With superheroes dominating the box office around the world, the average movie fan can probably tell you the biggest points in any superhero’s origin story. But the origin stories and classic comic arcs that every fan knows by heart are usually the ones the publisher wants them to remember. Even the brightest heroes tend to have some dark stories in their past. And when we say dark, we mean so dark, fans will wonder why they were ever published in the first place.
Here are Screenrant’s DARK Stories About Your Favorite Superheroes.
Thanks to the Amazing Spider-Man movie series, even non comic fans know just how beloved and innocent Peter Parker’s first girlfriend Gwen Stacy was – which made her death at the hands of Green Goblin so shocking. But when J Michael Straczynski told the Marvel editors he wanted to give Peter an adult child Gwen had delivered in secret, they turned him down, wanting to keep the illusion that Peter was still a young man. Instead, the change to Gwen’s secret past was a bit more complicated – and a lot less logical.
Apparently, Gwen found herself so attracted to Harry Osborn’s father Norman, she spontaneously slept with him while she and Peter were together. That’s right, Norman Osborn impregnated a teenage Gwen Stacy. When she promised the madman that he would never see his children and would raise them with Peter, he suited up as Goblin one last time, leading to her death in issue #121. Changing the past happens all the time in comics, but this story left most fans outraged and upset – not to mention in need of a hot shower.
Superman: The Suicide Snare
There’s no greater love story than Mister Miracle and Big Barda, two children of Apokolips who fell in love, and escaped to Earth. That was until writer John Byrne had Barda end up kidnapped by Sleez, a former minion of Darkseid with…even darker tastes. Using mind control, he doesn’t seek to beat or even kidnap Barda, but strip her down, and make an adult film of her dancing in his sewer. By the time her husband finds out – with one video hand- delivered by Darkseid – Superman is already on the case.
Actually, he’s been brainwashed to co-star with Barda in Sleez’s next movie. Mister Miracle breaks in just in time, leaving readers to wonder what could possibly have made this story seem like one that should ever be told, let alone one starring Superman himself. On the plus side, it shows Superman isn’t always a gentleman: instead of explaining or uncovering what happened, they all go their separate ways. Because, you know, he’s Superman.
Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight
When DC decided to kill off Barry Allen, they had the speedster sacrifice himself to save the universe. But when it came to his best friend Hal Jordan, the writers tried something different. Instead of a sacrifice, readers watched as the Green Lantern‘s home, Coast City was turned to ash along with the millions who lived there. When the Green Lantern Corps refused to let him bring the dead back to life, Hal went on a killing spree.
The greatest Lantern slaughtering the entire corps and all except one of their Guardians would eventually be rewritten to spare Hal any blame, claiming he had been “infected” with an embodiment of fear, and driven insane. But there’s no way to forget that DC once turned a Justice League superstar into a bloodthirsty murderer on a galactic level.
Spider-Man: Power Pack
The 1980s and 90s saw tons of comics reaching out to kids, teaching them to steer clear of drugs, alcohol, or even physical abuse. So it isn’t hard to see why Marvel chose to use their famous webslinger for such a good cause. In a 1984 issue, Peter Parker rescues his young neighbor from his babysitter, sharing a story form his own childhood. Apparently, Peter became friends with an older boy named Skip Westcott when he was around 12 years old. One day Skip showed Peter some adult magazines, and pressured him into acting out the pictures themselves. Saying he was “too frightened to leave,” it would be years before Peter realized he shouldn’t be ashamed, but was truly the victim.
It was a strong message to send to young readers, but ever since, fans have debated just how much of the Spider-Man identity was a result of the abuse. And it’s no surprise that Marvel has decided to keep that side of his character out of the live-action movies.
These days, the strength-enhancing drug called “Venom” is tied directly to Bane, the Batman villain who uses it to grow to insane size and strength. But the drug was introduced long before Bane got his hands on it, in a comic meant to showcase Bruce Wayne’s earlier days of costumed crime-fighting. In “Legends of The Dark Knight,” readers got to see one of Batman’s first failures, when he wasn’t strong enough to save a kidnapped girl from drowning. Since he couldn’t forget the girl he had let die, Batman turned to Venom – and his slow descent into a laughing, grinning, and out of control addict followed.
When he finally realizes that he’s gone too far, Batman demands Alfred lock him in the Batcave for a month, and not to let him out for any reason. Quitting cold turkey brought Bruce’s worst demons to the surface, showing comic fans that the heart of Batman was darker and more damaged than most realize. As if that wasn’t dark enough, the villain of the arc injects himself with a kind of mental Venom – making him brilliant, but emotionally numb. So numb, that he drowned his own daughter just to make Batman a Venom test subject. Yikes.
The Incredible Hulk: Monster
Thanks to Ang Lee’s first crack at a live-action Hulk movie, audiences now know that the mild- mannered Bruce Banner came from a truly broken home, with a raging father who regularly beat both Bruce and his mother, Rebecca. That origin story was ripped from the pages of Marvel Comics, but left out some of the darkest parts. Even though Bruce would only become the Hulk when exposed to Gamma rays as an adult, his father was convinced that Bruce’s intelligence at a young age was the result of radiation he had passed onto him. He was wrong, but beat the son he saw as a monster and his mother anyway, eventually killing Rebecca in front of Bruce.
When Bruce visited his mother’s grave while in college, his father appeared to blame him all over again, and the fight between the two ended with Bruce knocking his former abuser into his mother’s headstone, killing him instantly. To cope with killing his own father, Bruce just blocked it out, convincing himself for years that his father had left to be killed by muggers. Maybe the Hulk wasn’t really the monster side, after all?
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any dark, twisted, or troubling comic arcs starring famous superheroes? Let us know in our comment section and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one.