10 DC Comics That Will Break Your Heart

There’s a saying in the comic industry that comics will break one’s heart. This is mostly meant to apply to the business side, but it can equally talk about the stories themselves. DC Comics fans know that better than anyone. For years, DC has been on the leading edge of making comics art and has gone the extra mile when it comes to injecting pathos into their books.



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There are some heartbreaking DC books out there, whether they be single issues or entire series. These comics have made their fans shed a tear for various reasons and showed that comics are about more than action and excitement.

10 Doomsday Clock Is Heartbreaking For All The Wrong Reasons

Sometimes, a comic can be sad because of the squandered potential within. That’s doomsday clock in a nutshell. Written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank, the book was supposed to close out the plotline from D.C. Rebirth #1 that Doctor Manhattan created the New 52, but its delays and the general aimlessness of the plot ruined everything.

It felt more like Johns wanted to do a “cool” Watchmen/DC crossover and try to write like Alan Moore more than actually tell a story. Not everyone enjoyed the initial idea, but a lot of fans did, so the fact it got so badly botched was heartbreaking for many DC readers.

9 Heroes In Crisis Was Heartbreaking For Two Reasons

Heroes In Crisis, by writer Tom King and artists Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads, have two reasons to be heartbreaking. For fans of Wally West, it was pretty blatant character assassination, yet another salvo in then DC boss Dan DiDio’s vendetta against ex-sidekicks like West and Dick Grayson.

However, from a story standpoint, the way King dealt with the mental health aspects of various heroes really put into focus just how much of an emotional toll being a superhero takes on the characters fans love. The best parts of the story were the issues and pages devoted to Sanctuary as a concept, all culminating in West’s accidental murder of his friends over the loss of his family. King made readers feel that despair, and it worked brilliantly.

8 Batman (Vol. 3) #50 Was A Step Back In Batman And Catwoman’s Relationship

Speaking of Tom King and heartbreak, Batman (Vol. 3) #50, with art by Mikel Janin, was supposed to be the pay-off to Batman and Catwoman’s relationship. King had put the two together and spent a couple of years finally allowing Batman to be happy. However, issue 50 pulled the rug out from under readers, as Catwoman left Batman at the altar, manipulated by the Joker and Bane.

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A lot of fans were heartbroken by this moment. Some even rage-quit the book, forgetting that King had multiple issues left in the run. Fans loved the relationship and Batman being happy, so this issue hit them right in their hearts.

7 The Valerie Section Of V For Vendetta Reduces Readers To Tears

When it comes to social commentary in a comic, few books are as timeless as V For Vendetta, by writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd. There are a lot of sad moments in the comic, but none of them can hold a candle to the section of the book titled “Valerie.” This section tells the story of Valerie, a lesbian woman caught up in the beginning of Norsefire, imprisoned and experimented upon.

Valerie’s tale, of a woman who finds happiness being who she is only to have her identity used to victimize her, is brutal. It stays with readers long after they’ve read it. It’s a story of happiness, horror, and triumph; its pain infused with pride. It’s beautiful in the best and worst ways and even more timely now than ever.

6 Swamp Thing #52 Gives Readers A Reunion Before Ripping It Apart

Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing is among the best-written horror books ever. One of the book’s cornerstones is the relationship between Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane. When Abby was arrested in Gotham for indecency because of their relationship, Swamp Thing attacked the city. The military tried to stop him, to no avail, before calling in Lex Luthor.

Issue 52, with art by John Totleben, saw the end of Swamp Thing’s attack, with the city caving to Swamp Thing. As Abby and Swamp Thing reunite, Lex’s plan is put into motion. He drove Swamp Thing’s consciousness from the Earth, and he fell apart in front of the horrified Abby, a heartrending moment for fans.

5 Identity Crisis #1 Builds Up Elongated Man And Sue’s Relationship Only To Tear It Apart

Identity Crisis is one of DC’s darkest comics, with a lot of its content hurting the comic even more as time has gone on. Written by Brad Meltzer with art by Rags Morales, the story goes to some terrible places, but the first issue is still genuinely affecting and heartbreaking. It sees Elongated Man and Firehawk on a stakeout and Ralph talking about his relationship with Sue.

It really captures their relationship and how much the two love each other, making it all the more painful to readers when she’s killed later in the issue. Later issues of the book include the fact that Sue Dibney was raped, the worst aspect of the book, and the whole thing is an example of fridging, but that doesn’t change how heartbreaking the first issue is.

4 Infinite Crisis’s Killing Of Earth-2 Lois Lane And Superman Is Painful

Earth-2 Superman is the original Kryptonian hero, the character who started it all. I have saved creation in Crisis On Infinite Earths, and he and Lois went on to retirement. InfiniteCrisis, by writer Geoff Johns and artists Phil Jimenez, George Pèrez, and Ivan Reis, brought the duo back and their plot. However, Superman trying to get Earth-2 back to save Lois ended in tragedy.

Lois died of old age after Earth-2 was recreated and then Earth-2 Superman died battling Superboy-Prime. It was a sad end for both of them, a symbolic death of the past, and one that helps form the emotional core of the story.

3 The Sandman: The Kindly Ones Is One Heart Break After Another

The Sandman is the pinnacle of the comic art form, with multiple stories that profoundly affect readers. The most heartbreaking story is the penultimate one, “The Kindly Ones,” by writer Neil Gaiman and artist Marc Hempel. Lyta Hall, her son de ella Daniel stolen from her, makes a deal with the Fates to go after Dream, who she believes kidnaped him.

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What follows is a broken woman brutally slaughtering the denizens of the Dreaming, characters fans know and love, for revenge. It all ends with Dream deciding to kill himself rather than let his realm get torn apart. It gets even sadder when it’s revealed that the whole thing was a form of drawn-out suicide, committed by a distraught Dream after he mercy-killed his son.

two Preacher Is More Poignant Than Its Reputation Would Lead One To Believe

preacher, by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, is a classic. It’s known for being shockingly violent, profane, and blasphemous; a travelogue through the soul of America by two Irishmen. In its sixty-six-issue run, the book broke readers’ hearts multiple times.

From how Jesse’s parents died and his terrible upbringing, the truth behind Cassidy, that time that Tulip got shot in the head, and so much more, Ennis and Dillon served up a heaping helping of sadness alongside the rest. It’s a multi-faceted masterpiece and a book that everyone should read.

1 Animal Man #20 Dealt With The Aftermath Of The Bakers’ Death

Writer Grant Morrison wrote amazing stories at DC and their run on Animal Man contained many of them. As far as heartbreaking goes, Animal Man #20, with art by Chas Truog, immediately springs to mind. In the previous issue, Animal Man came home to find his family of him brutally murdered, and issue 20 deals with the aftermath of that terrible event.

This issue captured the listless despair of Buddy Baker, trying to come to terms with the most terrible event imaginable. Morrison digs into Buddy’s grief for the next five issues, but this one is the most savage.

NEXT: 10 Mistakes That Still Haunt The Justice League

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