6 Psychotic Punishments Doled Out by Famous Superheroes

Comic book editors realized pretty early on that magazines aimed at kids shouldn't endorse things like, say, murder, so after a brief and misguided period of murderous heroes, all of our superheroes became strictly nonlethal. That remains largely true even today, but ironically, sometimes that unwavering moral code results in so-called heroes meting out far more cruel and unusual punishments than a quick, clean death. For instance ...

#6. Batman Captures an Immortal Villain, Blasts Him into Space


There's something about unkillable foes that gives superheroes license to be dicks. Green Lantern used to alternate between dumping Solomon Grundy on the moon and burying him miles underground. Maybe adhering to such rigid moral standards makes it really tempting to unload on people who can't die. That would explain why Batman has so much pent-up rage to unleash on Lord Death Man, a murderer who keeps resurrecting from fatal injuries like a Japanese Jason Voorhees.

Batman Incorporated Vol 1 2
"I know you can't tell from my facial expression, but just assume that I'm pissed off."

This is where we see Batman's true colors. Clearly making up for every time the Joker escaped from Arkham five minutes after being incarcerated, Batman takes advantage of his foe's immortality by dropping him off a building (please note: In the frame preceding the building-toss, it's clear that Batman has already thrown darts into both of Lord Death Man's eyes) ...

Batman Incorporated Vol 1 2
"Wait, I'm calling 'eternal life' a fate worse than death? That doesn't sound right. Anyway, I'm throwing you off a building."

... then letting Catwoman run him over with a truck, fold him up like a used napkin and lock him in a safe. Wile E. Coyote doesn't take that much abuse in your average Looney Toons short.

Batman Incorporated Vol 1 2
"I'm definitely wishing you guys had some sense of proportion."

To top it off, Batman arranges for Lord Death Man to be placed on a rocket and launched into space.

Why's That So Bad?

This guy is immortal, but has no other powers; there is no reason he can't be put in a regular jail. Also, it's not as if he can't feel pain and can't die; he can, he just resurrects after a little while, which means that he'll keep dying and resurrecting in an environment with no food, water or air. Forever. (Take that, due process of the law!) If you fancy the idea of returning to life every few minutes to find yourself instantly suffocating and freezing, with starvation pangs and a burning throat to boot, get on Batman's bad side.

Batman Incorporated Vol 1 2
"Oh hey, before you seal that thing, let's dump some cayenne pepper in his jock strap."

#5. Spider-Man Protests Euthanasia


One of Spidey's lamer villains, robotics expert Mendel Stromm, found himself being assimilated by an artificial intelligence he'd created. Now existing only as a disembodied head suspended in machinery, Stromm managed to summon Spider-Man and let him know that he was just barely able to exert some influence over the AI, keeping it from overrunning every network on Earth and crashing things like hospital equipment and air traffic computers. In doing so, he was in constant agony and knew the AI would soon overwhelm him. So he asked one final mercy of his old foe: to please kill him, ending both his suffering and the threat.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man v2 #28
"But before you do, could you scratch right above my left eye? I can't take it anymore."

Unfortunately for Stromm, his archenemy was Spider-Man, rather than, say, Iron Man, who'd have yanked that plug faster than the cork on a bottle of 1975 Chateau Lafite. But Peter Parker wasn't bitten by a radioactive pair of testicles, so he first refused and then just promised to consider it. Later he posed it as a hypothetical question to his Aunt May ... who basically told him to sack up and do the deed. Rather than listening to the sweet, kindly old lady advocating euthanasia, Peter instead uploaded a computer program that would put Stromm and the AI to sleep until he could figure out a way to save one while shutting down the other.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man v2 #28
"Hey, buddy, can you make me some sort of prank loop program?" "Sure, here you go!"

Why's That So Bad?

Isn't that just the equivalent of a medically induced coma? Not quite, since the last page illustrates why you don't outsource saving the world: Spider-Man's friend fucked up the program. Stromm's mind is still conscious in some kind of desolate cyberworld, like being in the Matrix if you were literally the only person in it. Worse, though, is Spider-Man vowing he'll work nonstop to free this poor bastard. His exact words are "I won't rest until that happens. I'll come back for you, Stromm ... I promise." That's in 2001. The next time Stromm is mentioned? 2007, when he's rescued by the FBI. Meanwhile, Spider-Man handles such pressing matters as playing Trivial Pursuit ...

Peter Parker: Spider-Man v2 #30
"OK, the question is 'Who did you forget about leaving in a hellish limbo while you fucked off with your friends?'"

... going to baseball games ...

Peter Parker: Spider-Man v2 #33
"And batting third is most definitely not the guy you left in complete mental torture several months ago."

... and getting his mosh on at spring break.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man v2 #42
"Please welcome to the stage Stromm Headguy and the Not Suffering Robot Bodies!"

We're just saying, Iron Man would've killed him 20 times by now, or at the very least not left him in the waking nightmare that is a conscious semi-coma of paralysis.

#4. The Justice League Banishes the Crime Syndicate to Limbo Forever


The Crime Syndicate of America is basically the evil-twin version of every good superhero in the Justice League.

Secret Society of Super-Villains #13
It was the closest we'd ever get to seeing Wonder Woman make out with herself.

These jerks came from a universe where evil was good, American Christopher Columbus discovered Europe and Superman ate kryptonite (probably). Naturally the Justice League triumphed, because it was the '60s and comics literally would not be sold on newsstands if the good guys didn't win.

After the battle, the Justice League was faced with the decision of what to do with these chumps, because alternate universes are tricky and killing them might cause you to disappear yourself or turn into a dog or something. Eventually the League settled on the most humane solution, which was to encase them in a 15-inch-diameter bubble and chuck it into a limbo dimension between worlds. And put up a bunch of signs in various languages warning anyone who came near not to set them free.

Justice League of America #30
"Sir, our illustrators don't know any other languages."
"Just scribble. That'll look foreign enough for our readers."

Why's That So Bad?

It starts to get dicey when you realize that this wasn't a temporary holding cell but a permanent prison -- the CSA was put in there in 1964 and not seen again until 1978, still trapped in that damn bubble. Nor was there any kind of suspended animation at play, since later stories show them talking and moving around inside. Presumably there was something about how the dimension keeps them from needing to eat or drink. Or something about how there aren't any toilets in the bubble.

All-Star Squadron #14
"It's not a metaphor. If we don't get out soon, I'm going to literally fill this bubble with super shit."

Beyond bodily functions, however, there's the matter of mental stimulation. No books, no contact whatsoever with the outside world. There's sure as hell no room for exercise in that bubble. Think about it: Our most hardened criminals in solitary confinement, the worst degenerates society has to offer, usually get at least a little time and room to stretch their legs. Hell, even Hannibal Lecter got to walk around a gymnasium on a leash, and that dude ate fucking faces!

Of course, the CSA does have each other to talk to, so to approximate that, imagine being locked in a tiny room for years with the four biggest assholes you know. Also, you're a massive asshole, too. People have gone insane in better conditions than that.

Justice League of America #209
"What? Dude, I didn't even say anything to you. You're scaring us."

They could all take turns having sex with each other, but, Christ, one of them is named "Johnny Quick" and another has an owl on his head; it'd get old, not to mention really weird, pretty fast.

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