70. Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) vs. Thanos
Oh, Quicksilver, we hardly knew ye. In Pietro’s defense, he spent most of his big Marvel outing fighting for the wrong team. Now, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s quick, emo orphan had a heroic death, to be sure. But until near the end, he was mostly just a pain in the ass. Add in that Maximoff’s speedster doesn’t pack the powers, or the fun, of Grant Gustin’s small-screen take on The Flash, and what you get is a pretty disappointing super. Sorry, Pietro. You’ve got a gloomy sister, and Barry’s got Cisco Ramone. He’d win the fight of the fast guys, no doubt.
But he’s in luck in this matchup. There’s no question that this list will probably change a lot once the next round of Avengers movies come around. Civil War screenwriters Steve McFeely and Chris Markus outright acknowledged Marvel’s villain problem in a recent interview, saying that it’s likely that Thanos will be the one to change all that. But for now, Thanos is one big, blue-faced tease after another. Hope that chair’s comfortable, Josh Brolin, since you’ve spent so much time in it.
Who Would Win: Who knows? Thanos hasn’t done shit yet. But I mean, he probably would, or he wouldn’t be the big bad, right? Right? Bueller? —Allison Shoemaker
69. Agent 13 (Sharon Carter) vs. Raina
Sharon Carter is a solid ally for Captain America in The Winter Soldier, despite Steve’s surprise that the neighbor he’d been flirting with was an undercover agent keeping tabs on him. Still, the character’s simply too underserved in her lone appearance in the MCU to rate much higher, something that Civil War might correct.
But Raina, with the way she constantly spouted stock bad-guy dialogue and the usual villainous doublespeak, was, if anything, overserved. Raina was a fly in the ointment whether she was working with The Clairvoyant, helping Calvin Zabo find his daughter, or roaming around an Inhuman collective. The best thing to come out of her character, before or after her Terrigenesis transformation, were jokes that she looked like Sonic the Hedgehog.
Who Would Win: Raina could talk endlessly, but wasn’t worth much in a fight. Our vote is for the new Agent Carter. –Andrew Bloom
68. Lincoln Campbell vs. Jiaying
A lightning-wielding, occasionally hotheaded, rogue Inhuman should be pretty damn cool. Instead, Lincoln is a bland, generic love interest for Daisy who possesses all the edginess of Poochie. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has tried to redeem the character in encounters with May and Coulson, he’s still a superfluous figure in the series.
Similarly, the mystery of Daisy’s mom had been one of the most notable story arcs in AoS from the beginning. The reveal that Skye’s mother was not only a routine Inhuman extremist, but a monologuing villain whose painful attempts at emotional moments with her daughter were a consistent low-light made Jiaying one of the great disappointments of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Who Would Win: It’s a little late now, but the best we could hope for is mutually assured destruction. –Andrew Bloom
67. Vision vs. Algrim/Kurse
What happens when you combine an infinity stone, snootfuls of vibranium, JARVIS’ A.I., and Thor’s lightning? Apparently, you get a cross between Slim Goodbody and The Kool-Aid Man, who offers fortune cookie-level monologues about the nature of man, and a third-act addition to an already overstuffed film.
Speaking of unnecessary characters, the rap on Malekith, the nominal big bad of The Dark World, is that he’s an entirely indistinct, unmemorable antagonist with barely established motivations or personality. So where does that leave a character who’s basically Malekith’s sidekick? Right here.
Who Would Win: Kurse would get hyped up on Aether and then break into tears when he realizes that no one knows who he is. At the same time, Vision would crack six more jokes about being born yesterday. –Andrew Bloom
66. Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) vs. Aldrich Killian
Full disclosure: neither of the writers of this list have seen Civil War yet. Based on Dominick Suzanne-Mayer’s review, it sounds like she’s got some prominent moments. But like her brother, who sits smack-dab at the bottom of this list, Wanda has yet to impress. Sure, she does a real number on Ultron, and it’s completely understandable that a person not battle-tested might freak out when they’re surrounded by screaming people on a big piece of land floating in the sky. All the same, we’ve really only seen her be sad, mad, or scared, and none of them were particularly compelling. Elizabeth Olsen can do better. Let’s hope she does.
Yeah, Scarlet Witch is pretty lame. But Aldrich Killian is, as a friend put it, a childhood-ruiner. The Mandarin is a legendary Iron Man villain, and while the bait-and-switch pulled in Iron Man 3 gets points for cleverness, it does somewhat lessen the stakes. It’s hard to hitch an epic ride to a dude who’s really pissed he got left on a roof. And the normally compelling Guy Pearce chews so much scenery that it’s amazing there’s anything left for them to blow up at the end. Woof.
Who Would Win: This is a pretty good fight, actually, and it would be so pretty! All the glowing lights! Let’s assume Wanda could get in Killian’s head, exploit all those dudely insecurities, and convince him to kick his own ass. —Allison Shoemaker
65. Lady Sif vs. Ulysses Klaue
Sif’s appearances in the Thor films and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have cast her as little beyond a standard-issue Asgardian warrior and a transparent love interest for Thor as an alternative to Jane Foster. While plenty capable in combat, Sif’s just another berserker who’s been dropped off from the Renaissance fair.
Klaue, on the other hand, certainly has personality in what little we see of him in Age of Ultron — talking back to the Maximoff twins and giving the titular megalomaniac bot the vibranium he seeks. But Klaue hasn’t had much of a chance to shine just yet, after an ill-timed comment to Ultron left the weapons dealer as an unarmed man.
Who Would Win: Klaue won’t back down from a super-powered foe, but the last time he tried that, it didn’t work out too well for him. Bet on Sif. – Andrew Bloom
64. Jason Wilkes vs. Dr. List
As Bill Nye would say, science rules. Jason Wilkes, scientist, only kind of rules. Pros: He’s a guy with the guts to woo Peggy Carter; he’s a genius; he risks his job and his life to help the SSR. Cons: He makes some really bad choices; he is sometimes invisible but doesn’t do anything cool with it; he’s just kind of boring. But again, he’s a genius. That counts for something.
Dr. List, one of the MCU’s property- and media-jumping regulars, has his fair share of genius, too. He gets extra villain-points for being one of HYDRA’s sleepers within S.H.I.E.L.D., for carrying the evil doctor torch first ignited by Arnim Zola, and for killing off his test subjects with reckless, PETA-scorning abandon. He also accidentally created an Avenger. Whoops.
Who Would Win: Oh, List, no question. Whitney Frost got Wilkes all twisted in like five minutes flat. —Allison Shoemaker
63. Mitchell Ellison vs. Mitchell Carson
First up in this Mitchell vs. Mitchell showdown, we have a very specific type of hero: the plucky, fearless reporter. In this case, it’s specifically a plucky, fearless editor, but the point stands. Ellison spends most of season one of Daredevil getting in Ben Urich’s way and most of season two making up for that by helping Karen Page fight the good fight (and turning her into one of those plucky reporters along the way). No powers, just ink-stained fingers and mad research skills.
He’s countered by another administrative-type, S.H.I.E.L.D. turncoat Mitchell Carson. He’s one of those rich guys that tries to buy his way to the top of the food chain, and he’s also a dick, so basically, he’s the worst. But when you’re talking about villains, those are prized qualities. If he were maybe a little better at his job, he might be higher on the list.
Who Would Win: Ellison. One good cover story and Carson’s toast. —Allison Shoemaker
62. Daniel Sousa vs. Wolfgang von Strucker
Sousa shares a kinship with Peggy Carter, based on the way that the things that make them different — Peggy’s gender and Sousa’s disability — often leave them overlooked and underestimated in their field. The difference is that Sousa is a white-bread good guy with little of the wit or personality that Agent Carter brings to the job.
Likewise, Wolfgang von Strucker is a fairly generic evil-leader type, waxing rhapsodic about the age of miracles and ordering experiments with Chitauri detritus. But he quickly succumbed to The Avengers’ forces and was then taken out by Ultron before he could make much of an impression beyond one amusing line.
Who Would Win: Wolfgang would make a grand speech about how he’ll never back down from Sousa and then shortly thereafter surrender. –Andrew Bloom
61. Brett Mahoney vs. Kozlov
Is there only one honest cop in all of Hell’s Kitchen? Sometimes it seems like it. Whatever the case, Detective Sergeant Mahoney is worthy of any promotion he gets. It’s not just that he’s a fundamentally decent public servant. Mahoney gives Daredevil some much-needed tough love in season two, reminding him that people need to believe in something other than vigilantes if anyone will ever feel safe. He’s a good cop, a good guy, and a good son — now if only he could get Foggy to quit buying his mom cigars.
It’s entirely possible that Kozlov could move up a few slots after the second season of Jessica Jones rolls around. After all, he’s the IGH doctor behind Will Simpson’s scary red and blue pills, and that particular organization seems to be where Jessica’s likely to be interfering next. For now, he gets the aforementioned evil scientist bonus, some points for being played by hey-it’s-that-guy, Thomas Kopache. Other than that, kind of a bust.
Who Would Win: Can Kozlov bring his red pills to the fight? If so, he’d win. If not, Mahoney’d have him locked up in a jiffy. —Allison Shoemaker