Some Marvel stories are light-hearted and child friendly, but there have also been a great number of darker storylines throughout the history of Marvel comics. Amidst these tales are those of the lethal assassins in the Marvel Universe, who ruthlessly kill for money or because they have been brainwashed by their enemies. Some of the assassins in the stories were created with the sole purpose to kill others on command, such as those created in the Weapon Plus program.
Fox has shown the darker side of Marvel characters such as Logan and Deadpool in recent R-rated films, with this theme set to continue in the sequels. Blood, gore and killing galore, there are many more brutal characters that can be introduced to the big screen, including many from the X-Force line-up over the years and those from the Weapon X program. Here is a list of 15 of the deadliest assassins in the Marvel world.
Fantomex is an escaped experiment from the Weapon Plus program, which is the same program that created many of the assassins on this list. Known also as Weapon XII, Fantomex was a character designed to be similar the past characters Fantômas and Diabolik. Created to serve as a super-sentinel against Earth’s mutant population, he is a techno-organic organism whose living tissue had been fused with Sentinel nanotechnology at a cellular level. His nervous systems is an external one referred to as E.V.A., an autonomous entity with a pure machine consciousness capable of changing its form, as well as being able to emit bio-electric blasts. He is both telepathically and symbiotically linked to E.V.A. so Fantomex feels any trauma to E.V.A. Fantomex does also have an internal nervous system that he can activate, but it has limited functions. He has multiple brains and can create reality skewing illusions that he calls misdirections. On top of all this, Fantomex is an incredible marksman and has enhanced strength, agility, speed, reflexes, coordination, balance and endurance.
Victor Creed is Wolverine’s long-time enemy and a well-known super-villain. A character that is as feral as his name suggests, he is a blood thirsty savage that was part of the Weapon X program as well as many other villainous teams. Not much is known about his early life except the fact he suffered an abusive childhood at the hands of his father, who was disgusted by Victor’s mutant abilities. With healing powers similar to that of Wolverine’s, Sabretooth’s healing factor also ages him slowly and he has been around for over 100 years. He has superhuman sight, smell, hearing, and taste, which make him a perfect tracker. As well as animalistic like skills, his mutation gives him a physical animal look too. With sharpened teeth, bushy eyebrows and retractable claws, his looks perfectly fit his animalistic nature.
Bullseye is a homicidal maniac that uses his line of work as an assassin to carry out his psychopathic tendencies. Bullseye’s real name and past are unknown, but he has fabricated many names and stories over the years. Mostly known to team up with the Dark Avengers and the Thunderbolts, he is known to get pleasure from killing his enemies. Primarily a foe of Daredevil, he has gathered fought many enemies throughout his history as an assassin. Although he doesn’t possess superhuman powers, he is in exceptional physical condition and has the agility, stamina, speed and reflexes of a professional athlete. He is also exceptionally skilled in martial arts and has the ability to throw any object as a projectile with incredible lethal accuracy. Although not superhuman, he has had many of his bones reinforced with adamantium after a multi-story fall, giving him increased resistance to injury in unarmed combat.
Another character on the list with a vendetta against Wolverine, Daken is his biological son with Wolverine’s deceased wife Itsu. Torn from his mother’s womb by the dark figure Romulus after the Winter Soldier murdered her, he survived due to his mutant abilities. Also known as Akihiro, his powers are similar to that of his father with his abilities including a regenerative healing facto, superhuman senses and retractable claws. The claws differ from that of his father’s, with there being two dorsal claws and one claw protruding below the wrist. Abducted by the Winter Solider, he was trained by him to be a deadly assassin. The list of villainous teams he has been a part of are vast, including the Dark Avengers, Dark X-Men, Brotherhood of Mutants and the Horsemen of Death. Daken is said to have little emotion and no moral code, as he has used and then killed many innocent people over the years.
Taskmaster by name, Taskmaster by nature, Anthony Master is a supervillain and anti-hero in the Marvel universe. A mimic born in Brookyln, he possesses the ability to absorb knowledge and instantly replicate the battle skills of anyone he observes after he injected himself with himself with SS-Hauptsturmführer Horst Gorscht’s primer. A master of combat, he is said to be and an exceptional martial artist, an accurate marksman, skilled with a sword, is a firearms expert, a bullseye with projectiles and has a honed athletic ability. Due to his fighting skills, he has been hired by multiple people for teaching purposes including henchmen, supervillains, heroes and even the U.S. government. One of the only characters that Taskmaster has been known to be unable to mimic is Deadpool due to his erratic nature, but they have been mercenary allies as well enemies over the years.
Neena Thurman’s mutations are a result of a top-secret government breeding program known as Project: Armageddon, created to generate the perfect weapon and genetically engineer fighting soldiers. Domino was the only one to survive the programme due to her “lucky” mutation. Another part of her mutation is that she has chalk white skin and a black patch around her left eye, just like a domino. Her abilities include being able to subconsciously and psionically initiate telekinetic acts that affect probability to be in her favour and make improbable things occur within her line of sight. A skilled marksman and athlete, she is often hired for her combat skills as a mercenary for various government agencies since her teenage years. Domino eventually found Cable and the X-Force team when she was rescued from the supervillain Tolliver, and she is still a big part of the militant X-Force team today.
Whilst Spider-Woman might be known nowadays as being one of the good guys, she was trained by HYDRA to be an assassin. With two different origin stories, the one that focuses on her being an assassin has Jessica Drew gaining her powers whilst she was still in the womb. Her mother was hit with a laser beam that contained the DNA traits of several different species of spiders while she was still carrying Jessica. After her parents mysteriously disappear, Jessica is recruited into HYDRA where she trained to be a fighter and assassin by the previously mentioned Taskmaster. Apart from her combat abilities, Jessica has superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility and reflexes. She can also secrete sticky fluids that allow her to cling to objects similar to a spider, but she also has the ability to focus the bio-electric energy into “venom blasts” that are sufficient enough to stun or even kill. Jessica eventually redeemed herself by becoming an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D and a member of the Avengers.
Crossbones is a villain that started out life as Brock Rumlow in New York. He led the Savage Crims gang on New York’s Lower East Side before he fled and joined Taskmaster’s school for criminals. Within three years of being at the school, he became an instructor himself. He came a mercenary, enlisting with the communist Red Skull Albert Malik in Algeria, and serving under the name Frag. He invaded Arnim Zola’s Switzerland chateau, where he met the original Nazi Red Skull, Johann Schmidt, who accepted Brock’s services and code-named him Crossbones. His assassination skills have included the famous storyline of the assassination of Captain America himself. He has no known superpowers, but his abilities include hand-to-hand fighting with extensive martial arts and military combat techniques, as well as being an expert pilot and a marksman.
Not always known as one of the good guys in Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora was once the adopted daughter of the super villain Thanos. The last of her kind the Zen-Whoberis, after Thanos slaughtered her entire race, he trained her to be a highly skilled assassin that gained her a reputation as the deadliest woman in the galaxy. Gamora did not originally know the horrors of what her father did, because he altered her perceptions to the point she was incapable of knowing the evil he carried out. With augmented powers that include super strength and durability, as well as cybernetic enhancements designed by Thanos, her skills were increased so that she was to be able to rival Adam Warlock himself. One of her famous assassinations before turning to the light side, was slaughtering every member of the Universal Church of the Truth as revenge for killing her people.
Laura Kinney, better known as X-23, is a deadly clone of Wolverine. Using the only available genetic sample from Weapon X, which was damaged, they were unable to salvage the Y chromosome and created a female clone. Laura is an adamantium clawed assassin similar to her father, that also has the power to heal. Her other powers included superhuman senses, speed, agility, reflexes, reactions balance, and endurance. Starting out life as a Weapon X experimentation, she was raised in captivity to be a deadly weapon carrying out assassinations for The Facility. With a trigger scent than sends Laura into an uncontrollable rage, she has even been known to kill her own family. After a series of tragedies, Laura eventually finds her way to Professor Xavier and the X-Men before later becoming a member of X-Force.
5) BLACK WIDOW
Natasha Romanova was born in Russia and was trained from a young age by the KGB’s to be a Soviet spy and assassin. After World War II, Natasha was recruited to become part of the Black Widow Program, a team of elite female sleeper agents, which included instructors such as the Winter Soldier. She trained as a ballerina for a cover story, but her other skills are wide and varied, and include being a world class athlete, acrobat, gymnast, aerialist, expert martial artist, marksman and weapons specialist. Apart from her skills, she has a signature weapon known as her “widow bites” that are worn on her wrists and fire out electro-static energy blasts. Nowadays, Black Widow is known as being of the good guys fighting evil with S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers.
4) WINTER SOLDIER
James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes started out life as a sidekick to Captain America, before he was thought to have died in a plane crash. What actually happened was as Bucky plunged into the icy water, his body was preserved except for a severed arm and found years later by a Russian submarine. They attached a bionic arm to Bucky and programmed him to be a Soviet assassin for Department X under the code name Winter Soldier. The bionic arm gave Bucky superhuman strength and enhanced reaction times, as well as being able to discharge bolts of electrical energy from its palm. The arm also had the ability to can discharge an EMP, which caused electronics to shut down and be rendered useless. Barnes eventually managed to escape his Soviet brain washing with Captain America’s help, where he once again got the chance to be a hero, and even took up the mantle as Cap for a while.
Elektra Natchios is a lethal Greek assassin highly skilled in martial arts. Growing up with a traumatic childhood, she learnt martial arts to defend herself after being kidnapped. Trained in ancient martial arts of China, Siam, and Japan, she is said to be a master of many Japanese martial arts including Ninjutsu, Aikido and Karate. She is a master combatant with her trademark weapon of Okinawan sais, but she is also skilled with a katana, daggers, three-section staff, and shuriken. Trained by the Hand to be a deadly assassin, she worked for them for a while before becoming an independent agent. Both the enemy and lover of Daredevil, she once served as Kingpin’s chief assassin. Killed but many times over the years, Elektra has cheated death by being resurrected many times.
Wolverine is a popular Marvel anti-hero that is a staple character of the X-Men team, but he wasn’t always the lovable rogue we know him as now. James “Logan” Howlett has had a long a pain filled life, starting all the way back in 1880 due to his healing factor slowing down his aging process. He father was murdered in front of him, causes his bone claws to manifest. Logan saw and fought in many wars before joining the black ops team Team X, and being kidnapped by the Weapon X program for experimentation. This experimentation lead to the adamantium clad Wolverine we know today, as well as seeing him being brainwashed and wiped of his memories so that he could become a killing machine, including slaughtering an entire town. Eventually Wolverine broke free and found Professor Xavier and the X-Men.
Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson, is another anti-hero on the list that is a product of the Weapon X program. Known as the “Merc with a Mouth” because of his talkative nature, Deadpool has one of the highest known kill counts in the Marvel universe and started out in the comics as a villain. Born a normal person without any superpowers, he became a mercenary, but only killed those he thought deserved to die. After finding out he had inoperable brain cancer, he eventually volunteered for the Weapon X program. The program gave Wade healing powers as well as super strength, agility and stamina, but also left him mentally unstable and unpredictable. A mercenary that is a skilled swordsman and marksman, he has been a part of many teams over the years and has recently been seen as more of a hero than a villain.