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!
I have to agree. Doctor Doom has a hero would be something I would like to see and Reed Richards would make a good villan.
My second choice was Magneto and Xavier but I’ve seen Magneto as good in the AoA comics and he pulled it off well.
I picked the Joker, i can imagine the rest of the villains as heroes easely enough and vice verca (exept Superman) but i just can’t imagine The Joker as a hero, like to see what it looks like.
Quick question: Are only the two in question switching alignments?
You used the ‘Richards/Doom’ swap as your own favorite, but Reed is only one member of a group. Would the other members of the Fantastic Four still be heroes, would they join Reed in going over to the dark side, or would they simply sit the whole thing out?
I think for the purposes of this thought-exercise, I’d say the other three members of the team would remain heroes. Which would make for some really interesting conflicts.
I voted for the Batman/Joker switch because the thought of an evil Batman is truly awesome. You actually wouldn’t have to alter too much of his origin to accomplish it either: instead of a petty thug murdering his parents, it could’ve been a corrupt cop or something, turning Bruce’s rage against the established systems and governments of the world.
Wow, another interesting one. Well Magneto and Dr. Doom being on the good side has already been done and shown that not much changes. Daredevil/Bullseye and Thor/Loki I don’t think would make any difference because both teams are too even. Batman as a villain would creep me the heck out and I don’t even want to begin thinking of the Joker as anything but himself. At the risk of sounding Super-infatuated, I’d switch Superman and Luthor.
The reason is that “Superman: Red Son” showed us that Luthor could make a huge differance and completely change/unify the world with his genius, despite any interference from Superman. After all he saved the whole world from Super-Communism sigle-handedly. Also, the benevolent Luthor from the Crime Syndicate’s universe is proof that he would make a great hero and could even hold his own against a team of world-conquering supervillains let alone a single kryptonian.
If Xavier was a villain who wasn’t chained down by petty morality or those whiny students of his, he could truly go to town. The world’s most pre-eminent telepath and his telepathy amplifying machine? Just look at the damage his sister did…and she wasn’t even out for world conquest. He would have armies at his command, world leaders would be his puppets, he’d be able to turn the most powerful superheroes into his pawn…well, that is until they mass produce those magneto helmets for everyone to wear. Then he’d just be another rickety old baldy man shaking his fist at random “flatscans”.