The Good, The Bad, and The Infamous
Can villains change their ways?
By Phil Perich for the True Believers Blog
In two days, we get the first of two series of comic books featuring individuals attempting to take Tony Stark’s place as Iron Man in the Marvel Universe. While we probably won’t know Stark’s fate until the end of Civil War II, we do know who is attempting to replace him. Riri Williams, the fifteen year old girl prodigy is a newer character. The other is known to all true fans as Victor Von Doom aka the formerly villainous Doctor Doom. Is Doom’s rehabilitation real, or a trick to lower the guard of Earth’s heroes? Let’s look at some former cases of real and fake turnarounds.
Hawkeye and Black Widow
At the beginning of his career, Hawkeye set out to be a hero and was misunderstood by Iron Man and then acted as a villain for a short time. While not truly a villain at heart, Hawkeye was spurred on by then Russian spy Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow. Not only did both of them go on to be heroes in the Avengers, but both were team leaders at certain points, such as when Hawkeye lead the West Coast Avengers and the Black Widow was leader of the Avengers for the better part of the 1990s.
After the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were presumed dead after the battle with the villainous Onslaught, the world was desperately in need of heroes. A mysterious new team stepped up to fill in the gap left by the Avengers. At the end of their first issue the Thunderbolts true identities were revealed to the readers: Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil. The villains hoped to gain the world’s trust and use it to conquer. For a time they did until the real heroes returned. Even after they were exposed, some members like Songbird, Atlas, and Mach One attempted to continue operating as heroes and others like Moonstone and Fixer switched sides continually depending on the situation.
In a last ditch effort to save himself from his dying body, the super villain Otto Octavius aka Doctor Octopus enacted a plan to transfer his mind into the body of his long time archenemy Spider-Man. The plan was a success and Peter Parker appeared to die in the body of Octavius. Otto Octavius continued on as a more efficient, more brutal version of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Eventually, a portion of Parker’s brain fought to regain it’s rightful place but wasn’t successful until Octavius chose to deliberately erase his mind from Parker’s body so Parker could save Octavius’s girlfriend. A villain for most of his career, did his final sacrifice make Octavius a hero in the end?
Superior Iron Man
Even though he’s never technically been a villain, Tony Stark was definitely showing his darker side in the Superior Iron Man series. After a mystical spell inverted some heroes and villains, Stark come very close to crossing a line he could never come back from. After Secret Wars destroyed and recreated the universe, Stark appeared to be normal once again, but could that darker version still exist, hiding in his psyche?
Which brings us to the man of the hour. Can Victor Von Doom find redemption for his various sins? Is Doom worthy to carry the mantle of Iron Man or is the whole thing a ruse?
YOU tell me!
@Nightwingpdp & @marvel_roundup on Twitter
You can hear me discussing all things Marvel (comics, movies, TV) every week with my cohost Charlie Esser (@CharlieEsser) on the All New Marvel Roundup and Superconnectivity, both part of the Nuff Said Podcast. I also write another blog, the Legends of DC and do a podcast of the same name. You can find all my podcasts, blogs and those of others at www.southgatemediagroup.com. You can also find all my creative endeavors at www.philperich.wordpress.com.