Bad Guys Gone Good: Notorious Super Villains Who’ve Changed Their Ways
By Annie Cooper
Whether you’re a momma or poppa to be, pregnancy can really put a kink into one’s career plans. In addition to the physical and emotional turmoil of baby-growing itself, there’s maternity leave to plan, labor to fear and endure, childcare to pay for… It’s an endless list of decisions, accommodations, and sacrifices.
It’s especially troublesome if one’s chosen path is “Evil Super Villain”. Jessica James, the gob smacked soon-to-be supermom of KoldCast TV’s unconventional new comic book series Super Knocked Up, is in precisely that predicament. It’s dually complicated by the fact that the daddy of her developing little superhuman is her conceited, self-satisfied Superhero nemesis, Captain Amazing. Suddenly, the assured villainess is uncomfortably vulnerable, and as much as she hates to admit it, she can’t do this alone.
You are watching Episode 1 of Super Knocked Up!, “One Night Stand”
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community of fans and supporters of indie TV to raise a healthy Internet series. The indiegogo campaign for Super Knocked Up is on a roll, and they need your help to give birth to a bouncing Season 2 baby.
Undoubtedly, parenthood changes a person, but the jury’s still out on whether joining the mommy club will be enough to sway Jessica from naughty to nice. If she does, though, she needn’t feel like a sellout. On the contrary, she’ll be in good company, joining the ranks of the many villains throughout comic book and movie history who’ve reformed their nasty ways. Here are just a few of the fine baddies-gone-good:
Hawkeye (Marvel’s X-Men)
Also billed as “The World’s Greatest Marksman” way back in his circus days, Marvel’s Hawkeye is now well known to the non-comic geek portion of the American public, thanks to Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of him in the films Thor and The Avengers.
Hawkeye started out life as a misunderstood and reluctant villain, after falling in love with the Black Widow and attempting to steal technology from Tony Stark aka Iron Man. He saw the error of his ways and decided to become a “straight shooter.” This is great news, because every team of heroes needs a sniper, or so we’re told.
However, there is a rumor that posits Hawkeye’s transformation was not due to a genuine change of heart, but rather a realization that no one can be truly evil while wearing lavender.
Gru (Despicable Me)
Poor Gru. The anti-hero of Despicable Me (and the upcoming sequel) is out of money, short on evil plots with originality, and afraid of his own mutant dog-like-thing. To add insult to injury, he’s being upstaged and backstabbed by a snotty, young, well-connected newcomer. Lucky for Gru, (whether he realizes it or not), what begins as a plot to foil his nemesis soon leads to a much grander reward: the unconditional love of three orphan girls. I can hear you saying, “Awwww” from here. Plus, MINIONS. Little. Yellow. Different. Better. You know you want one.
Magneto (Marvel’s X-Men)
Though he’s widely considered one of the greatest villains in comic history, X-Men’s Magneto has often straddled the divide between destructive terrorist and sympathetic revolutionary. A survivor of Auschwitz, Magneto’s main focus began as the preservation, protection, and advancement of the Mutants, who are so often under attack from suspicious human zealots. That sounds fine, until you learn that “destruction of all non-mutants” is the unfortunate sidebar to his plans.
More often than not, and certainly in more recent incarnations, Magneto has allied his electromagnetic super-self with the X-Men, assisting Professor X and his crew in saving not only mutant lives, but humans as well. And he’s done so at his own heartbreaking, personal expense: losing his powers, his consciousness, and even his own family in the process.
Catwoman (DC Comics – Batman)
Contrary to popular belief, Catwoman aka Selina Kyle has never been a true villain in the proper sense of the word. She’s more of a fun-loving, precocious criminal, occasionally forced to act in a villainous way by folks more malicious than she, particularly when those she cares for are threatened. She has a no-kill policy, and has only violated it when it was absolutely necessary.
Though her backstory has undergone several revisions throughout her history, she’s always been portrayed as a complex woman who’s survived a turbulent past, refusing to become a victim. She’s been a prostitute, a flight attendant, an amnesiac, a spy, and a mother. And all along, she’s been Batman’s most enduring love interest. How could any red-blooded bat resist, after all? Everyone has his or her favorite Catwoman, but for our money, it’s all about Eartha Kitt. Rowwwwwr!
The T-800 (The Terminator)
There’s nothing sadder than a self-sacrificing cyborg. They’re few and far between, but those few that do push free of their industrial origins to become human-like in their generosity and selflessness are a potent reminder that we always have a choice between right and wrong.
The Terminator T-800 model initially came to destroy Sarah Connor, only to be reprogrammed in later sequels to save Sarah and her future-revolutionary son, John, from the more advanced and decidedly creepier, T-1000. Our brains may know he’s just a machine doing what his processor tells him to do, but when T-800 insisted that Sarah lower him into that vat of molten steel, our hearts cried out, “Don’t do it, Arnie! You have so much to live for! Maybe his future self was just trying to avoid breaking the news that he would have a lovechild with his housekeeper in a couple of years.
Will parenthood change Jessica from ass-kicker to bum-wiper? Will Captain Amazing step up to the greatest force off all: being a father? Or, will Jessica be forced to file for child support? Do they make maternity unitards? These burning questions can only be answered if Super Knocked Up is able to successfully pop out another season. Do your part. It’s easier than having your own kids, and infinitely cheaper.
Annie Cooper is a writer, armchair public transportation advocate, and aspiring taco critic. She has written columns and specialized training materials related to children with special needs, parenting issues, and early childhood development. Her writings are geared toward therapists, social workers, and teachers of young children with complex medical and developmental issues. She recently left her job in social services in an effort to become part of the problem, rather than the solution. Annie lives in Los Angeles, but she’s not from there – nobody’s from there.