Are the Thunderbolts heroes or villains?

Are the Thunderbolts heroes or villains?

30 Sec Answer: It depends on the context – in some cases, the Thunderbolts are heroic, and in other instances, they are villains.


The Marvel Comics universe is home to a variety of colorful characters who come together to form teams and alliances as part of larger storylines. The Thunderbolts is one such team, comprised of super-powered individuals with varying levels of morality and heroism. While the individual members have been both heroes and villains at different times, the team itself has a more complicated moral code that has shifted over time. In this article, we will explore whether or not the Thunderbolts are heroes or villains.

History of the Thunderbolts

The first incarnation of the Thunderbolts was formed by Baron Zemo in an attempt to take control of the world after most of its superheroes had gone missing following an event known as "the Onslaught." He assembled a team made up of reformed supervillains (namely Moonstone, Atlas, Mach-1, and Fixer) to impersonate the recently vanished Avengers and gain public trust. Eventually their ruse was discovered and they were forced to choose between turning themselves in or reforming for real. They chose the latter path and eventually became full-fledged heroes in their own right.

Membership Changes

Over the years, there have been numerous changes to the roster of the Thunderbolts. Some members have stayed with the team while others have left to pursue their own paths. As new members have joined, so too have old ones retired or otherwise moved on. This means that any discussion of whether or not they are heroes or villains must take into account all these various changes throughout their history.

Post-Civil War Lineup

Following Marvel’s Civil War storyline, the roster of the Thunderbolts changed significantly as several new members joined while others left due to personal conflicts. Chief among these new additions was Venom (Eddie Brock), who had previously been a villain but was now looking to redeem himself by using his powers for good. Other notable additions included Songbird, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Penance (Robbie Baldwin), Swordsman (Andreas Strucker), Bullseye (Lester Burrows), Paladin (Paul Denning) and Radioactive Man (Chen Lu). These new additions saw a shift away from pure villainy towards a more ambiguous moral stance for the team as a whole.

Relationship With The Avengers

Since its inception, the relationship between the Thunderbolts and The Avengers has been complex and ever changing. Initially hostile due to their villainous pasts, The Avengers eventually began to accept them after they showed true heroism in battle against enemies like Graviton and Ultron. Over time, they earned enough respect from The Avengers that some members even went on missions alongside them as temporary allies before returning to their own lives afterwards. This shows that even though they may not be full-fledged heroes yet, they can still be trusted when needed.

Shifting Morality Over Time

One thing that has become apparent over time is that there is no single answer when it comes to whether or not the Thunderbolts are heroes or villains. Their moral code has shifted depending on circumstances, with some members leaning more towards heroic deeds while others opt for more nefarious activities. This grey area makes it difficult to definitively answer this question without taking into consideration each individual member’s actions over time as well as how those decisions affect their overall role within the team itself.

Good Deeds/Heroic Acts

Despite their murky morality at times, there have been many occasions where the Thunderbolts have proven themselves capable of performing truly heroic acts when called upon to do so. Whether it was fighting off aliens during The Infinity Gauntlet arc or helping contain galactic threats during World War Hulk, these moments show that even though they might not always make ethical choices in every situation, they can still be relied upon when things get tough and desperate measures need taken.

Negative Actions/Villainous Tendencies

At other points throughout their history however, certain members have acted in ways which could easily be considered villainous given their intent and impact on those around them. For example, Bullseye killed an innocent man while under mind control during one mission which caused tensions amongst fellow teammates who felt he should be held accountable for his actions regardless of circumstance; furthering showing just how morally ambiguous these characters can sometimes be when put into challenging situations.


Ultimately it’s impossible to definitively label The Thunderbolts as either “heroes” or “villains” given how much their dynamics have shifted over time and how varied each individual member’s intentions can be at any given moment. What we can say for certain is that they occupy a unique space within Marvel comics where good and bad often intertwine; making them an interesting group to watch out for as future stories unfold!

Hayden Russell

Hayden Russell is a writer and editor at, where he covers a wide range of topics including technology, business, and culture. With a background in journalism and a passion for storytelling, Hayden brings a unique perspective to his writing and is always on the lookout for interesting and thought-provoking stories. When he's not working, Hayden can be found exploring the outdoors or tinkering with his latest tech project.

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