With Marvel Comics’ long history of creating some of the most driven and powerful heroes to ever hit the comic book landscape, it’s no surprise that more than a few of their longtime heroes have let their power corrupt them. Whether it be a mutant leader taking a few steps towards radicalism after years and years of abuse and mistreatment by the hands of uncaring and unrepentant humans, or a super-powered leader siding with a power-hungry organization, the heroes of Marvel have taken more than a few missteps. From Marvel’s golden boy to their gleaming example of what it is to be an American,
Marvel has illustrated that no one is incorruptible. Sometimes the most admirable heroes can become the most difficult villains to overcome.
Like many of Marvel’s hero-turned-villains, Cyclops has a complicated history. Throughout the years Cyclops has gone from loyal apostle of the school Charles Xavier built, to someone who would kill Charles and align himself just to the left of the line Magneto had drawn in the sand. While Scott is no stranger to mistreating the women in his life, typically it’s his radicalized beliefs that have gotten Cyclops in the most trouble recently.
Cyclops has been locked up, obliterated by Black Bolt (apparently), and inspired violence and radical behavior for mutant even well after his death. But hey, for a guy that’s been resurrected so much, he’s bound to get it right eventually.
9 Adam Warlock/ Magus
The fact that Adam Warlock is constantly found teetering on the brink of good and evil is only made more terrifying by how truly powerful the disassociative hero is.
While the psychotic version of himself is bent on utter destruction, Adam himself is horrified by what his future may hold. Having fought off the Magus multiple times, sometimes with the help of the big purple baddie himself, Adam has managed to literally beat down his inner demons, however, The Magus has returned to remind Adam of lies ahead of him on many occasions.
8 Captain Marvel
During the run of Marvel’s most recent Civil War event, fans had a lot to gripe about when it came to the sides their favorite heroes had chosen. One of the largest complaints among fans was that Captain Marvel seemed to simply abandon all the lessons that her past had taught her as she dived right into whole-heartedly believing anything the Inhuman Ulysses Cain experienced in his visions. Fans were left with just as many questions as Tony Stark himself.
Why was Captain Marvel so set on believing Ulysses without even stopping to question where his powers came from-- or what they were really capable of?
7 Iron Man
While Iron Man may have been the hero that Marvel’s cinematic universe needed, it hasn't always been that way in the comics. Tony Stark has gone from alcoholic to hero to villain and all-around jerk and right back to hero again. Much like in the films Tony has hit a lot of benchmarks as his character development has extended throughout the years.
Much like with Captain Marvel both of the Civil War events have had a major impact on Tony. From cloning Thor to kidnapping Inhumans, Tony has been as fluid with his morality as Deadpool is with his sexuality.
Not Marvel’s golden boy. Anyone but the web-slinging, wall-crawling, brilliant whiz kid that would save the Marvel universe on numerous occasions. Anyone but Spider-Man! He was the best of us.
Well, that’s what Marvel would have you believe, at least. But Spider-Man, much like many of his fellow heroes, has possibly racked up an even higher body-count than the Punisher himself. While some of the bodies that have piled up beneath Spider-Man (like Alistair Smythe and Massacre) can be attributed to a mental swap with Doc Ock, there are plenty of times where Peter was less than heroic. Like the time he attacked (albeit accidentally) Mary Jane. Or the time he became a Horseman of Apocalypse.
While Deadpool has been more a chaotic neutral for quite some time, there have been instances where he much prefers to indulge his darker desires. Often times Wade is found reeling or lashing out after some traumatic event or another. The most recent example would be after turning his back on his heroic ways after the Secret Empire event. Blindly following Captain America is typically the way one might go when diving head-first into a moral conflict wrought by uncertainty.
However, it just so happens that this time was not the time to be siding with Cap. After losing some friends, his daughter's love and admiration, and the respect he had worked so hard to earn, Deadpool turns his back on his past and decides that killing Cable will be the first stop on his breaking bad tour of pain and violence. Cause why not?
With a series title like Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe, it’s easy to see where Frank Castle may have taken a couple of missteps. While Castle may typically represent more of a moral grey area, there is certainly no grey-area when it comes to the wholesale slaughter of some of Marvel’s greatest heroes.
Castle typically specializes in bringing his own brand of justice to mafia members, mercenaries, villains, and anyone dumb enough to be involved in his family's slaughter, however, he’s stepped into the role of hero killer on more than one occasion. There was the time he executed Spider-Man in a dark and musty sewer like so many mafia members. He’s even killed Captain America, which is especially painful taking into consideration how much Castle has always idolized Cap.
3 The Hulk
The Hulk is just another one of those heroes who just hasn’t been able to catch a break. While Bruce Banner has a decent excuse for some of the carnage and destruction that his alter has caused throughout the years. There are, however, many occasions where he’s just as much to blame as his big green inner self.
From eating people to beating wholesale hero ass, Bruce Banner and the Hulk have crossed nearly every line a hero would never cross. Hell, he’s even crossed some lines even most villains wouldn’t cross. The dude even managed to beat up Santa Claus. And if that doesn’t get him an annual membership card at Villains R Us than it’s hard to imagine what would.
2 Scarlet Witch
While Scarlet Witch’s checkered past definitely tallies up some points for her on the side of good, there have been plenty of times where Wanda just didn’t measure up to the standard of a hero, much less an avenger. Having Magneto as a father is certainly a good excuse to have a moral compass painted in shades of grey.
However, no amount of daddy issues can excuse committing genocide on one's own race. Admittedly, Wanda was going through some truly next-level mental issues, but anyway you paint it, reducing the mutant race to just 198 living members with three simple words is NOT the work of a card-carrying Avenger. Even Deadpool knows that.
1 Captain America
While Captain America being outed as a Hydra sleeper agent was a surprise to many Marvel fans when he first uttered the words “Hail Hydra”, the least surprising bit of the whole situation was just how good Captain America was at being bad.
Yes, it was eventually revealed that Stevil was a version of Cap with an altered history and the real Steve does eventually show up to teach Stevil what he was cookin’. However, after orchestrating the events of Civil War 2 and then usurping the United States government, there’s still a lot of animosity towards Cap.