10 Times DC Villains Turned Into Heroes: When it comes to superhero comics, the line between good and evil is often blurred. In the DC universe, some of the most iconic villains have been known to put their nefarious ways aside and become heroes. From redemption arcs to temporary alliances, these DC villains have shown that even the darkest of characters can have a change of heart. Join us as we explore the unexpected journeys of these former villains and how they turned over a new leaf to become heroes.
10 Times DC Villains Turned Into Heroes
Lex Luthor, the maniacal ruler of Metropolis and Superman’s archenemy, whose delusions of grandeur led him to believe that he is a hero. Despite his villainous nature, Lex has surprisingly acted heroically on multiple occasions. Notably, he played a significant role in the League’s victory against Darkseid in the Darkseid War. In Crisis on Two Earths: Crime Syndicate Earth, Lex assisted the Justice League in defeating the Crime Syndicate, earning him a spot on the team. In an intriguing turn of events, he even became the leader of the Justice League during that particular story arc.
Similar to Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy also had a shift in her moral compass. She turned to a life of crime as a means of survival, hoping to escape Gotham and live in isolation with her beloved plants on an island. However, her peaceful existence was disrupted when an American corporation destroyed her island. The potential for a new series featuring Poison Ivy was explored by writers Gail Simone and Stjepan Sejic.
In the All-Star Batman comics, Poison Ivy joins the Birds of Prey and fights alongside Batman to take down Clayface. Her character is often associated with her ability to switch between hero and villain depending on the circumstances.
Catwoman wasn’t always the hero and ally of Batman that she is today. While she wasn’t a full-blown supervillain, she did start out as a skilled thief with impressive agility, often engaging in physical combat with Batman.
However, despite her criminal tendencies, Catwoman’s heart was always drawn to Batman. As a result, by the 1950s, she had switched sides and was assisting Batman rather than fighting against him. While her love for Batman may have helped her turn over a new leaf in many situations, like other characters on this list, she has had a tendency to vacillate between hero and villain.
Red Hood, also known as Jason Todd, has one of the most intricate storylines in the DC universe. As Batman’s former sidekick, Jason Todd was infamously killed by the Joker in the “Death in the Family” story arc. Despite his tragic demise, DC Comics continued to revisit his character and ultimately transformed him into Red Hood, a retcon that is widely regarded as one of the worst in DC history. From being manipulated by the Joker to dealing drugs, Red Hood has a checkered past.
Despite his troubled history, Red Hood has undergone multiple retcons, including in the New 52 series. In this iteration, he formed a team of Outlaws alongside Starfire and Arsenal, with the intention of taking down the criminals and thugs of Gotham City. Not only did he repair his relationship with Batman, but he also donned the Bat symbol on his outfit as a symbol of his loyalty and dedication to the Caped Crusader.
Harley Quinn, famously known as the clown princess of Crime, has demonstrated a remarkable ability to switch sides throughout her tumultuous history. Despite abandoning her promising career as a psychologist to join forces with the Joker, her recent leadership role in the Suicide Squad showcases her potential for redemption. Fans have particularly appreciated her on-screen chemistry with the anti-hero Deathstroke, highlighting her ability to break free from the vicious Joker romance and forge her path.
Harley’s versatility as a character is not limited to her alignment with various villains. In the Injustice universe, she aids Batman in taking down the corrupt Superman, while she once played a crucial role in defeating Granny Goodness alongside the Amazonians. Furthermore, Harley has also saved Batman’s life on several occasions and even teamed up with the Looney Tunes to thwart the Joker’s plan of killing the Caped Crusader. However over the years Harley has transformed into an anti-hero, if not an out an out superhero in the DC Universe.
This mercenary has a notorious reputation. However, not many people know that he served in the US military for a significant period before being subjected to inhumane experiments. Despite his dark past, Deathstroke has been actively aiding Earth’s heroes and the US government in their efforts to save the planet. In fact, he even served in the Vietnam War for his country.
Deathstroke’s contributions to his nation are numerous. In the Deathstroke the Terminator Annual Vol 1, he played a crucial role in saving humanity from extinction by taking down the Genetix, also known as the DNA aliens, single-handedly. It is evident that Deathstroke’s moral compass points towards the “greater good,” and he is committed to doing what he believes is right.
Basil Karlo, also known as Clayface, was a troubled actor who struggled with the unpredictable nature of the entertainment industry. Overcome with anger upon learning that his film, Dread Castle, was going to be remade, he turned to the dark side and assumed the persona of Clayface, a character he had previously portrayed, to murder the actors involved.
Interestingly, in the recent Rebirth storyline, Clayface has undergone a surprising transformation and joined the ranks of the heroes. After being confronted by Batman, who showed him photographs from his acting days, Karlo has a change of heart. In Detective Comics 934, Batman invites him to join a new team of superheroes dedicated to fighting crime, an offer which Karlo gladly accepts. It is truly remarkable to see how a once-villainous character like Clayface can be redeemed and become a force for good.
Plastic Man is a relatively unknown Golden Age superhero, with many unaware of his transformation from a thief to a pious individual. His origin story shares similarities with that of the Joker, as Patrick Eel O’Brian began his career as a criminal, stealing to support himself. However, after a mishap during a heist that led to him falling into a vat of unidentified chemicals, Plastic Man gained shape-shifting superpowers and chose a different path than the Joker. He joined the police department and worked to combat crime in the city, eventually earning a position as a full-time federal agent with the FBI. Although he occasionally falls back into his old ways, Plastic Man remains a valuable asset to his workplace.
THE PIED PIPER
The Pied Piper, also known as Hartley Rathaway, was a fierce adversary of The Flash, making his debut appearance in The Flash #106 back in 1959. Hartley, born deaf to incredibly affluent parents, developed a fascination for sound after receiving hearing implants. Through experimentation with various sounds, he eventually acquired the power to hypnotize and create sonic weaponry.
However, Hartley has since reformed and now champions the cause of the underprivileged, particularly the homeless in New York. He has not only provided food to the homeless but also helped them secure residence rights. In later stories, he became friends with Wally West and used his vast knowledge to assist him in various escapades. Hartley was also one of the first DC characters to publicly reveal his homosexuality.
At times, the memory of the honorable Harvey Dent lingers on. Prior to his transformation into Two-Face, Dent served as Gotham’s district attorney and was a close ally of Batman. However, after being scarred with acid by Sal Boss Maroni, his alter-ego emerged. Despite Batman’s persistent attempts to reform his old friend, it proved to be a difficult task.
Yet, in Batman: Hush, an unexpected turn of events took place. Two-Face underwent plastic surgery to become a rejuvenated version of himself and took on the mantle of Batman, defending the city in his place. This highlights the contradictory nature of Two-Face’s character, as his duality extends beyond his physical appearance and encompasses his morality.
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10 Times DC Villains Turned Into Heroes