?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.
?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.
?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.
?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.
?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.
?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.
5) Kangaroo I
?Sometimes a person experiences an event so traumatic, it causes them to become fixated on it, using it as motivation to shape body, mind and soul into a weapon. Other times, a person just likes kangaroos too much. Such was the case with Frank Oliver, whose marsupial fixation led him to jump and box like a kangaroo through “practice, diet and determination”. Frank shared one other trait with his namesake – he had about as much brains, and was turned to ashes when he attempted to steal a radioactive isotope despite repeated warnings from the webhead.
?When you think of every weapon ever invented, the boomerang doesn’t exactly spring to mind as the most dangerous. It probably wouldn’t even be in your top 100. Certainly there are several types of Mongolian battle spoons and a particularly malevolent strain of custard that would edge it out. This didn’t deter Australian immigrant-turned-baseball player-turned-bribe-taker-turned-assassin-for-hire Fred Myers (in what must be one of the most stunningly nonsensical character backstory’s in the history of everything) from choosing it as the inspiration for his criminal persona. So, in between throwing boomerangs, he gets regularly beaten up by Spidey and has jet boots because I HAVE NO IDEA.
?Shot by the police, Richard Deacon agreed to undergo an experiment that would save his life and was imprinted with the genetic coding of a fly. Not even a really exotic, venomous, barb-shooting one from the darkest recesses of the Brazilian rainforest; just a totally normal, common housefly. Seriously, out of every single insect that ever came into your house, can you think of even one that is less intimidating? As well as superhuman strength, speed and endurance, the Fly also had the power to sit on your food, buzz around your head annoyingly, be attracted to poo and die in your soup. Known weaknesses include: bug spray, fly swatters, soup (see above).
2) Big Wheel
?Jackson Weele was a crooked businessman who, seeking revenge on Rocket Racer… no, you know what? Screw it. It’s not worth it. His “power” is to ride a high-tech, armored unicycle. With arms. That can climb up buildings. FOR SOME REASON. Big Wheel’s dazzlingly short criminal career came to an end when he drove himself into the Hudson River at the end of his first “battle” with Spider-Man and was presumed (but unfortunately wasn’t) dead.
?Gordon Thomas, a.k.a. Typeface is easily the worst supervillain to have ever defeated Spider-Man (yes, he went on to become a horrible antihero later, but that’s another list entirely). What are his super powers, you ask? He has none. He just throws a bunch of razor-sharp and explosive giant letters at people. It’s like he spent years researching the most impractical, unwieldy, unintimidating, un-aerodynamic projectiles on earth and then went with them anyway just for the hell of it. Aside from that, Typeface is actually a pretty cool villain. Except for, you know, his atrocious name, ridiculous costume and, well, everything. Thankfully he died during the “Civil War” event, so he can’t hurt us anymore.