While most villain lists on TopTenz, and other sites, have centered around the worst (or the best) of the arch-nemeses, the TopTenz Master and I went for a slightly darker list – something a tad more fatal, or homicidal, for sure. Of course, one of the most interesting things about a list like this is that comics superheroes typically (whether it be Marvel or DC) don’t or won’t kill, while their nemeses have no compunction to follow the same rule. Given that Spider-Man has just as much history as his two popular DC counterparts, Batman and Superman, he has one of the largest Rogues’ Galleries in the biz – and potentially has some of the most homicidal villains as well. This list will be ranked both by the impact of the deaths in Spider-Man’s mythology (in both the Ultimate Universe and the main Marvelverse), and the sheer number of deaths.
10. The Vulture (Jimmy Natale)
Jimmy Natale is a one-time mob enforcer that was mutated into a criminal-eating vigilante known as the Vulture. Unlike Adrian Toomes, probably the most famous of the Vultures, Natale doesn’t need a suit to fly since he has mutated wings, a beak, and can spit acid. And, apparently, he has a taste for evil-doers with no remorse for killing. While he certainly isn’t in the villain biz for wealth or power, he qualifies as a villain unlike say, the Punisher, because he isn’t killing criminals and mobsters out of some higher moral standard. Jimmy Natale was introduced as the new Vulture in The Amazing Spider-Man #593, June 2009.
9. The Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley)
Kingsley becomes the Hobgoblin to further his own gains in the corporate world, strictly for financial power. However, one of Kingsley’s first acts, before actually becoming the Hobgoblin, is killing the man who tells him where the Green Goblin’s lair is. After becoming a costumed villain, he manipulates a small-time thug to fight Spider-Man, and then kills the thug after his defeat by the web-slinger, to prevent the thug from giving away the Hobgoblin’s true identity. In the end, there was little more than the two killings to prevent his identity from getting out – not even a true homicidal maniac. Roderick Kingsley was first seen as the Hobgoblin in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #43, June 1980.
8. The Lizard (Dr. Curt Connors)
While the Lizard may want to transform all of New York City into carbon-copies of His Lizardness, Dr. Curt Connors was never that intentionally homicidal. However, in one incident, the Lizard was circumstantially forced to kill Calypso, who tried to use voodoo to control the monstrous Lizard, and she definitely got her comeuppance. On the other hand (pun intended), the Lizard at one point sheds his humanity by eating his son – talk about father/son issues! Curt Connors was first introduced as the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man #6, Nov. 1963.
7. The Spider Slayer (Alistair Smythe)
While Spencer Smythe was initially hired by J. Jonah Jameson to kill Spider-Man, his use of radiation in creating the Spider Slayer robots causes his own death. So when son Alistair takes on the project, he’s not only after Spidey, but Jameson as well. And it is that thirst for vengeance, and his application of an exo-skeleton transforming him into the Spider Slayer, which turns him homicidal. In a bid to kill and hurt Jameson, he kills Jameson’s wife, Marla. Alistair Smythe first appeared The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #19, Nov. 1985.
6. Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)
While one of Spider-Man’s most famous villains, Doc Ock has never been one of the more homicidal. He always fancied himself a man of science, similar to both Parker and Norman Osborn in the IQ department. That said, he was responsible for a number of his clones’ deaths in the Clone Saga and, in a battle with Spider-Man, he accidentally kills Gwen Stacy’s father, Captain George Stacy. Not necessarily the most homicidal, but not without blood on his hands, Doc Ock has had one major desire throughout his villainous career: he wants to be the one to kill Spider-Man. The good doctor first appeared in July 1963 in Amazing Spider-Man #3.
5. Carrion (Malcolm McBride/Dr. William Allen)
Carrion started out as a zombie-like clone of The Jackal with a deadly virus. With a death-inducing touch, he has gone on a killing spree a number of times, most notably in Maximum Carnage where he has been inducted into the Carnage family. The interesting thing about Carrion is not that he’s literally death incarnate (which is why he’s as high on the list as he is), but that he’s not a homicidal maniac – for the most part. McBride was a graduate student and Allen was a SHIELD doctor. Like Jimmy Natale, neither was really in the villain business for power or wealth; they just wanted revenge on Parker/Spider-Man. Malcolm McBride, as Carrion, first appeared in April 1989’s Spectacular Spider-Man #149, while Dr. William Allen’s first appearance as Carrion was in April 1997’s Spider-Man: Dead Man’s Hand #1.
4. Venom (Mac Gargan/Eddie Brock) & Carnage (Cletus Kasady)
Most people know of the time that Spidey went from the good old red and blue to black and white, after a war in space. Following the realization that this new suit was actually a parasitic symbiote, Parker “gave up” the suit, which bonded with the first Venom, Eddie Brock. There were a few times that Brock and the Venom Symbiote were deadly. But it was when the criminal formerly known as the Scorpion, Mac Gargan, bonds with the Venom symbiote, that Venom becomes truly fatal.
So what happens you mix Venom’s child with a serial killer? Answer: one seriously demented and powerful creature that has a taste for destruction and flesh in spades! Alongside Carrion, Carnage is likely the most fatal of the web-slinger’s foes, especially in the Maximum Carnage storyline, which was likely one of the most lethal criminal sprees in the Marvelverse. Eddie Brock first appeared as Venom in April 1988’s Amazing Spider-Man #299, while Mac took over the symbiote reins in March 2005’s Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #10. As for Cletus Kasady, he made his first appearance as Carnage in Feb. 1991’s Amazing Spider-Man #344.
Now we are getting into the villains who are truly impacting Spider-Man. Morlun is, technically, the only villain to ever truly have “killed” Spider-Man/Peter Parker in the main continuity. Spider-Man realized that Morlun is an Ancient, a vampire-like being who feasts on totemic power sources to stay alive, and that his food sources need to be pure animal totems. But Spidey realizes that he is not actually a pure totem of the Spider, since the spider that bit him was radioactive, so he doses himself with radiation to have a chance against Morlun in a fight.
The web-head seemingly kills him, only to have Morlun come back to taunt him again on Parker’s deathbed, which in itself is inexplicable by science. When Spidey sees that Morlun is about to kill Mary-Jane, he leaps out of the hospital bed, sprouting new stingers and fangs, that he uses to kill Morlun. At this point, Peter apparently dies, only to have a newer and stronger Peter emerge out of the dead husk. Morlun would be higher in the list, but the last two are doozies for sure. Morlun announced his presence in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #30, June 2001.
2. Green Goblin (Norman Osborn)
OK, so the Green Goblin is, by far, Spider-Man’s main arch-nemesis. Hands down, this insane billionaire has it out for Spider-Man, and will stop at nothing to make him pay with his life. While Goblin fought with his glider, bombs, and ferocity, Osborn has fought Spider-Man with cunning, guile and deceit throughout their torturous rivalry.
And the Green Goblin has had some of the longest lasting effects on Spider-Man – killing his first love, Gwen Stacy, and in the Ultimate Universe, actually killing Peter Parker! While Morlun “killed” Parker, he lived on in a newer, better form yet, in the Ultimate Universe, that is not the case; a new teenager, Miles Morales, takes over the web-slinger’s mantle. And killing your first love might spurn anyone to have a hate/hate relationship with a villain. In Earth-616, Norman Osborn first appeared as Green Goblin in July 1964’s Amazing Spider-Man #14. In the Ultimate Universe, he was the first villain to go after Spider-Man in October 2000’s Ultimate Spider-Man #1.
Yet, there is one more person…
1. The Burglar (Dennis Carradine)
Arguably, the Green Goblin should be Numero Uno. However, what it really comes down to in this list – rather than sheer numbers of killings – is that Dennis Carradine killed Peter’s uncle, Ben. It has never been determined if Carradine was anything more than a burglar, and it was implied that the death of Ben Parker was an accident (in Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962). Though he is a thief and not a murderer, Carradine’s fatal act of violence pushes Spider-Man to never let another crime remain unanswered if he has any choice at all. Because of this effect on Peter Parker, Dennis Carradine, a one-time-only fatal villain, tops the list.