10 Comic Books Where Evil Won

Both Marvel and DC have ended their comics on some particularly dour notes.

Spider-Man One More Day Mary Jane
Marvel Comics

It would be a huge mistake to think of comics as being predictable, but at least when in respect to the superhero genre, it's a given that most readers will go into a comic expecting good to triumph over evil.

Sure, there'll be trials and tribulations that may leave a mark (this is the modern age of comics after all), but the thought of having a hero lose and it be the ending isn't something I'd wager too many readers contemplate when in the thrall of a given story, despite plenty of comics having done just that over the last 30-40 years.

Yes, in the case of Marvel and DC the status quo will eventually resume, but the heroes and supporting characters of those respective universes still often have to reckon with some truly awful consequences committed by a villain or some other evil force.

Things can be even bleaker away from the confines of the Big Two and superhero books in general as well, with noir tales from Frank Miller and Image Comics collaborators Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips conforming to a genre tradition in ending on devastating and all too often tragic notes.

These endings vary in terms of their own effectiveness and staying power, but one thing's for sure: they all have a spectacular ability to bum you out.

10. Memetic

Spider-Man One More Day Mary Jane
Boom! Studios / Erik Donovan

From Batman writer James Tynion IV and artists Erik Donovan and Adam Guzowski comes Memetic, a Boom! Studios comic replete with all the apocalyptic horror you could ever hope for.

The comic itself focuses on a number of characters but in particular a queer college student called Aaron, who's colourblind and has a hearing impairment.

Aaron's disability is what makes him immune to a new meme taking the world by storm called the Good Times Sloth, which, when viewed, makes those who see it experience intense sensations of joy. However, it soon transpires that anyone who views the meme begins to bleed from their eyes and scream uncontrollably, losing all control and becoming violent against all those who aren't also screaming their lungs out.

The world descends into chaos, and while trying to find a cure for those who witnessed the meme Aaron's boyfriend Ryan reveals that he himself had seen it, which leads him to take his own life by jumping off a balcony. Things only get worse from there, with the Screamers evolving to transmit the meme's virus without any visuals necessary, which leads to the comic's other protagonists - Marcus, Peter and Meredith - all becoming infected, while all the other Screamers merge to form giant human-meat-towers with nothing but their faces intact.

Yep...

Our heroes eventually find the creator of the meme, but any hope for a cure disappears once he kills himself, with all his other computers destroyed. Meredith decides to take her own life at this point, while Marcus transforms into a Screamer, and Aaron willingly assimilates himself into the human tower nightmare because he feels left out.

Memetic's ridiculously bleak conclusion is capped off by an alien vessel descending onto the planet, which serves as the cherry on top of the proverbial depression cake it serves up from start to end.

Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Talks about stuff @EwanRuinsThings