by Ryan Rigley
Once a villain, always a villain — or at least that’s what they say.
However, Disney’s newest film, “Wreck-It Ralph,” aims to prove that particular saying wrong. Starring John C. Reilly (as Wreck-It Ralph), the film revolves around a down and out video game villain who aims to go against his programming and starts game hopping with the hopes of becoming a hero beloved by all.
In honor of “Wreck-It Ralph,” we’ve taken the liberty of compiling our own list of villains turned heroes. Comic book villains turned heroes, to be precise! These Marvel and DC characters all started off on the wrong side of the law, but are now either paying their dues or functioning as full-blown superheroes.
Click past the jump for our list of the five greatest comic book villains turned heroes!
Created in 1940 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Selina Kyle has been one of Batman’s most prolific enemies throughout the majority of her existence. However, in recent years, Catwoman has been transformed from remorseless cat burglar to Batman’s anti-hero ally. This comes as a direct result of the ongoing “Catwoman” series that portrayed Selina Kyle as an international thief with an ambiguous moral code, as opposed to a straight forward, cold-hearted villain.
Born the daughter of Magneto, Wanda Maximoff was destined for trouble from the very start. Receiving the majority of her magical abilities from an evil Elder God named Cthon, Wanda inadvertently kills both her actual mother and her adoptive mother at a surprisingly early age. After a brief stint in Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Scarlett Witch eventually joins the Avengers and has been a prominent superhero ever since.
Debuting as a villain for the Golden Age and Silver Age versions of the Flash, Richard Swift is a thief with a cane that has the ability to manipulate shadows and summon demons. Later, he becomes a pseudo-mentor for Jack Knight, the son of a Golden Age superhero called Starman. Then, in 1994, the Shade was reinvented as a morally ambiguous Victorian era immortal that would eventually become the neutral anti-hero that he is today.
Created by the evil synthezoid Ultron with the sole purpose of destroying the Avengers, the Vision is immediately sent to Avengers Mansion and ordered to eliminate anyone and everyone within. However, somehow Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are able to persuade the Vision to join them in their crusade to stop Ultron. Adapting the brain patterns of Simon Williams (a.k.a. Wonder Man), the Vision joins the Avengers and remains an integral part of the team to this day.
First appearing as a villain in issue 57 of “Tales of Suspense,” Clint Barton initially wanted nothing more than to become a costumed superhero. But due to a misunderstanding on his first outing, Clint is accused of stealing and immediately labeled a criminal. Whilst on the run, he meets and falls in love with Black Widow (who was also a villain at the time). During a battle with Iron Man (Clint’s idol), Black Widow is seriously injured and Clint decides to be a “straight shooter” from then on out.
List your favorite comic book villains turned heroes in the comments section below or let us know on Twitter!