Most honorable villains?

Inspired by the most hateful villains thread, I was just wondering…who are the villains in fiction who best embody that almost intangible quality of “honor”?

Maybe it’s how they fight, or don’t fight. Maybe it’s how they conduct themselves, as civilized people. Maybe it’s “class.” Or maybe, deep down, they’re just a “hero working for the other side.”

Anyway, who would YOU say qualifies?

•Destro from G.I. Joe
Terrorist, arms-dealer, and would-be world conquerer. But loyal to friends and family, and has the ability to love, which sure puts him a leg up on many of his associates.

•“The Operative” from Serenity

As he says himself, “I’m a monster. What I do is evil, I’ve no illusions about that. But it must be done.” Indeed, by his actions he’s pretty evil. But he’s not doing it for personal gain, or for the hell of it—he was serving a cause he thought was “right,” without quite being a fanatic. Still evil, but there’s something oddly noble about it.

So…anyone else want to add to?

Magneto - it’s been shown that he’s fighting a real evil. The Marvel world has a lot of hostility towards its mutant minority. Magneto is the Malcolm X of mutants - saying the only way for mutants to survive is to fight back against the majority that oppresses them.

Black Adam as portrayed in JSA. He fights to protect the innocent, and bring evil men to justice. But his justice is swift and brutal. He joined the Secret Society of Supervillains in VU not because he feared the JLA like most of the rank and file, nor to increase his own power (as no doubt were Luthor and Dr Psycho’s motives) - he thought the JLA had acted dishonourably and needed to be brought down.

How about Ra’s al Ghul? Rather odd choice, I know. His stated goal isn’t too bad but his methods would make him fit right in with the nuts in ELF and ALF. That said, I personally think he’s the best of the Batman villains and definitely has the most interesting personality.

Sticking with Batman, how about Catwoman? Sometimes a hero, sometimes a villain. Even when she’s bad, the kind of stealing she does is harder to get worked up about than trying to wipe out humanity, take over the world, or whatever other crazy thing Batman villains always seem to be up to.

Magneto was a great choice. Wish I had got to him first.

Leon from The Professional? A hitman with a heart?

Dr. Doom - Meglomanical but not petty, and usually keeps his word
Darkseid - Generally keeps his word

The Earth Mover and the Traveller from the Anita Blake : Vampire Hunter books. Both are very powerful vampires, both seem honerable in a ruthless sort of way.

The Earth Mover’s stated goal is actually noble in a way; he thinks that vampires should be hunted like in the old days; it keep vampires strong and keeps them from taking over human civilization. It’s his method that’s bad - he wanted to create a huge massacre by vampires, to turn the law against them.

The Traveller keeps his word, and responds to appeals to his honor.

Scorpius, from Farscape, his sole obsession with acquiring Wormhole based weaponry was to prevent the Scarran Imperium (a race of xenophobic reptilians) from taking over the Uncharted Territories and slaughering/enslaving any and all non-Scarran races

the two most commonly encountered baddies in Farscape were the Peacekeepers, members of the heat-intolerant Sebecean race (high heat forces them into a comalike state called “The Living Death” of which there is no escape, they choose suicide over TLD), and the Scarrans, a reptillian race that thrives on heat and craves it…

Scorpius was the result of a genetic experiment by the Scarrans, they force bred a Scarran male to a Sebecean female, Scorpius was the only “success”, his birth killed his Sebecean mother, he was abused (mentally and physically) by the Scarrans that raised him, and on top of all that, his hybrid body both produced intense heat (Scarran genes) that incapacitated him (Sebecean genes), his own body was fighting itself, and left to it’s own devices, would destroy him

that’s why Scorpy wears that creepy leather “bondage” suit thingy, it’s a cooling suit, combined with his Cranial Radiator, it absorbs the heat from his Scarran physiology so his Sebecean genes do not enter TLD

his obsession to this singleminded cause, the destruction of the race that killed his mother and brought him into this world in a cursed half-life, has caused him to do many “not nice” things, torture, medical experimentation on his prisoners, implanting a neural processor chip in John Crichton’s mind, the summary excecution of an entire starship of Banik slaves…

but in his mind, the end justifies the means, as the Scarrans will not stop until every race in the galaxy is dead, and the Scarrans are the only ones left, in Scorpy’s mind, he’s simply doing whatever it takes to save the Sebecean race from destruction…

Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal, but not as in Red Dragon

Saladin in Kingdom of Heaven (where I call him a villain solely because he is the military opponent of the hero- the actual man is supposed to have been the best example of the ideals of chivalry)

Lord Torenaga in Shogun (I can see how a reader would or would not consider him a villain, but I will for this post)

Rufus “Pap” Hannassey in The Big Country, the role for which Burl Ives won an Oscar. He is essentially a geurilla general against his rancher enemy, but he will not tolerate cowardice or abuse of women from his sons.

More from comics: Grendel (Hunter Rose), Deathstroke the Terminator (Slade Wilson), Deadshot (Floyd Lawton), Captain Cold (Len Snart) and most of Flash’s Rogues Gallery.

Catwoman hardly even qualifies as a villain anymore, as she has been doing the Robin Hood-style antihero thing for a few years now, and also keeping the poor people of Gotham City’s East End safe from gangs and drug dealers. Another former DC villain and thief, the Shade, has pretty much joined the side of the angels, after fighting alongside the heroes of Opal City in Starman.

Ah so! Cholly Chan has cornered you, most honloable villain!

Oh, wait a minute, that isn’t what this thread is about.

With the notable exceptions of Pied Piper, who’s long since come over to the good side, and the late Captain Boomerang, who was a right prick to the end.

Actually, Trickster I and Heatwave are both on the right side of the law right now, too, aren’t they?

I’ve got to second Destro as the most honorable.

He’s the only comics villain I’d ever be able to accept as my boss, & he conducts himself better than most heroes do.

He also knows his onions, if you know what I mean.

Nope, the Top (one of the few Flash villains that is irredeemably insane/evil) made them bad again, and claims to be responsible for their good turn in the first place.

At least the Trickster claims to be evil now…

Arcade sucked hard as a villian, but if you beat his Murderworld contraptions, he’d let you go. BTW, if you are a superhero in the Marvel universe you have a 100% chance or better to escape Murderworld relatively unharmed, as far as I can tell.

Tibault, from Romeo & Juliette

In the Honor Harrington books, I’d like to borderline suggest Citizen Admiral Lester Tourville (the only officer ever to defeat Honor Harrington in battle, though admittadly through remarkably stacked odds), and Citizen Chairman Robert S. Pierre. Of course, neither of these were villians due to the fact that the former was a military officer under an opressive regime (he later through an act of omission helps Harrington escape Havenite State Security so she can cause more mayhem later) and the other had just overthrown a previous opressive regime, but to do so had to bring on two of the less scrupulous people on Haven to help him, and ended up with another opressive regime. (politics on Haven are a nasty thing, I don’t think anyone in the books has ever been voted out of office on that planet)

For the Wing Commander games and books, there is Colonel Rhalga Nar Hhalas, AKA Hobbes, a Kilrathi nobleman and starship commander who defected to the Confederation around midway through the Terran-Kilrathi War. He was later revealed to have been a deep cover spy (How deep? So deep he didn’t even realize he was a cover personality for the real Rhalga, a loyal Kilrathi warrior.) When he defected, taking with him some rather sensitive information concerning the Confederation’s plans to bring the war to an end, he left behind a message explaining to Colonel Christopher Blair the circumstances of his betrayal because honor demanded it, even though the Rhalga who had actually been friends with Blair had just been a cover personality.

I haven’t read the recent “Rogue War” storyline where all the villains supposedly went bad again, but before that, Pied Piper and Trickster were definitely heroes, Heat Wave had reformed, and Captain Cold just considered himself a working stiff, who was nice enough to forward his neighbors’ mail to them after they moved away (see Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman #21, a nice Catwoman/Captain Cold team-up issue).

Also, it had been quite a while since I saw the cartoons or read the novels by Jack McKinney, but wasn’t Breetai from Robotech: Macross (the Zentraedi leader with the metal plate over one eye) an honorable villain who later became a full-fledged ally when the Zentraedi formed an alliance with the humans? Or am I misremembering?

You are clearly on-target.

BTW–Praise Minmei!