Movies based on comic book superheroes have never been bigger or better, but each new film or franchise requires a supervillain that is just as memorable. As the stakes and threats are rising every year, and Marvel's shared universes continue to unite heroes against a common enemy, the villains will need to up their game just as quickly. That may seem a tall order, but there's no shortage of villains who could fit the bill. Here is our list of the 10 Most Powerful Marvel Villains.
The classic Marvel villain Ultron may have been made famous on film in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the comic book version is even more dangerous. Hank Pym originally created Ultron using his own mind as a blueprint, giving the A.I. genius-level intellect, and leading it to upgrade itself multiple times before attacking the Avengers. Constructing a new body out of the indestructible metal Adamantium, Ultron's powers go well beyond superstrength, flight, or speed. He's notoriously hard to kill, turning on every other villain who decided to bring him back to life. Add that fact that he can control technology remotely, and even hypnotize humans to implant secret missions, and Ultron's constantly evolving intelligence can go toe-to-toe with the best comic book villains, period.
Back when Jean Grey was only the psychic 'Marvel Girl,' the writers of the X-Men series decided to stun readers by making her the most powerful mutant yet. Exposing Jean to lethal radiation, she emerged as 'Phoenix,' a physical form of the cosmic and otherworldly 'Phoenix Force.' Eventually, her heightened powers corrupted her, driving Jean mad and wiping out alien worlds by accident. Wielding telekinetic and psychic power beyond any of her friends, Phoenix ended her own life to prevent more death. Even though the publisher would later reveal it wasn't really Jean, but a copy of her created by the Phoenix Force, The Phoenix Saga remains a fan-favorite. The story was attempted on film by director Brett Ratner, but it couldn't hold a candle to the comics.
The alien known as the Mad Titan joined the Avengers universe following their first team-up, hinting that Earth's first encounter with magical cosmic weapons was only the beginning. In the comics, ancient cosmic beings created a race of Eternals to defend Earth, but when Thanos was born, the genes he shared with the Eternals' sworn enemies were clear, and he was shunned. To prove his love to Mistress Death, Thanos killed billions of innocents across space, including his own people. He may have been based on the DC Comics villain Darkseid, but using the Infinity Gauntlet to amplify his superhuman strength, psychic powers, and universe-hopping technology, Thanos has defeated Marvel's greatest heroes too many times to count.
Every X-Men fan knows of the Summers brothers, codenamed Cyclops and Havok, and both able to launch powerful energy attacks. Scott, in the form of beams from his eyes, and Alex, released in waves or along his arms. But it's the third Summers brother, Gabriel, who can call himself the most powerful. Since he's basically able to control energy in nearly every form, Gabriel can deflect Cyclops' eyebeams, resist sychic attacks, and even hijack or absorb the abilities of mutants around him. When he feels betrayed by professor X, he takes the name Gabriel, and turns those powers against his own family. Thankfully, he pursued his villainy in space, not on Earth, becoming the head of an entire alien empire.
Originally created to fight the Fantastic Four, Galactus is't an alien, or a god... but a bit of both. Before the Big Bang created Marvel's universe, an alien fled the death of the one that came before, fusing with its essence before the new one took its place. Galactus was the result: a god-like embodiment of the cosmos that most beings can't even perceive, who has to feed on living planets to stay alive. His scout, the Silver Surfer may get most of the recognition, but Galactus has the power to do just about anything: transform matter, teleport, create life, revive the dead...you name it. Even the brilliant Reed Richards couldn't tell just where Galactus' powers ended, but exploiting his weak spots has saved Earth more than a few times.
Plenty of Marvel villains can claim to be the biggest threat a universe has to offer, but few can actually state that they ARE a universe. When The Beyonder was introduced as the main antagonist of Marvel's "Secret Wars," it was revealed that he was no mutant or alien, but an entire universal realm known as 'The Beyond' condensed into a human form. And his powers were as impressive as you'd expect. Able to banish demons effortlessly, destroy, resurrect, and reshape beings at will, The Beyonder was even able to defeat Death itself. How did The Beyonder first use that power? To throw heroes and villains into battle for his amusement - proving that even if your existence is an infinite one, a sense of humor can't hurt.
When an advanced race from Marvel's Negative Zone seeded barren worlds with alien spores, they couldn't have predicted that one spore would grow into Annihilus. Evolving from a weak insect into a brilliant warrior thanks to his creators' technology, Annihilus set out to destroy any and all life he saw as a threat. Over the years, that would come to include the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and nearly every other Marvel superhero team. It's hard to know what's scarier: the Cosmic Control Rod he wields, granting him superstrength and immortality, or his Centurions - 200 superpowered aliens plucked from the Negative Zone's many planets. Oh, and he can't be killed without coming back to life even angrier than before.
Five thousand years before mutants emerged into the Marvel Universe, there was Apocalypse. Born with grey skin and blue lips in ancient Egypt, his tribe left him to die. Instead, he was discovered by a band of warriors who recognized the boy as "En Sabah Nur" - the first, immortal mutant. Over the years, Apocalypse would take a new name, and reveal more mutant powers than nearly another other Marvel character. Able to reshape his body, strength, speed, and nearly everything else, there's no challenge the villain can't change to defeat. Eventually taking over Earth and mutantkind to separate the weak from the strong, no mutant could ever make the X-Men tremble like Apocalypse.
Every Marvel fan knows the story of Adam Warlock, a hero engineered to be the most perfect and highly-evolved human in existence. Not long after being created, Adam encountered Magus, a leader of pure evil who led an oppressive religious empire across thousands of enslaved worlds. With powers of "Quantum Magic" well beyond Warlock, the real twist came when Magus revealed that he was once Adam Warlock, eventually corrupted and growing impossibly powerful. Warlock ended up using his Soul Gem (and some teamwork) to bring Magus down, but his millennia-long empire and limitless power make him one of the greatest villains in Marvel's multiverse.
Not every villain needs a superpower or alien upbringing to be effective. Take Victor Von Doom: left with one parent lost to a demon, and the other to a tyrant, Victor put his energy into righting those wrongs. Mixing his mother's mysticism with old-fashioned science, his brilliance soon landed him a scholarship to America. But when an experiment left his face horribly scarred, he put the blame on his friend and colleague, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Taking over his home country of Latveria, Doctor Doom would become one of Marvel's most brilliant - and most villainous - figures, even curing The Thing of his condition, when Reed could never achieve it. The bad news: that was who sabotaged his experiment in the first place.
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