Last week's discussion still has me thinking about trade-offs, so I've tweaked the question this week a bit to ask whether a good villain can do more good than a bad hero can do bad. This week's Poll Position is:
- Superman & Lex Luthor: This one is intriguing. On the one hand, if Superman were a truly bad-ass villain, he'd just zoom in at super-speed and kill anyone or anything that stood against him. It's unclear who would be able to stop him. On the other hand, Superman's pretty much just a physical opponent, while Lex Luthor is brilliant in many different ways. Providing you could come up with a way to limit Superman's depredations (chancy at best, I admit), Lex could do a lot of good for the world through amazing new technology and political leadership. Anyone who can weld Gorilla Grodd and Sinestro together on the same team can surely get world governments to solve global warming, for instance.
- Batman & Joker: Frankly, I don't see how much good the Joker could do as a hero. He's devilishly clever, but all of his best stuff involves mass murder. Then again, if he were a Punisher-style anti-hero, he could probably rid us of a number of pesky villains easily, whereas Batman would just keep putting them in Arkham. On the other hand, the idea of a Batman bent on domination is pretty chilling.
- Reed Richards & Dr. Doom I love this matchup. Both men are incredibly brilliant, extraordinarily driven, and capable of great acts with global impact. I think this one's a wash, I imagine the net impact of swapping them would be about the same, with each checking the other, just in reverse of what they do now.
- Thor & Loki: Hey man, storms already do tons of damage. What does it matter if it comes from Thor or just an unruly Gulf of Mexico? Loki employing his tricks on our behalf, on the other hand, might work out nicely. These are tricky times we live in, after all, maybe a wormy mind like that is just what we need on our side.
- Professor Xavier & Magneto: I think this one is just about like Reed and Doom, with two guys so evenly matched it almost doesn't matter which side each of them plays for.
- Daredevil & Bullseye: This is a much lower power-level, obviously, than gods and Supermen. But, I have to say I think Daredevil as a villain would be pretty small-time. Bullseye would be a great government-sponsored assassin, though.
Given all of that, from a comics-reader perspective, I have to say I'd like to see Reed Richards on the side of evil. I know, he's done it in Marvel Zombies, but that's not the same. And I think Doctor Doom would be a tremendous hero, I'd love to see him bring his dictatorial powers to an Avengers meeting, for instance. "Henry Pym, I said SIT DOWN! BLAAAZZZZTTT!!"
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and just like the election, vote early and vote often!