|"Oh, dem feelz…"|
Establishing a story that readers sense will leave us hurting, suddenly snapping a character up into the jaws of death, sacrificing one life to save another, sometimes just exposing us to a painful secret in the life of a character we thought was all fun and laughter, action and adventure; there's no end to what can affect us, because emotional pain comes in so many forms and from so many different events in our lives.
"Right in the Feels" begins with five moments courtesy of Marvel!
(Click the pictures to enlarge.)
1. THE DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN
Of all of the saddest moments in Spider-Man's colorful existence, you could take a name out of a hat as to which one was the most saddening. I chose the Death of Spider-Man story arc from Brian Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man not for the moment itself, but for the whole setup. Without spoiling everything for would-be readers, the Ultimate Universe has been something of a misnomer over the years. That is, unless you consider many actions of this universe's heroes as an ultimate collection of screw-ups!
Spider-Man's demise came around not at the hands of one man, but as a culmination of sacrifices to save Captain America, Aunt May, Mary Jane, and Gwen Stacey with a little help from Johnny Storm and Iceman, who were unfortunately a little out of their league against Norman Osborn and the Sinister Six. It then turned out to be Aunt May and MJ who saved Peter, only for him to be dealt a mortal wound in the explosion that also killed Osborn. An unintended bullet through the gut from a sniper rifle and being beaten to near-death by the Sinister Six; Peter would not stop trying to save those he loved, and in his final words he wouldn't have had it any other way—
|At the cost of Aunt May losing another…|
2. LOKI AND BOB REYNOLDS IN MARVEL'S SIEGE
An untypical choice for a single instance of emotional reading, again, Norman Osborn is pretty much to blame for everything; but this is the Norman Osborn of the 616 (mainstream) universe: the crooked ex-Green Goblin who rose to power after dealing the final blow to the Skrull in Secret Invasion.
That era in Marvel's history, from 2008 and onward, was actually quite an emotional rollercoaster for many readers who saw a grisly end to some of their favorite characters. To see Osborn not only rise to power, but then divide and conquer the Avengers through politics, subversion, sabotage, and assassination—he was one of the most evil villains ever to come so far and to have the world believe he was a hero. After Civil War, so many heroes were permanently driven underground, including Cap, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Nick Fury.
Siege saw Osborn use the seemingly unlimited Sentry (Bob Reynolds) and the conniving Loki to instigate a war with Asgard while Thor was considered dead, and in that time, even everybody operating under Osborn began to question their alliance. Then Sentry did this to Ares…
During the siege of Asgard, it was revealed that Reynolds was in fact possessed by the Void. Osborn knew this all along, but when he lost control of Sentry, only then did it seem that the heroes might not win the war until Loki revealed a change of heart and sacrificed himself in the name of his adoptive father, Odin…
After everything the readers had already been through, seeing Thor's surprise return immediately turned the battle in their favor. A literal army of heroes arrived to do battle with Osborn, including Iron Man, Captain America, Winter Soldier, Nick Fury, Spider-Man, and Maria Hill. We'd suddenly lost all hope again when Sentry had transformed into the Void. For Loki to suddenly have such a change of heart and then sacrifice himself is a redemptive tearjerker in itself. Then as the Avengers team up to destroy the Void, we see a broken Bob Reynolds look around at the destruction and ask if he'd done all this…
Bob Reynolds, the Sentry, the most powerful superhero in the last decade of Marvel comics! After all he had done for the greater good, with powers that could have lit a fire under Superman's arse, you're led to believe he wants to die so desperately before his final ounce of humanity is stolen. Thor gives him his last wish. There was also an epilogue to Siege—Sentry: Fallen Sun—that saw the surviving heroes attend Bob Reynolds' funeral. As a testament to the impact of his death, how many Marvel characters have had funeral story arcs? Aaargh, right in dem feels!
3. TONY STARK'S CONFESSION
Speaking of epilogues for dead heroes, The Confession occured after the assassination of Captain America following Marvel's Civil War. At Cap's side in the morgue, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers' best friend and then worst enemy, breaks down in a heart wrenching heap of guilt and regret.
Civil War began with a somewhat notorious event; the nuking of a school in Stamford, Connecticut, after a bunch of superpowered kids tried to get 15 minutes of fame hunting down supervillains. This led to the division of the Avengers, following Tony Stark's introduction of the Superhuman Registration Act, which in turn started the Civil War and gave Norman Osborn his chance to make some changes during his sociopathic rise to power.
From friends and allies to enemies, Stark and Rogers drew a line in the sand with citizens, heroes, and villains caught in the crossfire. It also led to the cloning of the currently deceased Thor, who killed Giant Man and made this war deadly serious. So when it ended with Cap surrendering—a broken man, although having defeated Stark—after having seen the destruction their war had caused, it was just one more gutting tragedy when he was assassinated at his own trial. Surprisingly, none were as deeply upset and affected as Iron Man.
Over the years, the deteriorating alcoholic that hid behind the genius and the swagger had leaned on Rogers, who had always been there for him no matter what. It was only in the event of their conflict that Tony had truly cleaned up and tried to be a better man. At the cost of his best friend's life, he realizes that it's all been for nothing. Hate him all you want, but you don't want to rub his face in it!
And then they cheapened it all by bringing him back to life...
4. DEADPOOL'S DAD WAS A REAL KIDDER!
From the X-Men Origins: Deadpool one-shot, here is an amazing example of humor being used to touch readers when it comes to personal tragedy. In fact, I'm just going to shut up!
5. FRANK CASTLE RESCUES A GIRL FROM THE SLAVE TRADE
First of all, I must warn you that this final entry is graphically and emotionally distressing, so if you're of the disposition to be disturbed by scenes of violence, abuse, and death, please exit the page for your own safety!
Garth Ennis isn't called the greatest definitive Punisher writer for no reason. Over the duration of his legendary run, through the Marvel Knights and MAX imprints, he made us laugh, he made us angry, and he made us call the Punisher the most bad-ass Marvel character of all time. He also made us afraid of the Punisher, because in the pages of The Slavers, we discover why Frank Castle suppressed his feelings so much. The antagonists of this particular story arc made him unable to do that anymore.
When getting ready to take a hit on a New York mob boss, Frank witnesses a hooker making a break for it—literally fighting for her life. Upon rescuing young Viorica, he hears her story of how the men that led the genocides in Moldova enslaved her, got her hooked on drugs, moved her into the prostitution business and killed her baby. We're actually faced with a visualization of how that news got around…
A lot of people are going to die, and we're already sitting here not knowing whether to throw the book down, crying, or to carry on. We do not physically or mentally know whether to boycott Ennis from now on, or to accept that he's introducing us to factual reality. Enter the Bulats, responsible for everything that we've already witnessed, and I don't care if you're motherfucking Gandhi: you want them dead.
The Slavers wasn't so much filled with great quantities of violence as it was filled with instances of violence that showed a true monster in the Punisher. Whereas he could have just shot a lot of people, nearly everyone that died at his hands was tortured in the most brutal way imaginable, and he still cannot make it count for the crimes he knows they're all responsible for. In the below scene, he terrorizes information out of the now-deceased Christu Bulat's wife before he kills her. It doesn't sate his rage; it just makes him angrier, and we feel the same.
The entire arc is not meant to make you sick with distress, and there is some very subtle humor courtesy of a couple of underdog police officers that find themselves at his mercy. Come the end, though, after all Frank has done to get Viorica and the other girls into a better life, we're left heartbroken and unsure of whether she'll ever retain the will to carry on…
Ugh! And there we have it: five instances of gutting moments in Marvel comics. We hope you truly enjoyed yourself and that those of you who appreciate good drama in your comics will be compelled to try out some of these story arcs. To show that I'm not completely callous and that I do care about your feelings, here's a video filled with lots of warm, fluffy, cute entertainment to raise your spirits…
Sound off, fanboys! What are the most emotional scenes within the pages of a comic book you've ever read? We'd like to hear from you. Comment below and thank you ever so much for reading.