6 Psychotic Punishments Doled Out by Famous Superheroes

#3. Daredevil Plays Russian Roulette With a Quadriplegic Foe


The issue begins with Daredevil sneaking into the prison hospital room of his enemy Bullseye, who hasn't been seen since he gave DD's ex-lover Elektra the Raphael Special with her own sai. Naturally, Daredevil sought to avenge her death, leading to a fight that ended with Bullseye falling multiple stories to the street below. Now completely paralyzed, Bullseye can only watch in horror as Daredevil takes out a pistol ...

Daredevil #191
"To make me look super fucking cool. Blam blam, pew pew pew!"

... and begins playing a game of Russian roulette with him.

Daredevil #191
"Now I'm going to read to you a poem I wrote about my dad."

Over the course of the issue, Daredevil relates a depressing story while alternating turns between himself and Bullseye. Tension mounts as pages fly by and the chambers of the gun click empty, one by one. Finally, Daredevil concludes his tale and readies the sixth and final turn, which of course is Bullseye's to take. Carefully aiming the pistol at a face that can't even turn away, Daredevil squeezes the trigger ...

Daredevil #191

... and nothing happens, because the gun was never loaded.

Daredevil #191
At least not with the letter C.

Why's That So Bad?

Shooting someone is bad, and it sure is great that Daredevil didn't do that, but psychologically torturing someone who can't move or even speak for hours isn't exactly work fit for a superhero. Bullseye is presented with two possible outcomes, one of them welcome (watching his greatest foe splatter his own brains all over the wall). The other, death, is terrifying, yet arguably favorable as well, offering release from the prison his body has become. Instead, after listening to a long sob story that, as a sociopath, he's by definition incapable of caring about, Bullseye receives the only outcome that's truly a complete loss for him: no change, except probably the need for a new catheter. If you're still not convinced, try replacing Daredevil and Bullseye with two random guys, and see how quickly it becomes a thriller/horror story.

Daredevil #191
"Now, we're going to play the same thing, only with a knife."

#2. The Flash Forces Zoom to Rewatch the Worst Moment of His Life Forever


Once a respected FBI profiler, Hunter Zolomon's misdiagnosis of a serial killer led to his father-in-law being killed and his wife leaving him. Then he befriended the Flash, only to be crippled by one of Flash's enemies. Rather than accepting the shit sandwich life dealt him, Hunter asked Flash to go back in time using his cosmic treadmill -- an actual treadmill that Flash built that helps him go back in time (comics are stupid) -- and prevent his crippling. Flash refused, so Hunter tried using the stupid freaking treadmill to do it himself. This led to an explosion (sure), which led to Hunter gaining chronal powers that made him even faster than the Flash (fine) at the cost of creating little rips in time and windows to the past (comics are stupid).

The Flash v2 #200
Wait, is that Stallone in the third panel?

Deciding that Flash's refusal to help was due to him not having experienced true loss, Hunter renamed himself Zoom and set about tormenting Flash's friends and family, ostensibly to make him a better hero. Unable to defeat his former friend in a fight, the Flash finally resorted to shoving Zoom headfirst into one of the time windows, effectively putting him into suspended animation.

The Flash v2 #200
It's like a swirlie, only with time.

Why's That So Bad?

A permanent coma from which the victim can't be awakened isn't so terrible; it's that he's stuck watching, on constant loop, whatever was going on in that particular window. And this one just happened to be showing the moment Hunter assured his wife that their perp would not be armed, only to watch his father-in-law/mentor be shot in the head right in front of him, followed by being shot in the knee himself.

The Flash v2 #200
Nothing like a perpetual "I told you so" from the universe to really humble a man.

Imagine the absolute worst moment of your life -- when you were in that terrible car accident, the day your fiance dumped you, that time you saw your parents having sex -- then magnify it by 10. Then imagine your eyes are being held open, a la A Clockwork Orange, while that moment is replayed in front of you over and over, forever. Also, it was your former best friend who did it to you. Hard to believe the entire thing could've been avoided by a careful viewing of Back to the Future II.

#1. Mister Fantastic Turns POWs into COWs


If hopelessly fucking up a space mission and walking away with superpowers and being adored by millions will foster a healthy ego, Reed Richards is the kind of rich genius who looked at that ego and said, "Yes, I'll have some of that, please. A little more. You know what, just leave the bottle." When the high that comes from having people call you "Mister Fantastic" with a straight face wears off, you've got to do something to replace it, and alien invasion + bored genius = opportunity! That was the case early in the Fantastic Four's career, when they successfully repelled a race of alien shape-changers called the Skrulls but were left with three captives. Noting that "no jail could hold them," Reed's solution was to force his prisoners to take the form of cows, then hypnotize them and ship them off to a random farm in upstate New York.

Fantastic Four #2
Where they excelled at shitting and blank stares.

Why's That So Bad?

On the surface, that just sounds like typical Silver Age goofiness. Where it gets disturbing is when you realize Richards didn't command the Skrulls to look and act like cows; he hypnotized them into thinking they were cows. Taking a group of beings with human intelligence or greater and knocking their IQ down to that of nature's most grillable animal is the equivalent of psychic lobotomy, since Richards had no intention of ever reversing it. Considering that's basically how One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ended, someone should've been out there with a few pillows sending those once-mighty conquerors to Skrull Valhalla. (Skrulhalla?)

Fantastic Four #2
"But first, pull my finger!"

Still, being a cow isn't so bad. After all, what do we tend to do to cattle? If you said "Milk them," you're right. If you said "Kill them, slice them into cuts of meat and eat them," you are also correct! And you're not even a supergenius. Which is why it's so odd that Richards wasn't keeping tabs on these alien cows he created, allowing them to be mixed in with regular cattle and sent to a slaughterhouse.

Skrull Kill Krew #2
"I don't have a thesaurus. Is 'justice' a synonym for 'cruel and unusual punishment'?"

The meat would be consumed by many people, some of whom died. Others developed superpowers and a fatal neurological disorder and decided to seek revenge by exterminating all Skrulls. But really -- when you eat tainted pork, do you declare jihad on pigs, or blame the farmer who allowed his diseased swine to be butchered? Richards may not have killed the Skrulls, but he made them stupid, left them in a prime position to be killed and decided it wasn't worth his time to keep an eye on them. The only question is who had it worse: the Skrulls, or the people who unknowingly ate alien flesh?

Skrull Kill Krew #2
Yeah, we're gonna go with the flesh one.

Until remembering Simpsons quotes is a paid position (with benefits), Drew Anderson writes things on the Internet. You can read his food reviews here and his movie reviews here.

For more superhero actions that left us speechless, check out The 5 Creepiest Sex Scenes in Comics and The 6 Most Ridiculous Superhero Weaknesses.

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