You don’t know half as much about Avengers villains as you should - admit it! If you thought you did, this article might make you think twice. From Doctor Doom and the death-obsessed Thanos, to the lesser known Taskmaster and the mysterious Rabum Alal, Ultron just might be the least of your worries.
So before you dive into The Avengers: Age of Ultron in all its destructive glory, take a minute (or an afternoon!) to cower before seven of the scariest Avengers villains that could someday make the cut. Because, let's face it, Marvel isn't stopping this A-train any time soon!
1. Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom's Arsenal
Supernatural Powers (Mystical), Mind Control, Sci-Tech, Strength, Intellect
A student of sorcery and science, Victor von Doom was born in Latveria, a small European nation. When his doctor father could not cure the Latverian king's wife of cancer, they fled for fear of reprisal. Much later, Doctor Doom would return to exact revenge and conquer his homeland, instituting a shadow government.
Before all that could play out, Doom’s keen intellect became recognized and renowned even in America growing up. He was invited on scholarship to New York’s Empire State University, where his short-lived time ended in expulsion after he caused an explosion that scarred his face.
Heading to Tibet to seek clarity, he met one of the Immortal Nine, Aged Genghis. There he slipped forever into the abyss of villain hood, pressing the infamous mask to his face before it cooled, “ensuring that if his face had not been hideous before, it was now,” according to Marvel.com.
Memorable Doctor Doom vs. Avengers Battles
An enemy of many – the Avengers, Fantastic Four and Magneto to name a few – Doom squared off with the Avengers on more than a handful of occasions:
- In the battle to reclaim his Flying Fortress from military custody, the newly-formed Avengers intervened and the fortress was subsequently destroyed
- Doom forced the Avengers to fight Attuma in a mind-control ploy in response to an assassination attempt by the vigilante, Shroud
- In another mind-control event, Magneto and Doom manipulated the Champions and the Avengers in a battle over neuro-gas introduced into Earth’s atmosphere by Doom
2. The Scarlet Witch (aka Wanda Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch's Arsenal
Supernatural Powers (Chaos Magic), Mutant, Flight, Mind Control
On her relationship status with the Avengers, “It’s Complicated” would definitely be checked for the Scarlet Witch.
Daughter of Magneto, the Scarlet Witch was born at the Wundagore base of the High Evolutionary – a mountain on the tiny Balkan nation of Transia dedicated to mutagenic experimentation. According to Marvel, due to a bond forged on the island with the Elder God Chthon, Wanda was “destined to serve the role of Nexus Being, a living focal point for the Earth dimension's mystical energy.” Sounds like a big deal!
Joining the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants after Magneto rescued Wanda and her brother from a mob, the Scarlet Witch proceeded to fight both for and against the Avengers in a number of iterations of altering team dynamics.
Memorable Scarlet Witch vs. Avengers Battles
This is hardly the tip of the iceberg, but what a rap sheet for the internally conflicted Scarlet Witch in all her misfortune:
- Under Captain America’s leadership, the Scarlet Witch fought against Doctor Doom, the Mole Man, Kang and other villains with distinction
- After marrying an android, the Vision, the Scarlet Witch returned to active duty under the West Coast Avengers. Losing Vision and her children to a series of disastrous events, the Scarlet Witch suffered a nervous breakdown
- She suffered another nervous breakdown when spotty memories of her children resurfaced and lashed out with her newly developed chaos magic, killing several Avengers and ultimately dissolving the team for the time
- When the X-Men and Avengers considered revenge, to stave off their attacks, the Scarlet Witch created an alternate reality “utopia” where Magneto ruled a mutant empire. As the empire unraveled and people learned of the ruse, she undid the magic by uttering “No More Mutants” - reducing the mutant population from millions to an estimated 198 before drifting into obscurity herself
Supernatural Powers (Cosmic), Manipulation, Strategy, Sci-Tech, Strength
Mirror, mirror on the wall. This is the sad story of Thanos, born of the Eternals on Saturn’s moon, Titan. That is to say, Thanos was an ugly duckling – misshapen and deformed, especially in comparison to his handsome brother, Starfox.
In his brooding hatred born from physical abnormality, Thanos became corrupted with evil and obsessed with death. Starting with cybernetic implants to increase his strength and prowess, he was eventually exiled from his people for some bad doing (sources vary) as his powers swelled.
In exile traveling the universe, Thanos’ legend grew until at last, the Cosmic Cube made Thanos “unto a god,” according the Marvel. Thanos obsessions with death transcended mere thought, when even at a point he had a relationship with literal Death incarnate in the manifest form of a woman.
Memorable Thanos vs. Avengers Battles
As the imagery suggests, Thanos tangled with the Avengers on more instances than a few:
- We mentioned the Cosmic Cube. In this battle, Thanos easily dominated both Captain Marvel and the Avengers, until Captain Marvel was able to convince Thanos he had drained the Cube of its power, leading Thanos to discard it
- Thanos acquired five Soul Gems (and combined them into one synthetic gem) that he used to literally extinguish stars in a bid to appease Death itself. Adam Warlock called on Captain Marvel and the Avengers and in the battle, Captain Marvel destroyed the synthetic Soul Gem
- Still, Thanos killed Adam Warlock and captured the Avengers. In the end, Adam Warlock was restored to life and given new power, which helped turn Thanos into immobile stone (for the time being, of course)
4. Norman Osborn
Norman Osborn's Arsenal
Politicking, Manipulation, Strategy, Sci-Tech, Flight, Wealth, Intellect, Stealth
Best known for his villainous deeds in the Spider-Man universe, Norman Osborn is a business tycoon and master truth-twister. Oh, and did we mention, totally insane?
A master of manipulation, misdirection, and all around backstab-ery, it’s not uncommon for Norman Osborn to use political posturing and manipulation of the media to smile in one's face and stab them in the back. His alter ego, the Green Goblin, was created to unite New York’s vast crime network under a single banner ... his.
It’s no wonder that in America’s biggest city, Osborn would draw the attention of a few more “admirers” than just Spider-Man. For the Avengers, he presented an array of obstacles that went beyond physical domination and into a battle for hearts and minds.
Memorable Norman Osborn vs. Avengers Battles
When it comes to Osborn, he’s as much brains as brawn on the battlefield:
- Norman Osborn dismantled S.H.I.E.L.D. to create HAMMER and reformed the Avengers with new members. While at first appearing to have the world’s best interests in mind, Osborn’s true colors quickly bled through after an unsanctioned attack on Asgard (Thor’s home planet) landed Osborn and some of his team in jail
- After escaping (of course!), Osborn renewed his attack on the Avengers by forming a second version of his own Avengers
- While at first his attempts to turn the media against the Avengers appeared to be working, a betrayal by Skaar – at the behest of Captain America, who recruited him as a double-agent – led to the undoing of Osborn and his Avengers
Manipulation, Strategy, Sci-Tech, Stealth, Politicking
According to Marvel, the Taskmaster is a “prodigious savant of mnemonic talent." In layman’s terms, that translates to “Photographic Reflexes.” In short, he can quickly learn to emulate and match any fighting style, making him a formidable foe and teacher.
Where the Taskmaster really shines is more as a puppeteer. Rather than using his talents to directly engage in battle all the time, he started a school for henchmen and supervillains. His talents could then be magnified many times over in a veritable factory of villain creation.
As a front for his academy, Taskmaster created the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane, where a clone would later escape to the Avengers to expose the organization.
Memorable Taskmaster vs. Avengers Battles
The only thing worse than a super villain is a super villain active in creating more super villains:
- In the battle over the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane, Taskmaster was able to stave off both Captain America and Iron Man single-handedly before escaping once he realized he could not emulate the robotic Jocasta’s “unfamiliar abilities”
- He enlisted Augusta Seger (aka Albino) – a celebrated biologist in mutagenics (the study of human mutations) – in a bid to duplicate mutations and their latent powers. Fighting his warriors against the Avengers, he was able to duplicate the powers of Justice and Firestorm before he was defeated by the pair plus Hawkeye
- The Avengers eventually went on the offensive, targeting Taskmaster’s numerous training facilities and putting a kink in operations; although, Taskmaster was able to continually elude them before losing to Mister X in Madripoor’s Bloodsport tournament
6. Michael Korvac
Supernatural Power (Cosmic), Strategy, Sci-Tech, Intellect
Both an enemy in the future to the Guardians of the Galaxy and in the past to the Avengers (timey-wimey stuff), Michael Korvac was born in 2977 AD of the “alternate timeline Earth-691.” He hit the Avenger’s scene in 1975’s Giant-Size Defenders #3.
His story really began when in 3006-3007, the alien Brotherhood of the Badoon conquered Earth. Joining their fleet as a talented computer techn and traitor to Earth, he was placed in charge of a complicated computer system regulating entire planets. As punishment for collapsing from exhaustion while on the job, the Badoon turned him into a half-cyborg, lobbed off at the waist.
While Korvac sought revenge against the Badoon, he was teleported to Earth-616 (the modern era), where he became a pawn of sorts in a game between the Prime Mover and Grandmaster. While he was defeated in that battle in Avengers #167, Korvac reemerged as far more than a half-man, half-robot; instead as a god-like being forged from the Power Cosmic from Glactus’ space station.
Memorable Korvac vs. Avengers Battles
Michael Korvac’s reign ended on an ambiguous note, leaving to question his true motives in life. In the time he did trouble the Avengers, however, he left quite a mark:
- After a long series of events in which Korvac killed the Collector (another Avengers' villain, and father to his lover, Carina), the Avengers tracked Korvac to Queen’s New York where he was attempting to live in peace “under his ‘proproetorship’” and build a “utopian” Earth as he saw fit
- In Avenger’s #177, a bloody and destructive battle ensued and many Avengers fell to his might and power. With the combined effort of Captain America and Wonder Man, the remaining Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Korvac’s defenses were weakened until, at last, he commited suicide
- In a final nod to his supposed newfound interest in “peacemaking,” Korvac restored life to all those he’d killed before dying, begging the question of whether the world could have benefited from Korvac had things gone differently
7. Rabum Alal
Rabum Alal's Arsenal
Supernatural Powers (Mystical), Mind Control, Sci-Tech, Strength, Intellect
“Gotcha!” says Marvel. This was the big reveal of New Avengers #31 earlier this year where we finally unmasked Rabum Alal (aka the Great Destoyer) to bring our list back to where it began – none other than Doctor Doom. But it’s not the Doctor Doom you thought it was (sorta).
With the help of IGN.com – *takes a deep breath* – here is the lay of the land. The Marvel Universe, it seems, is ending in May. This is following on the heels of a series of “incursions,” in which someone or something has caused parallel universes to collide and destroy each other.
In short, this means one Earth must always be destroyed to save the other – now talk about a moral dilemma for all heroes involved. Worst of all, according to what the Illuminati (aka New Avengers) learned from Black Swan: the incursions all began with the birth of Rabum Alal.
Memorable Rabum Alal vs. Avengers Battles
While so much of this plotline is still shrouded in a cowl of mystery much like Rabum Alal himself, here’s what we know so far:
- In the New Avengers #31, Doctor Doom did appear as the leader of the Black Swans looking like Rabum Alal because, simply stated, he is Rabum Alal
- Backtracking a tad – and here is where things get weird and confusing – there might be some paradoxical space-time overlapping happening here
- Essentially, Doctor Doom really didn’t become privy to the big picture of the full plotline until New Avengers #24, where from he went on a journey into the multiverse with Molecule Man in New Avengers #29 only to reemerge in New Avengers #31 looking like the same guy who kicked off all the drama WAY back in Avengers #1 (read that twice)
Confused? Well, that’s the Avengers Universe for you. While you might not be able to necessarily wrangle down every detail about Rabum Alal at this point in time, I bet future you (or maybe past you) already understands it somewhere in the multiverse.
Cheers to Marvel and their entire universe for giving us so many splendid villains to love to hate. Now that you are brushed up, get suited up for The Avenger: Age of Ultron t-shirts and hoodies because something tells us it's going to be the summer's blockbuster (exploding asphalt and all)!
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Facts obtained from Marvel.com and IGN.com. All images in this post are from ComicVine.com.