led to Earth being caught up in their battles many times before, but eventually Earth will have to choose a side and unite against one of the aggressors.
While The Avengers face many foes, they rarely face the horrors of outright warfare. When the inevitable battle comes, it’s likely that many Avengers will fall in the carnage. Who will fight, and who they will ultimately side with, remains to be seen. But it’s possible that we could see a third Civil War if the heroes choose different sides.
Kang isn’t called “The Conqueror” for nothing. He was born in the far future, a descendent of Reed Richards, and came across long-lost time-travel technology. He travels to the year 2950BC in order to become a pharaoh, intending to locate the mutant who would come be known as Apocalypse, and use his strength to take over the world. He is defeated by the time-displaced Fantastic Four. He journeys through time repeatedly, causing several new realities to form, and gains dominion over numerous timelines. Using advanced technology, he builds a suit of armor similar to Doctor Doom’s and becomes known as Kang the Conqueror, and sets his sights on 21st century Earth.
While his ability to travel through time is impressive, it’s his ability to call upon any weapon from any era which makes him so dangerous. He can literally use the perfect weapon to defeat any foe, and has absolute mastery of all weapons due to his many lifetimes of experience.
With intentions to rule not just the planet, or even the universe, but time itself, Kang is one of the most dangerous foes The Avengers have ever faced.
5 Doctor Doom
The only attribute of Victor Von Doom’s that is greater than his intellect is his ego. One of the smartest men that has ever lived, Doctor Doom has conquered his home country of Latveria and uses his diplomatic immunity as the leader of a sovereign nation to move freely across the world.
As if being the evil ruler of a nuclear power wasn’t enough, Doom uses a suit of armor equal to that of Iron Man’s and has mystical skills which are a match for Doctor Strange. Add to that his time-machine, and you have one of the most powerful and persistent foes that The Avengers, and Fantastic Four, have ever faced.
While Doom does have a strict code of honor, he has broken his word on a few occasions. He once declared that he wouldn’t hurt a child for the world, but for the universe he would make an exception, attempting to drain the unlimited power of Franklin Richards for himself.
Doom has actually conquered the world before now, but relinquished his authority due to the immense boredom. Should he want to, there are few Avengers who could stand against him.
When it comes to Avengers foes, few have inflicted more hurt than Onslaught. The hybrid psychic entity that had the combined powers of Charles Xavier, Magneto, Franklin Richards, and the X-Man actually killed The Avengers - or so it was believed. The Avengers, and other heroes believed to be dead, were actually trapped in a pocket dimension created instinctively by Franklin Richards.
While the sacrifice of The Avengers and their allies appeared to end the threat of Onslaught, he was shown to have survived and ended up battling the Avengers of Counter-Earth. He was seen to have been killed, but Steve Rogers (Captain America) has been shown to be having recurring dreams of Onslaught, suggesting that the being responsible for killing The Avengers may be trying to find a way to re-incorporate into a physical form in the Marvel Universe once more.
It took the sacrifice of Earth's mightiest heroes to put Onslaught down once; what will it take to stop it again?
Nobody has a lower regard for human life than Ultron. The artificial intelligence monstrosity was created by Doctor Henry Pym after he experimented with the primitive A.I, Dragon Man. Upon gaining sentience, Ultron immediately decided that humanity was flawed, and should be eradicated to bring order to the world. Although Ultron has been destroyed many times, his nature as an A.I means that he can escape into the internet until he is able to rebuild himself.
Ultron usually finds a way to construct for himself a nearly indestructible Adamantium body and often uses multiple duplicates, having an army of robots at his command. His prime body has superhuman strength, the ability to fly, and can project lethal energy blasts; the minions he uses are generally a weaker variant of the prime body, but are each incredibly dangerous in their own right.
In one of his most terrible acts, Ultron slaughtered the entire population of the fictional country of Slorenia. While he was seemingly put down permanently by Hank Pym, he found a way to return once more by integrating with Tony Stark’s own bio-technology.
Ultron continues to return and in at least one alternate future has succeeded in killing the Avengers and subjugating the remnants of humanity. He will never stop until he is successful in achieving this aim.
While many foes of The Avengers aim to conquer the world, Thanos will not settle for less than the total domination of all reality. He’s even come close to achieving his aim, when he united the Infinity Stones and gained the powers of a god. In tribute to the personification of death, he wiped out half of all sentient life in the universe using the power of the gems.
While defeated, Thanos has shown the desire for greater power once more and has amassed a massive armada of some of the most lethal beings in the universe. He used this fleet to invade Earth during the Infinity storyline and was narrowly defeated by the combined forces of Earth.
Thanos is a descendant of the Eternal species, and is therefore immortal. He also possesses the power to harness massive amounts of cosmic energy and has strength which puts him on par with the Hulk. This alone would make him The Avengers most powerful foe, but his obsession with Earth’s destruction and gaining the power to dominate the universe means that The Avengers are well outmatched by the mad titan.
When he returns, it will no doubt take the combined power of not just Earth’s heroes, but the villains and the extra-terrestrial forces of the Guardians of the Galaxy to even slow him down.
1 Honourable Mentions
While not generally considered an Avengers villain, the Hulk has been at odds with the team as often as he has been an ally. Considered by many in the Marvel universe to be an omega-level threat, the Hulk has battled the Avengers and defeated them during World War Hulk and was only stopped when he chose to allow Tony Stark’s orbiting satellites to neutralize him. The Hulk has been responsible for hundreds of deaths during his rampages; if his recent death proves to be permanent, it will come as a relief to many of Earth’s heroes.
The Phoenix Force should also be given a nod. Again, it is not generally considered an Avengers foe, but when Cyclops was possessed and became the avatar of Dark Phoenix, it took the combined forces of both The Avengers and The X-Men to separate him from its influence. During the AvX event, not only were countless civilians killed in the crossfire - particularly, the population of Wakanda - but the founder of the X-Men, Charles Xavier, was slain as well.