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Comic book heroes killing innocent people?
October 18, 2011 10:02 AM   Subscribe

The hero thinks he killed an innocent -- examples of this trope in comic books or comic book movies? Couldn't find it on tvtropes.org

It seems age old but I can only think of one example, The Punisher - War Zone movie. But I'm sure I've read it a dozen times where the hero thinks they killed an innocent person only to find out that

(a) the person actually wasn't innocent, or
(b) the person was innocent but not killed by the hero--it was a frame-up, or
(c) the person was killed by the hero only to miraculously show up not dead later, they were only seriously wounded.

Any examples of this from comic book literature? Bonus points if it's a print comic featuring Punisher!
posted by arniec to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Battlestar Gallatica when Apollo shoots down the Olympic Carrier in early first season. (the series treats the ship as a probable enemy/ "non-innocent" but for dramatic purposes the ambiguity is stressed / Apollo deals with the guilt of possibly killing 1000+ innocents)
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:16 AM on October 18, 2011


An innocent child's apparent death was the main cause of the Return of The Monster storyline from The Incredible Hulk.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:19 AM on October 18, 2011


Oh, oh! Another BSG example, during the first season when Baltar accuses the public relations dude Doral of being a cylon but the audience knows Baltar has no proof/good reason to suspect Doral. Doral is abandoned with his innocence still an element of dramatic irony until we learn he actually is a Cylon at the end of the miniseries. Not sure if that's a good example or not...
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:21 AM on October 18, 2011


Not quite right example: in Angel Season 5, Wesley kills his father when he threatens Fred, but it later turns out the father was a robot fake. Still, the damage was done: Wesley was obviously willing to kill his own father.

Also, this trope was used to comedic effect in The Simpsons, in one of the Treehouses of Terror. During a zombie invasion, Homer kills zombie Flanders, not because he was a zombie, but because he was Flanders. ("Dad, you killed zombie Flanders!" "He was a zombie?")
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:37 AM on October 18, 2011


The recent (as in a few years ago) Dan Slott She-Hulk run had a story in which She-Hulk (in regular human form) was doing disaster recovery work in the town that she (in Hulk Smash! enraged She-Hulk form in a previous Avengers story) had destroyed. The workers came across a corpse and she was sick with grief until it came out that it had been a murder; someone had used the chaos to make look like a directly She-Hulk-related killing.
posted by Zed at 10:50 AM on October 18, 2011


The set-up to Season 3 of Dexter is relevant here: Dexter kills a man in self-defense, and that's the first time Dexter has ever killed someone unknown to him.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:50 AM on October 18, 2011


In Buffy season six Warren tricks Buffy into thinking she's killed a girl while fighting a demon in "Dead Things".
posted by winna at 11:03 AM on October 18, 2011


The '80s DC (post Crisis) crossover event Legends has as a subplot how Captain Marvel apparently kills a a hugely sized new villain instead of subduing him, but it is all part of Drakseid's plan to humiliate the Earth heroes and possibly take over the planet.

A recent spin on same, again by DC, was seen in Justice League: Generation Lost (this was before the current post-Flashpoint universe). Substitute Maxwell Lord for the baddie, Captain Atom for the framed up and Magog and lots of bystanders for the (truly and very, in this case) dead innocent. Lord was mind controlling Magog to make him go suicide-nuclear, Atom was unable to absorb the whole of the humongous explosion. Lord also mind-tricked every witness to see Atom as dealing a killing blow and causing the explosion.
posted by Iosephus at 11:35 AM on October 18, 2011


Gwen Stacy.

Peter Parker bore a huge load of guilt for her death, even though arguably it wasn't his fault.

For those not familiar with the canon, the Green Goblin threw her off the top of a bridge. Spiderman hit her with a web to stop her from falling, but the force of pulling her up broke her neck. So even though it was really Norman Osbourne's fault, Peter Parker saw himself as the proximate cause of her death. (Also because Osbourne wouldn't have had her there were it not for Parker.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:37 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


This happened in The Iron Giant. The giant robot believed he had been made to fall on his human friend and kill him, and the grief caused him to go on a berserk spree of destruction. But it turns out that the kid survived.
posted by Vorteks at 12:36 PM on October 18, 2011


Also, I'm probably stretching the definition of "comic book", but the way Simba from Disney's The Lion King believed he was responsible for killing his father definitely comes to mind.
posted by Vorteks at 12:43 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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