2022 has been an exciting year in Marvel Comics, with the major crossover events Devil’s Reign and AXE: Judgement Day both earning rave reviews. Devil’s Reign saw well-known Marvel villains taking the reins of New York City with a new legitimacy to their villainous acts. Meanwhile, Judgment Day pitted heroes against each other and revealed new villains to overcome.
In-between the crossover action, Marvel has kept throwing its most fearsome villains against the heroes of the universe. The publisher has also begun setting up its next batch of major events, including Dark Web and Sins of Sinister, both starting in early 2023. Over the course of this year, some of Marvel’s villains have gone astray trying to do the right thing. Others, however, are just straight-up evil.
10/10 The Goblin Queen Is On A Rampage
Madelyne Pryor has had a tough time in Marvel Comics. She was originally created by Mister Sinister as a clone of powerful telepath Jean Grey. She had relationships with both Alex and Scott Summers before being discarded after Jean returned from the dead. In her grief, she made a deal for power with some demons and became the Goblin Queen, then terrorized her former allies.
Madelyne has recently teamed up with Ben Reilly, a clone of Spider-Man who was altered and corrupted by the Beyond Corporation to become the villain Chasm. Ben and Madelyne bonded over their existence as clones and developed a plan to exact revenge on those they blamed for their pain. Now that plan is starting to come to fruition in the Dark Web crossover event.
9/10 Sabretooth Used His Krakoan Prison To Gain Power
One of the strongest Marvel series of the year has definitely been the Sabretooth limited series. In that series, the Quiet Council sentenced Sabretooth to be confined under Krakoa, immobilized but conscious. It was a horrific sentence, passed without proper due process, and it ended up backfiring spectacularly after Sabretooth took control of his psychic prison.
Sabretooth, along with a group of mutants who were also sentenced to the Pit for breaking Krakoan law, exposed the injustice of their imprisonment and broke free of their shackles. The experience also proved somewhat therapeutic for the mutant villain, who is more in control of himself and dangerous than ever.
8/10 Abigail Brand Has Been Plotting Behind Everyone’s Backs
Abigail Brand is the commander of S.W.O.R.D., an offshoot of S.H.I.E.L.D., tasked with protecting the earth from extraplanetary threats. She is a ruthless woman who isn’t afraid to break the rules or act unethically in support of what she sees as the greater good.
Throughout the Krakoan age of X-Men comics, Brand has obviously been scheming. Her plans are circumventing both terrestrial and extraterrestrial governments and heroes. She has been working with anti-mutant organizations as well as the mutant government. Brand honestly believes she is doing what is best for the Earth and its people, but then again, many of the most terrible villains have shared that belief.
7/10 Doctor Octopus Explored His Identity Across The Multiverse
The year started out strong for Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus or Doc Ock. When Kingpin decided to take over the city as mayor, Octavius worked under Fisk to help him achieve Fisk’s goals (while secretly also furthering his own). After arresting Reed Richards and Sue Storm, Kingpin gave their lab at the Baxter Building to Doc Ock.
Octavius used the lab to create a device that channeled Killgrave’s powers and forced the populace to vote for Kingpin. He also summoned alternate versions of himself from across the Multiverse, and tried to set up a council of himself from across the multiverse, in the style of Rick and Morty. Ironically, he was actually quite effective at stopping crime in New York before Kingpin eventually turned on him.
6/10 Beast Has Been Losing His Morals
Beast, like his romantic partner, Abigail Brand, thinks he has good reasons for doing the unethical things he does. Above all else, Beast wants to protect and empower mutant-kind. Sadly, his pursuit of these goals has taken him down an increasingly dark path. Beast always thinks he knows best, even if people get hurt.
Since gaining control of Krakoa’s X-Force, he has used biological weapons, wiped out a country with a virus, telepathically tortured his former X-Men teammates, and experimented on prisoners he hired mercenaries to collect. Fans of the Age of Apocalypse event have already seen how bad Hank McCoy is capable of becoming, and it looks like the Krakoa-era Beast may surpass even that villain’s worst deeds.
5/10 Mister Sinister Is Taking Control Of The Timeline
One of the Marvel villains finishing 2022 on an especially high note is longtime X-Men foe turned Quiet Council member Mister Sinister. Readers of the Immortal X-Men series have known for a while that behind his facade as a respectable council member, Sinister has been scheming as much as ever.
Marvel’s Sins of Sinister event will be starting in late January, though the prequel issues of Immortal X-Men have already begun. Readers have seen the beginning of Sinister’s plans unfolding now, and he really isn’t holding back, dealing incalculable damage in his quest for power and control.
4/10 Beyond Corporation Creates And Profits From The Bad Guys
The Beyond Corporation has been operating quietly in the background of Marvel Comics for decades, first appearing as a terrorism-financing organization in Warren Ellis’s excellent Nextwave series. These days, Beyond has its fingers in a lot of pies, one of which is sponsoring (and experimenting on) superheroes, and secretly, villains.
Ben Reilly, a clone of Peter Parker, was hired as a Beyond-sponsored hero. Over time though, the company altered Ben’s mind so much that he, his girlfriend, and his psychiatrist were transformed into villains. The company hasn’t been afraid to put innocent lives in the crossfire as they try to earn profits and avoid liability through any means necessary.
3/10 The Progenitor Was A Tragic Villain
During the AXE: Judgment Day event, a group of X-Men, Avengers, and Eternals created a new Celestial, hoping it would rein in the genocidal Prime Eternal Druig. Instead, it decided to judge the entire population of the Earth, and if more failed than passed, it would destroy everyone from Earth.
The Progenitor was the Celestial created by the heroes, and it quickly became the biggest threat the Earth had faced in some time. It destroyed large portions of the planet before the heroes were able to stop it. The Progenitor caused untold devastation (which was later reversed), but it was ultimately a tragic figure, trying to perform its function, but ultimately failing, just like many of the people it had judged.
2/10 The Kingpin Ruled New York As Mayor
In early 2022, Marvel published its Devil’s Reign crossover event, in which Wilson Fisk, better known as the Kingpin, was elected Mayor of New York. After being taunted by Daredevil, he outlawed all superhuman activity in the city, other than his own bands of vicious enforcers. Those enforcers included many fellow villains.
During the time he was in charge, Kingpin was able to stop most hero activity in the city and clear the way for his criminal organization (now run by his son) to thrive. He imprisoned any heroes he was able to catch, and he murdered Daredevil’s twin brother. He also used the terrifying Purple Man and his children to control the minds of the populace.
1/10 Uranos Committed Genocide On Arakko
During Marvel’s epic AXE: Judgment Day event, Prime Eternal Druig declared war on all mutants. As part of his initial attack, he released one of the most terrifying beings in the Eternals’ prison–Thanos’s grandfather Uranos. Uranos was given one hour to wreak as much destruction as possible on the mutant planet of Arakko (formerly known as Mars).
Uranos himself returned to his prison after the hour was up. However, he had unleashed many terrible, advanced, automated weapons across the planet, which continued the destruction. The people of Arakko, along with many heroes, destroyed the weapons eventually, but the people and planet of Arakko were utterly devastated, in one of the worst losses from Judgment Day.
NEXT: The 13 Most Important Marvel Villains, Ranked