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Comic book fans know what they like—and this is not it! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 DC Moments That Made Fans Rage Quit."
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most cringe-worthy, frustrating, insulting, or otherwise unwelcome moments in DC comics. Please note that we’ll be focusing on moments that turned readers off at the time of publication, not moments that have aged poorly or been retroactively criticized. We’re not saying that these moments were universally reviled, just that a sizable portion of readers made their displeasure be known.
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#10: Twilight Lobo
When DC comics decided to go full relaunch, it was a bold move. Unfortunately, there were many missteps, and it was not the successful revitalization of the brand that the company had hoped for. Fans had no shortage of complaints, from Pandora’s role in the universe to the multitude of disappointing crossovers. But one of the biggest gripes was the character redesigns. Some redesigns were divisive, others were universally panned. Lobo fit squarely into the latter category, a poster boy for everything wrong with the company’s new aesthetic choices. Lobo the giant space biker might not have been for everybody, but nobody wanted slim, surly teenage emo Twilight Lobo. Rebirth thankfully brought the old Lobo back and added this guy to Brainiac’s collection.
#9: The Death of Lian Harper
When well-executed and given appropriate weight and consideration, death can be a painful but effective tool that helps characters grow and highlights the themes of loss, sacrifice, and suffering. Unfortunately, the industry has identified it as a shortcut to selling issues, and so it tends to get used for shock and awe. Such is the case with Justice League: Cry for Justice. In it, Star City is partially destroyed by a bomb, and one of the victims is Red Arrow’s young daughter, Lian Harper. It feels cheap, manipulative, cruel, and out-of-nowhere. But then again, this is a comic in which heroes torture villains for information, so maybe rage-quit worthy moments is what they were going for?
#8: Arsenal Gets High & Saves a Dead Cat
Roy Harper really can’t catch a break, can he? Back in the 70s, when he was still Green Arrow’s sidekick, he became a heroin addict. Retrospectively, the story might feel cheesy and melodramatic, but it won awards and made a huge impact. Important and influential though it may have been, Roy Harper has paid dearly; he’s a tragic figure, doomed to relapse time and time again. After the death of his daughter, and struggling with impotency issues, the now one-armed hero gets high on heroin and then beats up goons to protect a rotting cat corpse he’s mistaken for his daughter. Fans didn’t think DC could stoop lower than Cry for Justice, but this sequel proved them wrong.
#7: Superman & Wonder Woman's Catastrophic Sex
It’s shocking just how drastically an iconic character’s personality, demeanor, and values can change depending on the writer. More shocking still is the fact that the editors would ever publish content that shows heroes like Wonder Woman and Superman acting so ridiculously out of character. But… here you have it. In The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller took some liberties in depicting the Trinity, and it worked. In his sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, he again takes liberties but with much worse and sillier results. Superman and Wonder Woman get it on—engaging in sex that takes them into the sky before crashing back to Earth so hard they trigger a volcanic eruption and cause tsunamis, surely killing many people. It’s absurd and embarrassing.
#6: The Execution of Countdown to Final Crisis
Final Crisis could be called one big rage quit moment. Though some people love it, the overly convoluted storytelling of Grant Morrison turned off a sizable portion of readers. However, the worst of it had arguably already come and gone with the 51 issue Countdown to Final Crisis. Critically panned at the time of its release, Countdown was lambasted by industry experts and readers alike for both its ridiculous scope and the arguably cheap use of the multiverse as an opportunity to kill tons of characters. Perhaps most damning, however, was that its lack of clear editorial vision made it so that Countdown didn’t even do its job of leading into Final Crisis. Unsurprisingly, much of it has since been retconned.
#5: Superman Renounces His American Citizenship
This moment is a controversial one. Even its inclusion on our list is likely to stir up controversy in the comments, given that there are many readers who loved the moment. So… what’s the big deal with this political statement? Well, just that. It’s a strong political statement from the world’s most iconic hero, a hero that has always been tied intimately with America. Heck, his catchphrase has literally often been “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” So when a story in Action Comics #900 saw Superman renounce his American citizenship, some American readers were outraged by what they felt was a personal attack on American identity.
#4: All of “Amazons Attack!”
This is one of those storylines that really makes you stop and ask yourself… what were they thinking? A 2007 limited series, Amazons Attack promised to be an epic Wonder Woman event. Unfortunately, it was neither epic nor much of a Wonder Woman story. From the first issue, it became almost immediately clear that this plot made no sense and could only hurt Wonder Woman’s reputation, along with that of her people. It begins with the Amazons attacking Washington, killing an unarmed father and son. There’s your first rage quit. Soon, they’re taking down fighter jets with arrows. Violent, illogical, and lacking anything worthwhile to say, Amazons Attack inspired vocal criticism.
#3: The Goddamn Batman
Frank Miller’s work on The Dark Knight Strikes Again may have left much to be desired, but it looks far more passable when compared to his contributions to the Batman mythos in All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder. We get that All-Star comics are stories that take place out of continuity, but who in the hell did DC think would want to read this take on Batman? Like in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Miller fumbles with a sex scene by having Black Canary and Batman have sex as henchmen burn to death in the background. But the real kicker is when he basically kidnaps Dick Grayson, calls him “retarded” and then introduces himself as “the goddamn Batman.”
#2: Hal Jordan Goes Crazy
Heroes become villains, villains become heroes. It’s a tired trope and one that feels like it’s been done to death. Rarely does it stick, however, and never before had a hero been so savagely taken down the path of villainy. In the 90s, the powers that be at DC decided that it was time to pass along the torch to a new Green Lantern. Rather than have Hal Jordan retire or become a mentor figure, however, they destroyed his home city and many people he loved, had him dragged to the depths of despair, and then made him go mad and proceed to kill his fellow Lanterns, completing his transformation into the villainous Parallax. Understandably, many fans were NOT pleased.
#1: The Rape of Sue Dibny
Sexual assault is a very difficult topic, but that’s not to say that it has no place in works of fiction. There are numerous stories across various media that have handled the incredibly difficult subject with sensitivity. DC’s 2004 event, Identity Crisis, was unfortunately not one of them. When supporting character Sue Dibny (the wife of the Elongated Man) was revealed to have been raped by Dr. Light, many felt that it was a cheap plot device—another female character from comics victimized to advance the story. Worse, the Justice League covered it up. The whole thing showed terrible judgment on the part of the creative team, and many readers refused to accept that the heroes of the Justice League would act in such a way.