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Even Evil Has Standards / Comic Books

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  • The Hutts in Legacy undergo this after Vul Isen callously slaughters refugees fleeing the genocide of Dac (which incidentally, he carried out). The Hutts might be corrupt, but killing innocent refugees/potential customers is apparently the line they cannot tolerate. Given that the nephew of a high ranking Hutt died for sheltering them, revenge is partially responsible.
  • Subverted by Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Johnny is a mass murderer who repeatedly kills scores of people for 'offenses' such as chewing in an annoying manner or using the word "wacky", and has a several floors deep Torture Cellar. Upon learning that his own antics has inspired an Ascended Fanboy serial killer who also turns out to be a rapist he becomes becomes extremely disgusted, as it is the one line Johnny himself will not cross. However, Johnny states outright that this limitation gives him no absolution: He regularly does things to his victims just as bad as rape, and his aversion to rape isn't so much a standard as it is a natural result of his hatred of physical contact and giving in to bodily desires.
    • Johnny does have a standard that isn't used in that scene, however: He never harms children (intentionally). He also seems to be protective of his neighbor Squee, in his own warped way, especially when he rips apart the pedophile who's taken Squee out behind the mall.
      "You flaw. At least I'm under the delusion of doing something productive."
  • Hunter Rose, protagonist of the early Grendel stories by Matt Wagner, was a sadistic, sociopathic crime-lord/hired assassin, who made a point of suppressing all underage prostitution within New York. In his first ever appearance he cheerfully guts the head of the largest child prostitution ring in the city, commenting "I no like dat."
    • Also, he will not kill in front of a child, even if it leaves witnesses to one of his crimes. Not intentionally, anyway.
  • Modesty Blaise, during her criminal career (the series starts when her retirement becomes too boring) was always very strict about rejecting drug-dealing and prostitution, and no violence against innocents was allowed. In fact she often did pro-bono attacks on procurers. And when she was set up to traffic drugs in return for the life of a friend, she chose NOT to traffic drugs. She was also against killing, unless it was absolutely necessary, preferring to knock out people who got in her way. Also, she gave her henchmen pension funds, when she retired her operations. It's hard to consider her a villain at all.
  • In the retelling of Sleeping Beauty featured in Castle Waiting, Satan himself proves to have standards. Disgusted with the evil witch being willing to curse an innocent baby then subvert the attempts to get around her curse, he disguises himself as the Opinicus (a griffin-like creature) and carries her off to Hell personally. The demon Leeds complains that he loses more friends that way.
  • Street Fighter:
  • While not quite evil, Sistah Spooky pushed aside her severe dislike of Empowered to warn her of an upcoming Humiliation Conga. Even she didn't like seeing what had happened before happen again, even to Empowered.
  • In a Dragon Nodwick strip parodying Dungeons & Dragons's "Slave Pits of the Undercity" module, evil slave lords Blackthorn and Markessa are shocked, appalled, and disgusted when Artax pretends to be a merchant seeking slaves to staff his chain of convenience stores.
    Piffany: I told you: even they have standards!
  • Saga: The Will, an unrepentant Professional Killer, reacts to being offered the services of a child sex slave by rescuing her and killing her owner. One of the late sex trafficker's associates Lampshades it by wondering why a man whose business might involve killing children is showing such moral outrage.
  • Dilbert example: Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light and former ruler of Heck, looks for a job.
    Phil: I would probably be good at any job involving sin.
    Dogbert: Marketing?
    Phil: I have a soul... it's just a small one.
  • In Witch Girls Tales, Card-Carrying Villain Princess Lucinda tends to make statements along the lines of this trope when justifying her Noble Demon tendencies. Well, either that, or turn the person who dares to doubt her evil into a frog.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
      • If you're a Grandmaster of the Dark Legion, expect to face off against this trope eventually; former Omnicidal Maniac Dimitri has a lot of these, ever since his depowerment, most notably his balking at reviving his previous Superpowered Evil Side Enerjak, even though it would've restored him to health (even going so far as to warn his enemy Knuckles of Enerjak's return); and his usurper and current Grandmaster Lien-Da, who has no problems with performing Klingon Promotions and Mind Controlling the Legion as a way of gaining status, or torturing a former ally to death with a smile on her face, turns on her ally Shadow in the Mobius: X Years Later storyline, after it's revealed he's going to destroy the world with an Eldritch Abomination.
      • Upon his Face–Heel Turn, Geoffrey St. John admits in issue 235 that while he isn't always trustworthy, he does respect his adversaries. He even admits that what happened to Sally and Antoine isn't what he wanted and sympathizes with Sonic over what happened with Sally. He's horrified to learn in Universe 43 that Naugus plans Mass Hypnosis over the Acorn Council, an equivalent of roboticization. He believes that some lines need to be crossed to make things change, but Naugus' plan just goes too far.
      • In Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide, Dr. Wily is shown to be bothered when he finds out that the Roboticized Masters, which Dr. Eggman helped to create using an altered roboticization process on Sonic's friends, have no real personality (which Eggman, having a history with betrayal by his more intelligent creations, considers a feature rather than a bug). Wily's willing to let this slide for the sake of their partnership, though the final straw for him is Eggman's attempt to kill Dr. Light; Wily had only ever wanted to best and humiliate Light, not kill him. The revelation that the Super Genesis Wave could potentially destroy both their worlds doesn't sit well with Wily either, while Eggman assures him that they could rebuild their worlds however they wanted, making any damage irrelevant.
    • In Sonic the Comic, Robotnik's right hand man Grimer thinks Robotnik is going too far by trying to destroy Mobius. The second time Robotnik tries to destroy Mobius Grimer quits working for him.
  • In Garfield: His 9 Lives the Incredibly Huge Galactic War Fleet claims to have no hearts. However, they do "appreciate a tidy ship," and so give Garfield two extra minutes to get his spaceship cleaned up before they atomize him.
  • In the original Aliens vs. Predator comic miniseries that kicked the crossover off, the clan leader kills one of the younger hunters when he sees a child's skull in the other's trophy bag. That is part of the Predators' code — only those who can defend themselves, otherwise it's not sporting.
  • In one issue of Simpsons Comics, Mr. Burns tricks Homer into starring in a deadly gameshow. While Homer struggles to get through a maze full of traps, Burns sits in a control room pondering what to throw at him. We're shown some very dangerous and downright cruel things... but he draws the line at making Homer listen to James Cameron's infamous Oscar acceptance speech on a continuous loop, as he's "still a human being".
  • In Darkwing Duck, Steelbeak isn't pulling a Heel–Face Turn, but unleashing Duckthulu? Even he has his limits. Only not really.
  • In the Italian Disney stories about Paperinik the Devilish Avenger (Donald Duck's vigilante secret identity), Paperinik has committed his fair share of crimes (his first story sees him stealing Scrooge's mattress while he's sleeping on it, and he's beaten up and humiliated other characters and the police many times, even throwing Gladstone down the wall of a castle before the whole population of Duckburg), but he always drew the line at gratuitous crimes and actually profiting from them (at worst he forces people who stole from him as Donald to pay him back more money than they stole from him), resulting in him capturing and handing to the police about half of Duckburg's criminal population.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table Illustrated : Knuckles captured a member of the cult that tortured Thorina. Knowing that Knuckles intended to kill him, and knowing also the Untouchable Trio's notorious reputation for greed and selfishness, the cultist tried to persuade Knuckles to join his cult instead, offering lavish rewards. Knuckles mentally pictured himself torturing Thorina, and then promptly killed the cultist, saying, "Sorry, bud, but even I've got standards."
  • In American Flagg!, Titania Weis, a devoted fascist and member of an explicitly Nazi-inspired political party, objects to plans by the even worse American Survivalist Labor Committee to kill the entire population of Chicago with poison gas.
  • The Powerpuff Girls #57 (Feb. 2005): In "Presents Of Mine," Him persuades Buttercup to use her share of the girls' allowance (with which they planned on buying something for the Professor) into buying something for herself. But when the Gangreen Gang starts stealing toys from a charity bin, it cheeses Him off ("Even I wouldn't stoop to something that rotten!") and he helps the girls lay an unholy smackdown on the Gang. (And this is a villain that is supposed to be either the Devil himself or something very close. Go figure.)
  • The Big Bad of Trolls de Troy, when he learns what Waha's biological mother has in mind for her daughter (she's a prostitute turned madam and wants Waha to follow in her footsteps), decides to throw her off his dragon's back to her death far, far below.
  • 2000 AD:
    • In one of the later stories of Nemesis the Warlock, Big Bad Torquemada is sent time-travelling, where he eventually encounters his namesake (and past incarnation), often considered the face of the Spanish Inquisition. The historical Torquemada takes his namesake prisoner and starts torturing him, but the future Torquemada is impervious and instead happily regales his past self with stories of the things he has done in the future, using lessons building upon those of many of his past incarnations, but especially his namesake's and Adolf Hitler's. The historical Torquemada is horrified by the things he hears, and the fact of how he will be remembered in the future as a vehemently racist bigoted psychopathic monster, rather than the humble follower of God's creed that he has always seen himself as, leads him to a prominent Heel Realisation.
    • Button Man: Harry is a brutal and efficient killer in the Killing Game, but when he was called in to take out Adele's father along with three other guys to punish the man for trying to get out of the Game, he refused on the basis that he's not some cheap thug for hire.
  • Über: Sieglinde and Siegmund are disgusted by the level of sadisic glee that their fellow Über, Siegfried, takes in his atrocities. After Siegfried single-handedly massacres hundreds of thousands of Soviet POWS on Hitler's orders, Sieglinde notes that if it had been her, she'd have refused.
  • In the Zombie Apocalypse comic Feast, a group of escaped convicts (all particulary dangerous and violent ones) are trapped in the upper floor of a shop surrounded by the hungry dead. When they realize that there's one guy there who they don't know what he's in for, they press him for it until another inmate pipes up that he recognizes him, and he's in for raping and murdering children. Upon this revelation, the lead convict immediately grabs the guy and throws him out the window to the zombies. One of the cons is also a serial rapist, and when they need some bait to distract the zombies and a con asks who, the one good con says "Who do you think?" Cut to the rapist in handcuffs running from the zombies while screaming "FUCK YOU GUYS!"
  • One story in the horror comic Flinch had a necrophiliac dig up a new wife from the graveyard, a victim of a local serial killer. Dragging her across the road, he's struck by a car, which turns out to be driven by said serial killer, who recognizes his victim...and reacts to the dead necrophiliac with disgust; "Torture and murder is one thing...But messing with a corpse? You got to be sick for that kind of thing."
  • In Athena Voltaire and the Brotherhood of Shambalha, Desmond Forsyth says that Ethan Storm studied under Aleister Crowley (who, in real life, got dubbed "the wickedest man in the world"), but that Crowley "found Storm to be too intent on exploring the dark side... which is saying a lot".
  • The Misfits in Jem and the Holograms are Jerk Asses but murderers they are not. They refuse to talk about or even acknowledge Clash's attempted murder of their rival Jem.
  • Iznogoud: Iznogoud might be a cruel, petty, greedy and ambitious Evil Chancellor, but he is disgusted when he catches his executioner trying to get himself paid for mercy, and delivers a speech saying mercy should never be bought.
  • Despite being an Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Manchild operating on Blue-and-Orange Morality, Negan from The Walking Dead has a surprising number of standards. First, he wholeheartedly believes in Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, to the point that he has been willing to execute his own men out of disgust at seeing them commit rape, and been willing to fight to save strangers who were about to be raped. Second, he despises cowards and betrayers, and on several occasions he killed or otherwise refused to work with people who wanted to sell out their own side to him. (By contrast, he shows much more respect to opponents who stand up to him.) Lastly, he loathes the Social Darwinist outlook, particularly their attitude towards weaker people, and at one point he gives another character a "The Reason You Suck" Speech over it that would be a Kirk Summation if it was coming from someone more heroic.
    Negan: Maybe you fucking nutcases need me. Because if that's how you do things, you're so fucked in the head you might as well be dead bodies pretending you're still fucking alive. That shit is vile, Alpha. You should be ashamed of yourself. (...) Protecting the weak is the whole fucking basis for civilization. If you're not protecting the weak, you're not civilized. You're fucking animals.
  • In W.I.T.C.H. Nerissa, an insane villain whose endgame included an act that could have destroyed the entire universe, identifies the Tower of Mists as Kandrakar's prison and admits that even she is terrified of the inmates. Considering that her crime against Kandrakar back when she was one of the Guardians was murdering her best friend and fellow Guardian and threatening Kandrakar with absolute destruction and was not imprisoned in the Tower, that speaks a lot of the inmates besides Phobos.
  • Baron Konig in Hellboy miniseries B.P.R.D.: 1947 is a cruel Vampire Monarch that regards humans as cattle, yet he completely loathes Those Wacky Nazis for betraying another vampire lord that tried to form an alliance with Hitler, who was so creeped out by him that he ordered his execution. Granted, Konig didn't like his kinsman very much and agreed he got what was coming for even considering making a deal with his "inferiors", but what truly appalled him was the Nazis performing experiments on said vampire's brides to create a weapon for themselves.
  • John D. Rockerduck from the Disney Ducks Comic Universe. His standards are Depending on the Writer, but unlike Flintheart Glomgold, he is usually Affably Evil and is never portrayed as willing to stoop to murder.
  • Djinn: Sultan Murati is an manipulative and ruthless monarch who has no problem ordering the death of any woman in his seraglio once he grows bored with them. Having said that, he is disturbed when he discovers that his previous favorite's little daughter was murdered alongside her mother. When a British lady becomes one of his harem girls, he assures the outraged diplomats that he is not an brute that forced her into it, that she went along of her own free will and she is free to leave whenever she wants to. When he steps down from power (partly because he doesn't have much to live), he frees the women in his harem.
  • Archie Comics. Jason Blossom is a full-blown jerkass, but even he has boundaries. When Jason's best friend Cedric sabotages Dilton to have Pembrooke Academy (his and Jason's school then) win a quiz show, Moose manages to win on a sports question, and then clobbers Cedric when he found out what Cedric did to his "little buddy." Jason, understandably, congratulates the Riverdale team and leaves Cedric hurting.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Soapy Slick and his men take great enjoyment in mocking Scrooge by reading his letters and calling him a Momma's Boy... but said men all stop laughing immediately when Soapy informs Scrooge his mother has died and laughs in his face over it.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • Averted in Volume 2, Issue 4, when Red Mist guns down a group of children. Then proceeds to kill the main character's love interest's mother and father and gang rape her with 2 of his henchmen. Though one could argue that the way the first volume ended she wasn't an entirely sympathetic character at that point. On the other hand, the book doesn't make any effort to justify her rape. Well, one of his Mooks asked whether if it was really necessary. The others were outright disgusted with Motherfucker and with themselves, but they did as told. They outright declare that the rape was going too far, but again they don't do anything about it.
    • In the following issue, Vic Gigante tells Red Mist that his gang aren't getting any special treatment anymore, and that the police force & the various mafia families are gunning for them now.


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