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The Atoner / Webcomics

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  • In City of Reality, it's revealed that the Manumitor, who made it his mission to undo the transformations made by the psychotic magical supervillain Hinto Ama, is actually Hinto Ama herself, attempting to undo the damage she has done. Until someone she cares about gets hurt, she absolutely refuses to use her powers, relying on technology instead, and tries to kill one of the heroes who is stuck in a transformed state, feeling that death is better than being trapped in such a form.
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  • In The Dreamland Chronicles, why the dwarf king insists on winning the More Hero Than Thou dispute.
  • El Goonish Shive has Abraham, an ancient wizard. In his (relative) youth, he created the Dewitchery Diamond, a magical artifact intended to remove terrible curses like lycanthropy. However, when he finished making it, the diamond had the rather severe drawback of splitting a cursed individual into two bodies, the original and an embodiment of the curse adept at spreading the curse to others. Faced with his greatest failure and unable to destroy the diamond, Abraham swore an oath to God that he would dedicate his life to killing these cursed forms, which were generally vicious and powerful monsters.

    Fast forward to modern time, and he awakens from self-imposed suspended animation, sensing that the diamond has been used again. He learns that Elliot Dunkel (one of the major good guys in the story) had used the diamond to cure himself of a Magitek Gender Bender, not realizing that doing so would create Ellen, an Opposite-Sex Clone with a perfect copy of his memories. Abraham is horrified to learn that the latest cursed form he's sworn to kill is an innocent teenage girl, but he feels compelled to go through with it.

    In the end, Nanase (Elliot's ex-girlfriend / Ellen's current girlfriend) is able to convince Abraham not to murder Ellen, reasoning that following the letter of his oath would violate the spirit of his oath, since it was made with the intention of protecting innocent people. When Abraham returns to his suspended animation, it's clear that his idea of atonement is very different, although his flair for the dramatic remains the same. He currently provides the page image.
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  • In Endstone, Jon tackles a Guardian no one has ever survived in search of salvation.
  • The main reason the FreakAngels protected Whitechapel was to atone for ending the world.
  • General Protection Fault's Trudy fits this trope to a T. She goes from relentlessly controlling others to her own ends, even seducing a man to run over romantic rival Ki's father, and almost taking over the world, to relatively normal worker for GPF.
  • In Jack, becoming The Atoner is an option for souls imprisoned in Hell and is actually a valid way to eventually escape the confinement and reincarnate on Earth. Even one of the Greater Demons—Jack—is inclined this way. As a punishment for obliterating the human race he was made the Grim Reaper and forced to encounter every death thenceforth. Although, as an additional punishment, he was denied the memory of his sins at his own request just before dying, he still tries his best to give whatever comfort possible to the unfortunate hellbound souls.
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  • An example of "Assassin Wants To Quit" is Marilith. And she wants to quit with her former hostage.
  • Rumisiel in Misfile. He wasn't a Big Bad, but it was his screw up and chronic drug/alcohol addiction that caused Ash and Emily's problems. Started off somewhat half heartedly, but has begun to get serious about his role.
    • Vash is a much more serious example.
  • MSF High: After causing a giant war and nearly taking over the galaxy, the Legion surrendered, apologized, and became these. Exactly why has not yet been explored.
  • In Not a Villain, the main character Kleya is one. She wants to become a hero to atone for her previous actions as the leader of the hacker group "Deconstruct Me", where she is implied to have been responsible for The End of the World as We Know It.
  • The Order of the Stick
  • Vaarsuvius becomes one after his/her discovery of what the Familicide spell she/he cast did.
    • This strip suggests that Roy is also one of these after Durkon becomes a vampire.
  • In Our Little Adventure, Emily claims that Julie is this, to distract from her real quest.
  • In Rain, Brother Arthur has a FtM brother. He wants to help out Rain and Rudy because of the issues he caused his brother when they were younger.
  • In Slightly Damned Sakido qualifies.
    Sakido: Iratu and I went on to live in Hell. Darius trusted us to take care of our little brother, but we just threw Buwaro away. If you are reading this and I am no longer around, then I've gotten what I deserved.
  • Subverted in Sluggy Freelance: In "That Which Redeems", the talking sword Chaz tells the story of one of his previous owners. This man committed many atrocities, but then had his eyes opened to their evil by a sage. He turned to god for atonement—and what he ended up doing to make amends was to go on a bloody crusade in the name of this god to kill unbelievers. Be careful who you let define "good" for you...
  • After his attempts at global domination in ancient Egypt fell apart in a battle against Suras(/Zeus) in Wayward Sons, Kronos escaped, and wound up alone in ancient China, where he was taken in by a family of simple farmers. He would later use his powers to protect them from bandits, and all looked set to begin again... But Kronos had learned from his past failures, and vowed to create an empire of peace this time around.
    Huang: What you did to those men... You must be a god!
    Kronos: Once I might have let you believe that... But I've learned my lesson. I'm not a god. But I am your friend!
  • Lamar of We Are The Wyrecats becomes this after K.A. leaves the team.
  • Yoon Sung of Welcome to Room #305 is trying to atone with his twin sister Yoona for acting terribly homophobic in high school after learning her secret. Unluckily for him, it's not simple because she is very self hating about her sexuality and in denial of it.
  • Zebra Girl: Jack. He blames himself for what happened to Sandra, and for what happened during the Maginet mini-arc. Ever since the Maginet he is doing everything he can to become a better wizard, in the hopes that the tragedies which befell his friends and wizard comrades never happen again.

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