Anti-Villains Part II Updated

"Evil is not born, it's made"

That represents the Type II Anti-Villain. These are villains who are evil as a result of a tragic backstory. This is not "I had a mean joke played on me once" or "daddy didn't hug me enough" or "I didn't finish art school". Rather, this is someone being turned evil as a result of losing a loved one, experiencing torture of some kind, or being forced to become evil against their will. And thus, we have the tragic villain. Re-done with more examples.

List items

  • Beginning the DC examples we have the DCAU version of Amazo, who started out as an innocent, childlike entity until being manipulated by Luthor robbed him of that innocence

  • The founder and leader of the Red Lantern Corps, who had to watch nearly all life in his sector (including his family) be exterminated by out of control machines. He’s since become a monster, but it’s not hard to see why.

  • When a villain due to acting out of having her heart broken and her innocence taken from her.

  • Grew up in a hellish prison to serve his late father’s sentence, which is what molded him into the villain he is today.

  • The New 52 version’s father was accidentally killed by Aquaman, prompting his feud with the Atlantean.

  • Tortured and raped by members of the Sinestro Corps, which included the mutilation of her once proud wings. This caused her to become a Red Lantern.

  • In my DC universe he’s given a sympathetic backstory as a socially inept Kryptonian scientist who then becomes a super-genius after fusing himself with advanced technology and coming to be revered as a hero, only for his people to later turn on him in anger for his inability to save them from Krypton’s destruction.

  • Grew up in a VERY abusive household that he finally ran away from

  • As shown by Gail Simone, he grew up in a horribly abusive household, just like Captain Cold.

  • When a villain. She grew up an orphan and was forced into prostitution. Has also been raped before depending on the version of her backstory.

  • The Young Justice version grew up in an abusive household, hence her resentmant towards her father Sportsmaster.

  • The DCAU version, due to being forcibly turned into a monster and afterwards desiring to find a cure.

  • His fiancée committed suicide, sending him into full-blown nihilism.

  • Grew up in an abusive household and with his brother dead as a result of his own mistakes. Because violence and hatred were all he ever knew he became a sadistic assassin who is also apathetic towards death because of the loss of his brother.

  • His wife and two of his three children are dead, and the latter prompted the beginning of his longstanding war with the Teen Titans due to trying to complete his late son’s contract on them.

  • The DCAU version, who endured years of scorn, abuse, and ridicule, so that when the Flame of Pytar tried to make him it’s avatar, he used the power to subjugate and conquer rather than help his people.

  • Horribly tortured and experimented on in the name of creating the perfect weapon.

  • According to him anyway, he’s evil because he was raised by an abusive aunt.

  • In the movie she is shown to have been reduced to tears by Krypton’s destruction, and the implication is that this was what caused her to become the homicidal sadist we see in the present day parts of the movie.

  • Back when she was a villain. Her hatred of the Green Lantern Corps stemmed out of one of them accidentally destroying her homeworld

  • Shades of it with the movie version since his homeworld was destroyed and as a result his entire species almost wiped out.

  • Captain Cold’s sister, who grew up in the same abusive household as him.

  • As revealed in the last part of his arc in the New 52 Justice League book.

  • Tortured by Gordanians, which is heavily implied to be what caused him to become a militant, genocidal fanatic.

  • His life has sucked pretty hard to say the least.

  • Among other things she had to suffer through a horribly botched execution as a young girl.

  • In “The Killing Joke” he is given a genuinely tragic and sympathetic backstory, though whether or not it’s actually true is left unclear.

  • Had he been raised on New Genesis instead of Orion he could have been a hero too. Instead…

  • The Geoff Johns version of the character became evil (and insane) as a result of his peers coldness and their ostracizing him just for daring to try and embrace emotions.

  • The death of her lover Kee’han followed shortly thereafter by the senseless murders of his family caused her to embrace her inner monster and become a Red Lantern.

  • Grew up in a hell-hole of an orphanage where the children were tortured.

  • Arguably DC’s most well-known example of this alongside Two-Face.

  • Forced to abandon the man she loved and then had her father murdered by Jack Napier, prompting her to seek vengeance on the mobsters who ruined her life.

  • Driven mad with the revelation that he was destined to become the Flash’s greatest enemy.

  • Watched his parents be gunned down by police officers.

  • Abused by his father, the original Rag-Doll. Is also a castrate, which probably doesn’t help his mental state.

  • When with the Red Lantern Corps due to his anger at his wife’s murder being what caused him to become a Red Lantern in the first place

  • Quite a few of their members are this, including their founder and leader Atrocitus.

  • Abused and mistreated by her father who molded her into a killing machine.

  • Most modern depictions of Scarecrow’s origins tend to be at least mildly sympathetic, particularly one where he was abused by a sadistic foster mother.

  • His whole reality (including the woman he loved) was retconned out of existence.

  • In “Injustice Gods Among Us” his descent into villainy is the result of his family and his city being brutally taken from him, and not to mention that he was duped into being the cause of it all. Even good Superman admits that had he lost what his counterpart had he may have become a villain too.

  • Some of them have sympathetic backstories

  • In the Teen Titans Anime

  • The DCAU version, who had his father taken from him by Bruno Manheim

  • DC’s top example of this more or less, being quite clearly a monster who was once a man, with the former half being the latter half’s real worst enemy.

  • An Anti-Catwoman who was saved by the real deal after almost being raped and killed. Sadly, the traumatizing experience coupled with her idol’s rejection drove her crazy.

  • The greatest of the Talons and also one of the tragic ones.

  • His family was murdered

  • Crippled during one of Gorilla Grodd’s rampages and then in his mind betrayed by his best friend, he chose to make himself a supervillain.

  • Beginning the Marvel examples with Black Cat when a villain, who in 616 was raped while in High School and also saw her father be put away for all of the crimes he committed. The latter extends to her portrayal in the Spectacular Spider-Man show.

  • His mother was claimed by Mephisto at a young age and his father died while fleeing with young Victor from the then ruling Baron’s troops. The Ultimate Marvel Universe version grew up with an abusive father.

  • Basically a dark reflection of Peter Parker in that like Peter he was an intellectually brilliant but socially inept individual who suffered as a result of the latter. But unlike Peter he never had an Uncle Ben figure in his life, and his transformation into a superhuman came too late in life, when his bitterness at the world had gone too deep. The versions seen in both the Spectacular Spider-Man show and the Sam Raimi movie are even more tragic.

  • Though his hatred of Spider-Man is always petty and misplaced, in the Ultimate Marvel universe he is an orphan just like Peter Parker and in 616 was disowned by his father and abandoned by his wife just for making a mistake when covering the story of the villain Sin-Eater.

  • Especially in the Spectacular Spider-Man show

  • When a villain. Her father was killed and the ninjas she sought training under afterwards rejected her on the grounds that she was too dark, causing her to join the Hand instead, who turned her into an assassin.

  • When Peter Parker’s nemesis in High School since as it turns out he was abused by his father regularly.

  • The sole survivor of his world, which was destroyed by the Phoenix Force. Galactus has also acknowledged in private that his claiming to be above good and evil is just rationalization to quell his aching conscience.

  • Abused by his father emotionally and then falsely believes hat Spider-Man killed him, prompting him to become a second Green Goblin.

  • When portrayed as a villain, including during World War Hulk

  • Driven mad with grief over Gwen Stacy’s death, who he was in love with. Creepy, certainly, but still somewhat sympathetic.

  • In my Marvel Universe he was turned into a super soldier for Hydra and AIM against his will though having said that he did willingly join them earlier (which was stupid on his part) and was also fine with letting them use any vibranium they found for their own nefarious ends so long as he got to study it. So in the end he’s only somewhat sympathetic.

  • A modern-day Jekyll and Hyde story

  • The movie version

  • Implied with the Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes version.

  • As a holocaust survivor, this is a given. His experiences there are what caused him develop a very cynical opinion of humanity.

  • He got involved with the government spooks who made him who he is after his girlfriend was killed by terrorists.

  • Once the Marvel superheroes as we know and love them before being turned against their will into sadistic flesh-eating monsters.

  • In my Marvel Universe he was tortured and experimented on by William Stryker in order to turn him into the ultimate soldier. He is also this in the Ultimate Marvel universe.

  • Though outwardly he pretends that becoming what he is was the best thing that ever happened to him, privately he knows he’s a freak and laments it.

  • This extends to his portrayal in the Spectacular Spider-Man show, where he has an unfortunate addiction to gambling.

  • Sometimes given a sympathetic backstory, including in “Wolverine and the X-Men” and the X-Men movies.

  • Forced against his will to become the real Hobgoblin’s stand-in and fall guy.

  • In the original Spider-Man movie where he’s honestly not that bad a guy but is forced to be a test subject for his own unstable serum after being backed into a corner by his military contractors. Afterwards he clearly struggles to resist the monster within him only to fail each and every time.

  • Driven crazy after taking a botched attempt at the super soldier serum and then duped into working for AIM.

  • In addition to the fact that his family was killed, the real reason Punisher does what he does is because he cannot accept the fact that he lived when his family did not and therefore seeks to punish himself for living as much as he seeks to punish criminals for what they did to him.

  • After the death of his girlfriend, and with her his one shot at a life as an honest man.

  • When a villain

  • In my Marvel Universe, where he was a perfectly nice guy until his transformation into a pterodactyl monster.

  • Especially after his one shot at going straight was taken from him by a cruel twist of fate, namely when he ran into a then bloodthirsty Spider-Man who took his anger out on him and ignored his sincere pleas that he had changed.

  • He could have truly been the Superman of the Marvel Universe but in the end he only had the potential to be that but could never fully realize it due to being too damn crazy.

  • In the Ultimate Marvel Universe as it turns out

  • Bullied and verbally abused by her mother, which drove her to drug use, which in turn drove her to crime.

  • Sometimes portrayed this way, including in my Marvel Universe, where he was forced to flee from his people after being falsely accused of mass infanticide. Forced to fend for himself alone on Saturn’s moon Titan, he first developed his hatred of life that led him to become Death’s suitor.

  • Became a villain after nearly being killed trying to do the right thing. Sheesh, talk about not being able to catch a break.

  • Cheated by his partner and left with nothing, he attempted to get back at him using his flight harness but then found it too easy to commit crimes and subsequently became a supervillain. In the Spectacular Spider-Man show he had his invention stolen from him by Norman Osborn.

  • No sooner are they freed from a life of slavery and forced gladiator fighting is their world taken from them and they then follow their king on a misguided crusade of vengeance.

  • In my Marvel Universe due to having a backstory very similar to the movie version, who definitely fits this.

  • In the movie, where he was abused by his alcoholic father and blames Tony Stark and his family for his family's ruin.

  • Beginning the Star Wars examples with Asajj Ventress, who grew up a slave until being saved by a Jedi…who was then killed later, which caused Ventress to become disillusioned with the Jedi and fall to the Dark Side.

  • Raised a Jedi Padawan, she was seized by pirates and from there turned into a sadistic monster.

  • The guy did watch his father be decapitated after all.

  • Though he pretended to be a Jedi for a time, had he been born on a different planet he could have become a Jedi for real.

  • Grew up in a badly abusive household and as an older man was forced to flee from his homeworld after killing a man in self-defense, setting him on the path that caused him to become a Sith Lord.

  • The guy was raised by PALPATINE The hells that entailed are detailed in “Wrath of Darth Maul” among other stories.

  • Possibly. It’s not clear.

  • The classic Star Wars example. Anakin was a hero who ultimately let his inner demons as well as doubts and fears get the better of him. As Darth Vader, though he is evil he deep down knows it and hates himself more than anyone else for all of the bad things he’s done.

  • Her friend was accidentally killed by Republic soldiers, causing her to lash out at them and kill them. She was then taken in and raised (poorly) by Darth Bane.

  • Was involved in a bad accident that cost him his life’s passion. The Empire rebuilt him but also decided to suppress all of his emotions except one: rage. Fortunately he eventually got better.

  • Renamed himself General Grievous after his wife was killed. Then he himself was nearly killed and then rebuilt by the Separatists, who also made sure to alter his mind so that now he can no longer choose to not be evil.