Hawks shares the same tragic backstory as most villains in My Hero Academia, so the fact he’s still a hero proves that he’s stronger than Deku.
Warning: contains spoilers for the latest chapter of My Hero Academia
Deku can wield One For All just like All Might in My Hero Academia without hurting himself while harnessing the quirks of his predecessors, but when taking into account why so many quirk users have resorted to villainy, it’s a miracle that the hero Hawks hasn’t. Hawks not succumbing to evil regardless of this fact is a testament to his inner strength and mental fortitude that even rivals Deku’s.
The fanatical Stain is probably one of the most famous examples, especially due to the extent to which he continues to influence and rally so many others to his cause. Originally, he used excessive and deadly force as a vigilante against villains, but this later evolved into an obsession with slaughtering heroes he deemed fake when he became angered by how his peers only restrained villains for the police instead of striking them down.
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In chapter 293, the villain Dabi reveals that he is driven by similar ideologies as Stain since he holds great animosity towards heroes and blames them for the world’s current predicament. All of this negativity is directly correlated to what he experienced as a child, all of which come to light in My Hero Academia’s chapter 302. Before becoming Dabi, he was Toya Todoroki, and actively sought the love and affection of his father, Endeavor, who only wanted to sire a child who could harness both his and his wife’s quirks. When Shoto was born with his Half-Cold Half-Hot quirk, Toya was forgotten and later burned alive in his attempt to gain back his father’s attention. Since that horrific experience, Dabi now wants the most susceptible people to know that they should blame heroes for their suffering and for the ego-stroking of heroes to disappear.
In chapter 294, League of Villains member Mr. Compress’s backstory might have implied that he wasn’t directly impacted by heroes in a negative way. But he was compelled to follow in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather Oji Harima who was and, as a result, stole money from wealthy heroes to give back to the civilians as the Peerless Thief. Like Mr. Compress, all of Oji’s descendants were instilled with Oji’s values to fight corruption and expose injustices.
Even though Tomura Shigaraki pretty much snapped the moment he accidentally killed his family in chapter 235’s flashback, he didn’t feel remorse because of how he was treated as a child, all of which correlated in some way to heroes. Growing up, his father would verbally and later physically assault Shigaraki whenever he showed an interest in becoming a hero because Shigaraki’s grandmother abandoned them to pursue that lifestyle. Even though Shigaraki was excited when he learned what his grandmother had done, the suffering that he experienced on account of her decision undoubtedly played a role in his rejection of heroism.
Meanwhile, Hawks has his own devastating story as it relates to heroism, as revealed in chapter 299 of My Hero Academia. His family was always on the run growing up because his father was a hitman for hire and therefore wasn’t allowed out of the house. Not only did the hero Endeavor end up throwing Hawks’ father in jail later, but upon his father’s incarceration, Hawks’ mother fell into a depression as a result and verbally abused her son. Knowing all of the negative experiences many villains had concerning heroes before embracing a life of villainy, it’s absolutely shocking that Hawks has been able to remain a hero for so long without becoming a villain himself. It’s due to him possessing such strong moral fiber despite the overwhelming odds why Hawks will always be a stronger hero than Deku, no matter how many quirks Deku possesses and how much he emulates All Might.
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