In April 20’s Avengers #55, classic Marvel villain Mephisto rears his head as one of the biggest coming threats in the Marvel Universe with an entire cadre of his own Multiverse ‘Variants’ known as the Council of Red at his side. To match the building threat of Mephisto and his Council of Red, the Avengers have expanded their roster, starting with the addition of Mephisto’s former thrall, Nighthawk of the Squadron Supreme.
Mephisto is one of Marvel’s oldest villains, dating back to 1968’s Silver Surfer #3 (opens in new tab). But in some ways, he’s one of the oldest villains in all of storytelling thanks to his status as the closest Marvel Comics analogue to the Christian devil.
Still, he’s never quite gotten his comic book due as a main villain for an event level story befitting of his infernal status – perhaps until now.
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Fans have been looking for hints of Mephisto’s presence in the MCU for years now, but at the same time, Mephisto has been quietly building as the biggest apparent threat to the world of Marvel Comics, working behind the scenes throughout the current volume of Avengers.
And it’s looking a lot like Mephisto is likely going to be the next big villain for the Marvel Universe as a whole, as he also recently menaced Spider-Man before the ‘Spider-Man Beyond’ arc, and may even have had a hand in helping Bruce Banner create ‘Starship Hulk’.
It kind of feels like Marvel is building to something here. Maybe because of all the MCU speculation … or maybe because they know something we all don’t?
But Mephisto is just one of the threats lurking in upcoming Marvel Comics stories with villains both old and new – including recent villains Moira Mactaggart, Chasm, and Titan – set to take the spotlight throughout the summer, and clues about the threats they’ll pose as 2022 rolls on.
Call it Marvel’s Most Wanted for summer 2022 – here are the villains to look out for in Marvel Comics, Mephisto included.
Mr. Sinister is classically an X-Men villain, though, since the start of the Krakoa era, he’s been an ally of the team and one of the leaders of mutant society as part of the Quiet Council. But he’s also been manipulating events behind the scenes, plying his trade as a cloner and geneticist not just to enable mutant resurrection, but to secretly conduct his own experiments with seemingly, well, sinister ends.
In the recently launched Immortal X-Men, the depth of Sinister’s schemes has seemingly been revealed along with a batch of clones of Moira MacTaggart with her mutant power to reboot the timeline still intact – but with the added twist of Sinister conducting experiments to allow himself to remain in place through the rebooted timelines.
Anti-mutant group Orchis has been a growing presence in the X-Men universe since the House of X/Powers of X (opens in new tab) relaunch, but in 2022, the imminent threat they present has been steadily becoming more dire.
Most recently, they managed to link up with Moira MacTaggert, herself a newly minted villain for the X-Men, who plans to use her new techno-organic form to eliminate mutantkind entirely – and is apparently about to spill some of Krakoa’s deepest secrets to Orchis.
Over in Spider-Man’s corner of the Marvel Universe, the wall-crawler is about to hit a major milestone with Amazing Spider-Man #6, which also marks Amazing Spider-Man #900 in so-called ‘Legacy’ numbering, which counts issues as if classic series had never been relaunched with unbroken chronological numbering.
And in the milestone issue, he’ll meet a new foe: the Sinister Adaptoid, a version of the old school android Avengers villain the Super Adaptoid, but this time with all the powers and skills of the original Sinister Six.
What’s more, the Sinister Adaptoid will be created by someone “from Spider-Man’s past.” Who that is remains a mystery, but it seems like the story will set up a classic Spidey villain as a renewed threat via the Sinister Adaptoid.
Speaking of which…
Right after the debut of the Sinister Adaptoid in Amazing Spider-Man #6/#900, July’s Amazing Spider-Man #7 and #8 will bring back Spidey’s longtime nemesis Norman Osborn, best known for his villainous alter ego the Green Goblin.
But in a weird twist, Norman seems to be working with Spider-Man this time, souping him up with a new OsCorp-tech suit that incorporates classic Green Goblin weapons like bombs and a glider with Spider-style theming.
How serious could Norman Osborn possibly be about actually helping Spider-Man in the long run, though? He’s been established as one of the most diabolical and megalomaniacal villains in the entire Marvel Universe, even posing an Avengers level threat in the story Siege. Spider-fans would be wise to keep one eye open around Osborn and his motives.
The Fantastic Four are currently embroiled in a crossover titled ‘The Reckoning War,’ which revives a long-dormant threat from beyond the bounds of the Marvel Universe’s main timeline known as the Reckoning, who were previously only hinted at in Marvel lore.
The Reckoning have ties to the Watchers, and ‘The Reckoning War’ has already claimed one major casualty in Uatu, who has been doomed to eternal imprisonment by his fellow Watchers for breaking their code of non-interference. What else will the Reckoning touch as the crossover rolls on?
Speaking of major Marvel crossovers, the next one on the horizon is AXE: Judgement Day, in which the Eternals go to war with the X-Men and mutantkind, who the Eternals have come to believe are connected to their ancient enemies the Deviants, with the Avengers caught in the middle.
But there’s a bigger threat looming in Judgement Day, and he’s got as big a rep with Marvel events as any villain: Thanos.
In the lead up to AXE: Judgement Day, Thanos has become Prime Eternal, the leader of the band of immortal alien heroes, much to the chagrin of almost all his fellow Eternals. Thanos has a plan brewing to destroy the Earth – and with the rest of the Eternals, the Avengers, and the X-Men distracted with each other, the Mad Titan has a perfect opportunity to strike.
Kang the Conqueror has been making regular appearances in Marvel Comics for the last year or so, with last December’s Timeless #1 one-shot focusing on Kang as he interacts with and observes a number of upcoming moments in the Marvel Universe, teasing several 2022 stories that have since come to pass, and some that haven’t yet.
It seems Kang himself will make his next villainous appearance as an opponent for former villain turned anti-hero Venom, as current Venom host Dylan Brock encounters the time conqueror in his quest to find out what’s become of his father and predecessor as Venom, Eddie Brock.
With Kang also set to make waves in the MCU as the villain of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, his presence in Marvel Comics is likely to continue growing as well.
The conclusion of Marvel’s recent Daredevil-centric Devil’s Reign event had DD’s old nemesis Kingpin sail off into the sunset to retire from crime – literally. But the end of that story brought some big changes not just for Wilson Fisk, but for Matt Murdock and his co-Daredevil Elektra as well, as they’ll also be leaving Hell’s Kitchen to take on a much bigger world-saving mission.
What threat is so big, and yet so Daredevil-related that it’s both world-threatening and within Matt and Elektra’s purview?
Why, The Hand, of course. The evil ninja group has been brewing up bigger and bigger trouble, and Matt and Elektra are apparently forming their own group called The Fist which is prophesied to take down The Hand once and for all.
Hulk is fresh off the April 20 introduction of Titan in Hulk #6, his “deadliest” incarnation that Marvel’s been warning readers about with much hype for some time. But no sooner has Titan emerged than another perhaps even bigger (at least figuratively) threat has been teased for the Hulk: Monolith, the queen of the so-called ‘Hulk Planet’.
What is the Hulk Planet? It’s both the moniker for a planet that exists under a Gamma star with a population of Hulk-like beings, and the name of the story in which Bruce Banner pilots ‘Starship Hulk’ to this strange new world to encounter Monolith – who seems friendly at first, but who also seems to have sinister motives for her manipulations of the Hulk.
Some of these villains already rank among the best Marvel supervillains of all time.