Marvel Comics is home to dozens of amazing villains who pose a serious threat to the beloved heroes that inhabit the Marvel Universe. Without antagonists like Thanos, Magneto, the Green Goblin, Doctor Doom, and more, the Marvel Universe would feel shallow and empty, unable to connect with its vast audience of readers.
While some of Marvel’s most iconic supervillains took a while to settle into their antagonistic roles, others wasted no time establishing themselves as terrific villains from the very start. Therefore, several villains’ debut comics set them up for greatness within the Marvel Universe.
10 Thanos (The Invincible Iron Man #55)
The “Mad Titan” Thanos started his long and celebrated career as a supervillain in Marvel Comics in 1973’s Invincible Iron Man #55. In this issue, the audience is introduced to Thanos, who yearns to complete the Infinity Gauntlet and wipe out half of all life in the universe. After a battle with Drax the Destroyer and Iron Man, Thanos disappears, preparing to plague the Marvel Universe another day.
In Thanos’s very first appearance, he is already set up to one day collect the Infinity Gems, which would culminate in 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet crossover storyline. The Mad Titan is also portrayed to be incredibly strong and imposing, allowing him to not only go on to become an iconic character in Marvel Comics but also one of the most important villains in the MCU.
9 The Juggernaut (The X-Men #12)
The unstoppable Juggernaut made his first appearance in Marvel Comics in The X-Men #12, which depicted Cain Marko as he discovered the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, which granted him his superpowers. In his ensuing battle with the X-Men, Juggernaut quickly made a name for himself as a burgeoning supervillain.
The Juggernaut’s first appearance is a landmark moment in Marvel Comics, as a new villain was introduced who even the X-Men had difficulty bringing to justice. He also differentiated himself from other X-Men villains because his powers were not derived from a mutant gene, shaking up the X-Men comic from its typically mutant-centered stories.
8 Super-Skrull (Fantastic Four #18)
The powerful Super-Skrull is first introduced in 1963’s Fantastic Four #18, where his ability to mimic the powers of Marvel’s First Family is put in the spotlight. The Fantastic Four struggles to overcome an enemy with powers similar to their own, foreboding their long rivalry with the villainous Super-Skrull throughout their history in Marvel Comics.
The Super-Skrull’s first appearance was a game-changer for the Fantastic Four, who were now forced to view the Skrull Empire as a much bigger threat. His debut also paved the way for 2008’s epic Secret Invasion storyline, in which multiple Super-Skrulls replace the Earth’s superheroes under the Avengers’ noses.
7 Venom (The Amazing Spider-Man #300)
After several issues of build-up, Venom finally makes his debut in the landmark Amazing Spider-Man #300. After bonding with the Venom symbiote, Eddie Brock specifically targets Peter Parker, knowing he is Spider-Man. Venom wreaks havoc on Peter’s life and proves himself to be even stronger than Spider-Man, defeating him in their first battle.
The Amazing Spider-Man #300 marks the first of several terrific Spider-Man and Venom comic arcs, but few battles between the two powerhouse characters have ever topped their initial meeting. Venom’s debut was enough to traumatize Peter’s wife, Mary Jane Watson, causing him to abandon his black suit, which boasted a similar design to the symbiote suit, and avoid any future confrontations with this new enemy.
6 Carnage (The Amazing Spider-Man #361)
If Peter Parker thought Venom was his strongest enemy, he certainly had a rude awakening in The Amazing Spider-Man #361, which saw the serial killer Cletus Kasady bond with a symbiote to become Carnage. Not as concerned with protecting innocent life as Venom, Carnage immediately went on a killing spree, racking up a massive body count.
In just his very first issue, Carnage proves himself to be Spider-Man’s worst fears come true, taking as many innocent lives as he possibly can. In their first battle, Spider-Man falls to Carnage’s strength, forcing him to ally himself with his worst enemy, Venom, to finally put the crazed killer behind bars.
5 Galactus (Fantastic Four #49)
Galactus is one of several immortal Marvel beings and the Devourer of Worlds. He makes his utterly terrifying first appearance in Fantastic Four #49-50. In this two-part story, the Fantastic Four come across the Silver Surfer, the herald of Galactus, who foretells that the celestial being is coming to devour the Earth.
The Fantastic Four are able to defeat Galactus, but only with the help of the Silver Surfer and the Watcher, convincing each to break his respective oath. In this first appearance, Galactus proves to be a threat of cosmic proportions that could only be beaten by the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.
4 Magneto (Uncanny X-Men #1)
Magneto, the master of magnetism and sworn enemy of the X-Men, makes his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #1. Magneto makes a characteristically dramatic debut in this issue, using his magnetism powers to move missiles, threatening an army base. When the X-Men arrive to stop him, they quickly find they have gotten more than they bargained for.
Uncanny X-Men #1proves exactly why most Marvel heroes want to avoid fighting Magneto. In Magneto’s first appearance, the extremist leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants immediately established himself as capable of taking on entire teams of superheroes all at once. From this point on, Magneto became one of Marvel’s leading supervillains.
3 Loki (Journey Into Mystery #85)
Loki, the Asgardian god of mischief and adopted brother of Thor himself, made his first appearance in Journey into Mystery #85. In this issue, Loki breaks free from prison and vows to get revenge on his brother, who put him away in the first place. Loki fails in his mission and suffers the ultimate humiliation when Thor saves his life, only to incarcerate him in Asgard once more.
Journey into Mystery #85makes the bold choice to pick up Thor and Loki’s story, already deep into their relationship, not wasting time with setting up their history together over the course of several issues. The audience is instead plunged directly into their rivalry, which immediately stands out as one of the most compelling ongoing storylines in Thor’s ongoing adventures.
2 Kang The Conqueror (Avengers #8)
Kang the Conqueror, one of Marvel Comics’ smartest supervillains, made his debut appearance in Avengers #8, facing off against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for the first, but certainly not the last, time. Revealing that he had secretly also been the Fantastic Four villain Pharaoh Rama-Tut, Kang uses his command over time travel to nearly defeat the Avengers in their very first battle.
Kang’s first appearance ties together several lingering storylines involving his alternate identities, crafting a complex and utterly terrifying villain. In the end, it takes the combined might of the Avengers, the Teen Brigade, and Rick Jones to allay Kang’s conquest until his inevitable return.
1 Doctor Doom (Fantastic Four #5)
Doctor Doom changed the Marvel Universe forever with his debut appearance in Fantastic Four #5. In his first appearance alone, Doctor Doom is shown to have a close connection to Reed Richards and a command over sorcery, making him the Fantastic Four’s most intimidating villain by far at the time.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby truly went all-out for Doctor Doom’s first appearance, unleashing a villain with a compelling backstory and a terrific look that would go mostly unchanged for decades to come. Few debut issues are better than Doctor Doom’s, which stands as a landmark event in Marvel Comics’ long history.
NEXT: 10 Marvel Villains With Nothing To Hide
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