Superheros and supervillains clash all the time in the world of comic books. It may seem simple, heroes save the world from villains who are trying to destroy it. But just like the real world, the world of comics just isn't that black and white. We don't love superheroes simply because they're the good guys. We're fascinated with what makes them become and STAY good guys.
Batman is a character that at any given moment, could become the most deadly villain in the history of comic books. As Joker, and many of the other members of Batman's Rogues Gallery have pointed out, he's only one bad day away from cracking under pressure.
It's comic book heroes like Batman that absolutely fascinate readers with their constant struggle to do what's right. Because the key to making a good hero, is making it so that he could just as easily become a great villain. It works the other way too.
A villain doesn't have to have come morally grey aspect, they can just be plain evil. But while these characters are interesting, it's the ones that have conflicting motivations that really entertain readers!
Sometimes, a villain who seems completely evil will do something that will make you think of them in a new light, even if only for a moment. Some villains are just bad, but some aren't always.
To prove it, here are 5 notorious villains who turned their life around, and tried to do good in the world. Even if only for a moment.
1. Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor, the enemy of Superman. It's hard to believe that Lex Luthor would do something good, seeing as how he never really does anything unless it benefits him. However, in this case, being a hero actually did suit his selfish needs!
During the Forever Evil storyline, Lex became a major protagonist, forming the Injustice League to face off against the Crime Syndicate; evil Earth 3 versions of the Justice League.
With the Justice League members unable to perform their duties, Lex stepped up and actually saved the world from the tyranny of the Crime Snydicate. Lex, loving the public fame he received from saving the world, decided he liked being a hero. When the Justice League returns, Lex attempts to join. Initially rejected, Lex is eventually allowed to join the Justice League.
Though part of the reason he wanted to join was because he just favored the public opinion, Lex and the League were also aware of a huge threat (later revealed to be the Anti-Monitor) who would eventually come and try to destroy Earth. As a member of the JL, he could make sure that Earth's mightiest heroes were ready to take on this threat when the time comes.
2. Captain Cold
Before he stole our hearts in Flash/Legends of Tomorrow thanks to the always awesome Wentworth Miller, Leonard Snart was your run-of-the-mill sinister fella. He was incredibly evil, and there was nothing really likable about him. And yet, CC was never really as bad as all the other DC villains, because he at least had a code of honor.
He was never that into killing, but did it when he needed to (or when someone angered him enough). There have been several occasions where Snart has assisted the Flash in saving the day, but he's always gone back to his criminal ways afterwards.
However, after the Forver Evil storyline, Captain Cold became a full fledged member of the Justice League, alongside Lex Luthor! He became Luthor's head of security, protecting Luthor and helping the League protect the world from any threats.
3. The Pied Piper
Another Flash villain, though Pied Piper isn't as well-known as Captain Cold. The two do have very close ties together, as both have been members of the notorious Rogues, a group of Flash villains who have a strict code of conduct, which includes not killing unless absolutely necessary.
Born deaf, Hartley was cured when his wealthy parents found a way to giveh im back his hearing. Once he could hear, young Hartley Rathaway became obsessed with music and sound in general. Getting bored of his rich lifestyle, Hartley became a villain, using a device he created that hypnotizes and harms people with musical vibrations.
As the Pied Piper, Rathaway mostly faced off with Barry Allen, a.k.a the Flash. After the Flash's "death" (because no one ever dies in comics), the Piper reformed, and turned away from his life of crime. Since then, he's tried to stay good, but every now and then, he's had to go back to his criminal ways again. In the New 52, Hartley Rathaway is a conductor at the Central City Orchestra, and is living a normal life. He donned his costume yet again, as a hero, to assist Flash and Captain Cold against a new line-up of the Rogues.
Before he was entertaining superhero fans in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the X-Men series, and being a part of ALL the superhero teams (seriously, he's a big team player), Pietro Maximoff was a straight-up super-villain!
The son of X-Men villain Magneto, Quicksilver is a mutant with the ability to run at very fast speeds. Quicksilver was introduced as an X-Men villain, usually working with his father and sister to destroy Charles Xavier and his team.
After failing to defeat the X-Men several times, Pietro decided to move to Europe with his sister, Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver eventually reformed, along with Scarlet Witch, and joined the Avengers. He's been a hero ever since!
5. Venom (As Eddie Brock And Flash Thompson)
So this last one is a little odd, as Venom has become a "do-gooder" on two separate occasions. I put quotes around do-gooder because Venom, though now considered an anti-hero/military hero, still has some moral complexities that make him more anti-hero than anything.
The first time Venom did anything remotely good was as Eddie Brock, the original Venom symbiote owner. As Venom, Brock was originally a super-villain, tussling with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Eventually, Venom became the star of his own series, Venom: Lethal Protector, which saw Brock teaming up with Spider-Man against a team of other alien symbiotes.
Venom wasn't a hero like Spidey, he was closer to that of morally grey heroes like Punisher and Ghost Rider. When the Venom symbiote was passed on to Flash Thompson, Peter Parker's old school bully, he was more of a hero than he ever was.
After joining the military, Flash was given the task of becoming the army's personal super-soldier, donning the symbiote as a suit. Flash couldn't wear the suit for more than 48 hours however, or the symbiote could take control of his mind.
Unfortunately for Flash, this plot device has happened a number of times. As Agent Venom, Flash has constantly had to control the symbiote and resist giving in to its murderous nature. He has given in a few times, such as when he destroyed a group of enemy soldiers during a mission.
As Agent Venom, Flash has been a member of several superhero groups, including the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. He was also a member of the reformed super-villain group, the Thunderbolts.
There you have it, 5 villains who turned their life around for the better! Even if some of these villains might not stay good, it's still interesting to see such nefarious criminals do any deeds that can be considered heroic!
Thanks For Reading!
Which villain-gone-good surprised you the most?