The 20 greatest (and 10 worst) Spider-Man villains of all time

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing
Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing /
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Alistair Smythe, Top 20 (10 worst) Spider-Man villains
Credit: Neil Edwards, Scott Hanna, and Morry Hollowell (Marvel Comics) /

18th Best Villain:  The Spider-Slayers

All right, this is somewhat of a cheat. Because when one mentions Spider-Slayers, it could denote one of either two villains, both members of the same family.

The first is Dr. Spencer Smythe, an engineer who, after becoming inspired by J. Jonah Jameson’s editorials, invented a robot designed to capture Spider-Man. Although this robot, which Jamesoon could pilot via remote control, proved formidable, Spidey barely managed to escape. But Smythe was undeterred, so he built an even better robot. And Spidey escaped again. Smythe became so obsessed, he began building robots designed to kill Spider-Man instead of just catching him.

This also resulted in Smythe developing terminal cancer due to all the radioactive materials he used to make his robots more lethal. In a final bid at revenge, he handcuffed both Spider-Man and Jonah together to a time bomb, which Spidey managed to dismantle. After Smythe’s death, his son Alistair took up his father’s crusade, becoming the second Spider-Slayer.

Unlike his father, Alistair favored a more hands-on approach. Along with building more killer robots, he also turned himself into a cyborg, dubbing himself the Ultimate Spider-Slayer. He also, believe or not, once mistook Peter’s long time love interest, Mary Jane Watson, for Spider-Man. Though Alistair Smythe is probably most remembered for his appearances on Spider-Man: The Animated Series than those in the comics.

Alistair is also responsible for the death of Jonah’s second wife, Marla Madison. This sealed his fate as Jonah, not willing to wait for Alistair’s scheduled execution by the State, had him killed by the Superior Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus. However, both Spencer and Alistair Smythe were later brought back as clones during Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy. Whether father and son will start going back to making spider-slaying robots remains to be seen.