Comic Vine News

118 Comments

Off My Mind: Should Evil Villains be Killed Before They're a Threat?

If the opportunity arouse, should the trigger be pulled?

What happens if you found yourself facing a child-version of what you knew would become a deadly threat to the world? This isn't a new question. Often, the question is tied to someone like Hitler and would it be right to go back in time and kill him as an infant?

This is a similar situation to what Fantomex dealt with back in UNCANNY X-FORCE #4. While on a mission to destroy Apocalypse before he could gain full power and proceed to wreak havoc and destruction upon the world, the team found themselves facing what appeared to be an innocent child being groomed by a genocidal cult to become the evil despot.

When the moment came to deal with the child, there was some hesitation. It was Fantomex that decided to pull the trigger. Now he finds himself on trial by the Captain Britain Corps in the mythical realm of Otherworld for his actions.

== TEASER ==

We know killing shouldn't be the solution for heroes but Fantomex made the decision based on the old argument. He figured that destroying what would become pure evil was the best way to deal with the problem. It's really a matter of whether or not the child should be held responsible for actions they have yet to commit.

In the case of killing Baby Hitler, it's already known what that infant will grow up to do. Going into the past, the future has already happened. There's no question whether or not the 'evil' person will stick to their evil path.

In the case of Fantomex's decision, the child was being groomed to become Apocalypse. He didn't know who he was or who he was supposed to be. He was being educated to become a version of the Apocalypse we all know. Could there have been another solution?

Fantomex made another decision after killing the child. He had a clone created who was raised in a virtual reality world. Killing a child wasn't a decision Fantomex took lightly and by making a copy of the child, he could see if there was a chance to redeem that child. This would be a way to explore the argument of Nature vs. Nurture.

Is the evil contained in a villain due to their genetic make up or does it have to do with how they were raised? The child that Fantomex killed was being programmed to follow the ways and thinking of Apocalypse. With Genesis, there is the chance to see if being raised in a loving and caring home could change what appeared to be the child's future. In other words, was he born evil or simply raised to be that way?

Another example of Nature vs. Nurture is Spider-Man and Kaine. Peter Parker was raised by his loving aunt and uncle. The idea of great power and great responsibility was ingrained into his way of thinking. This wasn't the case for Kaine. He was created in a lab and the only thing he had to a parent (the Jackal) cast him out in utter disappointment for being defective. It's no wonder Kaine's way of thinking was muddled yet now, he's finding himself acting more like a hero. He doesn't want to go out and actually become a superhero but he's finding it harder and harder to deny the urge to do the right thing.

SCARLET SPIDER #2
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #4, is Genesis destined to be evil?

There are simply too many factors that go into what makes a person good or evil. Most comic book universes don't allow an individual to travel back in time to alter the past. It usually leads to further complications or the creation of an alternate timeline/reality.

If the future was known, it's a little different but the argument could still be made that the future is never set in stone. Knowing that a child could grow up and become a deadly force such as Apocalypse doesn't guarantee that they will. If there is some remote trace of goodness in the child, the proper upbringing might be able to turn things around so he'd become a savior instead.

Of course there's also the notion that heroes don't kill. I think even the noblest of heroes would have a hard time taking a life, even if it would guarantee saving the lives of numerous others, especially when that life is at an innocent stage.

There may not be a clear cut solution. Fantomex made a decision and is now dealing with the consequences. Whether or not Genesis will grow into a hero or still become an evil force (as seen in a possible future) remains to be seen. If a hero was ever placed in the situation where they had to make this decision, you can imagine they would struggle with making a decision.

118 Comments
  • 118 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Posted by Blood1991

There are situations in these books where killing is the only anwser, but if all heroes start killing villans what does that make them? Assassins, thugs and blood thirsty killers just like the people they stood against. Killing should NEVER be easy and some heroes understand that others do not

Posted by X_Ace

I have a child of my own. I doubt I would be able to kill a baby. This is a typical question with two wrong answers. Or are they both correct?

Edited by Jnr6Lil

No, Killing the baby while it's an infant won't help.

The infant could easily just be taken to a different place where it may be raised by different people to end up growing up to be a good guy.

If Magneto wasn't born into the Holocaust he may've probably had a different outlook on humans.

This is kind of like nature vs. nurture

People aren't just born good or evil.

They're products of their environment, capable of both good and evil.

Posted by enigma_2099

NO. It's a child. Unless he's doing the ultimate evil thing in child form. Now dealing with the negative influence on the other hand...

And besides, this is Marvel Comics. What are the chances of him staying dead?

Posted by Aero_gt

I'd say go ahead and take the chance if you are man enough to deal with the consequences. If someone were to kill baby Adolf Hitler Magneto could end up being a good guy from the jump or he could have gotten killed in a car accident while casually riding in the backseat with his family. Perhaps it wouldn't be a war with Germany, but maybe a full on war with Russia. And The Country would never have joined the UN. Things happen. As the arguement for killing a villian yet to be, I'd go for it in a heartbeat, but the future could change for the better or for the worse....

Posted by TheGremlin

People love to talk about going back in time to kill Hitler. Frankly I wouldn't. Yes he was a monster and by far the worst tyrant in history but we KNOW what he was capable of and we KNOW that we were able to beat him. For all we know one of the people that died in his camps could have been the man that grew up to push the button and destroy the world. Without Hitler and WW II nuclear weapons wouldn't have been on anyone's priority list in terms of inventions. There's a good chance a German Jewish scientist like Einstein would have made it for Germany at some point and it would have ended up in unknown hands.

I prefer the monster I know to the threat I dont.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Then Joker would still be Dead....

Posted by majestic99

Yes. But I would recommend that time travel is off limits. It creates too many problems(predestination paradox, grandfather paradox,etc.)

Posted by LP

@Luthorcrow said:

@MyraMyraMyra said:

Anyways. I think it's many flavours of insane to suggest that any terrible person in history would "stick to his path" no matter what. Nobody is born evil in the real world.

I am sorry but some people are born evil. Now we can argue that how they are raised may change the degree of evil but they will still be at their core evil. Let's get a bit more specific because the word "evil" really is too vague. Evil can often simply mean an opposing will or side in a conflict but when we talk about pure evil we are talking about a sociopath. A person that does not recognize other people as having value, worth and are in capable of empathy for other people. A true sociopath is going to be evil no matter how they are raised because they simply lack the ability to feel other people's emotions.

People are not blank slates. The idea of the baby being innocent is a Christian concept and one that generally serves us well in law and government but in reality is not really true. We can turn the dial up or down but at the end of the day, the song remains the same.

I do agree with you though the "Hitler" baby scenario has a lot more effective solutions than just killing him. That is largely due to the fact as an ordinary person he only had power through other people. The main reason killing Hitler would be a waste of time is not because it would be immoral but that it would not have the desired effect. We overrate the importance of the individual because of own Western framework. Hitler was able to come to power because circumstance of political and economic realities that would still exist if you remove him. The person that would fill is role might not have taken it to the degree of "the final solution" but it would still have likely led to war and something similar.

Let's look at evil on a smaller scale. Rush Limbaugh is a sociopath that doesn't mind making money off the misery of others. If he were to have a stroke and die tomorrow it would not end the thirst that a section of society needs for racist, homophobic and sexist demagoguery. Another "entertainer" would fill that niche just as Rush did as he replaced Morton Downey Jr. after his fall from popularity. The existence of that one person would not change the ugly underbelly of hate in our country. The forces that give people like a megaphone are much larger than any one person. Which actually makes the probably much scarier and problematic than a single villain.

Going back to Apocalypse, the case is very different from Hitler because his power comes from the fact that he is not an ordinary human. So now we have an evil seed with immense individual power. If you combine a sociopath with that much power they would be a threat no matter what and killing them would be the only sane option. Of course in this case, our hero makes the completely inconsistent decision to clone the child and simply repeat history.

The idea that it is wrong for heroes to kill is one that exists only in comic books. It is the one feature that no matter how well a super hero comic is written ultimately stunts the art form because it keeps the morality of the story stuck in childhood.

YES

Posted by Jnr6Lil

@LP said:

@Luthorcrow said:

@MyraMyraMyra said:

Anyways. I think it's many flavours of insane to suggest that any terrible person in history would "stick to his path" no matter what. Nobody is born evil in the real world.

I am sorry but some people are born evil. Now we can argue that how they are raised may change the degree of evil but they will still be at their core evil. Let's get a bit more specific because the word "evil" really is too vague. Evil can often simply mean an opposing will or side in a conflict but when we talk about pure evil we are talking about a sociopath. A person that does not recognize other people as having value, worth and are in capable of empathy for other people. A true sociopath is going to be evil no matter how they are raised because they simply lack the ability to feel other people's emotions.

People are not blank slates. The idea of the baby being innocent is a Christian concept and one that generally serves us well in law and government but in reality is not really true. We can turn the dial up or down but at the end of the day, the song remains the same.

I do agree with you though the "Hitler" baby scenario has a lot more effective solutions than just killing him. That is largely due to the fact as an ordinary person he only had power through other people. The main reason killing Hitler would be a waste of time is not because it would be immoral but that it would not have the desired effect. We overrate the importance of the individual because of own Western framework. Hitler was able to come to power because circumstance of political and economic realities that would still exist if you remove him. The person that would fill is role might not have taken it to the degree of "the final solution" but it would still have likely led to war and something similar.

Let's look at evil on a smaller scale. Rush Limbaugh is a sociopath that doesn't mind making money off the misery of others. If he were to have a stroke and die tomorrow it would not end the thirst that a section of society needs for racist, homophobic and sexist demagoguery. Another "entertainer" would fill that niche just as Rush did as he replaced Morton Downey Jr. after his fall from popularity. The existence of that one person would not change the ugly underbelly of hate in our country. The forces that give people like a megaphone are much larger than any one person. Which actually makes the probably much scarier and problematic than a single villain.

Going back to Apocalypse, the case is very different from Hitler because his power comes from the fact that he is not an ordinary human. So now we have an evil seed with immense individual power. If you combine a sociopath with that much power they would be a threat no matter what and killing them would be the only sane option. Of course in this case, our hero makes the completely inconsistent decision to clone the child and simply repeat history.

The idea that it is wrong for heroes to kill is one that exists only in comic books. It is the one feature that no matter how well a super hero comic is written ultimately stunts the art form because it keeps the morality of the story stuck in childhood.

YES

No, Killing the baby while it's an infant won't help.

The infant could easily just be taken to a different place where it may be raised by different people to end up growing up to be a good guy.

If Magneto wasn't born into the Holocaust he may've probably had a different outlook on humans.

This is kind of like nature vs. nurture

People aren't just born good or evil.

They're products of their environment, capable of both good and evil.

No one is boring evil or good. We have both and it's the things that mold us into who we are.

You say babies being born innocent is a Christian Concept.

When babies being born evil has also been a Christian Concept.

Posted by colinjw

I did philosophy at college and I could write a paper on many sides of the argument that is touched on here. I have always loved that we can get comics that are not afraid to explore these ideas. The only problem I have is that it only shows a limited number of views normal two with a third that is supported by some small character.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

@colinjw said:

I did philosophy at college and I could write a paper on many sides of the argument that is touched on here. I have always loved that we can get comics that are not afraid to explore these ideas. The only problem I have is that it only shows a limited number of views normal two with a third that is supported by some small character.

Posted by Paracelsus

Ugh- killing children-even if they MIGHT (or would) grow up to become genocidal dictators , serial killers or terrorist leaders( would anybody want to kill a young Osama Bin Laden before he became founder/leader of Al Qaeda?) makes me want to vomit. Besides there's also the possibility that it would screw up the time line(due to the grandfather paradox-if you go back in time and accidentally kill your grandfather or prevent your future parents from meeting, then you won't EXIST in the future)!

Terry

Posted by Jnr6Lil

@Paracelsus said:

Ugh- killing children-even if they MIGHT (or would) grow up to become genocidal dictators , serial killers or terrorist leaders( would anybody want to kill a young Osama Bin Laden before he became founder/leader of Al Qaeda?) makes me want to vomit. Besides there's also the possibility that it would screw up the time line(due to the grandfather paradox-if you go back in time and accidentally kill your grandfather or prevent your future parents from meeting, then you won't EXIST in the future)!

Terry

Posted by KevinSevenNgo

Most righteous heroes would not kill any villain no matter what so the possible threat won't affect their decision, but let's say other heroes who are darker or more serious might end up whacking off every small threat , but that'd be the better idea to kill bad guys but then there'd be no awesome fight scenes where hero almosts dies and a universe where evil is killed in its infancy would not be our universe.

Posted by Bo88gdan

yes they should be killed !

Posted by Jnr6Lil

@KevinSevenNgo said:

Most righteous heroes would not kill any villain no matter what so the possible threat won't affect their decision, but let's say other heroes who are darker or more serious might end up whacking off every small threat , but that'd be the better idea to kill bad guys but then there'd be no awesome fight scenes where hero almosts dies and a universe where evil is killed in its infancy would not be our universe.
Posted by batfan1939

If you come across this as a superhero, the best thing is to change history, but not like that. You make sure they deviate from their path. There are plenty of Buddhist temple-type organizations that could guide and protect the child to prevent or lessen what they originally became. The only time I would condone what you are suggesting is if you travel to JUST before or after they take their first tangible step (first murder, first blackmail, or whatever), then you can step in and stop them. If I walked in on Hitler writing the order for the concentration camps, I'd have no problems shooting him. If I walked up on homeless, penniless artist-wannabe Hitler, in the period before he went into politics, I'd probably still shoot him. But, I would never kill infant or pre-teen Hitler for what he would become -- at that age guidance, not punishment, is what's needed. I understand many superheroes are ill-equipped to adopt a child, but again: there are many organizations whose purpose includes guiding the lost. Nada Parbat in DC springs to mind, or the Teen Titans. Killing a child or infant for a crime they couldn't even comprehend is just as wrong as wiping out 90% of the world's population to save the trees. I close as I opened...

As a superhero, the best thing to do is to change history by making sure the future villain deviates from their path.