The mantle may have shifted from Steve Rogers to Sam Wilson in the MCU, but there is no doubt that Captain America is one of the most popular heroes in Marvel Comics history. However, a hero is nothing without their villains, and the Cap’s comic outings have featured a memorable stable of great enemies.
Whether it’s dastardly classic villains like Red Skull, or intergalactic menaces like Thanos, Captain America’s rogue gallery is unmatched. Despite a wealth of baddies in the comics, users on Ranker took to the site to vote for their favorites.
Note: Ranker lists are live and continue to accrue votes, so some rankings may have changed after this publishing.
10 MOD OK
Despite his silly appearance, MODOK is nevertheless one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe. A mechanized being with a genius capacity for strategy, MODOK’s origin made him a path of villainy inevitable, and he often puts his intellect to bad use when vexing Marvel’s mightiest heroes.
Though he first appeared in tales of suspense as a one off villain, the former AIM experiment didn’t take long to return and fight Captain America. What makes him such a compelling villain is that his genius level intellect of him is twisted by evil, and he is often motivated by hatred for meta-humans because he is jealous of their appearance of him.
Science experiments gone wrong have always been a perfect place to create new heroes and villains in the comics, and the debut of Ultron was a perfect example. Starting as a robotics experiment by Dr. Hank Pym, Ultron eventually rebelled against his creator and branched out to become a force for evil in the Marvel Universe.
Armed with evolving intellect and the ability to self-repair, Ultron has been defeated and resurrected on several occasions throughout the comics. Excluding a few one-off appearances that tie into avengers comics, Ultron has spent most of his villainous career fighting Marvel’s super team. He makes a great villain because he becomes more and more dangerous with each new incarnation.
Saying that Thanos is a powerful villain would be an understatement, and wouldn’t do the big purple monster proper justice. His quest for the Infinity Stones and his desire for him to rid the universe of excess beings is not only horrifying, but one of the most evil motivations of any comic book villain in history.
While Thanos debuted before he clashed with the Avengers, his time fighting the Captain-America-led team is perhaps where he is best known. He is not only a physically imposing being, but his twisted sense of morality makes him more dangerous than the average foe. Considering Thanos has reappeared as several different versions over the years, it is clear that he is not just a villain for one hero, but the entire universe.
7 Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker
Comic books are usually a fun diversion from the real world, but Captain America’s lengthy history has seen him take on some of history’s most evil forces. Baron Wolfgang von Strucker joined the ranks of the Nazis during WWII, and he inevitably clashed with the Cap during, and after, the 1940s.
Infected with a virus that granted him superhuman abilities, the Baron’s previously frail body was made impervious to most damage. While a head-to-head contest with the Cap would usually result in defeat, Strucker’s unbelievable marksmanship made him dangerous from a distance. Though not as memorable as other baddies, Strucker’s constant pestering of the Cap has made him a worthy foe.
6 task master
Defecting from the ranks of SHIELD, the Taskmaster not only possesses his superior training, but he also has the unique ability to mimic the fighting skills of his opponents. Often returning to plague his former SHIELD compatriots, it was inevitable that the sometimes anti-hero would run up against Captain America.
Taskmaster is so much more than a straightforward villain, and his motivations sometimes seem justified in certain situations. Though he has fought The Avengers, and Cap on many occasions, Taskmaster has ranged across the Marvel Universe to plague many heroes.
5 Arnim Zola
Like many of Captain America’s historical villains, Arnim Zola’s dark motivations led him down a path of villainy that has spanned decades. A former Nazi scientist, Zola used his knowledge of robotics to transfer his consciousness into a machine, and move one step closer to creating his race of super soldiers.
By shedding his physical body, Zola has given himself the ability to return again and again to plague the Marvel Universe, and specifically his arch-enemy Captain America. Zola is not necessarily a physically imposing villain, but his intellect of him is practically unrivaled and there is always the possibility that his machinations of him can have dangerous implications for the Marvel Universe.
While most of Captain America’s best villains made their debuts in the Silver Age of comics, Crossbones is a relatively recent addition to the Marvel Universe. Trained by the dastardly Taskmaster, Crossbones learned his craft from him before becoming a dangerous mercenary that fights for any cause that pays him well.
Though mercenary characters are quite common in the comics, Crossbones’ superior fighting skill and weaponry sets him apart. His scraps of him with Captain America are legendary, but Crossbones hasn’t been limited to the Cap comics, and his exploits of him have run him afoul of other heroes including Gambit and Luke Cage.
3 Winter Soldier
Initially debuting all the way back in Captain America Comics #1 in 1940, “Bucky” Barnes spent his early days as Cap’s sidekick during WWII. However, his disappearance from him from the comics led to him becoming the Soviet assassin and super soldier known as Winter Soldier.
Returning in the modern day to plague his former ally, Winter Soldier was trained by the Soviet Union to be the superior fighting machine, and deadly assassin. Essentially the antithesis of Captain America, Winter Soldier matched him pound for pound, but it was his ruthlessness that gave him an edge. Eventually, Winter Soldier’s memory of him was restored and he turned good, but not without the crippling memories of his villainous past.
two Baron Zemo
Originally debuting in avengers comics, Baron Zemo has gone through several incarnations over the decades. Baron Helmut Zemo followed in his father’s footsteps from him and is one of the most prominent members of the evil organization Hydra.
Donning his signature purple mask, Zemo’s use of the Compound X formula has allowed him to slow his aging process and return to vex the Cap. Zemo is a master tactician and skilled combatant, but he doesn’t necessarily possess any superpowers. He is still a dangerous enemy because of his clever skillset, and his unquenchable desire for power.
If there was ever a villain that could be called the arch-nemesis of Captain America, it would certainly be Red Skull. Plaguing Cap since the 1940s, Red Skull was a Nazi super soldier who lusted for power and would do anything to serve his government.
Much like Cap himself, Red Skull entered suspended animation which allowed him to live into modern times, and he has devised various methods to resurrect himself, including cloning. As is usually the case with Marvel’s biggest villains, Red Skull has not only fought Captain America, but his grand designs have often run him afoul of many of Marvel’s most famous heroes including the X-Men.
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