Not one, but <i>two</i> major, long-time villains have recently switched sides. <p>When <b>Forever Evil</b> ended, it left the DCU with heroes betrayed or ruined and a team of villains led by Lex Luthor as the ultimate saviors of the world. Lex is now front-and-center as a member of none other than the Justice League (joined by fellow reforming villain Captain Cold, no less). Meanwhile, after the events of <b>Dark Cybertron</b>, the former leader of the Decepticons, Megatron, joined up with a team of Autobots looking to preserve the universe. <p>It's easily two of the most recognizable bad guys in history, both going good in the same year. But they are far from the first to make the switch, as this countdown will show. While it's too early to see if either of those two villains really have the best intentions and plan to truly turn a corner, we have plenty of other examples. <p>Before we begin, let's open with one caveat: Just because they went good in a big way... it doesn't mean that they never went back. In fact, number 10 fell again. Hard. So let's see... <p><i>Originally written by Troy Brownfield. Albert Ching and Lucas Siegel contributed to an updated version of this article.</i>
Fans who never read comics in the early '90s are now saying, WHAT?! But it's true. When he was introduced in <b>New Teen Titans #2</b>, Slade Wilson has a fairly straightforward villain. His son, the Ravager, had a contract from HIVE to off the Teen Titans, but he died. Slade took over for his son, becoming an implacable antagonist for the heroes. Then, something strange happened. Every time he appeared, Deathstroke gained more depth. By the time of The Judas Contract, he was in fact a sympathetic villain as we saw what he'd gone through (still a villain though; sex with minors is bad!). <p>When the Wildebeest Society kidnapped the Titans at the outset of Titans Hunt, Slade crossed the line to hero by joining Steve Dayton in the efforts to track them down. Unfortunately, that adventure ended in Slade being forced to kill his son, Jericho. Although he still tried to tread the side of angels for a while, he eventually slid back into full-on villainy. Still, a lot of us remember when Slade was the guy that came to find the Titans and try to save the day. <p>Of course, the New 52 Deathstroke doesn't seem to have a... stroke... of goodness in him, at least as of yet.
You'll recall that Slade Wilson's son Grant was the original Ravager. Years later, a once again villainous Deathstroke made his daughter, Rose, his partner. Initially, Rose was heroic; she was the babysitter of Lian Harper and helped the Titans in the JLA/Titans fracas. However, her obvious imbalances contributed to her manipulation at the hands of her father. Rose was even crazy enough at one point to cut out one of her eyes to be more like her dad. <p>After several battles and the return of Jericho, Rose drifted over to the side of the Teen Titans. Though he's very much a walker of the line when it comes to the rules, Rose has tried to stay on the side of the Titans, the only thing approaching a normal family she's ever know. <p>The New 52 seems to have completely wiped Rose's history clean, with her now established as a government stooge of sorts, participating in experimentation (and enforcement) of teen heroes.
When she first appeared in comics, Black Widow was the worst kind of villain ever: <I>a Russian spy</i>! <p>Yep, the Cold War was on and beautiful Russian spies were on the prowl, stealing industrial secrets and turning our circus performers into villains! Eventually, though, after clashing with the likes of Iron Man, the Widow began to pull away from her spymasters and behave more and more like a super-heroine. <p>Over time, Black Widow joined the Avengers, even ascending at one point to the leader of the team. She's worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the U.S. government, and is presently a member of any given squad of the Avengers, a star of the movie of the same name, and frequent ally (amongst other things) to Bucky Barnes. Who says there are no opportunities in America these days?
Raised by Mystique and brought into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Rogue started out bad in big way: by thrashing the Avengers. After ambushing Ms. Marvel (which resulted in Rogue permanently gaining her super-strength, flight, and memories), Rogue went on to steal power from Thor and open a huge can of whoop-ass on the Avengers. The full membership of both teams clashed during a prison-break, and it was extremely close. In fact, the Avengers didn't so much win as Rogue split. <p>Later, Rogue's powers started to slip from her control, driving her insane; she turned to Professor X for help. Resented by the X-Men at first, Rogue proved herself first by saving Wolverine in Japan, then time and again in battle. <P>Rogue later became an X-team leader, and one of their most trusted members. Now, she's elevated her status in the Marvel Universe even further, as one of the premier members of the <b>Uncanny Avengers</b>, truly coming full-circle. It kind of looks like she died, after killing Scarlet Witch, but we're pretty sure she'll be okay once all the time travel mumbo jumbo is sorted out.
A child when his planet was destroyed, Blok grew to hate the Legion of Super-Heroes, whom he and his friends held responsible. As they grew, Blok and his friends were transformed and trained by the Dark Man to be his League of Super-Assassins. Though they all swore revenge, Blok didn't revel in it like his friends. When they attempted to kill the Legion members they blamed, Blok seemed hesitant. As the LoSA got beaten by the Legion Subs, Blok essentially surrendered. <p>Later, during a battle involving the Fatal Five and the Dark Man, Blok helped the Legion, earning a pardon and a chance to join the team. He did, becoming a mainstay until his death in the '89 series. However, timelines being what they are, Blok is alive in the Legion today. Well, we think he is. The Legion itself is MIA after a couple of false starts in the New 52.
(White) Queen of the X-Men franchise, Emma Frost made her mark as part of the Hellfire Club, that fetishistic group of mutants that tried to corrupt Jean Grey. Again and again, whether as part of the Club or leader of the young trainees, the Hellions, Emma clashed with the X-Men. Over time, Frost, through various circumstances, found herself drawn into the X-Men's fold. <p>Her initial crossover really took hold when she became one of the headmasters for Generation X. That didn't end quite so well. However, Emma would eventually make her way to the main X-Men team. Much angst followed, as Emma became a disruptive presence in the already strained relationship of Cyclops and Jean Grey. When Jean died (again), she gave a psychic boost/blessing to the budding romance between Scott and Emma. <p>Emma was firmly entrenched with the X-team on Utopia for years, and even after <i>Avengers vs. X-Men</i> and her time as part of the Phoenix Five, she's still a part of Cyclops' crew though they're now fugitives, broken up, and starring in the new volume of <i>Uncanny X-Men</i>.
Even though she was never the most deadly of Batman's enemies, Catwoman was quite clearly a thief. Her criminal nature always seemed to win out, even if it looked like her heart belonged to the Bat. Over time, Catwoman began to slip more and more to the side of angels. At one point, the vile Dr. Moon used mind-control to regress her into a full-on criminal. <p>Since then, Selina has asserted herself over and over. Though she still steals and doesn't much mind if she breaks the law, she's always willing to do something that helps out the members of the Batman family. Since the return of Bruce Wayne, Selina's been seen helping Batman Incorporated more than once, notably upon Bruce's trip to Japan. <p>In the New 52, she's back to her thieving ways, but still, at least tentatively, falling on the side of the "good guys." Of course the <b>Batman Eternal</b> storyline should be changing that in a big way in the coming months, as the preview issue showed Selina Kyle, Kingpin of the Gotham Underground.
Doctor Octopus - the Superior Spider-Man. Did the villain formerly known as Otto Octavius <i>really</i> go good? Or was he just affected (or is that infected) by Peter Parker's memories, experiences, and general moral center? <p>He certainly did some good as the Superior Spider-Man, continuing to serve with the Avengers (for the most part) throughout the year-plus that he inhabited Peter's body, although his methods have certainly been questionable. <p>So what makes a hero: deeds or motivations? Maybe what has been driving Otto this whole time was a selfish narcissistic drive to one-up Peter to become the "superior" hero (the ultimate revenge), but if he managed to perform <i>some</i> heroic acts along the way, and perhaps... <i>perhaps</i> ... came away changed by the experience, shouldn't that count, at least a little?
U.S.A.! U.S.A.! See? Commie circus-performer corruption need not last forever! Though he did the bidding of the Black Widow as a criminal, Hawkeye got the chance to reform in a big way. <p>Along with fellow malcontents Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye joined The Avengers in issue 16 of the original series. Under the command of Captain America, Hawkeye blossomed as both a hero and a human being. Over time, despite his sharp tongue, Hawkeye became respected enough to lead the West Coast branch of the Avengers, and he even tried keeping the Thunderbolts on the straight and narrow as their leader. <p>These days, Hawkeye is back in the Avengers and spends his time fighting, quipping, and starring in his own critically acclaimed solo series along with fellow Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, from Matt Fraction and David Aja & Annie Wu.
Magneto remains one of the most complex characters around. Initially coming off as a madman that believed in the inherent superiority of mutants, Magneto found depth over time as we learned about his tragic past. For years, Magneto committed acts of terrorism and murder in the name of mutant supremacy. However, after standing trial in Paris, Magneto was convinced by a (at the time) dying Professor X to join his students in their cause of equality. <p>Magneto took over the teaching of the New Mutants and joined the X-Men, but the good times didn't last long. A cycle of attack, defeat, deaths and returns followed for the next several years. Most recently, Magneto returned and essentially kneeled to Cyclops as the superior leader, citing Utopia as the ultimate example of Cyclops succeeding in a better way than Magneto's own failures. To seal his commitment, Magneto used his powers to bring Kitty Pryde, lost in space, back to Earth. <p>Still at Cyclops' side post-<i>Avengers Vs. X-Men</i>, Magneto was been a major part of <b>Uncanny X-Men</b> for the last several years. Unfortunately, events seemed to take a turn, and Magneto struck out on his own once more. Whether that's as a hero or a villain (or something in-between) remains to be seen, but Magneto <i>has</i> already gone back to his killer disposition (at least they've all been relatively bad people?).