There are a TON of villains in the Marvel universe. Some are jokes, some aren’t really villains at heart, some are pretty bad, and some are straight up evil. Then there are the ones that are just scary, because of what they’re capable of, or how far they’re willing to go to get what they want. There are some that didn’t make this list that might belong, like Magneto, or the Green Goblin, but in the end I think it depends on how you define scary. If you disagree with my choices feel free to leave your own top 10 in the comments. Here are my top 10 scariest villains of the Marvel universe.
And you thought Venom was bad. Bonded with serial killer Cletus Kassady, the Carnage symbiote is possibly the most powerful on Earth (with the possible exception of the Carnage symbiote’s offspring- Toxin- that is currently bonded with, oddly enough, Eddie Brock, aka the original Venom). When Carnage first showed up, Spider-Man was forced to team up with Venom to beat him! The next time Carnage showed up is the reason he makes this list: Maximum Carnage. Joined by a goup of psychotic freaks- Shriek, Demogoblin, Carrion, and a six-armed, razor toothed Spider-Man doppleganger (don’t ask)- Carnage went on a mass murder spree around New York, killing hundreds of people (if not more). Spider-Man was forced to team up with not only Venom, but the Black Cat, Iron Fist, Firestar, Deathlok, Cloak and Dagger, Morbius the Living Vampire, the Spawn ripoff Nightwatch, and Captain America to win, which they barely did.
Since then Carnage hasn’t really done much of anything as horrific as his rampage through New York, although recently he used his symbiote to take control of everyone in a small town and physically and mentally tortured everyone in it. Dude’s a sick bastard, insanely strong, and incredibly dangerous.
I always think back to his first scene in all of his blood-red glory, when he slaughtered an innocent man who just happened to be near him. After Carnage stabbed him, the guy pleads for his life, then asks why him, what did he do? Carnage’s response is to stab him through the eyes and tell him “I’m killing you because I CAN.”
He may currently be pushing up daisies, but while alive he was the most deadly assassin on the planet. Hell, if you scare a guy known for having no fear (Daredevil) you belong on this list. A horrible, sadistic freak, every time Bullseye showed up, someone died (usually someone close to Daredevil) or came really damn close. Bullseye killed not one, but TWO of Daredevil’s girlfriends (Elektra and Karen Page). Suck on that, Green Goblin! Able to use nearly anything as a weapon- like using toothpicks as a torture devidce- and gifted with superhuman aim, Bullseye was as deadly as they come. Recently he fought the Punisher and Spider-Man, and walked away from both fights. He was killed when Daredevil (who was possessed by the ninja clan The Hand’s demon God) stabbed him through the chest in a mirror scene of Bullseye’s murder of Elektra.
8. The Mandarin
Tony Stark is a hard man to beat. Ask the dozens of villains he’s beaten, or the hundreds his Avengers have beaten. Stark routinely makes quick work of some of the most dangerous men and women in the Marvel universe, but nobody makes him crap his iron pants like the Mandarin. A complete bastard, the Mandarin is every bit as clever as Stark, but ten times as ruthless. He is in possession of ten rings, each one an insanely powerful alien artifact. Even without the rings he would be extremely dangerous, but the rings make him all but unbeatbale. Each one has a different power, and used together it’s like having nuclear bombs at your fingertips. Also gifted in espionage, the Mandarin has made numerous attempts to destroy not only Iron Man, but Stark Enterprises, as well (and has succeeded one or two times). He is currently busy upgrading all of Iron Man’s tech villains, and has succeeded in putting Tony in one of the worst no-win situations he’s ever been in.
Kang, also called the Conqueror, is one scary dude. A descendant of Reed Richards, he’s incredibly smart, but also exceedingly ruthless, has an entire army at his disposal, and can use his suit to pull any weapon in existence out of the time stream instantly. He has defeated entire Avengers teams in physical combat, including Thor! Kang is the unquestioned ruler of the Earth in the 30th century, and has clashed with the Avengers numerous times. At this point he keeps coming back (usually when they’re at a low point) to kill them and take over the 20th/21st century not because he has to, but as a matter of pride. The last time they fought, he was successful, at least for a time. A ruthless dictator from the future with technology light years beyond anything anyone in our time has ever seen with one of the largest, most powerful armies in the history of Earth at bis disposal, Kang is a name that scares even the bravest of heroes.
6. Red Skull
So Captain America is badass, right? He’s super strong, super tough, fast, intelligent, etc. Now picture that, but with a freakish death mask for a face. Also, he’s a Nazi. Not just any Nazi, either, but THE Nazi; Hitler’s go-to guy. Put those things together and you get one of the vilest, sickest, most twisted, evil mother fuckers that ever lived: Johann Schmidt-that-was, the Red Skull. This dude is SCARY. He dreams of destroying/ruling the world (which one really depends on what day it is). His ambition is boundless (he has possess the freaking cosmic cube!). He is equally at home hanging out at a concentration camp or at a symphony. He’s so fucked up that dude’s like Mengele were freaked out by him. He also has a bizarre love for America. Through his eyes, it’s a lovely place of racism, empirialism, and an unquenchable thirst for power and control. Just like him.
He has twice put himself in position to have major sway over the U.S., once as the freaking Secretary of Defense (!!!!), as Dell Rusk (who replaced Tony Stark of all people), and another time when his mind was trapped in the head of Aleksander Lukin, a Russian general turned businessman. They destroyed everything they could, even going so far as to set Captain America adrift through time, setting up a puppet Presidential candidate, driving oil prices through the roof and ruining housing markets. Things would have gotten much worse, had not Bucky Barnes taken up the mantle of his fallen partner as Captain America and kicked ass all over the place.
The Skull is, like Hitler, a little obsessed with the occult. He has a small army- the Thule society- that gather magic objects for him. Hydra worked for him, as did AIM, the Serpent Squad, Batroc, Machete, Zaran, Crossbones, Arnim Zola, Dr. Faust, Machinesmith, Master Man, and others. His daughter, Sin, was a crazy bitch, and with the Skull’s apparent death at the hands of Steve Rogers, she has become the new Red Skull and continued on with his legacy of chaos, fear, and mass murder.
5. Dr. Doom
One of the world’s greatest sorcerers, inventors, and all-around geniuses, Victor von Doom is one scary mofo. His armor is as good as Iron Man’s, he’s nearly as powerful as Dr. Strange (and unlike Strange, has no issues with using black magic), and he’s the only person on the planet that can legitimately be called as smart as Reed Richards (he’s not QUITE as smart, but don’t him that). Oh, he’s also in charge of his own damn country! He has a very noble side that shows every now and then, and can be trusted to keep his word when he gives it, but he’s also a damn monster.
Not too long ago, he kidnapped Valeria Richards (Reed and Sue’s daughter), and sent Franklin Richards (their son) to hell. He also captured the FF under the threat of harm to Valeria and Franklin, and had the Thing beaten near to death, while using magic to swap some super powers around. He gave Reed’s stretching powers to the Human Torch, but did so so that Johnny was in horrible agony, like his body wasn’t supposed to be stretching and bending, and Doom kept him tied up in knots. He also gave Johnny’s flame powers to the Invisible Woman, but made it so that she could feel being on fire every second. Reed had to watch all of this happening to his family, that was his punishment for daring to…. well, to just BE.
Doom is also as power hungry as they come. He stole the Silver Surfer’s powers once, and during the Secret War he stole the power of the near omnipotent Beyonder. He also came inches away from stealing the freaking Infinity Gauntlet off of Thanos’ hands (everyone dodged a bullet there). When Dr. Strange was stripped of his position as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, he was TERRIFIED that the position- along with the power and a ton of insanely powerful/dangerous magic objects- would go to Doom.
When Reed Richards, Tony Stark, AND Stephen Strange are scared of you, you know you’re a scary guy.
All you need to know about Surtur is not only does he scare the hell out of Asgardians in general, he scares the hell out of Thor. Heck, he even scares freaking ODIN. He’s a gigantic bastard made out of fire with a sword as big as all get-out. He has been responsible for the Asgardian Ragnarok TWICE, has an army of billions of demons, trolls, fire elementals, and other generally nasty creatures. He is the Asgardian boogeyman, and any time the gates of Muspelheim are opened and he walks the Nine Realms it is armaggedon for the gods.
You know it’s a good list when this monster is only at number 3. The former ruler of the Negative Zone and possessor of the insanely powerful Cosmic Control rod (currently that position and object belong to Johnny Storm. Suck it, bugs!), Annihilus controlled the endless bug armies of the Negative Zone. For a long time he was primarily a really scary FF villain. Then came ‘Annihilation’, and one of the greatest ‘promotions’ for a villain since the Infinity Gauntlet. After the Annihilation, Annihilus’ name became one that is only spoken aloud in the furthest corners of the universe, and then only by people that are damn certain there’s nobody to hear it. Speak the devil’s name, and all that.
Annihilus is terrifying. His Annihilation Wave destroyed half of the civilized universe, if not more. He essentially ATE Quasar, by drawing his energy into the Cosmic Control rod. Quasar is made almost entirely out of energy, so that sucked for him.
Annihilus used Thanos to capture Galactus and the Silver Surfer (!!!), and used their life foreces to power his war engines. He was finally killed when Nova reached down his throat and pulled his guts out through his mouth.
The man who killed 50% of the entire universe with but a snap of his fingers. The first to ever gather all six Infinity Gems and create the Infinity Gauntlet, granting him complete control over EVERYTHING. He killed damn near every hero in the Marvel universe, and if it weren’t for Adam Warlock, they would have stayed that way.
Thanos is also the first to master the cosmic cube, and can take out people like the Silver Surfer, Thor, and Captain Marvel in a fight.
The scariest thing about this purple jerk is that he worships the cosmic avatar of Death. He feels that if he kills enough people, she will finally return his unrequited love. That is his only drive in life: to kill so many that he is finally embraced by death. Every time he gets up to something the entire universe shits its collective pants.
The dude fucking EATS PLANETS.