I was thinking recently about the Sandman, and his attempts to reform. Same for Emma Frost. Of course, they wee turned evil again, so that's not surprising.

That got me thinking: over the years, what comics characters that started out as villains and later reformed have stayed reformed? I can only think of a small handful:

Paula Von Gunther

The Swordsman (it helped that he died shortly after his reformation)

Songbird

I'm sure there are more, but I'm not thinking of them.

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Wasn't Hawkeye a villain at first?

Yep, committed treason and stuff because of the Black Widow who also reformed.

The list can add:

  • Scarlet Witch
  • Quicksilver (though both have strayed from time to time)
  • Nighthawk
  • Dev-Em
  • Changeling from the X-Men
  • Steve the Tramp (Dick Tracy)
  • B.O. Plenty (Dick Tracy)
  • Gravel Gerty (Dick Tracy)
  • Smurfette
  • Godzilla (to a point)
  • Rogue
  • Blok (Legion of Super-Heroes)

    Detective 445 said:

Wasn't Hawkeye a villain at first?

I'm not sure that I would count Godzilla as a "villain", because I'm not sure to what extent he (it?) could be considered a moral actor. It doesn't help that the films themselves were inconsistent in this regard.

Godzilla was definitely the "bad guy" when he fought Toho's King Kong and Mothra, turning face when he battled King Ghidorah. Eventually he was practically a super-hero by the 70s.

I only have scanty knowledge of the histories of some of these.

Medusa (orig. a villain; no explanation for her earlier attitude was given when the Inhumans were introduced; later said to have had amnesia)

the Silver Surfer (reformed in the course of his debut story)

Mr Bones

Mr Element/Dr Alchemy pre-Crisis

Ambush Bug

Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara)

the Beetle (Abner Jenkins)

Force

Wonder Man

Volcana

Rocket Racer (Robert Farrell)

Madrox, the Multiple Man

Diamond Lil

Purple Girl

the Steel Serpent

Some have criminal histories before they first appeared:

Ak-Var (Flamebird II)

Ant-Man (Scott Lang).

Some permanently reform because they hardly appear again:

Shyla Kor-Onn (a one-story Supergirl villain, she was shown to have reformed in The Krypton Chronicles)

the original Crimson Dynamo (died in his second story).

Some reform just before they die (e.g. Madame Rouge in New Teen Titans).

Some have gone back and forth (e.g. Catwoman, Thundra, Sharon Ventura, Molecule Man, Deathstroke).

Moondragon?

As I recall, Moondragon actually started out as a villain called Madame McEvil before morphing into the morally ambiguous mostly hero we're more familiar with today.

Luke Blanchard said:

I only have scanty knowledge of the histories of some of these.

Medusa (orig. a villain; no explanation for her earlier attitude was given when the Inhumans were introduced; later said to have had amnesia)

the Silver Surfer (reformed in the course of his debut story)

Mr Bones

Mr Element/Dr Alchemy pre-Crisis

Ambush Bug

Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara)

the Beetle (Abner Jenkins)

Force

Wonder Man

Volcana

Rocket Racer (Robert Farrell)

Madrox, the Multiple Man

Diamond Lil

Purple Girl

the Steel Serpent

Some have criminal histories before they first appeared:

Ak-Var (Flamebird II)

Ant-Man (Scott Lang).

Some permanently reform because they hardly appear again:

Shyla Kor-Onn (a one-story Supergirl villain, she was shown to have reformed in The Krypton Chronicles)

the original Crimson Dynamo (died in his second story).

Some reform just before they die (e.g. Madame Rouge in New Teen Titans).

Some have gone back and forth (e.g. Catwoman, Thundra, Sharon Ventura, Molecule Man, Deathstroke).

Moondragon?

Did Pied Piper's reformation survive Rebirth?

I've never read Starman; the Shade might qualify.

Yes, he would. To the best of my knowledge, he has not returned to crime.

As it was explained, the whole crime thing was more for his amusement (he is immortal) than out of malicious interest.

Luke Blanchard said:

I've never read Starman; the Shade might qualify.

Vegeta from the Dragonball series

Marc "Blackie" DuQuesne from the Skylark novels

Plastic Man was formerly the gangster Eel O'Brien

according to Superman #416 the pre-Crisis Luthor was going to reform in the future

Ron-Avon from Superboy #141

Firelord

Thief antiheroes sometimes reform and become detectives, e.g. Arsene Lupin. Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin were thieves, but retired prior to their debut.

Some enemies become the hero's buddy, e.g. Enkidu from the Epic of Gilgamesh. I think there must be comics examples but none leaps to mind. (Randy noted Paula from Wonder Woman: I guess she qualifies.)

Torgo from Fantastic Four #90-#93

I was wondering the same thing.

Captain Comics said:

Did Pied Piper's reformation survive Rebirth?

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