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Marvel Archenemies: The Most Heated Feuds in the Marvel Universe

by Peter Carriveau 6 years ago in comics / list / superheroes
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The most classic battles in the Marvel universe come from the most classic Marvel archenemies.

Marvel archenemies have resulted in some of the most dramatic storytelling in the Marvel universe. They come in a variety of forms and occur on a multitude of levels. From the cosmic scale that can decide the fate of the entire planet to street level where the ferocity of the battles are equally as impressive, the battles include a huge variation of powers and motivation. Below are some of the classic Marvel archenemies that make comics worth reading.

Captain America and the Red Skull 

As with most archenemies, these two represent the battle between good and evil in the most basic way. Captain America is the representation of American democracy and work ethic. Steve Rogers was a man who could not serve in the military as he was deemed too weak for service. Entering a super soldier program that granted him superhuman strength and agility, these powers were not the only thing that made him a great soldier. It was his tactical mind and belief in doing the right thing that made him the perfect choice to represent America as its champion. Seeing the effect this had on the battlefield, Nazi Germany decided that they needed a champion of their own. Enter: the Red Skull. A personal protege of Hitler, the Red Skull does not have the same superhuman powers as Captain America but instead possesses a genius intellect and is incredibly inventive. Since their inception in 1941 during World War II, the two have been bitter enemies.

X-Men and Magneto

The premier challenge to the X-Men’s vision of peace between man and mutant, Magneto’s vision of a ruling class of mutants goes against everything the X-Men are trying to achieve. Starting out as friends, the X-Men’s founder Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr had a falling out as their ideologies evolved. Eric Lehnsherr became the super villain Magneto in order to exact the revenge upon humanity that he sees as the only way for mutants to live peacefully. One of the most powerful mutants on the planet, his powers over magnetism allow him flight, the ability to crate protective force fields, and complete control over metal and the magnetic fields of the Earth. Magneto has clashed with all incarnations of the X-Men as their first true Marvel archenemy. There have been some defining moments in this rivalry, including Magneto tearing the adamantium metal from Wolverine’s skeleton through his pores. During the same battle, Professor Xavier uses his powers to completely wipe Magneto’s mind clean. This led to the rise of Onslaught years later and cements this as one of the great Marvel rivalries.

Thor and Loki

Sibling rivalry at its finest, these two brothers have been feuding since the dawn of man. Both are gods in the mythical realm of Asgard and have very different powers. Thor is the chosen one as it were, possessing the all powerful hammer Mjolnir, granting him immense strength, control over lightning, and the ability to fly. Loki is the ultimate trickster. The half brother of Thor, he is always seeking to sow discontent on Earth and generally making himself a thorn in his brother’s side. This can sometimes backfire as his mischief making led directly to the formation of the Avengers. Though more intent on creating mischief then destruction, Loki’s scheming has guaranteed that he will always be the enemy of Thor and the Avengers.

Spider Man and the Original Green Goblin

Some rivalries are so destructive that in the end one of the two parties must perish for it to end. Such is the case in the feud between Spider Man and the Green Goblin. Bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker is given super human strength and agility, allowing him to fight crime as the amazing Spider Man. Norman Osborn is a genius intellect and inventor whose “goblin formula” grants him superhuman strength and endurance at the cost of his sanity. The Green Goblin’s meddling goes beyond mischief as he kills Peter Parker’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy during one of his mad schemes. In the ensuing battle with Spider Man, the Goblin ends up dying and that is the end of the first chapter of this long rivalry. Many others have taken up the helm of the Green Goblin but none have caused Spider Man as much grief as the original.

Wolverine and Sabertooth

Two mutants whose powers leave them with a bestial side, it is only natural that these two would be enemies. Wolverine has an unmatched healing factor that allows him to take amazing amounts of punishment as well as enhanced sense and an indestructible adamantium skeleton and claws. Sabertooth has a healing factor as well as enhanced senses, though his claws are a result of his mutant powers. There are many differing stories as to why these two hate each other so much but there is a consensus that it boils down to Sabertooth viewing his feud with Wolverine as a competition. They were both subjects in the experimental Weapon X program that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton and trained them to be soldiers. When they do find each other, the battles reach a level of animalistic ferocity that is unmatched by the others on this list.

The Avengers and Ultron

There are many levels to this set of Marvel archenemies. Ultron is a self aware robot that was created by Dr. Hank Pym, also known as Giant Man from the Avengers. He originally created Ultron as a laboratory assistant but once the robot gained awareness, it escaped and has been an enemy of the Avengers ever since. Merciless in its hatred of humanity, Ultron has went as far as killing the inhabitants of an entire country to lay claim to the land for robots. Being as Ultron was created by an Avenger, it will always be the enemy of the Avengers. There are many great nuances in this feud from the man versus machine aspect, to the battle with his own demons that Hank Pym is subjected to every time Ultron surfaces. Whenever it does surface, Ultron gives the Avengers all they can handle and then some.

Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom 

Since his first appearance in Fantastic Four #5, Dr. Doom has been one of the ultimate villains in the Marvel Universe. A genius intellect, it is said that only Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) can match the intelligence of Dr. Doom. Starting off as college roommates, Victor Von Doom and Reed Richards found companionship in their high intelligence. If not for Victor’s vanity, they could have been friends. When an experiment gone wrong leaves Von Doom horribly scarred, he retreats to his home country of Latveria and vows revenge on Reed Richards who he sees as responsible for the accident. Creating a high tech suit of armor, Dr. Doom has become the most formidable foe of the Fantastic Four. Though they have teamed up at times, Dr. Doom has only done so to make sure that he is the one who will ultimately decide the fate of Reed Richards.

Venom and Carnage 

Though both are alien symbiotes that grant their wearer awesome strength and power, they are both subject to the personality of those that possess them. Eddie Brock is a photographer that gets caught submitting phony photos and is fired. Finding the cast-off alien costume of Spider Man, he becomes Venom. After losing a battle with Spider Man, he ends up in prison, sharing a cell with a serial killer by the name of Cletus Cassidy. When Venom escapes, a small piece of his symbiote suit gets left behind and bonds with Cassidy becoming Carnage. Carnage has no regard for innocent life and actually enjoys killing, putting him at odds with Venom’s philosophy of sparing the innocents while seeking revenge on Spider Man. The unhinged nature of Carnage and the power of the symbiote suits makes for a vicious rivalry that has Venom teaming up with his hated enemy Spider Man just to contain the bloodlust of Carnage. Even that is barely enough to stop him, making Venom and Carnage a great example of Marvel archenemies.

Thing and Hulk

Both regarded as heroes, the Thing of the Fantastic Four and The Hulk have clashed on many occasions. Both possessing superhuman strength and being nearly invulnerable, when they do clash it is certain to be a city shattering battle. Throwing punches at each other that are capable of destroying buildings, they do not so much hate each other as they like a good brawl. It is usually a result of the Hulk going on a rampage and the Thing being in the area and looking for a reason to let loose. Whatever the case may be, it is always entertaining for the readers to see these two titans clash.

Daredevil and Kingpin

Daredevil wants to clean up the streets and dirty streets are what keep the Kingpin in business, making these two natural enemies. Wilson Fisk is the highly feared crime boss that runs most of the crime rackets in New York, especially in Hell’s Kitchen. Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer by day but the crime fighting Daredevil by night. Using enhanced senses and martial arts abilities, Daredevil does his best to keep the streets safe. Though possessing no powers, it is the ruthlessness of the Kingpin that makes him such a formidable foe. He will stop at nothing to retain his power and that is why these two are sworn enemies.

Marvel archenemies are among some of the most storied and beloved in comics. Their stories of conflict and resolution make Marvel arguably the greatest comic company of all time. Delving into deeper meaning than just the surface fight, they create create drama and are stories that teach lessons as well as entertain.

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About the author

Peter Carriveau

Writer of many things who likes politics, comics, and vintage video games. When not writing, Peter likes spending time with his beautiful partner Angelica, and our two daughters.

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