Over the past decade, the rise in popularity of comic book characters has reached levels not seen at any other time in pop culture history. Thanks largely to the explosion of films in the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes, even lesser-known characters have now become household names.
While it goes without saying that the majority of fans gravitate towards the good guys of comic stories, no hero is complete without an adversary. If asked to name a few well-known comic villains off the top of their heads, a good percentage of the general public would be able to with little issue. But what about the more obscure evildoers of the comic world, the ones who most wouldn’t think to name, let alone be able to present pertinent facts about them? Let’s take a look at five comic villains who deserve more of an on-screen spotlight.
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First appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man #15, Kraven, a Russian big game hunter, is often overshadowed by more popular Spidey villains like Green Goblin and Venom. His signature costume is audacious; he’s normally drawn in leopard print and furs, but he can hold his own as a worthy opponent to the web-slinger. Gaining his powers from a concoction of jungle herbs, Kraven possesses the ability to withstand a substantial amount of impact force without sustaining injury. He also is skilled as an Olympic-level athlete, and appears much younger than his actual age of 70. The potion he consumes also grants him exceptional senses, making him an adept tracker.
A human mutant with telekinesis and psionic powers, Mary also has dissociative identity disorder, giving her three main personalities she identifies as. “Mary” is seen as timid and peaceful, while “Typhoid” and “Bloody Mary” are portrayed as much more violent and dangerous. She has a complicated love-hate relationship with Daredevil, and even has a romantic relationship with him at one point as “Mary.” Her other personalities ultimately win out, however, and she becomes an assassin sent by Kingpin to take her former love interest out. She’s a highly skilled martial artist and athlete, but it’s her tragic backstory that truly makes her a compelling character.
While a female version of Taskmaster by the name of Antonia Dreykov recently appeared in Black Widow, the original form is a male mercenary hired to take out heroes. He mostly appears hunting down members of The Avengers, but will go after whoever he’s assigned to assassinate. Taskmaster has a photographic memory which allows him to mimic the movement of every fighting style he comes across. He also absorbs knowledge immediately, meaning he can predict an opponent’s next move before they are even able to execute it. The action sequences alone that could stem from this make him a seriously under portrayed character in film and television.
If there’s one thing the X-Men Universe has plenty of, it’s characters. Over the years, the roster of hero mutants has expanded exponentially, and with that comes an equal amount of enemies. Wolverine alone has met his match, sometimes quite literally, seemingly more than any other mutant. The most similar in ability and features of all who have attempted to take him on is Lady Deathstrike. Afflicted with the same adamantium-bonding process as Wolverine, and sporting the same sabre-like claws, she’s a vicious and deadly mercenary who is dead set on proving herself as more dangerous and skilled than he is. Lady Deathstrike is so adept at hand-to-hand combat that she has become a bane to not only Wolverine, but several other Marvel characters as well.
It’s difficult to dispute that Batman has the most iconic rogue’s gallery of foes, and if your name isn’t Joker, Catwoman, or Riddler, you’re likely to be forgotten about by casual fans. This holds true in ironic fashion for Solomon Grundy, who takes his name from a nursery rhyme (though, his real name is Cyrus Gold). Grundy’s origin story has evolved over the years. He’s most commonly depicted as a murder victim whose body was disposed of in a swamp, and later reanimated into a zombie-like figure who dwells in the sewers of Gotham City. He possesses superhuman strength and regenerative abilities which enables him to become “reborn” each time he’s killed. While his physical skills remain the same, his personality traits vary with each resurgence. Occasionally, he is depicted as more of a sympathetic antihero who is a victim of circumstance, proving that sometimes the most interesting villains are the ones you can empathize with.
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