Villains as Heroes

This last week saw the launch of a new trailer for Suicide Squad based on the DC Comic. For those not familiar with the comic, it imagines many of the worst villains working as a deniable covert operations team for the U.S. Government in exchange for a chance to get out of prison. I haven’t read many issues of the comic, but the trailer looks interesting and I’ll likely go see the movie.

I think the appeal of a movie and a comic book like Suicide Squad comes from the fact that none of us are entirely good or entirely bad. We all have done things we regret, but we also don’t want to be remembered as villains. Stories about villains becoming heroes reminds us that we’re all capable of great things and of being heroic.

Scarlet Order

In many ways, that’s exactly the premise of the Scarlet Order novels. The protagonists may be vampires but they have to live in the world, so they become mercenaries as a way to do good. Now, you may question whether mercenaries are capable of doing good since they, in principal, fight for the highest bidders. However, the Scarlet Order fights for causes the believe in. They are mercenaries because, as vampires, governments are typically less permanent than they are. So, while they may not have loyalty to a country, they do have loyalty to ideals.

I also explore the idea of redemption in the forthcoming The Astronomer’s Crypt. Early in the novel, we meet several unsavory characters ranging from villains to just plain jerks. Through the course of the novel, some of them have opportunities to show their better nature. One of the things that excites me about that novel is finding out which ones choose to be helpful and which ones choose to remain villains.

While you’re waiting for The Astronomer’s Crypt, you can follow the adventures of the Scarlet Order vampires and find out what causes they will fight for in Vampires of the Scarlet Order, Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order, and even in the anthology These Vampires Don’t Sparkle. Who are some of your favorite villains who have found opportunities to show a heroic side?


2 thoughts on “Villains as Heroes

  1. I remember the comic book Suicide Squad from the 90s. It was a bit too dark for me, but it did give a fresh look at some familiar villains. It also introduced a really great character in Amanda Waller. She was the opposite of all the tall, thin, white women in comics — short, fat, black, and with such a tough personality that she was able to wrangle all the rough-edged villains on her team. So if any new series sells out on Amanda, I will firebomb them!

    Not really.

    • I agree, Amanda Waller is a great character and I hope they do her justice. The first look from Comic Con concerns me a little and makes me think the movie could get pretty dark, but the new trailer looks more fun. So, it’ll be interesting to see which way they go. I was a little disappointed that Black Manta wasn’t among the Suicide Squad members. He’s perhaps one of my favorite DC villains whose yet to be shown in live action.

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