10 Spectacularly Third-Rate Spider-Man Villains

By Robbie Boland in Comics, Daily Lists
Monday, April 11, 2011 at 8:05 am
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A hero is only as good as his nemesis. Where would Spider-Man be without the Green Goblin, Batman without the Joker, or Superman without Lex? The best supervillains test the hero, pushing them to their limit and beyond. They answer the question, "What if?" Holding up a twisted mirror, showing us the dark path the brave hero might have walked down, if things had been but a fraction different. Of course, not every villain can capture the imagination to the same extent as Doc Ock or Venom. For every unforgettable supervillain there are five who you won't remember in a month or two and, very occasionally, one that is so disturbingly bad you couldn't erase him from your memory if you tried. And you will try.

As one of the greatest superheroes of all time, there have been plenty of lists about Spidey's best villains, and also his worst villains. But what about those villains in the middle? The ones that sucked, but not so badly they were even memorable? The ones with stupid powers, stupid names, and even stupider backstories? The villains who Stan Lee clearly thought up in about half a minute each, so he could get back to sniffing blow off a jenga game made entirely of prostitutes? Here, Topless Robot would like not so much to salute the most mediocre of these Spider-foes, but just mention them. Because that's all they deserve, frankly.

10) Hammerhead
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Hammerhead was a hitman for the Maggia (the Marvel-approved version of the Mafia) who gained "superpowers" when his skull was replaced with metal after a brutal beating. This is like saying that someone who was in a horrific accident and had most of their broken bones replaced with metal is a kickass cyborg. To be clear: Hammerhead has no superhuman abilities apart from the metal (later adamantium) in his skull, yet his M.O. is head butting things, like walls. If you think this is a "superpower", strap a pot on your head and charge at the nearest wall. Go on, dare you. If there's a faster way to break your own neck, it hasn't been invented yet.

9) Menace
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Brand New Day's (shudder) Menace proves that it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. After a whole brace of Green Goblins, several Hobgoblins, a Demogoblin, a Grey Goblin and a Proto-Goblin, you really have to start wondering whether there's anybody left in the Marvel Universe who hasn't wandered into a Goblin cache and shot up on Goblin serum. Menace makes it on to the list as the worst of the Goblin gang for clearly being a dude and then having a female secret identity just to provide a "shocking" twist. Yawn.

8) Humbug
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Burned by budget cuts, insect-loving (almost definitely in the biblical sense) entomology professor Buck Mitty created a suit that projected sonic blasts of amplified insect noise so that he could rob banks to finance his research. Surprisingly, what makes Humbug stand out from the crowd isn't his lame origin; it's the incredibly, incredibly, lame way Spidey got him to surrender: by threatening to kill a jar full of cockroaches. Though to be fair, there is at least the possibility that the roaches were his wife and kids.

7) Slyde
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Jalome Beacher discovered a frictionless, non-stick substance but was fired anyway, presumably because his company was not interested in making money. So Beacher took the next obvious step: making a suit out of the stuff and robbing banks. Which makes way more sense than simply selling it for millions and millions of dollars to another company. The human non-stick frying pan's suit gave him the ability to skate along at high speeds and have things slide right off, like Spidey's webbing, or ladies. His only weaknesses: difficulty stopping, standing up after falling down, and stairs. Oh, and bullets.

6) Overdrive
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Overdrive is another yawn-worthy villain from the "Brand New Day" storyline. His ability to "pimp" out any ride means he can change its colour, wheels, engine, and probably do other neat stuff like installing LCD screens and PS3's in the back. Is there a dated reality show in this ability? Yes. Is it a good, or cool, or even vaguely interesting power for a Spidey supervillain? God no.

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