Every once in a while, the Marvel comics world makes us encounter our greatest fears, i.e. seeing the person we were rooting for, the superhero, turn into a villain and destroy everything they once believed in. Be it ghostly possession, psychic manipulation, or maybe the hero finally reaching a breaking point, watching your favorite crusader fall down to the depths of anarchy is as heartbreaking as it’s intriguing. Here are 10 Marvel superheroes who became villains in the comics:
This mutant is one of the very first recruited by Charles Xavier into the X-Men. All his life, he fought for the noble cause of mutant equality. So when he realizes that the man he was rooting and fighting for wasn’t much of a mutant messiah, he loses his cool.
Scoot ends up killing Charles Xavier and carrying out a mutant revolution. After becoming one of Marvel’s greatest villains, Scott Summers catches M-Pox and dies. And thanks to Emma Frost, his legacy is remembered as that of terrorism and chaos.
9. Reed Richards
No, we are not talking about our beloved Reed from the main universe. The Reed Richard of the Ultimate universe is the subject of discussion here. After a run-in with Magneto, Reed proposes to Sue which she promptly declines.
Angry, Reed fakes his own death and helps carry out an alien invasion to steal advanced SHIELD weaponry. After a brief stint in the Negative Zone, Reed Richards returns with a vengeance and uses super-evolved henchmen to try and take over the planet. Apparently, this little guy doesn’t take to rejection very well.
Daredevil and Demonic Possession don’t create a healthy concoction. When a demon takes control of Matt Murdock’s body, the hero does the unthinkable. He takes control of his sworn enemy – the Hand organization and orders all criminal elements taken care of including police officers.
The Shadowland saga shows the Punisher, Spiderman, Elektra, and Wolverine as the only line of defense between Matt and Hell’s Kitchen. The fiasco finally ends when Iron Fist quite literally punches the demon out of the Man without Fear.
7. Bucky Barnes
Bucky was to Captain America what Robin was to Batman – trusted ally and sidekick. But when the plane carrying Bucky exploded, everyone thought him to be dead. After 60 years, Ed Brubaker brings Bucky back to life in a mother of all “I’m back” moments and fans couldn’t have asked for anything better than this.
The Russians had captured Bucky after the explosion and given him a bionic arm and brainwashed him into carrying out top-level covert assassinations. Six decades later, the Cap’s most trusted friend becomes one of his greatest foes as the Winter Soldier. Some fans believe that Bucky has all the Cap’s abilities and a degree of evil that Rogers can’t possibly fathom.
6. Captain America
The star-spangled kid has had his fair share of villainy. When SHIELD uses cosmic cube fragments to hatch a child called Kubik, the child ends up rewriting Steve’s memory into believing he is an agent of Hydra – the organization he had been fighting against for all his life. He was the most principled and revered superhero who was admired for his sheer courage and integrity but he threw it all away and became evil Cap.
We have seen Steve punching Hitler in the face, go against the entire world government when basic rights were violated in Civil War, and basically stand for the entire human spirit in general. Watching a guy like that turn to villainy just pissed people off. It is now impossible for Marvel comics to restore his former glory and patriotism as he is just too far gone. He killed Black Widow and ordered Deadpool to take down Coulson. How can anyone forgive this ever?
5. Scarlet Witch
It’s hard to take down the Avengers. The trick is not to do that from outside out from within. Baron Zemo mastered it in the movie Civil War. And in the comics, it was the Scarlet Witch. A troubled woman from the start, Wanda’s chaos magic was troublesome, to say the least.
The events in Avengers disassembled lead to the conclusion that Wanda’s powerful reality-warping magic has been slowly turning her insane. So all the adventures and good deeds she did as an Avenger were undone as she became a bad guy.
4. Alex Wilder
The Runaways are one of the most endearing comings of age drama in comic book history. When a group of kids realizes their parents are part of a super-powered criminal organization, the children are shocked. When they learn that their parents intend for their children to take their place in the future, the children fight back.
What makes Runaways so fascinating is its character depictions. The runaway group becomes from ragtag stranger to a group of tight friends. This makes the betrayal by their leader Alex Wilder even more brutally effective.
How to make the most serious example of a good guy go completely rogue? Take away the thing most precious to him. When a group of mercenaries called the Marauders pin Warren’s wings to a sewer wall, Cameron Hodge ( super bad guy) orders the X-Men to amputate his wings to save him.
When Warren wakes up he is devastated. The mutant Apocalypse promises his wings back and Angel readily switches sides to become the Archangel. He returns back to the light in later issues. What happens to Hodge you ask? After finding out what he did, Angel ends up decapitating him.
2. Scarlet Spider
To say Ben Reilly is a complicated character would be an understatement. A clone of Peter Parker, Ben was created by the supervillain the Jackal in the controversial The Clone Sage storyline. He returns in the Clone Conspiracy event to torment Peter even more. He found New U – a company specializing in cutting-edge cloning technology.
Reilly ends up resurrecting scores of people from Peter’s past including Doctor Octopus and Gwen Stacy. Reilly has good intentions in mind but when Peter realizes Reilly wants to resurrect his uncle, Ben Parker he decides to end New U for good. Reilly survives New U’s destruction. His adventure is just beginning.
1. Jean Grey
Jean was the quintessential simpleton of the X-Men. She did chores for the team, did not have too much control of his powers so barely used them, and liked to stay in her own world. But as time went by, Jean learned the full extent of her abilities. By the time a solar flare supercharged her, she was a force to be reckoned with.
With the machinations of Mastermind and the Hellfire Club, Jean becomes the Phoenix – an omega-level mutant megalomaniac. It’s outright terrifying to see the average X-Men girl Jean Grey whose favorite hobby was sewing the X-Men’s costumes destroy entire civilizations. Once she merged with the Phoenix force, she could literally hold entire timelines, committed atrocities of epic proportions, defeated the ruthless alien emperor, and destroyed Apocalypse.
Which of these “superheroes turned villains” is your favorite? Let us know in the comments. There are some other Marvel superheroes who became villains too. Next time, we’ll be covering those.