Take 10

Take 10: Evil Geniuses

The scientists and schemers who have embraced the dark side most effectively!

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Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

If you're a bad dude or lady and the good guys you're consistently going up against include powerhouses like the Hulk, Thor, Ms. Marvel and other heavy hitters, you learn a lesson Marvel's villains caught on to a long time ago: sometimes you gotta go with brain over brawn.

This week in FALL OF THE HULKS ALPHA, a new group of gathered sinister savants known as the Intelligencia make their debut and kick off a campaign against the Gamma Gang. In recognition of this monumental gathering, the Secret Cabal has highlighted 10 Marvel baddies who happen to be wicked smart in addition to just plain wicked.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

 

 
10. MAXIMUS
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #47 (1966)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: It's not so much over-ambition or nefarious intentions that prevent Maximus from using his intellect to the benefit of his Inhuman brethren, it's that he's completely nuts! Yes, this insanity thing has led him to the aforementioned flights of conquest and whatnot, but the sobering image of a semi-sane Max helping Medusa and the rest during War of Kings proved just as creepy as when he's being bad.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #47 (1966)-Maximus makes his maddening debut!

 
9. THE WIZARD
First Appearance: STRANGE TALES #102 (1962)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Smart as the self-proclaimed "Wingless Wizard" is-and he's no slouch in the brains department-you've got to chuckle a bit that in his first few appearances ol' Bentley Wittman failed to successfully match wits against the Human Torch of all people. Over the ensuing years, the Wizard has found more of a niche and gained some repute as the frequent leader of most incarnations of the Fearsome Four, but he's never quite been able to wash that stench of failure away; here's hoping charter membership in the Intelligencia gives this underrated rogue another shot.
Spotlight Comic: STRANGE TALES #110 (1963)-The Wizard recruits Paste Pot Pete in his campaign against the Human Torch!

 
8. ARNIM ZOLA
First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA #208 (1977)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: A pioneer in human genetic engineering and close aide to Hitler himself, Arnim Zola took such glee in his work that he had no problem transferring his consciousness into a robot with a stomach screen for a face in order to get a few more decades for experiments. Frequently working alongside the Red Skull, Zola has no problem partnering with anybody if it helps kick him a few more bucks to splice some DNA together. He also helped cause the supposed death of Captain America-jerk.
Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA #208 (1977)-The twisted debut of Arnim Zola!

 
7. THE MAD THINKER
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #15 (1963)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Despite having the adjective "Mad" in his name, the man who prefers to go by the Thinker is that rare super villain who would prefer to be paid in knowledge as opposed to wealth or power. Many of the Thinker's big plans have an endgame of just getting his hands on Mister Fantastic's gadgets or picking apart the original Human Torch. A master of robotics and decent networker to boot, the only thing the Thinker can't seem to tackle is coming up with a better look than basic green-truly Mad.
Spotlight Comic: STRANGE TALES #126 (1964)-The Mad Thinker forms an alliance with the Puppet Master to manipulate the Thing and the Human Torch against one another!

 
6. M.O.D.O.K.
First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #93 (1967)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: M.O.D.O.K. is a great example of pride going before a fall, as A.I.M. figured they had created the ultimate weapon by mutating low-level technician George Tarleton into a Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing, and ended up creating a powerfully ambitious creature far more interest in Killing. M.O.D.O.K. wasted little time in taking over his former employer and has spent the intervening years acting through pawns and his own mighty mind blasts to bedevil Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk and others. Plus, he looks awesome.
Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA #112 (1969)-M.O.D.O.K. bedevils the Star-Spangled Avenger!

 
5. OBADIAH STANE
First Appearance: IRON MAN #166 (1982)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: In addition to being a savvy and ruthless businessman as well as a scientist of no small skill, Obadiah Stane was a life-long chess enthusiast, and applied that knack for being able to see and control the big picture to systematically ruining Tony Stark's life. Unlike any other before him, Stane broke the man behind Iron Man on every conceivable level, stealing his company out from under him and driving the Golden Avenger to seek refuge in the bottle. Ultimately forging his own Iron Monger armor, Stane refused to let Stark defeat him, regardless of the extreme action that meant taking.
Spotlight Comic: IRON MAN #200 (1985)-The final showdown between Iron Man and Iron Monger!

 
4. DOCTOR OCTOPUS
First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 (1963)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: As with so many on this list, it's both sad and absurd to think of how much good Doctor Otto Octavius could be doing for the world but for one tragic twist of fate leading him down the path of villainy. Rather than using his wondrous inventions to make scientific breakthroughs, Doc Ock has become a slave to those selfsame devices, his once-promising intellect in thrall to acquiring power and making miserable the lives of those who would oppose him.
Spotlight Comic: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #89 (1970)-A battle between Spidey and Doc Ock claims the life of somebody close to Peter Parker!

 
3. MISTER SINISTER
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #213 (1987)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: A geneticist with lofty initial intentions-the quest for knowledge and somehow thwarting the ascension of Apocalypse-Nathaniel Essex ultimately became a twisted version of Charles Darwin, or worse, closer to a mutant Josef Mengele. No deranged experiment is taboo to the man aptly called Sinister in his never-ending drive to unlock the building blocks of life, no act too extreme. Beyond his sick experimentation, Sinister has also demonstrated incredible patience and aptitude when it comes to long-term scheming, as demonstrated by his manipulation the Summers family over several centuries.
Spotlight Comic: X-MEN: COLOSSUS BLOODLINE #3 (2005)-Sinister insinuates himself into the Rasputin family's affairs!

 
2. THE LEADER
First Appearance: TALES TO ASTONISH #62 (1964)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: What with the Hulk being the strongest there is and all, obviously no being can match him fist-to-fist, which is just part of what makes the Leader and his abnormally large cranial cavity Jade Jaws' most potent foe. The former Samuel Sterns also serves as a dark side to Bruce Banner's already dark side as a one-time high school janitor who had his intelligence boosted to ridiculous levels by gamma radiation in the same way the Hulk came into creation. Besides adoring his sometimes comically large gourd, we also dig how every Leader plot has layers that the average rocket scientist couldn't wrap their noggin around, let alone the freakin' Hulk.
Spotlight Comic: INCREDIBLE HULK #115 (1969)-The Leader teams with General Ross to take down the Hulk!

 
1. DOCTOR DOOM
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (1962)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: When it comes to evil brainpower, Victor Von Doom is the renaissance man of the Marvel Universe. Science, magic, tyranny/self-government-name a field of endeavor requiring smarts and Doctor D has mastered it with malicious intent. That he applies this brainpower to schemes like launching the Baxter Building into outer space or trapping the Fantastic Four in a miniaturized dream town rather than curing all disease or solving world hunger makes him deliciously malicious. That and the fact that no matter what setback he suffers, it's always somehow Reed Richards' fault and not his own.
Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #10 (1963)-Doctor Doom usurps the body of his archrival, Reed Richards!

 

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Comments

7 comments
ssbn401
ssbn401

[quote@MichaelChen [quote@ssbn401 [quote:81a293bf23="Modular Armor"]Stane makes this list but The Mandarin doesn't? How does that work?[/quote] I wouldn't really consider the Mandarin an evil "genius." He's not really renowned for his unparalleled intellect and mind, is he? Great villain? Yes. Genius? No.[/quote] Huh? The Mandarin is known for being a genuis at just about everything. Biology, tech, physics, politics, military strategy. He's even very knowledgeable about magic.Heck, Tony Stark has repeatedly called him, "the greatest mind I have ever encountered!" His whole thing is being a super-genuis and superhuman martial artist. What else would it be?[/quote] AS I look up stuff on him, I see you're right. I guess in all the comics I've ever seen him in, he's always just attacking with his rings and not doing crazy, Dr. Doom level mad genius stuff. I guess I'm just reading the wrong Mandarin stuff (although, I'll admit, Iron Man enemies aren't my forte)

MichaelChen
MichaelChen

Also, Obediah Stane wasn't a scientist. He was a pure businessman. He employed scientists, but had no scientific ability himself. Giving him the spot that should belong to The Mandarin is criminal.

MichaelChen
MichaelChen

[quote@ssbn401 [quote:c44a1133e8="Modular Armor"]Stane makes this list but The Mandarin doesn't? How does that work?[/quote] I wouldn't really consider the Mandarin an evil "genius." He's not really renowned for his unparalleled intellect and mind, is he? Great villain? Yes. Genius? No.[/quote] Huh? The Mandarin is known for being a genuis at just about everything. Biology, tech, physics, politics, military strategy. He's even very knowledgeable about magic.Heck, Tony Stark has repeatedly called him, "the greatest mind I have ever encountered!" His whole thing is being a super-genuis and superhuman martial artist. What else would it be?

kreemarvel
kreemarvel

[color=seagreen] That they wanted to keep this list cosmic-free is the only explanation I would get for why Thanos is not included.Great that Sinister is in, and there was no doubt Doom would be at the top (unless perhaps Thanos won).[/color]

YourHero22
YourHero22

YES! Love it. I'm so glad that Sinister made the list!!

ssbn401
ssbn401

[quote:a4f7735ecb="Modular Armor"]Stane makes this list but The Mandarin doesn't? How does that work?[/quote] I wouldn't really consider the Mandarin an evil "genius." He's not really renowned for his unparalleled intellect and mind, is he? Great villain? Yes. Genius? No.

Modular_Armor
Modular_Armor

Stane makes this list but The Mandarin doesn't? How does that work?