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Off My Mind: Can Heroes That Betray a Team be Trusted Again?

In the middle of a battle, heroes need to be able to fully trust their teammates.

Trust is a huge issue for many people. It's the basis of all relationships. There are different levels of trust and it can be important to know the level or degree of trust you have with another.

As with relationships, trust among superhero teams is crucial. When fighting deadly supervillains and trying to protect innocents, heroes need to know their teammates have their backs. They need to be able to trust that others will be there when they need them since letting them down in this situation could lead to serious consequences. There are also many secrets shared among members that could destroy a team if it got out or was used against them.

In the superhero community, there are many heroes who never falter. Unfortunately there are heroes who have betrayed their teammates for one reason or another. Once they got their heads back on straight, can they fully be trusted again?

== TEASER ==

As in life, there are many factors that could lead to a betrayal. The reasons for superheroes aren't always so simple. They may have moments of great anger but there's also brainwashing, blackmail and, of course, possession. Once the hero commits the foul act, they return to the team and are usually completely forgiven. What's surprising is the number of heroes that have turned on their teams.

Scarlet Witch may have caused the most damage against the Avengers and mutants in the Marvel Universe. When she lost her mind, she caused the destruction of the Avengers Mansion and was pretty much responsible for the deaths of Jack of Hearts, Scott Lang, Hawkeye and Vision (even if she didn't directly kill them). Some of the dead heroes came back but it's not something you can easily forgive and forget. She also reduced the mutant population of the world to under 200 by uttering a few words.

Scarlet Witch may have not been fully responsible for everything she did but she was still the cause. She wants to make amends but it's going to take a long time. Her current status or place isn't exactly known but it's going to be a long time until everyone fully trusts her again.

What about Wolverine? During the Enemy of the State storyline, Hydra, the Hand and Dawn of the White Light teamed up to kill and resurrect superheroes and keep them under their control. Wolverine ended up attacking SHIELD, Reed Richards, Daredevil, the X-Men as well as killing several SHIELD agents and Northstar.

Obviously Wolverine was able to break his programming with some help. Despite all the death and havoc he caused, he is now publicly part of the X-Men. He is even allowed to be the headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Looks like no one has a problem trusting him after everything he's done.

Let's not forget about Batman? Whether he was right or not to keep secret files on his teammates in the Justice League of America with protocols on how to defeat them, in some ways he betrayed their trust. It was these files that were used by their enemies to defeat them.

What about Gambit? He worked for Mister Sinister and lead the Marauders to the Morlocks which caused the Mutant Massacre (which also lead to several X-Men being critically injured).

Cyclops got possessed by Apocalypse as did Angel/archangel/29-2112/. Both have been forgiven.

Bucky Barnes was brainwashed by the Russians into becoming the Winter Soldier and killed several Americans on various missions. He later was allowed to become Captain America when it appeared Steve Rogers was dead.

The list goes on.

Nobody is perfect. Heroes have a harder time dealing with the moments when they fall from grace since they are often placed up high on pedestals. If they are momentarily possessed, you can't really say it's their fault. If that is the case, how can you prove that they really were possessed and not just in a bad mood? The public usually has a short attention span and will forget when their heroes do something wrong but when the betrayal is done at a personal level (like against teammates), it's going to take a little more to get over. Forgiveness can be given but once the trust is shattered, it can take a long time to actually forget.

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Posted by saoakden

I say give them a chance to prove themselves to be trust worthy. I mean Daredevil went nuts in Shadowland and now he's on the New Avengers.

Posted by redhood21

i think it depends on their crime/level of betrayal. and in comics one way or another things will go back to normal.

Edited by jrock85

It all depends on which characters are editorially favored and which aren't. Even some of the villains are being whitewashed and welcomed amongst heroes.

Posted by DocFatalis

@jrock85 said:

It depends on which characters are editorially favored and which aren't.

Yep, and it's true for basically everything happening in the DC and Marvel universes.

Posted by TheGreyOutcastX

@jrock85 said:

It all depends on which characters are editorially favored and which aren't. Even some of the villains are being whitewashed and welcomed amongst heroes.

This.

Posted by VioletPhoenix

Possession and Brainwashing are free passes, technically it isn't your fault, it wasn't a consciously made decision and you were a puppet wherein otherwise you wouldn't have betrayed anyone. If you're not in control, you're in the clear.

Posted by zackattack529

well i guess they can be trusted..i mean cmon...magneto's on the frickin xmen roster now!?!? lol

Posted by Ganthetsward20

If they offer help in a dire situation does a team really have a choice? I think of the recent DCAU movie Even though there was a breach of trust among the league only Batman knew how to fix it. Even though he left the team we know he will be back because he is an esintial part of the team. Kind of like Starscream on the Decepticon team. He always comes back to Megatron and is always let back in. He always has to prove his himself to the ideals of Megatron though. But he always goes back, he's good at his job and the team knows it. Right?

Posted by leokearon

What helps is that you retcon the disaster so it wasn't their fault. Wanda, Hal Jordan, Jean Grey, etc

Edited by Deadcool

Deepends on the reasons, there is always the excuse "I did it to save the world" or "I was brainwashed"...

Posted by doublezeroduck

If I was in the group I wouldn't be happy with a person like that joining, but as a fan reading the stories I think that adds a little bit of unpredictability so it's fine.

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

I think it depends, on if they were at fault or possessed and what they did exactly. But I can see some heroes never being able to look at that hero the same way again, always remembering the bad stuff whenever they look at him or her. Like in DC some heroes, especially GLs, may always see Hal as Parallax and maybe even remember when he killed them. But if they were possessed and not just flipping out can you actually blame them or hold a grudge? I mean they were a victim too.

Didn't they say that Hank Pym was mentally scrambled by Ultron when he 1st created Ultron and that was the cause of his mental instability? So if not for Ultron would Hank have had the breakdowns and personality crisis, and become violent towards his wife?

In GL they neatly retconned things with Parallax possessing Hal, and I think they did something similar with (SPOILER!) (SPOILER!) (SPOILER!) (SPOILER!) (SPOILER!)

Scarlet Witch. Has there ever been a bad guy who tried something like, example: Vision trying to take over the world, and they weren't possessed or under some outside power? I mean Namor led Atlantis to take over New York (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) and he was forgiven, was even on the Avengers and seen as a hero after that too. Gambit wasn't under another's control when he led the Marauders in killing the Morlocks right? And he was forgiven.

If you think about it, these heroes walk a fine line between good and bad. Especially vigilantes like Batman or Spider-Man. One step in the wrong direction and they are doing bad things, they are always operating outside the law and outside of what the public calls right and wrong.

Posted by Eyz

Superheroes do tend to forget betrayers.....which often ends up in having them live through that same betrayal a second or worse, third time...

Posted by DATNIGGA

Yea of course they can. within the avengers & the x men & the JSL they have had many betrayers & ex villains forgive & forget

Posted by Scarlet_Rogue

I still don't trust Iron Man and consider him a villain.

Posted by pingclang

Heroes are supposed to set the best example in every situation. Shouldn't they also show us how to forgive and forget? Although it's a sure fact that they need to watch that person/persons closely!

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

Everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone.

Posted by Tyrisis

Personally, I think this plot line has been played out - just like killing off characters and then bringing them back.

If a teammate goes rogue, it is one thing. It is probably to pursue a mission that the teammate feels strongly about - but they know the group disagrees with. There will be fallout, but to each their own.

If a teammate switches allegiance, for whatever reasons, they are then a liability. If they were brainwashed, they are weak, and can't be trusted with highly secure information anymore. If they are weak willed it is probably just poor writing. A member of an elite superhero team is not going to be weak willed. There is just no way around this.

Edited by pspin

It all depends on who or what they did and what situation is happening. Like Magneto currently joining the X-Men. He always did the wrong thing for the right reasons and now that there are so few mutants, it isn't that much of a stretch to have them almost forgive and forget.

Plus people make mistakes even if they are superhuman

Posted by Suprman

Ok, in the case of Winter Soldier, Brainwashing doesn't count, the same thing happened to Superboy in Geoff Johns' run on Teen Titans and he was welcome back on the team with open arms, why can't the same thing be said for Bucky? Second, Batman keeping secret files on the JLA is completely justified, and in Tower of Babel those plans were MODIFIED to kill members of the team. The original plans were meant to incapacitate them. It's true that trust is an issue when it comes to forming elite superhero teams, but in an immediate battle situation, you don't really have time to worry about how much you trust a teammate, you have to trust your own instincts and hope that they come through when it counts. Trust is formed more through actions then with words, and if someone like Scarlet Witch wants back on the team, she will have to prove it through her actions.

Posted by The Stegman

Everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone.

 
This 
Posted by DarthShap

@Suprman said:

Second, Batman keeping secret files on the JLA is completely justified, and in Tower of Babel those plans were MODIFIED to kill members of the team. The original plans were meant to incapacitate them. It's true that trust is an issue when it comes to forming elite superhero teams, but in an immediate battle situation, you don't really have time to worry about how much you trust a teammate, you have to trust your own instincts and hope that they come through when it counts.

That is the argument of Doom but in Tower of Babel, the plans were not modified at all. Ra's was not trying to kill the League, just to incapacitate them actually but the plans (Batman's plans) were way more violent than in Doom, especially for Flash, Superman and Aquaman.

And the argument in Tower of Babel was that Batman was not justified to keep those files because he did it all behind their back, studying their weaknesses and ultimately, it just showed the lack of real trust he had for them.

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone.
Posted by hitechlolife

With a quick retcon anything is possible. See: Dark Phoenix Saga, Wanda

Posted by Hatutzeraze

It's a classic comic trope for villains to become heroes and heroes to become villains, often temporarily. Look at the X-Men franchise for glaring versions of that happening all the time. I think this is a situation where we have to fudge realistic reactions in order to get the dramatic betrayals that comics love to dish out.

Remember, we are primarily talking about DC and Marvel here - two companies whose respective universes are created by committees of editors and writers who rotate out after a decade or two. The betrayal that one regime commits to might seem stupid and tired to the next regime, who might reboot it, downplay it, or ignore it.

Posted by Joe Venom

"Kill the Witch"

Posted by DarthShap

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone.

Or not. Superboy-Prime and Maxwell Lord... Not coming back.

Posted by doordoor123

I know I don't trust them after they betray their kind. I think its bullish*t that so many heroes get off the hook so easily. I guess it also depends on how bad it was. Characters like Daredevil and Scarlet Witch should never be forgiven. Honestly, I don't know how anyone can forgive them. They're worse than a lot of the other villains they have fought but they get little to no punishment.

Marvel does it constantly and it pisses me off. If they turn once and do something unspeakably bad, like killing innocent people, they should be put away.

BTW how many people has the Punisher killed? Why are there no super heroes after him? Its almost like no one cares about life in the MU... I guess they'll all be revived one day anyways.

Posted by Trodorne

Id like to see someone try to defend Batmans paranoia. Ill argue it all you want... bring it on..

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

@Darthshap: As far as I'm concerned , he DID have a second chance and blew it, same with Max Lord

Posted by JonesDeini

@jrock85 said:

It all depends on which characters are editorially favored and which aren't. Even some of the villains are being whitewashed and welcomed amongst heroes.

Bingo, it sort of hard not to be cynical and get all meta about what occurs in these stories, but it always boils down to what's good for business/writer/editor preference with nearly all of these OMM questions. So in short yes. A hero can slaughter an entire nation of babies, nuns, and the elderly...if golden boy writer of the moment so wills it then that act was committed by his evil twin from Earth-12.

Posted by Miss_Garrick

Scarlet Witch was not responsible for her actions as she was insane.

Batman screwed up big time and should have thought of the consequences.

Posted by bladewolf

Magneto was a ridiculously evil villain for decades...but the X-Men took him on fairly easily and now he's one of their lead members. Like was said before, popularity is key.

Posted by Chibi-Iroh

I still say Batman was right to keep the files on the League, while he should have done a much better job protecting them. Like he said the Justice League is made up of the most powerful super beings in the world and in some cases the universe and if any of them were to ever go rogue there needs to be a plan to stop them.

Now back to subject I think it depends on the crime and how legitimately remorseful they are for their actions. I think you should automatically be forgiven if you were possessed or being mind controlled because it isn't a conscious decision by the hero, but they should have to go through a serious psychological evaluation from a trusted telepath to make sure they are in the clear.

Posted by Kairan1979

I'm surprsed nobody mentioned Xavier yet. While it's arguable if he is responsible for the actions of Cassandra Nova or Onslaught, but Deadly Genesis was completely his fault.

Vulcan was troubled, but talented young mutant with a dark past; Professor's actions turned him into power-hungry tyrant. And we saw the results of Vulcan's rule; the destruction of Genosha is nothing in comparison.

Edited by DIOMJK

@DarthShap said:

@Suprman said:

Second, Batman keeping secret files on the JLA is completely justified, and in Tower of Babel those plans were MODIFIED to kill members of the team. The original plans were meant to incapacitate them. It's true that trust is an issue when it comes to forming elite superhero teams, but in an immediate battle situation, you don't really have time to worry about how much you trust a teammate, you have to trust your own instincts and hope that they come through when it counts.

That is the argument of Doom but in Tower of Babel, the plans were not modified at all. Ra's was not trying to kill the League, just to incapacitate them actually but the plans (Batman's plans) were way more violent than in Doom, especially for Flash, Superman and Aquaman.

And the argument in Tower of Babel was that Batman was not justified to keep those files because he did it all behind their back, studying their weaknesses and ultimately, it just showed the lack of real trust he had for them.

In Identity Crisis, the league Mind-wiped batman because he caught them doing something immoral. very good reason to never trust anybody. Plus his actions were hardly unjustified, it was like keeping a gun in your house in case of burgalars, just because someone uses it for bad doesnt mean keeping it was an evil idea

Posted by clemj
@Scarlet_Rogue: Iron man!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
 you can't be serious!!!!! It's Scarlet witch the villain!!!!
Posted by Outside_85

In the world they live in, they should expect people to go insane, get brainwashed or otherwise loose control of themselves...because it can happen to them.

Btw, Titans do forgive, since they still hang around this girl;

Posted by Phaedrusgr

@pingclang: We have to forgive but we must not forget. If you tend to forget, history will repeat itself. That's what I believe.

Posted by Scarlet_Rogue

@clemj said:

@Scarlet_Rogue: Iron man!!!!!!!!!!!!! you can't be serious!!!!! It's Scarlet witch the villain!!!!

Avengers: The Crossing, and more recently: Civil War (in which he turns on Captain America and every other hero who won't lay down and unmask)

Posted by Or35ti

I don't think that these team's are not strict enough when it comes to membership. Storm made a really good point in the first new issue of Uncanny X-Men when she asked who at the table had not gone through a phase others would characterize as mostly super-villain, and only 3 people on the team could raise their hands. When a hero in particular is possessed or something they should at least be forced to take some time off and recuperate before immediately being thrown back on superhero duty with their teams.

Posted by Decept-O

To err is human, to forgive divine. Or in Scarlet Witch's case, to err is mutant.....

Posted by evilvegeta74

Nobody mentioned the Blue Boyscout (Superman) going rogue on many occounts, it's an annual thing seemingly with him. I guess he is the the elephant in the room, when it comes to this subject? I like Supes, but you never hear about Pete (Spidey) going rogue, just being set up.

Posted by OmegaDynasty

Well, if a person has a good reason for doing so, and or is being manipulated mind control, etc. I would say give them another chance to mend any broken bonds and trust between the team. As many heroes have gone rogue.  
Like Hal Jordan with Parralax, destroyed an entire universe and tried to recreate one of his own. He was forgiven.

Posted by GothamRed

It depends on what they did and why they did it, batman for the Tower of Babel yes cause it was a justified "betrayal" and it's relatively easy to stop batman if you give him no prep time, for scarlet witch, how could they be sure that she won't go crazy again, mental illness just doesn't go away, and even though it was partially the avengers fault she still unjustifiably attack the Avengers to defend what was essentially nothing. Bottom line I have a hard time trusting someone that powerful who has shown the potential to go that nuts.

Edited by ApatheticAvenger

Batman and Xavier were both within there right to keep protocols on how to take down their team, call it paranoia but I see it as pretty damn justified given the history of both groups (especially in the case of both Superman and Wolverine). They could have done a better job protecting them, but I defend the fact that they have them.

As for Xavier being forgiven after Deadly Genesis and Vulcan, I'd say he's very lucky Scott (or even Emma) didn't kill him (or mind wipe him) for that one. The thing with Xavier is that at the end of the day he (almost) always had the best of intentions. He'll never be trusted the same among the X-Men though, especially by Cyclops.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Wanda: Can I rejoin the team, i'm sane now.

Captain America: Yeah! It's all good!

In simpler words that is how it should've went down.

Posted by Rabbitearsblog

I think it all depends on the reasons why the heroes betrayed the team. If they had to betrayed the team because they were mind controlled or they did it to save someone they love, then I think that the teams should forgive them since with the mind control situation, the heroes didn't have control over their actions, so it's not really their fault. With the whole saving their loved ones from a villain, the heroes would have to understand that they did it out of love and there's nothing wrong with saving people you care about. However, if the heroes betrayed their teams for selfish reasons such as to become rich or rule the world, then it would be more difficult to trust that person again because how would they know if the person won't betray them again when they have that opportunity again?

Posted by yteez

how the hell do you admit someone's was possesed or brainwashed or even went nuts (scarlet witch) and put them in the same category that actually betrayed their teamates either delibeartely or succumbin to blackmail?

Posted by Mercy_

@Scarlet_Rogue said:

I still don't trust Iron Man and consider him a villain.

YES

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