Marvel heroes come in many shapes and sizes, with many personality differences between them. Some heroes are the honorable type, holding themselves and those around them to a higher standard. Other heroes are definitely not. They lie, they keep secrets, and they will do anything to win.
Some heroes ignore the rules and use their powers and abilities unethically when it suits them. This has made some of them quite efficient as they take ethical shortcuts that others do not. It has affected their relationships, but more often than not, they are given a chance to prove themselves and end up going in the same dishonorable directions. They are good people, but they will do anything to win.
10/10 Emma Frost is all about manipulation
Emma Frost is an example of a hero with a loose honor code for all the right reasons. She has no problem being a manipulative Marvel hero, but only because she’s doing it to make sure mutants and their children are safe. Emma will lie, cheat and use her powers to literally change her mind and make sure her people survive.
All of the X-Men know this about Emma, and it’s one of the reasons they respect her. They know they can let Emma loose and she’ll come back with results more honorable X-Men wouldn’t get. Jean Gray would never manipulate the minds of the UN into voting for the state of Krakoan. Emma Frost did so without flinching.
9/10 Black Bolt will do anything to make sure the Inhumans survive.
Monarchs like to wear a shield of honour, but underneath there are very loose codes. That’s Black Bolt in a nutshell. He has the veneer of an honorable man, but he has one strict rule: Inhumans must survive. He will do anything to make sure this happens, including endangering the entire mutant race to keep the Inhumans vital or allowing Attilan to be mercilessly attacked while he does the behind-the-scenes work to move the city.
Black Bolt has only one imperative in life. Keeping the Inhumans going requires all kinds of subterfuge and shady dealings. Black Bolt has no problem with any of this and he has no code of conduct other than to ensure it.
8/10 Doctor Strange had no problem being a member of the Illuminati
Doctor Strange is a hero with a pretty wide reach and he’s perfectly fine taking shortcuts to make sure he stays safe. Strange’s place as Sorcerer Supreme meant that he was responsible for keeping the material plane safe from the machinations of the darkest magical entities in existence.
All of reality was Strange’s to keep safe, so he had to make some tough decisions. The biggest of these was joining the Illuminati. On the surface, the organization makes sense, but it’s the way they did things. The lies, secrets, and behind-the-scenes work wasn’t exactly honorable, and Strange saw nothing wrong with his actions, even mind-wiping Cap without qualms.
7/10 Namor changes sides as if nothing
Many Marvel heroes have made difficult decisions that they have agonized over. Namor doesn’t have that problem. Namor is another Marvel monarch who cares about his kingdom first and foremost, but he definitely takes it to the next level. Namor is known for betraying the heroes he works with in the blink of an eye, going from Avenger to attacking the surface world like nothing happened.
Namor constantly flirts with women who are with other men and will betray anyone he works with except Doctor Doom. Namor hasn’t joined a group where he didn’t actively hate most of the members and counted down the days until he could attack them for being from the surface again.
6/10 Beast has adopted a questionable morality
Beast has long been the captain of the X-Men’s great body of brains, but he resisted Marvel’s scientific amorality longer than most. All of that changed after Cyclops became Dark Phoenix. Something snapped within the Beast, and he began to adopt a much looser code of honor, taking an “ends justifies the means” stance with nearly every decision he made.
Beast’s lack of honor made him the perfect person to lead X-Force, Krakoan’s CIA, a role that has compounded his honorless way of doing things. Beast has done a full one hundred and eighty, using his intelligence and scientific knowledge in the worst way possible.
5/10 Professor X is the worst kind of manipulator
Professor X founded the X-Men to fight for the rights of mutants, which is a laudable goal. Beneath his facade as a responsible teacher and civil rights leader, however, was a host of manipulative liars. Xavier using his telepathy on humans and enemies is questionable, but not evil. Faking his death and lying to most of the X-Men about it showed how little he trusted his own students.
That was just the beginning, as Xavier would have a habit of lying and using his mental powers on the X-Men and their associates. Xavier dedicated himself to doing whatever was necessary, but he kept it a secret, presenting a completely different face to everyone around him.
4/10 Reed Richards will do anything for science
The Fantastic Four are a unique Marvel team, more about science and exploration than anything else. Reed Richards is the leader of the team, and they follow his lead most of the time. Reed is all about science, to the extent that he forgets about anything else for long periods of time. Reed’s zeal for science has taken him to some questionable places.
Reed is Marvel’s original amoral scientist. He wants to make discoveries and do the right thing, but he also has few qualms about how to get there. Discovery is Reed’s love and he will do anything to keep chasing that high.
3/10 Hulk is a monster
The Incredible Hulk is a special case when it comes to a hero with little honor. The infant Hulk is an example of a protection mechanism for Bruce Banner; he will do anything to keep Bruce safe. The most intelligent Hulks have shown a tendency towards cunning and are not the most reliable at all times, with a few notable exceptions such as Green Scar.
The Hulk is an example of being for whom the end always justifies the means. There are so many different Hulks within Banner, with so many different honor codes, that on average the Hulk’s honor code has to be as flexible as possible.
2/10 Iron Man never knew a code of honor he couldn’t break.
Iron Man has earned his bad reputation. Tony Stark was an arms dealer, which is not the most honorable profession. He became Iron Man to make a difference in the world, but he constantly lied and criticized his friends and the world about Iron Man’s identity. The Armor Wars were all about him targeting people who used his technology without his permission, including other heroes.
Tony Stark formed the Illuminati, sided with the government during Civil war, and decided that hunting down his friends was better than investigating SHIELD’s corruption. Iron Man doesn’t just have a loose honor code; basically it’s completely without honor unless it fits the narrative of it.
1/10 daredevil is a lawyer
Many Marvel heroes are lawyers, but not all of them are as fundamentally dishonest as Daredevil has been in the past. For most of his time as a lawyer, Daredevil was a defense attorney. While he did his best not to take cases where his clients were guilty, he still learned the art of duplicity and has used it often in his superhero career.
Daredevil doesn’t have much of a problem lying about things. He plays his cards close to the vest. He is a good man and does good things, but he is also someone who will obfuscate the truth if he feels he has to. He this is a person who told his friends about his secret identity even though they knew it. That’s how he is.
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