CBR's Top Fifty Avengers Foes!
Voting has ended.
Remember, each voter picked their ten favorite Avengers Foes and ranked them from 1-10 (1 being most favorite, 10 being least favorite). For first place the character was given 10 points; for second 9 points; for third 8 points; and so on. All points were then added up, and ranked in order of points received. As with the results of CBR's Top Fifty Avengers, the results will be staggered over the next several days. Next to each ranking will be the total points and the number of first place votes, if any, the character received.
50 (tie). Mandarin - 4 points
Born circa 1920, the future Mandarin was raised by his embittered aunt following his parents’ deaths, and as an adult he used his brilliance and family wealth to attain prominence in the Kuomintang Party’s reign over China. The Communist Revolution of 1949 cost him his position and power, although the population he had once commanded still regarded him with nigh-mystic awe. After years of seeking some means of regaining greatness, he ventured into the mysterious Valley of Spirits, where he discovered the millennia-old wreckage of a starship of the reptilian Kakaranatharian, or Makluan, extraterrestrial race, and the ten mighty rings which had powered the vessel. Unaware that the Makluans themselves remained at large, posing as humans, the Mandarin spent decades mastering Makluan technology, then several years more conquering the valley’s adjacent villages and establishing a network both of citadels and of loyal followers such as Po, Yu, and Li Fong. His long-range goal was to conquer China, and then the world, which he claimed he would rule with the “wisdom and harmony” of his nobleman ancestors. During these years he fathered a son, Temujin, whom he sequestered in a remote monastery, and took the girl later known as Madam Macabre as a student; another girl, Mei-Ling, became betrothed to marry him in adulthood. He also discovered the dormant alien robot Ultimo within a volcano, and worked for years to revive him using a combination of science and magic.
In recent years, seeking assistance to master the Makluan rings’ full power, the Mandarin became the patron of the Sin-Cong revolutionary Wong Chu, who abducted the Chinese genius Ho Yinsen and American industrialist Tony Stark. However, Yinsen sacrificed his life to enable Stark to escape and overwhelm Wong Chu’s forces using his first Iron Man armor. After disciplining Wong Chu for his failure, the Mandarin had the opportunity to stop Iron Man from departing but, intrigued, allowed him to pass unhindered, little realizing the armored hero would become his most persistent nemesis.
Several months later, Iron Man visited China to investigate the Mandarin for the U.S. government. Using the rings and his own combat skills, the Mandarin nearly defeated Iron Man, who nonetheless outwitted him and escaped. Soon after, the pair again clashed when the Mandarin pulled Stark surveillance missiles from the sky to use for his own purposes, then manipulated the Chinese government into test-firing a missile which, unknown to them, was intended to trigger world war, but Iron Man defeated him both times. Affected by Doctor Doom’s Emotion Charger, the Mandarin next joined many other super-villains in attacking the Fantastic Four’s Richards-Storm wedding; later, he recruited the Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne), whose sword he equipped with greater technological weaponry, to serve as his spy within the Avengers, but the Swordsman ultimately balked at destroying the Avengers and betrayed him.
Finally activating Ultimo, the gloating Mandarin teleported Stark to his citadel to observe the supposed triumph, but Iron Man lured the giant back into the volcano, temporarily imprisoning him. Later, Iron Man again prevented his foe from provoking world war with a second missile scheme. Reactivating Ultimo and rehiring the Swordsman, along with Living Laser, Power Man (later Atlas of the Thunderbolts), Enchantress, and the Executioner, the Mandarin launched an effort to empower a world-wide hate-ray, only to be foiled by the Avengers. He next mentally controlled the Hulk and used him to wreak havoc, thinking each nation would blame the other for the behemoth’s attacks, but his control was disrupted by Nick Fury and Yuri Brevlov of S.H.I.E.L.D. Undaunted, the Mandarin, now accompanied by the adult Mei-Ling, used a Hulk robot to abduct Stark’s lover Janice Cord while framing Stark himself for enemy conspiracy, but Mei-Ling, touched by Cord’s love for Stark and disillusioned by the Mandarin’s cruelty, sacrificed her life helping Iron Man defeat him. A second attempt to control the Hulk with the help of the Sandman also failed, as did efforts to foment unrest by abducting peacemaker Dr. Robert Hoskins, who was rescued by Captain America.
Hoping to enhance his rings’ already phenomenal power, the Mandarin manipulated the Royal Family of Inhumans into obtaining the mystic Eye of Yin, created centuries ago by Makluan-trained sorcerers, but he was overpowered by Black Bolt, who absconded with his rings. After allying himself with the former Russian super-operative Unicorn, the Mandarin regained the rings via a Makluan headband device and returned his attention to Tony Stark. In the identity of Gene Kahn, he stirred unrest among Stark’s employees, then, when exposed, fought Iron Man alongside the Unicorn. However, careless use of the headband inadvertently switched the Mandarin’s consciousness with that of the terminally ill Unicorn, and he quickly abandoned the fight to rectify the situation. Adding insult to injury, he discovered that a rival mastermind, the Yellow Claw, had, at the prodding of the extradimensional Black Lama, seized his current base, one of his Chinese castles, in his absence. Retiring to an underwater base, the Mandarin captured Sunfire and forced him to power the machinery that restored him to his rightful body, but even with Ultimo’s aid, regaining his castle was not so simple. Iron Man and Sunfire intervened in the conflict, which ended with the Mandarin seemingly slain by the Yellow Claw’s robot surrogate, the Makluan rings claimed by the Claw’s servant Loc Do.
However, the Mandarin’s new control of his consciousness enabled him to transfer his intellect into the rings themselves, and he remade Loc Do’s body into a younger version of his own. Despite his new body, his customary schemes to foment world war were once more thwarted by Iron Man. Efforts to obtain Wakanda’s vibranium via the resurrected Killmonger proved no more successful, and his attempt to destroy China’s rice crops, intended to drive the Chinese government into invading other nations, was disrupted by an alternate Iron Man (Stark’s temporary replacement Jim Rhodes). Later, while experimenting with his rings, the Mandarin was rendered comatose; although he recovered physically, he was left amnesiac when elderly Chen Hsu, the millennia-old captain of the disguised Makulans, stole and replaced one of his rings, still tied to his consciousness and thus necessary to restore his memory fully. As Zhang Tong, the Mandarin, still driven by a need for conquest, became a criminal overlord in Hong Kong, allowing ten underlings to use his rings as his operatives in the so-called Hand. Having no memory of his grudge against Stark, he sought to force a business alliance but was again foiled by Iron Man, who nonetheless found himself unable to interfere with his opponent’s criminal network. Soon afterward, the Mandarin joined several other masterminds in the so-called “Acts of Vengeance” anti-superhero conspiracy, then allied with Matsuo Tsurayaba of the ninja Hand, but these endeavors were disrupted by the Avengers and the XMen, and subsequent worldwide attacks on crime prevention specialists were ended by Nick Fury’s intervention.
Eventually recognizing Chen Hsu’s theft, the Mandarin confronted the old man, who returned both his ring and his memory, then guided him in commanding the gigantic Makluan dragon Fin Fang Foom, with whom the Mandarin soon seized control of one-third of his native land. Tony Stark and James Rhodes, both armored as Iron Man, intervened, but the Mandarin turned against Hsu and Foom upon learning that the Makluans wanted to rule Earth themselves; with Stark channeling his own armor’s power through the rings, the Mandarin seemingly destroyed the Makluans, but his hands were burned off in the process. Eventually recovering, he grew new reptilian hands and recovered his rings, then discovered the Thuviskaroth of Cataphylaxis, a.k.a. the Heart of Darkness, a centuries-old talisman of cosmic evil. Forced through a psychological gauntlet in which he overcame personifications of his earlier schemes, he emerged near-mad with supernatural power and, in a departure from his usual methods, mystically reverted China to its medieval state, supposedly saving the world from the corruption of the technology he had commanded so long, with the assistance of the superhuman Avatars. While War Machine (Jim Rhodes) and Force Works fought the Avatars, Iron Man penetrated the Mandarin’s defenses and infected him with a techno-organic virus, nullifying his Heart’s mystic bond and again rendering him amnesiac as the janitor Chu.
Regaining his identity, the Mandarin rebuilt his power base once more, clashing with Squirrel Girl and using the Espionage Elite, the Dreadnoughts, and others to undermine Stark, whom he now knew to be Iron Man and of whose capabilities he was unsure following the hero’s revival from the Onslaught crisis. Aboard his immense aircraft, the Dragon of Heaven, the Mandarin invaded Russia using a mercenary army fought by the Avengers and Winter Guard, but this was merely a pretext to lure Iron Man into action and better test him in battle. Although satisfied Iron Man indeed remained a worthy adversary, the knowledge seemed to do the Mandarin little good when Iron Man destroyed the Dragon of Heaven’s power source, toppling it from the sky. The Mandarin was seemingly slain in the disaster, but this may be only the latest of the many seeming deaths from which he has returned.
50 (tie). Wonder Man - 4 points
After being convicted of embezzling, Simon Williams was recruited into the original Masters of Evil by Baron Heinrich Zemor, who gave Williams a phenomenally superhuman physique and dubbed him Wonder Man. However, Simon's new condition was apparently degenerative and would supposedly be fatal without regular treatments by Zemo. Unable to refuse Zemo's orders, Wonder Man infiltrated the Avengers and earned their confidence before leading the group into a trap; however, he repented at the last moment and turned against the Masters, saving the Avengers' lives, seemingly at the cost of his own.
The Avengers copied his brain patterns shortly after his death, storing them in the hopes that they might be used to resurrect or re-create Simon someday, but Ultron later stole this recording and used it as the template to create the mind of the android Vision. Meanwhile, Williams' oddly undecaying body was unearthed and used as a tool in plots against the Avengers by several super-criminals--notably Simon's brother, Eric Williams, The Grim Reaper.
One of the Reaper's schemes involved the Black Talon animating Simon's corpse as a zombie and sending it against the Avengers, a confrontation that led to Wonder Man's dormant mind gradually reawakening. Emerging from his years of death-like sleep as a being whose body was permeated and powered by ionic energy, Simon began living in Avengers Mansion and fighting alongside the Avengers as Wonder Man. Simon became friends with Beast and fond of the Scarlet Witch, though he repressed his romantic feelings for her since she was already married to the Vision.
Simon became an official member of the team soon after they faced Korvac. Not feeling entirely comfortable as a hero, Wonder Man volunteered to depart when Captain America reorganized the team, leaving to pursue an acting career. After finding moderate success, Simon was recruited into the new West Coast Avengers by Hawkeye.
After a scheme by Immortus led to the dismantling of the Vision, the Avengers rebuilt the android and programmed him with memories of his past life, but he now behaved like an emotionless robot, effectively ending his marriage to the Scarlet Witch. An opportunistic Wonder Man then refused to participate in attempts to restore Vision's mind, since he still secretly wanted Wanda for himself and wasn't sure if he wanted to allow a second duplication of his mind anyway. Wanda, unaware of Simon's full motivations, shunned him angrily (and she began to go mad for the first, or was that the second?, time). Feeling guilty, Simon eventually offered to aid in restoring the Vision, but the Vision declined, soon returning to the East Coast.
Simon was very kind and very close to Wanda during her recovery, and she briefly dated him out of gratitude and pity after regaining her health; but she wasn't ready for a new romance. Wonder Man was often bitter and aloof with Wanda after that, but they continued to serve alongside each other in the Avengers and occasionally betrayed hints of deeper feelings for one another. Simon eventually found comfort in a variety of projects and relationships within his Hollywood circle of friends outside of the Avengers, but his show biz life and his Avengers career were both disastrously disrupted when, during Operation: Galactic Storm, Simon was caught at the heart of the blast of a Nega-Bomb. The bomb's detonation destroyed most of the Kree empire, and its radiation also left Wonder Man mentally and physically unstable, even helping to assassinate the one secretly responsible for the bomb's creation and detonation, the Kree's own Supreme Intelligence.
Returning to Earth, Simon was often angry and his powers were fluctuating with his emotional state. He soon resigned from the Avengers in a rage, even attacking the team. Simon eventually managed to stabilize his powers and personality with the aid of The Beast and other allies, developing a wider array of super-powers. When he tried to rejoin the Avengers, he discovered that the team had disbanded its western roster during his absence. Accepting an invitation from Iron Man, Simon joined in forming Force Works. However, during the team's first mission, Simon died. Again.
But, alas, Simon's spirit refused to move on, though, bound to Earth by his unrequited love for Wanda. During the Avengers post-onslaught battle with Morgan Le Fay, Wanda, amplified by Morgan's powers, sent out a mystical call for help, bringing Wonder Man back to earth, first as a ghostly being of pure ionic energy, and eventually restored fully to life. Then Wanda and Simon soon began a romance. But the romance grew rocky, and Simon eventually left the Avengers.
Returning to the West Coast with his good friend the Beast and made peace with his past to some extent and resolved to return to Wanda and the Avengers as a stronger, better man. He also established the "Second Chances" foundation, a non-profit charitable enterprise devoted to helping people in need. The "Second Chances" foundation became so successful, and so busy, that Simon was asked to move back to California as its full-time administrator and spokesman. Feeling obligated, Simon agreed, even though it meant leaving Wanda. Simon helped the Avengers during the Kang War, though he and Wanda also ended their romance during that time.
More recently, Wonder Man has been blackmailed into working for SHIELD with evidence of several counts of him embezzling from the Second Chances foundation. Simon, and his rumored new romantic interest, Ms. Marvel, are fighting alongside Iron Man and the supporters of the Superhuman Registration Act
50 (tie). Proctor - 4 points
Proctor, an alternate version of the Black Knight, was the leader of another dimension's Avengers. Proctor fell madly in love with Sersi, who made him her Gann Josin (the name for the life mate of an Eternal). But eventually Sersi grew bored with Proctor and left him, driving him mad. Proctor also fell victim to the blood curse of his version of the Ebony Blade. However, instead of resisting the curse, Proctor embraced it. Through the curse and his Gann Josin status, Proctor gained incredible powers. The Sersi of Proctor's Earth was apparently driven insane by him through their Gann Josin link and destroyed the Earth of that dimension. Proctor alone survived, and killed his Sersi with the Ebony Blade.
Following his own dimension's destruction, Proctor Somehow traveled to another dimension and drove that world's Sersi mad as well, and then killed her. He then found the last survivor of this reality: Ute the Watcher. Ute lay near death as the world was in its death throes, and Proctor took Ute and used his power to seek out other dimensions. He then embarked on a quest that would dominate him for the rest of his life: to kill every single version of Sersi in every dimension, concluding with killing the Sersi of Earth-616 and collapsing all reality as well. To do this, he began seeking agents called the Gatherers, locating their dimensions via the power of Ute the Watcher. He recruited each last surviving member of the Avengers of a world which Sersi destroyed (possibly pushed to madness by Proctor himself) to be a Gatherer, and had a certain amount of mental influence and control over those Gatherers.
Proctor and his Gatherer, Magdalene, became lovers for a time. However, when Proctor rescued an extra-dimensional version of the Swordsman and recruited him as a Gatherer, Magdalene began to fall in love with the Swordsman; a humiliating moment for the possessive Proctor. Despite the uncomfortable situation, Proctor kept them both as Gatherers.
Proctor's Gatherers made several attacks against the Avengers. Proctor also attempted to frame Sersi for several murders. Proctor then sent the Gatherers to yet another alternate Earth where he had driven Sersi mad to recruit a Gatherer. This Gatherer was to be an alternate version of the Black Panther called the Coal Tiger. However, the Coal Tiger was damaged by the transition between dimensions, and after examining the unconscious Coal Tiger, Proctor determined that for him to survive, his counterpart would need to be "gathered." Proctor sent the Gatherers to invade Avengers' Mansion one more time to get the information of the location of the Coal Tiger's counterpart from the Avengers' computers.
After the Swordsman had been taken prisoner by the Avengers during a battle between the Avengers and the Gatherers, Magdalene begged Proctor to let them rescue the Swordsman. Proctor was still quite bitter at the Swordsman for stealing Magdalene from him, and also, the Swordsman was now a danger to Proctor. Proctor told Magdalene, Sloth, and Cassandra that he was going to send them on another mission to recruit a new Gatherer, an alternate version of the Vision, that would rescue the Swordsman. However, Proctor intended to have this Vision kill the Swordsman.
Proctor had the Gatherers ambush the Vision of Earth-616, capture him, and bring him back to the Citadel. Using very advanced technology, Proctor switched the minds of the Gatherer's Vision and the Vision of Earth-616, and sent the Gatherer's Vision to infiltrate the Avengers for them from within. He then imprisoned the Vision of Earth-616, fitting him with a chip that inhibited his density powers.
Proctor used his Gann Josin link to begin to cause Sersi to start having violent uncontrollable rages in which she indiscriminately struck out at everyone around her. He soon killed two cops who had been questioning Sersi about the recent murders where they had found unstable molecules at the site. He turned them into stone, in attempt to further frame her for his crimes, and threw them into a river.
The Avengers were led to Proctor's citadel by the false Vision, whom they had discovered in their midst. They attacked the citadel and were gaining the upper hand against the Gatherers when Proctor showed up. Proctor proclaimed to the Avengers that the games were now over and that they would pay the price. Proctor then nearly killed the Gatherer's Vision for leading the Avengers to the Citadel. Proctor appeared to be surprised and upset to realize that Sersi of Earth-616 had established a Gann Josin link with the Black Knight. Proctor told the Avengers that he was a Gann Josin as well, though he neglected to mention it was to an alternate dimensional Sersi. Proctor told the Avengers of Sersi's coming madness and that she would destroy their world. Black Knight attacked Proctor, but Proctor dispatched the Black Knight with a wave of his hand and then showed the Avengers Ute, and repeated that Sersi would inevitably go mad. Magdalene realized that Proctor had tried to kill the Swordsman and attacked Proctor, who paid her little attention. Proctor activated the self destruct sequence of his citadel, not wanting to settle his game with the Avengers just yet, as he had more plans for them. The Black Knight thrust his energy sword into Proctor's chest. Proctor teleported away, promising that it was all far from over.
Proctor, disguised as a man with precognition, led the police to find the bodies of the two detectives whom he himself had murdered and changed into stone. He told the police that he had visions of a woman of vast power living in a mansion of heroes that did this. The police collected all the false evidence that Proctor had planted framing Sersi for these murders, and headed to Avenger's Mansion to arrest Sersi.
Proctor's new team of Gatherers attacked Sersi and the Black Knight without Proctor's permission. The battle was not going in their favor when Proctor teleported them all back to a small townhouse in Greenwich Village and condemned them for acting without his permission. He told them that Sersi had to suffer before she would be allowed to die. He warned his Gatherers never to act on their own again.
Proctor captured Sersi and brought her to his secret lair. Explaining that the captured Sersi's brainwaves were nearly identical to her Gann Josin, Proctor admitted that he was behind her recent headaches and violent mood swings. Sersi escaped, but when she stumbled upon Proctor's trophy room, where he held Ute and the bodies of hundreds of alternate Sersis whom he had killed, her shock led her to be captured once more by the Gatherers.
Proctor and the Gatherers appeared in the middle of New York City, with Ute and Sersi held captive in an energy field. Proctor was drawing power off of Sersi and Ute and using them in an effort to collapse all reality. Proctor's Gatherers fought against the Avengers in a colossal and relatively evenly matched battle, with the Black Knight taking on Proctor. Proctor revealed that he kept the Ebony Blade, and used it in a sword fight against the Black Knight. Proctor expressed his belief that it was all Sersi's fault that he was doing this, and that she is the one who drove him mad, and also expressed his hatred of the Black Knight for having the love that Sersi would never give Proctor and turning it down. Proctor quickly had the Black Knight at his mercy and began to "gather" the Black Knight, causing the Knight great pain in the process. However, Quicksilver interrupted the Gathering. Proctor prepared to kill Quicksilver with an energy blast, but before he could, he was hit by a lightning bolt summoned by Thunderstrike. When Proctor got hit by the lightning, his Gatherers all collapsed, as he mentally controlled all of them to a certain extent and the feedback from the lightning hitting Proctor knocked them out. With Proctor weakened by the lightning, Sersi broke out of the energy field, picked up Proctor's Ebony Blade, and killed him with it.
50 (tie). Mephisto - 4 points
A Class Two Demon or Hell-Lord, Mephisto rules a fiery nether realm that he refers to as Hell or Hades, though it is neither the Biblical Hell nor Pluto's Olympian Hades. In the distant past, Mephisto became engaged to the lover of one of his former soldiers, then manipulated that demon into slaying his lover; the demon became Darklove, cursed to always perform the opposite of love. Mephisto's realm includes the Arena of Tainted Souls where tainted souls are locked in perpetual combat. Mephisto delights in impersonating the Biblical Satan. Empowered by the souls of the damned, he often strikes deceptive bargains with the living. Mephisto takes particular interest in the souls of extremely powerful or exceptionally pure beings.
Long ago, Mephisto entered a rivalry with the demonic Zarathos and struck a bargain with the young prince who eventually became Centurious, the Soulless Man. Together, they brought down Zarathos, and Mephisto began a long process of tormenting Zarathos by bonding him with mortals. Knowing Zarathos was connected to the ancient Spirits of Vengeance, Mephisto became obsessed with controlling the Medallion of Power, a mystic talisman housing the essences of the Spirits. This led Mephisto to the Kale family, who bore shards of the Medallion within their souls. In the 18th century, Mephisto bargained with the overzealous madman Pastor Kale, hoping to gain the soul of the Pastor's son, Noble. This eventually led to the creation of the Dan Ketch Ghost Rider.
Throughout history, Mephisto has exploited the spiritually adrift. In Europe, he granted a group of mystics (the future Mys-Tech) immortality in exchange for a yearly quota of souls. He also corrupted sea captain Joost van Straaten, who became the infamous Flying Dutchman. Benedicto de vica Severtes once dealt with Mephisto to gain the love of Beatriz, and prevented Mephisto from claiming his soul by encasing himself in mystical armor, becoming the Brass Bishop, but after centuries of evading Mephisto, his soul was finally claimed when the hero Puck cracked his armor. Prior to World War II, Mephisto duped a group of German scientists into believing in the Vril, a perfect race that had allegedly ruled Earth before the age of man and had relocated to an extradimensional realm. These scientists developed a portal to the Vril, though their project was shut down at war's end. Surviving project member Thule secretly continued this work in the Rocky Mountain base Schamballah, assisted by a growing band of neo-Nazis.
In recent years, Mephisto has been increasingly fascinated by Earth's super-beings, and has particularly coveted the Silver Surfer's pure spirit. Mephisto tried to tempt the newly Earth-bound Surfer with power and physical pleasure, even offering up the Surfer's beloved Shalla-Bal, but the Surfer resisted. Undeterred by this failure, Mephisto has repeatedly threatened the Surfer, Thor, Daredevil and many other heroes. He sent the ghostly Flying Dutchman back to Earth to attack the Surfer, but the Dutchman renounced Mephisto. When Noble Kale's descendant Naomi Kale sought to undo the Kale family curse, she offered Mephisto her soul in exchange for his promise that the curse would not plague her firstborn son. She hoped this might break the curse forever, but Mephisto taunted her with assurances that even if her son John could not become "the" Ghost Rider, he could certainly become "a" Ghost Rider. Years later, when John Blaze turned to the occult in a futile attempt to save the life of his adopted father, Mephisto appeared to him in the guise of Satan. Claiming Blaze's soul, Mephisto bonded the human with the captured Zarathos as a new Ghost Rider.
Mephisto's power over the soul of Doctor Doom's mother led him into several conflicts with the Latverian monarch, battling each other annually on Halloween. Allied with fellow Hell-Lords Satannish, Thog and Satan, Mephisto manipulated the demonic Six-Fingered Hand into helping him create Hell on Earth, but the non-team known as the Defenders thwarted their efforts. After Thor freed mortal souls from his Hell, Mephisto attempted to slay Thor's then-human form, Dr. Donald Blake, employing the deceased Darkoth against him, but Darkoth had no love for Mephisto, and had Thor destroy him. Mephisto has menaced the Fantastic Four on several occasions, including one involving the demonologist Elspeth Cromwell who mistakenly invoked him, allowing him to capture Reed and Susan Richards and their son Franklin.
Mephisto had gained tremendous power by the evil of the extraterrestrial Dire Wraiths who were invading Earth at the time, but lost this power when the spaceknight Rom banished the Dire Wraiths, and Mephisto was temporarily destroyed by Franklin. Mephisto later re-formed, missing five fragments of his essence. He tricked the villain Master Pandemonium into gathering these fragments, which Pandemonium believed to be pieces of his own lost soul, and Mephisto was eventually restored to full strength. This resulted in the destruction of the Scarlet Witch's twin sons, whom she had mystically created by unwittingly trapping and transforming two of Mephisto's power fragments. A rivalry developed with the Asgardian death goddess Hela, who stole several souls that Mephisto considered his. Scheming to force Thor to oppose Hela, Mephisto temporarily stole the souls of several heroes, including the Invisible Woman, Jean Grey and Rogue, before finally claiming the one he'd sought all along: the Thunder God's. After a series of confrontations with the Fantastic Four, X-Factor, the X-Men and the Avengers, Mephisto freed Thor's soul, but his plot succeeded. Having seen the horrors in store should the realm of death ever expand to engulf the living, Thor vowed to stand against Hela's advances forevermore.
With at least one rival neutralized, Mephisto sought other means of increasing his power. When the godlike Beyonder came to Earth seeking understanding of humanity, Mephisto attempted to sway him by offering his own warped view of mortals, sending Zarathos to test Spider-Man's morality. When Mephisto tricked the herald of Galactus, Nova, into becoming more bloodthirsty in her duties, the Silver Surfer and Galactus both opposed the demon. Galactus and Mephisto engaged in a cosmos-shaking battle that left the Hell-Lord badly beaten. More failed attempts to gain the Medallion of Power followed, as well a brief period in which Mephisto served as an advisor to Thanos, who then held the Infinity Gauntlet. Mephisto lied to Thanos about his origins, linking them to the Infinity Gems, in the hopes of gaining the villain's trust. Thule's Eye of Force eventually achieved its goal, opening a portal to the "Vril," only for them to be revealed as Mephisto's demon elite. Mephisto devoured Thule as payment, but his intended invasion of Earth was thwarted by Cloak and Dagger, Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch).
Mephisto once stole the soul of Odin while he was in his Odinsleep, and Loki possessed Odin's form, but Odin ultimately reclaimed his body and Mephisto took Loki's soul, his true goal all along. After months in Hell, Loki's spirit eventually escaped. Mephisto empowered suicidal Chris Daniels into the superhuman Suicide, cursing him so that only the Ghost Rider (Ketch) could slay him, hoping that Suicide could force Ketch into committing murder. The demon later attempted to seduce the Silver Surfer by mimicking the form of Nova (Frankie Raye), and Mephisto ruthlessly murdered Avengers member Mockingbird after the Avengers interfered in Mephisto's clash with rival demon Satannish over the souls of the Lethal Legion. Mephisto later helped the hero Hellcat destroy Satannish.
Appreciating the strength mortals drew from family and friendships, Mephisto mystically created two children for himself: a son named Blackheart, whom he deemed worthy of being his heir, and a daughter named Mephista. Mephista would wage war upon Doctor Strange, but Blackheart targeted first Daredevil and later the Dan Ketch Ghost Rider. Mephisto sought to teach his son the ways of ruling Hell, but Blackheart's ambition began to rival his own and they turned on each other. Blackheart temporarily overthrew his father and claimed the throne of Hell, but he eventually lost it to Noble Kale, who was in turn cast out by a renewed Mephisto. After reclaiming his throne, Mephisto once more began focusing on acquiring more souls for his realm. His efforts to claim the Black Panther (T'Challa) were thwarted when he was nearly overwhelmed by all of the Black Panther spirits throughout history. The Haazereth demons who granted Doctor Doom magical power against the Fantastic Four are within Mephisto's domain, and tormented Doom for their master when he offended their patronage.
50 (tie). Magneto - 4 points
After witnessing the murder of his family by Nazis, the man known as Magnus was sent to an Auschwitz death camp where he met a gypsy girl named Magda. Magnus and Magda survived the Holocaust, were later married and had a daughter, Anya. Magnus first consciously used his mutant powers when his family was trapped in a burning house. Unable to rescue his daughter, and coupled with interference from a mob of angry humans, he angrily unleashed his powers to vengefully slaughter the humans. Terrified, Magda left him, and months later discovered that she was pregnant. Magda presumably died after giving birth to mutant twins at Wundagore Mountain. Magnus had master forger George Odekirk create the identity of Sinte gypsy “Erik Lehnsherr” for him. Magnus eventually made his way to Israel where he befriended Charles Xavier. The pair ultimately revealed their true natures when they prevented Nazi war criminal Baron Strucker from obtaining a large cache of Nazi gold. Causing a cave-in, Magnus realized that his and Xavier’s views on mutant/human relations were incompatible and left with the gold. Fearing another Holocaust, he took an aggressive stance against humanity.
Calling himself Magneto, Magnus banded together a group he dubbed the Brotherhood of Mutants, later referred to as “Evil” by the media. Among the assembled members were his children, the mutants Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Magneto soon found himself opposed by Xavier and his own group, the X-Men. After a battle against the X-Men and the Avengers, Magneto was presumed dead, but managed to survive, as he did through many subsequent battles.
Later, Magneto created Alpha, the Ultimate Mutant. Alpha turned on him, reducing him to infancy. The baby Magneto was transferred to Muir Island, where Moira MacTaggert attempted to control Magneto's insane rages by manipulating his DNA. Magneto was later restored to adulthood by Eric the Red, and initially his psychotic behavior seemed to return when he attacked the new team of X-Men off of Muir Island, and then kidnapped them. After battling the X-Men in Antarctica, Magneto retreated to Asteroid M where MacTaggert's genetic changes began to restore his sanity. Magneto next tried to hold the world hostage to force world peace and disarmament, destroying a Russian city after warning the population to evacuate. He also sank a Russian submarine with all hands onboard after the vessel attacked him. The X-Men once more stopped Magneto, but Magneto almost killed young Kitty Pryde, an act that shocked him and forced him reevaluate his life.
Following the inadvertent destruction of Asteroid M by Warlock, Magneto crashed to Earth and was rescued by Lee Forrester and they had a brief romance. Magneto turned himself over to the World Court to be tried for his crimes, and would have certainly been found guilty if not for the Fenris twins, who sought revenge against Magneto and Xavier for their intervention in their father’s plans years earlier. The courthouse was destroyed, and Magneto and Xavier were left alone as Xavier’s body deteriorated. Lilandra arrived with the Starjammers to take Xavier to heal him with Shi’ar technology. Xavier made Magneto promise to protect their dream and take over as Headmaster of his School. Magneto reluctantly agreed.
Seeking an alliance with the Hellfire Club, Magneto briefly served as the White King within the Club’s Inner Circle before philosophical differences with Sebastian Shaw resulted in Shaw deposed as leader and Magneto assuming the unique position of Grey King. Magneto later returned to the Savage Land to oppose the priestess Zaladane, who had usurped control of the Mutates. Magneto saved the X-Man Rogue from a twisted version of Ms. Marvel, and then teamed up with her, Ka-Zar, and SHIELD to defeat Zaladane. Magneto slew Zaladane before retreating to his rebuilt Asteroid M. There, he was approached by the Acolytes, who begged him to end the civil war between mutants and humans on the island nation of Genosha. Magneto agreed, but was injured in the ultimate clas against the X-Men. Fabian Cortez, claiming to heal Magneto, used his own powers to mask Magneto’s pain, weakening him in the process. Cortez then triggered the nuclear missiles Magneto had set up around the asteroid. It took all of Magneto's power to keep the base from blowing up, but the damage was too severe. While the X-Men escaped, Magneto and the remaining Acolytes crashed to Earth. Months later, the wreckage was discovered, but Magneto was missing. He later returned, stronger than ever, to a larger, more fanatical following of Acolytes, and co-opted the remains of Graymalkin, Cable's old space station, into a new orbital base called Avalon. When Magneto threatened the Earth once more, Xavier and the X-Men journeyed to Avalon where, after physically pulling all of the Adamantium out of Wolverine's body, his mind was wiped by Xavier and he remained on Avalon in a vegetative state. When a battle between the extra-dimensional Holocaust and the Acolytes’ new leader Exodus destroyed Avalon, then-Acolyte and former X-Man Colossus placed Magneto in an escape pod which crashed to Earth.
For a time it was believed that Joseph was a rejuvenated Magneto, but this theory was disproved when, after the X-Men were returning from an intergalactic mission, Magneto forced their spaceship to crash in Antarctica near his old base and, posing as Erik the Red, placed Gambit on trial for his role in the infamous mutant Morlock massacre. Upon sentencing Gambit, Magneto destroyed his former base and left, leaving the X-Men to ponder the revelations about Gambit. He then went back into hiding, emerging only briefly to kill the forger Odekirk.
Magneto launched his next offensive in the form of a global electromagnetic pulse. This time, he was attacked by Astra, a former member of the original Brotherhood and the creator of Joseph, who was revealed to be a clone created after Astra found and healed Magneto following the fall of Avalon so as to use his DNA. She intended for the clone to kill Magneto, but he proved too resourceful and was only injured while the clone became amnesiac. Astra had Joseph attack Magneto while he was controlling the Earth’s magnetosphere, which severely disrupted Earth’s magnetic field and forced Magneto to fight against becoming pure electromagnetic energy. The X-Men distracted him, leaving Joseph to fix the magnetosphere. Magneto was briefly subdued by the X-Men as Joseph made the ultimate sacrifice to destroy his template's machines, but before the battle could resume, the U.N. offered Magneto sovereignty over Genosha in return for some security considerations and a promise never to initiate hostilities against the nations of the world. Magneto accepted, but subsequently discovered that his powers were again failing him.
Magneto set about consolidating both his mutant and political power, but faced opposition from the renegade Mutate Zealot, his son Quicksilver, and Rogue. After Magneto defeated Zealot’s forces, Rogue left, and he had his Acolyte Voght manipulate Quicksilver into staying as a member of the cabinet, in the hope that he would at last learn to be a loyal son. Soon after, Magneto was captured by the eternal mutant Apocalypse, who sought to usurp the power of the Twelve for himself; however, Magneto’s weakness short-circuited the machine. In the ensuing clash, Magneto discovered that he could commandeer the magnetic powers of Polaris and use them as his own. With Apocalypse defeated, Magneto returned to Genosha with Polaris, and began teaching her to expand her control, while using her as a front for his own power. Magneto managed to rebuild much of the war-torn country, but a rebellion in Carrion Cove proved a thorn in his side. The rebels had discovered technology in the city that they felt could not be allowed to fall into Magneto’s hands, namely a genetic manipulation chamber from the process once used to create the Genoshan Mutates which would allow Magneto to restore himself to full power. Though the U.N., rogue Acolytes, Cortez, the Avengers, and Polaris all opposed him, Magneto tore down the city as a distraction to allow him to access the chamber and restore his DNA, making him more powerful than ever before.
Magneto declared war on mankind but was again opposed by the X-Men and he was severely injured by Wolverine. Recuperating, Magneto was powerless to prevent Sentinels from decimating the island. Magneto was believed dead, and after a recording purported to contain his last words was found, mutant supremacist ideals became widespread, with some adoring him as a martyr. Magneto seemingly returned with a vengeance, infiltrating the Xavier Institute as the mutant healer Xorn, co-opting the Special Class as his new Brotherhood, and launching an attack on Manhattan. Killing Jean Grey before being killed in turn by Wolverine, it was later revealed that this Magneto was an imposter. The true Magneto was in Genosha, where he joined Xavier in rebuilding the shattered nation. Following the dissolution of the Avengers after the Scarlet Witch suffered an apparent breakdown, Magneto rushed to her aid. When the X-Men and a Avengers met to discuss her fate, it seemed as though Magneto coerced her into altering reality, creating a world where mutants were the dominant species and lived openly without fear with himself as ruler. It was later revealed that Quicksilver was the one who actually convinced the Scarlet Witch to do this, in an attempt to appease their father, as well as the X-Men and Avengers who threatened to put the Scarlet Witch down.
Following the events of "M-Day," Magneto has apparently lost his mutant powers. Rather than kill him, Wolverine decided to let him live the rest of his life as the thing he hates the most... a human.
50 (tie). The Hand - 4 points
The story begins 800 years ago, in feudal Japan. Seeking autonomy from the oppressive class system of the time, a few citizens fled into the mountainous regions of Iga and Kōga. There they developed ninjitsu, a stealthy martial art perhaps inspired by Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Over a period of centuries, they refined their art in secluded camps. Students trained and practiced the art from birth, playing children's games designed to impart expertise in unarmed combat, swordplay, weaponry, camouflage, escape and evasion. Ninjitsu was also designed to encourage spiritual growth by pushing oneself physically and mentally beyond normal human limits. The ninja were expert in espionage and assassination, and offered their specialised services to samurai warlords and others who could afford them.
Masters of every form of subterfuge, the ninja were the most efficient and deadly warriors on the face of the Earth and became feared throughout Japan. Hearsay gave rise to the myth that ninja were the spawn of the Tengu, and that their divinity gave them extraordinary abilities. These myths were likely spread by the ninja themselves.
The most evil and devious of all these ninja was most certainly a faction called the Hand. Unlike the other factions, the Hand did not work as mercenaries, but sought power themselves. The Hand sought dominance over all others, worked for no one but themselves, and sought to eliminate their enemies. From the very beginning, the Hand employed Dark magic, imparted unto them by their demonic master, The Beast. One of these black spells causes a Hand ninja's lifeless body to return to dust and prevent another from gazing upon his countenance.
The Hand ninja survive to this day, still seeking power in various forms, and using their lethal skills and brutal methods. The Hand's most dangerous adversary is the Chaste, a band of warriors once led by Stick, the late, blind martial arts master. Stick once trained a young blind boy named Matt Murdock, who grew to become the costumed crime-fighter Daredevil. Another of his former pupils, Elektra Natchios, has also been involved in the Hand. She infiltrated the Hand, determined to prove herself to Stick. Instead, the ninja tricked her into killing one of her former sensei. Elektra served the Hand for a time. When their ways corrupted her soul, she fled Japan back to America.
Eventually, the Hand sought to wipe out Stick and the good warriors of the Chaste altogether. Stick thwarted an assassination attempt by four Hand operatives; he then summoned the other members of his order to New York City. With the assistance of his clan, Stick defeated Kirigi, the Hand's most lethal ninja at the time. The Hand regrouped and attacked Stick and his band of warriors that now included Daredevil and his current lover, Black Widow. The Hand had almost overpowered the small band of warriors, when Stick and Shaft resorted to an ancient technique that drained the life force from all ninja present. Unfortunately, the technique resulted in the explosion of Stick and his comrade as a result of the excess energy they had absorbed. The Hand considered the destruction of their arch-nemesis and leader of their enemy a victory and turned their attention to other schemes.
Years later, the Hand again turned its attention to the leaderless Chaste, once again attempting to destroy them, this time to prevent the Chaste's members from locating the new-born child that would bear Stick's reincarnated soul. The Hand severely crippled Stick's soldiers, reducing their number to a handful of warriors. The few remaining traveled to New York, seeking the assistance of Daredevil. Reluctantly, the Man Without Fear aided his former mentor's disciples, returning with them to Japan. Once there, The Hand attacked the Chaste and Daredevil relentlessly. Fighting alongside Daredevil, the Chaste barely managed to escape and safeguard their master's reincarnated spirit.
The Hand has also frequently fought with Wolverine and come into conflict with superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men. The Hand played a particularly large role in the story of Psylocke.
After joining the Avengers, Ronin shortly returned to Japan to keep an eye on Elektra Natchios, a dangerous assassin now leading the Hand, to monitor the Silver Samurai, and to help solve the conflict between The Hand and Clan Yashida.
46 (tie). Zodiac III - 5 points
The origins of the "First Sign" Zodiac are unknown.
The Zodiacs, Zealots following Libra, secretly set up a base in a deserted subway station in Manhattan, building a transporter there, and built a transfomer over the Intrepid aircraft carrier and historical museum. The Zodiacs used their transformer to rechannel the power from Manhattan, erecting a shield around the city. The shield would block out all outside energy, including the light of the sun and stars, severing the stars' influence over their lives, allowing them to chart their own destiny and to rule, first New York and then the world. Only the Zodiacs' power source remained functional within the shield.
Captain America tracked the resultant chaos to a squadron of Zodiacs, but found that he needed the assistance of the other Avengers. The Zodiacs followed him to Avengers Mansion and then to the apartment of Thor and Amora the Enchantress. After overpowering the Zodiacs who followed Captain America, Amora pried knowledge from one of the Zodiacs of a dimensional transporter through which the Zodiacs were entering Manhattan. Cap and Thor headed out into the city to tackle more of the zealots and locate the transporter. The chaos of the blackouts led to lootings, etc., which Cap and Thor curtailed as well. The Avengers found allies in the Hepburn School for the Blind, who were obviously unhindered by the darkness. They located the transporter, but suddenly a duplicate materialized by its side.
His armor recharged by shielded power, young Tony Stark wore a pair of Iron Man gauntlets and tracked the Zodiacs to their transporter, where he joined Cap and Thor against them. Stealing a flying skimmer from the Zodiacs, Stark used it to power the Avengers' communicard and summon Deathcry, Giant-Man, Quicksilver, and the Wasp to the edge of the shield. Stark used the last of his own power supply to open a portal in the shield to allow the other Avengers in, and Pym then recharged Stark's power via the shield so that his pacemaker would continue to function. Quicksilver located the Zodiacs' base aboard the Intrepid and the Avengers traveled there and confronted the Zodiacs. Libra then appeared, easily overpowering the Avengers who challenged him, but Giant-Man located and destroyed their transformer. The dome vanished and power was restored, after which Libra disposed of his pawns by detonating bombs in their clothing. Libra then escaped into the night.
46 (tie). Terminus - 5 points
In the distant past, a race known as the Terminex faced destruction at the hands of the Celestials, and created the instrument of their revenge: the Termini. The Termini started out as microbes that eventually--after hundreds of years--landed on an unnamed planet, where the microbes broke free, multiplied, and evolved through the stages of its life cycle until becoming the being who would be known as Terminus. Terminus was that which the long-dead Terminex had intended the Termini to be: a metal monstrosity imbued with an inbred hatred of the Celestials and all their works.
Terminus traveled from world to world, wreaking destruction, and targeting (though perhaps not exclusively) those worlds which the Celestials had judged and spared. Terminus is believed to have plundered roughly one thousand planets, rendering them uninhabitable in the process.
An unknown number of years ago, Terminus apparently ravaged Zundam taking one of that world's greatest scientists to serve as his personal slave and guide. The alien scientist knew or suspected that Earth's human race would give rise to many superhuman beings around the 20th-21st Centuries. Hoping that such beings would be able to stop Terminus, the Zundamite scientist persuaded Terminus to go to Earth. This occurred as Terminus left Arianis Major.
To prove his power, Terminus launched an energy beam towards Earth to mark the planet as his. One hundred years later, the beam struck the continental United States, carving a message in writing using lines one half mile wide, and covering a distance from the southwest to just west of Manhattan. Terminus arrived shortly thereafter, undiscovered. The apparent attack was quickly discovered, and Reed Richards' deciphered it as a message: "I claim this world--Terminus." Terminus then revealed himself and declared himself master of this world. Terminus unleashed a blast which Reed, the She-Hulk, and Wyatt and other Keewazi narrowly survived.
Displeased with the Earth, Terminus cast his Zundamite slave to the Earth, mortally wounding him. As Terminus prepared to break down and absorb the components of Earth, the slave--with his dying breath--revealed the past of Terminus. Realizing the threat they faced, Reed had the She-Hulk knock Terminus' lance from his hand--by hurling the damaged pogo plane at hit. Reed than affixed a newly discovered device of his to Terminus' head. This acceleration device sent Terminus off at an instant velocity of some 20, 000 mph against the direction of the Earth through space, sending him to the very core of the Earth.
Terminus began the arduous process of clawing his way back to Earth's surface. Along the way, he encountered the laboratory of Jorro, weapons-maker to Earth's Deviants. As the Deviants hated the Celestials as fiercely as did Terminus, Jorro was persuaded to duplicate Terminus' armor and wear it to the surface in search of Terminus' lance. Jorro, as Terminus, recovered the lance and destroyed the Savage Land, but was subsequently slain as a result of a battle with the Avengers.
Terminus utilized his own genetic material, combined with his own advanced technology--plundered from the races he had slaughtered in the past--and Jorro's technology to create a new generation of Stage 1 Termini.
The form of Garokk the Petrified Man somehow was absorbed into the Terminus armor, reviving it. This Terminus duplicate fought the X-Men and the High Evolutionary, before being overcome.
Terminus apparently put the egg containing the gestating Termini in magma connected with the interior of Washington's Mount Saint Helens volcano.
Terminus continued his journey back to the surface of Earth and summoned his lance from the remains of Jorro's robot to his side, still deep within the Earth. Terminus returned to the surface, apparently intending to make Reed Richards--the first being to defeat him in untold millennia--his new herald. His return was noted by Quasar, who engaged the assistance of Spider-Man (at the time enhanced into cosmic power by merging with Captain Universe). Quasar made a giant platform underneath Terminus, and Cosmic Spidey flew it into space, dumping him out of the plane of the solar system. Quasar then teleported the business end of Terminus' lance into the vicinity of the planet Neptune. Without his lance, Terminus was left cartwheeling out of control.
The Stage 1 Termini emerged from the volcano and began to take over the minds of humans and other animals. Now in the form of Stage 2, the Termini fought Iron Man, Machine Man, and others. While Hercules fought the now Stage 3 Termini, Thor followed up on a lead that these beings were connected to Terminus. Thor warped into space next to Terminus, penetrated his armor, and learned his true origins as the world-ravager's mind spoke to him. Terminus' "antibodies" and "leeches" then assaulted Thor, overcoming him. Terminus cast Thor out into space, keeping his hammer, Mjolnir, as his own power source. Using the hammer's power, Terminus completed the regeneration of his lance, which he was then able to summon to his side. Terminus used the lance to return to Earth, just as the Stage 3 Termini merged and morphed into a Stage 4. Terminus and then new stage 4 battled, despite the efforts of the West Coast Avengers and Machine Man, with Terminus eventually overpowering and then consuming the form and power of the younger Termini. Terminus thus evolved into a new, even more powerful Stage 5 Termini, aka Ulterminus. Ulterminsu intended to achieve its ultimate mission of avenging its parent race by annihilating any people or planet which had been spared by the Celestials. It headed to the center of the United States, from which it planned to drain all life from the planet. It was combated by the Avengers--East Coast, West Coast, and even Great Lakes--and Machine Man, to little avail. However, as Terminus had previous absorbed Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor, the Asgardian managed to speak enchanted runes that restored Odin's spells and full force and allowed Thor to summon Mjolnir--and Ulterminus with it--deep into space, where Thor had been trapped. When a group of Avengers, having been pulled into space along with Ulterminus, managed to pry the staff from his hands, Ulterminus was left stranded in space. In addition, as Ulterminus continued to rapidly expend energy, he consumed his own resources, eventually imploding into a black hole-like phenomenon, which then disappeared as well.
AIM scientist Macross managed to restore the Terminus duplicate armor in the Savage Land, but Captain America and Ka-Zar managed to trick him into destroying the armor.
Restored as a formless wraith, Terminus returned to Subterranea, where he utilized a virus to take over the nearly mindless forms of the Moloid Subterraneans and fashion a new body composed of thousands of these beings. The Mole Man noticed the absence of the Moloids and confronted Terminus. In addition, Terminus' energies and assault upon the Moloids was sensed by the Silver Surfer, who felt it as great pain. Terminus surfaced in Saskatchewan, Canada, where he began to prepare to place Neuro-Transceptor Beacons, with which he could initiate the wholesale assimilation of the planetary populace. The Surfer led the Fantastic Four and Alicia Masters to Terminus, and they joined forces with the Mole Man in an effort to destabilize Terminus' composite matrix. Though they succeeded, Reed realized that those stricken with the Terminus virus would remain afflicted and even spread the virus further, creating more pawns which he could then assimilate in an even more powerful form. The Surfer--aided by the emotional strength of Alicia Masters--used his power cosmic to purge the Moloids of the Terminus virus, leaving Terminus without form once again.
Terminus--in his original form--was sent across the dimensional gulf--weakened by a series of events occurring in a number of dimensions. Far across the spectrum of realities, he arrived on another Earth, where he arrived in Fallville, Iowa. Terminus analyzed the energies around him and began heading towards Metropolis, destroying everything in his path. On the outskirts of Keystone City, he was attacked by the Justice League of America. Though Terminus easily resisted the power of even Superman, the Batman correctly deduced the importance of Terminus' power lance. Combining their minds via the Martian Manhunter, the JLA assaulted Terminus on several levels, then duped him into thinking they were trying to steal his lance. As Terminus unleashed a potent blast of power through the lance, Green Lantern channeled the energy back at Terminus, blasting a hole in his helmet and incapacitating him. The Spectre then appeared and announced that Terminus was an alien to this plane of existence, did not belong here, and would be disposed of. Terminus vanished without further explanation.
Terminus recently threatened Tokyo, but was faced with G.R.A.M.P.A. agents Ace and One-Eyed Jacquie, who threatened to use the Ultimate Nullifier on him. Terminus fled Earth in fear, unaware that it had been a bluff.
46 (tie). Molecule Man - 5 points
The Molecule Man started out as a lowly laboratory technician who worked at the Acme Atomic Corp. But one day, while Owen Reece was bemoaning his position in life as a nobody, a cog in the wheels of the corporation, he became distracted enough to make a mistake that would forever change his life. The atomic machine he worked on blasted him with radiation, and he survived, but the accident gave him power over the very building blocks of existence. Without even knowing his name, the head of the corporation fired him, but Owen used his newfound powers to freeze him solid, using a wand that he believed he needed to focus his powers.
Reece then took control of the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building, and tore it from the ground, hovering along with it over Times Square. He announced that he was taking over the city would become the only law. Even the Fantastic Four, who were asked to stop him by Uatu The Watcher, were unable to beat him, and were forced to flee in order to come up with a new plan. But Mister Fantastic soon discovered that Reece could seemingly not control organic material and enlisted the help of Alicia Masters, the Thing’s girlfriend, to cover the four in plaster and pass them off as statues. Reece came after them and tried to manipulate the statues, but the feedback from trying to affect their organic molecules caused him intense pain. Uatu then appeared and trapped him within another dimension to protect Earth from his power.
To pass the time, Owen created a companion, using his powers to fashion a fully-conscious being that he called his son. However, Owen found that time passed at an accelerated rate in his new world and soon died of old age. Owen’s “son” took up the Molecule Man’s wand and found it contained all his power. Calling himself the new Molecule Man, the being used the wand to escape back to Earth, hoping to avenge his father. He sought out the Thing of the Fantastic Four, battling him until the Thing managed to separate him from the wand. Apparently, the wand was necessary to maintain his existence, and the new Molecule Man disintegrated.
In fact, Owen Reece had not died, but managed to transfer his consciousness and powers into the wand his "son" carried. He could overpower the minds of whoever touched the wand and take control of their bodies, temporarily reviving the Molecule Man each time. The wand passed through the hands of a succession of holders until the Silver Surfer happened upon it, sensing its great power. When he casually dismissed it, however, Reece's mind finally proved able to recreate his body, power and all. His encounter with the Surfer convinced Owen that he had always failed because he had no purpose beyond petty tantrums. Inspired by the Surfer’s tale, Owen decided he would devour the Earth similar to Galactus. The Surfer sent for help, and the Avengers arrived to confront him. The Avengers were easily defeated, as the Molecule Man disintegrated Captain America’s shield, Iron Man’s armor, Thor’s hammer, and even the Silver Surfer’s surfboard. Ultimately, it was Tigra who managed to talk him down, giving Owen the first heart-to-heart he had heard in years and convincing him to give himself up and seek psychiatric help.
Owen Reece did so, and soon began seek out more conventional goals: true love, friendship, and a good home. Instead, however, the Molecule Man was abducted to Battleworld, the planet created by the Beyonder (now, the Maker), as part of the small army of criminal superhuman beings that were to engage in the first of the Secret Wars. He only joined the other supervillains after some persuasive words by Doctor Doom, and fought the assembled superheroes who were also brought to Battleworld. During the course of the war, Owen and Volcana fell in love. When Doom succeeded in stealing the power of the Beyonder for himself, Owen thought Doom had abandoned them all and confronted Doom, threatening to kill him. But Doom helped Reece realize his powers were only limited by his own sense of unworthiness--his power was greater than he had believed and could even effect organic materials. No longer angry at Doom (who eventually lost his new power), Owen used his powers to transport himself, Volcana, and most of the criminals, along with the entire portion of the city of Denver, back to Earth.
On Earth, Owen and Volcana began a quiet life living together, and Owen took a new job as a worker in an atomic plant. This bliss was not to last, as the Beyonder returned to Earth to seek emotional fulfillment but failed, declaring he would destroy the multiverse. Owen was sought out by the assembled heroes, and he tried to destroy the Beyonder, but the Beyonder's immense power far surpassed even Owen’s own, and Owen was left exhausted. Finally, the Beyonder unleashed an immensely powerful blast of energy to destroy Owen and his allies, sufficient even to rip open Earth's crust and threaten incredible planetwide instability. The Molecule Man used his power to shield himself and his allies and remove every living thing from the path of the blast to safety, but the cost of doing so seemed to severely injure him internally.
The Beyonder then created a complex machine to transform himself into a mortal being with his full power. The Molecule Man and his allies found the machine, and Owen, but they could not take the chance that the newly reborn Beyonder would not someday destroy the multiverse, and decided to kill him while he was incubating. Owen wrecked the machine, causing the infant's death, and diverted the Beyonder's immense power, released by the machine, into the dimension from which the Beyonder had originally come. The injured Molecule Man and the Silver Surfer, uniting their power temporarily, repaired all the damage done to the Earth. Owen then claimed his powers had been burned out, so as to once more hide away from the heroes. He returned to live quietly with Volcana in their Denver suburb. Among his allies, only Volcana and the Silver Surfer knew that Owen still had his powers.
Months later, Owen was confronted by Kubik, a being created from the Cosmic Cube. Kubik revealed to Owen that his powers stemmed from similar energies, as did the Beyonder, who Kubik also confronted and nearly destroyed most of the Beyonder's pet reality. Kubik might have destroyed the Beyonder, but the alien Shaper of Worlds called him to stop the battle. Under the Shaper's guidance, Kubik, Molecule Man, and the Beyonder realized they shared a common origin, and the Molecule Man and Beyonder physically merged to create a new Cosmic Cube-- their powers were actually an intelligence like Kubik's that was split during the Molecule Man's origin. Owen was mutated into the Molecule Man while the remaining energy developed sentience to become the Beyonder. Kubik left with the Shaper into space to oversee the development of this new Cube, which might someday hatch a being similar to Kubik.
Volcana, who believed Owen to be dead after merging into the Cube, was actually secretly imbued by Owen with his power moments before the transformation. She tried going through life as normal, but soon found herself exhibiting strange new aspects of her powers, due to the power of the Molecule Man within her.
Eventually, the Cube separated Owen’s essence from his power, rejected him and returned him to Earth, powerless. Volcana soon stumbled upon Owen, who was living in squalor at his old apartment. He knew he was powerless and felt it better to live in anonymity than to have nothing to offer his true love. Before they could make up, the criminal organization A.I.M., which had been tracking Volcana due to her power fluctuations, attacked the two through their agent Klaw. Reece's powers, within her, evolved to allow her to wish his powers returned to him. Now once again the Molecule Man, Owen quickly defeated Klaw, but Volcana would not return to him, seeing him as a bully and too dependant on his power to attempt to try a relationship. Owen left her, still professing his love and vowing to prove it to her someday.
46 (tie). Ares - 5 points
Ares is the son of Zeus, monarch of the Olympian Gods, and his wife Hera. Ares was worshiped as the god of war in both ancient Greece and ancient Rome. After the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire , Zeus allowed the worship of the Olympians to die out, and Ares was no longer allowed to act as patron god of warriors. As a result over the ensuing centuries Ares grew increasingly dissatisfied with Zeus' rule. He has tried to conquer Olympus on several occasions sometimes in league with his uncle Pluto, god of the Olympian underworld. His half-brother Hercules has opposed his attempts at conquest almost every time sometimes with the help of his allies including Thor the Asgardian god of thunder, and the Avengers. Ares has hated Hercules since Hercules killed Ares' monstrous Stymphalian birds during Hercules' original twelve labors.
Since the dawning of the "Marvel Age" of heroes Ares has fought the Avengers on numerous occasions, as well as his half-brother Hercules. Ares has also fought the Champions, the Eternal Ikaris and a variety of other denizens of Earth. Recently warriors from the East have attacked Olympus and the Olympians have sought the assistance of Ares. Ares, who had retired from warfare and the life of the gods, has only recently joined the battle due to the kidnapping of his son.
41 (tie). Attuma - 6 points
Attuma was born into the tribe of Homo mermanus who eschewed civilization to live as nomadic barbarians. For some unrecorded reason, Attuma was endowed with strength far surpassing that of his people. Nearing adulthood, Attuma learned of a prophesy, in the lost Atlantean Chronicles, of a conqueror who would take the empire of Atlantis by force. Believing he is that conqueror, Attuma has launched numerous attacks on the city of Atlantis and its regent Namor the Sub-Mariner.
Unable to best Namor in personal combat, Attuma has frequently taken allies to further his ambitions. These alliances have also met with defeat. The first time Attuma attacked Atlantis, the Fantastic Four aided Namor in repulsing his attack. In recent years, Attuma has battled the Avengers as well. Not renowned for his intelligence, Attuma has frequently employed renegade Atlantean and human scientists. One of them created the Octo-Meks, octopus-shaped fighting machines. Another proposed that he mate with human mutants in order to produce a sire stronger than Namor himself. Toward this end he abducted the mutant Phoenix, but she thwarted his plans. Although Attuma has never been able to claim a lasting victor over Namor, he was a party to the death of Namor's bride, Lady Dorma. Attuma is still at large in the Atlantic Ocean, having never been imprisoned for any of his deeds.
41 (tie). Doctor Doom - 6 points
Victor von Doom was born to the Zefiro travelers Werner and Cynthia in Latveria, a small European country which grew out of Hungary and was ruled by King Vladimir Vassily Gonereo Tristian Mangegi Fortunov, Baron of Sabbat, Baron of Haasen, Baron of Krozi. Victor barely knew his mother, a witch who had invoked the demon Mephisto for power, which raged out of control before she was finally slain by a soldier. Before dying, she asked Werner to protect young Victor from Mephisto. Victor's father, a doctor, was forced to treat King Vladimir's wife. When Werner could not cure her cancer, Vladimir blamed him for his wife's death, and Werner fled with Victor. Werner died from exposure to the cold while protecting his son. Before dying, Werner placed Victor into the care of his best friend, Boris, and tried to warn his son of the fearful life he foresaw him falling into, but he died before he could make Victor understand.
Discovering his mother's mystical artifacts, Victor schooled himself in sorcery. He began an annual contest against the might of Mephisto, attempting to set his mother's soul free. By the time he was a teenager he had also become a scientific genius and used his inventions to wage a one-man war against the monarchy of Latveria. His genius was heard of even in America, and he was invited to New York's State University on a scholarship. Victor had been in love with Boris' granddaughter Valeria, but he left her behind as his desire to acquire knowledge and the means to seek revenge on others consumed him.
Arriving at State, Doom was greeted by Reed Richards, a fellow student whose friendship Doom rejected. Throughout his university days, Doom pursued a petty rivalry with Richards, convinced of his own superior intellect. Doom's greatest invention was a machine designed to rescue his mother's soul from the netherworld. Richards tried to warn him of a flaw in his calculations, but Doom was too proud to listen. He activated the machine, and it literally exploded in his face. Expelled for the explosion, Doom sustained only a few facial scars, but believed his looks had been ruined. Filled with self-loathing, he left America for Tibet, seeking new enlightenment. There, he found the Aged Genghis, one of the enigmatic Immortal Nine; the now senile sorcerer directed him to seek out a long-lost order of monks. Doom made them his servants and had them forge his first suit of armor, designed to hide his features from the world. Doom had them press the mask to his face before it had cooled, ensuring that if his face had not been hideous before, it was now.
Dr. Doom then conquered Latveria, slaying King Vladimir, imprisoning his son Rudolfo, and having a robot duplicate of Rudolfo surrender the Latverian crown to him, after which he renamed the capital city, Haasenstadt, as Doomstadt. He used his genius and technology to transform Latveria into a paradise where no citizen wants, no one is threatened by war, and all praise Doom -- or face the consequences. Doom maintained a puppet prime minister; the outside world was largely unaware of Doom's status as ruler, tending to dismiss his existence as a myth. Doom stepped up his scientific prowess, designing a time machine and robotic duplicates of himself.
Armed with his genius and the might of Latveria, Victor set for himself three goals: to rescue his mother, to prove his superiority over Reed Richards, and to conquer the world. By this time, Reed and his friends had become the Fantastic Four, so Dr. Doom began a seemingly endless succession of attacks against the heroes, sometimes involving others, such as the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Nick Fury, and Shang-Chi. Always failing but always returning.
Doom's throne was threatened by its rightful heir, Prince Rudolfo, who was assisted by the extraterrestrial Faceless One. Doom also had to contend with his rogue creation the Doomsman, and with the Red Skull, who attempted to claim Latveria for himself. The Black Panther, ruler of Wakanda, foiled Doom's attempt to steal Wakanda's Vibranium, but Doom intended to make an ally of T'Challa one day. Doom also accumulated various power objects, culminating in his using the Cosmic Cube to usurp Galactus's power, but Reed stole the Cube, reversed its effects, and erased the events from everyone's memory.
When the Faceless One sponsored another Latverian revolt, Doom hired Luke Cage to spy on them in the United States; however, he then refused to pay Cage for his services, so Cage tracked Doom down in Latveria and fought him to a standstill until Doom finally agreed to pay Cage what he was due. After rejecting Doom's offer of a new alliance, Namor reluctantly sought Doom's aid when the people of Atlantis were rendered comatose and Mr. Fantastic could not revive them. Namor aided Doom against Andro, formerly the Doomsman, who had brought many of Doom's robots under his control through a self-created religion; Doom in turn aided Namor against his enemies Dr. Dorcas, Tiger Shark, Krang and Attuma. Still, Namor could not bring himself to fully trust Doom, so Doom ruined the water rebreather suit Namor needed to survive at that time, and threatened to destroy Atlantis unless Namor pledged his allegiance to him. Namor was forced to comply.
Learning of Namor's fate, the FF came to Latveria to aid him, only to discover that the United States had signed a non-aggression pact with Latveria, forcing them to depart. Surviving an assassination attempt by the vigilante Shroud, Doom subsequently mind-controlled the Avengers into fighting Attuma for him. Finally, after receiving Namor's aid against the Red Skull, who had slain Rudolfo and briefly usurped control of Latveria, Doom made good on his bargain, restoring the Atlanteans to consciousness; Namor then ended their partnership.
Following this, Doom spread a neuro-gas into Earth's atmosphere to bind the entire world's population to his will. His authority was challenged by the mutant Magneto, and they fought, manipulating the Champions of Los Angeles, Avengers and Hulk into fighting for their sides. When Doom was attacked by the Ghost Rider, his mask overheated and he was forced to remove it, inhaling his own neuro-gas; this rendered him unable to control anyone affected by the gas. Via power gained from the Negative Zone, Doom accessed the netherworld, only to be overwhelmed by spirits posing as his parents.
Realizing that his villainous actions had injured Latveria's reputation, Doom planned to abdicate the throne to his "son," actually a clone of himself named Victor von Doom II; but his son's true origins were exposed, and Doom was forced to slay the clone when it turned against him. However, this plot had merely been a ruse for Doom to take mental control of the United Nations using his Solartron Complex. After he was exposed to multiple images of his own face projected by the Solartron, Doom went completely insane and was imprisoned. Prince Zorba, Rudolfo's younger brother, reclaimed his family's throne from Doom, but Doom was freed by Boris and regained his sanity.
Learning that Latveria had fallen into anarchy without him, Doom convinced the Fantastic Four to assist him in overthrowing the now-insane Zorba and retaking his throne; Doom himself slew Zorba. A young Latverian boy named Kristoff Vernard was orphaned by Zorba's forces, and Doom took the child under his protection, making him his heir.
Doom soon once more achieved world domination, using the Purple Man's mind control powers to subjugate the global population. He found the mindless obedience of humanity unsatisfying, and ultimately allowed the Purple Man to slip from his grasp during a conflict with the Avengers and Namor.
After Terrax seemingly killed Doom, his Doombots had activated a contingency plan whereby Doom's past experiences were implanted within Kristoff's mind so that he could assume Doom's role. Kristoff believed he was Doom trapped in the body of a child. While Kristoff ruled Latveria, one of the Doombots, believing itself to be the true Doom, made a weak attempt at overthrowing him. Finally, the true Dr. Doom returned to Latveria following a time travel adventure, and he retook the throne from Kristoff. Soon after this, he helped cure Sharon Ventura, a new member of the FF who had become a grotesque She-Thing. Doom used her to spy on the FF, but she eventually gave in to her conscience and turned against him. He transformed her into an even more grotesque creature as punishment.
Doom's greatest victory came when, after years of combating Mephisto, he and Dr. Strange finally rescued the soul of Cynthia von Doom from Hell, allowing her to pass on to a better afterlife.
When Thor led an unauthorized invasion of Slokovia, a country neighboring Latveria, Doom aided the Avengers in fighting their rogue ally-manipulating events so that when Slokovia's government collapsed, Doom moved in and annexed the country, adding it to Latveria.
Doom has continued to plague the Fantastic Four, going to even greater, more sadistic lengths than ever before, including sending sacrificing his former lover Valeria's soul and sending Franklin Richards to hell Franklin was eventually freed, and Doom imprisioned by Reed in a Mobius dimension prison.
Recently, Doom escaped from the Mobius dimension while chasing after Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, which was flying through the dimensions following the fall of Asgard. Returning to Latveria, Doom assumed that he was worthy of the hammer since it appeared for him and went with a troupe of robots to obtain it. He was met by the FF, who wished to stop him. Doom reached the hammer, but found he was not worthy of lifting it. Angered, Doom returned to Latveria, where he currently resides.
41 (tie). Winter Guard - 6 points
Russia's first known modern super-team was the Soviet Super-Troopers, armored soldiers outfitted by the Gargoyle's mutant son Gremlin and led by Devastator. However, two of Phobos' now-adult students, Vanguard and Darkstar, were also recruited as government operatives, occasionally working with a Crimson Dynamo. Following a clash on the Moon with the alien Rigellians, the three were joined by Ursa Major, another Phobos alumnus, as the Soviet Super-Soldiers, named after the decades-old programs from which the team was extrapolated. An early assignment of the Soldiers exposed Phobos's efforts to expand the radioactive Forbidden Zone, created by the renegade Presence, across Russia; the incident left the Siberian Project a shambles, with such trainees as the Snow Leopard forced to fend for themselves. After months of activity, the three mutant Super-Soldiers grew dissatisfied with government supervision and, following the exposure of government infiltration by Dire Wraiths, they became free operatives, dismissing the Dynamo and allying with the Gremlin, now using the Titanium Man's armor.
Following the Gremlin's apparent death in battle with Iron Man, his teammates fled Russia, planning defection to the USA. However, the Russian government had created a new team, the Supreme Soviets, led by Josef Petkus, the latest Red Guardian; sent to retrieve the three mutants, the Soviets captured them but were eventually defeated. Nevertheless, the threesome was later imprisoned, but freed by underground mutants called the Exiles, some survivors of Wolfgang Heinrich's work. General Valentin Shatalov dispatched the cyborg Firefox, who decimated the Exiles' ranks before being defeated. Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major joined the remaining Exiles, later renamed Siberforce, which continued outlaw activities against anti-mutant prejudice. Shatalov formed a new super-team under communist guidelines, Remont-4, but this endeavor was brief; a similarly motivated team, the Bogatyri, was organized by ex-astronaut Doctor Volkh in hope of rebuilding the USSR but was also short-lived.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Soviets, reorganized as the People's Protectorate, joined forces with the USA's Avengers, Canada's Alpha Flight, and other heroes against the radioactive Combine, the extraterrestrial Starblasters, and others. When the Russian government apparently pardoned Siberforce, the team was merged with the Protectorate as the Winter Guard; the Red Guardian, Vostok, and Fantasma were recruited from the Protectorate, while Vanguard, Darkstar, Ursa Major, and Sibercat emigrated from Siberforce, with the mutated Powersurge completing the roster, although Darkstar later joined the X-Corporation and was apparently slain. While remnants of earlier USSR programs occasionally resurface, the in-fighting between super-teams is apparently over, and Winter Guard has enjoyed success against the Mandarin, the Presence, ULTIMATUM, and other threats, their role as Russia's protectors supplemented by covert operatives such as the Warborgs and Yelena Belova, as well as by freelance vigilantes like the newest Crimson Dynamo (Gennady Gavrilov), gun-wielding Dragunov, and the long-time adventurer Night Raven. Petkus, now called the Steel Guardian, carries on the tradition of the wartime Red Guardian and leads the Winter Guard, working to see that this team proves more permanent than its predecessors.
41 (tie). Nebula - 6 points
Nebula, feared across numerous star systems for her ruthless piracy, set her sights on Sanctuary II, the solar-orbiting satellite built and once used as a base of operations by the Thanos. She had sent a small band of her most trusted aides to Sanctuary II to repair its hyper-drive engines and teleport the station out of the solar system, but the activity coincided with the arrival of the hero Monica Rambeau (as Captain Marvel), who had been sent to investigate the craft by her team the Avengers. Nebula's minions warped the satellite out of the solar system with Captain Marvel aboard and rendezvoused with Nebula.
Nebula hoped to conquer the Skrull empire, at the time in the throes of chaos as their throneworld was destroyed by the planet-destroyer Galactus. Not knowing how to return home, Captain Marvel pretended to go along with Nebula's scheme but actually helped the Skrulls evacuate the outpost world Nebula was intent on destroying. The Avengers eventually located their missing member and allied themselves with the Skrulls to oppose her. Before the Avengers were able to catch up with Nebula, she annihilated both the Skrull outpost and the planet Xandar, home planet of the Avengers' ally Firelord. In battle with Nebula, the Avengers’ Starfox, brother of Thanos, learned that Nebula claimed to be Thanos' granddaughter, and thus his great-niece. Shortly thereafter, the virtually omnipotent Beyonder, curious about the Avengers, arrived, and in an attempt to help the Avengers vanquish Nebula, helped her and her minions to escape them by teleportlng them out of the Andromeda Galaxy.
Nebula was later summoned to the side of Thanos, who had at the time assembled the Infinity Gems to create the Infinity Gauntlet and thereby give himself omnipotent power. Thanos scoffed at Nebula's claims to be his granddaughter, and as a gift to the embodiment of Death, transformed her into a hideous "living sculpture" of pain and living death. Unfortunately for Thanos, he allowed himself to be distracted by an assemblage of the universe's heroes and thus failed to notice Nebula until she stole the Infinity Gauntlet for herself. Now omnipotent herself, she faced an entourage of cosmic beings that included Galactus, Master Order, and Lord Chaos. Soon, however, the original Soul Gem owner, Adam Warlock, subverted the Infinity Gauntlet for himself. Starfox elected to take Nebula into custody of the Eternals on the moon Titan.
Somehow, under circumstances to be revealed, Nebula escaped and resumed her piracy career with her crew. They infiltrated a device known as the Infinity Union from the planet of the enigmatic alien Stranger. She then somehow learned of a scientist on earth who was developing a powerful energy source known as the Atomic Compressor. The Atomic Compressor succeeded in negating all of reality, which led her into conflict with the Avengers once again.
The Avengers, with their ally Spider-Man, defeated and captured the space pirate Nebula but an enraged Stranger burst in, searching for the Infinity Union, which had since absorbed the energies created from the negation of reality. Fearing that neither the Stranger nor anyone else was worthy of wielding such a dangerous device, the Avengers decide to track down the Infinity Union themselves. An increasingly unnerved Spider-Man, unaccustomed to dealing with cosmic menaces, found the device first-- and then accidentally set it off. Nebula had arranged to absorb the power of the Infinity Union and become a supreme being. The Avengers and the Stranger managed to thwart her regardless, stripping her of the Infinity Union's power, though Nebula managed to escape capture with her crewman Gunthar.
Nebula's next appearance was a sudden attack on the young hero Nova. Nebula claimed that Nova had previously murdered her father Zorr, an archemeny of Nova Prime, the hero of Xandar whose powers Nova had inherited. (This was the same reason that led her to destroy the planet Xandar before.) Zorr had, in fact, been accidentally killed when he activated an energy device when battling Nova. Nova succeeded in driving Nebula off, and she returned to deep space.