Total Nerd The 14 Most Emotional Moments in DC Comics History  

Joe Donley
6.2k votes 1.2k voters 43.1k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the DC comics moments that almost broke your cold, black heart.

Characters in DC comics are often criticized for being emotionally shallow when compared to those that appear in Marvel titles. A lot of this is rooted in the idea that while Marvel characters are, for the most part, ordinary people that become something extraordinary, DC characters are often seen as gods trying to live among men, making it significantly more difficult for readers to connect with them on a more personal level. That's not to say that there aren't moments in DC comics that will make you cry.

The thing Marvel excels at is establishing an emotional relationship with the reader relatively fast, where DC comics definitely focus on the long game when it comes to falling in love with a character. They have this habit of lulling you into a false sense of security before BAM! That character is taken away from you and your heart is crushed - not knowing how much you cared about that character until they're gone. 

Vote up the emotional DC comics moments that hit you hard in the feels.

1 636 VOTES

Barry Allen Remembering Wally West in DC Universe Rebirth

Barry Allen Remembering Wally ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 14 Most Emotional Moments in DC Comics History
Photo:  DC Comics

2016 marked one of the biggest changes for DC Comics - the effective erasure of the timeline brought on by Flashpoint and sustained in the New 52. Wally West was reintroduced in DC Universe Rebirth. After the events of Flashpoint, West was trapped outside the timeline by Abra Kadabra, looking in on the events of the universe, with full knowledge of everything that had happened. Thanks to the events in Justice League #50 with the destruction of Darkseid, a crack in the New 52 reality appeared and Wally was able to penetrate the dimensional wall with the Speed Force and began making contact with people he knew.

Nobody remembered him.

One by one, people looked at the speedster in awe, not knowing who he was or where he came from as he traveled across the Earth, searching for someone, anyone, that could remember him, all while recounting the lost and newly revealed history that the New 52 wiped away.

Then he comes across Barry Allen. Just as he finishes saying his final goodbye, somehow Barry remembers Wally, saving him from his extra-dimensional prison and bringing him back into his rightful universe over the course of 10 of the most emotionally charged pages ever drawn.

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2 619 VOTES

The Death of Barry Allen

The Death of Barry Allen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 14 Most Emotional Moments in DC Comics History
Photo:  DC Comics

In 1985, DC Comics decided to simplify their multiverse by effectively wiping it out and unifying all of their existing properties into the same singular universe with the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and the legendary George Perez. This also solved a lot of plot holes in the continuity of several characters, but that's a list for another time. Unification came at a cost, however, of the lives of two heroes, Supergirl (more on her later) and Barry Allen, the second Flash.

Barry dies a hero's death. The 'big bad' of Crisis, the Antimonitor, prepares a super weapon, The Anti-Matter Cannon, to fire at the five converging Earths, which will not only destroy the five realities of those Earths, but would permanently disrupt the structure of the multiverse as it existed at the time. Barry creates a speed vortex and is able to absorb the energy from the Cannon into his own body as he becomes one with the Speed Force, saving the universe at the cost of his life.

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3 605 VOTES

The Death and Return of Jason Todd

The Death and Return of Jason ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 14 Most Emotional Moments in DC Comics History
Photo:  DC Comics

The second Robin, Jason Todd, is a bit of a controversial figure. Following in the footsteps of Dick Grayson, now Nightwing, he was never really as popular as his teenage dreamboat predecessor. This gave Dennis O'Neil, the editor for Batman at the time, an idea and thus the infamous storyline Batman: A Death in the Family was born. After a visually brutal beating at the hands of the Joker - who leaves Robin to die in an explosion at the end of the second issue of the four-issue arc - there were two 1-900 numbers listed, allowing fans to vote on whether Jason Todd lived or died. 

Jason Todd's death was determined by a 72-vote margin and was met with shock, awe, and outrage by fans, the media, and even comic creators.

This had never been done in comics before and DC stuck to the fan vote. Until post-Crisis times at the hands of Judd Winick and his arc Under the Hood, Jason stayed dead. Hood revolves around the identity of a new Red Hood that made his rounds in Gotham City, only to be revealed to be an emotionally charged Jason Todd who wants to effectively make Batman obsolete by taking lethal measures when fighting crime, presumably so another Robin doesn't have to go through what he did.

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4 603 VOTES

The Paralysis and Implied Rape of Barbara Gordon

The Paralysis and Implied Rape... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 14 Most Emotional Moments in DC Comics History
Photo:  DC Comics

In one of the darkest stories in the DC lexicon, The Killing Joke, the Joker strives to drive Commissioner Gordon into madness. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland take a psychological approach to the one-shot, giving the Joker an origin story, showing how everyone is just one bad day away from becoming a psychotic monster. That is the Joker's mission here - to make Gordon experience that one bad day by attacking that which he holds most dear: his daughter, Barbara.

During the Joker's torture of Gordon, it's revealed that Barbara was photographed nude and bloody on the floor in some of the most disturbing images ever published in comics, making readers speculate if Barbara was raped by the Joker.

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