10 Emotional Gut-Punch Moments in Comics of 2013
Sometimes, sequential art stories and characters can be so well-crafted, so involving and so unexpected that they give you the emotional equivalent of a gut-punch, right in the ol' feels. They break your heart, make you misty-eyed, leave you saying "but… but… ?!" or just find a way to devastate you… or at least make your jaw drop while trying to process what you've just read. So here are some of the most affecting comic book moments of 2013, as compiled by Iann Robinson and myself. Feel free to suggest your own!
CHROMEDOME WOULD RATHER FORGET YOU THAN MOURN YOU
Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #16 (James Roberts, Agustin Padilla)
Roberts has done an amazing thing by introducing the concept of love to genderless robots, which allows for wrenching moments like this one. The analagous term for marriage among Cybertronians is "conjunx endura," which is when two mechs share their 'innermost energon' with each other as a symbolic gesture – save for those who are 'born dry,' like Chromedome. He is a mnemosurgeon, capable of exploring and altering people's memories, and Rewind is an archivist, whose whole being is devoted to the documentation and preservation of history, and thus they make for a weirdly complementary couple. We learned at the end of last year that meeting Rewind saved Chromedome from killing himself, but after the rampage of the unstoppably evil Overlord throughout their ship (for which Chromedome was inadvertently partially responsible), it took a heroic sacrifice by Rewind to save the crew from any further murders. In the aftermath, this conversation happens with Brainstorm that twists the knife.
And that goodbye message from Rewind is a strong enough expression of love that Chromedome finds the strength to endure the pain rather than erase it. For the first time in his life.
OTTO OCTAVIUS WIPES PETER PARKER OUT OF HIS OWN MIND
Superior Spider-Man #9 (Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman)
This was a double nut slap from Dan Slott. First, the crushing of Peter Parker out of Doc Ock’s psyche. When Peter was trapped in his brain, Slott painted it as if our hero would rise above once again. Ock’s destruction of Parker allowed for a shroud to fall over the notion of Peter’s return. Now there was no reminder of Peter Parker, causing all fans to question if he’d ever return. Second, Slott had Ock defeat Peter is such a harsh and cruel way, it struck a serious emotional chord.
60 YEARS OF WAGING WAR AMOUNTS TO EXACTLY SQUAT
Fury: My War Gone By #13 (Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov)
Nick Fury, Man of Action, who all men want to be and all women want to bang. That's how this series seemed to start, but as time and war after war wore on, from Indo-China to Korea to Cuba to Vietnam to Nicaragua, decades spent in the thick of the shit all around the globe took the shine off of that image, and all that's left is a broken-down Cold Warrior whose life's work accomplished a whole lot of nothing. After finding out he's been dancing to the tune of a smarmy senator who ruined both his and his best girl's lives thanks to his addiction to the fight, and attending the funeral of a friend whose family hates him for not having the kind of courage to visit him in the hospital ("he wouldn't be able to handle people dying without having something to fight"), he visits the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and runs into Letrong Giap, a man who was once his hated enemy during that war. Now, they are just two old men circling the drain, and Giap lays this on Fury's head.
BRUCE WAYNE HATES COMMISSIONER GORDON
Batman Zero Year #26 (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo
Batman and Commissioner Gordon have always been best buds. Sure, maybe at the beginning, Jim Gordon kept a watchful eye on the Dark Knight, but not vice versa. Batman has always thought Jim Gordon was aces, right? Nope. Not in Scott Snyder’s world. In Snyder’s epic retelling of Batman’s origin, Bruce Wayne hates Commissioner Gordon. Why? Well, because he thinks Gordon is a dirty cop. There is also a hidden secret concerning the night Wayne’s parents were murdered. The friendship of Gordon and Batman is a cornerstone to the entire canon. Seeing it derailed this way was shocking.
DAVID HALLER RECONCILES WITH HIS MOTHER ONLY TO IMMEDIATELY WATCH HER DIE
X-Men Legacy #15 (Simon Spurrier, Tan Eng Huat)
Much had been made about the man they derisively call "Legion" and his tumultuous relationship with his father, Charles Xavier, but X-Men Legacy also built up some serious anticipation of just what happened with his mother, Israeli Ambassador Gabrielle Haller. She couldn't handle the insane world of superpowers and wanted no part of it, but her son was stuck with it as soon as Xavier learned the boy was his – apparently never considering the possibility that David might prefer her world to his father's madhouse. After mending fences as well as giving her son some important clarity regarding his fractured psyche, Gabrielle helped David achieve peace of mind at long last. For about the length of a breath. The sheer suddenness of what followed was stunning, driving home David's sense of being trapped in a life he hates, forever denying him any sense of normality.