WHO DO YOU JUST WANNA SLAP?1 of 12The heroes of most comic books are, if not shining examples of morality and upstanding citizenry, at their core good people. Some of them, though... Well, some of them are a-holes.
You know the type: Selfish, insecure, outwardly hostile even to those who are, ostensibly, their friends. Shockingly, that describes several heroes alongside the villains you might expect.
Whether it’s the newly reformed “Superior” Tony Stark, or the still-as-douchey-as-ever Lex Luthor, comic books are full of guys who just can’t balance their bad behavior with their good intentions.
And while some of the entries on this list are obvious, some of the characters who made the cut – and the behavior that got them there – might just downright shock you.
Here they are – the ten biggest a-holes in comic books.
AMANDA WALLER2 of 12There aren’t many characters in DC Comics who can claim quite the reputation that Amanda Waller commands, and there are even fewer who can match her level of a-hole cred.
“The Wall” is the commander of Task Force X – better known as the Suicide Squad – and it’s a role she relishes. Lording over convicted super-criminals, Waller sends her soldiers out on missions of not necessarily certain death, but let’s just say there’s a reason they call it the Suicide Squad.
On top of all that, Waller is one of the few people in the DC Universe who is wholly unimpressed by Batman, and – as you can see here – has often made it her mission to knock the dark knight down a peg or two whenever possible. She may have said it best herself, as portrayed by Viola Davis in the trailer for the upcoming Suicide Squad film – getting people to go against their own interests is what she does best.
SUPERMAN3 of 12Superman may be widely considered one of the most inspirational, friendly, and all around good-natured characters in comics, but in his early days, he was quite the opposite. You might even say he was kind of an a-hole...
While his early adventures revolved around busting up crime rings and taking on gangsters, he had a much more no-nonsense approach to fighting crime, which occasionally involved outright leveling less savory neighborhoods, no matter who lived there, threatening to kill children just to steer them away from a life of crime, and running amok in the lives of innocent people while attempting roundabout, often bizarre schemes to deal with the criminals he opposed.
Superman's a-hole attitude didn't end there, either. In later years, he was often shown outright torturing his "pal" Jimmy Olsen, and his girlfriend, Lois Lane. While many of these instances were cover gags designed to shock readers into buying an issue, Superman did often make poor Jimmy's life miserable by putting him through grueling "lessons," or wrapping him up in more of his elaborate crime fighting schemes, such as adopting him, only to then treat him like garbage in an attempt to outwit a destructive prophecy put forth by a machine that predicts the future. What a jerk.
DC seems keen on the idea of Superman as an a-hole – in fact, in Earth 2 and Injustice, he’s been portrayed as downright villainous.
MAGNETO4 of 12Talk about a deadbeat dad... Magneto didn't just abandon his children. When he finally reconnected with them, he drove his twin son and daughter (well, thought-to-be son and daughter – it’s since been retconned) first into a life of crime, and then, when they finally rehabilitated and joined the Avengers, the long term effects of his abuse caused his daughter, the Scarlet Witch, to play havoc with reality, destroying the Avengers, and nearly eliminating the entire mutant population from the Earth. And don't get us started on their half sister, Polaris's daddy issues - all caused by Erik.
Magneto's a-holery was often even more extreme when it extended to his lackeys, most notably his long-suffering sidekick Toad, whom he treated like his personal court jester and whipping boy. In fact, in the alternate future story Earth X, when Magneto's powers faded, roles were reversed, and Toad forced Magneto to wear a jester's outfit, making clear the pair's traditional role.
Things haven't gotten better since Magneto's recent tenure with the X-Men began. He's nearly as arrogant and abrasive as ever, taking his status as Cyclops's right hand man to heart and constantly lording over his fellow mutants. Now, in All-New, All-Different Marvel, Magneto is set to run a team of other reformed mutant villains as the Uncanny X-Men.
WINTER SOLDIER5 of 12Bucky Barnes may have cut his teeth as Captain America's trusty sidekick, but he was never the bright-eyed, youthful mascot that he was portrayed as. In fact, he grew up fighting hard, mouthing off, and generally just being kind of a jerk.
When the military channeled Bucky's anger into a job doing Captain America's dirty work, it seemed like he'd finally found a role that suited his less than warm persona. But just as it seemed he was finally finding his place, he was seemingly killed saving Cap's life, and the rest of the world, as well. However, he survived, and was rescued by agents of the Soviet Union, where he was brainwashed and trained as a deadly assassin.
Oddly, this didn't improve his demeanor. When he finally resurfaced decades later, having aged only a little thanks to the Soviets storing him in suspended animation, he was even colder and more aloof than before, trading what little sense of camaraderie he had for the grim attitude of a trained killer. His icy facade has dulled since Captain America and others broke his brainwashing, but he still remains one of modern comic books most prominent a-holes.
REED RICHARDS6 of 12Reed Richards may not have quite the abusive a-hole pedigree of some of the d-bags on this list, he does have the dubious distinction of the worst husband in all of Marvel Comics. It's no coincidence that Sue Storm's only weakness is men who hate Reed Richards, considering he spends nearly all of his time telling her how smart he is.
The problem is, Reed Richards is the kind who is so much smarter than everyone else that he's already imagined every conversation before it happens, already run through every possible interaction, and decided that they aren't nearly as important as the big plans he's forgetting to explain to everyone.
In the long run, Reed may not be the biggest jerk on this list, but he's certainly had the most to lose from his oblivious social d-baggery. He even once came so close to alienating his wife that they found themselves fighting on opposite sides of Marvel's Civil War. They've since reconciled, but if history tells us anything, it's that Reed will soon use his social "charm" to drive his loving wife into the arms of one of his archenemies.
If you need further evidence, let's again look to alternate universes: In the Ultimate universe, Reed killed several heroes and was directly responsible for an America divided into at least four sub-countries. Ultimate Reed even resurfaced as a villain as part of Secret Wars. So yeah, good job, "Mr. Fantastic."
THE SUPERIOR IRON MAN/SPIDER-MAN7 of 12Marvel has a codeword for when one of its heroes goes into straight up jerk-mode: “superior.”
The latest recipient of the “superior” moniker was Tony Stark when his personality was “inverted,” bringing out a dark side that flirted with out and out villainy. In Superior Iron Man, Tony went full on mad scientist, getting the people of San Francisco addicted to a life-improving app that only the richest among them could hope to afford.
Of course, it’s not the first time Tony’s been considered a world-class a-hole. Way back in Civil War Tony was widely seen as a capital-D Douchebag – a classification he may earn again in the upcoming film version Captain America: Civil War.
But before all of that, there was the Superior Spider-Man.
Otto Octavius has never been a nice guy, but when he took on Peter Parker's identity both in and out of costume, bringing with him Parker's memories and metaphysical presence, there was some glimmer of hope for him. After expunging the last remains of Parker's consciousness from his own, however, Octavius crossed fully into seemingly irredeemable A-Hole territory.
While simultaneously murdering villains as it fits his agenda and blackmailing Mayor Jameson into sanctioning his behavior, Octavius also managed to alienate nearly all of Parker's friends and family, and even jeopardized his job with Horizon Labs. He even earned himself a suspension from the Avengers with his churlish, backhanded, and deceitful behavior. And to think, he did it all while wearing the face of the nicest guy in the Marvel universe.
Thankfully, Pete’s back under the mask, and has managed to undo most of the trouble Octavius caused.
GUY GARDNER8 of 12Guy Gardner is best described as the classic douchebag. Arrogant, insecure, and abrasive to the utmost, Gardner may have the qualities necessary to be a Green Lantern, but he somehow manages to turn even those into negative attributes.
Guy Gardner's attitude was only improved after he managed to badger the usually stoic Batman into felling him with a single punch, after which he was downright saccharine. But that didn't last long, and after a while he was back to insisting that he was the greatest Green Lantern, the leader of the Justice League, and other things that would, and probably could never be true.
Everybody knows an a-hole like Guy Gardner; the kind of guy who, at his core, isn't really a bad guy, but whose constant boasting and posturing make him absolutely unbearable.
Now, however, some of Guy’s bravado is paying off, as he’s one of the few people able to master two different colors of power ring – his traditional GL ring, and the red ring of rage.
QUICKSILVER9 of 12Like father, like son. Quicksilver was raised by another legendary a-hole, his estranged father Magneto. Quicksilver's a-holery goes above and beyond even his father's notable bad attitude.
For years, Quicksilver was the Avengers' resident jackass, his level of abrasive competitiveness even eclipsing that of teammate Hawkeye. Quicksilver spent his time chasing his teammates and other men away from his twin sister Scarlet Witch and boldly pronouncing his superiority, until finally somehow managing to woo, marry, and scare off Crystal of the Inhumans.
It didn't stop there, either. Quicksilver managed to take his braggadocious d-baggery a new level as an instructor in the Avengers Academy, where he nearly terrorized his students, even comingly dangerously close to inspiring Finesse, one of the Academy's at risk students to follow in his early footsteps as a villain.
NAMOR10 of 12Imperius Rex, indeed. Namor, king of Atlantis, is one of Marvel's most prominent A-Holes. There are few people, fictional or otherwise, who can match Namor's superior air of regal pomposity. Namor is downright legendary in his level of arrogance and anger.
Namor is one of the few people who can handle being a d-bag to Captain America in earnest. He's spent nearly a hundred years prancing around in his underwear, making sure that surface dwellers know exactly how inferior he thinks they are.
Namor was never more of a jerk than in his tenure as one of the Phoenix Five, during which he as much as leveled the nation of Wakanda, and his time with the X-Men was no different. He spent most of his time trying not to have to speak to his fellow mutants, and trying to hook up with his boss's girlfriend. Classic a-hole.
LEX LUTHOR11 of 12Sure, all villains are sort of a-holes, but Lex Luthor seems to make it a personal mission, beyond even the usual villainous plotting and scheming, Few people could find fault with someone like Superman who, aside from the aforementioned time he spent early on in his own phase as a noted jerk, spends all of his time selflessly helping others and saving the world.
But Lex Luthor doesn't just think he's superior, he knows it. He knows his massive intellect and even bigger sense of entitlement should make him the unquestioned master of the world. He may claim he opposes Superman's strength because he believes in the potential of humanity over outside influence, but the truth is, he just can't handle the idea that anyone even might be better or more powerful than him.
With the greatest intellect the world has ever seen, an ego to match, and the attitude of a petulant child, Lex Luthor does worse than take his super-scientific toys and go home, he wastes them on selfish pursuits that hurt humanity more than it advances it. There's no bigger a-hole in comic books (or you know, now on the Justice League).
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