When you think about superheroes, there’s a good chance that words like "noble," "loyal," and "courageous" come to mind in connection with awesome visuals of epic battles that are fought to save the world from villains.
Those epic battles could be against otherworldly bad guys, like Thanos, or evil organizations that you’d find on earth, like Hydra. Regardless, in your mind you might see Captain America fearlessly slinging his shield, Storm channeling winds to her command, or even Ninja Turtles ready to fight in the shadows.
These images are strong, inspiring, and often selfless, as the heroes push aside their safety for the sake of the innocents on earth who need someone to fight in their stead.
Sometimes, though, that selfless quality can be a bit out of character for the characters who provide the heroism, since their general behavior and actions aren’t always befitting the nobility you might expect from a superhero.
In fact, some of these heroes have had their moments and mannerisms that-- in spite of their willingness to put themselves at risk to fight evil-- make them downright selfish and crude.
Do these Marvel superheroes with rougher edges bring down the title of “superhero,” or are they just providing twists in the story lines to make things more interesting?
You can decide as you go through the 15 Marvel Heroes Who Are Actually Selfish Jerks.
At times, superheroes who showcase selfishness and rough edges have reasons for being harsh. What else would you expect from a guy whose mother tries to sacrifice him, whose clone is a major enemy, and who’s infected by incurable virus? Flowers and poetry?
This is the case for Cable, who has to spend so much of his energy keeping that virus at bay that his abilities as a mutant are, by appearances, limited. He’s a jaded child who has to fight his genetic equal and focus too much of his powers on an internal battle.
With these things in mind, it makes sense to grade his brusque talk and seemingly constant glare on a curve, but does he have to temporarily make the world pink just to change it back and prove he’s awesome? Then there’s also the matter of him leaving his fellow Wild Pack members to die on his orders...
These details are harder to overlook, and they solidify his status as a selfish jerk of a superhero.
14 JOHNNY STORM
You don’t have to look beyond the 2005 movie Fantastic Four to understand why Johnny fits on this list. Sure, he’s fun to watch and may actually be the only good thing about the film and its sequel, but he’s selfish, and a jerk, during the story line.
He doesn’t overly care how much his sister and companions are struggling with the changes brought on by the radiation they encounter in space. Rather, he’s tunnel-focused on enjoying his new powers and celebrity to the absolute fullest, even if that means going public with his (and their) powers before the rest of them are ready for that kind of exposure.
Worse, most of his jokes are at the expense of the team member who’s most affected by the radiation cloud, Ben Grimm. If you’re thinking that maybe Johnny isn’t so harsh in the comics, by the way, think again. He ends up marrying Alicia Masters, which is much worse than making Ben smash whipped cream on his face.
Given his history with the Thieves Guild and Mister Sinister, it’s no surprise that Gambit has less than heroic attributes. As with Johnny Storm though, these attributes don’t make him unlikeable. In fact, his confident attitude is a part of his charm.
Unfortunately, it’s also what makes him a jerk, and you need not look past the 1990s cartoon version of the X-Men to see this in action through his relationship with Rogue.
In the episodes, there’s little reference to their feelings for one another, and Gambit flirts a whole lot with other women. When you add this to the number of times he pressures Rogue in an effort to get a kiss from her, you’re up to your ears in arrogant disrespect.
Even though Rogue knows she can’t so much as hold hands with a person without absorbing their powers, Gambit refuses to let the matter go — and he brushes off her concern with an arrogant smile. Since she’s supposed to be his true love, it’s hard to label this as anything but selfish.
12 BLACK WIDOW
Make no mistake about it. Natasha Romanoff is strong, and she stands her ground with gear and unique fighting moves — and the super serum you might know she’s had. Simply put, she’s awesome.
Still, she’s kind of a selfish jerk too.
An example is in The Winter Soldier when she goes on a mission with Steve Rogers while having a primary objective that she doesn’t bother to share with Cap. Likely, keeping details quiet is second-nature since she’s been a spy, but her under-the-cuff mission could’ve easily gotten someone killed.
Regardless, she not only tends to the task, but she brushes off Steve’s concern like his opinion on the matter is completely irrelevant, despite his life having been on the line.
Granted, Natasha does get better, and she starts to show herself as more of a free-thinking team player by the end of Civil War. Ultimately, though, her early mission-first, allies-second attitude is too prominent to not earn her a spot on this list.
You might wonder how a person makes this list if he earns his powers by saving a blind person from being hit by a truck. True, this origin story is impressive, and if you delve into the comics, you’ll find evidence of how selfless Matt Murdock is.
So, why didn’t Netflix paint him in the same light?
In the Netflix version, Daredevil keeps surfacing in Claire’s life for help, regardless of how dangerous it is, and he won’t stay away from Elektra even when he’s involved with Karen. Worse, there’s his friendship with Foggy. As the current series stands, Foggy feels alienated by his best friend, and rather than come clean with him, Matt lets their friendship and legal practice stay in jeopardy.
You might argue that he’s pushing Foggy away to protect him, and that’s a valid belief. Unfortunately, that desire to protect was already contradicted in his initial dealings with Claire and his disregard for Karen’s feelings.
Altogether, while comic-book Daredevil might be awesome, Netflix Daredevil is a selfish piece of work.
Namor’s story extends decades, and he has a tendency to refuse offers or leave groups because he thinks he’s above them. That arrogance makes him a selfish jerk, but there’s much more...
He’s ridiculously impulsive, evidenced by his throwing a person encased in ice into the sea because that person is being worshipped, and Namor doesn’t like it. That person is Captain America who Namor had fought beside during World War II, but Namor doesn’t bother to know the identity before getting rid of him, as if his identity doesn’t matter.
It’s also worth noting that Namor only sides with Captain America against the Nazis in his early history because the Nazis threaten Namor’s home, and Namor’s later interests are so tunnel-focused and his methods so careless — like for poor Wakanda — that labeling him an eventual villain isn’t a stretch.
Essentially, if Namor doesn’t see you as worth his time, you’re inconsequential. Isn’t that the definition of “selfish jerk?”
9 Doctor STRANGE
Even before his days as a superhero, Stephen Strange is a jerk with a know-it-all attitude and the prestige of a successful medical career to propel his arrogance.
Once a car accident renders him incapable of continuing his life as a surgeon though, he burns through his money looking for something to correct the damage so he can regain his life. Eventually, he ends up in Tibet to look for a less conventional answer, and this moment might be the pinnacle of Doctor Strange’s arrogance.
He’s desperate enough to seek the Ancient One to repair him, but he doesn’t believe in what he’s looking to for help, thinking he knows better than what he’s turned to. This combination doesn’t just make him a selfish jerk, but also condescending and irritatingly needy.
He comes to believe in the mystic concepts, but by that time, his arrogance is too solidly established. He will always be the jerk who wanted help, but thought himself intellectually above the help he found.
8 ROCKET RACCOON
No doubt, Rocket Raccoon is one of the most amusing characters in Guardians of the Galaxy, and that status is — like with Johnny Storm and Gambit — both something viewers enjoy and details that make him a jerk. Sure, hearing him convince Star-Lord to get a guy’s prosthetic leg is funny, but who can argue that it isn’t a really mean thing to do?
He’s not above making fun of people, saying a smart comment, or having an ulterior agenda, and these impolite mannerisms have caused trouble. In particular, he’s easily labeled as the reason for the Guardians’ escalated dispute with Ayesha, but hey-- he has a snippy comment to say and batteries to steal, and why bother with social etiquette anyway?
He’s awesome, but with a razor-sharp wit and hidden agenda, it’s hard to not label him as a selfish jerk too.
As Magneto’s son, Quicksilver comes by his brusque traits honestly, and considering how many times his and his sister’s powers cause havoc, it’s no surprise if he’s cynical.
In spite of every excuse, though, he’s part of one of the most selfish acts in Marvel. That moment is when he convinces his sister Wanda to construct the House of M that shakes advanced beings to the core.
Again, you could label this as excusable since Wanda recently lost control of her powers and attacked the Avengers, and he could simply want to protect his sister. It’s sweet, but still selfish — and it comes with consequences.
For the “jerk” side of the description, look no farther than his general irritability and snippy comments that he seemingly owns up to. In fact, he says in the comics that his lingering annoyance is from dealing with people who are slow in comparison to his quickness, like being surrounded by people who are taking too long in line.
Understandable, but it’s still treading into jerk territory.
If you’re looking for a character who oozes cynicism and aggression, focus your attention on Wolverine. While he’s undoubtedly one of the core members of the X-Men and has ties that extend into Avengers’ territory, there’s no denying that this guy is gruff. As far as traits go, these details are some of his most distinctive characteristics and what lead him to stand out so much from his fellow X-Men.
Those factors, as it were, also happen to be why he’s arguably the most likely of the X-Men to kill you without batting an eye. Jerk? Sounds like.
As for the selfish part of the equation, believe it or not, this factor might be less prominent for Wolverine than for some of the others mentioned on this list, given how quick he is to take up arms with his allies. Still, he’s fantastic at holding grudges, and sometimes those selfish pursuits can affect his actions.
5 REED RICHARDS
To those who only know Reed Richards from movies, his addition to the list might be surprising. For those familiar with the comic books, though, his making the list probably isn’t shocking for a series of reasons.
One is how he treats Sue, which is worse than in the movies. He talks down to her, tells her to leave (while criticizing her mothering skills), and even slaps her. Sure, the slap is to break a spell, but it’s a harsh twist. Overall, he’s chauvinistic and condescending to her.
Don’t forget that he also puts his child into a coma without consulting Sue — the baby’s mother.
Beyond how he treats family, he has a knack for assuming he’s right and treating anyone who disagrees as unimportant or ridiculous. Want evidence? He’s told the ship he takes into space won’t handle the radiation, and he goes anyway, which is how the Fantastic Four come to be in the first place.
Honestly, there’s no room to maneuver out of this one. Reed Richards is a selfish jerk.
4 IRON MAN
Tony Stark is quick-witted and able to come up with funny — but insulting — one-liners, and he oozes so much confidence that it spills into conceited territory. Basically, he has a way of getting under people’s skin, and he seems happy about that. For those reasons and more (like trying to provoke the Hulk just out of curiosity), he’s a jerk.
Iron Man not the most selfish person on this list, but he does react first and think later. He decides to sign the Sokovia Accords after hearing one story about someone who was lost (never mind how many people were saved in that mission), and he quickly goes into combat mode when he realizes that the Winter Soldier is the one who killed his father. Added to his breakdowns and indulgences, he’s a man of impulse, and allowing himself to quickly cave into impulse can be a very selfish thing.
No doubt, he’s more jerk-like than selfish, but he’s jerk enough to rank this high on the list anyway.
Some superheroes do have reasons to be selfish jerks, and for Frank Castle, this fact might be as true as it gets.
Once upon a time, he had a family, but he lost them in a pitiless murder. He survives, but he never fully recovers, giving up his military career — and arguably his sanity — to become the Punisher, a dark anti-hero who fights crime in brutal, unlawful ways.
His tactics at vigilante justice are so outside of acceptable that Daredevil and Spider-Man criticize them. When that brutality is paired with his flaw of not playing well with others, the Punisher might be the darkest character on this list.
He doesn’t care what others think of his methods, and he can’t shake himself free of his heartbreaking past, no matter who it hurts. This doesn’t make him a villain, and his frustration with crime is understandable. Still, he starts with personal heartbreak and shuns society’s opinion on what he’s doing. That combination technically makes him selfish and a (brutal) jerk.
If you’re at all familiar with this character, you probably expected him to make this list. Deadpool truly is the epitome of arrogant hero (or anti-hero), with insulting quips and bizarre mannerisms that are juxtaposition in action.
There’s something unexpected about a character who jovially dances in place to music while waiting to kill someone or who casually lies behind a car, waiting for someone who wants to kill him, because he’s that confident that the shooter’s out of bullets.
In the comics, this crudeness goes a step farther since Deadpool reacts to the readers and the comics themselves, like he’s aware that he’s a character you’re reading.
When you put all of this together, you end up with a character who’s concerned with himself and his amusement (selfish), and who’s a big enough jerk to not take his battles too seriously.
Beyond that — beyond any character on this list — he’s enough of a jerk to insult his own comic book and its writers by essentially telling them that he’s in on the joke.
1 PROFESSOR X
The worst thing the X-Men movies credit the Professor for could be separating Jean’s mentality, but honestly, it’s just an example of his typical manipulation.
He’s so quick to alter mindsets, it’s borderline slavery. If a member of the X-Men disagrees with him or endures casualties in battle, for instance, that mutant might unknowingly undergo Charles’s mental manipulation.
He's not above faking his own death, and his reason for recruiting Wolverine is self-preservation rather than caring what happens to his fellow mutant. In fact, his care for fellow mutants is so strong, his contingency plan includes killing them all.
Did we mention he killed his twin before being born because he sensed the sibling was evil?
He selfishly thinks he knows everything better than anyone, and he’s such a jerk that he violates minds to make what he wants come to pass. Worse, his victims might never know they’ve been violated in such a way.
Simply put, he’s one of the biggest selfish jerks among the selfish jerks of Marvel.
Did we miss any selfish jerks from the Marvel world? Let us know in the comments!