10 Marvel Characters Who Were Mercenaries Before They Became Heroes


With the resounding success of Moon Knight, Marc Spector proved that Marvel heroes don’t have to start off on the right foot. While there will always be the noble Steve Rogers, who embodied heroic ideals from the start, not all good guys start out on the right side. Some of them may start on a different, darker path that makes their rise to heroism all the more admirable.

While Marvel Comics has many heroes who started out in low places, many spent many years underground as assassins or mercenaries. While many of these heroes are beloved by comic book readers today, their darkest origins should be remembered and celebrated as they reach heroic heights.



Elektra Marvel Comics

Although she recently reprized the role of Daredevil, Elektra was originally an assassin trained by both Stick and the Hand and served as a mercenary for hire working odd jobs around the world. His skills made him an extraordinary asset to anyone who needed his services, and his relationship with Daredevil only increased his relationship.

Related: 10 Netflix Daredevil Characters Who Should Join The MCU

His background makes his nature as a hero all the more interesting. Much like Matt Murdock used Daredevil to help him deal with his doubts and guilt, Elektra used the mantle to prove that she was more than a mercenary. Desperate to prove she wasn’t all terrible, her need for redemption made her a heroine extraordinaire.


Created by Weapon Plus, Fantomex is a deadly assassin with a fake French accent and an entirely loud personality. Most often using his skills to take on Weapon Plus and his agents, Fantomex is a warrior with a cybernetic mind and nervous system that happens to be kept within an outer device called EVA.

Often using his background as a thief and assassin in pursuit of more heroic goals today, Fantomex is also part android, thanks to Weapon Plus experimentation, so the mercenary-turned-hero can turn to the side. mutant war machine. sooner rather than later.


Domino holding a gun in X-Force.

An extremely powerful member of X-Force, Domino was not always just a defender of Krakoa. A surviving super-soldier of Project Armageddon, Domino spent many years as a mercenary, both protecting at-risk characters and eliminating his opposition for a paycheck.

It wasn’t until he met Cable that Domino headed for the light. Upon joining the original X-Force, Domino proved to be a valuable asset with her willingness to get her hands dirty for the benefit of the mutant kind. On Krakoa, she was shown to be able to use her luck-based powers to serve as the spy she was trained for as a member of Krakoa’s mutant CIA.


A mercenary who had played a major role in several less than legal associations, Wolverine’s son found himself working as a mercenary for decades. First taught by the villainous Romulus, he became a skilled killer and cruel manipulator, but his experiences under the Red Right Hand, Norman Osborn and Malcolm Colcord made him a mercenary.

Related: The Lesser Powerful Mutant Heroes

Now, having sought amnesty across Krakoa, Daken is an X-Factor Investigator and Marauder, dedicated to helping mutants around the world. While his background still makes him a bloodthirsty and vengeful character, it also means he can be a heavy hitter whenever his teams need him.


Gamora Star-Lord Nova Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Comics

Though she’s often shameless about what she’s done, Gamora is an assassin raised by Thanos for the express purpose of being his weapon. Although today Gamora is a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and has found the love of Nova and Star-Lord, she has spent many years serving without question.

Gamora’s history hardened her, and her harsh view of the galaxy meant she could use deadly methods without much remorse. With hand-to-hand combat skills that allow her to survive a one-on-one confrontation with Ronan the Accuser, she can take on anyone in the galaxy. That is, after all, how she managed to kill Thanos.

Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff as Black Widow in Marvel Comics

A Red Room agent and former KGB member, Black Widow was often a thorn in Iron Man’s side. Or, really, a stinger. Her background meant that she was often sent on assassination missions, targeting high-value political operatives for the benefit of the Soviet Union.

Her mercenary work has gifted the Black Widow with many enemies over the years, including Taskmaster, Madame Hydra, and Snapdragon. All skilled fighters from their deals, but none can compare to the Widow. She’s managed to use her experience as an assassin to fit in among gods and supersoldiers, and that’s an impressive feat in and of itself.


Wolverine’s daughter and the product of genetic experimentation, Laura Kinney was created and trained by Weapon X to serve as the perfect weapon. Using him as a mercenary and assassin, Weapon X sent Kinney on many missions for important political figures around the world.

Related: Top 10 X-Men, Ranked By Combat Skills

Luckily, Kinney eventually escaped the Weapon X facility and managed to introduce herself to her biological father, Wolverine. Finally, blessed with some semblance of security, she took up the torch from Wolverine and spent years doing the same heroic work her father did.


Wolverine's first words completely define him.

An extremely skilled fighter who has slain exceptionally powerful characters, Wolverine is known for his berserker rages, incredibly fast regenerative abilities, and adamantium skeleton. But, under the command of the ninja Ogun and the immortal villain Romulus, Wolverine spent many years as a trained mercenary.

While his past often comes back to bite him, such as when he found out about Daken’s existence, it also gave him an edge in conflicts. Even when the other X-Men hesitate to kill, Wolverine is always ready to finish the job. After all, that’s why he killed Moira, tried to kill Rachel Summers, and even tried to kill Cyclops.


While Gambit is best known for his romance with Rogue, the soft-spoken X-Man was once a member of the Thieves Guild and spent a sizable amount of time working under Mister Sinister as a mercenary. In fact, his responsibilities went so far as to implicate him in the infamous Mutant Massacre.

After the massacre, Gambit attempted to join the X-Men and soon bonded with Rogue. Yet his story has caught up with him many times. After Snape found out about her involvement, she nearly broke off their relationship, but luckily the two persevered, and Gambit now uses her thief skills to steal tarot cards from Saturnyne and eliminate otherworldly threats.

Moon Knight

Moon Knight Finally Admits Her Biggest Weakness Isn't What Fans Think

A mercenary who didn’t quite have the same capacity for violence as his colleagues, Marc Spector was left for dead after being mortally wounded by his fellow mercenary Bushman. Yet, after being rescued by the Egyptian deity Khonshu, Spector became the Knight of the Moon and began protecting night travelers across the world.

His past often allows Moon Knight to become bloodier than most other heroes. Not afraid to get his hands dirty, he often leaves his villains terrified, which only makes him less respected by the other less violent heroes of the Marvel Universe.

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