I haven't done a List-Mania column for a long time, let alone a real geeky one too, and I thought that the time is right for another List-Mania devoted to comics. This time I am choosing comic books that are difficult for me to read and get through. These comics are ones that stay with me long after I read them. They are either creepy, or they really tug at the heart strings or they portray pain, sorrow and anguish. They are not shocking just to be shocking. These are real moments, moments that made me take pause. Basically they are Comics that Wigged Me Out!
In no particular order.
Marvel published a line of comics called "What If?" and they would take a storyline and choose a different route for it to take. Most of the time the stories would be tragic and this one was no doubt one of the few comics that creeped me out. Mr. Fantastic (the stretch guy) and his wife the Invisible Woman have one child, a boy named Franklin. He is a mutant and has the ability to have special dreams that foretell the future. The Invisible Woman gets pregnant again and she dies in childbirth. But this story shows what would happen if the baby survived. Franklin sees the future and sees that his sister is a monster and no one believes him. Eventually family members die and Franklin sees that his sister is the reason. So Franklin turns to the Fantastic Four's deadliest enemy, Dr. Doom for help.
Dr. Doom kills Mr. Fantastic and he dies but before he dies he sees his daughter as the monster that his own son described. Doom also dies facing the monster and Franklin manages to send it to the Negative Zone (long story... basically he sends his sister to another dimension).
The final words of the story, spoken by Franklin looking on all the destruction and death were haunting.
"At first you said it was a nightmare... ...a child's dream gone away. Probably from something I ate. The you chalked it up to jealousy... ...sibling rivalry... ...as old as Cain and Abel. But I was never jealous of her daddy.. ...I was afraid of her. And as I stand here amid the ruins of your lab... ...over your body... ...I take no solace in the fact that I was right and you were wrong. If only you'd listen to me things might have been different."
I was in the sixth grade when I first read this comic. Vigilante was my friend's brother's favorite comic. I read a few on and off but I had to get this final issue. And I was not prepared to what happened right at the end and it bugged me for days. The character (Adrian Chase) was a lawyer who became disenchanted with the law and took the law in his own hands as the costumed hero Vigilante. Unfortunately Adrian was a tortured soul who made grave mistakes and was often haunted by the decisions he made as Vigilante. And soon it was too much for him to take. He gets caught up in a situation where he mistakenly kills law enforcement agents and realizes he has gone too far.
I honestly didn't expect him to kill himself and I thought it took a lot of guts for the writer to make that call. I eventually picked up the entire series and you can see how Adrian slid down that slippery slope.
The Age of Apocalypse storyline was a bold move for Marvel. They cancelled all the very popular X-Men titles and replaced them with a whole new set of X-Men drastically different from what has happened before. Essentially, a huge reset button was pressed when Professor X's son travels back in time to kill Magneto (a play on if you would go back in time to kill Hitler) so mutants can live in peace with humans. Only his son accidentally kills his dad, Charles Xavier and (as usual) something horrible happens and changes everything. In this world mutants are in charge and one of the most evilest mutants, Apocalypse, is in charge and a small team of X-Men, led by Magneto is all that stands in the way of total mutant domination.
In this story, the X-Man Colossus and his wife Shadowcat train a set of young mutants to be the next generation of X-Men (hence the name) and Magneto assigns them a mission to find Colossus's sister whom he thought was dead. Things quickly get out of hand and the team find themselves in a situation and battle that they are unlikely to survive. But this is Colossus and Shadowcat we are talking about. Colossus is one of the most bravest and noblest heroes. But not in this universe. Colossus and Shadowcat succeed in their mission and rescue Colossus's sister and they get her out of the death and mayhem caused by the revolt. Shadowcat wants to go back to rescue their students but Colossus stops her. He volunteers because he does not want to lose his wife. So Colossus goes back to rescue them. He peers inside to see the massacre and hopeless battle and shuts the door.
He goes back to his sister and his wife and tells them there was nothing he could do. He left them to die because he was afraid. He was afraid of losing his sister again and his wife. All I remember is the look on the abandoned student's face when she watches Colossus shut the door on her. And the look on Shadowcat's face because I think she knew.
There were a lot of horrible and heroic moments peppered throughout this series but this one made the biggest impact. There was another one at the conclusion of the massive storyline and unfortunately it involved our good friend Colossus once again.
Colossus does not want to be without his sister Illyana and tries to involve himself in Magneto's plan to save the world. But he would screw it up (long story, trust me). Shadowcat has the mutant ability to become like a ghost and she counted that her husband would stop if she said so. So she doesn't use her powers and Colossus runs her over and tramples her to death. Another X-Man uses his powers to stop (kill) Colossus before he does any more damage. As he dies, he sees his younger sister and says, "Forgive me sister. I thought... I was the bravest of us all. And then I met you. I am so scared... please... give me courage and hold me while I..." And then he dies.
The story followed the descent of Titan from hero to villain. Titan was like Superman. Except he had a difficult childhood involving abuse from his father and trying to fit in. He was told throughout his life that he was never good enough. Slowly, as he made mistakes and tried to be a true Superman-like hero he became more distant and angry. Eventually he wanted to prove he was the best and tried to take down one of the most powerful beings on Earth just to prove a point.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is what I thought of when I saw the look on Titan's face here. There is no pity, there is no conscious thought here. This is pure rage and hate and Chris Warner (the artist) really captured that look here. One simple look from Titan was all it took. The pages before showed him easily dispatching the Army and destroying Las Vegas. None of those shows of power told the story like that the bottom panel.
Yes! A Star Wars comic! It had Han on the cover so it had to be safe right? Set after the events in the Empire Strikes Back, Luke, C3-P0 and Lando are escaping from Stormtroopers when they find a gold statue of Han Solo. Han was one of my favorite characters so I had to have this comic. I remember flipping through the comic to find out what happened but I didn't get too far because I came across a panel that freaked me out and even to this day I cannot look at it. Go ahead and call me chicken but I didn't re-read this annual because I was too creeped out. Check out the panels below: BRRRRRR!
Just looking at that gives me the creeps! I am sure that I could find more stories or pieces of art that stuck with me but these were the ones that came right to mind.