Comics
Published October 9, 2019

The Origin Stories of Marvel’s Most Malicious Villains

Feast your eyes on a fiendish phantasmagoria of the best Marvel villain origin stories!

Human beings have an unending fascination with finding out why criminals commit horrific atrocities. What could make a person go off the deep end and actively operate against their fellow humans?

That curiosity, of course, carries over into our fiction and the pantheon of comic characters collected in the House of Ideas. Who are these costumed shirkers of social norms who do everything from blasting buildings to pursuing world domination? Here's where some of the best of the worst came from.

Carnage

These days, Cletus Kasady and his symbiote plan on bringing an evil god back to life in ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, but the character's early days were still incredibly bloody. Even before joining up with the strange spawn of Venom in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #344-345, Kasady cut a bloody swath through his life, even as a child as seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #362 which documents many of his more horrible youthful exploits. Going back even further, to Kasady’s birth, Carnage saved the infant Kasady from the brink of death, ensuring their lifelong connection. Now, the combined madness of both beings threatens all existence on Earth!

Carnage Cletus Kasady origins
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #362

Kingpin

Though he may seem to have gone legit and become the Mayor of New York City, many know that Wilson Fisk's closet comes jam-packed with skeletons. You can see where a great many of them came from in the 2003 KINGPIN series which shows the young man working his way up the ladder of crime, leading directly into his first appearance in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50-52 which set him up as the Big Apple's major crime boss and the future architect of Daredevil's madness.

Kingpin's younger days
KINGPIN (2003) #1

Loki

Going back to his first appearance in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #85, Thor's brother Loki was immediately presented as a troublemaker. Back then, we didn't know the half of it as the trickster god went on to scheme his way through just about every corner of the Marvel Universe. Born a Frost Giant, but raised by Asgardians after Odin took in the baby after killing his father (JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112), Loki never felt like he belonged anywhere. His very nature seemed anathema to everyone around him, allowing a great deal of animosity to grow for Odin, Thor, and Asgard as you can see in THOR: AGES OF THUNDER.

Loki's humble beginnings
THOR: AGES OF THUNDER (2008)

Green Goblin

The first man behind the Green Goblin mask remained a total mystery to fans from his debut in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14 all the way through issue #39 when his identity as Norman Osborn was revealed. In the following issue, he explained to an unmasked Peter Parker that the death of his wife – and Harry's mother – had driven him to work even harder and embrace his long-festering greed. He took control of the company he ran with his business partner, had him removed from the picture, and then tried monetizing his formulas, one of which enhanced his intelligence as well as his physical strength – both of which aided him in the creation and implementation of the Green Goblin identity!

Norman Osborn explains himself
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #40

Thanos

Introduced as the Death-obsessed Mad Titan in IRON MAN #55, Thanos has gone on to threaten every life in the cosmos with a variety of plots and schemes that often involve the Infinity Stones. But where did the Gauntleted one come from and how did he come to crave such incredible levels of domination? The answers lie in THANOS RISING, which chronicles a bit of his childhood, his early dealings with Death, and some of his most formative battles which molded him into the most famous snapper around.

Thanos as a child
THANOS RISING (2013) #1

Ultron

Few villains have come closer to achieving the complete annihilation of humanity more than Ultron. The robot led the Masters of Evil in the guise of the Crimson Cowl in AVENGERS #54, revealing his unnatural nature in the following issue. In issue #58, after Vision rebelled against Ultron and joined the Avengers, Hank Pym visited one of his labs and remembered that he created synthetic life. However, Ultron rebelled and tried to kill his father, but instead erased his memories of his "son." Since then, this unusual duo has spent a great deal of time trying to kill each other.

Hank Pym realizes creates Ultron
AVENGERS (1963) #58

Doctor Doom

The world changed in 1961 with the debut of the Fantastic Four. It became a far more dangerous place a few months later when Victor Von Doom debuted in FANTASTIC FOUR #5. In that tale, Reed Richards remembered the young man from college who had become obsessed with the occult and ruined his face in a lab explosion. The team survived that first attack, but would deal with many more. Readers learned even more about the masked villain in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #2 where we got a sense of Victor's Romanian roots, his uncanny intelligence as a boy, and a sense of where his unquenchable rage came from!

Victor Von Doom's origins
FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL (1963) #5

Could any of these fiendish foes have gone a different route and become heroes instead? It’s always possible, but any good comic fan knows that the best villains are really just the heroes of their own stories. It’s all a difference of opinion!

Follow the links above to read all these sinister stories and more on Marvel Unlimited!

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