It seems that for every Dr. Doom or Magneto that the Marvel Universe spawns, there are countless other dud super villains that don’t quite make the grade. The Beetle? The Slug? Purple Man? Chances are you haven’t heard of any of these characters because their powers and motives are so lame that the only crime committed was the writers thinking it was a good idea to make them in the first place. So before you go thinking that Stan Lee and the rest of Marvel’s creative talent can do no wrong, have a look at this list of some of the worst villains they’ve ever come up with.
When you’re a famous Spanish bull-fighter and all your fans turn on you for being cruel to animals, what choice do you have but to become evil and use all your bull-fighting knowledge to take revenge on mankind? Well, that’s exactly what Matador did. By using his big red cape he’s able to obstruct the vision of people driving armored tucks so they swerve and crash, thereby allowing him to steal whatever it is the vehicle is carrying. Unfortunately for him, his luck ran out when he tried to use this trick against Daredevil and it had no effect, since Daredevil is already blind in the first place.
As funny as it sounds, this guy was actually an opponent of The Hulk. The Boomerang first appeared in issue 81 of Tales to Astonish as a world-class baseball pitcher who accepted bribes and got tossed from the major leagues. But, thanks to his amazing throwing arm, he soon attracted the attention of a criminal organization who enlisted him to take on authorities and superheroes using weaponized boomerangs and discs. He was once accurately described by the Kingpin as “a major league pitcher who always missed the strike zone.” Boomerang is more or less the cockroach of the Marvel Universe, he refuses to die but isn’t worth anyone’s time or effort to deal with.
8. Paste-Pot Pete
Sure, he eventually renamed himself The Trapster, but when he first burst onto the scene he was known as Paste-Pot Pete—the scientist who dressed like a homeless French painter and carried a squirt gun full of fireproof superglue. Rather than start a business selling miracle adhesives, Paste-Pot Pete felt a better career choice would be to use his glue to rob banks and steal missiles. Not to worry though, he was easily foiled numerous times by The Fantastic Four, who pretty much only had to knock over his bucket of paste and hand him over to the authorities. Not sure what else he expected when his only real power was sticking things to other things.
Leap-Frog is another two-bit Daredevil villain who adopted a ridiculous amphibian persona using an exoskeleton suit equipped with built-in coils that enable him to jump great distances. You have to wonder if all the most laughable looking criminals are partial to fighting Daredevil just because he’s the only superhero who can’t actually see how incredibly foolish they look. Nevertheless, Leap-Frog suffered a number of humiliating defeats at the hands of Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Iron Man, and was eventually tossed in the slammer where he had time to contemplate why he thought putting on a frog costume would allow him to beat Iron Man.
6. Critical Mass
Arnie Gunderson was one of Peter Parker’s fourth grade classmates who has, in the time since then, bulked up considerably and now goes by the appropriate name Critical Mass. Other than being incredibly fat, Critical Mass has developed the mutant power to project an explosive force from his body. And in case you’re thinking he blows his enemies away with furious flatulence, you’ll be disappointed to find out that he normally fires his power from his fingertips.
When this fat foe banded together a group of baddies to kidnap a powerful mutant named Mary, Spider-Man and Wolverine stepped in to foil his plans. But, during the confrontation, Critical Mass put a gun to Mary’s head which caused her to unleash her mutant power, thereby destroying the warehouse they were fighting in and supposedly killing all the bad guys, including Critical Mass. Oh well. At least we still have The Blob as a token fat guy villain.
Speaking of fat villains, here’s another one named Thumbelina. As part of the Mutant Liberation Front, Thumbelina used her mutant powers to shrink down her considerable body size and engage in all sorts of espionage missions. And even though she wasn’t as ruthless as a lot of other mutants in the Mutant Liberation Front, that didn’t stop Iceman from turning her into a giant frozen Popsicle and taking her into custody when the X-Men raided the group’s headquarters in an effort to stop them from committing global acts of terror.
A shrinking fat lady with one of the worst haircuts the Marvel Universe has ever seen. That’s pretty much Thumbelina in a nut shell.
4. White Rabbit
Born to a wealthy family and overprotective parents, Lorina found solace reading countless books in the family library and was particularly enchanted with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Later in life, Lorina married a rich elderly man named Lewis Dodson, but she quickly became bored with her trophy wife status and decided to kill him off so she could be more free to do the things she wanted. Apparently, those things included buying a whole bunch of high-tech gadgets and establishing a criminal name for herself as the whimsical villain White Rabbit. Using a host of cliche gimmicks including rabid bunnies, razor carrots, and, of course, a giant armored mecha-assault rabbit, White Rabbit tried hard to pull off a few capers, but was ultimately stopped by Spider-Man while attempting to steal—you guessed it—Easter eggs.
3. Asbestos Lady
Talk about an unfortunate choice in costume materials. Asbestos Lady first appeared in comics back in 1947 when asbestos was at its height in popularity. Since asbestos is extremely resistant to heat and flames, Asbestos Lady was naturally an adversary for the Human Torch and even created asbestos-made bullets so she could puncture his fiery defences. However, as the hazards of longtime asbestos exposure became better known, Asbestos Lady fell victim herself to the carcinogenic fiber and, in 1990, she finally died of cancer. Good on Marvel for teaching us all about the dangers of asbestos, though.
Daredevil really does seem to attract the worst villains. But the prize for the corniest adversary he’s ever gone toe-to-toe with would have to go to Stilt-Man. This cruddy criminal figured if he made himself a suit with some high-rising telescopic legs then he would be an unstoppable force capable of pulling off some daring above-ground-floor heists.
It’s still unclear whether or not Stilt-Man was always a joke or if the writers originally intended him to pose a serious threat. In any case, he arose to fight Daredevil on several occasions and even went so far as to almost kill the man without fear when he quickly shortened his legs to duck under a high-flying tackle attack. Of course, he’s always easily defeated in the end since all you need to do render him powerless is push him over. He’s literally a push-over!
And as if one crazy character on stilts wasn’t enough, the maniacs at Marvel also went so far as to create the copycat villain—Lady Stilt-Man.
Sporting some imposing girth and misshapen cranial features, Egghead appeared in Tales to Astonish 38 as the rival, and eventually arch-nemesis, of Ant-Man (Hank Pym). One of Egghead’s most memorable evil schemes involved him taking control of ants and using them to steal information so he could devise a formula that prevents aging. And if you’re thinking that doesn’t really sound evil at all, well, you might be right. But he also teamed up with a bunch of other geniuses to steal documents from the Library of Alexandria in an attempt to, uhhh. . . learn about things and get smarter. Okay, that’s not too bad either. Apparently Egghead was just a guy who loved books and wanted to find a cure for aging. Too bad Hawkeye had to kill him by shooting an arrow into the barrel of his gun and causing it to misfire when he threatened to shoot Ant-Man in the back.