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  1. #16
    Spider-Fan Since '95 WebSlingWonder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    A lot of people have noted that Spider-Man villains tend not to be too interesting. Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed this out once when he asked how come Spider-Man's villains aren't all that good compared to Batman's.

    In the movies, every Spider-Man rogue ends up knowing Peter's identity and/or become versions of Norman Osborn, one reason could be is that they're lazy and that Thanksgiving scene in Spider-Man 1 was this moment that every Sony producer became fixated on. The other reason is that the villains aren't all that deep. Dr. Octopus for instance is a thug-in-labcoat for the majority of his stories. Neither Ditko, nor Lee ever intended to be sympathetic. This idea that Dr. Octopus is Peter if he went dark is something, or a subtitute Dad figure that Spider-Man 2 and the PS4 game do is just not the character as conceived. This was an idea that Tom Defalco and others who came after took, and it's a very Batman-idea for a villain characterization. The problem is that its redundant. Peter doesn't need to be warned that he could end up becoming a villain. Him letting the burglar go already showed him and proved things to him about what he would do if he doesn't use his powers for good. The best stories with Dr. Octopus like The Master Planner or The Owl/Octopus War is about Octopus being this dumb moronic villain threat who Peter after messing and fudging around, finally gets his s--t together and kicks his ass royally. That's what Dr. Octopus is about. That's also what most of Spider-Man villains' are about. That's also why Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut is this great story, and that has Spider-Man going against someone out of his wheelhouse.

    Norman Osborn/Green Goblin is different. But on the whole he's a mix of Luthor/Joker with a bit of Ra's Al Ghul thrown in (the whole coming back from the dead thing). He's a villain on a significantly higher level than others and genuinely dangerous and scary when done right.

    In general, in the case of Batman, the Fantastic Four, and for that matter even the X-Men in some stories, you can argue that the Joker, Dr. Doom, and Magneto are more interesting than the heroes. But in no way are any of Spider-Man's villains more interesting or complex as characters than Peter, J. Jonah Jameson, and Mary Jane Watson, or Aunt May, or even Flash Thompson. That's by purpose and design.
    Whatever you're smoking must be some good stuff, because it's simply NOT TRUE. The last ten years, heck, 20 years, disproves this exact statement. No, Spider-Man's villains may not be overly complex compared to others in comics, but they are rightfully complex as characters in relation to Spider-Man.

    Frankly, bringing up the movies as evidence is almost insulting, knowing the history behind these characters extended far before that. So that's out the window for sure.
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  2. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by WebSlingWonder View Post
    Whatever you're smoking must be some good stuff, because it's simply NOT TRUE. The last ten years, heck, 20 years, disproves this exact statement.
    I am not someone who has been a fan of how Spider-Man's rogues have been done in that period you describe.

    No, Spider-Man's villains may not be overly complex compared to others in comics, but they are rightfully complex as characters in relation to Spider-Man.
    At the end of the day are any of these villains more complex or interesting than Peter Parker himself? Has there even been a single bad guy who you could root for to win over Spider-Man? In the case of Batman, at various times, Catwoman, the Joker, Scarecrow, Clayface, and of course Two-Face, have been far more interesting, compelling, humane than him and a good part of why people liked the Adam West Batman series is that audiences, especially grown-ups, openly rooted for the villains over him and Robin.

    Spider-Man's villains are interesting, well-designed, and properly conceived but their primary function at the end of the day is for Peter to beat them up. They don't have any depth, nor do they need to have, any depth beyond that.

    Frankly, bringing up the movies as evidence is almost insulting, knowing the history behind these characters extended far before that. So that's out the window for sure.
    I am just using that as indications of how people outside the comics business look and approach these characters. Why is Dr. Octopus not shown as the thug-in-labcoat that he is in the Master Planner? Making Octopus sympathetic/tragic takes away from the unambiguous positive feelings of triumph that Peter had at the end of that. He's not supposed to be someone you feel bad about seeing brought down. But manufacturing sympathy and motivations diminishes him from the function he was supposed to be play.

    In a movie, you attract a name actor or a character actor to play the bad guy so you need to make him more complex and interesting and by doing that you make a movie that's supposed to be about Peter Parker into a dual-protagonist movie. That doesn't work too well too often. Especially in Spider-Man 3 where Harry Osborn has a character arc and development at the expense of Peter and others, and that was one of the things that killed the movie since Harry Osborn should never be more complex than Peter, or the story stops working as a Spider-Man story.

  3. #18
    Spider-Fan Since '95 WebSlingWonder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I am not someone who has been a fan of how Spider-Man's rogues have been done in that period you describe.



    At the end of the day are any of these villains more complex or interesting than Peter Parker himself? Has there even been a single bad guy who you could root for to win over Spider-Man? In the case of Batman, at various times, Catwoman, the Joker, Scarecrow, Clayface, and of course Two-Face, have been far more interesting, compelling, humane than him and a good part of why people liked the Adam West Batman series is that audiences, especially grown-ups, openly rooted for the villains over him and Robin.

    Spider-Man's villains are interesting, well-designed, and properly conceived but their primary function at the end of the day is for Peter to beat them up. They don't have any depth, nor do they need to have, any depth beyond that.



    I am just using that as indications of how people outside the comics business look and approach these characters. Why is Dr. Octopus not shown as the thug-in-labcoat that he is in the Master Planner? Making Octopus sympathetic/tragic takes away from the unambiguous positive feelings of triumph that Peter had at the end of that. He's not supposed to be someone you feel bad about seeing brought down. But manufacturing sympathy and motivations diminishes him from the function he was supposed to be play.

    In a movie, you attract a name actor or a character actor to play the bad guy so you need to make him more complex and interesting and by doing that you make a movie that's supposed to be about Peter Parker into a dual-protagonist movie. That doesn't work too well too often. Especially in Spider-Man 3 where Harry Osborn has a character arc and development at the expense of Peter and others, and that was one of the things that killed the movie since Harry Osborn should never be more complex than Peter, or the story stops working as a Spider-Man story.
    And once again...no.
    Just because you weren't a fan of their development does not mean it didn't add depth. That's called entitlement.

    Secondly, yes any villain needs to have depth. They are not just there "for Peter to beat up." That's nonsense. They are characters through and through and have lives, histories, and stories that have been told time and time again. Movies or not, that's just fact. You cannot ignore that just because you don't like it.
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  4. #19
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    The role a character was originally conceived for in their original stories is not the one they need to play forever. If people believed that, Spider-Man wouldn't have one of his greatest strengths as a character, the flexibility to adapt to so many different kinds of stories and tones. Just because I relate and feel for the Vulture in the Stern stuff, doesn't mean I want him to succeed at killing people, it just makes me more invested when he gets involved in a conflict, and it gets me more invested when going back to his older stories. Same applies to Otto, Kraven, Rhino, Shocker, the list goes on. Basically all of them, because you can't publish piles upon piles of material about the hero while leaving the rogues flat. If people are invested in both the hero and the villain, the conflict is more interesting. This is why most of Marvel's top villains are good characters, and this is why recent MCU villains are so much better received. Not everyone needs to be that deep, it's good to have simpler heavy hitters like Norman or Red Skull around, or even the most basic bitches like Bullseye or Carnage, but if everyone was like that, we might as well not even bother fighting villains at all.
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  5. #20
    Spider-Fan Since '95 WebSlingWonder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoop dogg View Post
    the role a character was originally conceived for in their original stories is not the one they need to play forever. If people believed that, spider-man wouldn't have one of his greatest strengths as a character, the flexibility to adapt to so many different kinds of stories and tones. Just because i relate and feel for the vulture in the stern stuff, doesn't mean i want him to succeed at killing people, it just makes me more invested when he gets involved in a conflict, and it gets me more invested when going back to his older stories. Same applies to otto, kraven, rhino, shocker, the list goes on. Basically all of them, because you can't publish piles upon piles of material about the hero while leaving the rogues flat. If people are invested in both the hero and the villain, the conflict is more interesting. This is why most of marvel's top villains are good characters, and this is why recent mcu villains are so much better received. Not everyone needs to be that deep, it's good to have simpler heavy hitters like norman or red skull around, or even the most basic bitches like bullseye or carnage, but if everyone was like that, we might as well not even bother fighting villains at all.
    preach!!!!!!
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  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    The role a character was originally conceived for in their original stories is not the one they need to play forever.
    As long as you have someone to take that role then sure. David Michelinie intended Venom to be a psycho serial killer and bad guy. But then he became popular and so Michelinie created Carnage to be an utterly irredemable psycho version of Venom to ensure that the role Venom was conceived for could still be played by someone. Carnage was intended to never have character depth so that the physical and external threat the symbiote posed to Peter remained in place for later writers to tackle.

    The problem is that when you redeem Dr. Octopus or give him depth (which mostly amounts to making him like Peter and so it's a fake version of character depth), you are left with an Octopus shaped hole in the rogues gallery. Who will take and play the role that Dr. Octopus was intended for. What if someone wants to have Dr. Octopus be the Master Planner or the scientist-gangster who got into wars with Hammerhead (who was the one who interrupted his wedding with Aunt May) and The Owl?

    If people believed that, Spider-Man wouldn't have one of his greatest strengths as a character, the flexibility to adapt to so many different kinds of stories and tones.
    Yeah, but at heart the story of Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker. And there are limits to the stories you do with Spider-Man.

    For instance, Spider-Man occupies a sanitized corner of the Marvel Universe. His stories don't deal with rape, human trafficking, prostitution, or you know have Peter and Harry visit strip-clubs during his bachelor party or when they go "clubbing". The reason is that Peter's corner of the MU is not built to deal with that stuff. You can't have Peter whine about Parker Luck in a story that has him dealing with rape victims because he would come off as a sociopath and a selfish asshole.

    Just because I relate and feel for the Vulture in the Stern stuff, doesn't mean I want him to succeed at killing people, it just makes me more invested when he gets involved in a conflict, and it gets me more invested when going back to his older stories.
    That's a good example of deepening a character without changing him. Vulture still is an asshole villain, but Stern added some depths and didn't make him too sympathetic.

    Not everyone needs to be that deep, it's good to have simpler heavy hitters like Norman or Red Skull around, or even the most basic bitches like Bullseye or Carnage, but if everyone was like that, we might as well not even bother fighting villains at all.
    I agree with that. You can work and develop the villains within the rules established like how Nick Spencer is doing. Or you can make them compelling like in Kraven's Last Hunt without making them sympathetic or redeemable. Or you know how Norman Osborn remains interesting without having anything really good about him.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    The role a character was originally conceived for in their original stories is not the one they need to play forever. If people believed that, Spider-Man wouldn't have one of his greatest strengths as a character, the flexibility to adapt to so many different kinds of stories and tones. Just because I relate and feel for the Vulture in the Stern stuff, doesn't mean I want him to succeed at killing people, it just makes me more invested when he gets involved in a conflict, and it gets me more invested when going back to his older stories. Same applies to Otto, Kraven, Rhino, Shocker, the list goes on. Basically all of them, because you can't publish piles upon piles of material about the hero while leaving the rogues flat. If people are invested in both the hero and the villain, the conflict is more interesting. This is why most of Marvel's top villains are good characters, and this is why recent MCU villains are so much better received. Not everyone needs to be that deep, it's good to have simpler heavy hitters like Norman or Red Skull around, or even the most basic bitches like Bullseye or Carnage, but if everyone was like that, we might as well not even bother fighting villains at all.
    In theory, yes, but man sometimes the writers just write these characters to fit whatever story the writer has this week, rather than crafting a story for these characters.

    Shocker is a good example of this, people say Shocker is the most rational of the Spidey villains, yet one of his big stories is one where he tried to kill 12 innocent people because some psychopathic crime boss paid him to? So does his rationality reflect any sort of real moral compass or is pure pragmatism on behalf of an amoral psychopath who would commit any crime, no matter how vile, for profit? I'm not the writers have even given this question any deep consideration.

    It would also be nice if they gave Shocker a motive for using his scientific skills for crime, rather then using them money legitimately. That's a villain who could use some real fleshing out.

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    In theory, yes, but man sometimes the writers just write these characters to fit whatever story the writer has this week, rather than crafting a story for these characters.
    That's because the story is about Peter Parker and Peter doesn't identify with his villains nor is he supposed to. Batman does that because he's a detective and that involves trying to get a sense of the enemy's psychology. Peter is a scientist and symbolically he's a "first responder", he's not there to identify and suss out and catch bad guys, he's there to arrive just in time in the chill of the night...you know the song.

    It would also be nice if they gave Shocker a motive for using his scientific skills for crime, rather then using them money legitimately. That's a villain who could use some real fleshing out.
    Bendis did that to Ultimate Shocker and he made him compelling without making him sympathetic. So I guess you could do with Herman Schultz, but I don't know, Shocker is just a guy in a padded costume and shocking gloves. There doesn't need to be anything more to him.

  9. #24
    Astonishing Member Inversed's Avatar
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    Ask almost anyone and they would probably agree Spider-Man has the second best rogues gallery, just behind Batman. They may not get as many in-depth and complex stories told about them in comparison, but they all get their highlight moments that make them stand out, and are just really memorable in general thanks to their designs and personality.
    Current Reading List: Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, West Coast Avengers, Ms. Marvel, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Avengers, Sonic The Hedgehog

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    That's because the story is about Peter Parker and Peter doesn't identify with his villains nor is he supposed to. Batman does that because he's a detective and that involves trying to get a sense of the enemy's psychology. Peter is a scientist and symbolically he's a "first responder", he's not there to identify and suss out and catch bad guys, he's there to arrive just in time in the chill of the night...you know the song.



    Bendis did that to Ultimate Shocker and he made him compelling without making him sympathetic. So I guess you could do with Herman Schultz, but I don't know, Shocker is just a guy in a padded costume and shocking gloves. There doesn't need to be anything more to him.
    Fair enough, but then Shocker is not a great character, he is just a plot device, if his characterization is that thin, he may as well be reduced to a villain who provides an action scene before the real story starts (like the Wrecking Crew) and just be a grunt in villain team-up stories or a one dimensional henchman villain for better villains, rather then being the focus of a story.

    Captain Cold is a villain similar to Shocker but generally is better written, IMO.

    Frankly, Shocker makes more sense in animated adaptions, where he is just a normal thug given this tech by a third party to work as a merc, Shocker somehow having the skills to invent his tech, but cannot come up with a better use for it then a robbing bank is pretty weak. Really uneducated villains like Rhino and Sandman should be robbing banks, the more intelligent villains should have more intelligent schemes.

    Another problem is sometimes the writers will give a villain character development, but its done in some obscure title or something and then its forgotten, like one of Mysterio's better character-based stories being from an obscure title like web Spinners, you have to reinforce this stuff, not just do it once in some obscure title hardly anyone read.

    To me, a good writer can balance giving weight to Peter and his personal life and still give these villains interesting, consistent characterization.

    Look at Vulture in Spider-Man Home Coming, he was a well-defined character who fit in with Spidey's personal trials,
    Last edited by The Overlord; 02-20-2019 at 07:28 PM.

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    Another problem is sometimes the writers will give a villain character development, but its done in some obscure title or something and then its forgotten, like one of Mysterio's better character-based stories being from an obscure title like web Spinners, you have to reinforce this stuff, not just do it once in some obscure title hardly anyone read.
    That's an overall problem in Spider-Man and superhero comics. Writers, or in this case editors, not keeping track and maintaining records of these stories.

    Mysterio is a good example of another problem of Spider-Man villains. He's a character with a lot of interesting potential, he's an artist, a special-effects genius and an illusionist. And yet he's usually used as a generic villain without any real dimension and creativity. Spider-Man's bad guys are either street thugs with tech, or they are street thugs with super-powers like Electro or Sandman. They don't have the personality to go with the powers. So their characterization doesn't align with the design. Like Clayface and Poison Ivy have personalities and attitudes to go with their powers and designs.

    Roderick Kingsley is a fashion designer and billionaire, and a rational businessman. And yet that doesn't entirely come together. Like how is someone of that background able to know enough about chemistry to modify the formula of Osborn's? That seems unlikely. And if Kingsley is rational and wants power, why is he trying to improve on Osborn and modelling himself on the Goblin rather than Electro and Sandman both of whom are far more powerful than Goblin is. Miles Warren/The Jackal for instance is a college professor and creep and yet he somehow invented human cloning. How? I mean that never made any damn sense. Gerry Conway himself did this and in Spectacular Annual 8 he said that all Warren ever did was create a drug that modified human test-subjects into clones of another villain. Then the unforgivably bad Second Clone Saga, as per Greenberg himself deliberately ignored this story and made Warren into an actual cloning person. Then there's the fact that the concept of cloning doesn't have anything to do with the villain name Jackal and that has less to do with his costume.

    There are similar issues with many other characters and that's one reason why Spider-Man rogues as a rule aren't well designed and not as good as Marvel's other villains and rogues from other comics.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    That's an overall problem in Spider-Man and superhero comics. Writers, or in this case editors, not keeping track and maintaining records of these stories.

    Mysterio is a good example of another problem of Spider-Man villains. He's a character with a lot of interesting potential, he's an artist, a special-effects genius and an illusionist. And yet he's usually used as a generic villain without any real dimension and creativity. Spider-Man's bad guys are either street thugs with tech, or they are street thugs with super-powers like Electro or Sandman. They don't have the personality to go with the powers. So their characterization doesn't align with the design. Like Clayface and Poison Ivy have personalities and attitudes to go with their powers and designs.

    Roderick Kingsley is a fashion designer and billionaire, and a rational businessman. And yet that doesn't entirely come together. Like how is someone of that background able to know enough about chemistry to modify the formula of Osborn's? That seems unlikely. And if Kingsley is rational and wants power, why is he trying to improve on Osborn and modelling himself on the Goblin rather than Electro and Sandman both of whom are far more powerful than Goblin is. Miles Warren/The Jackal for instance is a college professor and creep and yet he somehow invented human cloning. How? I mean that never made any damn sense. Gerry Conway himself did this and in Spectacular Annual 8 he said that all Warren ever did was create a drug that modified human test-subjects into clones of another villain. Then the unforgivably bad Second Clone Saga, as per Greenberg himself deliberately ignored this story and made Warren into an actual cloning person. Then there's the fact that the concept of cloning doesn't have anything to do with the villain name Jackal and that has less to do with his costume.

    There are similar issues with many other characters and that's one reason why Spider-Man rogues, as a rule, aren't well designed and not as good as Marvel's other villains and rogues from other comics.
    I think with Roderick, I think you are going a bit far in terms of throwing out willing suspension of disbelief, he models himself on Norman because he found Norman's weapons and journals, he did not have access to Sandman's or Electro's resources and I think Roddy would have had the resources to hire people that could improve Norman's tech while Norman is thought dead, I think Kingsley Hobgoblin works fine, for the most part.

    The Jackal does not bother me either (except about how badly he was written in the 90s), if I can buy Dr. Octopus robot arms being linked with his mind, Curt Connors inventing a serum that can regrow his arm and turn him into a Lizard, symbiotes from space bonding to people and Norman Osborn going crazy and spending resources on making Halloween themed weapons, really Jackal's closing tech does not bug me at all. The Marvel universe is not 100% realistic, but I do want characters to have motives that make sense and make the character compelling, I am not asking for the moon. Jackal's cloning abilities having nothing to do with his Jackal motif do not bother me either, that's fine really, at least he is not robbing banks.

    Let's face it, even Batman rogues can inconsistent sometimes, they seem to want to rework Mr. Freeze's origin and back story all the time and they often write Clayface as a generic thug and I think of bad villains in any rogues gallery.

    There is no such thing as bad characters, only writers who write them badly. Mysterio has been written well before and he can be, but someone has to pull all the threads together and do not write him as a generic bad guy.

    I rag on Shocker because I think there is potential for an interesting villain, but the fans and the writers demand so little from the character, that I think he is uninteresting and I think that is kinda of waste frankly.
    Last edited by The Overlord; 02-20-2019 at 08:21 PM.

  13. #28
    "Emma is STILL right! Vegeta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    At the end of the day are any of these villains more complex or interesting than Peter Parker himself? Has there even been a single bad guy who you could root for to win over Spider-Man? In the case of Batman, at various times, Catwoman, the Joker, Scarecrow, Clayface, and of course Two-Face, have been far more interesting, compelling, humane than him and a good part of why people liked the Adam West Batman series is that audiences, especially grown-ups, openly rooted for the villains over him and Robin.
    I think that's rather subjective. (A good chunk of Batman's villains didn't become interesting or sympathetic until the 90's Batman TAS cartoon revamped them. Ie: Clayface, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, etc.) If I liked Egghead on the Batman live action series, it was just because I liked Vincent Price, not because the character was so deep and well written.

    And it's easy to root against Batman, the guy is a "know it all" and generally acts like a dick.
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  14. #29
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inversed View Post
    Ask almost anyone and they would probably agree Spider-Man has the second best rogues gallery, just behind Batman. They may not get as many in-depth and complex stories told about them in comparison, but they all get their highlight moments that make them stand out, and are just really memorable in general thanks to their designs and personality.
    And Superman's would probably be third. Or maybe the X-Men's?

    Past that I think is either Flash's Rogues or...Captain America's?

    Actually I think Thor's might be 3rd or 4th. I'd put him in the top five at least.

    Poor Wonder Woman's lucky to make the top 10 best Rogues Gallery, if at all .

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    And Superman would probably be third. Or maybe the X-Men?

    Past that I think is either Flash or...Captain America?

    Actually I think Thor might be 3rd or 4th. I'd put him in the top five at least.
    Whatever order you put them in, it's Spider-Man, Batman, Flash and Fantastic Four in the top 4.

    When thinking about the great rogue galleries, people tend to forget that The Fantastic Four has Dr. Doom, Galactus, The Skrulls, The Super Skrull, Annihilus, Psycho-Man, Molecule Man, Hate Monger, Mole Man, The Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android, Puppet Master, Red Ghost and his Super Apes, The Frightful Four, and even Namor could be thought of as a FF villain. That's quite the line-up of heavy hitters. That's a group of villains that, by and large, will wipe the floor with most heroes or teams of heroes.

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