6. Flint Marko / Sandman – Spider-Man 3 (2007), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
“I didn’t choose to be this. The only thing left of me now… is my daughter.”
A petty crook breaks out of jail to check in on his beloved daughter. Pursued by the police, Marko falls into a supercollider which splits him down to atomic level and allows him to use matter-shifting powers. After making peace and parting ways with Spidey, Marko was also brought to the MCU dimension by Spider-Man’s wish for everyone to forget his secret identity.
The only Spider-Man antagonist to outright apologise to the Webslinger, Sandman is presented like a tragic Frankenstein-esque Universal monster. He was imprisoned for being the lackey for some more hardened criminals, forced to steal out of the desperate need to raise money for his little girl’s surgery. His very essence having being altered by a freak accident, he uses his extraordinary shape-changing powers to continue his reluctant life of crime and proves himself to be borderline invulnerable to Spidey’s attacks until the latter gets a superpower level up from the black symbiote suit. He’s not in it to take over the world or to prove himself superior to anyone else, he just wants to secure his family’s future and is prepared to go further than many would in order to do it.
5. Miguel O’Hara / Spider-Man 2099 – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
“You have a choice between saving one person, and saving every world. To me, that’s an obvious choice.”
An alternate future Spider-Man with claws, fangs and no discernible sense of humour, Miguel O’Hara leads the Spider-Society on a mission to protect the integrity of every dimension in the multiverse. But when Miles Morales – already a multiversal anomaly – refuses to shift from his “save everyone” maxim and begins to change fixed “canon” events, Miguel leads an army of Spider-Man beings to put him down.
Miguel O’Hara has all the prerequisite spider-powers and technical acumen to be a great hero. Since making a costly mistake in replacing another Miguel and causing dimensional collapse, he now runs a hundreds-strong vigilante force under the guise of protecting all reality and holds the multiverse in an iron grip. Is he a true villain or just an antagonist if he’s doing bad things (letting some people die) for the right reasons (not letting dimensions die)? He’d be another mentor gone wrong if Miguel ever liked or respected Miles even slightly.
This “vampire-ninja-Spider-Man” is a mean and imposing looking dude, from his red eyes and fangs to his claws that he uses to pounce forward and rend metal, but maybe there’s still some good in him and he can eventually find an understanding with his fellow Spider-people over what it really means to have great power and great responsibility.
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4. Wilson Fisk / Kingpin – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
“I’d say it’s nice to see you again, Spider-Man. But it’s not.”
The brutal New York crime boss obsessed with opening a way to another reality where his beloved wife and child didn’t die, no matter the collateral damage to the people in this and countless other worlds.
Kingpin is a successful business man and gathers extraordinary people around him – Doc Ock, Prowler, Tombstone, Scorpion – to get him whatever he wants. He may look like a squared-off Weeble, but he’s a cunning, ruthless and physically formidable mastermind behind some extreme multiverse carnage.
The original Peter Parker Spider-Man (in his universe) turns up at the right place at the right time to stop Kingpin’s world-ending scheme but it doesn’t go his way. Just as wannabe hero Miles Morales gets into a good position to watch, Spidey delivers his last wisecrack and the Kingpin brutally beats him to death. Not every hero gets a glorious last stand, and Miles gets a very good reason to go mano a mano with the towering gangster, saving multiple universes and getting a very personal payback opportunity in the process.
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