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Best Antiheroes in Comics

Known for their rough and tough demeanor, the best antiheroes in comics hold a special place in the hearts of fans.

By Lindsie PolhemusPublished 7 years ago 8 min read
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When we’re talking about the best antiheroes in comics, we’re generally referring to the controversial bunch of “grey” folks standing strong halfway between the shiny-white heroes and abyssal-black villains. They’re the fabulous shady bastards that somehow manage to promote justice and put a smile on our faces while leaving behind them colossal wreckage with dozens of victims caught in it incidentally.

This type of character personality became popular in the Bronze Age of comics (roughly 1970-1985) and is still one of the public’s favorite. Through the years, hundreds of characters were created along the antihero line, but let’s take a quick look at the most peculiar specimen: the best antiheroes in comics!

John Constantine

True fans were never fooled by Keanu Reeves' impersonation of Constantine in the movie: they know that the true John Constantine is a blonde British chap always wearing a trench-coat and stuck with a silk cut in his teeth. Constantine is an occult detective and master of dark arts, as well as one of the best antiheroes in comics and a passionate boozer and hopeless bastard. Throughout the years of his story, John managed to save the world countless times – and kill most of his friends and family in the process. A rough price to live with, but John chooses to carry on with this burden and try to strike a couple of good deeds in the meantime.

Rorschach

Rorschach is another character that loves trench-coats and another one created by the genius of Alan Moore. Silent vigilante wearing a mask that constantly changes its shape – just like the Rorschach test in psychology. One of the main characters of the acclaimed graphic novel Watchmen and one of the best antiheroes in comics, Rorschach never thought twice on the question “to wipe out filth from the streets in a violent manner, or not?” – the answer was always positive. A bright example of that is the legendary phrase that Rorschach spat in the faces of prisoners threatening him, when locked in prison. “None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with me.” And so the carnage began.

Wolverine

One of the characters that first comes to mind when we think about the best antiheroes in comics. A fierce mutant with a short temper, Wolverine is the impersonation of “armed justice,,” ready to fall down on the villains when they least expect it. Adamantium-layered skeleton and retractable claws, an amazing healing factor (which makes him almost immortal), animal-like senses – Wolverine is one of the most powerful members of the X-Men team.

Deadpool

Chatty, unstable mercenary, Deadpool was introduced in 1991 as a villain in the X-Men paradigm, but quickly evolved into something more. Well-known for his humorous manner of neglecting the fourth-wall and general chaotic behavior, Deadpool is by far one of the most “friendly” chaps in the borderline-villain conglomerate of comic characters. Funny, witty and utterly deadly, he is one of the best antiheroes in comics.

Punisher

An iconic vigilante of the comics world, Frank Castle (The Punisher) runs his justice-imposing business mostly through sheer violence. Murder, kidnapping, torture and coercion – the traditional Punisher style is not exactly what we could call heroic, yet it proved to be fairly effective in many cases, making him one of the best antiheroes in comics. The character had became obsessed with vengeance after the murder of his family, but soon expanded his cause on to crime in general.

Venom

One of the most well-known and stylish villains of the Spider Universe, Venom is a character that also started to fight crime on the streets later. The only problem is that his way of dealing with things was always violent and over the top. If Spidey always did his best to leave the nasty criminals seized but unharmed, Venom is the folk you’d want for the real ripping. Flesh flying all around, bones broken, et cetera. Fun fact: according to the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, Venom is one of the greatest threats to humanity. And surely one of the best antiheroes in comics ever.

Spawn

Once a top-class marine, Albert Francis Simmons was sent straight to Hell for killing innocent people while working for the Special Forces. Not thinking twice, Simmons made a deal with the demon Malebolgia: Albert offered his soul for the chance to see his wife once again. Brought back to life five years after his death, the character found himself transformed into a demonic being and his wife married to his best friend. Next stop? Brutal justice for every bad guy!

Ghost Rider

This is the collective name of several similar characters with a couple of things in common: a fiery passion for vehicles, a burning skull and an unquenchable thirst for justice, and the role of one of the best antiheroes in comics. The original Ghost Rider was Johnny Blaze, the latter were called Daniel Ketch and Alejandra. But the brightest folk ever to be called Ghost Rider was revealed only in 2014 – Roberto Reyes, a Mexican-American high school student running on a black classic muscle car. Yes, a car. For the first time ever in the Ghost Rider franchise. Who knows what will happen next? One thing is for sure: the violent spirit of vengeance will keep on riding with style.

V

On the scale of antihero-level this character is, perhaps, the closest of being a true hero. In this mashup, at least. Created by comics genius Alan Moore, V is the protagonist of the graphic novel V for Vendetta. He is a victim of fictional British totalitarian regime. Mutilated during sadistic experiments in a concentration camp, V has exceptional fighting skills, cunning strategy, a refined taste for arts and impeccable behavior fit for a true gentleman. Why is he a part of this list then? The answer is simple. Wearing a Guy Fox mask, V plans to finish the mission that Fox once failed: blow up the British Parliament to smithereens. Killing people in order to get there? Not a problem. So, antihero enough? Surely enough to be named one of the best antiheroes in comics.

Deathstroke

The super villain once known only for being the arch enemy of Teen Titans, Deathstroke was later developed to become the nemesis of other characters in the DC Universe, as well. With inhuman power, agility, regeneration and sturdiness granted him by a special formula, Deathstroke is one fellow every hero should have fear of, making hime one of the best antiheroes in comics. But other villains won’t be spared too. Fighting them brutally over personal issues, Deathstroke managed to cause some good too. Eventually…

Lobo

This arrogant, egoistic biker is the proud last Czarnian in the Universe. Why last? Well, because he killed all the others in a great massacre for no particular reason. Yes, just for fun. No, there wasn’t any other goal. Lobo was introduced in the 1980s as a villain but gained popularity only in the 1990s, when the character was imbued with a couple of features the general public could emphasize with, forming him into one of the best antiheroes in comics. For example, Lobo always keeps his promises and sometimes that can even bring something good to the universe. A lot of destruction to, but who cares, right? Ride on metal biker from space!

Judge Dredd

One of the most well-known British comics characters, Judge Dredd is the impersonation of blind justice itself. He is the one to constantly patrol the streets of Mega-City One, looking for criminals and offenders of any sort and making them to pay for their deeds. And the sentence is almost always a death one. Merciless executioner, Judge Dredd always hold his duty above anything else in the world.

Namor

All hail the ruler of Atlantis, emperor of the seven seas! One of the best antiheroes in comics, Namor is also the Marvel version of Aquaman. Though not as famous as the latter, Namor’s personality is also a bright one. Being a powerful monarch of the underwater fields, Namor has some self-centered issues – like any ruler, perhaps. His egoistic and prideful attitude regularly causes a lot of trouble both to people of Atlantis and surface-dwellers alike. Ah, kings. Never easy to deal with them.

X-23

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the clone-daughter of Wolverine: X-23. Bearing all his special abilities and skills, this gorgeous girl lacks one important thing: Logan’s humanity. For example, who would think that X-23 could kill the family she grew up with when given the task? X-23 surely had some hard young years. Things changed when the girl joined the New X-Men forces: X-23 became a student of the iconic Charles Xavier, found a couple of new friends and even someone to love. Nonetheless, X-23 remains a cold-hearted killer – refined, precise and deadly. Utterly beautiful, also. In 2015 the character adopted the name of Wolverine in the comics series. Like father, like daughter – looks like Wolverines are just bound to be one of the best antiheroes in comics.

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About the Creator

Lindsie Polhemus

Lover of dogs, wine, and buffalo chicken. Laughing through this thing called life.

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