The Idea of Redemption of Former Heroes Turned Villains

After binge reading the 1987 Justice league international book by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis, I gone to become nostalgic of the original portrayal of the once heroic Maxwell Lord.
Originally started as a opportunistic businessman con-man who tricked the team into forming by staging various conflicts in their early issues but eventually redeeming himself, becoming more noble and heroic through the series, including helping expand the influence of the team in other series like Justice league Quarterly and Justice league Europe, and in the 2000’s Maxwell Lord went on to form another team, albeit more comical than the original justice league international era with Super Buddies. However after infinite crisis, he took a more villainous portrayal and became a criminal mastermind and it seems to stuck even in other media as he will be the villain in Wonder-woman 1984.
This more or less solidification of his character into a villain brings me up to ask whether former heroes turned villains can become heroes again and how can writer’s redeem a character without a reboot of continuity.

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That is a very good question and I do not have good speculation about it at the moment.

I do, though, appreciate the example you used. Maxwell Lord’s villain turn was utterly baffling to me. Even though the ending was hard to take, I really enjoyed Countdown to Infinite Crisis. I was willing to accept the necessity of the ending, as well as Max Lord’s villain turn, IF Infinite Crisis turned out to have all been worth it.

In my opinion, it was not. There was no amount of enjoyment I got out of Infinite Crisis that was anywhere near worth the anguish evoked through the ending, and to a lesser extent, Maxwell Lord’s villain turn.

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You preach to the choir, friend. His sudden heel turn made no sense to me. He was much more interesting as a not-entirely-trustworthy ally who gradually started to become less sleazy and more altruistic over time.

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