There are certain things that we’ve come to expect as comic book readers. The hero may struggle and suffer but will ultimately come out on top. The bottom line is justice will prevail and the good guys go home in the end. And the bad guys may make some advances and may win a few of the battles, but they will ultimately lose. These are tropes that make up the backbone of the comics medium.
Truly clever creators know how to turn those tropes on their heads and keep the readers guessing. They’ll bring back a character who couldn’t possibly come back, kill off someone who should never be killed, or make a background character into the most important figure in the world - just to keep the readers on their toes.
And the readers are along for the ride. They are willing participants. They accept what they have been told before, rely on the accepted trope, and never see the twist until it is right in front of them. Like the large hill on a roller coaster, the reader feels their heart drop as they turn the page or worse, are forced to wait a month until they can learn what happens next.
Here, are ten such examples of classic twists that even the most seasoned comic book fan didn't see coming.
10. The Truth About The Swamp Thing
There are few origins as tragic as the origin of the Swamp Thing. And as he goes on through his existence, he finds that what he thinks he knows about himself is wrong. He is not a man transformed. He isn’t a man at all. The creature that believed itself to be Alec Holland is quite literally a force of nature.
When scientist Alec was caught in a lab explosion and drenched in his Bio-Restorative Formula that would solve any nation’s food problem, he leaped into the swamp. The formula reacted with the vegetation in the swamp and Holland believed it transformed him into a hulking plant monster. He sought ways to get his human body back and was often opposed by Anton Arcane. After being captured by General Sunderland and experimented on by Jason Woodrue, it was discovered that Swamp Thing wasn’t Alec Holland at all. He was a plant creature with the consciousness and meteorites of Holland.
London magician John Constantine told Swamp Thing that he was the latest in the line of plant elementals and took him to the Parliament of Trees, where all the retired planet elementals reside. Constantine explained that Swamp Thing was an avatar of the Green, the elemental force that connects all plant life in the world and how to travel it around the world and beyond.