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Top 10 Worst Things Superheroes Have Ever Done

VO: Dan Paradis
Written by Michael Wynands These are the actions that take the “hero” OUT of superhero. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Worst Things Superheroes Have Ever Done. For this list, we’re looking at some of the most appalling and unheroic things our comic book heroes have ever done, even if they were later retconned. For our purposes, we’re only looking at actions performed within the comic books, and only in the main continuity. So events like Deadpool shooting Spidey in the face, or, for that matter, killing the entire Marvel universe, will NOT be included. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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These are the actions that take the “hero” OUT of superhero. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Worst Things Superheroes Have Ever Done.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the most appalling and unheroic things our comic book heroes have ever done, even if they were later retconned. For our purposes, we’re only looking at actions performed within the comic books, and only in the main continuity. So events like Deadpool shooting Spidey in the face, or, for that matter, killing the entire Marvel universe, will NOT be included.

#10: Batman Basically Murders the KGBeast


It’s pretty common knowledge that in the early days of the character’s publication, our beloved Caped Crusader often got lethal. But this particular act of cruelty doesn’t hail from the 1940s… this happened in freakin’ 1988. Sure, it was a gritty time for Batman, but having him lock a villain away to starve to death feels seriously out of character. As part of the 1989 Batman Year 3 story arc, it would later be clarified, by a different writer, that Batman had alerted the authorities of the KGBeast’s whereabouts, but in the initial moment and for over a year after that, it was strongly implied that Batman had essentially buried Anatoli Knyazev alive.

#9: Prince Namor Invading the Surface World... Repeatedly


We get it… international relations can be hard to manage, especially when a body of water separates you from each other in a very literal way. But Prince Namor really needs to make up his mind already. Does he want to serve as an ally, or is he trying to topple terrestrial civilization in the name of Atlantis? Because honestly, he’s been given a lot of leeway thus far, and there’s only so many times you can forgive someone for bringing war to earth and its heroes. Apparently, the capes that protect earth disagree, however, as this antihero/conflicted world leader just keeps on getting invites to join superhero teams despite his recurring transgressions.

#8: Emotionally Devastating Jimmy Olsen


In a world full of brooding heroes, Superman has often served as the model do-gooder. When you dig a little deeper into the back issues, however, you find some pretty messed up stuff. In one particularly odd story, Supes adopts Jimmy Olsen so as to thwart a prophecy that he will kill his own son - he doesn’t let Jimmy in on his motivations though. He proceeds to just be a straight-up dick to the vulnerable and earnestly excited new adoptive son through mind games and emotional abuse. His eventual apology and explanation makes NO sense and leaves you with the impression that Superman might just be a manipulative sadist looking for excuses.

#7: Justice League Embraces Torture


In the DC Universe, there is no superhero team more respected than the Justice League - it is a name that inspires trust. Though their corruption has been explored in a number of “what if?” type storylines and alternate universes, sadly, this cruel turn took place in the main continuity. In the limited series “Justice League: Cry For Justice”, an offshoot of the Justice League, involving core members like Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and the Atom decided to aggressively take the fight to the criminals. Under this new philosophy, Ray Palmer shrinks down and enters the skull of a villain, expanding until the man talks. It’s brutal, upsetting and deeply unheroic.

#6: The Flash Forces his Nemesis to Relive All His Worst Memories… Repeatedly


Look, no incarnation of The Flash is perfect. Barry Allen basically broke the space-time continuum after trying to change history and save his mom. But hey, at least that was an honest mistake - something that can’t be said about this Wally West solution. What he did to Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom (not to be confused with Professor Zoom) was seriously messed up. It was a personal tragedy that turned Zolomon into a supervillain, and what does Wally West do? Shove his head into a window in the timestream to immobilize him, where he is forced to watch, helplessly, as that damaging personal tragedy plays on repeat. But hey, Wally West saved the day, right?

#5: Hank Pym’s Domestic Abuse


“With great power comes great responsibility” - that’s a lesson that comic book writers should take to heart before committing anything controversial to the page. Though, according to writer Jim Shooter, the famous hit was written as an accidental blow; artist Bob Hall is the one who turned it into assault. Regardless of the artistic intentions, comic book history remembers Hank Pym as a wife beater, because in 1981, in Avengers #213… that’s exactly what he did. Accompanied by the exclamatory phrase “shut up!”, Hank Pym, dressed in his Yellowjacket costume, delivers a vicious backhand to his wife. For the frequent failure of an Avenger, it has unsurprisingly gone on to define his legacy.

#4: Beast Proves His Point by Destroying Timelines


Are you sick of people not listening to your brilliant wisdom? With your superior intellect, they should always defer to your opinion. Well, why not take the Beast approach and teach them a lesson by plucking a younger version of them and their friends from the past to set them straight? Sure, by doing that you’re basically putting the entire space-time continuum out of whack, and potentially altering the past, present and future in unforeseeable ways - but hey, you can’t put a price on being right! Yes, Cyclop’s militaristic turn needed correcting, but bringing the young X-Men from the past to the present was NOT a solution befitting your intelligence Hank.

#3: Zatanna's Mind Wipes


Batman has weathered more than his fair share of hardships during his lifetime - many of which went on to shape him as both a man and a hero. But usually… these shots to the chest came at the hands of villains and criminals, not those he considered to be his friends and allies. During the events of Identity Crisis, it is revealed that Zatanna, with the blessing of many fellow Justice League members, effectively magically lobotomized a supervillain named Dr. light after he raped Sue Dibny, a Justice League ally and the wife of the Elongated Man. Even worse, she then wiped a horrified Batman’s memories of the event when he tried to interfere.

#2: Spider-Man Makes a Deal with the Devil and Changes the World


Spider-Man is one of those heroes, who like Batman, has a strong moral compass, and at least for the most part - in contemporary comics - has certain lines which he does not cross. In the “One More Day” storyline, Spider-Man’s character was largely thrown out the window. We get it… he would do pretty much anything for Aunt May. Giving up his marriage with Mary Jane is self-sacrificing, but making a literal deal with a devil, Mephisto, to alter the memories of every person on the globe to make his identity secret and save May in the process? That crosses a line that the Peter Parker we know and love would NOT. Worst. Retcon. EVER.

#1: Hal Jordan Tries to Kill… Everyone


This was one of the biggest falls from grace in comic book history. In the early 1990s, the Emerald Twilight arc saw Hal Jordan lose his mind with grief after the destruction of his hometown, Coast City. After trying to recreate it using his powers, he’s ordered to give up the ring. Rather than a wake up call, it served as the final straw, sending Jordan into a murderous, power-hungry rage. After working through old allies, he took the name Parallax, became a bonafide villain and tried to destroy the universe so he could recreate it as he saw fit. Though this was later retconned into a possession… for years, it was all Hal Jordan.
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