Right in the Feels: 5 Gutting Moments in DC Comics | Fanboys Anonymous

Right in the Feels: 5 Gutting Moments in DC Comics

Posted by Fellonius Munch Monday, April 28, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Right in the Feels, where this time we will be exploring some of DC Comics' most gutting moments. Last time we explored some of Marvel's tearjerkers and ballbreakers. They will be hard to beat, even taking into consideration the frequently pessimistic nature of the DC Universe, but let's see what we have in store for you!

Fanboys Anonymous's comprehensive series on the saddest moments in comics

As rivals go, there are moments when Marvel and DC couldn't be more different, and there are moments when they couldn't be more similar. What separates them? Characters, for one, may have their comparisons (Moon Knight and Batman, Aquaman and Namor, Deathstroke and Deadpool, and Thor and Hawkman (kind of)), but aside from their back stories and superpowers, they're really separated by storytelling.


There is nothing like a swift reality kick to the fantasticals when it comes to your favorite caped crime-buster. We're all so often lulled into a false sense of emotional security by the everyday drama, the comedy, and the campiness of the Batman comics (when they're not in "full dark, no stars" mode, where you at least expect bad things to happen). Then along comes a moment where you don't quite know how to feel. After all this time, we're well accustomed to the many colorful characters of Gotham to the point where we've felt a lot even for the bad guys!

Post-Infinite Crisis Batman sees Catwoman give birth to Huntress Helena Kyle
Following Infinite Crisis, Selena Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, went through a period of readjustment; namely, pregnancy. Her baby, Helena (Huntress in other realities), could have changed her and turned her away from her life of crime and conflict. However, with the clear and present danger that all of Gotham's most dangerous criminals would be hunting mother and child, Helena's survival to adulthood was questionable at best, and we all know that happiness never lasts in the DC Universe.

Therefore, Selena wasn't forced to put Helena up for adoption but knew it was the right thing to do, even if the decision would either destroy her or haunt her forever. It was bound to be the latter, and Selena was even refused her desperate request to have her memories of Helena wiped away. You wouldn't wish it on your enemies (with the exception of reporting the Joker to social services), and you wouldn't want it for Catwoman. It really changes your outlook on comics and all that you thought they represented…

Selena Kyle gives her baby Helena (Huntress) up for adoption after DC Comic story arc Infinite Crisis


During Crisis on Infinite Earths back in 1985, that evil bastard Anti-Monitor planned to destroy Earth and many different ones in other dimensions with his massive weapon…

The Flash Barry Allen attempts to save the universe from the Anti-Monitor

Now that you're over the initial laughter of Barry Allen coming to the realization that Anti-Monitor wasn't talking about his Anti-Babymaker, but an actual world-destroying Anti-Matter Cannon, you can see where this is going, maybe. The Flash has never been known for brute force or fancy fighting moves, yet his use of the Speed Force made him a hero who could be relied on to go the distance, and that's what he stood for. This is what made the Flash such a lovable hero. He was about the sheer bravery over the violence.

DC Comics The Flash during 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths
Taking the chance that he could destroy this WUD (Weapon of Universal Destruction, obviously) and save the universe, Barry was pretty certain that it would spell his own death, and he was right. Literally running for his life and the lives of everybody else, his body fails to resist the power of the weapon's concentrated anti-matter as he destroys it, and so he literally disintegrates into nothing, all the while screaming for help. This is a dated comic, but I think it still translates very well.

Heroes sometimes suffer some gnarly, disgusting deaths; deaths they do not deserve and that their fans never forget. Barry's death is like the story of a man that goes from Olympic hero to cancer victim over the space of a few pages, and as we watch him waste away, crying for his life. Oh man, the feels…

The death of DC Comics' The Flash Barry Allen

Barry's death was also notably sad because unlike every other fan favorite, he stayed dead for over two decades while his family went on to suffer other twisted fates!


There are two important factors I'd like to address regarding the legendary Superman vs. Doomsday story, which ended in the death of DC's golden boy. First, I don't see how fans can't remember events such as these and then hate the Man of Steel movie with such passion. Here are Supes and Dooms going at it like two old ladies fighting over the last bottle of lavender spray at Ethel Austin, and they're hitting each other so hard that buildings are practically exploding from the impact force!

DC Comics' The Death of Superman in 1992
"Aaarrgghh, dammit, why you gotta be so pointy!"
In Man of Steel, General Zod and his merry band of miscreants own Supes so damned hard, and he suffers so damned hard. I mean, seriously, how easily could Zod have finished the job? If we were to see this scene recreated for the latest installments of the franchise, Doomsday would murder the ever-loving shite out of Kal-El, and I think it would translate magnificently.

Second, whereas back in the day Superman fans were subjected to one of the most shocking events in DC's history which left so many upset, this story left me seriously pissed off. And pissed off is a feeling. Pissed off is an emotion. The fact that Superman (just like old buddy Barry) knew that success would come with the ultimate price wasn't a matter that he could sit down and think about. It was a matter of having no choice and fighting to the death, knowing that without his sacrifice, nobody else would survive in the wake of his death.

Superman lies dead in the ruins of Metropolis post-Doomsday fight

So as Lois Lane, emotionally destroyed, runs to the side of the dying Superman, all the other heroes in attendance (who did practically fuck-all to help during the fight) just stand around like they're contemplating hot dogs and donuts. The flag made from his torn up cape with the S symbol *choke* is where you know this is ending very badly. Then Lois is told to suck it up so she can report the news. Meanwhile, Jimmy Olson has already been happily snapping away with his crappy little camera, and heroes are actually shouting at each other rather than thinking of how to help, because they're clearly so helpless at that moment.

DC Comics hero Ice covers dead Superman with his cape

Superman was so indestructible that they can't even administer first aid, and so his own strength becomes his own weakness in the end. Sure, the Kryptonian would return. I don't think anyone feared that he wouldn't; but the gravity of the situation was truly mind-blowing!

The Death of Superman


Reader discretion is most definitely advised on this one, as DC exercises it's skills in shocking and intolerable cruelty. Back during Identity Crisis, Sue Dibny, the wife of Elongated Man Ralph Dibny, was raped and then murdered…

DC Comics post-Identity Crisis Sue Dibny raped and murdered

Like I say, DC is known for its unique comedy and fabulist originality, but then it is also known for its suddenly steep descents into dark despair. You see, whereas Marvels villains tend to be more lighthearted about their failings, DC's hold serious grudges and will kill you and your family for spoiling their fun.

When Ralph got home to find his wife dead and burned to a crisp after the killer set their house on fire, we catch a full-on display of him coming literally unraveled; his jaw hung slack along with everything else (because in that moment of absolute hell, he fails to controls his abilities). But it's not that scene that is the entire cause of his pain alone. The torturous linchpin of all that is wrong about this lies at the bottom of the page...

DC Comics Elongated man widowed and lost an unborn child

Sue didn't die alone!


Part of you immediately wants to scream, "why the hell can't you keep your Bat Wang in your Bat Kecks, Batman?" It's just not as simple as it appears on the surface as to why Batman's Robin is a ten-year old boy. I mean, hello?! We're not just fighting any old crime here. Does nobody remember every death that ever took place in the DC Universe, let alone the Bat Family? Does nobody remember Jason Todd being beaten to death by the Joker?

Batman Incorporated Death of the Family

Well, hey, this was no ordinary kid Robin: this was Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and that cold-hearted psycho bitch Talia Al Ghul. He hated his father ever since they were introduced under hostile circumstances; he was an insolent little brat with a forked tongue. From there on, you'd have been heartless not to love him!

Once Damian was accepted into the Bat Family as the new Robin, it seemed that Batman was back into brighter, less cynical territory. Damian should never have been put in this position by any means, but he was just too awesome of a ten-year-old kid to not want around insulting the hell out of Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Alfred.

Robin Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul killed in action

Then suddenly, in Death of the Family, he was impaled on a sword! Bruce and the family, destroyed! Even Talia, who had disowned him, destroyed! Their son had become something greater and purer than both of them despite being torn between their conflicting personalities. After his death, you realize that he was on the sure path to someday becoming a better Batman than his father had ever been. And then that refrain between father and son…

The latest Batman's Robin to die is his own ten year old son. Smooth move, you child slaver!
Gahhh…the Feeeelzzzz.

Sound off, Fanboys! I hope you enjoyed this latest installment and that you'll be coming back for more. Next time we'll be studying singular characters and getting deeper into their stories, so if you like any particular stories that weren't mentioned here, feel free to comment below and thanks again for reading!

If you would like to join the team as a contributor or are interested in sponsoring a post on this site, purchasing an ad, becoming an affiliate, or taking part in any kind of promotional opportunities, please use this contact form to send us an email and we will get in touch as soon as possible with more information.