10 Beloved Marvel Henchmen Who Weren't Successful When Introduced – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Some of Marvel’s most beloved henchmen started out low on the totem pole and made their way up, steadily gaining fans’ appreciation.
Marvel has been creating some amazing characters for years now, with some of the best being their dangerous and intimidating villains. These villains have struck a chord with fans, with some becoming as popular as the heroes they face. While everyone knows the most powerful villains, the masterminds that make things happen, the Marvel Universe’s henchmen are sometimes just as beloved as the villains they work for.
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Of course, not all henchmen started out popular. Some of Marvel’s most beloved henchmen started out low on the totem pole and made their way up, steadily gaining fans’ appreciation and becoming integral parts of the Marvel Universe.
Deadpool is known as one of Marvel’s funniest and most popular heroes but it wasn’t always that way. At first, he was just a sort of generic New Mutants/X-Force villain, one who benefited from his place in one of the most popular books of the early ’90s more than being a good character. As the years went on, creators would refine the character, making him into the beloved icon he would become.
While Deadpool was in popular books, he was little more than a hired gun-fighting Cable, a wannabe Deathstroke that would grow immensely over the years, becoming more than a henchman.
Batroc the Leaper is a B-list Captain America villain. A master of the French martial art savate, Batroc has been a paid thorn in Captain America’s side for years. While he’s not exactly a household name, he has a dedicated fanbase, has appeared in the MCU twice, and is always an entertaining Captain America villain. While he’s not on the level of some other mercenaries, the fact that he’s challenged Captain America so many times is impressive.
Batroc the Leaper is a pretty dependable hand. He gets paid, fights whatever hero he’s paid to fight, and then goes on to the next job. His great fighting style and sass make him a wonderful villain.
The Marauders were Mister Sinister’s hit squad and one of the group’s toughest members was Greycrow. Greycrow’s powers allowed him to manipulate technology, enabling him to pretty much make anything from anything else. He frequently uses this ability to create powerful guns, making him a dangerous foe. After his resurrection on Krakoa, Greycrow would join up with the Hellions to work through his problems.
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Greycrow has grown in popularity immensely since then, transforming from a murderous henchman to something better. Now that he’s a hero, he’s become a fan-favorite member of one of the X-Men’s best books.
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is the most iconic team of villainous mutants, and Pyro has been a member of the team through multiple roster changes. His powers allowed him to control, but not manifest, flames and he used those powers as the team’s best long-range threat until his death from the Legacy Virus.
After being resurrected on Krakoa, Pyro joined up with the Marauders, got a cool face tattoo, and became a pirate for the Hellfire Trading Corporation. He’s still basically a henchman but he’s working for the good guys and is much more popular.
Elektra is another hero who started out as a henchwoman. After her father’s death, Elektra Natchios swore revenge. Learning the ninja arts from Stick, she became a globetrotting assassin, eventually working for the Kingpin and facing down her ex-college lover. Elektra took some time before she got truly popular but has transcended her roots.
Creator Frank Miller had lots of plans for Elektra and those plans spurred her rise to the top. Now a hero, she’s more popular and has worked with superteams, SHIELD, and even took over as Daredevil.
The Wrecking Crew consists of Wrecker, Thunderball, Piledriver, and Bulldozer and they’ve been B-list henchmen extraordinaire for years. First facing off against Thor, they’d make some impressive showing against the hero before moving on to work for all kinds of mastermind villains, becoming more and more beloved by fans as years went by.
The Wrecking Crew have worked with the Masters of Evil, the Hood’s gang, and even the Norman Osborn-led Superhero Initiative. They’ve shown up in all kinds of books over the years and fans love them, knowing they’re going to get an entertaining slugfest whenever the Crew shows up.
Lady Deathstrike has mostly stayed around the mutant side of things, but that makes sense. Her father, Lord Dark Wind, created the adamantium bonding process which was stolen and used on Wolverine. Denied her birthrate, she swore revenge and went through a series of surgeries to become a cyborg powerful enough to face the Canadian mutant.
Lady Deathstrike would pretty much work for anyone who gave her the chance to fight Wolverine, battling the X-Men multiple times and even fighting Captain America. Thanks to fighting some of Marvel’s most popular characters, she transcended her simple beginning in an issue of Daredevil and became popular.
Taskmaster started out as a mercenary who specialized in fighting the Avengers and has grown immensely since then. His photographic reflexes allow him to copy the moves of anyone he fights, meaning he can use the moves of heroes like Cap, Hawkeye, and more. Eventually, he’d open up his own henchmen school, imparting his wisdom on those who came after him.
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Taskmaster has bounced around the Marvel Universe ever since, helming miniseries and becoming pretty iconic as a great henchman. His popularity trajectory has always steadily risen and he’s an icon for henchmen in the Marvel Universe.
Bullseye started life as a guy fighting Daredevil but much like Elektra, Frank Miller had big plans for him. Able to turn anything into a weapon, Bullseye’s killing of Elektra made him special, and ever since then, he’s only gotten more and more popular. While he’s known for fighting Daredevil, he’s also battled all manner of heroes and was a member of the Thunderbolts and Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers.
Bullseye is probably even more popular than Kingpin nowadays. The maniac murderer is always a great villain and even though he does terrible things, fans can’t get enough of him.
Sabretooth premiered in Iron Fist #14, an early Chris Claremont/John Byrne collaboration, and seemed like a one-off villain. Claremont put the mutant assassin into Uncanny X-Men as a foil for Wolverine, and the rest is history. Working for the highest bidder, Sabretooth became one of Marvel’s foremost mercenaries but what he really loved was tormenting Wolverine.
Sabretooth became entwined with Wolverine and the two have had some epic clashes over the years. While he’s grown into a star in his own right, his humble roots as a henchman will always be with him.
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David Harth has been reading comics for close to 30 years. He writes for several websites, makes killer pizza, goes to Disney World more than his budget allows, and has the cutest daughter in the world. He can prove it. Follow him on Twitter- https://www.twitter.com/harth_david.

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