Ever think to yourself while reading a comic (or even after reading one) where a super-villain reveals the rationale behind their master plan and think: “Hey, that’s actually not that bad of an idea?” Well, congratulations. You’re a megalomaniac.
But seriously. There are some pretty justifiable motives for some modern-day super-villains. No, genocide is not the answer. And yes, disagreeing with Batman is not in your best interest. But hey. We’re all humans. What do we know?
Here is a list of just a few justified super-villain plots.
1) Quicksilver, “House of M”
What He Did: Caused a war between humans and mankind that led to mutants being the top of the food chain.
Why It’s Justified: If your twin sister could literally fix reality and make the world a better, safer, happier place, wouldn’t you manipulate her into doing so? And if you could also convince her not to have those powers anymore when she fixed stuff? Yeah. You would. Especially if, for the most part, it stopped the pointless wars.
What He/She Did: Secrets and lies and other things that make heroes feel uncomfortable, from the formation of the Suicide Squad to the Secret War, these two have been taking out powerful dictators and doing all of it from the shadows, behind the backs of their respective hero teams’ backs.
Why It’s Justified: As Waller once famously said in the pages of Suicide Squad: “That’s all right. I’m not here to be liked.” They’re the behind-the-scenes plotters who save the world every single time one (or all) of their respective universes’ heroes drop the ball or refuse to cross the line. One is sassy and the other is crotchety. And both are good. Regardless of what Batman or Captain America might have you believe. They’re just a little more realistic than people would like to admit. Let’s just hope they never meet.
3) Magog, Kingdom Come
What He Did: Killed the Joker.
Why It’s Justified: Yes, he kills bad guys. But he did the one thing that every single hero should have done at some point in their careers. He killed the Joker. Like a bitch. On TV.
4) Maxwell Lord, The O. M. A. C. Project
What He Did: Killed the Blue Beetle.
Why It’s Justified: Umm… Can anyone say Crisis without causing absolute confusion? And which characters haven’t died, been reborn, gone bad, gotten angry, killed people, been possessed, been cloned, died again, been reborn again… And that’s just within the last couple of decades. Max did kill a beloved D-list character to cover up his plot and cause a little drama among the super hero community in the process of his whole “save the world from itself” campaign, but hey, wasn’t he kind of right in the end? Didn’t shit pretty much hit the fan, in spite of, or possibly because people like Superman are naïve, people like Batman secretly hate everyone and plot against them, and people like Wonder Woman tend to overreact when push comes to shove.
5) Ozymandias, Watchmen
What He Did: Killed a lot of innocent Americans.
Why It’s Justified: So he killed a bunch of people and staged one of the greatest smokescreens in villain history. So he killed a former teammate and inherently caused the death of another. So he sacrificed his neat little alien cat thing with weird little horns for pretty much no reason. The fact still remains. His plan worked. The world united in a threat that was otherworldly instead of fighting one another. And he does feel bad. Really. Besides… He did it 35 minutes ago. Deal with it.
6) Bolivar Trask, X-Men
What He Did: Tried to imprison mutants.
Why It’s Justified: If people could do stuff and some of them were bad, we should probably regulate that. Some of said people are evil. Sometimes they get angry and decimate our cities. So maybe we should capture them and run tests and try to prevent them from doing dangerous stuff by offering a cure. They cross a line because they think we are crossed a line, so they kill a bunch of our leaders. So maybe we should just kill them. Yeah. Let’s do that.
7) Alexander Luthor Jr., Infinite Crisis
What He Did: Like many of us, Alexander Luthor started life as a baby, the son of Lex Luthor and Lois Lane. I know what you are thinking, and no, this wasn’t part of a gritty reboot where Lex kidnaps Lois and impregnates her, they were actually married. The lived on Earth 3, where the heroes we know are villains, and the villains are heroes. Since our Lois is a nosy prize winning reporter, the Lois of Earth three must have been a dimwitted reporter who sucked at her job, but minded her own business, but enough of that. When a wave of anti-matter (but not real anti-matter, comic book anti-matter.) threatened to destroy Earth 3, Lex placed Alex on a rocket ship and sent him to Earth 1. This somehow caused Alex to become fused with matter and anti-matter. Instead of blowing up, like science said he should have done, Alex became a full grown adult in three weeks, because comic books are strange like that. When the comic book anti matter threatened his new home, Alex was able to use his powers to lead the heroes of Earth to attack the Anti-monitor in the anti matter universe. Once the battle is over, Earth 2’s Superman, Lois Lane, Superboy Prime, and Alex are trapped in the anti matter universe. Alex is able to open a portal to some kind of goofy pocket dimension, where reality is shaped by your thoughts. From the pocket dimension, the quartet can watch events unfold on the newly formed Earth. Alex is disturbed after seeing how dark the new Earth has become. Green Lantern goes rogue and kills a bunch of other Green Lanterns, Zatanna lobotomizes a Dr. Light, and Wonder Woman snaps Maxwell Lord’s neck. He then hatches an escape plan (more on that later) in order to wipe out this new Earth, and create a better one. He impersonates Lex Luthor and recruit’s the super villains of Earth to help him, kidnapping several heroes in the process. The heroes of Earth eventually band together and stop him.
Why It’s Justified: In this story, the heroes were acting out of selfish self preservation. The world of comics had indeed gone dark. Alex was just trying to make the world a better place. Although he was eventually defeated, his efforts resulted in the resurrection of 51 different alternate Earths. If the population of each earth was 7 billion, this means Alex Luthor saved the lives of over 35 billion people! If you were to count the other populated planets, and add in everyone who has ever lived or ever will live, the number becomes unfathomable. This makes Alexander Luthor of Earth 3 the greatest hero who has ever lived.
8) Jason Todd, Batman
What He Did: Jason Todd was the second person to don the mantle of Robin, as in Batman and …. In the eighties, DC comics had a gimmick where the fans could decide if this version of Robin should live or die. Much to the shock of the company, the fans voted to kill off Jason, because he was a whiny little bitch. Jason was retconned back to life as a villain, although he could remember the previous version of himself. He eventually takes the guise of the Red Hood, and later Red Robin. He wages a war against crime, often killing the criminals. When he attempts to kill the Joker, Batman stops him.
Why It’s Justified: In the real world, killing criminals vigilante style is probably not something that should be advocated. In the world of DC Comics, it’s a different story. Someone with the body count of the Joker would have rode the lightning long ago in the real world, thus serving justice. In the comic book world it would seem there is no death penalty, so Jason was right in wanting to take it into his own hands. In another story arc, he kidnaps the new Green Arrow sidekick Speedy in an attempt to dissolve her partnership with Green Arrow. The insanity of grown men who are millionaires putting children in harms way leads me to believe that this is less of a kidnapping and more of a rescue operation.
9) Magneto, X-Men
What He Did: Magneto is a master of magnetism and the arch foe of the X-Men. He believes that mutants are the nest step in human evolution, and considers humankind a lesser species that should at best be separate from mutants ,and at worst should be ruled.
Why He’s Justified: Magneto is Jewish and before his powers totally manifested, he was a victim of the holocaust. He sees the parallel between humans hating mutants and the prejudice he experienced early in life. He created the Brotherhood of Mutants to protect mutants from the human threat. If we are to believe the theory of evolution, ape like creatures would sometimes have children with a mutation, which enabled it to better survive and have children of their own with the same mutation. This would make Magneto correct that mutants are indeed the next step in evolution. He is also right in being fearful of human prejudice, as he has seen first hand where this can lead. This makes him justified in wanting to band mutants together for protection.
So there’s a brief list of super-villains who have, at one time or another, actually been slightly (or completely) justified in their villainous acts. Agree? Disagree? Too bad!
… just kidding. Feel free to bash me in the comments section.