Sometimes, a character’s motivation is as simple as a love for money. Many of Marvel’s best villains, and even some of their most compelling heroes, fall into this category. While this can take many forms, guns for hire are one of comics’ oldest tropes.
The Marvel Universe is almost overrun with mercenaries. Some are honor-bound ronin, while others kill for fun as well as profit. Of the seemingly-endless number of sellswords, though, a few characters have risen to the top, proving that they’re not just ordinary mercs.
10/10 Luke Cage Deserves An Honorable Mention
Calling Luke Cage nothing more than a mercenary doesn’t do the character justice. However, dismissing the current Mayor of New York’s days as a Hero for Hire is similarly unwarranted. When Cage first burst onto the page in 1972, he was a hero who helped those who could afford it.
Cage grew from this origin, first teaming up with Iron Fist to make it a joint business and then becoming more heroic, even leading several teams of Avengers. Still, one of Cage’s most iconic moments was when he broke into Doomstadt to demand $200 from Doctor Doom himself.
9/10 Batroc Makes Himself Unique
Captain America has a weird range of villains. Some are political metaphors and others are war criminals. Batroc the Leaper is a French martial artist acrobat. Though Batroc may seem like a goof, the master of savate is anything but.
Many characters are defined by their combat techniques, but Batroc’s fighting style is visually very different than his peers. Savate is a form of kickboxing, meaning that artists must draw the Leaper battling mostly with his feet. This allows for interesting action scenes. In-universe, it helps differentiate him from the crowd. Even Captain America had already heard of Batroc before they met.
8/10 The Technet Are Lovable Weirdos
A cadre of cross-dimensional aliens, the Technet are a motley crew of mercs usually led by Gatecrasher, a blue psionic woman with an imposing figure. Other members of the group include Bodybag, a large reptilian alien who covers victims in something like amber, Joyboy, a baby-like creature with mind powers, and Numbers, the team’s chelonian accountant.
The Alan Davis and Chris Claremont-created Technet originated in the pages of Captain Britain and are fondly remembered for their Excalibur stories. While many of Marvel’s mercenaries are grim-faced killers, the Technet are a colorful, silly bunch of aliens who just keep running into Nightcrawler. However, they’re surprisingly good at their jobs, with an array of weird powers that can immobilize almost any opponent.
7/10 Crossbones Loves Dirty Work
More than any other major Marvel merc, Crossbones exemplifies the notion of a thug. Crossbones started out as a violent petty criminal before joining and eventually becoming an instructor in Taskmaster’s school for criminals. It was only a short time until Brock Rumlow put his training to professional use and joined up with the Red Skull.
Crossbones is an expert in weaponry and happily sells his skills, but he’s also unusually brutal, even for a supervillain. Crossbones excels at torture and takes joy in killing. He’s also particularly loyal to the Red Skull, returning time and again to help the Nazi villain.
6/10 Silver Sable Rarely Works Alone
The majority of Marvel’s mercenaries work alone or are paid to team with others. Silver Sable, however, has made working with other talented individuals her entire business. The leader of the Wild Pack and of Silver Sable International, she leads a team of mercenaries to ends more noble than nefarious.
Though Silver Sable typically hunts war criminals and supervillains, she has clashed with superheroes plenty of times. Notable among these battles are her conflicts with Spider-Man. Over time, the two have developed a friendlier relationship as Sable and her mercenaries have helped various superheroes, including Spidey, achieve their goals.
5/10 Domino Has Learned A Lot From Her Time In The Field
The mutant mercenary known as Domino has the ability to bend luck in her favor. As a merc, this takes a variety of forms, ranging from perfect bullet ricochets to escaping when she’s been caught. Domino was a key part of Cable’s mercenary group the Six Pack.
Though Domino has continued to work as a mercenary, her exploits with the original X-Force began to change her. Neena Thurman began to orient her luck towards the common good as well as her own, helping mentor the team along the way. Domino has since gone legit, using her skills gained as a mercenary for the Krakoan X-Force.
4/10 Taskmaster Is An All-Purpose Merc
The Taskmaster is a classic all-purpose supervillain. His photographic reflexes give him the ability to mimic any non-metahuman ability and the fact that he’s a sword-for-hire means he can appear as any hero’s foe. Always looking for another hustle, Taskmaster also trains other mercenaries from his superhuman pool of skills.
Taskmaster is an incredibly versatile character. His abilities let writers turn him into an overpowering obstacle or a finely tuned challenge for heroes. He can work alone, with a team of his trainees, or with a cadre of other mercs. His appearance has changed quite a lot over the years as well, alternately, silly, chilling, or just badass.
3/10 Elektra Is Incredibly Accomplished
One of the most accomplished killers in the Marvel Universe, Elektra Natchios has fought for both good and evil. Originally learning martial arts as a form of self-defense, Elektra mastered them and became a feared assassin.
Elektra’s most notable work as an assassin came when she was originally employed by the Kingpin. She battled Daredevil and recognized him as a friend from college, abandoning her contract to kill Foggy Nelson. Elektra went on to become one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s chief hired assassins, taking out enemies of the organization while also sometimes battling heroes,
2/10 Bullseye Only Scores Direct Hits
Daredevil’s meanest enemy is also one of his most effective foes. A born killer, Bullseye grew bored with his career in professional baseball, but learned to love his own lethality. Bullseye quickly became one of the most sought-after assassins-for-hire in the Marvel Universe.
Part of what distinguishes Bullseye is how effective he is. Bullseye was a key member of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers and has committed hits on characters like Karen Page, Heimdall, and even Elektra. Bullseye’s nasty temper and willingness to kill has made him not only Daredevil’s sworn enemy but the bane of much of the Marvel Universe.
1/10 Deadpool Can Do Any Job
The Merc with a Mouth is easily Marvel’s most identifiable mercenary; it’s a part of his nickname! However, Deadpool is not Marvel’s best mercenary because of his notoriety. It’s because he can see any job through, as long as he doesn’t get distracted by chimichangas.
Deadpool has battled X-Force, fought for shady governments, killed zombie presidents, teamed up with X-Force, fought against shady governments, and even killed the entirety of the Marvel Universe (twice). There is no job too foul for the Regeneratin’ Degenerate. Though he’s a good-natured antihero, there’s nobody Deadpool won’t off, provided the price is right.
NEXT: 10 Most Ruthless Marvel Heroes