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These Villains Were Created By The Avengers

It's an old argument: are super-heroes our protectors against increasingly dense concentrations of evil, or do these costumed crusaders, in fact, attract these weirdos in tights? If Spider-Man didn't patrol the streets of New York City, would J. Jonah Jameson hire scientists to create super-villains? By the same token, the Avengers have usually had their headquarters right in the middle of Manhattan, where any lunatic could come and challenge them while costing millions of dollars in property damage. 

The Avengers in particular have a long history of not only attracting enemies like that, but also taking on the combined grudges of their individual members' arch-enemies. The fact that two generations of Zemos hated Captain America caused untold grief. Then there have been cosmic entities, beings from the future, friends and enemies back from the dead, and alternate-universe versions of actual Avengers that have plagued the team. Sometimes the Avengers' actions have come back to haunt them, making those villains somewhat sympathetic figures.

Sometimes, however, members of the Avengers have literally created their opponents, often in the form of killer robots and the subsequent creations of said killer robots. In those cases, they had no one to blame but themselves. Let's take a look at the super-villains that the Avengers have had a hand in creating. 


The clearest example of the Avengers creating a villain came when Dr. Hank Pym, a.k.a. Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket, made a huge advance in the field of cybernetics. Hank had earlier developed a process of recording someone's brain patterns when Wonder Man seemingly died. Pym was an expert in robotics, biology, and chemistry, and combined those interests with his greatest creation: Ultron.

Using his own brain patterns, Pym had no clue that giving this robot a twisted version of his own disturbed mind was asking for trouble. Barely mobile in his first form, Ultron came to life immediately upon receiving human brain patterns and immediately decided to rebel against his "father." Indeed, Ultron reacted to Pym with a murderous Oedipus complex, wanting to kill and replace him.

Ultron quickly evolved and formed his own Masters of Evil, then later stole the impervious metal adamantium for his new bodies. No matter how many times he's seemingly been destroyed for good, he's always had contingency plans in place. His general hatred of humanity led him to genocidal schemes like killing the entire population of Slorenia.

Ultron showed that he had the same creative urge as his "father." He stole Wonder Man's brain patterns, copied them onto the original android Human Torch's body, and created the Vision. Later, he created Jocasta using Janet Pym's brain patterns, but like the Vision, she rebelled against her creator. The guilt of creating Ultron is one of the things that led Pym to a nervous breakdown.

Kang the Conqueror

Kang was a 31st-century layabout named Nathaniel Richards, who may well have been a direct descendant of Reed Richards or his father. He was bored with the tranquility of his era and was fascinated by watching ancient recordings of heroes like the Avengers. Further research had him stumble upon a time machine, and he used it to travel back to ancient Egypt and conquer it as Rama-Tut. When he was defeated by the time-traveling Fantastic Four, he went back to the future.

However, he overshot it by a thousand years and wound up in the 40th century. This was a war-torn Earth where no one understood the technology they were using, and it was here that he decided to become a time-spanning conqueror. He donned special weaponized armor that was inspired by meeting Doctor Doom in the 20th century and then decided to visit the original Avengers.

Kang has hinted that his obsession with the Avengers was more of a hobby than his real business. When you hit a mid-life crisis like he did, funny things can happen. In his case, Kang has kidnapped the Avengers to help him against a usurper, used them in a cosmic game, and kidnapped them to fight against his future self, Immortus. Then he conquered 21st century Earth as an exercise to test one of his sons and to make the Avengers officially surrender to him. The Avengers and their era were officially Kang's man-cave.

The Masters of Evil

Early in the Avengers' career, Nazi scientist Baron Heinrich Zemo realized that he couldn't defeat his arch-enemy, Captain America, on his own. So he recruited the enemies of the other Avengers: Radioactive Man (Thor), the Black Knight (Giant-Man), and the Melter (Iron Man) to beat them as the Masters of Evil. Then he recruited the Enchantress and the Executioner. They caused all sorts of havoc before Zemo died in an accident and the team disbanded.

There were other teams with that name that appeared from time to time, including one assembled by Egghead to fully disgrace Hank Pym. However, the next truly memorable iteration of the team was formed by Heinrich Zemo's son Helmut. He inherited his father's insane hatred for Cap, and after he couldn't kill him on his own, he assembled a super-villain army. He methodically attacked the various Avengers and then infiltrated their mansion. He had goons like Mister Hyde beat the Avengers' beloved butler Jarvis to within an inch of his life while Cap watched helplessly.

The Avengers were able to rally, but their mansion was reduced to rubble in the process. When the Avengers disappeared after fighting a menace called Onslaught, Zemo responded by forming a new Masters of Evil that disguised themselves as superheroes and dubbed them the Thunderbolts. He was partly undone by some of the members enjoying being heroes and wanting to reform, but he would be back to haunt Cap and the Avengers in the future. 

The Grim Reaper

Eric Williams grew up as a bad boy, unlike his straight-arrow brother Simon. Eric became a career criminal with the Maggia while Simon took over the family's business, Williams Innovations. When Tony Stark was threatening to put him out of business, Simon embezzled money from his company and invested it with his brother. He was caught and sent to jail, after which Baron Heinrich Zemo freed him and offered a chance for revenge against Stark and the Avengers with an experimental process that turned him into ionic energy. He infiltrated the Avengers as Wonder Man, with the idea being that he'd betray the team. Zemo's plan went swimmingly... until Simon sacrificed himself to save the Avengers.

Much later, a guilt-ridden Eric turned to the Tinkerer for an energy scythe, and a young Ultron used his encephalo-ray technology to give him the power to induce comas. He blamed the Avengers for Simon's death. Calling himself the Grim Reaper, he attacked the Avengers and would have killed them if it hadn't been for the Black Panther storming the mansion and saving them. 

Even when Wonder Man returned from seeming death, the Grim Reaper regarded him as a fake version of his brother. The Reaper also had a grudge against the Vision, seeing him as someone who stole Simon's identity. The Reaper continued his crusade against the Avengers even after he died and his subsequent resurrection, despite his brothers welcoming him.


Immortus is a future, alternate version of Kang. At a certain point, Kang got bored with all that conquering and hung up the purple armor. He discovered Limbo and became a master manipulator of time in service to a group of entities called the Time Keepers. His job was to prune the timelines of toxic realities, and he manipulated the Avengers for his own ends for many years. That included helping them occasionally fight his past self.

In the Avengers Forever series, it was revealed that the Avengers' influence would become so negative that it could threaten the entire universe. His job was to make sure that the Avengers never established themselves in space, and so he subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) altered the timelines and meddled in the Avengers' lives. All of this was to make sure they didn't leave Earth to rule the galaxy. In one possible future, Jonz Rickard led an army of Avengers-inspired warriors who cruelly crushed opposition on every planet. Humanity in the future also had access to a super-power called the Destiny Force, a sort of psychic energy field so powerful that it could freeze opponents in their tracks. 

The entire existence of the Avengers, whom Immortus had a fondness for, was a threat in the Time Keepers' eyes. Of course, they turned out to be evil, so what did they know? While Immortus had access to an infinite supply of warriors from across time, he was still a bureaucrat at heart.

Squadron Sinister

Kang's beloved Princess Ravonna was in a coma, and the cosmic Elder named the Grandmaster challenged him to a game. If Kang won, he would be granted power over life and death. The Grandmaster liked to use proxies for his contests, and while Kang chose the Avengers as his pawns, the Grandmaster created new villains to fight them. He named them the Squadron Sinister, and that lineup consisted of super-strong Hyperion, the ultra-fast Whizzer, caped prowler Nighthawk, and energy-manipulating Dr. Spectrum. 

Hyperion came to Earth as a baby from a doomed Microverse planet. Nighthawk was a millionaire whose powers grew stronger at night. Dr. Spectrum had a crystal that allowed him to create energy constructs. Sound familiar? This was a little goof on the part of writer Roy Thomas, and the Squadron Sinister was the Marvel version of DC's Justice League of America.

Because the Black Knight interfered with one of the battles, the Grandmaster deemed the conflict a draw. As a result, Kang only got the option of power over life or death but not both. He chose death for the Avengers, but he was defeated by the Black Knight, who was not yet an Avenger.

As for the Squadron, the Whizzer changed his name to Speed Demon and fought Spider-Man. Dr. Spectrum's power prism bounced around from owner to owner, taking over the Wasp's body at one point. Hyperion was destroyed in battle. Nighthawk eventually turned against the villains and became a cornerstone of the Defenders.

Super Adaptoid

The Super-Adaptoid may not have been created by the Avengers, but their presence certainly made him more of a menace. Created by evil scientist group Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), his original function was to destroy Captain America. With a sliver of the Cosmic Cube, this robot had the power to adapt to any opponent by copying their appearance and powers. He nearly killed Cap in their first battle after absorbing the powers and skills of the Wasp, Hawkeye, and Goliath. 

He later fought Iron Man and nearly killed the Avengers when he absorbed Thor's powers. They managed to overload him at that time but he later mutated into a new form called the Cyborg Sinister. He returned to his original form and fought the Avengers and Captain Marvel. The latter copied Mar-Vell's Nega-Bands, and when they got clanged together, the Super-Adaptoid was disappeared into the Negative Zone.

He later came back from the Negative Zone to wreak more havoc with a robot army as he tried to achieve his ultimate goal: creating an infinite number of copies of himself. His lack of original thought proved to be his undoing. While incredibly powerful, he lacked the mental elasticity to outthink his human foes. 

Galen Kor

In the Operation: Galactic Storm storyline, the Kree Supreme Intelligence deliberately started a war with the Shi'ar, knowing that his people would lose. He believed his race was at an evolutionary dead end and wanted to find a way to kick-start their development. His first step was manipulating his own forces into detonating a Nega-Bomb that wiped out most of the Kree.

The Avengers were in the thick of this war, as he knew they would be. They were trying to save Earth from being collateral damage as well as preventing as much bloodshed as possible. The Supreme Intelligence outmaneuvered them, however. Furthermore, he told them that he had caused the genocide of his own people. An outraged Iron Man convinced a group of Avengers that the Supreme Intelligence should be executed for his war crimes. That bitterly split the team, but they did indeed kill him, with the Black Knight landing the killing stroke.

Of course, the Supreme Intelligence had all of this planned out, but he didn't count on surviving Kree fanatics seeking revenge. Led by Galen Kor, he first tried to bribe members of the Starjammers into killing the Black Knight. Later, he led his own group of Kree terrorists against the Avengers, and they almost set off a Nega-Bomb that would have destroyed Earth. Later, they tried to turn humanity into Kree using the Terrigen Mists. They were destroyed, thanks in part to the Supreme Intelligence working against them. He had his own agenda.

Legion of the Unliving

Thanks to having a lot of enemies with connections to either time travel or the afterlife, the Avengers have had to face multiple iterations of the Legion of the Unliving. These villain teams consisted of dead friends and foes that were either plucked from right before they died or yanked away from their eternal rewards. Immortus commanded the first version, which included Wonder Man, Baron Heinrich Zemo, and the original Human Torch. That group broke away from Immortus' control, and the good guys helped the Avengers. Immortus tried again later in order to control the Scarlet Witch. He was defeated and the Time Keepers became his master. That team included the original Black Knight, the Swordsman, and the future Iron Man from 2020.

The Grandmaster, seeking control over Death, cooked up a scheme that involved sending the Avengers to Death's realm. He nearly won, but Hawkeye cheated in a game of chance and Death was freed from the Grandmaster's control. Captain Mar-Vell, Drax the Destroyer, and the Green Goblin were some of the notables on that team.

The Grim Reaper was on a couple of different Legions. The first time, he was in service to a demon and had Baron Zemo, Nebulon, and the draconic Star-Stalker on his squad. The second time, he teamed up with his brother Wonder Man and brought back dead Avengers like Mockingbird and Dr. Druid. That group tore up New York. Note that many of these characters were later resurrected.

Lethal Legion

The Grim Reaper took a cue from Baron Zemo and formed his own team of villains with grudges against the Avengers to help him out with his own. Naming his squad the Lethal Legion, he had Man-Ape, the original Power Man, the Living Laser, and the Swordsman on his side. Every one of them had a beef with current or former Avengers. The Vision saved the day against the villains, fooling the Reaper into thinking he was his brother.

His second team had Man-Ape, Ultron, Nekra, Black Talon, and Goliath (formerly Power Man). They battled the West Coast Avengers, but that team had too many agendas to succeed and broke up despite their raw power. His third team fought both the Avengers and Norman Osborn, and it included the Absorbing Man, the Grey Gargoyle, Tiger Shark, and Mister Hyde.

Count Nefaria, who had a grudge against Iron Man in particular, also had a couple of Lethal Legions. The first, with the Living Laser, Power Man, and Whirlwind, was just a bunch of pawns he used to absorb their powers and turn himself into a literal superman. The Living Laser and Whirlwind somehow ignored the fact that he had drained their powers and worked for Nefaria in an effort to get his powers back, but Spider-Man interfered. While never quite at the same level of menace as the Masters of Evil, the various Lethal Legions were still dangerous.

Proctor and the Gatherers

In the Earth that we know, the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) and Sersi were teammates. Sersi fell in love with him, and there was some mutual interest, but he had fallen in love with new Avenger Crystal. Sersi slowly started growing unstable and dangerous, even killing some enemies. Fellow Eternal Ikaris bonded her to Dane against his will to become her Gann Josin, or soulmate. 

On another Earth, Dane fell in love with Sersi, but she rejected him. He angrily went insane and not only killed her, but decided to kill Sersi in every timeline. Using the power of a Watcher, he assembled a team of alternate Avengers called the Gatherers and renamed himself Proctor. This included an alternate-Earth Swordsman (dead in the main reality) and an evil Vision. The nobility of an alternate-Earth Black Panther (known as the Coal Tiger, which was the character's original name) opposed Proctor. His power was responsible for Sersi's descent into murderous insanity, as he also sought to kill the other Avengers and destroy reality.

Sersi eventually killed Proctor with his own version of the Ebony Blade, while she and Dane left our reality for a while. It's one thing for the Avengers to inspire bad guys by accident, but it's even worse when the villains are versions of themselves. 


Also known as "War Toy," Alkhema was created by Ultron to be yet another bride. He had earlier tried that trick by stealing the brain patterns of the Wasp to create Jocasta, but she quickly rebelled against him and befriended the Avengers. Alkhema would prove to be another matter. Based on the brain patterns of Mockingbird, she kept Bobbi Morse's obnoxious patter but also immediately rebelled against her creator and would-be husband. However, she wanted to destroy humanity every bit as much as Ultron, only this sadistic robot wanted to do it one person at a time instead of en masse.

She aided the Avengers a few times against Ultron mostly to spite him, but later created a group of "children" based on various Avengers' brain patterns called Robos. She helped the Avengers destroy them when she learned that all of Ultron's creations had a deep-seated suggestion that commanded them to recreate him if he was ever destroyed. It's a sign that the Avengers have been around a long time when the enemies that they accidentally created start creating their own villains to menace the world.