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Violent Comic Characters That Are Secretly Big Ol' Softies

Updated June 3, 2020 2.5k votes 438 voters 28.5k views12 items

List RulesVote up the comic characters hiding soft hearts inside frightening exteriors.

Sometimes, even violent comic book characters can have a heart of gold. Okay, maybe not a heart of gold, per se, but at least a soft spot. Everyone expects Peter Parker's Spider-Man and Clark Kent's Superman to be nice guys - but what about the ones known for their dark, brooding nature

We all know Wolverine is the best there is at what he does (and what he does best isn't very nice), but he's also very good at mentoring younger mutants on various X-Men teams. We all know Doctor Doom is hell-bent on taking over the world, but he's also secretly a big old mama's boy. We all know Batman will break a villain's leg without a second thought, but he's also a foster father to an ever-growing number of kids. Some hard-nosed comic book characters are just great big balls of mush on the inside.

  • James "Logan" Howlett, AKA Wolverine, is about as aggressive as superheroes get. Take a man with serious rage issues, give him adamantium claws, wrap it all together with nearly unending healing powers, and you have the makings for many a bloody day. But here's the thing about Wolverine... he loves being a mentor.

    From Kitty Pryde to Jubilee to Laura Kinney (a relationship masterfully shown in 2017's box-office smash Logan), the angry Canadian has been shown to be a loving, if somewhat cold, teacher to numerous mutants. At one point in the lengthy history of the X-Men, Wolverine even ran a school for mutants - the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning - which highlights his propensity for instructing and caring for others.

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  • Batman
    Photo: DC Comics

    Bruce Wayne's Batman is known for being a one-man army who takes on an endless horde of villains that run rampant in Gotham City. Though he has a rule against slaying, the Dark Knight utilizes fear tactics, martial arts, and gadgetry to wage battle on bad guys. And while Wayne may fancy himself as the only person standing between Gotham and ruin, nothing could be further from the truth.

    The Bat-Family seems to grow with each passing year as Wayne continually takes broken and battered young people under his wing. The list of Bat-Family members is long, and now even includes Wayne's own biological son, Damian. From Dick Grayson to Jason Todd, from Tim Drake to Stephanie Brown, from Cassandra Cain to Claire Clover... the list goes on. Batman is vengeance, he is the night, and he is the patriarch of the ultimate crime-fighting family.

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  • The fourth-wall-breaking Merc with a Mouth is certainly one the most slay-happy characters in the pages of Marvel Comics. Deadpool will whack just about anyone if you give him enough money, and he'll crack jokes while doing it. But a character this popular was sure to go through some development sooner or later.

    Deadpool's alter ego, Wade Wilson, actually has a daughter, Eleanor "Ellie" Camacho, whom he cares for dearly and will protect at all costs. The guy even tried to do the "hero" thing for real in the mid-2010s, swearing off lethal violence while joining an Avengers team and teaming with Spider-Man in the pages of the hilarious Spider-Man/Deadpool. He is back to his old ways now, but... points for trying?

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  • As the poster child for the late '80s/early '90s comic book boom of big muscles and even bigger grimaces, Nathan Summers, AKA Cable, is a time-traveling mutant from a dystopian future. Cable is essentially a near-perfect soldier, having mastered numerous forms of combat in the war-torn 39th century, and he isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. But the conflict Summers has known his whole life hasn't closed off his heart entirely.

    In the X-Men comics of the late 2000s, Cable saves and adopts Hope Summers, the first mutant born after after the events of M-Day, when thousands of mutants had their powers torn away. Cable takes the baby to the future and settles down with a partner to raise the child. Eventually, Cable brings Hope back to the present as he returns to his life of constant battle, but that doesn't take away from the years he spent raising a child that wasn't his own.

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