I’ve heard it said that changing who you are is not impossible. Sure, it may be difficult, but definitely not impossible. Murderers have become priests. Actors have become politicians. And some supervillains have become superheroes. It’s the last of the three examples that interest me. Throughout the history of comic books, there has been no shortage of supervillains to become superheroes. In fact, characters trade sides as often as children trade Pokemon cards. But, of all the supervillains to become superheroes, who are the most famous? Great question. Let me answer it for you. Here’s our list of the 10 most famous Supervillains that eventually became superheroes.
Before becoming the sidekick to Captain America…Before becoming the new Captain America…And before making a name for himself as a great superhero, Sam Wilson was a criminal. In fact, Sam Wilson was not only a criminal but also served alongside Captain America’s most notorious enemy. Of course, I refer to the Red Skull.
His time at the side of the Red Skull was short-lived, and after leaving the Skull, he cemented himself as Steve Rogers’s most trusted friend…a place that he’s been ever since.
9. Emma Frost
As the White Queen of both the Hellfire Club and the X-Men, Emma Frost has changed her allegiance more times than I’ve changed my baby’s diaper. Emma Frost is partly responsible for the most well-known story in X-Men lore, the Jean Grey and the Phoenix Saga, and for stealing Jean Grey’s spouse, Scott Summers.
What makes Emma such a valuable asset to whichever side she’s on is twofold. First, and unlike most mutants, she actually possesses two powers. And second, she is as nearly as smart, savvy, and powerful as Charles Xavier.
Is Namor a hero, or is he a villain? Those are the questions that everybody wants to know about Namor. Namor is Marvel’s version of Aquaman. He is an extremely powerful mutant capable of decimating entire cities with the wave of his hand. And will do so at a moment’s notice.
And why? Namor hates humans more than I hate The Bachelor. As such, he’s been a member of the X-Men, Illuminati, Avengers, Defenders, Phoenix Five, the Dark Illuminati, and more.
Believe it or not, Rogue actually debuted as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. As a member, Rogue became known for stealing the powers of Ms. Marvel. With the powers came superhuman strength, superhuman durability, flight, and more. Couple this with her already impressive ability to absorb the powers and memories of those she touches, and Rogue becomes an instant ally to any she aligns herself with. Of course, Rogue didn’t stay with the Brotherhood for long. Shortly after claiming Ms. Marvel’s powers, she left them and joined the X-Men.
Clint Barton ran away from home and joined the circus at a young age. Under the tutelage of Swordsman and Trickshot, he took a liking to and became proficient in both swordplay and archery. Eventually, after learning that his mentors were criminals, Clint left the circus and took on the moniker of Hawkeye.
While alone, he witnessed Iron Man performing a heroic act. Wanting to be like him, he attempted to perform a similar act. Unfortunately, he was mistaken by the police for a criminal. This caused Clint to become disillusioned with the law. As such, when he was allowed to align himself with the villainous Black Widow, he did. Of course, this didn’t last, and Clint quickly became one of the first recruits to the Avengers.
In his first appearance, he was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants…with a small caveat. He was only there because he felt that he owed Magneto a debt of gratitude. For the first many years of his existence, Quicksilver bounced between good and evil. Not only was he once a member of the Brotherhood and the X-Men, but he, alongside Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch, became the first new recruit to the Avengers.
4. Scarlet Witch
A similar story to her brother Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch made her first appearance as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Unlike her brother, who has bounced around from group to group, Scarlet Witch has remained primarily an Avenger since switching sides. As arguably the most powerful being on Earth, Scarlet Witch has been responsible for some terrible things. During his time, she has reset the mutant population from over a million to 198, decimated Namor and the Atlanteans, created her own reality, and more. Make no mistake, as good as she is; evil always lingers deep inside her.
3. Plastic Man
As one of the oldest heroes on this list, Plastic Man is also one of its first villains. Patrick “Eel” O’Brian was once a petty thief. As a thief, he raided small buildings and safes. Unfortunately for Patrick, things didn’t go as planned on one of his raids. While in the middle of their operation, a security guard confronted and opened fire on Patrick and his gang. As a result of the shots, Patrick fell into a vat of acid.
Upon awakening, he learned that not only had his companions abandoned him and he had been taken in by Monks, but also that he was now extremely pliable. How the Monks treated him changed Patrick for the better. This was so much that he adopted the name Plastic Man and used his newfound powers for good.
Catwoman is a little bit of an anomaly on this list. While she has been both a hero and a villain, Catwoman has never fully committed herself to either side. Catwoman, although a thief, is a protector of those less fortunate. She uses her exploits to help out those who are either down on their luck or unable to help themselves.
The question with Catwoman is whether or not she’s actually a hero or a villain. So, let me ask you…is Catwoman, a character who steals from others to help others, a villain or a hero. If she’s the latter, she belongs on this list. If she isn’t, well…
1. Black Widow
As Russia’s most famous native assassin, Black Widow was once an enemy of the country she now serves. In her first appearance, she is an enemy of Iron Man, who wants to acquire some of his technology. This didn’t go over too well, and in her next attempt, she recruited Hawkeye to her cause.
Over time, she and Hawkeye began to express feelings for one another. This prompted her country to capture and brainwash her back into their ranks. Eventually, she broke free of their hold and joined the Avengers, a place she’s remained ever since.