Top Ten Comic Book Anti-Heroes

The Marvel Comics Anti-Hero flew onto the scene in the seventies with characters like The Punisher and Wolverine. This type of hero would quickly become more popular than its more heroic counterpart and during the Eighties and Nineties, the anti-hero reigned supreme, expanding to DC Comics and Image as well. People love this darker and more brooding character that takes the law into their own hands and meets out justice in their own way, without the conscience of everyday heroes nagging them. Take a look at the 10 best anti-heroes in comic books.

01
of 10

Punisher

Punisher. Marvel Comics

The Punisher is the one I classify as the first true anti-hero in comic books. He truly takes the law into his own hands and kills those that the law can't touch. He has fought gangsters and supervillains, and the ends always justifies the means when it comes to Frank Castle, one of the most iconic and popular anti-heroes of all comic books.

The Punisher finally gets his due as an anti-hero in Netflix's Daredevil Season Two. Check out some of the Punisher's best battles to see why he's our number one anti-hero of all time!

02
of 10

Catwoman

Catwoman. DC Comics

Batman's on again and off again fling, Selina Kyle is an anti hero that cares not for the laws of man, seeking to bring gain for herself in the long run. She definitely has a code of honor, as she will often protect the weak and stand up to the bullies of the DC Universe, as long as it doesn't interfere with her payday. As our number two anti-hero, naturally Selina will sometimes combine the heroic and the criminal to get the proverbial two birds with one stone.

03
of 10

Venom

Thunderbolts #110 - Leinil Yu Venom. Copryright Marvel Comics

Venom is known as one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies, but in recent years, has taken on a more of a heroic role as Agent Venom. The Venom symbiote has switched hosts over the years and different writers have used him as a mindless monster to a wise cracking anti-hero in his own right. The symbiote's nature is always fluctuating, but when it gets out, it will be interesting to see if they take it on a more heroic or villainous path.

04
of 10

Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts #110 - Green Goblin. Copyright Marvel Comics

The original Thunderbolts started out as villains led by Baron Zemo masquerading as heroes with the ultimate goal of world domination. The team at the time got the taste of being both hero and villain, and eventually went against their old ways and began to embrace what it meant to serve others. The Thunderbolts changed through time and as leadership of the team has shifted, so has the membership and motives of the team shifted from a more sinister version to a more heroic, if darker version of the team. This is unquestionably a team with occasionally noble intentions, but a grey-to-black code of morality.

05
of 10

Suicide Squad

The suicide squad is actually comprised of villains, who are working for the government to pay off their debt to society when imprisoned. They work off the books doing completely black ops style missions that can easily cost them their lives. These villains don't want to do good, but are forced to by team leader Amanda Waller in order to gain their freedom or die trying. In 2016, the Suicide Squad bring their anti-heroic talents to the big screen for the first time.

06
of 10

Deadpool

Deadpool. Marvel Comics

The merc with a mouth has found himself on both sides of the fence of good and bad more times than one can count. Deadpool surely operates for himself, but finds himself opposing the forces of evil on more than one occasion, even if it is just to get a laugh.

Certainly one of the funniest anti-heroes on our list, Deadpool's highly acclaimed movie was a win for the anti hero in all of us.

07
of 10

Spawn

Spawn. Copyright Image Comics
Al Simmons is a man used to operating in the shadows and as a covert operative, he committed countless deeds that were against the law, but for freedom and justice. As Spawn, he continued to work against those that would harm others, but always in his own way.
08
of 10

Wolverine

Wolverine. Marvel Comics

While his first iteration was more of a feral hero, it was probably around the time in Uncanny X-Men #251-253 when Wolverine set his full fury upon the Reavers that he became more of an anti-hero in stature rather than just a tough guy with claws and an attitude.

Marvel Comics have often explored two versions of Wolverine. On one hand, there's the heroic X-Man, Avenger, and occasional teacher / headmaster. On the other hand, there's Uncanny X-Force Wolverine, killing to keep the world safe. An anti heroic dichotomy if we've ever seen one.

09
of 10

The Watchmen

Watchmen. DC Comics

Many of the cast of characters in The Watchmen live and work outside of the law to meet their goals of justice. Rorschach and The Comedian are the two that most typifies the anti-hero in the group and often take the law into their own hands to meet out their own brand of justice.

Appropriately, Watchmen as a whole could quite literally be branded anti-hero, in the sense that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's masterpiece deconstructs the very notion of superheroes in comics.

10
of 10

US Agent

John Walker had it all when he was chosen to become the next Captain America. His lack of concern for the "old school" ways of doing things and his own temper led him to losing the stars and stripes back to Steve Rogers. The government wasn't finished with him though and turned him into the red, white, and black wearing US Agent. Walkers lack of concern for normal moral law make him the perfect government agent, willing to do anything to get the job done.

Deadpool would take offense, but Walker may be the most mentally disturbed entrant here. And on a list of the best anti heroes of all comics, that's really saying something.

Updated by Dave Buesing