"What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done."
A villain may believe that the Ends (involving a Utopia
or the survival of the species) justify the Means, but has in no way lost his conscience
, or otherwise had a Heel Realization
during his deluded time. He knows full well that what he's doing is evil and that heroes may try to bring him to justice for his crimes. He may in fact be counting
on it, feeling it to be a just punishment for what he feels he must do
. He may bear the heroes no ill will, and may instead commend them for trying to stop him.
Oftentimes, in the event that he succeeds in his goal
, he will flat-out refuse
to take part in his newfound paradise: the things that he did to create it are inexcusable in the new society.
This is the more Anti-Villain
version of the Well-Intentioned Extremist
or Knight Templar
. They will regularly Shoot the Dog
and carry out a Zero-Approval Gambit
He does what he has to do
, because he knows that something far worse will happen if he doesn't.
He knows he must pay the price for his deeds, but not before his goals are accomplished. What a Senseless Waste of Human Life
... In some cases, said actions may be unnecessary towards that goal
, and there may be a better option
, but the character is either too far gone in morality or sanity to see the light.
This trope is the source of much Values Dissonance
in Real Life
. Some do believe that yes, there is such a thing as a necessary evil
, and others believe that sort of thinking is wrong and encourages needless suffering.
The polar opposite of the Sociopathic Hero
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Ozymandias in Watchmen constructs himself as Necessarily Evil in his final conversation with Dr. Manhattan, justifying murdering millions of people with his success in preventing further escalation of the Cold War and claiming 'he has made himself to feel every death'. He is never brought to justice for his acts and the comic does not judge either way, leaving the readers to make up their own minds on the subject. A throwaway comment that references the Black Freighter comic implies that, ultimately, he has availed nothing.
- This is Jason Todd's original characterization and goal post-resurrection - he believes there is no way to stop crime legally, so he aims to control all the crime in Gotham instead and quell the worst the city has to offer on threat of death. Batman essentially counters that instead of saving Gotham by controlling crime, he's making things worse and driving the city into a gang war and, naturally, a fight ensued. Afterwards, Depending on the Writer, he either kept this characterization or descended into more insane revenge schemes.
- Alter from Y: The Last Man, after dealing with internal discord in Israel thanks to an abrupt end to their conflict with Palestine, concludes that America will suffer the same fate without an outside enemy to distract them — Naturally, that would be her. This is later revealed to be a cover for her real plan to be killed by Yorick.
- Magneto, who over time has oscillated between hero and villain a few times, is perhaps written most convincingly this way. A classic example occurs in Uncanny X-Men #275 (written by Chris Claremont). Confronting a Russian colonel trying to kill him to aveng the death of his son (who died when Magneto sank a nuclear submarine 125 issues earlier), he admits he considers himself damned as well. And later he insists on killing world-threatening supervillainess Zaladane even though this means that he will now have to part ways with Rogue, with whom he had just started sharing romantic feelings. (See the Quotes sub-page).
- Chris Claremont also insists that everything Mystique did before Irene's death was to prevent prophesied worse evil from taking place if she didn't.
- Galactus, the Marvel Universe eater of worlds is needed for the survival of the universe... but only because if he dies, than something EVEN WORSE will take his place. And unlike Galactus, it won't just drain some planets of life after giving its inhabitants a heads-up that their world's about to be eaten, it would just destroy everything in the universe. His role as a necessary evil became a very big problem (well, bigger than usual) when he ended up being teleported into the Ultimate Universe. The Ultimate version of Galactus is a Hive Mind being that isn't required like mainstream Galactus is, but mainstream Galactus was so trained to his job of eating planets, that he refused to listen to reason and set about trying to eat Ultimate Earth and other inhabited planets... after taking control of the Ultimate Galactus and making himself even more powerful!
- In the DCU, Amanda Waller's original characterization. One storyline had the Suicide Squad being forced into disbanding. Amanda's response: hijack three of the prisoners who made up the Squad, offer them their freedom in exchange for their cooperation, brutally massacre the gang of thugs who had set in motion the disbanding (and who were preparing to release a flood of zombifying drugs onto the streets)... and then turn herself in to face trial. Going further, she refused to use her knowledge of American espionage to get a better deal, reasoning that they'd dig her out if they ever needed her again. She ended up spending a year in prison.
- The ending of V for Vendetta features this trope, though it's the protagonist who realizes that he can't live in the utopia he's spent the entire book trying to birth.
- In Cable & Deadpool, Cable endeavours to unite the world against a devastating enemy - himself. The idea being, with his powers spiralling out of control and becoming a threat, everyone would team up and kill him, and then feel guilt for doing so, as his public plan was to establish an island utopia. Later in the same book, he aided the revival of Apocalypse so the decimated mutant race would have an enemy to unite against.
- The reason Wolverine was recruited by Iron Man & Captain America to join the New Avengers was that he would be able (and willing) to kill if necessary, whereas the rest of the team wouldn't.
- Nick Fury, Marvel's resident Spy Master is often a jerkass who performs morally questionable, but necessary actions due to the grey world he lives in.
- This is precisely why The Kingpin is still in business and also the reason why no one has made any serious attempts to get rid of him for good. If someone ever actually did kill him or ruin him so thoroughly that he had no hope of ever rebuilding his empire, the resulting power vacuum would lead to an innumerable amount of low-level crime lords fancying themselves the next Kingpin going to war with one another over his spot, and the carnage that would result would be far greater than Fisk could ever dream of causing himself. Or for that matter, would dream of causing, because that kind of mass carnage would hurt his profit margins. He knows this, Spider-Man and Daredevil know this... hell, just about everyone who could remove him from power knows this, and they sure as hell aren't about to disregard it.
- Mephisto from the Marvel Universe often comes across as this. Hell is a necessary part of the universe. It inevitably corrupts any good person who tries to rule it. Any attempts at reform fail. And any hell lord besides Mephisto tends to be worse. So for better or worse whenever heroes will sometimes work with Mephisto to restore him to his throne since someone has to do the job as Lord of Evil and keep worse hell lords in check.
Films — Animated
- Literal example in Wreck-It Ralph; A video game only works when there's a 'bad guy' to defeat. When Ralph, the 'bad guy' of his game, isn't there, the game is declared out of order.
Films — Live-Action
Live Action TV
- Dino Attack RPG:
- This is how General Evil initially viewed himself, explaining why George Ogel agreed to be called "General Evil" while serving under his brother. Despite genuinely believing that his beliefs were correct and ultimately for the greater good, he was aware that his morals would be considered "evil" by the general populace. These beliefs faded away after the incident which left his body scarred, after which it became personal.
- Dr. Rex most likely knew that dooming his own species to extinction would be an act considered "evil", but in his delusions created by the Darkitect's manipulations, he believed that this was for the greater good of the universe.
- This is how the factions in Warhammer 40,000 that aren't just in it For the Evulz operate, and most of the time they're correct.
- The Imperial Inquisition. On a whim, every fully ranked Inquisitor in the service can have any individual pressed into service, commandeer vehicles (up to and including Space Marine Battle Barges) for their use, summarily execute anyone they deem heretical, torture people indefinitely, and call down Exterminatus: the complete destruction of the biosphere of a planet, if not just blowing up the whole damn rock. Their decisions are inviolate. One of the most famous phrases ever uttered by an Inquisitor is "A plea of innocence is guilty of wasting my time. Guilty." Why is this gross extremism necessary? Because if they weren't around, the taint of Chaos would spread unchecked throughout the Imperium, and within less than a dozen generations the whole galaxy would be rendered lifeless and/or sucked into a psychic-energy-powered expy of HELL itself. So, yes, horribly evil, very necessary.
- The perfect example would be Inquisitor Kryptman. He ordered the creation of a Galactic Cordon, and in the process caused hundreds of billions of deaths and more destruction than any set of events since the Horus Heresy - including the Reign of Blood, the Black Crusades, and the Armageddon Wars. He saved the galaxy, but was declared Excommunicate Traitoris for his methods. (What is a Galactic Cordon, you ask? He ordered Exterminatus on every inhabited planet in the path of Hive Fleet Leviathan so that it wouldn't be able to replenish itself on the biomatter of those worlds.) And that was just part of his plan, which involves starting a Forever War between Leviathan and the ork empire of Octarius. The war still rages on, but the victor will come out magintudes stronger than before.
- This trope is the title of a Savage Worlds book that allows PCs to play supervillains in world where aliens had successfully killed off all the superheroes.
- In Exalted the Sidereals deliberately ended a golden age, caused the deaths of millions of innocents, plunged Creation into medieval squalor, threatened and murdered some of the gods themselves to go along with the new order, and spent the next millennium tracking down and murdering the innocent reincarnations of the world's greatest heroes. It was the only surefire way to save Creation from being utterly destroyed.
- In Jesus Christ Superstar Judas considers his betrayal of Jesus to be this in order to keep his movement from getting out of hand and destroying the Jewish people. To a lesser extent this is also true of Caiaphas although there's also a large amount of self interest mixed in in his case.
- The big twist at the end of Urinetown is that the Evil Overlord Cladwell was right the whole time and the revolution that overthrows him makes everything so much more awful than it was under his draconian rule.
- Ulysses is played like this toward the end of Jon English's Paris. He was like this to an extent in the original Iliad, but it's made explicit that the wooden horse was a case of this in the musical.
- In Fable III,
- Logan views his actions as these in order to fund an army and prepare Albion to deal with an Eldritch Abomination called the Crawler.
- You have to be this to get the bad-karma ending, otherwise known as the one that doesn't involve everybody you know and love dying. Unless you feel like playing the Lute for ten hours or going into real estate. Have I mentioned you're the king/queen?
- Kessler, the Big Bad of inFAMOUS, Kessler is The Protagonist Cole McGrath's future self. In the future he was the world's most powerful conduit, but when the world needed him most, he vanished, following which the world got blown to hell by the real villain. Feeling guilty for not stopping it, he uses his powers to travel back in time in order to accelerate the development of the Ray Sphere, which gave him his powers, and to shape his past self into the kind of person who would be capable of saving the world by killing the only woman he ever loved and destroying half the city.
- The sequel reveals that this backfired since the villainalso got his powers from the Ray Sphere. Woops. If only Kessler knew the Ray Sphere was the device that lead to the villain's creation...
- Ammon Jerro in Neverwinter Nights 2. Not only does he deal with devils, and other deadly creatures of the lower planes in order to get what he needs done. True, he's trying to save all of the sword coast. But at the same time he kills his granddaughter, and several other people whom are really not all that bad. They just happen to get in his way. Though he does have a Villainous Breakdown when he realizes who Shandra was, and spends the rest of the game trying to atone for what he's done.
- For the most part the Overlords are this to the world. They seem to save the world (so they can take it over) from the other (worse) evils and Fallen Heroes. Rose states that the Balance Of Good And Evil will mean that during the times when Light Is Not Good and becomes too powerful, Darkness is required to triumph.
- According to the manual, Gill. Like all Street Fighter canon, it's... complicated.
- Bian Zoldark and Maier Branstein in Super Robot Wars Original Generation. When they realized that the government was preparing to surrender to the coming alien invaders, they launched an attempt to Take Over the World, in order to give mankind the means to fight back against the invaders, remove those who wanted to collaborate, and finally, ensure that the heroes were strong enough to spearhead the counterattack. Tragically, a lot of their minions had different plans. Most of which involve 'kill the heroes, take their place'. Which may have been Bian and Maier's back-up plan.
- Seraph Lamington in Disgaea allowed Vulcanus to run amok, and later justly but "excessively" punished Flonne for a relatively minor sin by turning her into a flower. He was however willing to, and counting on, being defeated by the protagonist. It is revealed in the good ending that he was plotting with the ghost of the Netherworld's ruler to use a Batman Gambit and force Laharl to grow up and become kinder, so they will unite both kingdoms. In the good ending, Laharl spares the Seraph's life, and he returns Flonne to life as a fallen angel (with cute bat wings and red trim), which was part of his plan all along assuming Laharl passed the Secret Test of Character - Not that that matters anymore, now that she's his right hand angel now.
- Valvatorez, the protagonist of Disgaea 4, is a strange sort of Punch Clock Villain who sees his job of being an evil, human-terrorizing tyrant as a very important public service - If he isn't going to Scare 'Em Straight, who will?
- Wild ARMs 2 has Irving Vold Valeria, who formed both the heroes and the villains as a two-tiered plan to gather information as well as global resources in order to stop a sentient dimension from swallowing their world. The villains could use whatever tactics they wanted; and the heroes would be able to get the combined support of the world's governments who wanted them to stop the villains.
- In Suikoden II, Jowy seems at first to be simply a Face-Heel Turn or a Rival Turned Evil, when he betrays the city of Muse to the Highlands, assassinates the Mayor, and opens the gates to the invaders. It turns out, however, that he only did it because he knew that the only way to stop the monstrous Luca Blight, was from the inside - and so, he sold out Muse in order to gain Luca's trust, so that he could later betray him, bringing about his death at the hands of the hero. However, by the time Luca dies, Jowy has already married Luca's sister, and he thus becomes the ruler of Highland... and thus, he is responsible for the nation, and feels compelled to win the war. At the very end of the game, he is gambling on The Hero killing him, so that he can use his life-force to seal the Beast Rune that Luca unleashed earlier... whether it actually ends that way, however, depends on a few things...
- In Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire, you are required to ally yourself with either Team Aqua or Team Magma (depending on which game you are playing) in order to oppose the other Team. This does not mean that the Team you are allied with isn't evil, however; they are simply not currently involved in any world-threatening plans, while the Team you are opposing is clearly doing something worse.
- Claudia Wolfe from Silent Hill 3. She acts cruel and evil to the protagonist and orders the murder of her father...but Heather eventually finds her diary, which is filled with entries about how much she's sorry for having to put Heather through all this, and only feels she must do it to bring the birth of paradise for Heather and everyone... everyone, that is, except Claudia herself. She believes in Hell, by the way. That's right, Claudia believes that she deserves to go to Hell for committing the necessary evil to save everyone else, meaning she absolutely embodies this Trope. Heather stops whatever the result would have been, but Claudia's intentions are definitely well intentioned and self aware.
- One possible interpretation in Knights of the Old Republic is that Revan waged war against the Republic in order to toughen them up and force them to become more militaristic to prepare them for future conflict that Revan alone foresaw. The second game of the series has the other theory that it was to prevent societal collapse, or that it was all part of a plan to prepare for ANOTHER enemy. Which he left to find. This is supported by Kreia's question about Revan's "fall" in KOTOR 2: "Did Revan truly fall? Or did he do what was necessary to prepare the republic?" It is implied through the game's plot that the enemy Revan "prepared" the galaxy for were the True Sith, featured as the main baddies in the upcoming Old Republic MMO.
- If you're going to bring the Star Wars Expanded Universe into this, the original Heir to the Empire trilogy portrayed Grand Admiral Thrawn as a ruthless warlord but a competent, at times even caring commander. The later books set him up as someone attempting to prepare the galaxy for invasion, which came with the Yuuzhan Vong.
- Trias the Betrayer from Planescape: Torment is a Fallen Angel who betrayed his kin and made a compact with the lower planes. He actively works towards shifting the balance of the planes towards evil in return for the command over an army of devils should he succeed. Trias plans to use this army to attack the gates of heaven themselves. While he's expecting both this army and himself to be defeated, his hope is that such an act would be enough to rouse the celestials of the upper planes to take a more hands-on approach in the war against evil instead of doing what he saw as being Achilles in His Tent while evil was allowed to run rampant.
- Sephiran from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Acts affable to the end, and loyal to one of the heroes even while he is fighting the others. Can't be talked out of fighting the heroes, yet is happy upon defeat.
- The following pattern is pretty common in Fire Emblem, especially in the endgame of Radiant Dawn:
"I can't allow you pass" [grueling battle] "Thank you for killing me, please move onward!"
- Several side materials for Fire Emblem Jugdral depicts Alvis of Velthomer as one. the guy wants to create a utopia free of prejudice and racism, so he joins force with Lopto clan, which he lothes, to take down fellow lords and unite Granbelle into a single country. Naturally, this does not work, and he becomes heavily as he grows Older and Wiser and realises his plan has backfired horribly.
- In Final Fantasy X, Seymour Guado fancied himself as this and committed his innumerable sins because he genuinely felt that the world would be better off in the peace of death.
"I will destroy Spira; I will save it''."
- Everyone in Iji: The Tasen invade Earth because they're being hunted to extinction by the Komato and think that Earth would be a nice place to hide. The Komato general justifies his campaign by saying that the folks back home will settle for nothing less than total annihilation. Iji calls bullshit on both counts. And if you play in the standard action adventure style, they'll retort with Not So Different.
- Tales of Legendia's Stingle is a Punch Clock Villain. He does it support his Ill Girl daughter.
- Wallachia in Melty Blood. Turns out he was trying to prevent the end of the world, but every solution he came up with just made things worse. He became a Dead Apostle in order to get the power to hopefully avert it.
- Speaking of the Nasuverse, we have Emiya Kiritsugu, from Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, who is more than willing to shoulder all the evils in the world in order to save everyone. He did shoulder all the evils in the world, but didn't completely save people from them.
- Yuan in Tales of Symphonia may be this or a Well-Intentioned Extremist. It doesn't show him acting guilty for what he does, but then again, he doesn't show much emotion at all and the storyline doesn't focus on him enough to give him a chance.
- Being a fairly nuanced RPG, Dragon Age: Origins allows you to behave like this in any number of situations, justifying a great deal of evil as necessary to destroy the darkspawn.
- Loghain definitely feels this way about what he's done by the end of the game. Doesn't change the fact that he's a wee bit unhinged at this point... Though if you recruit him, he becomes The Atoner.
- In the sequel, Anders stands out among a city of Well-Intentioned Extremists as one of the few who acknowledges that the actions taken to reach his goals are inexcusable. He doesn't blow up the Chantry because he thinks it's the right thing to do... but because things have gotten so hopeless and the stalemate between the templars and the mages has remained deadlocked for so long that he sees no other option.
- Meredith verges on this a few times as well, though it swings back and forth between this and Knight Templar given the Sanity Slippage means one moment she's insisting the templars are entirely in the right, and the next she seems more regretful and willing to acknowledge some of her methods for controlling the mages are inhumane. Sometimes within the span of a few seconds.
- The Mages' Circle is guilty of this as well; they actually are harboring Blood Mages and Abominations, firstly because the evidence of their existence would be all the Templars need to oppress them further or outright purge them, and secondly because if the Templars decide to do that anyway the Circle will need all the power they can get on their side. Their necessary evil comes to the same logical conclusion at the same time as the Templars'.
- Duke of Tales of Vesperia is the poster boy for this trope. His Entelexeia friend Elucifur was betrayed and killed by humans right after Elucifur helped them win the Great War. When the Adephagos eventually showed up, his solution for it was to destroy it using the energy absorbed from the life force of humans, including himself, effectively wiping humanity off the face of the planet but saving every other life form. Unusually for the final boss, the party manages to talk him out of it at the end of battle and he ends up helping them.
- Master Mattias in Luminous Arc 2, who seems to continue his reign of terror of killing people to fuel Rega the demon sword with their souls, after being released from being sealed by Fatima and Josie. He's actually preparing to stop the Beast Fiends at their source and sealed them away, plus the souls inside Rega will be released after it's used for the plan.
- In Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future, R-Shadow reveals to Mega Man that the reason he's come from the future to destroy him was to stop the problems that Wily has caused at its roots by destroying all of the robots of the past.
- In Jade Empire, Sagacious Zu claims that he viewed the actions of the Lotus Assassins — killing political opponents and terrorizing the citizens of the Empire — as necessary to preserve the authority of the Emperor and the stability of the Empire. When they started targeting women and children purely as punitive action against their husbands/fathers, however, it got too much for him.
- In order to save the world, The Joy had to be perceived as a traitor and die by Naked Snake's hands. Needless to say, this caused some nasty emotional trauma to him.
- Act 3 of the FreeSpace 2 mod War in Heaven has the Fedayeen faction. They view themselves as monsters and psychopaths who have no place in their relatively peaceful society, and are expected to carry out atrocities without hesitation, while still recognizing that they are atrocities. They use any means at their disposal to secure the survival of the United Earth Federation, because their defeat will (supposedly) signal the extinction of the human race, and maintain there's no room for morality when the stakes are that high. Judging from what we've seen in the story so far, they may have a point.
- Many of the Renegade decisions in the Mass Effect games can come across like this.
- Saren Arterius, The Dragon of Mass Effect 1, believes his terrible actions such as attacking a defenseless colony, researching living weapons, and betraying the Council are absolutely necessary for the future of the galaxy. Tela Vesir, a Spectre in Mass Effect 2, provides this justification for her ruthless actions such as ( bombing an office building with many civilians inside). She combines this with Not So Different and Shut Up, Kirk! if a Paragon Shepard - who is working with the terrorists of Cerberus - calls her out on it.
- In Mass Effect 3, Paragon Shepard appears to view working with Cerberus in Mass Effect 2 as a necessary evil: (s)he hates what they stand for and what they do, but they were literally the only people in the galaxy who were actually listening about the Reaper threat and taking it seriously. During the events of Mass Effect 2, (s)he had nowhere else to turn when things needed to get done.
- The titular Kamui fighters are considered this since they use the inhumane Brain Uploading technology, but they where necessary due to the ZODIAC's laying waste to the earth at the time.
- Balthazar in Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal. He is one of the Five, a group of Bhaalspawn convinced by the Big Bad to exterminate their siblings, ostensibly in exchange for a chance to serve as the lieutenants of Bhaal, the dead god of murder, when he is resurrected by the deaths of enough of his children. When you confront him it turns out he has other plans - he intends to eliminate the other members of the Five and as many Bhaalspawn he can find, the Big Bad (who is the only one who can resurrect Bhaal), and then kill himself, ensuring that Bhaal's chance to return dies with him. The player has no choice but to fight him, and he verbally regrets the player character death as a "necessity."
- The plot of Shadow Hearts: Covenant does retcon the first game's antagonist Albert Simon's plans, turning him from a Well-Intentioned Extremist into something more like this trope. It turns out Simon was desperately trying to stop Rasputin - yes, that Rasputin - and the secret society Sapientes Gladio from potentially destroying humanity in their mission to take over Europe through occult means.
- In the World of Warcraft short story In the Shadow of the Sun (available for reading on the official website), Lor'themar Theron admits to being this in his personal journal.
- The Big Bad of Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall is willing to loose an insane dragon upon Berlin, infected with a magical virus that will spread across the globe and cause a worldwide draconic genocide because of the threat they cause. He seems to deeply regret his own actions but claims they are necessary to save metahumanity from inevitable subjugation by dragonkind.
- The true Big Bad of Tales of the Abyss believes that the Score is harmful to humanity and wants it gone. To this end he wants to destroy the entire world and replace all of it with a perfect replica, due to replicas being Immune to Fate. At least one member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad wants the same thing and follows the Big Bad because of it.
- Blackwatch from Prototype may be a small army of sociopaths, but their brutal tactics are necessary to prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
- In the first game, anyways. The second game flanderizes them into cartoon villains who kill more civilians than the virus they're supposed to be stopping.
- Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! from Girl Genius is convinced that all Sparks are a menace to the world and seeks to eliminate all of them, ending with himself. Read his rant.
- Also in the same comic, Klaus Wulfenbach took over Europe and rules it with an iron fist to prevent Sparks from running wild and terrorizing the populace with pointless wars. There are those who believe him to be a "mere" Well-Intentioned Extremist.
- In the Thog Infinitron, the aliens that gave Thog his powers finally realize their mistake, and decide they must destroy Thog to hide their mistake, even though they admire him.)
- Eerie Cuties: Tia Darkness is a pint-sized demoness who feeds on misery and discord. The inverse, is that displays of kindness, friendship, and happiness, can cause her to become physically ill. In extreme cases, it threatens to make her fade out of existence. Meaning, in all likelihood, she has no choice but to sow discord in order to sustain her existence.
- In El Goonish Shive, Abraham is this in order to kill the spawn of the Dewitchery Diamond.
- The SCP Foundation is a single giant example of dog shooting, doing what's necessary, and protecting you from things you don't need to know about.
- Best example: Procedure 110-Montauk, which is never described in detail, but the details we are told aboutnote make it clear that what they are doing is subjecting an innocent young woman to a horrifically traumatizing procedure which they must modify to be even worse if she ever becomes desensitized to it, because if they don't, she gives birth to something undisclosed which poses a serious threat to everyone in the surrounding area and possibly life as we know it. An Easter Egg hidden on the page questions how necessary this evil actually is.
- She-Beast of the Whateley Universe describes the international supervillain Dr. Diabolik like this, including talking about the thousands of people who have died in his efforts to advance the human race. She may be giving him more credit than he deserves though, since she is his daughter.
- Now that we have seen him attack the entire city of Cincinnati, we know the truth. She didn't give him enough credit.
- Taylor of Worm is not the only example of this in the series but is certainly the most clear cut. Initially purely a mole among her villainous friends, she comes to view villainy as the best way to achieve her goals. Entirely selfless goals.
- Several of the students in the experiment feel this way in Pyrrhic, as they are being forced to kill each other, so justifiably they can murder others to save themselves. DeQuan feels this way about plotting with Ryan to kill Joshua because of what he did to Chase.
- In the beginning of the Woody Woodpecker short Ration Bored, Woody himself flat out admits that he is a necessary evil. Given the context under which he said that, he could have meant it as a joke.
- "Morning, Sam." "Morning, Ralph."
- In the DCAU
- Amanda Waller saw Cadmus as a check as against the Justice League falling from grace.
- The Justice Lords. They see themselves as being able to accomplish what the Justice League cannot.
- Wonder Man in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes; the only reason he is acting as a member of the Masters of Evil is because their Black Magician Girl, the Enchantress, is the one casting the spell that allows him to stay alive, meaning he can only stay alive if he does what they say. Other than that, he has absolutely no interest in being a supervillain.
- As it turns out, this was all a lie on The Enchantress' part. After The Masters of Evil broke up, there was nothing keeping him alive, except himself.
- Kang the Conqueror seems to be an example of this. He came to the past to prevent an intergalactic war from destroying the Earth. Unfortunately, saving the Earth entailed taking it over and killing Captain America.