Some may argue that comics are better than books. They’re quick to read and they come with images. But it’s not really important as both provide a new world for us to thrive in every now and then. With books, our hearts thump quicker than ever when the author begins the action. With comics, our eyes open wide and our jaw drops when a page or panel reveals something too hard to handle.
Every once in a while, artists and writers manage to catch us off guard with moments that we never saw coming. This is actually quite a feat since, with comics, while the possibilities are endless and anything could happen, the audience's knowledge of beloved characters makes it easy to predict the fate of them.
Fans have seen everything from a character’s very untimely and sometimes gory death, a big revelation, a couple finally shipping. It’s a plethora of emotions during moments like these and we can’t get enough of them. Decades of issues from Marvel and DC are home to a lot of these jaw-dropping moments. All are good, but some are just so darn unforgettable.
The moments below are from DC and Marvel issues, both old and new, and were really unexpected to happen, even from die-hard fans. Don’t expect any moments brought about by fan choice, like the victors of the DC vs Marvel comics and the death of Jason Todd at the hands of Joker, since the shock factor is really not present anymore.
15 Aunt May’s New Significant Other
We’re all familiar with how Peter Parker and Aunt May lost Uncle Ben. Some never saw that coming but an even bigger surprise was when Aunt May moved on from being a widow and found a new significant other. The ultimate surprise was when it was revealed that the new guy is Doctor Octavius AKA Doctor Octopus. Who would have ever thought that sweet Aunt May would rebound with Doc Ock?
It’s obviously an evil scheme from Doc Ock but it’s still a big surprise to us and especially to Peter Parker.
14 Blob Eats The Wasp
Yep, you read that right. The huge and flabby mutant The Blob was seen munching on the lifeless body of The Wasp. This gruesome and shocking comic book moment happened during the Marvel: Ultimatum event.
Hank Pym aka Giant Man was searching for The Wasp with Hawkeye. Upon seeing his girl’s lifeless body being munched on, Pym did another shocking thing and bit off the head of the Blob. I think we can all agree that The Blob probably deserved it, ya know, for chowing down on The Wasp.
13 First Case Of Woman In Refrigerator
After coming home from a day’s worth of galaxy protecting, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner received more than what he bargained for in the superhero line of work after seeing his girlfriend Alexandra DeWitt dead and gruesomely stuffed in a refrigerator. There have been a lot of cases of superhero loved ones dying, but not came close to the brutality of this.
The famous comic panel was the origin of the term Women In Refrigerators, which points to women who are depowered, sexually abused, harassed or killed in comics.
12 Watchmen No More
In the last issue of Watchmen, Ozymandias was revealed to be the big baddie all along. He was responsible for the death of thousands in New York, the death of The Comedian, the accusations on Dr. Manhattan and the framing of Moloch. This isn’t the shocking moment, it’s what happens after that which is shocking.
Ozymandias intentions were good. He did all that he could to prevent a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and US. But it was still an injustice for Rorshach and he wanted to expose Ozymandias. Upon leaving, Rorshach encounters Dr. Manhattan and tells him of what actually happened. Dr. Manhattan tried to stop Rorshach from exposing Ozymandias, but the latter responded by saying that Manhattan had to kill him first to stop him. In a shocking turn of events, Dr. Manhattan vaporized Rorshach and chose to believe in Ozymandias’ cause instead.
11 X-Men And Dark Phoenix
In a world were mutants aren’t that well received by the common folk, the X-Men band together to create a loving community of their own. Aside from their numerous run-ins with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the X-Men’s biggest challenge came from one of their own members, Jean Grey.
In the ever so popular Dark Phoenix Saga, the X-Men banded together to take down an overpowered and corrupted Jean Grey. The shock factor comes at how Professor X and the X-Men had to set aside all feelings for Jean Grey to take out a threat that could potentially destroy the Earth itself. So much for the whole loving community thing.
10 Bye-bye, Adamantium
In the 300th anniversary issue of the Uncanny X-Men, everyone's favorite mutant, Wolverine, suffered a rather gruesome fate. After many encounters with Wolverine, Magneto did the unexpected and brutally ripped out all the Adamantium in Wolverine’s body.
Magneto is a big ol' baddie but he still has soft spots for fellow mutants. The reason why the moment is a big deal is because Magneto seemed to forget all compassion for Wolverine. It’s also a surprise that he only thought about doing that after 300 issues. Isn't Magneto usually one step ahead?
9 Jason Todd Back From The Dead
We’re all familiar with the harrowing tale of how Batman’s boy wonder met his gruesome end at the hands of the Joker. Crowbar, bombs and a warehouse. It took a while but DC brought back Jason Todd. His first resurrection turned out to be a sham, as it was just Clayface pulling a cruel joke on Batman.
Todd did eventually comeback, only he wasn’t the boy wonder anymore. Thanks to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Todd came back as a grown man and he wasn’t happy. He became the Red Hood, a do gooder that, unlike Batman, is cruel. Jaws dropped everywhere when Jason Todd seemingly came back from the dead, and how we wish Bruce and Martha Wayne shared the same fate.
8 Spider-Man Reveals His Identity
Marvel’s first Civil War arc was home to a lot of surprises. One of which came early on in the series when Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, reveals his true self to the public in a bid to reveal his agreement with the Superhero Registration Act.
Even the superheroes were shocked with Spider-Man’s actions. Spidey was one of the guys with the most well-kept secret identity in the Marvel universe. He loves Aunt May and the rest of his family so much that he would do everything to assure that Peter Parker and Spider-Man won’t be revealed as one person so obviously, his willingness to reveal his identity was quite shocking to fans.
7 When Joker Met His Match
The Clown Prince of Gotham loves to wreak havoc wherever, this includes Metropolis. In the first issue of Injustice, Joker made Superman kill Lois Lane, who was pregnant at the time, by using a drug that made Kent see things differently. In the eyes of Kent, Lane was Doomsday. Kent took “Doomsday” outside Earth and into space. He only knew something was wrong when he could no longer hear Lois’ distinct heartbeat.
Superman isn’t Batman. He wasn't willing to let the Joker live after what he’s done, we're talking about Lois Lane after all. As good as he is, Superman doesn’t follow Batman’s No Kill Policy. Joker didn’t last long with Superman, as the Man of Steel killed him only a few seconds after confrontation. This shocked both Batman and fans worldwide.
6 Even Spider-Man Fails
It’s a well-known fact that the damsel in distress is always saved by his knight in shining armor. The Amazing Spider-Man #121 contradicts the fact. This issue aptly titled “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” presented how Peter Parker’s sweetheart met her end.
Green Goblin gave Spidey the choice of either saving his life or Gwen’s. Being the hero that he is, he did all he could to assure both of their safety. Goblin met defeat at the hands of Spidey, but he suddenly took Gwen and dropped her way up high. Spidey tried to save Gwen from the fall but the whiplash of the web stopping her fall broke her neck, ending her life. The title of the comic is a dead giveaway of the ending but the fact Marvel actually killed off Spidey’s sweetheart is still all too shocking.
5 Death Of Superman
Superman is the exact personification of the term superhero. Aside from having inhuman abilities and capabilities, Superman is perhaps one the most just and righteous superhumans in the DC universe. Many see Superman as this unbeatable being, but everyone, including Clark Kent himself, has a Kryptonite.
In an epic four issue comic series, Superman duked it out with his toughest opponent yet, Doomsday. Fans were very surprised to see Superman finally struggle with an opponent, but seeing him die is something else. Superman did manage to take care of Doomsday but it came at the expense of his life among others. The fact that Superman actually died was quite shocking at the time.
4 America’s Fallen Hero
Civil War is one of the biggest comic events from Marvel. A lot happened in the Civil War arc, but the aftermath saw the death of one hero that not a single fan could’ve seen coming.
After the huge battle between Iron Man and Captain America’s group, Captain America was thrown behind bars, as he was branded as a rebel by the government. It didn’t take long for Hydra to get their hands on Captain America, as he was assassinated by Crossbones and a brainwashed Agent Sharon Carter. It's also pretty messed up that they brainwashed Sharon Carter to kill her own boyfriend.
3 The Man Who Broke The Bat
This very popular moment in DC comic history showed us that even the world’s finest can be defeated. In a trap set by Bane, Batman faced off several baddies including Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow and many more. Batman then had to face the overly muscled and obviously powerful Bane.
Batman could no longer put up a fight and Bane literally broke The Bat in half. It’s very rare to see Batman is such a sorry-state, and even rarer is to see him in a broken state. This scene was put on the big screen during Batman and Bane’s confrontation in The Dark Knight Rises. We always cringe at that cracking sound.
2 Hail Hydra?
For decades, comic fans have looked up to Steve Rogers. He’s basically the symbol of patriotism. He has dedicated his entire life fighting evil and, most important of all, Hydra. Captain America’s war against Hydra is the exact representation of good vs. evil. But, all those years of believing in Roger’s cause where put to no use with two words said by the Captain himself: “Hail Hydra.” Um, excuse us?
Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 released last May took the Marvel universe by storm. Throughout the comic, Roger’s childhood was revealed through flashbacks. His mother, Sarah, then received a pamphlet with the Hydra logo in it. It turns out that Captain America is a Hydra agent all along. This is just the first of many issues so it’s possible that Cap is just working undercover. Whatever way it ends up, one thing is for sure - this shocking reveal caught fans off guard.
1 The World’s Biggest Gladiator Match
Taking the top of this list is the iconic battle at the end of The Dark Knight Returns. It was a battle between Metropolis’ Man of Steel and Gotham’s Caped Crusader. The battle itself isn’t a big shock, as the event leading up to the battle built the hype. The winner of the battle and what happens after is the big surprise to us.
As good he is, Batman is clearly no match for Superman. What puts him at a bigger disadvantage is that he was already old. With the help of his gadgets and Green Arrow, Batman was able to surprisingly defeat Superman. Moments after beating Superman to an inch of his life, Batman suffered from a heart attack that killed him. We then learn later on that it was just an elaborate plan, but to see two of the biggest superheroes down like that is quite shocking.