12. DARK BEAST
During the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline, the entire reality of the X-Men was shattered, as Legion had gone back in time and accidentally killed Charles Xavier when he was a young man. The battle that led to Xavier’s death woke Apocalypse up years early, before the age of superheroes, so Apocalypse was able to conquer Earth easily, while Magneto had to form the X-Men in honor of his dead friend.
While many of the X-Men remained heroes in this new reality, some of them became villains. One of the main new villains was Beast, who became Mister Sinister’s chief scientist in this new reality, performing terrible experiments on mutants with glee. When the “Age of Apocalypse” reality was destroyed, four characters managed to cross over to the main Marvel universe. One of them was Dark Beast. Dark Beast was great because he took Beast’s trademark humor but applied it to evil. It was so twisted that it was a lot of fun to read.
In the late 1960s, Marvel received a major coup when they managed to convince Gil Kane to leave DC Comics and come to work for Marvel. Kane ultimately settled into a stint where he was Marvel’s main cover artist in the 1970s, as well as working on some major projects like “Amazing Spider-Man” after John Romita left the book. However, the first assignment he had was the “Hulk” feature in “Tales to Astonish.”
Stan Lee basically said to Kane, “Let’s come up with a character who would be stronger than the Hulk!” Their creation turned out to be the Abomination, a Soviet spy who was exposed to gamma radiation and became an even more powerful version of the Hulk. They ultimately realized that he was too strong, and he was soon powered down, but the Abomination became one of the Hulk’s top recurring foes. It was rare to see a villain who could go toe-to-toe with the Hulk!