Where there's good, there inevitably must also be evil, but when it comes to the Marvel Universe, evil often looks awfully familiar.
Just about every hero in the MU has come up against their opposite number at one point or another, be it a villain who embodies the antithesis of their ideology or literally a bad guy wearing a dark version of their outfit (or even their old clothes).
We polled Marvel editors and creators to see which Marvel evil twins stood out to them and here's what we got…
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
BOB GALE (writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
With the exception of Venom, I always thought the "evil twins" were pretty obvious gimmicks that didn't have much going for 'em. Characters like Red Guardian
, Titanium Man, and Abomination—to name just a few—were basically manufactured
foes, specifically designed to vanquish their opposite numbers. But if we stretch the definition just a bit, we can include Loki—clearly the antithesis of Thor, made more interesting because of the family association. With Loki, we have a character we can always count on to be nasty, venal, dissembling and ready to throw the proverbial wrench into the machinery. Jealousy is such an important part of his personality that we can understand his motivation: it really is
personal, and that makes him so much more interesting!
DAVID AJA (former artist of IMMORTAL IRON FIST):
You probably don't believe me when I say the Steel Serpent, but it's true. MARVEL TEAM-UP #64 was one of my favorite books when I was a child. I used to copy Iron Fist poses but replacing the costume with Steel Serpent's. I used to do that with Wolverine
too. I have always loved villains, don't ask me why—maybe I'm evil.
It has been great to draw [Steel Serpent]. Ed [Brubaker] and Matt [Fraction] wrote the crap outta him and the IMMORTAL IRON FIST #4 cover is still one my favorites I have done.
I also love the first Tarantula from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with those poisonous stingers in his boots—and he was mutated into a giant creepy monster!
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Senior Editor):
I think the clearest "evil twins" are Captain America
and the Red Skull
. These two guys are representative of two titanic concepts: freedom and authoritarianism. Cap believes in the dream of freedom and equality for all men and the evil Red Skull believes all men should be subjugated to the will of a single immensely powerful state or individual. The Red Skull wants total control of your life in every aspect, and Cap wants every man to be able to pursue his destiny with as little interference from an overbearing state as possible. It's the iron hand of the dictator versus the open palm of individual freedom. It's as clear a conflict as you can present. And these two Wagnerian figures perfectly represent this endless struggle.
CHRISTOPHER YOST (co-writer of X-FORCE): Adam Warlock
and Magus made an early impression on me. Not only was it a hero and villain who were equal and opposite—but Adam was
Magus. As great a hero as Adam was, it showed how there was the chance it could all go the other way, too. With the right push, good becomes evil. And of course, it took place in space. I heart space.
WELLINTON ALVES (artist of NOVA):
I love Loki, I think that he is one of the best villains of Marvel. He always want to destroy Thor and his friends and his devil's heart will never stop...
PAUL CORNELL (writer of CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI: 13):
All right, since I've just been re-reading it, and want to talk about a neglected but great run, how about the Defenders
and the Mandrill
? [Writer] Ed Hannigan's run on the title—just collected in ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS VOLUME FOUR—contains a brilliant bit of world-
building, casting the Hulk
as a fantasy hero for the first time, and sending our heroes into something rather like a fantasy novel, at satisfying length, and with some lovely twists and logic. It's a labor of love and hugely underrated. [Hannigan] also frames the Defenders for a while as the first all-women super team—or non-team—and sets them against the Mandrill, whose power is to control women. They win out over several encounters, the Mandrill being seen as the epitome of conformity, a man in charge of a female army whose only thought is to obey him, while [the Defenders are] a loose non-team kept together, at this point, by a passionate desire to beat him. It's great stuff, and should be better known, and a good example of a writer finding a way to define a team through their opposite.
KAARE ANDREWS (writer/artist of SPIDER-MAN: REIGN):
Evil Twins, huh? How about Northstar
, two good old Canadian super heroes that are legitimate twins. And Northstar has gone evil a couple of times, no? Those French-Canadians are a feisty bunch! And he was
once an Olympic skier! Perfect timing for Beijing. Wow. I am rambling. When is Puck
coming back from the dead? Is he still dead? [He is the] only super hero from my hometown of Saskatoon. Look it up on a map, I'm not making that name up.
KEVIN GREVIOUX (writer of NEW WARRIORS):
The most interesting and under-used "evil twin" is the Reed Richards of Counter Earth who can turn into the Hulk-like creature the Brute
. I think that kind of physical power coupled with the brilliant mind of Reed Richards would make an even more deadly adversary than Dr. Doom!
TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor):
Back when I started to get into Marvel Comics, I bought the series of Marvel Indexes by George Olshevsky. These were big black and white books that gave information about the contents of
every issue of every Marvel comic, and included small cover reproductions. So they were like a capsule summary of the whole history of Marvel.
I was endlessly fascinated with all of the covers, and speculated about the terrific stories that must lie behind them. One I remember in particular was the cover of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #95, which featured Thor in "The Demon Duplicators." There on the cover was Thor facing off against his perfect duplicate, except—the copy had two hammers
! How cool was that, two hammers?
I eventually read the story several years later, and it was lousy.