15 Times Superheroes Went Dark (And Some Never Came Back)

Do you have someone in your life who doesn't like you, because of something he or she thinks you did in the past, whether true or not? If no one comes to mind, you are a special person and you should continue your perfect streak of good deeds.

The rest of us have to deal with people who carry grudges for the smallest of reasons and it seems as if they'll never forget about them or move on. One secret to living a happy and fulfilled life is to forgive and forget, since no grudge is ever worth holding on to regardless of how big it might be.

When superheroes do something out of line with their usual character, fans everywhere are bound to talk about it and even complain. A few decades back, when the stories of our favorite characters were being written for the first time, readers would even write to Marvel or DC if they weren't comfortable with how things were going. These days, the stories have developed in so many ways it can be hard to keep up with even a single character.

This is a list of the superheroes who went dark and stopped acting like the heroes we knew and loved for a period, although some never got a chance to come back to the light. These were some of the darkest times in the comics, because we had to remind ourselves that these were fictional characters in order to come to terms with their actions.

Which of these superheroes disappointed you the most?


15 The Hulk (Maestro)

The Hulk is one of our favorite Avengers, he never talks much, but when he does he's always hilarious. Since Bruce Banner is a good guy, The Hulk will always be a good superhero and save the day, or so we think. The Hulk only hurts those people who shoot at him or want to kill him. Otherwise, he'll only smash villains, tanks, and other creatures from out of this world.

Sometime in the future on Earth-9200, a nuclear apocalypse killed most of the superheroes on the planet, but The Hulk found a way to survive. He absorbed more radiation than he could handle, which made him lose his mind and increase in strength significantly.

Although this story happens in an alternate timeline, as written in The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect #1-2, one hundred years into the future, it's an indication that our green friend can actually turn. During this dark period, The Hulk changed his name to Maestro and ruled the world with an iron fist, because there was no one worthy enough to oppose him.

14 Batman (Azrael)


Batman might be the Dark Knight, but the only thing dark about him is his costume. Batman is an extremely disciplined superhero who always does the right thing. Except in the earliest publications where he might have killed some villains, Batman believes in sending them to jail and never using deadly force.

However, Batman is on this list, because at one point he turned dark. During this period, Bruce Wayne wasn't the one wearing the cape, because he was nursing his back after Bane broke it in Batman: Knightfall. Therefore, since Gotham still needed a hero, Bruce approached Jean-Paul Valley (Azrael) to play the role of the Bat for a while.

Valley didn't always agree with how the Batman did his crime fighting, so he went extreme, built a crazy costume and fought crime mercilessly. Bruce Wayne disagreed with how Valley was fighting crime, especially when he let Abattoir and his innocent prisoner to die when he would have saved them. Bruce didn't like this and he eventually took back his role as the Batman.

13 Storm

Storm is an amazing crime fighter, a member of the X-Men who, unlike Magneto and his mutants, believes mutants can live side-by-side with the humans, despite the hostility between them. Storm can control the weather and she uses the elements, together with her strength and skills in combat to bring the bad guys to justice.

Therefore, it is quite a surprise to see her on this list, because Storm has even been the leader of the X-Men on several occasions and always fights for good. However, in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 #159, Storm went dark when Dracula bit her and she started turning into a vampire. During this episode, Storm fought and attacked the X-Men, something no one would expect of her.

Storm started to return to normal when she broke Dracula's spell and her transformation ceased. The X-Men already have their hands full battling the villains; they don't need one of them joining the other camp now or anytime soon.

12 Green Lantern


The Green Lanterns are some of the best and mightiest defenders of the universe, who use the powers of their rings for battle and to maintain peace. Hal Jordan, who was the first human to become a Green Lantern, was one of the best there ever was, and he probably set the standard for which all Green Lanterns after him should meet and purpose to surpass.

However, one time when Mongul, an evil alien, destroyed Hal's city, he went crazy and used his ring to recreate manifestations of the friends, family, and everything which had been destroyed. This made the Green Lantern Corps call him to Oa to face charges for his actions, only for him to allow an entity to enter him and cause him to attack the Corps and kill nearly all the Green Lanterns. In Emerald Twilight, Hal became Parallax, a recurring villain of the Green Lanterns.

This is the definition of going dark, but thankfully he didn't remain evil, but changed back to the Green Lantern we all love.

11 Mister Fantastic (The Maker)

There is no doubt about how much of a great guy Reed Richards is. If you were to come up with a list of the superheroes who would never hurt an innocent fly, Mister Fantastic would probably be at the top of such a list. Although his work and pursuit of knowledge take up most of his time, he is just the perfect friend and nicest superhero.

Although chances are we will never see Reed stray from the path of goodness in the movies based on the main Marvel Universe, other versions of Reed in alternate universes have no issues going dark.

In an alternate storyline in Earth-1610, Reed Richards became a mad scientist and a villain, who went dark by faking his own death, killing his own family, and organizing attacks on numerous heroes including Sue Storm. He took up the name The Maker and, soon after coming back from the Negative Zone, created a city and a race of super humans called the Children of Tomorrow, who conquered Asgard and earth.

10 Robin (Jason Todd)


Since Bruce Wayne is a great guy and his discipline when it comes to fighting crime as Batman is something most other superheroes should desire to emulate, you would expect Robin to be the same, right? Although Dick Grayson was the perfect Robin, we can hardly say the same about Jason Todd, the second Robin.

Although Jason had a hard past and he had to live up to the legacy of his predecessor and Bruce Wayne, his rotten attitude and crankiness made audiences hate him to the point of calling for his death. The writers killed off Robin, but later resurrected him as the Red Hood, a former Robin who was very angry with Batman for not avenging his death.

As we all know, Red Hood is an antihero who uses the skills he learned from Batman to fight either for good or bad, and the worst thing about him is his willingness to use weapons and kill anyone who stands in his way.

9 Black Widow (Yelena Belova)

In The Avengers and a large chunk of its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Widow (Natasha Romanova) was the only female Avenger, but towards the end of the sequel Scarlet Witch joined the team and helped to reduce the gender gap. It's easy for scriptwriters to focus on the toughest male fighters and forget the women, because men have played the role of protectors in society for the longest time, and the comics world is no different.

Therefore, since Black Widow was one of the first Avengers, she is truly a special superhero. We love everything about her, especially since she has no superpowers, but she can take down evil aliens just like her fellow Avengers do.

Black widow is on this list because, after Yelena Belova took over from Natasha, Sauron attacked and badly wounded her, leading her to accept HYDRA's offer to become a Super-Adaptoid. When Iron Man defeated her, HYDRA disabled her and she returned to work with Vanguard, a vigilante group.


8 Shazam


Superman isn't necessarily the most powerful member of the Justice league, because some heroes such as the Martian Manhunter, the Green Lantern, and even Batman have a chance of beating him in a fight. However, if there is a superhero who can match up to Superman's powers even without the use of Kryptonite, or anything outside his physical abilities, it's Shazam.,

Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel) has powers almost identical to Superman's and, just like Clark Kent, Billy Batson, the boy who transforms into Shazam, is good and pure to his core. Superman and Shazam being on the same side is a good thing since, if these two were to fight, terrible things would happen.

Shazam is on this list because, in the mini-series Kingdom Come, Billy fell under Lex Luthor's control who wanted to use him to eliminate all the superheroes including Batman. Here we witnessed a fight between Shazam and Superman, one where Shazam was almost winning. However, Superman grabbed his magic lightning and helped him break free from Lex's control. Shazam sacrificed himself by detonating a missile meant to kill all metahumans on Earth earlier than was planned, taking their place instead.

7 Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) has one of the most messed up histories of all Avengers. We love seeing her fight alongside the Avengers these days, and we can count on her support when it comes to fighting crime.

According to what we have read in the comics, Scarlet Witch and Vision will get married and have children (don’t ask how). However, in Avengers Disassembled, Scarlet Witch hexed She-Hulk, causing her to brutally assault Captain Britain and Wasp, and also to tear the Vision in half. She, thereafter, summoned Kree soldiers who attacked Manhattan and, in the process, killed Hawkeye.

Doctor Strange discovered that Wanda wasn't in a good state of mind, because of the destruction she caused and how she turned against the Avengers. Doctor Strange put Wanda in a coma until Magneto came for her. Despite Captain America's opposition, Magneto went away with Wanda anyway.

6 Spider-Man


Spider-Man is one of the nicest superheroes in Marvel, because he is young, friendly, and funny. We especially loved his performance in Captain America: Civil War and we can hardly wait for Spider-Man: Homecoming to hit the big screens, because we know how awesome it will be to see him teaming up with Iron Man again.

Spider-Man is so popular with all ages, because he never uses deadly force, his storyline is captivating, and his relationship with Mary Jane is just beautiful. We get to learn important lessons from Spider-Man, including the most famous quote from Uncle Ben "with great power comes great responsibility", a quote so true every leader should have it as his or her mantra.

However, we remember a time when Spider-Man went dark, when a symbiote attached itself to Spider-Man, turned his costume into a stylish black color and then turned him into a total jerk. Thank God, Spider-Man got rid of the symbiote, but when it attached itself to Eddie Brock it turned him into Venom.

5 Thor

Thor is a god from Asgard who protects human beings even more fiercely than he does any other race, which is one of the reasons we love him so much. In The Avengers, Loki, Thor's brother, had come to earth and wanted nothing more than to dominate the world and force all the mortals to worship him. Therefore, Thor, together with his fellow Avengers, stepped up and stopped Loki from achieving his objective.

Therefore, no one would expect Thor to ever hurt human beings or go dark, because at the end of the day he is a god, right? However, anything can happen in the world of comics. In an Alternate timeline in Thor: The Reigning, Thor, who at the time was the leader of Asgard, decided to merge Asgard and New York and exercise his rule over everyone in what he thinks is a "Utopia", but everyone else feels like it is a totalitarian rule.

In the process of merging the two, tens of thousands of Asgardians and human beings died, and almost everyone hated his rule.

4 Wonder Woman (Wondra)


In your opinion, who is the most powerful female superhero in DC? Arguably, no other woman in DC has powers and abilities even close to what Wonder Woman has.

Wonder Woman's background is familiar to all superhero movie and comic fans, because she appears to be DC's most favorite female superhero. Furthermore, the new Wonder Woman film reveals almost everything someone needs to know about her earlier years and how she started to fight crime.

It seems as if Wonder Woman would never go dark even for a split second, since she represents truth and justice, so it's a huge surprise to find her on this list. However, in DC's Final Crisis #3, an Anti-Life Equation brainwashed Wonder Woman, and she became the leader of the Female Furies. She hunted down superheroes and super villains who had escaped Darkseid. However, Wonder Woman broke free from Darkseid's hold using her lasso.

3 Cyclops

Cyclops is not only one of the leaders of the X-Men, but one of the most dangerous mutants out there. Cyclops is the only one who has to wear cool shades all the time, not to protect his eyes from the sun, but to protect everyone and everything he looks at from total destruction. Therefore, please don't ever be curious as to the color of his eyes, because such a discovery would kill you before you knew it.

Cyclops went dark in Avengers vs. X-Men when he and the Avengers disagreed on who was to take care of Hope Summers, because the Phoenix Force was coming for her. Cyclops claimed the Phoenix Force would be beneficial to the X-Men, but the Avengers knew its dangers and wanted to destroy it. The Phoenix Force ended up inhabiting Cyclops, turned him into the Dark Phoenix, and it led him and four other mutants on a killing spree. However, the Avengers and the X-Men worked together to defeat the Dark Phoenix.

2 Superman


When we hear the word superhero, most of us imagine an individual with Superman's powers and abilities, because he is likely the first hero we were all introduced to, and all his powers are super cool. Superman's super hearing and lightning speed allow him to save any situation before it gets ugly, and this makes everyone in Metropolis, especially Lois Lane, comfortable even in the sight of imminent danger.

Superman's superpowers are a great blessing to the human race, but they are a curse when some other power corrupts him and he turns evil even just for a few hours. Superman has gone dark a number of times, and such times end up being nothing short of hell on earth.

In Injustice: Gods Among Us, the Joker destroyed Metropolis using a nuclear bomb and tricked Superman into killing a pregnant Lois Lane. This drove Superman insane and, thereafter, established an oppressive world order.

1 Jean Grey (Dark Phoenix)

Jean Grey is the perfect example of a superhero going dark and never coming back. Before turning into the Dark Phoenix, Jean was probably one of our favorite female X-Men, since she was beautiful, she had loving relationships with at least two mutants, and she was Professor X's favorite student. We all knew she had the powers of telepathy and telekinesis, but we didn't think of them as a big deal earlier on.

However, Professor X had an idea as to the extent of Jean's powers, and he tried to teach her how to contain and use them responsibly. The rest of us got to know just how powerful she was when she turned into the Dark Phoenix, and every other mutant's powers appeared to be child's play compared to what she could do.

Jean destroyed almost all the X-Men and committed large scale genocide during this period, and she would have continued to destroy everything on earth were it not for her allowing Wolverine to kill her.


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