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Back Issues: Asinine Antagonists


In the words of King Arthur of Disney’s Sword in The Stone, “For every high, there is a low. For every to there is a fro.” The best heroes you will find in comics are those who have a constant reactive force of evil pushing their deeds of valor down with their malicious intent. A hero can often times only be as good as his roster of villains. The competitions of the mind, body and soul engaged in by good and evil are a catalyst to the most intensive and engaging of rivalries. Good will never give an inch. Evil will never buckle. Neither will sway unless the other moves first. Superman to Darkseid. Aquaman to Black Manta. Wonder Woman to Circe. Batman to…. The Condiment King!

Well, they can’t all be gems, but each deserves a glint of the spotlight that is cast upon them. Even hilariously incompetent villains can have their place to shine. They all get their five minutes of fame by getting beaten up by the caped crusader or roped into lackey duty by one of the big kahunas of crime. The contribution of these gluttons for punishments can be unjustly overlooked by times — and that’s why — Today, we have a roll call for some of the best “recurring villains who get beat up real good” in comics. Title in pending.


Aleksei Sytsevich (otherwise known as the Rhino) debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #41 in October 1966. While his origin story differs, The most commonly used source of his powers is an agency that enhanced his body to use him as a battering ram against enemies. His abilities include semi-super strength, increased stamina, super speed and thick skin. His mainly utilised form of attack is to charge with the horn grafted onto his head in an attempt to gore our favourite wallcrawler.

In theory, Rhino is a force to be reckoned with. In practice, Aleksei is a bumbling buffoon who really doesn’t know how to capitalize on his attained enhancements. Spider-Man is known for out thinking his rivals, but we get the feeling that he doesn’t stretch his brain power too much when encountering Rhino. An often tread route for Rhino is charging at Spidey full throttle. If that doesn’t work, he’ll throw a car at him now and then.

The inherent problem is his lack of imagination. It’s as if he is a Pokemon with only four moves to his name, all of which are power related and require little thought process. The average routine for dispatching this endangered animal enthusiast is to goad him into crashing into an obstacle that knocks him out cold or electrocutes him. Alternatively, you can tell him the other villains said mean things about him and he’ll probably believe you. The Rhino has a real talent for getting easily duped, which is what makes him a lovable villain in a sense, but also very much an afterthought of an antagonist. He’s more suited to chase Road Runner than Spider-Man.


Mortimer Toynbee (AKA Toad) made his first appearance in X-Men #4 back in 1964. Subsequently after his introduction, He was tossed into Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, which became a staple for the character throughout much of his outings. He did eventually lead his own version of The Brotherhood, although it was less involved in liberation and more involved in petty theft. As a mutant, Toad has the powers of heightened reflexes, venom secretion, wall crawling and he can do a few cool tricks with his tongue that would make a vicar blush.

Toad is another seemingly powerful foe that inevitably gets squashed rather quickly when involved in any kind of mutant tug-of-war. Toad tries his hardest. He is no Rhino. There is a keen level of intuition here. However, it is largely wasted potential. When you are arch enemies with the X-Men, It can be difficult to get a leg up. Toad can’t catch a break due to the simple fact that every member of The X-Men has talents that trump his own.

Heightened Reflexes? Meet Nightcrawler. He can teleport. Venom Secretion? Storm whip up a wind for us there. Cheers. Wall Crawling? Hang on. We have our lad Spider-Man on speed dial. He used to be a member. Alternatively, Send Jubilee out. She has that naff firework display, that’ll probably do the job too.

Toad is a lower tier baddie that needs The Brotherhood beside him at all times to be in any way effective against his adversaries. Even still, One-on-one doesn’t often work out for him. No worries, Toad. Stop by Hells Kitchen some time. You might be able to take Daredevil. Maybe…


Mark Scarlotti (the original Whiplash) is not to be confused with the equally dreadful Ivan Vanko of Iron Man 2 fame. Both have been Whiplash in different periods and neither have shown any reason that they should be a threat. The original incarnation of Whiplash told the tale of a young technician of Stark Industries whose greed led him to developing his own technology for nefarious deeds. Mark desired a life of luxury and aimed to get it by any means necessary. Being the exceptional weapons designer he is, Mark naturally wanted a tool that could incite fear into anyone who stood in his way.

So he made a whip, that lashes.

In later incarnations it has electrical properties, but Mark was more old school. Nope. Just the whip says he. That’ll do.

To be fair, the whip is made of titanium and Marc does on occasions wear fortified custom-built gear that can withstand bullets. Which sounds useful until you factor in that Iron Man can fly and does in fact have repulsor cannons that are far more destructive than any bullets. A limited range weapon wielded by a goofy matador wannabe versus an actual flying nuclear reactor. Place your bets.

On certain occasions, Whiplash tussles with Hawkeye, which seems a better fit for him. However, His primary objective is often intertwined with impeding Iron Man from getting to his destination. Yes, we do mean impeding. There has been gigs where they just want him to stall. Even his employers know that he’s a chump.

Depending on the era of Iron Man comics you read, Whiplash is either useless or Tony Stark is rewritten to be a fool akin to a bee flying directly into a zapper. Basically, You have to depower Iron Man to make Whiplash a threat. Truthfully, The only action that Iron Man needs to take, is to fly to a relatively high distance and fire energy repulsors at him. Boom. Done in two minutes. Now, who wants shwarma?