What If…? Is Proving How Easily Heroes Can Become Villains (And Vice Versa)
The whole premise behind that is…? __S.63__Comic books are a genre that sometimes seems almost straight from fan fiction. They place Marvel’s most famous heroes in bizarre, unlikely and yet completely plausible situations, which leads to the creation not only of new heroes but also new villains.
On the face of it, the idea leads to some rather funny situations like Yondu’s henchmen taking T’Challa instead of Peter Quill to become Star-Lord; however, other stories like this week’s Doctor Strange episode have a far darker tone to them. For those who are familiar with Marvel Comics lore, this shouldn’t be surprising. The What If …? series is a good example. The series tends to have mostly negative endings. Writers don’t need to stick to the hero’s journey archetype or superhero tropes.
It is fascinating to consider how thin the line between heroism, outright villainy, or, at best, an extremely misguided power use. Uncle Ben’s lessons about responsibility still hold today. Tony Stark, for example, is faced with the reality that his inventions, weaponry, and weapons were being used for the evilest purpose. It’s not difficult to see Stark becoming more Justin Hammer with the right combination of nexus events.
Disney Plus’ What If …? The animated series will feature Iron Man as Black Panther. Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Killmonger instantly made him one of the MCU’s best villains, and part of the reason why is that, at its heart, what drives him to fight and antagonize his cousin T’Challa is somewhat relatable motives and goals, even if carried out in a reprehensible way.
MCU Killmonger was an orphaned child. He grew up witnessing the hardships that people like him had to endure, while his Wakandan relatives lived a life of prosperity and innovation. T’Challa eventually decides to open Wakanda up to the rest of the world in Black Panther and eliminate hundreds of years worth of tradition.
Killmonger and Doctor Strange Supreme, the dark Doctor Strange Supreme, prove that no one is intrinsically good or evil. However, their character can be strengthened or led to specific goals depending on the circumstances. He is just as evil as he is moral. The Darker Doctor Strange, who is trying to save Christine, ignores the advice of Obeng and the Ancient One out of arrogance.
Thanos’s story is even more fascinating because the purple titan retains all his genocidal impulses and theories. Still, out of the nature that he just encountered T’Challa Star-Lord (and perhaps a different childhood), he decides to lead a normal life as a bounty hunter for Yondu’s ravagers. Many articles were written about Thanos’s rational concerns about resource insufficiency and overpopulation when released Avengers: Infinity War.
This ambiguous characterization isn’t just for What If …?,. WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showed how super-powered people could have a fuzzy vision of right and wrong. The Scarlet Witch’s depressive state and deep grief made her a threat to national and international security.
Former Captain America, now the U.S. The path of Agent John Walker is very similar. A true American hero, an exemplary, upstanding person throughout his life, who wanted to follow the footsteps of Steve Rogers, becomes an antihero because he is unable to deal with the trauma he suffered from his heroic journey.
The only person who would appear to be exempt from any type of inner moral debates with himself would be Steve Rogers, who, even without any superpowers, is virtuous enough to fight side by side with his sweetheart Captain Carter. As What if …?’ trailers have shown, there is still the possibility of Rogers triggering a zombie Apocalypse clause to make Cap an evil being.
Marvel’s best villains have consistently proven to be those that are not evil for the sake of being evil, but those with many layers of complexity to their character and choices, and it’s precisely that composition that allows for any of its heroes to be instilled with enough experiences to cause them to turn to the dark side. They are remarkable people, and what if …?? __S.91__