Bad Powers, Bad People

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Unlikely to be one of the good guys. But you never know.

"I'm bad luck. Good was never an option for me."

Jinx, Teen Titans

Hooray, you've got super powers! Your dreams of becoming a hero and making the world a better place are one step closer to coming true! Only, wait a minute...why do your powers revolve around raising the dead as zombies, or causing another person's muscles to atrophy, or overriding someone's nervous system so that they feel nothing but pain?

Let's face it: there are some powers that just aren't conducive to superheroics. Necromancy? Not so much, Deadly Girl of The Specials aside. Toxic kiss? No. Life-draining touch? Not very likely. Bone tentacles out of your back? No way.

So, if you happen to be on the receiving end of these powers, there seem to be only two logical options:

  1. Embrace your newfound powers and descend into full-on cackling villainy, or
  2. Accept the fact that you're living a life Blessed with Suck and try to make the best of it.

Surprisingly, more often than not, people with "bad" powers end up turning bad (and even those that stay good end up being pretty dodgy). And don't even think of using your bad power: when it starts feeling good, you've already fallen off the slippery slope. Even if you use it for good, odds are that you'll become an angst-ridden Anti-Hero.

Some aren't even any more truly evil than other powers, but still have the stigma attached; spraying of acidic slime or shards of bone aren't much more damaging than freezing solid, but they're still a Bad Power because they have more of a Squicky organic feel to them. Even "neutral" powers like telepathy can require good Mind Over Manners to stay clear of being Puppeteer Parasite.

Compare with Red Right Hand, often goes along with an Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance. This can be derived from ideas about Personality Powers, including how the characters think about the idea. Characters can get "evil powers" because their heart was already dark, or they can turn evil due to their powers, and which way isn't always explained. Often, this goes hand in hand with No Cure for Evil, where evil characters are forbidden the "good powers" of healing. Then again, some settings will use Good Powers, Bad People to show that powers have no inherent morality, and even good powers can be used for evil ends. And, of course, if you deliberately went out of your way to get bad powers...

Also see Dark Is Evil. Contrast with Dark Is Not Evil, which is where just because something seems innately evil doesn't mean that it is, and Walking Wasteland, in those cases where the person responsible doesn't mean or want to be an affliction. Very unlikely to be stacked with Light Is Not Good, which is where something that seems innately good turns out to not be so good or even outright evil. This is an extreme form of the Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality, as the power has no use outside of evil. Also, countered by Bad Powers, Good People, in which someone with these powers tries to use them for good.

Examples of Bad Powers, Bad People include:

Embraced the Villainy

Anime and Manga

  • While all of the Contractors in Darker than Black are thought to be evil, this really applies well to the character Wei. His power is Bloody Murder, powered by cutting himself - he sprays blood at enemies and once he snaps his fingers, whatever area was hit by the blood explodes. He definitely comes across as more of a Psycho for Hire than most Contractors. Havoc also counts, as her power is Explosive Decompression and she fuels it by drinking the blood of children - this clearly is one power that offers no possibility for good. When she is depowered and regains her personality/morality, she becomes The Atoner and begs the protagonist to kill her if her powers should ever return.
    • There are a few odd examples, too. One girl, for example, has the power to liquefy the internal organs of one person at a time. Her payment is that all her human emotions come back for a few minutes—at which point the guilt hits her so hard that she can't even stand.
  • Blackbeard of One Piece comes at this the opposite way. He specifically wanted the darkness-based Dark-Dark Fruit because it was considered the most evil Devil Fruit around.
    • A more straight example would be Gecko Moria. The power to steal peoples' shadows (without which they will vaporize in sunlight) and then put them inside corpses to make a slave army of Zombie Mooks? What possible use for good could that possess?
      • Note also that that is just one of the powers of the Shadow-Shadow Fruit. In the One Piece universe, it's generally more like Neutral Powers Good/Bad People.
  • Double Subverted in Code Geass. Mind Control is a morally questionable power at best, and Lelouch's first use of it is to order a group of soldiers to kill themselves. But in spite of this, Lelouch has a noble goal (to free Japan from the Evil Empire). As time goes on, it becomes clear he's gone off the deep end of Well-Intentioned Extremist territory, even willing to manipulate his friends, betray allies, and slaughter children to achieve his goal. The only thing that keeps him from being an outright Villain Protagonist is the Gray and Gray Morality of the series.
    • Suzaku goes so far as to outright classify Geass as a sin. Of course, he is understandably biased, since he's suffered at the hands of something he doesn't have himself.
    • The novels state that Lelouch actually hates his power, because as someone who highly values personal freedom, the ability to rob someone of their free will is abhorrent. Therefore, he usually reserves his use of it to short-term orders and, occasionally, self defense. Only late in the series, when he fully immerses himself in his Well-Intentioned Extremist ways, does he start doing the "obey me" command that everyone was asking why he never used before.
  • In Speed Grapher, the superpowered characters have their abilities determined by their depravities and fetishes, so there are several of these, including an evil dentist who grows his own instruments for use as implements of torture, a guy who can bring his creepy tattoos to life, and a Big Bad who uses his own blood as a weapon. Subverted in the case of the hero Saiga, whose power is the ability to destroy anything he takes a picture of.
  • A Death Note is technically an artifact and not a power, but otherwise, it fits perfectly.
    • Especially applies when used by the Shinigami, though they mostly take lives simply because they must to extend their own. Whereas a human with a Death Note could at least theoretically use it to indirectly save lives (not that any of the ones given the chance takes it, being more concerned with punishing the guilty than protecting the innocent), Shinigami are explicitly forbidden from extending a human's lifespan by any means. If they do so, they instantly die.
    • According to Word of God, a good person will never use a Death Note the way Light did - which is why, in the prototype version of the manga, Taro (the original protagonist) got rid of it after only using it once.
  • Played with and arguably deconstructed in Medaka Box. Most of the Minus Abnormals are driven into utter sociopathy through being born with horrible, destructive powers, like the ability to rot anything that your hands touch, that cannot be turned off. Yet the guy whose whole abnormality is an overwhelming killing instinct successfully suppresses his urges and even helps the heroes after some point, while the Big Bad's superpower not only can easily be used for good, but wasn't even what corrupted him - he got it when he already was evil...
  • Inverted in Yaiba: the Devil King Sword's power is proportional to how wicked is the wielder is.
  • In Naruto, we have the Mangekyo Sharingan, which can use Mind Rape by compressing 72 hours in a second (or a weaker version which Sasuke uses), control the strongest Eldritch Abomination, summon ethereal warriors which feed off lifeforce, and create black flames that burn forever. The only way to obtain this power is to kill somebody you care deeply about and the only way to keep it is to take the eyes of your sibling.
    • Kakashi subverts this with his Mangekyo Sharingan. It's unknown how he obtained it, but in the databook, it was old-fashioned hard work. Thus, despite the massive chakra drain (which kills him at one point), he has none of the blindness that other Mangekyo users have.
      • One possible explanation is that his Sharingan is already an implanted one, a gift from his friend, so it may possibly function like a sibling's Sharingan mentioned above.
  • Zeref, of Fairy Tail, whose two known powers thus far are to create horrible demons and suck the life out of anything and everything in the surrounding area. It's currently unknown whether he's a decent guy who got a really bad rap for what seems to be a pretty unnerving lack of control for his abilities, or if he's just a little screwy to begin with, got such twisted magic, and then went psycho before developing a conscience.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Kimblee destabilises the air, transforming the entire area he is standing in into a ready-made bomb. Pride uses shadows to slice apart and devour his victims. They are both bad guys. Taken Up to Eleven by the version of Kimblee in the 2003 anime adaptation wherein he could transmute people into explosives; perhaps unsurprsingly, the anime version had even fewer morals than the manga version.

Comic Books

  • The X-Men had Wither, whose skin broke down organic matter on contact. When his powers first manifested, he accidentally killed his father. After trying for a life of semi-normalcy, he went over to the dark side.
    • It can be said that this is the whole point of the entire X-Men series, i.e. most mutants in the series struggle to control their superpowers, some of which are pretty good-proof, like the superpowers of the original horsemen of Apocalypse. Even some neutral or good-affiliated powers can be dangerous at times and the Xavier institute is founded for training the amateurs to control their superpower for the humans' and their own safety.
    • Jean Grey's experiences with the Phoenix Force kinda dance around this line. She has the power to manipulate entire timelines for the better, can go toe-to-toe with Galactus, can make matter with her mind, survive being inside of and eating stars, beat Xavier and Emma Frost in a telepathic battle, make star-gates, breathe in space, generate all kinds of awesome fire, oh, and burn up the life force reserved for beings who have not yet been born. Good thing she's on our side most of the time.
  • The DCU had The Brotherhood of Evil, and the name alone told you which side of this trope they came down on. The second incarnation of the Brotherhood backed it up with members like Plasmus, a being made of living radioactive protoplasm, and Phobia, a woman with the ability to make others live out their worst fears.
  • The Mandrill - a villain who has fought Shanna the She-Devil, Daredevil, Spider-Woman, Black Widow and others - is a mutant with the ability to brainwash and enslave women. No way anyone like this could not be a chauvinist, something he doesn't even try to hide.
  • Poison Ivy, from Batman. What homicidal environmentalist would be complete without a poisonous kiss? Besides Ra's al Ghul, that is.
    • Ivy is also a case of Good Powers, Bad People. She could regrow the rain forest, feed the hungry, fix global warming, etc. Shame she's insane, really.
      • In Justice, Ivy, along with a number of 'former' villains, started a series of good will moves across the globe. She was shown in an impoverished desert, either north Africa or middle east, growing entire orchards and crop fields. The main reason she doesn't do this more often is that she is essentially an eco-terrorist with superpowers who believes she can help the environment more by destroying factories and businesses.
  • The character Red Mask from Animal Man had originally wanted to become a hero and learn to fly. But when he gained a deathtouch power from a radioactive meteorite, he reluctantly became a supervillain, and even acknowledged that he wasn't very good at it.
    • The only reason Red Mask became a villain was because his powers didn't have an "off" switch. He couldn't even be near his wife, lest he accidentally killed her. One of the main points he was trying to say by giving his origins was that with the continuous power to kill with a touch, there was little he could do otherwise. The other was that if he had almost any other power (flying being his most wanted), he would have been a hero instead.
  • Mr. Bones, a villain in the original 1980s Infinity, Inc., had cyanide skin which gave him a death touch. He changed sides, though.
  • Mano, one of the villainous Fatal Five from the Legion of Super-Heroes, can disintegrate anything he touches...and sometimes more; in at least one continuity, he destroyed his home planet this way.
  • Melter of the Young Masters of, Young Avengers is told this. Then again, being able to turn people into puddles of steaming goo doesn't often have "good" uses.

Coat of Arms: You've got a villain's power...You've got a power that naturally inclines you towards becoming a villain. But maybe even because of that, you're the one who most wants to be a hero.

  • Mind Control is a pretty nasty power; many mind controllers from comics, like Purple Man, The Controller, and Scarecrow, from Daredevil, Iron Man, and Batman, respectively, are in the Complete Monster category or damn close to it. Xavier, who has Psychic Powers, is often mentioned to have a code against controlling someone else's mind. There are some exceptions, like the Pied Piper from The Flash, who reformed.
    • Maxwell Lord, former member of Justice League International, fits this. He was originally a good guy who headed the League and had some psionic powers, then we found out his powers had increased a great deal and he had been manipulating the League for a long time. He went speeding past the Moral Event Horizon by murdering Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, then used mind control to give Superman and Batman hallucinations and endanger their lives, forcing Wonder Woman to kill him to save them. He's back to life as of Brightest Day and making his former teammate's lives a living hell. His powers are once again increased and he also nearly killed Kord's successor as the Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes. Unambiguously a bad guy at this point.
  • Besides the Meaningful Name, Parasite never decided to become a type two, like Rogue. Parasite's inhuman looks also make it easier for him to be more inclined to villainy.
  • Miss Misery of Sleeper will waste away and die if she doesn't kill, steal, and/or betray on a regular basis. If she does do those things, she gains superhuman strength, speed, durability, and healing directly proportional to how bad she's being. To put it mildly, Being Good Sucks for her.
  • If your shriek has the potential to kill other people like the Silver Banshee, you might be a villain too.


  • Justified in Black Dogs, where mages are assumed to be immoral or evil and magic is a thoroughly nasty practice - for example, the most common means of magical communication is to take a living human and possess him or her as an avatar from a distance - completely destroying his or her mind in the process. Magical power is strengthened by doing things such as ritual bloodletting and human sacrifice, and the more powerful magical spells require either of these two things to even be cast. Naturally, the people willing to do this kinda stuff for power are not nice people.
  • This trope is justified in Harry Potter. If a wizard wished to use an Unforgivable Curse on somebody, they would need to be evil; no good can ever come from these dark spells. For example, if somebody wished to use the Avada Kedavra curse, they would need to truly despise them (not because they murdered their family), or at least have a disregard for human life. Harry was still able to use the Imperius Curse, but him having a soul fragment of Voldemort was a justification for that.
  • In The Dresden Files, the skinwalker has a vast variety of magical powers, many of which could theoretically be used for good, but two stand out as just plain evil. The first is to devour the power of other magic-users, which naturally leads to it hunting people down to kill them and take their power. The second is from Word of God, that it always instinctively knows what act will cause someone the most suffering possible. Yeah, find a nice way to use that one. This is the reason why it tried to reach Harry through Thomas despite not knowing of their connection, and also why it tormented a would-be Friendly Neighborhood Vampire by torturing him into starving madness, then giving him someone to eat. Repeatedly.
    • Also subverted (and discussed) with the necromancer in Dead Beat, who uses her power to keep dying people alive long enough to get to a hospital. Though she's not so much good as a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • The Gone (novel) series: in book 3, a new villainess is introduced who has the power to create illusions of monsters. Not illusions of anything else, only monsters. Also, an extremely sadistic villain had his arm replaced with a powerful whip. Justified in that powers in the Gone (novel) series seem to often be based on personalities, desires, or needs.
  • Doro in the Octavia Butler novel Wild Seed survives for centuries by passing his consciousness from one mind to another. When he takes someone over, he essentially consumes and destroys their soul; when he leaves the body for another one, the body dies. It would be pretty hard not to be a villain if that was your superpower.

Live-Action TV

  • Sylar in Heroes has the superpower of instinctively understanding how things work. Not exactly the most spectacular talent, except that it includes the ability to take the powers of others by killing them. If his power had been more like Peter's, i.e., the ability to duplicate the powers of others just by being exposed to them, then he might never have become evil.
    • He actually can copy powers without killing people, though he doesn't find out until the third season. It doesn't matter for long.
    • Even his normal copying power isn't necessarily lethal; it just includes direct study of the brain, so Claire is the only one to survive it.
  • In Charmed, good magic and evil magic are functionally distinct, and using the other side's magic or, to a lesser extent, simply being able to use it will turn you to that side - especially with evil magic. Poor Cole Turner, if only he'd lived in a world where the dichotomy between good and evil wasn't supported by Applied Phlebotinum.
    • It's also somewhat of an aversion with Cole, though, as he spends a chunk of time fighting on the side of good despite still using his demonic powers, only losing them after being unable to control his Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • Michael in Roswell was convinced he was this because his strongest powers killed while Max's healed. Of course, you could argue that, that made him a born soldier, not a bad person.
  • In Friday the 13th: The Series, you have a slew of Artifacts of Doom which either require someone to die in order to grant miracles to their users, or it just makes it easier to straight out kill someone. Not surprising as these items were cursed by The Devil. As such it would be nearly impossible to actually use these items to do good, and the villain of the week is usually some unrepentant sociopath who uses the artifact to kill people or kills people to use the artifact.

Tabletop Games

  • While Vampire: The Masquerade had a bunch of "Disciplines" that could be considered context-neutral, one power was more often than not used for wicked purposes—Vicissitude, the ability to rework the flesh and bones of one's self and others. Needless to say, it ended up in the hands of the Tzimisce, a clan full of twisted transcendentalists almost completely devoid of ethics, but fond of sadism and agony. And if that wasn't enough, they often decide to show it off by turning humans and animals into monstrous servants and other vampires into screaming, insane pieces of furniture.
    • In one Old World of Darkness sourcebook pertaining to sorcery (magic, but not the full-on reality-warping kind) and psychic powers, this trope is lampshaded. Magic and Psychic Powers by themselves, even the ones with obvious evil potential (like Shadowcasting or Pyrokinesis), were wholly dependent on the practitioner...but people with Psychic Vampirism, the ability to leech emotion, willpower, and life from others, have a general trend of turning evil (because, in that power's case, Evil Feels Good).
  • In Mage: The Ascension, we had Widderslainte, children who have been reincarnated with the reality-warping avatars of dead Nephandi. These kids tend to be amoral sociopaths BEFORE awakening, but when they do, most of them dive headfirst, cackling into the dark side.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons setting Eberron, there are families called the dragonmarked houses, with hereditary magical tattoos. These families used their powers to economic ends... except one. Their mark was known as the Mark of Death; while its exact powers are never detailed, it's been implied that they were both disproportionately strong and not very well-suited to making a business profit. They had to be wiped out for the good of Khorvaire. That, and attempting to stop a war by hybridising an elf and a dragon. This was immediately considered a crime against the natural order, and the war was put on hold while the elves and dragons wiped out the hapless House Vol. Frankly, who wouldn't turn evil after that kind of experience?
    • D&D also has lots of magic spells that are considered to be inherently evil. Anything to do with creating undead, for instance. It doesn't matter if you order your army of skeletons to build orphanages and help old ladies cross the street, creating them was still evil. This makes it almost impossible to play classes like Dread Necromancer and have a good alignment; neutral with antihero tendencies is pretty much the best you can do.
      • At least one 3rd Edition sourcebook explained that this is because even animating unintelligent undead like skeletons and zombies binds the soul of the dead in a rather excruciating manner, as well as perverting the natural order of things.
  • The Warp operates this way in Warhammer 40,000. When you wake up with the ability to Mind Rape people at will, turn bodies inside out, create a mini-Negative Space Wedgie at will, or teleport by means of traveling through hell, you know you cannot possibly be employed by a benevolent organization. The setting being what it is, of course, this means you're as likely to be employed by the "good" guys as the forces of hell.
  • The Marvel Super Heroes game (in which absofrickinglutely everything was randomly determined) had Mind Control as a power (in the expansion listing an obscene number of superpowers, there are about 87 different versions of this). Using this on anyone would drain your Karma, which was basically your XP plus a power meter for badass stunts. Anyone. Not only is it unethical to use it to avoid paying landing fees, but you'd lose Karma by causing DoctorMalevolent's henchman Igor to not pull the big red lever releasing a Horde of Genetically Engineered Monster Locusts. It was entirely possible, considering the insane levels of dependence upon dice rolls, for you to end up with a hero whose sole ability is mind control, and all his stats are appalling. Recommended tactic: roll up a new character.
    • The implications for Professor X and other canon characters with this power are...interesting, to say the least.
      • Xavier has always been strongly against manipulating peoples' minds, so the game's ideology is certainly consistent with the comics.
  • In the RPG books for The Dresden Files, it lists all the supernatural powers observed up to that point in the series. They're all in the same place for convenience's sake, but both the text and margin comments made by Harry and Bob point out some powers and say something along the lines of, "Yeah, you're pretty much only going to use this to make bad guys."

Video Games

  • Inverted in In Famous 2, thanks to Personality Powers: while Joseph Bertrand might think that his Conduit power of turning into a city-destroying maggot and turning innocent people into monsters is what made him evil, it's apparent that he was a Complete Monster beforehand, given that he was willing to murder hundreds of people just to activate his powers.
  • An unsurprising number of the bad guys in City of Heroes, and a few of the signature villains in City of Villains. Probably the most visible is Dr. Vahzilok, a scientist intent on conquering death, who's had some actual success. Of course, since the visible results of the process tend to be zombies more often than sentient undead, he's got to be a bad guy looting morgues and kidnapping people off the street for raw materials. (Never mind that the city he's in has undergone at least three major disasters within as many years and must have been all but overflowing with dead bodies.) For players, it used to be impossible to have a necromantic Hero, or one with a focus on assassination strikes.
    • One of the main features of the Going Rogue expansion is that characters can now switch sides - heroes can fall, and villains can be redeemed. So Bad Powers, Good People is now equally possible.
  • Illidan in the Warcraft series was somewhat of an Anti-Hero that tried to use his acquired demonic powers for good, but his efforts didn't earn him a lot of appreciation (especially not the attempt to creat a new Well of Eternity), and he ended up allying himself with his enemy to get rid of another.
  • Morrigan from Dragon Age starts off with several of the basic Entropy-class spells, including those that freeze the target with fear, screw with the target's mind, and drain life from them. Correspondingly, she is the most outright evil party member you get, disparaging any assistance or kind acts you show to anyone but her. She also plots and schemes, if not against you, then certainly not with you.
    • Potential subversion: however, nothing prevents you from spending all of her remaining spell talents on buffing, healing, and support.
    • This can also be subverted if the Warden is a mage; nothing is preventing you from being an overwhelmingly good character who just happens to be a master of Entropy and Blood Magic should you so desire to be one.
      • The method for unlocking the Blood Mage class generally requires the Warden to sacrifice a child's soul to a demon, but you can earn the ability with no harmful consequences whatsoever if you pass a difficult Intimidate check against the demon.
      • ...Unless you have the expansion, in which case, one of your characters can just learn it from a book and hold this immensely "bad" power with no moral quandary whatsoever.
  • While using the Dark Side powers in the Star Wars universe almost inevitably leads you down an all too familiar path (due to the addictive nature of the negative emotions used to power them), Kyle Katarn from the Jedi Knight series holds the opinion that powers themselves are neither good, nor bad. He tells that, for example, to Jaden in Jedi Academy if you predominantly develop Dark Side powers. That coming from the man who has been tempted by the Dark Side on many, many occasions is quite powerful.

Web Comics

  • Xykon, the sorcerer/necromancer from The Order of the Stick. How he became like that is told in the prequel, Start of Darkness. It starts with reanimating his boyhood pet, then having his reanimated grandmom kill his parents, and goes from there.
  • Wanda comes closest to being clearly evil in the Grey and Gray Morality of Erfworld; she is uninterested (though proficient when necessary) in magic other than Croakamancy.
  • Drake from Gold Coin Comics can create a teleportation portal. Too bad the good guys can't do that!
  • Richard in Looking for Group. Even after he joins the group, he's still a homicidal, sadistic, sociopathic warlock who commits genocide out of nothing more than boredom.
    • While he doubtlessly seems to enjoy what he does, he's less evil for the lulz and more of an Anti-Villain, since Richard reverts back to a normal, BLEEDING human unless he does something pointlessly vile like murdering the innocent, while being shown to actually have noble goals, and needs his powers and invulnerability to achieve them and help his companions.

Web Original

  • Sekhmet from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe has the power to infect other people with fast-acting plagues. What else is he supposed to become but a supervillain?
  • Randall the detective does this in The Lazer Collection.
  • SCP Foundation-353 fully embraces her Plaguemaster powers, to the point where she refers to herself exclusively as Vector.
  • Maggot and Killstench of the Whateley Universe. Maggot's skin gives off something that burns like acid. Killstench gives off toxic gas. They're still in high school and using their powers to be jerkass bullies, but it sure doesn't look like they'll graduate and decide to become superheroes. On a lower scale, Peeper has the power to see through women's clothing (he doesn't look at guys), and he uses it to be an annoying perv.

Western Animation

Blessed with Suck

Anime and Manga

  • Another Darker than Black Contractor and Huang's fiancee at one point, Shihoko, had the horrible power of melting people's organs from the inside and the equally horrible Renumeration of regaining morality briefly after using it, prompting crushing guilt. She was far from evil, though, and avoided using her powers whenever possible.
  • Ixpellia from StrikerS Sound Stage X of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, an immortal king who has the power to turn fields of corpses into armies of Mariages, which are Super Soldier Cyborg Zombies filled with battle lust. History remembered her as a barbaric Dark King that neatly fits Type 1, though, in reality, she's a jaded Mysterious Waif sick of all the fighting and tried to seal herself and her army of the dead away from the world as much as possible.
  • In Naruto, Shino (and every other member of his clan) was made into a living hive for deadly insects at birth, but he's one of the good guys and has never even been implied to be anything else. However, we don't see him doing a lot, and other people do consider him weird.
    • Similarly, Shikamaru has the ability to manipulate shadows and control other people's motions (eventually gaining the ability to strangle people), and Ino has the ability to fire her soul into others and possess them (with other techniques including mind reading and making your opponents attack each other). Neither of them are even remotely evil.
    • For that matter, the Jinchuuriki (such as the titular character) gain powerful abilities by being permanently bonded with Tailed Beasts, gigantic supernatural creatures that are largely viewed as incarnations of evil. Some go screaming off the deep end, either due to isolation or the Beasts being dicks, but others use the power this grants them for benevolent purposes.
  • Shaman King first plays this trope straight then subverts it with Faust VIII, a necromancer descended from the original Faust. He initially shows up as a villain (and incidentally, one of the only characters able to decisively beat Yoh), but later pulls a Heel Face Turn after Anna brings his wife back from the dead. Ironically, by the end of the series, he's shown to be the weakest of the good guys.
    • Maybe the weakest fighter, but he was a superb healer and one of only 3 characters who could do that soul resurrection technique.
    • And he chose not to get more powerful because circumstances relevant to the plot gave him everything he ever wanted if he didn't.
  • Basilisk (or The Kouga Ninja Scrolls) has Kagerou with her Kiss of Death and tragic love life due to her poisonous body. Given the situation of the story, she is neither good nor evil.

Comic Books

  • Rogue from X-Men started life as a villain and used her powers to absorb other people's life (and their powers, if they had any) on skin contact to her full advantage. That is, until she got Ms. Marvel's psyche rattling around in her head, went to the X-Men seeking a cure, and did a Heel Face Turn.
    • Another possible example from Xavier's is Danielle Moonstar, whose poorly controlled ability to conjure Nightmare Fuel illusions from the fears of those around her did not make adolescence for the Angry Young Woman any easier. She rapidly diversified and mastered her abilities, but the parallel with Phobia above is hard to miss.
    • Xian of X-Men 2099 could destroy things by touching them. He was the team's mentor...before eventually going completely crazy (despite having developed healing powers) and turning against the team. The team's leader could turn into a radioactive nightmare and vaporize things, too.
      • It is implied that Xian was already crazy - essentially, Xavier's dream of a world of peace between mutants was so at odds with how Xian had lived his life that his mind developed two personalities - the pacifistic leader of the X-Men and the cold-blooded gang leader he used to be. His mutant powers can be seen as a metaphor for his mental state - his right hand can destroy any matter it touches, while his left can heal any injury; contradictory abilities for a fractured mindset.
  • Most of The Savage Dragon's villains just don't seem like they're about to line up for a Heel Face Turn. This is especially true for guys like Dung (who know what, you figure it out) and Openface, whose head is basically a huge Venus flytrap. Note that he himself isn't the venus flytrap...his head opens up vertically to reveal a piranha plant style set of jaws that can eat a man whole (somehow).
  • Matoro of the Bionicle universe had the zombie version. It's only a partial aversion, though. For a while, it did look like he might turn, and in the end, he ended up pulling a Heroic Sacrifice. Subverted further in that he got necromatic powers for the express purpose of testing his value for life and preparing him for his Heroic Sacrifice. A sacrifice which ended up being so damn heroic, he's now considered the greatest hero his universe has ever known.
    • It makes you wonder how much his tempter knew what would happen. I mean, the whole arc that Matoro has those powers of the dead, he's basically alone with the devil, and the devil drags him down to the bottom of the pit and makes him talk to a hero who'd gone mad with power. The whole time it looks like he's going to groom him to be his pupil, but given this villain's nature, it may have been the exact opposite.
  • Ratman from Elementals is a wererat and started out as a criminal, mostly because his rat-like qualities and rattothropy made him unpopular. He quickly changed sides after he developed a crush on Becky, who he subsequently strove to protect.
  • In The DCU's pre-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes continuity, a young man from the present named Jamm was attacked by a spinal-fluid-sucking space parasite and inadvertently given mind control powers. Finding himself in the LSH's future time period and being rather irresponsible, he used his powers to make others let him have fun...which included getting various female characters to strip. After getting an abject lesson in responsibility from the Legion, he returned to our time. Later, he and a band of other superpowered parasite victims encountered the heroes made comatose by a supersized parasite. Shaken, Jamm commanded the heroes to awaken, thus saving their lives.
  • In Common Grounds... you'd think a guy like the Acidic Jew would be a bad guy, right? Acid touch and all that? But no. He concentrates as hard as he can to keep his powers at bay, and is always there to help in the event of crisis; he saved dozens of lives after the Oklahoma City bombings.
  • Marvel Comics' Man-Thing is incredibly strong and nigh invulnerable. Also, if you know fear, his touch will cause you to burst into mystical flame and die. Suffice it to say, he's utterly terrifying to behold. He's a good guy who had his own long running series.
    • Technically, Man-Thing isn't really a hero. He's usually not even sapient.
      • That said, only villains tend to be burned by the touch of Man-Thing.
    • Then there are guys like Random. Random has the charming ability to turn his arms into guns. He can generate dozens of barrels from one arm and just start blasting away. Sure, he comes from The Dark Age of Comic Books, but he is actually meant to be a Totally Radical, happy-go-lucky guy who shoots a lot of people every day. He was in the X-Men. You don't see him much these days, for a few reasons; one of them is that he has basically the same power and personality as despicable villain Bushwhacker.
    • Of course, Cyclops arguably has bad powers by that standard, especially given his inability to control his optic blasts.
    • The (second) Scorpion, Carmilla Black, has a Touch of Death, but later learns that this power is both the only thing stopping her from being mind controlled by terrorist group A.I.M. and the only thing able to defeat their biological weapon.
  • Trauma from Avengers: the Initiative has the ability to shapeshift into a person's worst fear, which has, on at least one occasion, driven someone to insanity. As such, he has found the perfect application for this Camp Hammond's resident counselor, with a specialty in helping people confront and cope with their fears.
  • Avengers Academy plays with this trope; The Avengers recruit and train several teenagers with either bad powers or budding sociopathy to specifically prevent them from turning into supervillains. How they eventually deal with this remains to be seen.

Mettle: "Look at us. Big monster guy, the human electric chair, poison gas girl, assassin chick, t-rex boy, and Chernobyl in Abercrombie and Fitch. One wrong move and any one of us could be a murderer."

  • Alpha Flight's Purple Girl/Persuasion had a rough start, but has consistently been one of the good guys since, despite the mind control powers she inherited from her evil father... Until recently,[when?] that is, where she pulled a Face Heel Turn and now is a bad guy and calls herself Purple Woman.

Fan Works


  • The low-budget superhero film The Specials has Deadly Girl, essentially a necromancer and demon-summoner, who is on the side of good as a member of the sixth or seventh most popular Super Team in the world.


  • Michael Moorcock created Elric specifically to subvert the standard powers and looks in sword and sorcery. He's an albino sorcerer and last king of the Bright Empire which for 10,000 years ruled the world in the name of Chaos. As such, he knows quite a lot of chaotic magic and has a demon sword, Stormbringer (which Sluggy Freelance pays homage to). Stormbringer doesn't care too much about what it kills and eats the souls of all it hits. Both friend and foe go down before the sword to help bring in an age of Law.
    • Subverted in many ways here. Chaos and Law are not quite good and evil, as either winning completely makes life impossible. Also, Stormbringer betrays Elric after he recreates the world. In bringing the sword into the newly created universe, he assures that chaos will exist in the new universe.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Children of the Night had a band member become a psivamp, someone who feeds off of the emotional energies of others and can affect emotional states to get the right intensity. This generally leads to either burning the victim out or giving him or her a fatal heart attack. As a psivamp weaned off of positive emotions and adjusted to fear and rage, he can't survive on food anymore. He eventually decides not to go along with his other psivamp bandmates and the vampire dad and has a fantasy of feeding only on the deserving, so he goes out and kills first a crackhead trying to kill him, then a pair of almost-rapists, before he realizes that the hunger doesn't distinguish between the bad guys and the victims, and he knows he'll slip. In the end, he helps take out the other psivamps, then commits suicide.
  • Averted with the Delphae in David Eddings' The Tamuli. They can read the minds of anyone they see (not their thoughts, the entire contents of the person's skull) and, with a touch, cause people to decay into puddles of organic goo. They are also quite pleasant people who stay secluded from the world because they can see how that sort of thing makes people nervous. They also hold as negative a view of their flesh-rotting power as others do, and one is left extremely distraught after being forced to use it to defend a friend's life.
  • The Zombie Master in the Xanth series can raise the dead as zombies, which curiously is portrayed as a positive power.
    • Well, that's because the zombies were generally nice people, if a little icky. Wait, not generally. ALL of them were nice people, that's it.
  • Dumbledore specifically tells Harry Potter that his ability to speak Sssssnaketalk does not make him evil, though it is generally considered an evil power by most.
    • Double subverted when you think about it. Parseltongue is an ability usually found in evil wizards and protagonist Harry is good but runs into trouble because people assume he's bad because of his ability. The last book reveals that the reason why Harry had the ability was because it belonged to Voldemort when the latter accidentally turned Harry into the seventh Horcrux. When Harry loses the fragment of Voldemort's soul in him, he loses the ability with it.
  • In Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series, the Abhorsen wields bells with the power to raise and otherwise control dead bodies and spirits, which is exactly the power possessed by the Abhorsen's enemies. The difference? The Abhorsen works to preserve life, while necromancers tend to be out purely for power. Of course, this hasn't stopped some Abhorsens from crossing to the dark side...
  • This is both subverted and played straight in Brian Lumley's Necroscope novels. In it, protagonist Harry Keogh learns as a child that he can speak to the dead telepathically. He eventually uses this ability to fight vampires and necromancers (and vampire necromancers).
    • The Necromancers are a particularly unpleasant bunch - especially the ones that learned to use their powers at an early age: this is because their abilities involve stealing the knowledge and strengths a dead body has gained during life, via dissection, dismemberment, cannibalism, and occasional necrophilia. Ouch. However, this is clearly meant to set up the Necromancer Boris Dragosani as a dark counterpart to Harry.
  • Averted in the Fingerprints series, where the psychics' powers have no relation to their alignment and some heroes have traditionally villainous powers like People Puppets. Note that this does not stop some characters from assuming Bad Powers, Bad People is true, which is why Steve Mercer kills Amanda Reesce.
  • Averted in Perry Moore's Hero by Typhoid Larry, a sickly young man who can induce illness in others. Following the book's comedic tone, he's mostly played for laughs since his powers seem to have a greater affect on his teammates than the villains. Until the end, that is, when he really comes in handy. Sadly, we never learn much about him or his past, as he's the only member of the team Thom doesn't spend any one-on-one time with.
  • Borderline averted in The Lord of the Isles series by David Drake. Ilna's various abilities are demonic in origin, but rather loosely defined, and after a Faustian Rebellion, she begins to think of non-evil uses for them.
  • Graendal, in The Wheel of Time series, has an incredible talent for Mind Control—which, in the Age of Legends, she used as a psychotherapist. She eventually went bad (and began using her magic for more conventional purposes), but it had nothing to do with her powers.
  • Subverted in Orlando Furioso. One of its many, many characters is Malagigi, a sorcerer who can summon demons but fights on the good guys' side.

Live-Action TV

  • Todd the Wraith from Stargate Atlantis might look very evil (plus, he can suck life out of other people to feed himself), but he's probably the only member of his race who doesn't backstab the team when he allies with them. Of course, he did it once, but only because he thought he had been double-crossed. As much as he likes to threaten everyone with feeding on them, he doesn't seem to actually enjoy doing it except when hungry. The only occasion when he did feed on Sheppard, he did so under duress. And even when Sheppard expired, Todd cleared the area first, fed on the attacking soldiers then revived him by giving back what he took.
    • To a lesser extent, Replicators. They may be universally evil, but when Weir became one herself, she didn't go wacko; instead, she attempted to make an organic body for her peers so that they can ascend. When that didn't work, she worked with her old team to set up a trap for the remaining Replicators, sacrificing herself in the process.
      • Niam. Despite being a Replicator, all he wanted was to learn ascension. Too bad he got reset by Oberoth into his default violent nature.
    • Plus the team themselves when they got copycat cloned by rogue Replicators, complete with rapid regeneration and everything. The part-human-part-Replicator clones even set up a distraction so that the real team can escape.

Tabletop Games

  • Averted in the tabletop game Mutants and Masterminds, where more evil powers are not restricted to evil guys, but just asking to be used. Who doesn't want the ability to sicken people by altering their nerve impulses with a touch (granted, it's the same power to sicken them any other way, but considering how many elemental themed superheroes there are, this is pretty much going to occur to everyone)?
  • GURPS Psionics rounds out its discussion of Psychic Vampirism by pointing out that one can use it to do things like leech away negative emotions (calming angry characters, soothing depressed ones, etc.) and remove debilitating nightmares—as well as attack villains, of course.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, having the ability to Mind Rape or kill in unbelievably horrible ways is generally grounds for immediate execution or corruption by Chaos, but conversely, it also makes one an attractive prospect for recruitment by the Inquisition.
  • Averted in Exalted with the Abyssals, whose personalities can be anywhere from 'renegade fighting to defend Creation from demons and The Fair Folk' to 'vicious enforcer of ancestor reverence' to 'bringer of the grave's peace' to 'sadistic, sociopathic butcher'. Their powers are all based around destroying something, and include everything from rivers of blood and shards of bone to killing an enemy in such an over-the-top fashion everyone in the area throws up. Not only is their power set acting against them, but if they try to act like normal humans, they build up Resonance, which can get...explosive.
    • Also averted with the Green Sun Princes. Their abilities are based around the fact that, as copies of the Yozis, they are slowly becoming enlightened god-monsters. First chapter of their book aside (which even the writers admit came from a bit of a misunderstanding of what the Yozis were), it's pretty much outright stated that their thematic purpose is to replace their masters as the new rulers of Creation, probably more benevolent then the Yozis have the capacity to be.
      • Ebon Dragon charms come closest to being type 1, since, by their very nature, they shift you towards being like the Ebon Dragon (who is, how you say, kind of a dick), but you can still use them in a Noble Demon way by turning the spite and antagonism towards people who are nastier than you.
      • And even then it's worth bearing in mind that only a few of his Charms are actually dickish. Witness to Darkness[1] seems malevolent at first, but it makes you just as much like Batman as it does the Ebon Dragon, and Nemesis Self Imagined Anew[2] can be used on a guy whose motivation is "Kill Everything" to ensure you gain substantial benefits to defend everything. Even Golden Years Tarnished Black[3] can be used to make people who enjoy horrifying blood sports feel shame and guilt for what they watched. Of course, there are other Charms that are Douche City, but you don't actually have to take those if you don't want to.

Holden Shearer: A lot of Charms were designed specifically to be horrifying at first blush, but not actually in any way mandatory-evil in execution.


Video Games

  • This trope is thoroughly explored in the Baldur's Gate series. With the player character, it's played straight—if the player plays an evil person, he gains evil-ish powers; if he's a good person, he gets good powers. Later, you get a power up that allows you to become an engine of destruction for brief periods of time, regardless of your alignment (but letting it happen is clearly an evil act, and leaving it on too long will result in a Nonstandard Game Over as you're lost to the beast within). Meanwhile, the other Bhaalspawn almost universally (there are a few exceptions) go evil...but since they all have a bit of the soul of a dead god of murder in them, it's understandable—especially since, by the time you start encountering more of them, the only ones still around are those willing to kill people...possibly a lot of survive. (One character can even undergo a Heel Face Turn after you kill him—twice—and he comes back, partly dependent on how you treat him but also because the taint on his soul is gone.)
  • During her first appearance in Battle Moon Wars, Matou Sakura relies exclusively on her own shadow magic to defend herself and really doesn't do a very good job of it. After she's kidnapped, nearly turned back into Dark Sakura by Zouken Matou, and subsequently rescued with The Power of Love, Sakura Takes a Level in Badass and starts using her connection to Angra Mainyu as the power source for her attacks while still remaining a textbook example of a Yamato Nadeshiko. May also be an aversion of Evil Is Not a Toy.
  • Suikoden seems to enjoy averting this trope. As its name suggests, the Soul Eater Rune consumes the souls of friends and foes alike, but both of its known wielders are good guys through and through. The Night Rune allows the existence of night creatures like zombies, but it's also only been used by good guys to slay vampires and such. Finally, while the Moon Rune, with its ability to bestow vampirism, has been used for evil purposes, its original bearer used it to save people who traveled into her forest and allowed the vampires she created to thrive without the need of blood.
    • The Soul Eater can even be considered a subversion, as at the end of the first game, Windy attempts to take the Soul Eater from Tir by force, but it refuses to accept her as it's master, even though, as she said herself, she was it's ideal host, reveling in death and destruction, just like the Soul Eater.
    • The Rune of Punishment burns through a lot of bearers and does have a few 'bad guys' for bearers...but it isn't picky, and overall, its bearers tend toward unfortunate bystanders with varying degrees of innocence before an Artifact of Doom fused itself to their hand.
  • City of Heroes and its sister game, City Of Villains, not only use this trope (as noted above), but also avert it. For canon aversions, there are signature heroes like Positron (who's essentially a walking nuclear bomb in a tin can) and Infernal (whose armor is literally a demon). Players can also create Heroes with skeletal wings, dark miasmic powers that suck the life from the enemy and hide allies in shadows, and the ability to nuke whatever's left until it glows.
    • It should be noted that as dark powers go, Heroes are generally better with the defense/support aspects while Villains are better with blasting the ever-loving crap out of whoever is unfortunate enough to get in their way, which is pretty much par for the course.
      • Part of this is that City of Heroes retained much of the old-school Tanker/Healer/Damage Dealer balance from most MMORPGs, while City Of Villains (which came out over a year later) tried to move away from that by making all of the villains damage dealers. Therefore, Heroes are more specialized and rely on each other for greater survivability while Villains are more generalized and combine their damage output in order to kill their enemies faster than they can be killed back.
    • Fully averted with Going Rogue, which allows characters to freely switch alignment. So you can have a Demon Summoning hero or an empathetic villain.
  • In Odin Sphere, one of the main protagonists, Oswald, had his soul sold to the Queen of the Underworld in order to increase the power of his already-cursed sword, giving him the ability to turn into a creature of darkness. While he is a boss in one character's story, he mainly uses his stereotypically evil powers for good. Though he does have a few Anti-Hero moments...
    • To be fair, he didn't sell his soul, his foster father did. Meaning, he sold Oswald's soul so he could use Oswald as a near-unstoppable dragon at his own leisure. And he was planning to mass produce the technique...
  • Completely subverted by the Necromancer in both Diablo II and Hexen 2 - both are generally okay people thought evil because of their techniques. Specifically, the Hexen 2 Necromancer decided to use it for good when he found out about the Serpent Riders taking over his world.
    • In the case of Hexen 2, that was just a case of eliminating the competition so HE could take over. According to the expansion manual, he went straight back to running his own reign of terror after the first game.
    • Diablo II justifies this by explaining that the necromancy class is a quasi-religious order devoted to cosmic balance between life and death, good and evil, light and darkness, etc. Maybe True Neutral, in D&D terms, but in a world where literal demons are trying to take over, True Neutral is right there, standing side by side with Lawful Good. It doesn't hurt, of course, that the only bodies he raises as his minions are those of slain demons and such. It actually points out that there's nothing inherently evil about necromancy (unless you consider desecrating graves to be evil), especially if used to fight a REALLY evil army, unless the necromancer doesn't have enough bodies and goes out of his way to make more.
  • On the topic of necromancy, we have Gauldoth the Half-dead, a campaign hero in Heroes of Might and Magic IV. Raised as a slave-apprentice to a Necromancer, he converted half of his body into a zombie-like state to save his life. Being an Anti-Hero, he was satisfied with using only the naturally-deceased bodies for his army and, at times, even pay for the life of a living villager to become his zombie messenger. He turned out to be very Genre Savvy by clearly stating to his subordinate that:

I know my history, Mardor, and every time a necromancer becomes a threat, the entire world mobilizes against them. No one, not even orcs or trolls, wants to be ruled by someone who consorts with the dead!...Then I survive. Long after Great Arcan and Palaedra fall, even after whatever kingdoms come after them have faded into obscurity, Nekross will be right here where it has always been. And I will be sitting on its throne! That, Mardor, is my kind of victory!

  • Shuu Shirakawa from Super Robot Wars is an odd example. He initially appears as a Final Boss whose dark and evil powers (literally from being the avatar of an evil god, thanks to his mother sacrificing him to it) seem to fit this trope—after his death, however, he is resurrected, but the link to the dark god is severed by accident...and he's shown to be a nice, gentle guy Marty Stu who just happens to have dark powers.
  • Averted Trope and/or Subverted Trope, depending on the character in Touhou.
    • Characters like Yuyuko have the ability to kill humans with nothing but a thought. What did she do with it? Heroic Sacrifice to save the world from a monster tree, turning her into a Cute Ghost Girl incapable of ever reincarnating (it's a gameworld based on Buddhism).
    • Orin is a nekomata who collects corpses and lives with evil spirits that seek revenge. Don't let that fool you, she might play rough, but she's completely friendly and implied to have started living with Reimu as a pet cat.
    • Komachi, a not-so-grim reaper, ferries the dead across the Sanzu no Kawa (basically, the River Styx). Completely lazy, wants to do everything "at her pace", and makes for a great drinking buddy.
    • Yamame, monstrous spider with the power to spread diseases. Also a Cute Monster Girl whose only "spidery" appearance is in the clothing she wears. Word of God description: "Her power makes everyone she meets hate her. However, she herself wouldn't inflict disease on someone without reason. She's a bright, fun-loving youkai if you get to know her, so she's popular among the youkai that live underground."
  • Subverted by Ashley in Wild ARMs 2, who gains the power of the evil Lord Blazer very early in the game, and spends most of it determined that evil power can be used for good reasons.
  • Averted in Guild Wars. Characters that raise the dead, fling curses, and drain life aren't any more likely to be evil than anyone else.
  • Averted with Blue Mages (and various equivalents) in several Final Fantasy games: these characters can learn attacks & magics that are unique to enemies (pretty much Bad Powers by definition), but are the good guys.
  • Blatantly subverted with the lake trio in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games. These guys are said to be able to steal people's memories, control their will, and remove their emotions, and, in fact, this is what the main villain was using them for—but they end up helping you save the world, and then go back home peacefully so you can catch them. Though, to be fair, those are really just outgrowths of their original abilities as the respective incarnations of Knowledge, Will, and Emotion used as defensive weapons.
  • This is discussed in The Reconstruction—the "Noxious" element is directly opposed to the "Holy" one, and it's generally perceived as purely destructive, so the PC who specializes in it tends to worry about whether it will corrupt him. He's one of the nicer folks around, though, and eventually, he decides that Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Alex Mercer of Prototype has an entire skillset based around the concept of eating people and using their biomass to fashion weapons. To get to the bottom of the conspiracy, he eats people involved in it. If he needs a disguise, he eats someone and assumes their form. The aforementioned eaten people are in his head. The only reason he's not the villain is because he's still trying to stop the infection threatening to destroy Manhattan, and the Government Conspiracy is even worse than he is.
  • In Dungeons and Dragons Online, a player can build a mage character as a necromancer and slowly become a lich over time as they reach max level... and be Lawful Good all the way. In fact, it's impossible to be any moral alignment but good or neutral, though lawful and chaotic are still open.

Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance, Torg gains a magic sword that can kill just about anything. This isn't so bad, since "anything" includes murderous, soul-stealing demons. The catch is that, to use this power, the sword needs to feed on the blood of the innocent before battle. Fortunately or unfortunately, Torg is usually able to find plenty of innocent people bleeding to death when he really needs it.
  • Capricorn from Zodiac is demon-possessed and can willfully (and sometimes unwillfully) transform from introverted teen to fire-breathing monstrosity. She is not particularly fond of this situation and was quick to ask Aquarius to exorcise her when she found out that Aquarius was an advanced magic-user. Aquarius explained that she can't because demon-possession was of a different religious school.
  • Tsukiko from The Order of the Stick is a self-proclaimed necrophiliac who creates zombies and other undead monsters with child-like glee. Is she evil? Hell yes!!! However, unlike Xykon, she seems to genuinely care for her creations - she even uses the Buddy System - which is what leads to her death.
  • In Megatokyo, a magical girl, Sonada Yuki, has the powers of superspeed and being able to leap great distances, which she uses not in direct combat, but to steal things that would aid her in her causes.
  • Super Stupor's first strip subverts this one with a bad power, good person.
  • In the webcomic "Zom Ben", the titular character is a superhero whose power of turning into a zombie is gained from an amulet that Set gave him.
  • Directly subverted in Dominic Deegan with a fat and jolly necromancer.
    • Also subverted earlier with Rillian who, while a bit cold and certainly pretty bad looking, is a good guy who helps save (what's left of) Barthis and uses his powers to help Dominic quell the Storm of Souls.
    • Also played straight in the comic when Dominic meets Bulgak, an Orcish Infernomancer. Dominic states right out that, "Yours is not a 'misunderstood' magic. It is a cruel and sadistic path whose sole purpose is to cause suffering." And while Bulgak's motive in selling his soul may have been noble, the deal ends up corrupting him and proving Dominic right.

Web Original

  • While there are examples of embracing villainy in the web fiction Whateley Universe (such as Maggot and Killstench), there are also examples of Blessed with Suck. Gotterdammerung can disintegrate matter by touching it, sometimes by accident, and his upper limit is somewhere around 700 kilograms. Carmilla is a multiple murderer who absorbs the life force of things by contact. She's trying to be a hero.
    • Sara is partially a subversion, as she pretty much gets over her angst after Insanity III. Now, she has to find that fine line between 'hero' and 'anti-hero'...
  • Ruby Quest, with her third eye, qualifies here. The eye can see things that her normal eyes can't, which did come in useful on a couple of occasions, but it also hurt like a motherfucker and bled rather nastily each time she used it. When it started to feel good, the genre-savvy players wisely decided to avoid using it.

Western Animation

  • Raven from Teen Titans. Her powers come from her evil demon father, yet she is determined to use them to help people as best she can. Also, she is doing this in hopes that this will slightly atone for the fact that she is fated to destroy the world.
    • Jinx is a more straightforward example up to her Heel Face Turn thanks to Kid Flash: as the page quote notes, she believed she had to be a bad guy because of her powers.
  • In Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, the wizard Merklynn gave the Spectral Knights powers like Wisdom, Knowledge, Speed, and Might. The Darkling Lords got Destruction, Fear, Decay, and Invulnerability. Invulnerability doesn't sound too bad, except that Lexor got it as a Personality Powers for being a coward.
  • In The Venture Brothers, Dr. Orpheus is a necromancer (though he says he uses the title because it sounds cool, he has done genuine necromancy) and is not only a good guy, but possibly the nicest character on the entire show.


Newspaper Comics

  • The Boondocks - When Caesar asks Huey "if you could have any super power then what would it be" he responds with:

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is the general public's opinion of Firebenders, but the show itself is all over the place. There are characters like Azula and Ozai, who are clearly type one, and then there's Zuko, a type one/two (depends on the episode), and finally Iroh, who could be one of the heroes.
    • The show's actual stance on the matter is that Firebending isn't any better or worse, morally, than any other form of Bending; it's what you do with it that matters. Firebending is considered evil by most people in-universe for largely the same reason "Nazi" has become synonymous with "evil" (jokes about the inherent morality of political parties notwithstanding); most of the people who use it are bad people. Anyone who doesn't fit in this category is such a minority that the people making the assessment probably don't even know they exist.
    • It ultimately turns out it's a matter of training. The three Fire Lords waging the hundred-year war abandoned firebending techniques they learned from dragons in favor of Psychoactive Powers that drew directly from rage and hatred - this enabled them to field entire armies of firebenders. It also resulted in this trope: Jeong Jeong was the only firebender with the Heroic Willpower not to be psychotic despite using the techniques, and Iroh relearned the basic technique from dragons.
      • It's even a plot point, ladies and gentlemen! When Zuko finally convinces Aang to allow him to join the group and teach him to firebend, he discovers he can't do it anymore, because he learned the "rage and aggression" version like other Firebenders; since he joined Aang, he's been feeling pretty good about how he's doing the right thing now, so he's run out of the rage and shame that used to fuel his powerful bending. He has to go relearn it from the dragons, just like his uncle did.
  1. improved night vision at the cost of light sensitivity, and improved lie defence at the cost of being bad at telling the truth
  2. you temporarily overwrite your Motivation with "the exact opposite of what that guy's is"
  3. makes a cherished memory horrible