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Top 5 Darkest Moments in Superhero Comics

Lies, Injustice and Grimdark

The superhero hype trains shows no sign of stopping, and while things have certainly gotten brighter and more lighthearted thanks to the likes of Aquaman, it probably won’t be that long before we end up seeing these rather infamous scenes on the big screen.

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#5: Green Lantern Finds His Girlfriend Stuffed in the Fridge

The phrase “Woman in Refrigerators” or “Fridging” refers to romantic partners injected into a story solely to be killed off as a means of providing the protagonist with motivation. Lasting less than ten issues, Alexandra DeWitt was Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend before the Green Lantern power ring fell into the guy’s lap, but the photographer is mostly remembered for being strangled to death by Major Force and stuffed in a refrigerator. After taking care of some thugs, Green Lantern returns home to find Alex on ice, and this incident helps mature Kyle into a better superhero.

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#4: The Death of Jason Todd

Unsure whether to ax off a character or not? Thankfully, democracy was created exactly for this type of situation. Bringing an end to Jason Todd’s run as Robin, “A Death in the Family” is among Batman’s most famous storylines, and DC carried out a ballot to decide if the Caped Crusader’s sidekick should survive to fight another day. A highly unpopular character at the time, fans voted in favor of Todd’s demise, leading to the Joker senselessly bashing the hero with a crowbar. Just to guarantee the mission was a success, the villain also blew up the building.

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#3: Joker Tricks Superman Into Killing a Pregnant Lois

If there is one villain crazy enough to break Superman’s spirit, the Joker would have to be it. Set five-years prior to the events of DC’s fighting game with the same name, “Injustice” chronicles Superman’s transformation from benevolent guardian to tyrannical overlord. Joker kidnaps a pregnant Lois and, using a variant of Scarecrow’s fear gas, tricks Superman into mistaking Lois for Doomsday. In a fit of rage and, ironically, trying to protect Joker and Harley from the monster; Superman flies Doomsday into space. Eventually, the gas wears off and Clark learns the truth.

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#2: Logan Tricked Into Killing the X-Men

“Old Man Logan” bounces from one deranged and heartbreaking moment to the next, but Wolverine’s darkest hour precedes the present day storyline by decades. Back in the day, dozens of supervillains suddenly attacked the X-Mansion, forcing Logan to go on a rampage to protect the students. Once the attackers were all killed, Mysterio revealed this to be nothing more than an illusion, and Wolverine had actually slaughtered the other X-Men. These panels clearly illustrate the corpses of the fallen heroes. Due to the X-Men being taken out, the United States was effectively conquered by the supervillains. 

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#1: The Killing Joke

Yes, all of Alan Moore’s graphic novel. The definitive Joker and Batman comic, Moore’s one-shot sees Batgirl crippled and possibly raped by the clown prince of Gotham, while Commissioner Gordon is stripped naked and forced to watch the carnage. These vile acts are intercut with a sympathetic flashback outlining the Joker’s origin story, but this contrast only makes the villain’s actions all that more repulsive. A highly influential comic, Moore’s own opinion on “The Killing Joke” has worsened with age, with the author believing the story was too nasty and regrets popularizing a trend were superheroes have to be brooding psychopaths.

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Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Darkest Versions of Classic Superheroes.

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