Often the word superhero conjures up images of spandex-wearing characters capable of amazing feats. We believe that these characters do everything they can to uphold the law and protect the innocent, all the while living by an untouchable moral code. This belief, however, is both inaccurate and foolish.
Almost every superhero, no matter how good they’re perceived to be, has, at one time or another, teetered on the edge of morality. Different circumstances have led each to do questionable things and act in ways outside of their norm. No superhero is immune to this. Even Captain America has done shady deeds. Although Captain America isn’t on this list, 10 others are.
And who are they? Who are the superheroes who have questionable morals? Great question. Let’s take a look at our list of 10 superheroes with questionable morals.
Yes, that’s right. I wrote it. The man with a no-kill code of ethics belongs on a list that counts down the top 10 superheroes who have questionable morals.
And here’s why. Batman, for all the good he does in the world, takes children in and trains them to become soldiers in his army. Think about that for a second. Jason Todd. Dick Grayson. Tim Drake. Barbara Gordon. They were all trained by Batman and became, for all intents and purposes, child soldiers.
Batman’s questionable morality doesn’t end there. If any of them so much as acts out against him, Batman isn’t afraid to cut them off from his technology, money, training, and everything else that goes along with being his friend. Batman isn’t just one of the superheroes who have questionable morals, he might be the living definition of it.
Venom is what would happen if Spider-Man took steroids and speed. He’s big, strong, fast, and extremely agile. All of these add up to a very lethal combination of justice. Don’t for a second believe that everyone is in danger when he’s around, however. For everything he’s capable of, Venom doesn’t allow himself to harm the innocent. So why is he on this list?
Simple. Venom is everything that Spider-Man should be but it can’t be. He’s ruthless, violent, merciless, and without regard for the lives of criminals. Venom doesn’t care if criminals deserve a fair trial or the like. Venom is only interested in bringing them pain and suffering. And it’s the pain and suffering that lands him here.
Deadpool was created by Rob Liefeld at the height of the 1990s comic book craze. He first appeared in New Mutants #98 and quickly cemented his status as a fan-favorite character. Aside from being a master assassin, Deadpool possesses a superhuman healing factor similar to Wolverine. This means that he can heal, regrow, and survive practically anything.
It should come as no surprise that Deadpool is on this list of superheroes who have questionable morals. After all, he has carved out a history that includes killing, swearing, assassinations, and more. Deadpool is the most Rated R character to appear in PG comics since, well, Deadpool.
7. Booster Gold
His name says it all, doesn’t it? By its slang definition, to boost means to steal. Boost a car. Boost some audio equipment. Or in terms of Booster Gold, to boost means stealing historical equipment from the Metropolis Space Museum and using it to fight crime. Actually, to be more specific, to boost means to steal a Legion Flight Ring, Brainiac 5’s Force Field Belt, and a Power Suit.
That alone, however, doesn’t land him on this list. On top of his obvious theft, Booster Gold has also committed fraud. Once he had these items in his possession he traveled back through time and began to stop crimes that already happened. Yep, you read that right. Because he was from the future, he was privy to information that helped him become a superhero in the past. If theft and fraud don’t make you one of the superheroes who have questionable morals, I don’t know what would.
As one of my favorite characters of all time, it brings me tremendous pain to include Catwoman on this list. Alas, she must be here. So…
Catwoman actually began her life of crime as The Cat and The Cat was, as you guessed it, a Cat Burglar. As The Cat, Selina Kyle ran around Gotham robbing the rich and giving it to the poor. I know that this may make her seem like someone without questionable morals, but remember theft of any kind is against the law.
Although she has been a hero, no matter how hard she tries she always reverts to her old ways. I guess the allure of a big diamond, a truck full of money, or an unbreakable safe is too much to bear. Once a thief, always a thief, right?
Before you get all up in arms over the inclusion of Cyclops, remember this. Cyclops created a Utopia for mutants, preached hatred, and killed his mentor Charles Xavier. That’s right. He killed Professor X…the one who took him in, taught him what it meant to be a leader, trained him to do better in the world, and ironically showed him that there’s more to life than hate, fear, and discrimination.
Before he began to act out against any who opposed him, Cyclops was everything that an X-Men should be. He was kind, and caring, had a genuine love for both mutants and humans, and did whatever it took to uphold Professor Xavier’s dream. The problem was that each of these also made him the blandest and most boring character ever created. Cyclops needed character depth and giving him questionable morals gave it to him.
4. The Spectre
The Spectre is the representation of God’s vengeance. As God’s vengeance, the Spectre has a list of powers that most only dream of. Immortality, reality warping, space and time manipulation, limitless control over matter, future seeing, omniscience, near omnipotence, cosmic awareness, cosmic energy manipulation.
All this power means that he can carry out any sort of punishment against almost anyone…and he does. Like Marvel’s Punisher, The Spectre is the judge, jury, and executioner. Unlike The Punisher, he can be each of those three without ever worrying about retaliation. And there’s more.
The Spectre has a lust for vengeance. As someone that carries the power he carries, he should be more willing to hear his enemies out before deciding their future. But he doesn’t. Instead, he’s easily corrupted by his desire for justice.
3. Scarlet Witch
It’s only because of the last decade or so that the Scarlet Witch makes this list of superheroes who have questionable morals. More specifically, it’s because of one event that Scarlet Witch makes this list. House of M.
House of M saw Scarlet Witch have a total meltdown and create a world in which mutants were the dominant species. Not humans…mutants. Worse yet, after she realized what happened she couldn’t handle the world around her. As a consequence, she single-handedly reset the mutant population from over a million to just 198.198.
When a superhero drops the population of an entire race to triple digits, it doesn’t matter how heroic they once were. They will always find themselves on the wrong side of morality.
2. The Punisher
I know, including The Punisher on this list of superheroes who have questionable morals seems like taking the easy way out. After all, he is Marvel’s foremost anti-hero.
I ask you, how could I not include him? The Punisher is the judge, jury, and executioner all wrapped up in one. When he sees a crime or criminal, he doesn’t wait for “the authorities” to act or decide fate. Instead, he pulls out one of many guns and shoots to kill on sight.
Although he only targets evil, The Punisher is what any good person shouldn’t aspire to be. He’s a vigilante in every sense of the word and as such, an easy choice for this list.
1. Red Hood
Make no mistake, Red Hood deserves to be here. More than any character on this list, Red Hood walks the line of what is and isn’t acceptable as a superhero. Yes, he fights for what’s right. And yes, he has stopped some of DC’s greatest villains in their tracks. However, he has done these while dishing out a form of punishment reserved for the Middle Ages.
Red Hood has decapitated, maimed, blown up, and murdered more enemies than any hero should. As you can imagine, as a member of the Bat Family this is highly frowned upon. Whereas Batman lives by a “no-kill” code of ethics, Red Hood has a “who’s the next to die?” code of ethics. It’s precisely this that makes him such an unknown. While villains know exactly what they are in for should they cross Batman, Nightwing, or Batgirl, they can only guess what their in for should they be unfortunate enough to cross Red Hood.