“What makes a hero?” Asking a question like that at the beginning of a movie is a clear indication that things are only going south from here, but it’s an interesting question nonetheless. A hero is brave, noble, and willing to make the necessary sacrifices for the greater good. By that logic, an antihero must also be someone who is inherently good, but doesn’t necessarily possess the same minty-fresh qualities of a regular hero.
Thus, an antihero is a far more interesting study. Antiheroes are damaged, conflicted, and don’t always follow the politically correct route. Take a look at some of the antiheroes listed below for instance. Some of them kill their enemies without remorse, while others will do whatever it takes to reach their goal, even if it means leaving a trail of chaos in the process. In short, antiheroes are seriously messed up people, which is what draws us to them and helps us relate on some level, because we’ve all done things that we aren’t particularly proud of. The characters below are all fighting for a cause, be it justice or something more personal, and they get there by doing things that would never pass as heroic under normal circumstances.
By the way, you’ll notice that Wolverine isn’t on this list, and that’s because he isn’t an antihero. Wolverine's tactics may be unconventional and violent, but he has always conducted himself as a soldier on a mission, doing whatever it takes to protect the innocent and assist his comrades.
15 The Punisher
He may not have any superpowers, but The Punisher is arguably Marvel’s most popular antihero, and for good reason. Frank Castle basically went batsh*t crazy after his family was brutally murdered and thus kick-started a never-ending mission to rid the world of villainous scum.
14 Moon Knight
Much like the Iron Fist, Moon Knight’s source of power remains a mystery. Although he doesn’t claim any superpowers, Marc Spector has displayed feats of great strength and stamina while fighting crime as the vigilante Moon Knight. His accelerated healing has been attributed to an unprecedented control of his own "Chi", while his ability to switch personalities on cue is said to be a side-effect of madness; a variation of mental trauma that came about when he “died” briefly.
Expert combatant and marksman, trained actor, multilingual covert operative, rapid healing, and resistance to toxins and diseases are just some of Mystique’s listed powers. Oh, and she’s also a shapeshifter.
12 Drax The Destroyer
Drax The Destroyer has one thing on his mind and one thing only… kill the Mad Titan, Thanos. Created by Mentor and Kronos using Arthur Douglas’ cosmic consciousness, Drax was wired to seek out Thanos and end him for killing Drax’s former human family, although it’s unclear if Drax knows for certain why he hunts Thanos at all. This makes Drax an extremely valuable ally to Thanos’ enemies, but also a very dangerous rogue component in any team. Drax’s one-track mind sometimes forces him to ignore all other aspects of a mission, including the safety of others, when Thanos is in the vicinity.
Eric Brooks, popularly known as Blade, inherited an immunity towards vampire bites when his mother was bitten by one while she was giving birth to him. Talk about a messy situation.
Much like Mystique, the mutant known as Copycat can morph into anyone she sees fit, with one additional perk: Copycat’s metamorphosis is on a genetic level, meaning she absorbs a certain amount of her target’s powers as well, making her a highly dangerous entity.
Elektra is a ninja assassin who has undergone peak physical conditioning. As if that isn’t formidable enough, she was also resurrected by an ancient cult called The Hand by linking her to a demon called The Beast. This is where Elektra gets her heightened senses from.
Although he’s currently known as Toxin, let’s go with Venom for the sake of popularity. Commonly known as - but not confined to - the alter ego of Eddie Brock, Venom is a conflicted symbiotic entity that latches onto a host and enhances his or her core emotions in an unstable and dangerous manner. While considered to be inherently violent and evil, Venom has shown that he is more vigilante than villain, tracking down criminals and bringing them to justice. Okay, so he rips their spleen out and hangs his victims for everyone to see, but maybe his heart was in the right place?
You’re probably thinking… Magneto is a bad guy, so why is he on this list!? Contrary to popular belief, Magneto’s position in the world is highly subjective depending on where you’re coming from. As a mutant, Magneto is basically a rights activist, although his methods are highly questionable. As a human though, Magneto is a living nightmare that could strike at any given moment. That being said, the "Master of Magnetism" has also helped his old friend, Charles Xavier, and the X-Men numerous times to take down common enemies. He even led the X-Men against Apocalypse when Xavier was gone.
6 Namor the Sub-Mariner
Ah, Marvel’s Aquaman. Perpetually in defense of Atlantis, Namor the Sub-Mariner has waged war on the surface land many times, and on most occasions he is thwarted by either the Avengers or the Fantastic Four. Bringing new meaning to the term “it’s complicated”, Namor has made his feelings for Sue Storm abundantly clear over the years, at one time even offering to make her his queen. For the sake of Atlantis, Namor has willingly aligned himself with the likes of Magneto, albeit it being a temporary partnership.
5 The Hulk
Bruce Banner may be an inherently good person, but the embodiment of his rage is an antihero in every sense of the word. The Hulk is pure chaos, destroying and even killing everything and everyone in its path without remorse or mercy. While more recent variations of The Hulk have shown signs of control and even sympathy towards those close to Bruce Banner, the character is basically a beast with a one-track mind who would silence the nagging voice of Banner in its head if it could. Director Joss Whedon explained it best when he compared The Hulk to a werewolf. There’s only so much you can do before instinct takes over and sh*t inevitably hits the figurative fan.
4 Ghost Rider
Akin to The Hulk and Bruce Banner, the demon known as Zarathos inhabits the body of Johnny Blaze in order to roam the Earth as the Ghost Rider; Hell’s own bounty hunter, who was later revealed to be a creation of Heaven.
Seriously, does this guy need any introduction? The "Merc with a Mouth" has many abilities ranging from a regenerative healing factor to enhanced strength, making him a hilariously deadly antihero and overall force to be reckoned with. He’s also insanely annoying to be around, but very entertaining for those of us watching through the fourth wall... something Deadpool has broken on many occasions. Deadpool’s ability to regrow limbs and heal from any wound basically renders him immortal, meaning folks a thousand years from now will still have the pleasure of enduring his twisted sense of humor. Deadpool’s mind is in a constant state of flux and regeneration, which means any attempt to tap into his psyche is swiftly and automatically thwarted. This condition also makes Deadpool immune to the Ghost Rider’s "Penance Stare". Woah.
One of the most powerful antiheroes may not be a relatively popular character, but his place on this list is well earned. The Sentry was created after a meth addict by the name of Robert Reynolds broke into the lab of Professor Cornelius and consumed a concoction that was supposedly a variation of the famed Super Soldier serum.
1 Scarlet Witch
I’m capping this list off with none other than the Scarlet Witch. Wanda Maximoff, the daughter of Magneto and sister to Quicksilver, has the ability to alter reality using Chaos Magic. Yes, she’s really a witch and she uses magic spells to spook her enemies. It’s one thing to be a mutant and have claws sticking out of your knuckles or wings sticking out of your back... but an actual, mind-bending, reality-warping witch? Get outta’ here!
In her early years, Wanda would cast simple spells to create an alternate reality in the eyes of her targets only. Eventually, she grew more powerful and was able to not only manipulate reality itself, but provide alternate realities for different people. Her powers transcend the bounds of this dimension and don't abide by the laws of reality itself. And if that’s not enough, her mental stability is questionable, so good luck to any superhero talking her down once she’s in full-blown Gandalf mode. Her powers are so pure and abundant that even the likes of Dr. Strange and the Eye of Agamotto could only weaken her for an extremely brief period of time. Wanda started out on the side of evil but later turned her allegiance to the Avengers. Nevertheless, her powers and methods of making enemies yield are unorthodox and highly controversial, causing her opponents to suffer realities and mental torment for untold stretches of time.
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