Poll Position: Two-faced villains not named Two-Face

A couple of weeks ago we thought about what heroes we’d like to see as villains, so this week we’re flipping the question around:

{democracy:134}

Discussion to follow.

  • Dr. Doom: I’m on record as a big Dr. Doom fan, the guy’s overwhelming egocentrism is truly awe-inspiring. He’s so great matched up against Reed Richards and family, and as the ruler of a whole (though small) country, his powers are truly intimidating. When I think about him being a force for good, I can only hope that the arrogance would stay a hallmark. “Do not do drugs, cur, or Doom shall crush your middle-school skull like an overripe egg before you can do it to yourself!”
  • Lex Luthor: I think good Lex would be kind of boring. And come on, who can believe a bald guy could be a hero? I think not.
  • Venom: Good Venom would be essentially indistinguishable from most anti-heroes you find in comics these days. Lots of evil-doers gutted, blood spattering every other panel, etc.
  • Deathstroke: He’s been the star of his own comic before, where he seems at least a sympathetic protagonist if not an outright hero. He was always a lot like Magneto in terms of being a guy bent on doing things his way, but not necessarily outright evil. I could see him taking the same role with the Teen Titans as Magneto had with the X-Men for a while, leading the team of heroes and being turned a bit by them in return.
  • Joker: I don’t know what the hell a Good Joker would look like, but it would sure be fun.
  • Black Adam: We already have a good Black Adam, and his name is Captain Marvel. Seriously, though, I could see Adam being a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners style of super-hero, busting heads and doing the necessary work that The Big Red Cheese wouldn’t be willing to. In a way it would be a recap of the same kind of ideas you find in “Red Son”, but still kind of cool.

Part of what would make this interesting, at least to me, is not so much seeing one of these guys suit up and have a slug fest with super-powered villains but rather in exploring what it means to be good or evil in their world. What would make someone like Black Adam turn his vast abilities to helping others instead of himself? In other words, I think the story here would be the most important thing to get nailed, in a way that allows the core of the character (as opposed to just some guy with those same powers doing different stuff) to remain. Doom without arrogance is just Iron Man. Black Adam without the influence of the specific beings that give him his powers is just Captain Marvel. Etc.

Along those lines, I just don’t see how you could have a “good” Joker. The essence of the character is chaos, and it’s hard to do good while being that random and undirected.

What makes Luthor, Luthor, is his jealousy and selfishness. You take those away and all you have left is your standard brilliant industrialist. And what’s exciting about that?

The hook with Deathstroke, as I said, is if he were truly to take over as mentor for some of the Titans, a la Magneto. His history and his personality would very much lend itself to that kind of role, and it’d be interesting to see how his self-interest and greed would play out when confronted by his sense of honor and prowess directed towards helping others instead.

The Black Adam angle of interest would lie in how he would wrestle the gods who give him his powers, so that they allow him to remain Black Adam while doing “good”.

For Dr. Doom, I could see him flung back to Earth, powerless, forced to rely on and live among his own people in Latveria to sustain his life, experiencing their daily lives first hand. On one hand, I tend to think he’d believe his own intellect and will put him above those people, that he would naturally rise to dominate any group he found himself in. On the other hand, what if they were able to get to him, to open his eyes to the experience of the common man under his direct rule?

Overall, I think I’d probably go with Dr. Doom, mostly because I’d like to see how a good writer could make his conversion believable.

What about you, what would be the most interesting story for you to read?

18 Responses to Poll Position: Two-faced villains not named Two-Face

  1. I gotta tell you, the most compelling option would be a good Joker. I agree, I can’t see him going exactly “good”, but I could visualize a storyline in which Mr. J is compelled to thwart a greater evil– a kind of “I won’t let you destroy Gotham! *I* want to destroy Gotham!” scenario. Would that really qualify as being good? I dunno.

    Sure would make a good read though.

  2. I have to disagree with you on Joker. I would like to see him change. Its easy to be “Chaotic Good”. Imagine doing what YOU believe to be good regardless of laws and bureaucracy.

  3. I could see Mr. J in charge of Arkham. No, I’m not as insane as he is, really! But think about it, it’s not just Bats he likes to drive nuts. I think he gets at least as much fun as driving the other crooks mad as well. Now put him in a place where he could do that “legally,” and with the city backing him. Some of the crooks would probably be scared strait, or at the very least rather go to the real big house and be out of society and Batman’s hair for decades. And the added kicker? Doing things he knows the Dark Knight hates and wants to stop him from doing, but can’t. That’d drive the caped one absolutely ape.

    Ok, maybe that wouldn’t make him a “good guy,” but he would be doing good none the less.

  4. @Oquies: I think you just described Batman.

  5. @Worf: I know I was actually going to mention that but, decided not to. Joker would just be more over the top I believe and he would have a drastically different opinion of what “Good” is.

  6. Hrms.

    Venom (Anti-Hero, sorta good for a while.)
    Dr. Doom (2099 anyone, sorta good.)

    Not that I wouldn’t mind Doom realizing he’s been a fool and ruling his country much more benevolently, and becoming a hero. :D

  7. Brock was already a sort of anti-hero, and if you count Dark Avengers Gargan was too.

    Good Joker…eh, I could imagine him more as a Hannibal Lecter figure then an out and out hero.

  8. You do realize there have been good versions of Lex and Mistah J already, don’t you? Just not here…which I admit is probably your reasoning point.

    The pre-crisis Earth-3 and the post-crisis Antimatter Earth both had heroic Lex Luthor figures pitted against their respective Crime Syndicate(Evil JLA) teams. The post Infinite-Crisis universe featured, very briefly, a heroic Joker called the Jokester in a similar manner, although he bit it on-camera shortly after appearing the first time.

    I kinda wish they hadn’t used that as a mere gimmick, actually. DC told tales set on Earth-1 and tales set on Earth-2, not just during crossovers but at other times as well. It would have been interesting to see some of the events of Earth-3 or the Antimatter Earth portrayed in the same way.

    Additionally, during the ‘Trinity’ collection, where Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were effectively written out of DC reality, Lex Luthor was a member of the renegade hero team Justice Underground. (As opposed to a highly-regimented, almost corporation-like Justice Society.) During a heroes/villains face-off, the Joker actually taunted Lex on the issue, saying something to the effect of “Don’t you feel it, Lex? You belong over here, with us!”.

  9. Yes, various “What if” or alternate reality scenarios have been done, probably with pretty much everyone. I was thinking more of an actual “real world” main-stream story line, not a one-off or alternate Earth kind of thing.

  10. I have to go with the Terminator. He’s always been my favorite DC villian/anti-hero, and I’d love to see him fully join the good guys…

  11. We already have a good Lex Luthor, he’s called Green Arrow…

  12. The story about Doctor Doom would be interesting to see developed. I still think by the end of the story he would return to his old ways. I think of it this way. He becomes attatched to his people. When the war hungry nations of the world threaten his humble people (if we followed this story line to the end) he would do anything to protect them. The only option he would see is to take over the world and bring true peace for all people. So his goal would be the same but the intent would be noble from his time among his people. (Just throwing out my idea about a Doctor Doom story) I could deffinately see a scene in my head of him standing at the window in his palace holding a rag doll some orphaned girl gave him. (just an idea) ;-)

  13. Deathstroke. Maybe he finds religion, gains a conscience, or just has too many regrets. His first good deed would certainly catch the attention of other villains. The old man’s gone soft. He’s weak and senile. That assumption would be their first and only mistake…

  14. Venom already did the whole anti-hero thing back in the 90’s in a title “Venom-Lethal Protector.” Brock has always had a twisted sense of honor and justice that kept the symbiote from going completely psycho. So that one’s a been-there-done-that thing. Now, if Gargan, the current Venom tried to follow the path of the angels, that might be interesting.

    Doom has some real possibilities, so does Deathstroke. Doom leading a team of heroes that he holds in utter contempt and as beneath his notice. His arrogance would make him an interesting and aggravating hero.

  15. Lol, Jeff I was just reading a really well written Spider-man fan fiction when I saw this. It’s where Shocker (That’s right, Herman Schultz; deal with it!) and Rhino do some altruistic actions by saving a few kids from a band of zombies laying siege to a bus full of kids, and ends with him saving the world from Eric Williams, Dormammu and an entire zombie apocalypse!

    Here it is right here if you wish to check it out! Oh yeah, I forgot; just wait till you get to the deadpool parts! ^_^
    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5124106/1/Polarity

    Anyway, I voted for Doctor Doom; I would very much like to see a more humane approach to his evil nature. Possible, that he was showed the error of his ways, from running his country to his plots of world domination.

    Maybe it could be a story of redemption, by finding religion he could begin righting the wrongs that he commited while he was still evil. That would be most enteresting, but for me the meal ticket would be how would he fight another supervillian?

  16. knight1192a

    Gotta go with the Joker myself. I mean, couldn’t you just see it. Aside from wearing a different suit (to represent he’d gone good), good Joker looks the same as regular Joker. And because of that everyone whose got a clue who he is runs screaming in terror when he tries to help. Plus Batman never believes he’s actually turned so he’s constantly trying to escape from him while just trying to help a little old lady across the street (who keeps beating him with her purse). And on top of that he just can’t give up pranks and practical jokes, though their no longer what they once were.

  17. @Knight1192a:
    Write that in completed form. Please.

  18. William A. Peterson

    Lex is my favorite, but I keep flashing back to Silver-Age Lex, Hero of the planet Lexor!
    {Lab Coat over Prison grays, invents Invisibility Serums out of two aspirins and a cup of orange juice…}
    I like Doc Doom almost as well…
    As for Black Adam, DC has already done the whole “Rightful Ruler of Khandaq” schtick, which worked fairly well until Supervillains killed his wife…

    I can’t see Mr. J as being a good ‘good guy’ under any circumstances…
    He doesn’t have any real powers, and can you think of a GOOD use for Joker Venom?
    Now, Enigma (Riddler from “Earth-1″ in Trinity} was pretty cool…