In days gone by, most characters fit snugly into one of two categories: good and evil. Good guys wore primary colors and their underpants on the outside for some reason, while bad guys wore black and usually had some form of hideous disfigurement, like being bald. Then in 1939 Batman came along with his tragic past, gloomy disposition and borderline personality disorder and changed everything. Suddenly the typical hero seemed, a little, well... typical.
Today, Knights In Shining Armor and Captains Fantastic are out. Dark Knights and Captains Jack (of the Harkness and Sparrow variety) are in. In fact, it sometimes seems as though every second fictional character is a antihero who play by their own rules, and are more worried about getting the job done than doing what's "right." But you won't find Han Solo, Wolverine or Batman on this list. We know they've got a heart of gold hidden beneath that tough exterior. This is a list for the guys who don't just walk a fine line between hero and villain, they pretty much jump back and forth across it whenever they damn well feel like it.
10) Midnighter, The Authority
Imagine living in a world where Batman actually exists. Now imagine that rather than just being incredibly disciplined and well trained, Batman has enhanced strength, speed, an auxiliary heart and a crazy healing factor. Oh, and a mental combat computer that allows him to predict every move an enemy will make well before they ever think about making it. Now imagine that this Batman character, let's just call him "Midnighter" for the sake of argument, really doesn't mind ripping out your spine if you piss him off, or sodomizing you with a jackhammer if you mess with his husband, Apollo. That is one scary dude.
When you think of heroic characters, an ex-CIA assassin resurrected by Malebolgia, one of the Lords of Hell, as a hideously disfigured Hellspawn to lead the armies of Hell against God probably doesn't immediately spring to mind. Although Al Simmons has done some heroic things in his time, he's also not above killing the occasional scumbag, or even wiping out all of humanity (yes, he did it to "save" us all, but still). Recently, in the most ludicrously drawn out crossover event of all time, Image United, Simmons returned from apparent death by suicide as Omega Spawn, intent on destroying Heaven and imprisoning God, and he unleashed every supervillain in Hell to help him do it. Also, he inflicted the Spawn
movie on us all, which you have to admit is pretty evil.
Wise-cracking, homicidal and completely insane, the "Merc with a Mouth" isn't going to be anyone's first pick for a superheroic savior in times of greatest need. In fact, if presented with a choice between saving your proverbial bacon, switching allegiance to the bad guys and shooting at you instead, or having a conversation with the nearest potted plant about the Eurythmics greatest hits, there's a fair chance he'll pick one of the latter two. It's probably fair to say that Deadpool is the last person on this list you'd want to meet, because you at least know what you're getting with the others.
7) Vegeta, Dragonball Z
Once a cruel Saiyan Prince intent on collecting the Dragon Balls so he could wish for immortality and take over the galaxy, Vegeta has mellowed over time. Which pretty much just means he doesn't want to rule everything anymore. He's still the most arrogant, angriest bastard in cartoons, willing to do whatever it takes to surpass Goku and become the strongest fighter there is, including allowing himself to be taken over by Babidi's evil magic and killing a whole bunch of people. The bottom line is, if the world's in danger, Vegeta will be there to help. Unless he sees an opportunity to go one up on Goku, or thinks the problem is beneath him.
Any comic character played by the truly frightening Dolph Lundgren had to be a lock for this list. Everyone knows the story: Frank Castle's family were slaughtered by the mob so, logically, he decided to kill every bad guy in existence. We've all been there, except replace "slaughtered family" with "watched Transformers 2
" and "kill everyone" with "impotent nerd rage". Frank's twisted sense of morality means that if you're on the side of the angels, you'll be fine, but even think about going Dark Side and he'll shoot you in the back of the head without blinking. He's also a bit of a downer at children's birthday parties.
More links from around the web!