Villains are way cooler than superheroes. That is a truth universally known. Superheroes with dark sides are even better. If you don’t believe us ask Batman: the dark knight of Gotham City is a depressive crime-fighter that more than once has used shady methods in order to protect his beloved city.
Superheroes who turn evil are more interesting. After all, the dark side is very seductive. Of course, some villains have also turned good (even Joker became a decent citizen in the comic book Batman: White Knight).
So, here are ten superheroes that decided to become villains.
One of the vital members of the X-Men team, Jean Grey has huge powers that even she doesn’t know about. They manifest in the Dark Phoenix Saga. After Jean Grey saves humankind and comes back from death, she is seduced by Mastermind into becoming the Black Queen. The plan fails, but Jean, having tried a slice of power, succumbs to her evil side and becomes Dark Phoenix. She fights X-Men and then she flies into space, where she becomes a Galactus kind of entity, and kills an entire populated planet. We will see the Dark Phoenix in the upcoming movie X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
After Dick Grayson became Nightwing, Batman needed another Sidekick. Enter Jason Todd, aka the second Robin. Fans didn’t like him much, so Joker killed him. He was later resurrected by Talia al Ghul in the Lazarus Pit and became unstable. Jason Todd assumed the identity of the Red Hood and decided to begin his own anti-crime campaign, using controversial methods. He returned to his superhero status, and he is working alongside Batman.
During Marve’s Secret Wars, Spider-Man had a living symbiote that made Peter Parker the bad guy. Spider-Man wore the black costume (which he later managed to get rid of. The symbiote went on to Eddie Brock, who became Venom and Spider-Man returned to the red and blue costume.
How can the ultimate good-guy become evil? Well, there is a certain allure in that and comic book writers have used bad Superman more than once. However, in Injustice: Gods Among Us, he becomes the ultimate jerk. In an alternate reality, Joker destroys Metropolis and tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child. Superman becomes mad by grief and decides to kill Joker. Then, he becomes kind of a mad dictator. Batman isn’t OK with that, so a superhero war begins…
The green giant of Marvel Universe was always a strange creation. While Bruce Banner is good, Hulk is unstable and the idea of an evil Hulk is based on that. What if Bruce Banner could not control Hulk? Writer Peter David and artist George Perez asked themselves this same question. The answer was the creation of Maestro, a future Hulk who as a result of a nuclear war gained extreme strength, and ruled the world. He was mad, but extremely intelligent as well.
In Avengers Vs. X-Men, Cyclops becomes all evil. In the story, the Phoenix Force returns to Earth and Cyclops thinks that it’s a good thing for the mutant population. The Avengers disagree and a war between them and the X-Men -led by Scott Summers- begins. When Tony Stark fails to destroy the Phoenix Force – forcing the Phoenix to inhabit 5 X-Men, Cyclops among them- chaos ensues. Cyclops accidentally kills Professor X and becomes the new Dark Phoenix before he is defeated by Avengers.
Billy Batson (Captain Marvel/Shazam) embodies innocence. There was a time, however, that he turned bad and almost killed Superman. In Kingdom Come, an adult Billy Batson is controlled by Lex Luthor, who uses Shazam to fight Superman and Batman. Shazam manages to free himself from Luthor’s control and sacrifice himself.
Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier)
Best friend of Captain America Bucky Barnes was presumed dead at the end of World War II. The truth is that a Russian submarine finds Bucky and takes him to Moscow, where he adopts the identity of the Winter Soldier. During his time as a villain, the Winter Soldier kills Wolverine’s wife.
Hal Jordan (the first human Green Lantern) turned evil when his home, Coast City, was destroyed by the alien Mongul. Jordan uses his ring to recreate the city and versions of his friends and family. Then, he assumes the name Parallax (in truth it’s an entity not a version of Hal Jordan) and manages to kill all the Lanterns. He later redeems himself in the story Green Lantern: Rebirth, where he becomes again a Green Lantern.
As in Joss Whedon’s The Age of Ultron, Scarlett Witch started out as a villain -she was a part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Well, in fact, she and her brother, Quicksilver, were looking for revenge. Although she is a daughter of Magneto, Scarlett Witch soon joined the Avengers.