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The titular protagonist of the series and N-Tek's top agent.
- Catchphrase: "Going Turbo!"
- Implacable Man: Max himself is far more durable than normal humans, especially prevalent when he goes up against small-time thugs instead of his usual rogues gallery.
- Mana: Max's nanoprobes run on Transphasic energy; it seems capable of powering mechanical devices without actually following a constructed electric circuit, but burns up quickly.
- The Symbiote: Mutualism; once the nanoprobes enter Josh's system, his body adapts to their presence and they become a biomodification. The fact that Josh's body doesn't remember how to work without them, coupled with how quickly they consume their energy source, is often a plot point. Taken further in season 3 where the primary power source is lost and it's implied that Josh will eventually die with only the smaller backup source trying to fill in for it.
Roberto "'Berto" Martinez
The genius behind N-Tek's technology. He is like a brother to Max.
Max's sidekick on missions. He was initially built by Dr. Gregor Rendell with the objective of destroying Max Steel, but after his programming is jammed by the hero, he becomes his ally.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Because he's a robot he fails to grasp human concepts such as sarcasm. This is most highlighted in Bio Crisis where Max's snarky comments at Cytro's programmed protocols to kill him fail to elicit anything besides bewilderment and confusion from the robot.
- HeelFace Turn: Cytro was built specifically to destroy Max and even after malfunctioning continuously reminds Max that after he goes back to normal, but grows beyond that programming and becomes Max's ally after bonding with him.
- The Worf Effect: At hands of Toxzon and Makino in separate movies; The smog Toxoid may be another example, but at least in that case Cytro wins the second match even if the mutant overwhelms him for the most part.
One of N-Tek's co-founders, he adopted Josh/Max and acts as a paternal figure for him the loss of his father.
- Bald Black Guy Leader: Essentially N-Tek's leader and a man with a head devoid of hair in the scalp areas.
- Cool Old Guy: He's hitting his 50's/60's even by the start of the series but he's clearly not slowed down by his age in any way and is often at the forefront of N-Tek's operations, even taking offensive action if needed.
- A Father to His Men: While Max and Berto are his adopted sons, he treats his N-Tek agents in a fatherly way, and often prioritizes their safety over his own.
- Parents as People: Forces of Nature has him lock up Max and prevent him from facing Elementor and even has N-Tek agents sicced on him with orders to capture him when he breaks out... Because he doesn't wants Max to die fighting Elementor as he knows that there's a high chance that if Max and Elementor clashed the 5th isotope inside of Max could obliterate both once it came into contact with Elementor's elementium which it will destabilize.
A female N-Tek agent introduced on the second season the series. While she initially didn't get along with Max and Berto, they eventually become good friends.
TV Series Villains
The leader of D.R.E.A.D.
- Arc Villain: Functions as the main antagonist of the first seasons of the original series, being the boss of many villains, even Psycho himself.
- Disney Death: At the end of season 1.
- Evil Brit: Dread's accent is subtle and hard to place, but it seems vaguely British.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Played straight with Dread's burned face.
- Sinister Shades: His shades serve to cover his eyes and give him a more sneaky, deceitful look.
- Villain Ball: Dread misses more than one chance to kill Max because he wants him alive to study his biomodifications, and Max, every single time, escapes and ruins his plans.
- Villainous Breakdown: A minor one in his last appearance, where he expresses shock at Max coming back from the most impossible situation he'd ever been in. It's not very spectacular, but it's a major display compared to Dread's usual calm, professional demeanor.
"Even when I lose, I win"
D.R.E.A.D.'s top agent and the arch-enemy of Max Steel, an unhinged evil cyborg bent on finishing the job of destroying Max, as it was him who caused the accident that turned Josh McGrath into the hero he is nowadays.
- Actually a Doombot: When he was alive he sometimes used his Psycho Androids for the purpose of deceiving enemies.
- Adapted Out: Along with Bio-Con, he is one of the few major villains to not get any counterpart in the reboot continuity.
- Arch-Enemy: While he worked for Dread, he's arguably the more personal enemy for Max.
- Big Bad: Ascends to this role in Endangered Species, while he technically is sharing the spot with Bio-Con it is made very clear that Psycho's in charge and fully dominant over his fellow villain, he even gets to dispose of Bio-Con once he no longer needs him.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Psycho enjoys and boasts about being a supervillain, even before he became his own boss he was already quite joyful and proud of his villainy.
- Chewing the Scenery: Psycho will be cool, collected and creepily calm one minute, and be the largest ham ever the next.
- Create Your Own Hero: Psycho was the cause of the nanite accident that made Josh McGrath into the hero, Max Steel, without him his great arch-enemy would never have come into existence.
- Cyborg: In an unknown accident he lost most of his body parts and had them replaced with cybernetics, including his whole face.
- The Dragon: To Dread at first. He begins acting on his own during the last season.
- Dragon Ascendant: By Endangered Species he is his own boss and has his own plans for world conquest with no input or support from John Dread or remnants of DREAD.
- Dragon-in-Chief: On top of his already vile demeanor, he proves to be a more deadly foe than Dread himself especially to Max.
- Eviler Than Thou: Endangered Species saw him establishing himself as a far deadlier foe than Bio-Con, easily overpowering his fellow villain in an ambush and forcing him to become his partner in his plans for world conquest and disposes of his "partner" once he no longer needs him.
- In a Single Bound: His enhancements allow him to cover long distances with one jump, this is quite a useful skill in getting away and fighting the superhuman Max Steel.
- Joker Immunity: Psycho goes through a lot of these, to the point where both he and Max lampshade it. Taken to its absurd extreme when Psycho is thrown into space with no means of stopping his inertia or changing direction, to say nothing of re-entering the atmosphere without burning up and landing without going splat, but comes back a few episodes later. His luck finally runs out in Endangered Species where his attempted superweapon vaporizes him.
- Killed Off for Real: Endangered Species sees him finally meet his end when the superweapon he invented vaporizes him.
- Knight of Cerebus: Psycho is devoid of humorous qualities and is an absolute complete bastard interested only in himself and his goals, the movies go into Darker and Edgier territory as a result of his presence both alive and dead.
- Obviously Evil: With a face and name like his, you will absolutely not mistake him for a good or ambiguously good guy ever.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Post-death he sets up a bomb that will generate a miniature black hole to destroy all life on the planet purely out of spite for being killed.
- Only in It for the Money: Surprisingly. Once his old employers get taken apart, his plans more-or-less boil down to "Do something evil to make a quick buck."
- Post-Mortem Comeback: All those Psycho Robots he left scattered around the world, specially those with a doomsday device in the Countdown movie which he specifically made to cause a doomsday event if he were to die.
- Practically Joker: He is essentially the Joker if he was a cyborg meta-human instead of a clown-themed Badass Normal, as Psycho sports a permanent Slasher Smile, is essentially a psycho-sociopath terrorist whose plans consist of causing as much misery and destruction possible, has a knack for cheating death even when it is illogical for him to do so and on top of that is Max's most personal foe and his antithesis, and like the Joker even being dead won't stop him from being a pain in the neck for the heroes.
- Psycho for Hire: Works for Dread as a mercenary and he is also a psychotic monster willing to do what it takes to achieve his goals, no matter how monstrous the action. He drops this aspect after he becomes his own boss.
- Slasher Smile: His cybernetic face is permanently locked into a wide uncanny grin which Max is fond of lampshading and Psycho himself is happy to point out, even his Psycho Androids take this aspect.
- Take Over the World: Endangered Species sees him trying to conquer the world by transforming all humans into mindless mutants under his control with a special doomsday device.
- Thanatos Gambit: When he was finally Killed Off for Real, he left some Psycho Androids to guard a doomsday device as a final vengeance against Max Steel and the world.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- He is less than thrilled when he hatches a plot in season 3 that has nothing to do with N-Tek or Max like all of John Dread's schemes, but it turns out Max is there anyway by sheer coincidence.
- In Endangered Species when Max and Berto try and destroy his superweapon, he loses it and fires wildly while running at them all while screaming at them that he won't let them stop his plans.
Bio-Constrictor/Dr. David Klemow
A former N-Tek agent, he was fired from the organization due to his dangerous experiments involving reptiles. While confronted by Max and Kat, he accidentally fell on a liquid that mutated him into a snake-human hybrid and now seeks to reinvent humanity. In his pursuits of ways to advance himself and his legacy, he ended up creating perhaps the most versatile and deadly foe that Max Steel ever clashed with: Elementor.
- Adapted Out: Has no counterpart in the reboot continuity, furthermore Elementor is adapted as an entire species of aliens putting a big nail on him ever being connected to the origin of his clone's counterpart.
- Body Horror: After his mutation his body is made of snakes. However, he himself enjoys the change and thinks of it as nothing more than a perfect success on his part.
- Demoted to Dragon: In Endangered Species he is forcefully reduced to Psycho's minion, having to relinquish his superweapon to the madman for the latter's plan of conquering the world.
- Eco-Terrorist: His ultimate goal is to destroy humanity and all lifeforms on the planet... Then start anew in a better world without humanity harming the planet anymore as Elementor (his clone with his memories and goals) reveals.
- Fantastic Racism: He hates all mammals with a passion and sought to create a world without them so as to give reptiles full rule of the planet.
- In-Series Nickname: The abbreviated Bio-Con, usually to avoid taking long to pronounce his name.
- Killed Off for Real: By an exploding Psycho Android after he ends up outliving his usefulness to Psycho in Endangered Species.
- Mad Scientist: Even before his transformation into a snake man he was already an unhinged misanthropic man, who was obsessed with his ideals of reptilian superiority.
- Misanthrope Supreme: He held of all humanity in contempt before and after his mutation into a monster.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Especially when they're what he's made of after his mutation. Even before he held reptiles in higher steem than all other animals and was throughouly vile while at N-Tek dreaming of a full-blown world omnicide to let Earth start anew.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In contrast to his initial mutation, his experiments with Elementor are a far more realistic form of bio-augmentation, as he couldn't modify his own genes to take in the Elementium and assimilate it, instead he had to make a clone that could... And getting said clone took a lot of tries (at least 7) before he got one that survived the Elementium infusion, as the multiple floating carcasses in tanks on his lair can show.
- Snake People: A humanoid who is made up of various snakes and has reptilian features. He can even turn into a lamia/naga-like form or even a human-headed snake
- Villainous Legacy: He gets blown up by a Psycho Android in Endangered Species, but his legacy lives on in Elementor, who eventually awakes and continues his plans on his steed throughout the original franchise.
- Was Once a Man: Originally a human scientist, after falling into a vat of his experimental genes he ended up mutating into a reptilian monster and stayed that way up until his death. He is very much happy about it.
- The Worm That Walks: He is actually composed of many slithering snakes after his mutation, he can even shed his skin and hide multiple snakes in them.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Endangered Species Psycho eventually decides that he no longer needs Bio-Con once he completes the superweapon and prepares to dispose of him. Bio-Con responds by attacking first and trying to crush the android with his snakes, but Psycho simply has one of his Psycho Androids grab Bio-Con from behind and self-destruct with him, taking him out.
One of D.R.E.A.D.'s agents.
- All There in the Manual: Vitriol's backstory is never explained in the show. In the cancelled Game Boy port of Covert Missions, it is stated that Vitriol was once a former demolition expert before joining D.R.E.A.D.
A top operative of D.R.E.A.D. who has shapeshifting abilities. She is very loyal to Dread.
A former D.R.E.A.D. agent and the first enemy that Max fought against. He is French.
The brother of Annabelle Bartowski. He wants revenge on N-Tek as he believes that they gave him a faulty bike that resulted in his leg getting broken, forcing him to retire from extreme sports.
The creator of a massive airplane named The Javelin.
Leader of the Chinese Cyber Dragon Tong, he was selling a disc named Seraphim, capable of obtaining the information of computers in few minutes.
Woody's sister. During season 1 and 2, she was affected by an accident on her laboratory and gained the ability of controlling electricity and wanted to have revenge on N-Tek for what they did to her brother.
Movie Saga Villains
Elementor's original design
Elementor's main elemental forms (Top, L to R: Earth, Water and Fire Elementor; Bottom, L to R: (Wind, Metal and Ice Elementor)
A monstrous creature created by Bio-Constrictor to carry on with his plans. As his name suggests, he is capable of controlling the elements of nature. Introduced in Forces of Nature
and quickly became one of the franchise's most memorable villains and perhaps the most popular of them all.
- Big Bad: Of the Forces of Nature and Countdown movies.
- Blow You Away: As Wind Elementor he can turn into a cloud and generate strong winds to overwhelm his foes
- Breakout Villain: He managed to completely overshadow Psycho (Max Steel's original Arch-Enemy and most recurring foe) as the most recognizable foe of Max Steel and secured himself a permanent place in the toylines even after the continuity reboot.
- Complete Immortality: Thanks to his merge with the Elementium, Elementor is flat-out immortal. Even completely obliterating his body isn't keeping him down for long before he returns to the physical plane via Demonic Possession.
- Demoted to Dragon: After Dark Rival he is demoted to a lackey of every major villain afterwards, mostly of Toxzon.
- Dishing Out Dirt: In his Earth form he can manipulate earth constructs and is made of earth himself
- Early-Bird Cameo: He makes an appearance in the first movie, Endangered Species, during Bio-Con's scenes as the latter admires his perfect clone; as well as in The Stinger as he awakens once his creator is destroyed.
- Eco-Terrorist: He plans on killing all life on Earth then start anew with new ones to replace the deceased, but first and foremost his priority is to take out all of humanity as his creator, Bio-Con, desired.
- Elemental Absorption: After his merge with each elementium nucleus he gains the ability to absorb the respective elements into his body at will.
- Elemental Shapeshifting: He can change from his base reptilian form to elemental ones depending on the elements he assimilates.
- Elemental Powers: He can control all kinds of elements thanks to having the elementium merged into his body.
- Extra-ore-dinary: As Elementor Metal he gets a silver and bronze body that is nigh-invulnerable and can assimilate weapons to make himself stronger.
- Genetic Memory: A justified example, Bio-Con gave Elementor most of his memories (except those of the events of Endangered Species) as such he's able to recognize his creator's old foes at first glance. However, he is his own being and doesn't dwells much on the memories he's been implanted with.
- Making a Splash: As Water Elementor he is capable of both controlling water for attacks and becoming the element itself.
- Modified Clone: Elementor was one of Bio-Con's many attempts to modify a clone of himself with Elementium to create the Ultimate Lifeform, he was the only successful clone, thankfully.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: He has two sets of teeth, like those of a shark. Though his original design lacked two rows, instead having only one.
- Motive Decay: His original motivation was to carry on the eco-terrorist plans of Bio-Constrictor. By "The Toxic Legion" he's just interested in Morphososnote and destroying Max Steel in revenge with no indications for grandiose plans and is even bossed around by Toxzon solely because he'll get the chance for revenge.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Wants to destroy the world and end all life so it can start anew under his (and by extension, Bio-Constrictor's) vision of a perfect planet.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Thanks to his elemental powers, at his full capacity he is capable of causing all kinds of natural disasters just by willing it such as tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, eruptions and more.
- Playing with Fire: In his fire and magma forms he's a magma elemental with the capacity to create fire attacks and emit heat waves from his body's temperature alone.
- Punny Name: His name is sounds almost exactly like the word element, with the suffix "-or" added.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Is a clone of the human/reptile mutate Bio-Constrictor, with notable reptilian features such as scales and is a downright nasty evil bastard.
- Villain Decay: Goes from a planetary threat that Max barely managed to stop from completely ending all life, to a lackey who only exists to be beaten midway through the plot, used as a mind-controlled enslaved pawn or just a chump meant to showcase a new villain's strength or cunning.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He initially wants to carry out Bio-Con's eco-terrorist plans and make Earth a better place even if it means wiping out humanity and all lifeforms on the planet.
- The Worf Effect: He is subjected to this by Extroyer in Dark Rival, getting his ice form drained by Extroyer and then defeated in one blow by the newly transformed foe to showcase how mightier Extroyer is.
- Xanatos Gambit: In Forces of Nature his plan is basically this the moment he figures out Max and the 5th isotope are bonded, either he kills Max Steel and takes the 5th isotope OR their clashes trigger an extinction event from the sheer factor of his elements mixing up with the isotope, both of these events are meant to lead into Elementor becoming the supreme being and using his powers to realize his plan. It only fails because he underestimated Max's strength.
- You Don't Look Like You: His design received a drastic change from Endangered Species to Forces of Nature, notably he has lips, loses the clawed feet and hands in favor of stumpy ones with human-like nails, his yellow eyes in favor of mostly pupil-less white and normal eyes from time to time, a spiked back, long arms and what appears to be a tail.
"Extroy and Transform!"
A former extreme sportman, he was Max's rival on the circuits and notably the only competitor he couldn't beat. He becomes a mercenary for the Eclipse organization and mutates into Extroyer, a villain capable of absorbing energy to assimilate living beings and elements.
- Animorphism: Can morph into mutated animals by "Extroying" (aka absorbing their lifeforce) them.
- Evil Counterpart: As Troy Winter, he is a former extreme sports star turned super agent, just like Max.
- HeelFace Turn: In Max Steel Vs The Toxic Legion, Troy ends up pulling one of these after his return from his brief banishment to space through the meteor, he is forced back into villainy by Toxzon, but is luckily freed from the Morphosos for good by the ened.
- Power Armor: As Troy.
- Rival Turned Evil: He was formely Max's rival on extreme sports before mutating into Extroyer.
- Spikes of Villainy: After getting the Morphosos embedded on his body, he gets rather spiky.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: His name Troy Winter, is part of his new identity.
- That Man Is Dead: After his mutation, he continously states that Troy Winter no longer exists - only Extroyer.
The man behind Eclipse Industries, he hired Troy Winter to steal the Morphosos. Introduced in Dark Rival.
Dr. Grigor Rendell
A Mad Scientist
obsessed over Morphosos. Introduced in Bio Crisis
Toxzon/Tytus Octavius Xander
A former N-Tek agent, Tytus was a victim of an accident that debilitated him. He was contained on one of N-Tek's bases and was accidentally unleashed by Max. He is capable of controlling toxins and was introduced in Max Steel Vs The Mutant Menace
- Big Bad: Of The Mutant Menace, The Toxic Legion and Monstrous Alliance. Both times that the villains had formed a team, Toxzon has been the leader of the group.
- Evil Former Friend: To Ferrus.
- Fallen Hero: He was once an N-Tek agent but fell into villainy after an accident weakened his body and drove him mad.
- HeelFace Turn: Toxzon ultimately redeems himself on Monstrous Alliance after being cured by Jet Ferrus.
- The Leader: Of both the Toxic Legion and the Monstrous Alliance.
- Punny Name: Toxzon sounds like toxin, making an allusion to his powers.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: The acronym of his name, Tytus Octavius Xander, is part of his mutated form's name.
A former reporter, he was turned into a mutant and infused with technology. He gains the ability of controlling technology and renames himself as "Makino".
- Cyborg: After being hit by Toxzon's toxic storm, he was fused with Berto's equipment transforming him into a half-man/half-machine being.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Before his transformation.
- Heroism Addict: He attempts to tarnish N-Tek's and Max Steel's reputations by portraying himself as a hero and his foes as the villains.
- It's All About Me:
- He refuses to evacuate the danger area, steals Berto's equipment instead of saving him, and what does he do when Elementor's toxic storm fuses him with such equipment? Blames N-Tek.
- In his tenure as a member of the Monstrous Alliance he is purely interested in his goals of defeating Max Steel and is quick to ditch Toxzon's side to get revenge on his own.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: The organic side of his torso shows that he's shirtless.