Of all Marvel’s properties, Spider-Man is the only hero with an A-list rogues gallery. Sure, the Fantastic Four have Doom and Galactus, yet for every world destroying mega villain they have six Paiboks, six Psycho-Mans, characters so obscure and uninteresting even Calendar-Man ignores their phone-calls. This is why the likes of Doctor Octopus, Kingpin, and Carnage get passed around to other heroes like their murderous canapes, spicing up what would otherwise be the most tedious party in the multiverse.
Not every Spidey villain is so well loved, however. This is why, rather than talk about how great Electro is or why everybody loves Hobgoblin, creating a list that would inevitable top-off with either Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus, we’ve decided to discuss the step-children of web-haters, those characters who, despite being great in their own right, get told to sit quietly in a corner while the favourite child sings their rendition of Incy-Wincy-Spider for the four time that day.
Some of these guys you’ll know, others you may not. All of them, one way or another, get a lot less praise than they deserve, so here, in no particular order, is our shout out to the six most underappreciated Spider-Man villains around:
Ah Mysterio, they just don’t get you do they? Well don’t worry my love, you’ll find the attention you deserve with us. This special effects expert has no real powers, instead using his expertise in illusion and manipulation to cause havok for Spider-Man and his allies. He may look quite abstract, but since his first appearance in 1964 (his creators definitely weren’t on drugs when they designed him definitely) he’s proven himself a real threat in the Marvel universe, with perhaps one of his better known moments being his contribution to the psychological breakdown of Daredevil and partial responsibility for the death of the blind lawyer’s girlfriend.
While he’s never appeared on the big screen, Mysterio did have a great segment of the prestigious Spider-Man 2 videogame focused on him and a fair few appearances in the 1994 Spider-Man cartoon. Hopefully we’ll soon see him in the re-rebooted Spidey films, or perhaps even the Daredevil Netflix series, yet given his tendency to be under-implemented we’re not going to hold our breath.
If you haven’t heard of Spot, he’s basically a bank robbing version of Chell from the Portal videogames. By using small black worm-holes, Spot can travel instantaneously from one point to another, an ideal skill when trying to make a quick getaway and a killer problem when it comes to keeping him locked-away. The ’80s villain isn’t unique in the universe, with Blink from X-Men having near identical powers, yet the ability of this faceless Dalmation-skinned man to emerge unannounced from darkness gives him a scary bogey-man feel. Spot isn’t the sort of villain whose going to drive a tank down your street and blow your front door open, he’s the type who will teleport under your bed and get you when your sleeping.
Well, as far as I know that particular story ark hasn’t happened, but it could, and that’s the point. Perhaps it’s because he shares powers with others, or maybe it’s down to his skin being reminiscent of a lovable pooch, but whatever the reason, Spot is painfully under-used.
An elderly genius desperate to regain youth and beauty, The Vulture has many similarities to classical character Dr. Faustus. After his business partner destroys their company, a desire for revenge combined with the feeling of having wasted his life consumes the character, causing him to take to crime using a special flight suit he created (that also gives him superhuman strength because reasons). He has the air of a classical villain and a significant amount of untapped potential, as more often than not he’s used simply as a mustache-twirler with about as much depth as a Saharan puddle.
Hey, we didn’t say it was just the fans who under-appreciate these characters, it’s quite often the writers too.