Sunday, 21 March 2010

Spider-Man's Top Ten Villains: Part Two

Hey comic fans, hope everyone is well. I will waste no further time in introducing my fifth favourite Spider-Man villain...

5. The Sandman

Perhaps a surprising choice for inclusion in my top five, I consider The Sandman to be one of Spider-Man's most underrated foes. Despite being one of the first villains he ever faced, as with many the bulk of his earlier foes Sandman's characterisation has occurred in more recent years, with the villain enjoying a ten year spell of reformation during which he even appeared as an Avenger! Since then he has inexplicibly returned to the side of villainy, but is still a highly morally ambiguous character with an intriguing moral compass. And of course I can't fail to mention his inspired design. Perhaps one of Ditko's more realistic costumes, the Sandman's striped shirt has survived it's fair share of attempted revamps to become one of the most iconic designs among Spidey's enemies.

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #4

Recommended Reading: Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man Annual #1, Amazing Spider-Man #302.

4. Venom (Eddie Brock)

Since his introduction in the classic ASM #300 Venom's popularity has exploded, and he is arguably the only modern Spider-Man foe to earn a place on the A-List of villainy. Venom is a classic 'mirror image' villain, of which Spider-Man always lacked in his early days, and his relentless style and almost frightening design was a start contrast with some of the more outdated (but still cool) Ditko villains. Perhaps would have placed higher but the character has stagnated in recent years, from the ill advised move of turning him into an anti-hero to the pointless one of replacing Eddie Brock with Mac Gargan aka the Scorpion, turning two solid villains into one average one.

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #300

Recommended Reading: Amazing Spider-Man #300

3. The Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley)

The Hobgoblin was originally creating to fill the hole in Spider-Man's rogues gallery left by the absence of a Green Goblin, yet has become an inspired villain in his own right. A superb modernisation of the Green Goblin's costume coupled with an intriguing mystery (albeit one that perhaps went on too long) made Kingsley one of Spider-Man's most popular foes in the 1980s. Part of his appeal as a villain also lies in his status as perhaps the one foe that Spider-Man has never truly defeated...Kingsley is currently enjoying a relaxing retirement on an unnamed Caribbean island. Will he ever return? Most Spider-fans would love to see Kingsley again, but either way he will surely go down as one of Spider-Man's most persistent, intelligent adversarys of all time.

First Appearance: Spectacular Spider-Man #43 (As Kingsley) Amazing Spider-Man #238 (As Hobgoblin)

Recommended Reading: Amazing Spider-Man #238-239, 249-251.

2. Doctor Octopus

This man had to be in the top two. From his very earliest appearances 'Doc Ock' has tormented Spider-Man time after time, from handing the teenager a humiliating defeat in his first appearance to causing him to be partly responsible for the death of Gwen Stacey's father Captain Stacy, a man who had become something of a father figure to Peter. Doctor Octopus conjures up images of the sort of man Peter Parker may have become had he not had the guiding figure of his uncle Ben and aunt May in his life, a man twisted by his love of science and the lack of affection of those around him. Recently revealed to be terminally ill in Amazing Spider-Man #600, I sincerely doubt we have seen the last of Doctor Otto Octavius.

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #3

Recommended Reading: Amazing Spider-Man #31-33 Spider-Man Unlimited #3.

1. The Green Goblin (Norman/Harry Osborn)

I would like to say that I had a tough time choosing the number one spot on this list, but in reality this couldn't be further from the truth. The Green Goblin is Spider-Man's deadliest foe, there is no question about that. Whether we are talking about Norman Osborn or his son Harry, there is no other villain which such a long lasting legacy of misery over the lives of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Heralded by Norman becoming the first villain to learn that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are one and the same and cemented by Norman's death driving a wedge between former best friends Peter Parker and Harry Osborn, the conflict between the Green Goblin and Spider-Man is nothing if not personal. From killing his first love, Gwen Stacy, to faking the return of his parents, to engineering the Clone Saga there is little that the father and son duo haven't done to terrorise Spidey. And with Harry recently returned to life it is a sure thing that you will see more diabolical plots from them in the future.

First Appearances: Norman - Amazing Spider-Man #14, Harry - Amazing Spider-Man #31, Amazing Spider-Man #136 (As Green Goblin)

Recommended Reading: Amazing Spider-Man #39-40,121-122. Spectacular Spider-Man #189, 200. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #75

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