Marvel Comics has a lot of hero teams. Once in a while, supervillains have banded together to settle old scores simultaneously. From time to time, a master villain has assembled a team of superpowered lackeys. Once they gathered together to get health insurance. No matter the reason, supervillains have realized the strength of numbers.
It wouldn’t be a Marvel comic if these teams succeeded. These teams of villains had some victories, but Marvel heroes overcame these groups and their schemes. Some villain teams set an example for other criminals to emulate. Their effect on the legacy of the Marvel Universe is immeasurable.
10/10 Squadron Sinister Was Formed To Win A Game
First Appearance: Avengers #69 (1969) By Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Sam Grainger & Artie Simek
It’s well-known that the Squadron Sinister was created as a spoof on the JLA. The four members are obvious takes on Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash. The creative team of their first appearance didn’t set out to start a new group of heroes in their counterparts, the Squadron Supreme.
In a retcon, the Grandmaster had a similar contest with the Kang variant known as the Scarlet Centurion. The Grandmaster used the champions of that alternate reality, the Squadron Supreme. The Grandmaster did so well that he created the Squadron Sinister to win one of the battles against Kang the Conqueror’s pawns, the Avengers. When the Squadron Sinister lost, the Grandmaster called his loss cheating.
9/10 The Wrecking Crew Are Four Very Tough Guys
First Appearance: Defenders #17 (1974) By Len Wein, Sal Buscema, Dan Green & Glynis Wein
The Wrecker came before the team he founded, the Wrecking Crew. He possessed enough power to go against Thor. His super strength had been taken, and he’d bent sent to prison. The Wrecker broke out with the help of three other convicts to find his wrecking bar. The Wrecker shared the power with his accomplices by holding the bar together as lightning struck it.
The Wrecking Crew now consisted of the Wrecker, Bulldozer, Piledriver, and Thunderball. They went to recover a Gamma Bomb Thunderball built when he was a nuclear physicist. This brought them into conflict with the Defenders and Luke Cage. The villains fell after a lengthy battle with a team that included Doctor Strange and the Hulk.
8/10 The Serpent Society Was A Supervillain Union
First Appearance: Captain America #310 (1985) By Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary, Dennis Janke & Ken Feduniewicz
The villain Sidewinder had served in one of the various incarnations of the Serpent Squad. He had a vision for the numerous snake-themed super-criminals to band together in the model of a labor union. He even offered medical and pension plans.
The members of the Serpent Squad that had been seen before had been working as lackeys and hired hands. When they inevitably get caught, there’s nothing to help them escape jail or pay for the dental work from a Captain America shield to the face. The Serpent Society would be a step towards what would later become a legal business enterprise called Serpent Solutions.
7/10 The Marauders Murdered Hundreds Of Mutants
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #210 (1986) By Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr., Dan Green & Glynis Oliver
The Marauders were formed by Mister Sinister with one goal, to exterminate the Morlocks. They were mutants that lived underneath New York City, mostly in peace. Retcons revealed that a dark version of the Beast had created these mutants using technology from an alternate Earth’s version of Mr. Sinister.
The slaughter was near-complete and severely injured many heroes that came to the Morlocks’ aid. Angel, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Thor all left the Morlock tunnels badly injured. The legacy of the Marauders’ first mission would last for years, even into the founding of Krakoa.
6/10 The Dark Avengers Were Norman Osborn’s Enforcers
First Appearance: Dark Avengers #1 (2009) By Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato Jr. & Rain Beredo
When Norman Osborn took over S.H.I.E.L.D., he renamed it H.A.M.M.E.R. and reshaped the Marvel landscape. Part of this was taking over the Avengers. Taking a page from Baron Zemo’s Thunderbolts, he dressed villains up as heroes. Moonstone became Ms. Marvel, Bullseye became Hawkeye, the Mac Gargan Venom became Spider-Man, and Daken became Wolverine. Osborn repainted some Iron Man armor to become the Iron Patriot. Two Avengers stayed on, the violent and unstable Ares and Sentry.
Osborn used the Dark Avengers to settle some scores. Osborn ordered the siege of Asgard, undoing his team and control of America’s superhumans. Captain America’s Secret Avengers helped stop Sentry, fully possessed by his darker half, the Void.
5/10 The Sinister Six Just Wanted To Kill Spider-Man
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964) By Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
The Sinister Six was originally a gathering of six of Spider-Man’s villains. Doctor Octopus gathered five other Spider-Man foes and argued about who got to kill the Wall-Crawler. They all agreed to draw for the order Spider-Man had to face them in a gauntlet. Spider-Man ran their gauntlet and beat them all.
It was a clear case of villains setting differences aside for a common goal. Their mistake was not working together. Of course, future versions of the Sinister Six would work together and still find themselves unable to kill Spider-Man.
4/10 The Hellfire Club Is All About Money And Power
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980) By Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin & Bob Sharen
The historical Hellfire Club was a hedonistic gathering place for the rich and powerful. In Uncanny X-Men, it served the same function publicly. Secretly it was run by mutants controlling powerful businesses. Their quest for more power drew them to corrupt Jean Grey, possibly the most powerful mutant on the planet.
At first, Emma Frost crossed paths with the X-Men in their efforts to recruit two new mutants, Dazzler and Kitty Pryde. That led to Jean demonstrating her power as Phoenix, sending the Hellfire Club to a more subtle plan. The X-Men were lured to the New York Hellfire Club, where Mastermind completed a corruption with illusions. Unfortunately, the wealthy mutants just unleashed the fury of Dark Phoenix.
3/10 Baron Zemo Formed The Masters Of Evil To Achieve His Goals
First Appearance: Avengers #6 (1964) By Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Chic Stone & Stan Goldberg
When Baron Zemo learned that Captain America had survived, he summoned the Melter, Black Knight, and Radioactive Man to occupy the Avengers, leaving him to kill Captain America. Zemo also hoped that the Avengers would find a solvent for the Adhesive X that kept his mask glued to his face.
Zemo had an effective plan, but arrogance from his early success spelled his failure. He had used his new allies effectively, but when the Avengers switched out the adhesive with the solvent, they caught the Masters of Evil off guard. Still, this was a case of showing future villain teams how to face the Avengers.
2/10 The Frightful Four Showed How Minor Villains Could Be A Major Threat
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #36 (1965) By Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
When the Sandman and Paste-Pot Pete saved the Wizard from floating too high in the atmosphere, he rewarded them by forming a criminal team. To play off their team being the opposite of the Fantastic Four, he recruited Medusa. The Inhuman queen was stranded with no memory of her past and willing to help.
Working together, they defeated the Fantastic Four, except for the Human Torch, who wasn’t present. The Wizard hadn’t made a plan to capture the Torch, who rescued his friends from floating into space. The Frightful Four did manage to evade capture, showing that even four minor villains could be a real threat by working together.
1/10 The Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants Made Humans Fear Mutants
First Appearance: X-Men #4 (1964) By Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Paul Reinman
After losing to the X-Men, Magneto returned with a mutant team of his own, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. In their first endeavor, they conquered the nation of Santo Marco. They planned to make it a haven for mutants, but the X-Men foiled that scheme.
This action might have harmed mutant relations beyond healing. They showed that a few mutants could overpower an army. No matter what the X-Men did, mutants would be feared on some level for what the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants accomplished.
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