DC: 10 Saddest Tragedies In Comics
Comic book universes, like the real world, are founded on tragedy. While superheroes ostensibly exist to prevent tragedy, they cannot be everywhere, even the powerful and respected heroes of DC. In a universe full of wayward cosmic gods, unlikely cosmic events, and deadly and intimidating villains, tragedy strikes most often and sometimes there is nothing that can be done about it.
However, not all tragedies are created the same; some of them are much more terrible than others. From the end of worlds to dying heroes to the deaths of innocent people, extremely sad tragedies have plagued the DC Universe on multiple occasions.
ten The death of Animal Man’s family emptied the hero
Grant Morrison Animal Man is a beloved comic for many reasons and one of the best parts about it was the relationship between the titular Animal Man and his family – his wife Ellen and his children Maxine and Cliff. The interaction between them was gentle and added something more to the comic than she otherwise wouldn’t have, remaining one of the best depictions of a family in comics decades later.
This made it all the more difficult, for Animal Man and the readers, when they were found dead after one of Animal Man’s adventures, brutally butchered by government forces trying to silence the Frankish hero. -speak. It’s a one-moment punch that loses none of its impact on re-readings.
9 Death of the crime syndicate described the stakes of the crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths is one of the most important event books in comic book history and it got off to a flying start. The story began on Earth-3 as the villainous Crime Syndicate did everything it could to stop the incoming wave of anti-matter. The poignant nature of the moment was actually quite astonishing, all things considered – the latest Crime Syndicate position actually shot readers’ hearts.
Creators Wolfman and Perez did an amazing job using their deaths to describe the stakes in their massive opus while also finding a way to make the deaths of longtime villains genuinely sad.
8 The destruction of the shrine was sad on many levels
The shrine was a haven for superheroes, a place they could go after something terrible happened to them and get therapy and mental help. It was a new idea due to the stress of the job and helped some of the heroes who went there. However, tragedy struck when Wally West arrived.
Wally’s return to the DC Universe was both a blessing and a curse – he returned but his wife didn’t remember him and his children didn’t exist. Therapy didn’t help him and in a moment of weakness he lost control of his powers and ended up killing everyone including his friend Arsenal. Heroes in Crisis may get a bad rap, but it was still a tragic moment.
7 Joker shooting Barbara Gordon was a terrible tragedy
Batman: the murderous joke was a founding event in the myth of Batman and contained one of the greatest tragedies in Batman history. The Joker, trying to prove that a bad day can ruin a man, went to Jim Gordon’s house and shot his daughter Barbara, crippling her. Barbara Gordon’s paralysis is said to have varying effects on the DC Universe.
On the bright side, Gordon would become Oracle and use his wits and hacking skills to help all of the heroes. However, the event was extremely traumatic for her, ended her superhero career for years, and harmed Batman and his father.
6 Supergirl’s death showed the power of the anti-monitor
Crisis on Infinite Earths was the greatest battle in the history of the DC Universe, and it was not without casualties. At one point, the heroes found the Anti-Monitor base and attacked it, trying to bring down the villain. They made their way through many traps, finally encountering the Anti-Monitor. He preceded to beat them quite easily until Supergirl stepped up.
Supergirl went strong in the paint, doing her best against the monstrous villain. While she managed to shatter his armor and damage it, he still received a fatal blow on her. Supergirl’s death would show how dangerous the villain was and her death devastated her friends.
5 Barry Allen’s death was a turning point in the DC Universe
Supergirl’s death was actually the second in the course of CIE and while that’s a big deal, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first in history – the death of Barry Allen. Captured by the Anti-Monitor, Allen was able to escape and rushed to his death while trying to destroy an anti-matter cannon that would have destroyed the universe of Earth-1 and any others he was targeting. .
Supergirl’s death was sad but as her existence was canceled after CIE no one even remembered that it had happened. Allen’s death is remembered and would have lasting repercussions. It also represented the fact that Barry Allen was the first new Silver Age superhero and his death made CIE emblematic of the end of that age.
4 Sue Dibny’s death showed just how dangerous being a hero can be for those close to them
Identity crisis has its detractors, but its opening tragedy is still one of the most touching in DC history. Sue Dibny, the reclining man’s wife, was basically a full-fledged Justice League member. Everyone loved her and she touched the lives of many of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes, so when she was killed it was an event that brought everyone together in sadness.
Sue was more than a hero’s wife; she is the friend and confidante of so many members of the hero community, with her network of connections spanning all of the Earth. It was made even sadder when the culprit was revealed – her friend Jean Loring (the ex-wife of the Atom.) She had no intention of killing her but attacked her so that the Atom comes home.
3 Earth-2’s Superman and Lois Lane death marked the end of DC’s first literal couple
Infinite crisis was one of the best events of the 2000s, but it also contained its fair share of tragedy. While Superboy’s death stands out, it’s not the saddest death; that honor goes to the one-two punch of the deaths of Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane. Lois died of old age, an event that drove Earth-2 Superman mad. However, he would choose to help the heroes and fell in battle against Superboy-Prime.
Their deaths were easily the saddest part of the founding event; they were the first literal couple in the DC Universe, and their death was the end of a love affair that began in 1938.
2 The death of the Waynes is one of the formative events of the DC Universe
All Batman fans, whether they know him from the comics, movies, TV, or video games, know the story of the night Batman’s parents died. It’s almost a cliché now, but it reduces how sad it was of an event. A young boy saw his parents being shot and killed on the sidewalk in front of him. It’s just a terrible thing, no matter who it happens to.
This formative event gave the DC Universe one of its greatest heroes, and although it has been deprived of its spur by decades of storytelling, it is still a tragic event hard to match.
1 Superman’s death brought the DC Universe together in mourning
Superman is the DC Universe’s greatest hero, the de facto leader of his heroes, and one of the most beloved beings on planet Earth. So when he died at the hands of Doomsday while defending the people of Metropolis, it was a massive tragedy, one that would bring together an entire universe in mourning.
The impact of Superman’s death was a massive event. He was the one hero that no one expected to die for, so when that happened it was a shock that hit everyone. The death of the Man of Steel brought together mourners from space and time to remember the person who saved all of creation countless times.
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