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Take 10: Crime Lords

The Secret Cabal brings Marvel’s most insidious street level power players into the light of day

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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. It doesn't always take super strength or the ability to shoot lasers from your eyes to be bad news for the Marvel Universe; some of the vilest villains in the history of the House of Ideas have clawed their way to the top on ambition, ruthlessness, and a knack for getting goons to do what they say—but hey, if you do have some super powers as well, all the better. This week, DARK REIGN: THE HOOD #1 chronicles the next step for the Marvel U's latest master of the underworld, so the Secret Cabal decided to examine the nastiest crime lords of them all. For each entry 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. THE ROSE Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #83 (1970) Why He Makes the List: "The son of the Kingpin, Richard Fisk played the ultimate game on the lord of underworld crime. He joined his father's organization under the guise of the Rose to take down the Kingpin's empire from within. This resulted in an all-out power struggle that left Spider-Man, the cops, numerous street level heroes, and the crime world turned upside down. Just like every web-slinger sings a sad, sad song, every good gang war has its Rose." – Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #253—There's a new player in the New York City underworld, and his name's the Rose!

9. MADAME MASQUE First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #98 (1968) Why She Makes the List: "The sinful apple doesn't fall far from the tree in the case of Madame Masque, as she followed in the footsteps of her father, Count Nefaria, on the road to carving out an impressive reputation for dirty deeds. The good Madame does have one advantage her dad never possessed, of course: her feminine wiles, which she never fails to take advantage of. Whitney Frost has made time with both Tony Stark—aka Iron Man—as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell and currently has the Hood in her romantic crosshairs, but Madame Masque never unleashes her weapons of mass seduction without her own benefit in mind." – Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: TALES OF SUSPENSE #98—Before becoming Madame Masque, Whitney Frost beguiles Tony Stark!

8. JUSTIN HAMMER Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: IRON MAN #120 (1979) Why He Makes the List: "Unlike many of the names on this list, Justin Hammer wasn't known to the world at large as a notorious criminal, but rather as a well-respected businessman and professional rival of Tony Stark. However, away from the prying eye of the public, Hammer resorted to the dirtiest of tactics in an attempt to carve out a law-breaking empire equal to his legitimate corporate kingdom. Hammer kept dozens of mid-level super villains like Whiplash and Blizzard gainfully employed as he sought to enact the ultimate hostile takeover of first Iron Man and later the world." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: IRON MAN #126—Justin Hammer wages war on Tony Stark and Iron Man!

7. HAMMERHEAD Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #113 (1972) Why He Makes the List: "He may be a perpetual also-ran when it comes to the crime boss game, but Hammerhead's seeming inability to catch a break makes him kinda endearing—well, as endearing as a dude with a steel-plated flat top and affectation for speaking like a 30's mobster can be. But while Hammerhead may be quirky, he keeps plugging away, regardless of how outclassed he may be, and we admire his moxie. Joe Kelly's recent exploration and reinvention of the deadly Spotlight Comic: CIVIL WAR: WAR CRIMES #1—Hammerhead attempts to use the Civil War to squeeze the Kingpin out of power for good!

6. ZODIAC Learn More About Them… here First Appearance: AVENGERS #72 (1970) Why They Make the List: "Most guys or gals looking to start a crime cartel just invest in some snazzy suits, matching uniforms for their cannon fodder and guns aplenty, so you have to admire a group like the Zodiac, who take the time to construct an elaborate gimmick, make neat costumes, and theme all their crimes around signs of the astrological calendar. Killing off every other Gemini in New York City? Not sure how it helps amass money or power, but sure, sounds like a plan! The Zodiac are a neat throwback to the villains of yesteryear and we dig their kooky vibe." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS #72 (1970)—It's the first sign of Zodiac!

5. THE OWL Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: DAREDEVIL #3 (1964) Why He Makes the List: "Drugs, money and mutations—those are the keys to the Owl's criminal success. Taking his knowledge as a financial investor into the crime biz, ol' Owlsley repeatedly got his head kicked in. But over time, through horrible experiments, he's become less and less human. See that? He's bettering himself in order to better his career. And over the past few years he's branched out into drugs, namely MGH—mutant growth hormone—a tasty little endeavor that helped him take some of Wilson Fisk's territory." – Secret Cabal member Agent_M Spotlight Comic: DAREDEVIL #3 (1964)—The Owl makes his dastardly debut!

4. COUNT NEFARIA Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: AVENGERS #13 (1965) Why He Makes the List: "Nope, he's not a vampire nor does he love to count. He is the one of the most famous heads of the Maggia families, and father of Madame Masque. The Nefaria family has followed in the Count's footsteps by making super-power plays, if you will, targeting the Avengers and trying to take over the world. Lately, Count Nefaria has moved on from his human form to become an ionic being, feeding off of others. So I guess he is like a vampire, after all. But he still hates to count." – RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #22—Count Nefaria recruits a small army of super villains to take over Washington D.C.!

3. TOMBSTONE Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #36 (1988) Why He Makes the List: "Some crime bosses are content to be manipulators or puppet masters, but Tombstone isn't just willing to get his hands dirty, he relishes the opportunity. The gravelly-voiced, terrifyingly strong albino who has come close to choking the life out of Spider-Man every time they've crossed paths seems like he'd be more the hired muscle type, but T-Stone's got too much ambition to settle for being the dude standing in the corner—he wants it all. He's also made life hell for one of the nicest guys in the Marvel Universe, Robbie Robertson, so you know he's a real jerk." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: SPIDER-MAN'S TANGLED WEB #16—Even in prison, Tombstone proves why he's not to be messed with!

2. THE HOOD Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: THE HOOD #1 (2002) Why He Makes the List: "Most of the crime lords on our list started out low on the villainous totem pole, so Parker Robbins' early career as a two-bit thug isn't very surprising. But his rise to become kingpin of the super villain underworld has been nothing short of meteoric. The main reason for his success? He's powered by the dread Dormammu, ruler of the Dark Dimension. Mystically-powered, the Hood's maimed, killed and scared his way to the top. It's going to take something major to topple his criminal empire." – Agent_M Spotlight Comic: NEW AVENGERS #33—The Hood solidifies his position as the new kingpin of super villains!

1. THE KINGPIN Learn More About Him… here First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50 (1967) Why He Makes the List: "The original crime lord of the Marvel Universe, over four decades later, Wilson Fisk remains the measuring stick. An overweight youth coming from nothing, Fisk put his own perverse twist on the American dream, pulling himself up by his bootstraps and not being afraid to step on, discard or kill anybody in the way of him becoming absolute ruler of the most powerful underworld on the planet. With no superhuman abilities, but plenty of cunning, drive and ruthlessness, the Kingpin has humbled Spider-Man, ruined Daredevil's life more than once, and made men and women with far more physical power fear him like no other. He has fallen many times, but never count the Kingpin out—he'll always rise back to the top." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: SPIDER-MAN'S TANGLED WEB #4—When a flunky fails to deliver, the Kingpin displays his professionalism as well as his ruthlessness!
 
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Comments

7 comments
The_Hobgoblin
The_Hobgoblin

Nice list. I really like it, but the Rose should be a little higher.

johnnysword
johnnysword

[quote@ebellavita77 Being that I am somewhat new to the Marvel Universe I was there when Parker Robbins became the Hood and watched him topple the Avengers a few times. Therefore he gets my vote. The Kingpin is old news. I expect with the Return of the King, and with the Hood in the Cabal we should see a war between the two soon. That is something I am really looking forward too. Especially with the possiblity of the Hood becoming Sorceror Supreme.[/quote] Hood may be getting a big push right now because Bendis likes the character. But stick around the Marvel U for a little longer. It's only a matter of time before you see why Kingpin easily deserves to be #1.

bandito_holdin
bandito_holdin

what about silvermane? gotta be better than t-stone and hammerhead. i miss mountain man marko

ebellavita77
ebellavita77

Being that I am somewhat new to the Marvel Universe I was there when Parker Robbins became the Hood and watched him topple the Avengers a few times. Therefore he gets my vote. The Kingpin is old news. I expect with the Return of the King, and with the Hood in the Cabal we should see a war between the two soon. That is something I am really looking forward too. Especially with the possiblity of the Hood becoming Sorceror Supreme.

KaiYves
KaiYves

A small nitpick- there's no such thing as a "meteoric rise", because meteors don't rise- they fall.

Miles_Warren
Miles_Warren

Well I [i] knew[/i] Kingpin would be #1. He is the ultimate crime boss and has been since his debut. I'm surprised to see Tombstone so high up on the list. I guess there's a lot of love for the albino...