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Villains Wiki
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Though some may call it revenge, I prefer to think of it as justice... over single-minded scientists and corrupt politicians.
~ Clive Dove.
No, no. I think you are confused. You're mixing up the law and justice. They are two different things. What you've said is how it should be done in accordance with the law. Of course, providing that there is law. But justice is something different. This is the justice.
~ Agâh Beyoglu refuses Cemil Havran's incarceration and convinces Nevra to kill him.

Vigilantes are those who take matters of the law into their own hands and punish Criminals (or at least people they perceive as criminals), often going against more legal authorities to do so. Although vigilantes are romanticized in fiction (such as with Batman, Red Hood, etc.), in reality, they tend to be near-remorseless and efficiently-brutal killers who sometimes target criminals for selfish reasons.

These villains normally think they are doing the world at large a favor by "taking care" of crime or other things that displease them, usually through the application of lethal force (often believing they are "taking out the trash"). Most vigilantes view themselves as better people and get annoyed or even furious at a hero's attempts to stop them. When revealing darker shades of themselves they can even cross over with Social Darwinists, Game Changers or Contradictions.

This is what makes them a source of trouble for heroes who see dark mirrors of what they could have become; by ignoring justice systems a vigilante ends up killing wrongfully or improperly convicted people (usually Scapegoats or Pawns) and thus take innocent lives.

Vigilantes can be motivated by the following reasons and many more:

  • Beliefs: Some are motivated by the belief that the justice system is broken or rigged so it will not punish criminals enough thus leading them to believe they must take "justice" (maybe literally) into their own hands. In some cases, they will even target those who they believe are doing a poor job at enforcing the law.
  • Revenge: Vigilantes are most commonly motivated by factors such as pain and retribution. Some target Criminals who wronged them personally and were not caught, seeking them out as revenge. Others can be motivated by getting back at people who weren't Criminals at the start such as those who simply bullied or tormented them or someone close.
  • Delusions/Mental Sickness: Vigilantes can be spurred into a killing spree by mental impairments such as schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorders. This can cause irrational behaviors and make them believe people are doing bad things when they're not, John Kramer is a good example.
  • Impartial Corrections/Righteous Anarchy: Vigilantes are also able to take the shape of revolutionists who are justified to an extent in their actions, though not entirely right to begin with.

For sake of this particular wiki this page only features Vigilantes who have little-to-no heroic traits or those who have become at least remotely evil over time. If you want more heroic examples of them see here.

Vigilantes can be involved in law enforcement if their methods are both far beyond their legal authority and focused on stopping crime. These characters are almost always extremists. Damon Gant is a good example of a vigilante who is also part of law enforcement.

Note: Vigilantes CANNOT be Pure Evil as they are part of anti-villainous alignments whose goals are at least even remotely noble. Pure Evil villains that seek their own twisted or hypocritical forms of righteousness should go under Delusional, Enforcer, Jingoists, Mongers, and/or Fanatics instead of this category (e.g. Akainu, Light Yagami, Albert Wesker, Judge Claude Frollo, Koba, Coachman, Captain Vidal, Micah Bell, John Doe, Joker, Vladimir Makarov, Grimmel the Grisly, The Batman Who Laughs, Professor Zündapp, Newtralizer, and Party Crasher).

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