Marvel: 5 Villains That Are In Too Many Games (& 5 That Aren't In Enough) – CBR – Comic Book Resources

With Marvel games picking up steam lately, it’s time to start using some villains that haven’t already appeared in a bunch of games already.
There have been Marvel video games for nearly as long as there have been video games, with Spider-Man first swinging in on the Atari 2600 in 1982. Ever since, comics fans have been able to take control of their favorite heroes to fight evildoers on the small screen.
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But the casts in these games are far from representative of the breadth of Marvel characters available. Naturally, some characters became very popular and feature in a larger number of games. But perhaps it’s time for some of these heavy-hitters to take a back seat and let fans experience some of the more niche characters from the pages of Marvel comics.
As the main antagonist of the first arcs of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, it makes sense that Thanos would feature prominently in many video game tie-ins from this era. Even when the game isn’t directly pulling from the MCU storyline, Thanos’s place in pop culture makes him an easy and obvious include in recent Marvel games— whether as a playable character, a final boss, or a side character.
But players can only fight this galaxy-destroying villain so many times before it stops feeling special. Part of what made Thanos work in the MCU was that he was barely on screen for years, only stepping in towards the very end. Perhaps it’s time he took a seat on his asteroid throne and took a break from gaming.
Despite his silly name, Nimrod is an incredibly menacing threat to the X-Men. A highly advanced Sentinel, he is uniquely suited to hunting down and destroying mutants wherever they try to hide.
Nimrod featured prominently in the Dawn of X storyline, with different iterations scattered across centuries. Nimrod allows the X-Men to face a threat external to mutant-kind that is on equal power level with them, demonstrating that people will go to any lengths to destroy others whom they fear or hate.
If an X-Men story wants to keep its conflict in-house and not pit mutants against their human persecutors directly, Apocalypse is the easy choice. One of, if not the, most powerful mutants of all time, he represents the ideal next form of humanity for many in the mutant community.
Of course, this often stands in opposition to everything Xavier and his pupils stand for, and a conflict is born. This storyline is compelling, but Apocalypse is often more interesting as a character when his interests in fact align with the protagonists and he is given a seat at the table, as in the Dawn of X storyline. Give players a break from fighting Apocalypse and let them work with him instead.
Everyone knows Dracula. He is one of the most iconic characters in the written English language. Marvel has their own take on the character, tying him into their own flavor of occult mythology. He is a looming threat at all times, with minions aplenty at his disposal along with impressive physical powers.
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In many ways, Dracula from Brahm Stoker’s classic novel is a blueprint for later scheming villains like Doctor Doom. It seems a shame not to give Dracula his proper screen time.
Doctor Doom is the primary antagonist for Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four. He has also clashed with The Avengers, Spider-Man, and any number of other heroes throughout his career in villaindom. Doom is a natural inclusion in any game featuring an ensemble of villains, as he often acts as a lynchpin and organizer for other ne’er-do-wells.
But his brooding and scheming get to be predictable after a while, and he has been in dozens of Marvel games in various capacities. Doctor Doom is a well-loved villain and for good reason, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Ulysses “Klaw” Klaue had a smattering of appearances in the MCU, but none even scratch the surface of his character’s potential. Similarly, he has appeared in a handful of video games but has the potential to be a mainstay in many more. In many of his comics appearances, the physicist has been transformed into pure sound energy, holding his semi-solid form only through the focusing power of his gauntlet.
A villain made from pure sound would make for interesting gameplay mechanics no matter the genre. Marvel’s Avengers finally included this form of Klaw, but this is just the beginning.
A primary antagonist of both Spider-Man and Daredevil, Kingpin is one of the most iconic street-level villains in Marvel comics. He is an incredibly powerful crimelord, and his near-superhuman bulk and impeccable fashion sense make him a visually striking antagonist ready to take what he wants.
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Because of his iconic stature, both physically and as a character, Kingpin has had more than his fair share of video game appearances.  Players can be left feeling unsatisfied if every gang in a Marvel gang ends up tying back to Kingpin, and writers may be better served by switching it up once in a while.
When scientist Gregory Knox attempted to clone deceased inventor Thomas Edison, something went awry and a parakeet got mixed up in the process. The result was The Inventor, a human-bird hybrid hellbent on creating a source of infinite energy from the minds of disaffected youth.
This Ms. Marvel villain is pure comic book silliness, while also embodying a very real and interesting commentary on generational relations and how young people see their place in a world made before they were born.
Magneto epitomizes every theme core to X-Men stories; what responsibilities do oppressed people owe bystanders in their struggle for liberation? He represents a space to explore every aspect of this question, and this leads to him being written as anything from a sympathetic but extreme protagonist to a villain wrapped up in his own hubris.
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This means Magneto has appeared in games as both a playable hero and an antagonist. Naturally, this has resulted in his being overrepresented in the roster of Marvel games for years. This is acceptable, he’s one of Marvel’s most iconic characters after all. But there are plenty more vying for the spotlight, and Magneto is double-dipping.
Xemnu is one of Marvel’s more bizarre villains, and he has a long history to draw from. A large yeti-like creature with hypnotic powers and a genius intellect, Xemnu is a master manipulator who can also go toe-to-toe with The Incredible Hulk. In his appearance in Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk, he demonstrates an ability to assimilate people by devouring them with his stomach-mouth and turning them into mindless drones.
Xemnu’s varied powers and striking appearance make him a great candidate for inclusion in more video games, and he’d be right at home in a fighting game, an action RPG, or a narrative adventure game.
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Declan is a writer for Comic Book Resources and an independent game designer. They’ve been playing video and tabletop games since childhood and continue that love today. With a background in the performing arts, Declan is interested in how games approach their audiences as both passive consumers and active participants. Digital preservation and gaming history also occupy probably too much of their thoughts. Check them out on Twitter here


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