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Take 10

Take 10: Thor Villains

The most malicious men, women and monsters to menace Midgard and Asgard alike

Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. As an immortal warrior of Asgard, Thor has faced just about every threat conceivable in his long-tenured heroic career. From sentient planets and frost giants to death goddesses and thugs with mystic crowbars, the Thunder God has faced down the worst the mortal and immortal realms have to offer. With the historic THOR #600 in stores today and the titular Asgardian facing threats undreamt of yet again, the Secret Cabal held session to choose Thor's greatest foes. 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. THE DARK GODS First Appearance: THOR v2 #1 (1998) Learn More About Them…here Why They Make the List: The concept of the "evil twin" is a classic in comics, and when done well can create some of the best antagonists you'll find—with their near-limitless power and unique John Romita Jr.-designed looks, the Dark Gods fit that bill. The evil opposite number of the Asgardian pantheon, Majeston Zelia and her twisted "family" would have laid siege to Asgard and killed Odin years ago if not for the intervention of an infant Thor. They would make an ominous return to menace the adult Thunder God, once again felling his fellow Asgardians, and necessitating Thor to enlist the aid of Hercules and the Destroyer, even then only barely scraping by alive. Spotlight Comic: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83—The first appearance of the Dark Gods' greatest foe: the Mighty Thor!

9. THE EXECUTIONER First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #103 (1964) Why He Makes the List: For the first portion of his existence within the pages of THOR and other Marvel titles, Skurge the Executioner seemed like a simple brute, a thug who loved violence for violence's sake. As time went on, we got to see there was far more depth to Skurge, from his hopeless love for the Enchantress—despite her constant lack of appreciation of his efforts—to his solemn code of honor in his battles with Thor and his fellows. In his final moments, Skurge proved himself a warrior with few peers when it came to that aforementioned honor, taking on Hela's undead army and sacrificing his life so that Thor could live and he would be remembered as a hero. Spotlight Comic: THOR #362—The Executioner's last stand against the hordes of Hel!

8. THE DESTROYER First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118 (1965) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: The Destroyer is no mere villain, not just some bad guy to be clobbered and cuffed; it's Odin's ultimate engine of—you guessed it—destruction, and when it gets unleashed, property gets damaged and people get hurt. It's the ultimate melding of Asgardian mysticism and technology, powered by the rage of any soul unfortunate enough to get locked inside, be it Loki, Sif or Odin himself. Indeed part of the appeal whenever the Destroyer shows up is that it could be anybody trapped behind that ominous faceplate, but regardless of who's providing the fuel, it's a sure bet Thor is gonna get hurt. Spotlight Comic: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118—The devastating force of the Destroyer unleashed!

7. THE ABSORBING MAN First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114 (1965) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: In 1965, the notion that a bald jailbird with a ball and chain strapped to his wrist could be a formidable opponent for Thor and even one of Marvel's most enduring villains may have seemed a bit outside the box, but here we are 44 years later and Crusher Creel is still going strong. No doubt the undeniably cool ability to "absorb" and give his body the properties of any substance he touches has made the Absorbing Man a cult favorite, but Crusher's down-to-earth, no-frills greed has also made him a guilty pleasure. He has waged war against Thor, Hulk, the Avengers and just about every other Marvel hero over the past four decades. Spotlight Comic: THOR #375—With Thor at his weakest, the Absorbing Man strikes!

6. FENRIS First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114 (1965) Why He Makes the List: A fairly well-known figure from Norse mythology, Fenris had built-in cred going back long before he ever reared his doggie breath in the Marvel Universe. Also: he's a giant, friggin' wolf who wants to swallow Thor whole! Fenris may not be the brightest monster in Asgard, but his tearing and clawing skills more than make up for it. And besides, he's got his nasty daddy, Loki, to do his thinking for him. Fenris keeps Thor busy while Loki hatches his plans. What a dad! The tussles between Thor and Fenris have been some of the most vicious in all the Thunder God's travels, and we anxiously await more god-on-big ol' wolf violence. Spotlight Comic: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114—Fenris bares his fangs against Thor for the first time!

5. HELA First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #102 (1964) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: Hela's cold, emotionless expressions and bored proclamations of doom set her among the most unsettling in Marvel's pantheon of villains. Actually, labeling Hela merely a "villain" may be unfair, seeing as how she considers herself far beyond good and evil and it's hard to make a solid case against that stance. There is a sleek elegance and an almost beauty to Hela, but you get the sense that if you stare too long your soul will no longer be your own—and that's how she snares you. Thor clearly dreads his trips to Hela's domain, as he doesn't quite seem to have a handle on her even after centuries, and that's certainly cause for alarm. Spotlight Comic: THOR #354—Thor braves death itself, journeying to Hela's realm for the life of Odin!

4. THE WRECKING CREW First Appearance: DEFENDERS v1 #17 (1974) Learn More About Them…here Why They Make the List: In some respects, the Wrecker in his early appearances just seemed like a poor man's Absorbing Man: another average joe who got handed a mystical implement of destruction—in his case a crowbar—but without those neat powers of transmutation or groovy striped pants. However, when the Wrecker went out and got a group of his buddies together to raze hell, they redefined villain groups in the Marvel Universe. The furthest thing you'll find from more refined teams like the Masters of Evil or Sinister Six, the Wrecking Crew is more akin to four really obnoxious guys from your local bar that got super powers and banded together for evil. They're boorish and clumsy, but there's something about the Wrecking Crew that's hopelessly endearing—even though it's still fun to watch Thor kick their butts. Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS v3 #16—The Wrecking Crew conquers Arkon's dimension and bait the Avengers into a deadly trap!

3. SURTUR First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #97 (1963) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: He's a giant made of fire with the biggest sword ever—how could Surtur not make this list? But awesome visual aside, Surtur is basically the Asgardian boogeyman, the monster gods tell their godlings about before bedtime to freak them out and make them do their chores the next day. This is a creature that causes the most powerful race in the Marvel Universe to shudder. When Surtur shows up, you expect big things to go down, and Ragnarok's nastiest harbinger never disappoints. Surtur has not only taken Thor beyond his limit, he's also punched Odin's clock more than once and put the Allfather down for the big Odinsleep. Surtur terrifies even the most steadfast of Asgardians, and for that we give him props. Spotlight Comic: THOR #353—Asgard makes its last stand against the might of Surtur!

2. THE ENCHANTRESS First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #103 (1964) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: The lovely Amora, better known as the Enchantress, may be one of the most beautiful women in the Marvel Universe, but few have caused Thor and Asgard more headaches. Her motives are complex, ranging from lust for the Thunder God to simple desires for more power and influence. Her own powers are formidable, but her ability to make men her true weapons is far more frightening. Like the equally mythic Helen of Troy, the Enchantress doesn't need to fight her own battles, she just sits back and lets her would-be suitors duke it out and then swings in for the spoils. Thor has been duped more than once by the fair-haired beauty into being her unknowing boy toy, and the next time she shakes that immortal money maker his way, Goldilocks might end up putty in her hands once more. Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS v1 #7—The bewitching Enchantress tears the Avengers apart!

1. LOKI First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #85 (1962) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: Who else could it be? Loki stands apart from the brutes and bruisers who occupy Thor's world—and indeed most of the Marvel Universe—in that he—or lately "she"—possesses the raw power of a god, but rarely chooses to play that hand, preferring to remind his/her foes that it's there as a plan B. The God alternately of Mischief and Evil, Loki is Marvel's greatest schemer, moving his pawns into place and slowly savoring every moment of his plans, but always reminding with a sly grin he could crush you in an instant. Loki's most dangerous gift has ever been his ability to engender the trust of those in power, striking from within rather than without. His/her sibling rivalry with Thor is truly the stuff of legend and the Thunder God will likely never have a more dangerous rival. Spotlight Comic: LOKI #1—Find out what happens when Loki wins! Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes! Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution" now on iTunes!
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