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Dark Is Not Evil / Comic Books

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  • The Sandman's Death of the Endless, or, for that matter, Dream of the Endless. Though Dream can be kind of a jerk when he doesn't get his way.
  • Batman. The Dark Knight is often one of the best barometers of what the writer wants you to think is morally acceptable in all of comicdom, despite his black clothing, bat-motif, and fear-based methods.
    • Nightwing dresses in black (with either red or blue) but is a friendly Nice Guy.
    • Probably the most extreme example of this is Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. She's a former Tyke Bomb with a ridiculously tortured and abusive past, who wears a full-face mask that has strong BDSM overtones. However, she's also probably the kindest and most dedicatedly altruistic of all the Bat characters.
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    • Batman's looks are lampshaded in Justice League/Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Zack and the other Rangers attack Batman due to the fact that, despite being a good guy, he's a man dressed as a bat and looks scary as all hell. When everything is settled, Zack complains about how Batman looks despite being a good guy. The other Leaguers lightly rib on Bats for it.
  • DC Comics continuity has a realm called the Great Darkness, which is sometimes referred to as the Darklands or Shadowlands. To make a long story short, when God said "Let there be light," this inadvertently created something called the Great Evil Beast, a creature composed of darkness and shadow on par with God itself. While this creature did go on something of a small rampage on account of not knowing its own nature, when it got to the gates of the Silver City, it merged with God to create a sort of yin-yang creature. However, the part of reality where it had formed was left over, and is called the Great Darkness. Many heroes and villains in the DCU make use of this realm and its power to manipulate shadow and create shadow constructs.
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  • The DC superheroine Nightshade has darkness-based powers, including the ability to create and manipulate darkness, and to create shadow-creatures.
  • Likewise the DC superhero Obsidian, son of Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott. He had a Face–Heel Turn for a while, but he's back now.
  • The Punisher is an Anti-Hero example who only kills bad guys and he has black clothes with a skull .
    • Depending on the Writer. Oftentimes it's pretty clear that he's a psychopath who is only conveniently aimed at people that are (usually) worse than he is.
  • The Shade, one-time villain of the Golden Age Flash. He ended up as a mentor to Jack Knight, aka the hero Starman, so the Shade probably counts for this trope. He gained his power during a human-sacrifice-demon-summoning Gone Horribly Wrong (Or Right, depending on how you interpret the vague hints) in Victorian England that killed 104 people. Shade is probably far and away the most powerful of any of the DC characters that draw power from the Great Darkness, as not only is he ageless and immortal, but he has far more control over his shadow abilities and can directly travel between normal reality and the Great Darkness at will. Notably, he's been said to be capable of standing up to The Spectre (also known as the physical personification of the Wrath of God) and at one point, a future incarnation was able to transport Jack Knight centuries and light-years across time and space.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • Shadow Lass can create fields that block out all light, and she's a superhero.
    • Night Girl has strength roughly equal to a Kryptonian, but only in the dark. In light, she's a regular girl, but she's a superhero.
  • And Raven of Teen Titans - unless she's in one of her "daddy's girl" phases. Which unfortunately happens a lot.
  • The very, VERY obscure comic Hybrid has Nocturns.
  • Nightcrawler is covered in indigo fur from head to toe, has pointed ears, fangs and a prehensile tail with a spade at the end, as well as the ability to teleport in a cloud of black smoke that smelled of brimstone, leading to more than a few demonic comparisons (even before that whole Azazel mess). He is also a devout Christian, a fan of Errol Flynn movies and one of the nicest guys in the Marvel Universe.
  • In the Adventures in Olympus arc of Flare, Aphrodite tells Pan that "Nyx is not evil. But she does hate Eos."
  • Trauma from Avengers: the Initiative is a half-demon who can shapeshift into a person's worst fear, invoking responses that range from a freakout session (Armory and Cloud 9) to reliving one's worst personal shame (Yellowjacket) to ending up in a mental institute (Trauma's mother). That being said, Trauma himself is a pretty nice guy who seems to have found a calling in helping people overcome their fears.
  • The Ghost Rider is a burning skeleton riding a motorcyle made of hellfire. He's also the hero of his story. And in one storyline is actually revealed to be an angel.
  • Hellboy. This quote is from the end of the movie, not the comic book, but it applies:
    "What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once asked. It's the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he finishes them."
    • Not that it's especially easy to find any actual light-aligned entities in his setting, and he tends to slaughter the dark ones he meets with extreme prejudice, although since he finds them by following the bodies there's a certain sampling bias and if it's not a whole army of skeletons or similar he treats folks like folks... mostly. But, as an Anti Anti Christ, he's trope-worthy for sure.
  • Blue Devil, especially after a Deal with the Devil turned him into an actual devil and he obtained a powerful Evil Weapon. He's still a superhero and a devoted churchgoer even though being in a church literally burns his flesh. Somewhat deconstructed when he learned that he had received a place in Hell's hierarchy as a Rhyming Devil because his heroic deeds have given Hell good publicity — he's made Hell "cool".
  • One of the only examples of this in the BIONICLE series is Takanuva after he survives a shadow leech attack. As for everything else, Greg Farshtey seems hell-bent on averting this trope.
    • In a literal sense, Onu-Matoran generally wear dark colored armor, live in nigh-unreachable caves and enjoy darkness, and some Earth Toa actually look pretty frightening (Onua with his humongous claws, likewise Nuparu, who also had a punk-themed mask decorated by spikes). Yet they're among the nicest of characters.
  • Subverted in Brian Bendis' Powers with Queen Noire. Although a good guy, the source of her powers certainly isn't. Which then proceeded to kill the entire team and them some.
  • The Creeper is a yellow skinned, green haired giggling madman who looks eerily similar to the Joker and possesses a laugh terrifying enough to physically paralyze anyone who hears it. He's also one of Gotham City's vigilantes and was present alongside the other heroes who came to oppose Hush following Batman's death, described by Dick Grayson as "trusted allies sworn to preserving my father's legacy". (Depending on the Writer, the Creeper is often perfectly rational, but pretending to be insane because it scares the willies out of criminals; Batman himself uses a different approach, but to much the same end result.)
  • The "Nega-Scott" in Scott Pilgrim does look like an evil doppelganger of the title character, but he's got a much more bigger and significant purpose than that. He's a manifestation of all the mistakes that Scott has made and is meant to make Scott learn from said mistakes to become a better person. As such, Nega-Scott is absorbed into Scott so that he could make a better influence on his girlfriend and his other friends.
  • Kaluu, an Evil Sorcerer and one-time foe of Doctor Strange, accompanies him on a mission to defeat the dark magic Strange had inadvertently loosed in the world. Over the course of their misadventure Strange was forced to admit that Kaluu was also a hero working on the side of good, even though his pragmatism and readiness to sacrifice some to save others bothered him.
  • Etrigan is basically the embodiment of this trope. He's a demon from hell, but he's still a good guy. Sometimes. It might be more accurate to say that he often falls into a kind of a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" situation with the actual "good guys," and that they sometimes have compatible goals ... in the short term, at least.
    • His animated adaptions are a much straighter example.
  • Batman's Marvel counterpart, Daredevil, also counts. He dresses up like the Devil and inspires tremendous fear in criminals due to his intense bravery and vicious fighting style but is a hero who stands up for the oppressed both as a hero and civilian and sacrifices himself for others on multiple occasions.
  • Spawn is a Anti-Hero with demonic powers and a horrifying origin. He is deliberately contrasted with the Redeemers, villains with angelic powers. One of them is his Arch-Enemy Jason Wynn, and he is as vile as they come.
  • The Rot in Swamp Thing was originally treated as a dark force of evil. It's really just the natural force of death and decay which is vital to the cycle of life corrupted by Anton Arcane.
  • In the comic version of Winx Club, a witch named Shilly is convinced by the Trix to make a love potion to break up Stella and Brandon (since the Trix were still going through their awkward "we want to be bad guys but aren't quite sure how" phase at this point). Once she realizes how miserable Stella is without Brandon (who has consequently fallen for her, due to the potion), she and Bloom make an antidote to the potion. She ended up being friendly with the Winx since then, though she didn't get that much face time after that story.
  • X-23, Wolverine's Opposite-Sex Clone, was bred to be an emotionless killing machine. Her childhood largely consisted of Cold-Blooded Torture, whenever she walks into a room she automatically calculates the best method of killing everyone in it, approaches killing and torture with a cold detachment that may make her even better at it than her father, and she rarely shows what she is feeling. She's also a bit of a loner, is shown to have bouts of possibly suicidal depression and cuts herself, and her favored dress style is often strongly Gothic. However unlike Daken, Laura fights against her dark impulses, and God help you if you hurt someone she loves.
  • Nico Minoru from Runaways is fond of wearing black, homemade "goth" outfits, is the daughter of supervillians, has to cut herself to use her black magic powers, and would be pretty scary...if it weren't fact the fact she starts out as a Perky Goth Ordinary High-School Student (albeit one who hardens as time goes on), wasn't the Team Mom, and wasn't very committed to doing good in order to counteract the mess her parents' superillianry caused in LA.
  • The Shadowdog from Hellblazer was the Guardian Entity that protected humanity from The Beast by attacking its human hosts (who were already dead due to the possession) before it could drive all mankind mad. Due to its fearsome appearance, its violent methods of dealing with the Beast's hosts, and the fact that it always showed up whenever the Beast started causing strife, people wrongly believed the Shadowdog was the threat.
  • Illyana Rasputin has the power of evil, but she usually tries using it for the sake of goodness.
  • Iron Man has War Machine, whose armor is gray and black and packs lots of guns, but is piloted by the decent and disciplined LCOL James Rhodes.
    • In fact, Iron Man himself is capable of going kinda dark in storylines like Armor Wars, or keeping some pretty harmful secrets from the others, while Rhodey can be his conscience and voice of reason. He's The Cape at times when his red-clad partner is being The Cowl.
  • Marvel Comics' Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan is the Half-Human Hybrid son of one of the Lords of Hell who wields a pitchfork and calls upon the fires of Hell in battle, is perpetually clad in either black leather and chains or a High Collar of Doom and has a pentagram emblazoned on his chest. He's also an Anti-Antichrist who has served on various superhero teams such as The Defenders and The Midnight Sons.
  • Mistress Death is a necessity for the Marvel Universe if not the Marvel Multiverse. It's just that her "boyfriend" takes things a tad too far. Take her out of the equation and you're gonna have problems. Cancerverse-sized problems.
  • The Venom symbiote is a black Blob Monster that takes the form of a twisted version of Spider-Man's costume, plus a huge maw full of razor-sharp fangs (usually, anyway). Various incarnations have been all over the alignment grid, but some versions have been genuinely heroic - the most notable being Flash Thompson, Agent Venom, who kept the symbiote under control as much as possible and barely let it eat anyone, eventually finding a way to at least temporarily purge it of its wrath. (It didn't last, because Status Quo Is God, but it was worth a shot.) Mostly averted by the rest of the Symbiote race — it is noted that Venom is one of the nicest ones. Justified since the Symbiotes are a Living Weapon race created by a primordial god of darkness who wants to wipe out all life and other gods in existence.
  • Deathlok the Demolisher is basically an undead cyborg whose face is no friendlier than his name. There are multiple versions but they've all got that in common. They're also the good guys. The first version debuted in The '70s; we're talking long before The Dark Age of Comic Books and the heyday of the '90s Anti-Hero. He was far from what a good guy was expected to look like, and that was a selling point.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld: House Onyx, like all the other houses, has good and evil members, their aesthetic is just dark.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Persephone, dread Queen of Hades and the dead, is a rather compassionate and loving individual in most contexts who just happens to wear dark, spiked armor, a helm that brings a skull to mind and deeply love the morally questionable Hades. Despite this no one is foolish enough to casually call her by name, even her own mother addresses her as Kore; the name Persephone is for her King or her subjects and her subjects are dead.
  • Vampirella is not only a heroic vampire, she is the daughter of Lilith, who is the ruler of a section of Hell. Her ally, Pantha also qualifies as a dark-skinned woman who can shapeshift into a black panther.
  • Martian Manhunter: Miss Martian's true White Martian form is just as hideous and fearsome as any other White Martian, but she's actually a good person who wants to help and protect people.


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