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Alternate Takes 10.09.10: Greatest Spider-Man Adversaries, Part 2
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 10.09.2010

Welcome to Week 124 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

I want to take a quick minute here to let you know that the characters mentioned in this list are not just villains. These are the people I consider Spider-Man's best adversaries. It is also important to know that, since I have read comics since I was a kid in the late seventies, some of these may not be the cool Spider-Man characters today. I want to take this all the way back to the beginning and look at who I felt were the best-of-the-best for the last - close to 50 years - of Spider-Man's existence.

Before we get started this week, check out this great interview with DC Comics writer Sterling Gates about the future of Supergirl and a return to Bizzaro World.


15. Rhino

Real Name: Aleksei Popov
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #41

Aleksei Sytsevich was a thug in the Russian mafia. He underwent chemical and radiation treatments to transform him into a superhumanly strong agent for a collective of professional spies. His armor, permanently bonded to his body, was modeled after the hide of a rhinoceros and Rhino was born. His first mission was to kidnap astronaut John Jameson and sell him to the highest bidder. Rhino turned on his benefactors and set out to kidnap Jameson for his own benefit. Spider-Man defeated him and the two became mortal enemies.

The Rhino soon became an enemy to a number of different Marvel heroes, specifically The Hulk. However, thanks in large part to Norman Osborn, Rhino reentered Spider-Man's rogue gallery and the two battled numerous times, including the "Deadly Foes of Spider-Man" series. Sytsevich eventually rid himself of the armor and married, settling down to a normal life. Unfortunately, Spider-Man could not stop a new Rhino from murdering Sytsevich's wife. Sytsevich donned the armor once again, vowed vengeance against Spider-Man and murdered the new Rhino, becoming a major player in the Spider-Man universe once again.

14. Hobgoblin

Real Name: Roderick Kingsley
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #238

When Hobgoblin first appeared in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man, many wondered if it was indeed Norman Osborn returned from the dead. The Hobgoblin became a huge mystery, no one knowing who this villain was for many years. Was it Harry Osborn? Was it Ned Leeds? Who was the man behind the mask? The writers of Spider-Man played on these questions, introducing red herrings and even making everyone believe it was Ned Leeds for a time. It made The Hobgoblin the most intriguing new character to appear in Spider-Man in years.

The Hobgoblin was a fashion designer named Roderick Kingsley. He took on Osborn's Goblin formula, working to eliminate the insanity side effect. Kingsley brainwashed Ned Leeds into believing he was the Hobgoblin and the two helped The Kingpin become The Rose and start an all-out gang war in New York City. This lasted until Leeds was murdered. When a new man started acting as the Hobgoblin, Kingsley returned and killed him. He retook the role but soon Leeds' widow, Betty Brant, discovered that Kingsley was the Hobgoblin, cleared her husband's name and Spider-Man finally defeated his longtime nemesis.

13. Kaine

Real Name: Peter Parker
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #119

While the Clone Wars was a huge disaster, one great thing came out of it. Kaine was the Jackal's first attempt to clone Peter Parker, but the clone became defective due to the cloning process. This deformation left him mentally unstable. The Jackal allowed Kaine to live as an experiment to see how long he might survive. Kaine grew envious of the real Peter Parker (who was actually Ben Reilly) and stalked the man. He framed Parker (Reilly) for murder and hoped to give the clone, Reilly (Parker), the life he never could have.

Kaine had a premonition that someone was going to try to kill Mary Jane and went on a killing spree, murdering Doctor Octopus and the Grim Hunter. Eventually, by the end of the confusing clone mess, Kaine was dead. Kane recently made a return in the Spider-Man "Grim Hunt" storyline where he murdered once again. However, the series ends with Kaine once again rising from the dead.

12. Punisher

Real Name: Frank Castle
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #129

While The Jackal was responsible for bringing about the Clone Wars, he also introduced The Punisher to the Marvel Universe. Frank Castle has since gone on to become one of the greatest Marvel standalone characters in the universe but he began life as a Spider-Man nemesis. Castle's story began when his wife and children were murdered and he set out to avenge their deaths by killing every member of organized crime he could.

When the Punisher appeared for the first time, he was nothing more than a vigilante hell bent on killing all bad guys. He considered Spider-Man a bad guy since he was wanted for the murder of Norman Osborn. When he discovered The Jackal lied about Spider-Man's involvement, he left the hero alone. The two had numerous confrontations over the years, both on the same side and against each other, but The Punisher's early days of hunting the Wall Crawler makes him one of Spider-Man's greatest adversaries.

11. Mysterio

Real Name: Quentin Beck
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #13

Quentin Beck was a Hollywood special effects artist. He realized he was in a dead-end job, with no chance for upward movement, and wondered what he could do to become famous. He decided to use his skills as a special effects wizard to become a super villain and chose to take on Spider-Man. Unlike many Spider-Man adversaries, Mysterio didn't care about the life of crime at the start, he only cared about becoming famous by beating Spider-Man.

Mysterio then become one of Spider-Man's most frequent adversaries, fighting him numerous times. He also posed as an alien and later as a psychiatrist, attempting to convince Spider-Man he was insane. Finally, when Beck learned he was dying of cancer, he decided to turn his attention to Daredevil and orchestrated the murder of Karen Page, before committing suicide. Beck returned from hell recently to admit that the "Other Side" has plans for Spider-Man. Within the last year, Mysterio returned once again, claiming to be Beck although that has not been proven.

Upcoming Releases

October, 22, 2010 - Red

January 14, 2011 - The Green Hornet

March 04, 2011 - Priest
May 06, 2011 - Thor
June 03, 2011 - X-Men: First Class
June 17, 2011 - Green Lantern
July 22, 2011 - The First Avenger: Captain America
July 29, 2011 - Cowboys and Aliens
December 23, 2011 - The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

May 4, 2012 - The Avengers
July 03, 2012 - Spider-Man 4
July 20, 2012 - Untitled Batman project


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