5 Spider-Man Villains Who Failed To Turn Good (& 5 Who Should Give It A Go)
Spider-Man has the greatest rogue’s gallery in comics next to Batman and Superman, with everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero battling quite a few colorful characters on a bi-monthly basis. Though many of his villains are pure evil, some of them tend to be a lot nobler than others.
As a lot of Spidey’s villains sometimes have the opportunity to turn things around, though usually cold feet prevents that from happening. Some villains have tried and failed to turn good, but some of them could really thrive while working on the side of the angels.
Failed: Green Goblin
Green Goblin is one of the most recognizable Spider-Man villains, with Norman Osborn, The Goblin’s true identity, being one of the most ruthless people in Marvel Comics. In the aftermath of Secret Invasion, Osborn founded The Dark Avengers, a team where villains masqueraded as famous heroes, with Osborn using an Iron Man-inspired armor to be Iron Patriot.
At no point did it seem even somewhat likely that Osborn had good intentions, with the character being at peak scumminess throughout this period. Osborn showed his true colors in Siege when he attacked Asgard, which at the time was located in Broxton, Oklahoma, being thrown in jail for his actions.
Could Succeed: The Sandman
Not only could Sandman easily succeed as a good guy, he already has! After a scheme that saw Sandman merge with Hydro Man, Sandman began to question his terrible actions, which set him on the path to become a good guy.
In fact, Sandman was briefly a reserve Avenger, but he soon became a complicated villain once again. The character has sort of been in limbo for a while, so he could perhaps turn face sometime soon, though the chances of him working with The Avengers again are slim.
Failed: The Rhino
Rhino’s failed face turn is the most recent one, but it’s also one of the most disappointing. When Rhino teamed up with Miles Morales to save the villain’s niece, it seemed like The Rhino was on the road to redemption.
The banter between Rhino and Miles was really charming and it looked as if writer Saladin Ahmed was going to work the same magic for Rhino that he’d done in his Black Bolt run with Absorbing Man. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, as Rhino would later appear in Matthew Rosenberg’s Thunderbolts run as a bad guy once again.
Could Succeed: The Beetle
One of the biggest C-Listers in Marvel Comics history is The Beetle, but the new Beetle makes him look even worse. Janice Lincoln, the daughter of Tombstone, is a successful attorney who took up the mantle of The Beetle, becoming a thorn in both Spider-Man and Ant-Man’s side.
Unlike the previous Beetle, the new Beetle has developed a fanbase that was spawned by the series Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Though she doesn’t yet have a motivation to turn good, she certainly has the charisma and resolve that it takes to make it in the superhero community.
When Axis flipped the moral alignment of both heroes and villains, Carnage was among the flipped, which prompted him to become a hero. The series that showcased Carnage as a creepy hero is both funny and utterly sad.
Despite doing his best, Carnage is still Carnage, so he causes more harm than good despite the fact that he now has good intentions. At the end of the event, Carnage sacrifices himself to stop the inverted X-Men, with a statue being built in his honor… until he returned as a murderous villain once more.
Could Succeed: Mysterio
The tenth villain that Spider-Man fought, Mysterio hasn’t really gotten a fair shake in the comics, having gained a reputation as Spidey’s second most famous punching bag. While he’s had his moments, often when he goes against other Marvel heroes, his career fighting Spider-Man has gone so poorly that perhaps it’s time he started assisting him.
While it did prove to be a ruse, Mysterio’s appearance in Spider-Man: Far From Home is a showcase of what a heroic Mysterio could be. In fact, if he truly proved himself, Mysterio could easily earn himself a spot on The Avengers.
Failed: Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous foes, but for a brief period, he was his successor. After swapping minds with Spidey to dodge death, Doctor Octopus soon learned that with great power comes great responsibility, leading to him becoming The Superior Spider-Man.
At the end of Superior Spider-Man, Doc Ock sacrificed himself to restore Peter Parker’s consciousness. Later on, Doctor Octopus would be brought back as a straight-up bad guy once more, completely tossing out all of his character development.
Could Succeed: The Lizard
Curt Conners, also known as The Lizard, is not only one of Spider-Man’s most deadly villains, he’s also one of the most sympathetic villains in Marvel Comics. Though his animalistic alter ego often forces him to do evil, he’s shown his heroic side on a few occasions.
For example, in the “Hunted” storyline, Lizard and Spider-Man were forced to watch Kraven and his cohorts hunt Black Cat and his son Billy. Lizard had Spidey remove an inhibitor chip in his back that Conners was using to control The Lizard. Once the chip was removed, Conners managed to maintain control in order to save his son, showing just how noble he truly is.
There have been eight Hobgoblins in Marvel Comics, but none have achieved quite as much notoriety as Roderick Kingsley. While Axis‘ heroic Hobgoblin did the right thing, he was still motivated by monetary gain, essentially becoming the Tony Robbins of the Marvel Universe.
Hobgoblin began hosting “Become A Hero” seminars and franchised some defunct supervillain identities such as Razorback, coming into conflict with another Goblin in the form of Phil Urich, a former Hobgoblin who was then going by Goblin Knight. Once reality was restored, Kingsley went back to his old ways.
Could Succeed: The Shocker
Often seen as Spidey’s biggest punching bag, The Shocker has a lot of potential that hasn’t been capitalized on. Often seen as a redundancy when Electro is on the table, what makes The Shocker special is that his powers are vibration-based and he is far less unhinged than his electric counterpart.
For the most part, Shocker is more professional than his fellow supervillains, preferring profit to personal motivation. Seeing how teams like The Avengers and X-Factor do have some sort of monetary advantage, what could set Shocker on the right path may be cold hard cash.