Spider-Man has skills in combat and intellect that give him a leg up on just about any villain in the Marvel universe. However, he has never faced any of the baddies that exist in the DC universe, which might cause a problem for the webslinger if the moment occurred.
Even after gaining superhuman abilities from a radioactive spider bite, Peter Parker is one bold soul for having the guts to become a crimefighter at just fifteen. Nonetheless, the friendly neighborhood hero, created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, has proven himself worthy against the likes of the terrifying Green Goblin, the mind-bending Mysterio, and the even the powerful Kingpin. However, those Marvel villains look like practice dummies when compared to some of DC’s worst.
Spider-Man’s mortality is not something a consider indulgently, but it is hard not imagine a different outcome if the young Avenger was placed in the ring with any of the following adversaries. These are five of DC’s fiercest villains whom even the strongest web fluid could not hold down.
Typically, Spider-Man’s responsibilities tend to stay within the bounds of Manhattan, hence his reputation as a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” Thus, if anyone were to come along looking to conquer the entire Earth (such as, say, Darkseid), ol’ Spidey might be a little in over his head.
Born in a place that exists between dimensions known as Apokolips (clearly the birthplace of someone who is bad news), Darkseid is the tyrannical leader, or, more accurately the GOD of Tyranny itself, who is responsible for the conquering of many worlds in the DC Universe. Being of godly ability, he has strength that rivals Kryptonians which has allowed him to survive cataclysmic destruction, can emit planet-killing beams from his eyes, could enhance his own size at will, and could invade one’s mind with telekinesis, meaning he could use Spider-Man’s own Spider Sense against him. Even Spidey would not be able to see this merciless villain coming.
Ra’s al Ghul
Spider-Man has the strength, stamina, and durability that makes him a worthy adversary in unarmed combat, having even received training from Shang-Chi at one time. However, no fiercer warriors have been created than those who have endured cruel tutelage under the League of Assassins’ leader, Ra’s al Ghul.
International terrorist, whose name translates from Arabic as “head of the demon,” Ra’s al Ghul (of which co-creators Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams cannot agree on the pronunciation) outweighs just about anyone with his expertise in tactics, swordsmanship, and at least 100 different styles of martial arts, citing Batman as is worthiest opponent. Not only has the centuries-old assassin achieved immortality thanks to his Lazarus Pit, but the coveted pool of enchanted mystery has also enhanced his strength, speed, and durability more than likely above what Spider-Man's abilities allow. Even without the assistance of his League, I think Ra’s would be able to take Spidey down without much resistance.
Peter Parker has been cited as one of the most intelligent minds in the Marvel universe, emphasis on “one of.” Within the world that Alan Moore created for Watchmen, his 1986 graphic novel that puts the need for vigilantes into question (among other things), the smartest man alive is Adrian Veidt, better known as Ozymandias, and brilliant enough that his villainous plans actually proved successful, technically speaking.
Adrian Veidt was not born with any powers, but his only real weakness is probably his debilitating hubris, which his vigilante alias synonymous with a Percy Bysshe Shelley poem is a hint to, which distracts him from realizing that his plan to create world peace still left him responsible for the deaths of millions at the climax of Watchmen. Yet, that has no hold over his impeccable skills in martial arts, physics, mechanical engineering, and even pinpoint accurate weapon throwing that could easily outmatch Spider-Man. Even if Spidey were to successfully apprehend Ozymandias by trapping him under a web, he probably would have a back-up plan already thought out that would allow him to fight back without even using his hands.
Spider-Man can shoot webs, swing from building to building, and fight with supreme skill. However, while he can do whatever a spider can, Black Adam (whom Dwayne Johnson is prepping to play in an upcoming solo movie) is capable of doing whatever six Egyptian gods can.
Teth-Adam, the son of Ramses, was once the champion of Shazam before Billy Batson and, instead of being granted the wizard’s powers, was given the “Stamina of Shu,” the “Swiftness of Heru,” the “Strength of Amon,” the “Wisdom of Zehuti,” the “Power of Aton,” and the “Courage of Mehen” (or, self-sustenance, flight, clairvoyance, magic lightning, and immortality, among other things), which almost sounds like a better deal. In other words, Black Adam (who has teetered between heroism and villainy since gaining his power) is basically a living Swiss Army knife of abilities that Spider-Man could probably deal with individually, but not all together. Unless Spidey can enlist Doctor Strange to perform or convince Shocker to help him revert Adam back to his mortal form with enough electricity (his only known weaknesses other than ego), the webslinger is going down.
In addition to all of his arachnoid abilities, superhuman gifts, and genius-level intellect, Peter Parker’s most important and defining characteristic is his indomitable will, impervious to corruption from any evil. You know who else has an incorruptible spirit? Batman. You know who has nearly brought Batman to his breaking point countless times? His arch nemesis, the Clown Prince of Crime himself.
The Joker may be one crazy son of a gun, but he has made a living out of being able to use his own madness to his advantage, channeling it into his own criminal plans by preying on the greatest fears and psychological weaknesses of his targets. The harsher the Gotham villain would taunt Spider-Man (be it a cruel reminder of Uncle Ben’s murder, Gwen Stacy’s death, or a threat on Mary Jane’s life), the less “friendly” he would get, but the more aggressive he gets, the more the Joker enjoys it because he knows that his goal has been met. Not to mention, he has a knack for whipping up some nasty chemicals and could easily get ahold of one Spidey’s worst weaknesses, Ethyl chloride, as the ultimate punchline to his joke at the webslinger’s expense.
What do you think? Do you agree that these five DC baddies have what it takes to become Spider-Man’s worst nightmare, or is there a skill or weakness I forgot to mention that undercuts my theories. You are more than welcome to let us know in the comments and, in the meantime, be sure to check back for more updates on Marvel heroes and DC villains here on CinemaBlend.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.