10 Most Controversial DC Comics Choices

Split image of Hal Jordan and Ric Grayson in DC Comics

DC Comics is no stranger to controversy. After decades of major events, making choices left their fanbase polarized was inevitable. Though some of DC’s choices might be unpopular, several of their most controversial comics have led to some of DC Comics’ highest sales over the last two decades.

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Whether it’s Identity Crisis or Heroes in Crisis, DC isn’t afraid to make big changes that grab people’s attention. Sometimes that means turning a hero into a villain, other times it means retconning their entire universe’s history. Good or bad, DC seems unafraid to take risks to keep its books from getting stale.

10 Wally West Killed People At Sanctuary

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Heroes in Crisis had a lot of questionable elements to it, from cheesecake-inspired art to outing superheroes going through therapy. The most frustrating part by far, though, was its “murder mystery” element. Once again, DC dropped the ball on a major mystery when it revealed the killer.

This time, it turned out the recently-returned Wally West had killed several heroes and villains. Though it was clarified as an accident, it still turned every ’90s DC fan’s favorite Flash into a mass murderer. Fortunately, the recent Infinite CrisisFlash run has retconned this storyline into a Reverse-Flash plot.

9 Removing Stephanie Brown From The Bat-Family Was a Mistake

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The mid-2000s are littered with decisions DC never should have made. Their mishandling of Stephanie Brown upset Bat-Family fans in particular. Stephanie had been introduced within the pages of Tim Drake’s Robin series as Spoiler, but over time she came into her own. Even after Tim and Stephanie broke up, she continued her superhero work, first as Spoiler, then Robin.

Once Batman fired her, though, Stephanie proved she was willing to do anything to earn her way back. Batman: War Games is enough of an insult to Stephanie’s fans because it made her responsible for a massive gang war in Gotham. Far worse, though, was her capture and torture by Black Mask. She was quickly written out and DC tried to forget about her, with only strong fan support reviving her and making her the next Batgirl.

8 Hal Jordan Went From Hero To Villain

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Hal Jordan wearing many rings in DC Comics

There’s nothing wrong with Emerald Twilight‘s basic goal of trying to reinvigorate Green Lantern by introducing a new character. Kyle Rayner’s ongoing series made a big deal out of the legacy lost with the Green Lantern Corps missing, giving Kyle’s adventures a grander feeling to them.

The problem emerged in the story’s execution. Turning the main Green Lantern fans had known for thirty years into a supervillain was enough. Having him injure several of the most powerful members of the Green Lantern Corps in the process was even worse. Even Kyle’s fans believed Hal deserved better than this cruel write-off.

7 Bringing Back Barry Allen Made The Flash Stories All About Him

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Flash running in DC's New 52

More than any other group in the DC Universe, the Flash comics are about family. The Flash Family have achieved more together than they have apart, even when Wally was easily the fastest Flash.

When DC brought back Barry Allen though, that changed almost immediately. Suddenly the Flash universe was only about Barry. Flashpoint cemented it by destroying Barry’s relationship with every other Flash, leaving only himself. For Flash fans, this represented an absolute low point, stripping away the legacy that made Flash so unique.

6 Aging Up Jonathan Kent Stopped Readers From Enjoying Super-Sons

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Jon Kent and Damian Wayne hanging out in DC Comics

Teaming up Jon Kent with Damian Wayne made for fun, all-ages comics in the Rebirth era. Their adventures together captured the experience readers want from superhero comics, making them one of the better elements of the current DC Universe.

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For whatever reason, the Superman comics aged Jonathan Kent up. Though Jon Kent has some pretty great comics as a young adult, it robbed readers of more adventures from a young Superboy. While the writers might have been tired of telling stories about Superman’s ten-year-old son, readers sure weren’t tired of reading about them.

5 Batman & Catwoman Didn’t Quite Get Married

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Tom King’s Batman run might not have been perfect, but Batman and Catwoman finally admitting their feelings for one another was undeniably popular. Over the course of dozens of issues, King weaves a tale of one of the best DC romances that makes all but the most skeptical root for the two costumed lovers to get together.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Despite building up the idea to the point that they even marketed a marriage to Batman’s fans, the couple never tied the knot. Instead, their marriage was addressed in a noncanonical miniseries that wrapped up Tom King’s Batman, but left fans of the Bat and the Cat frustrated as the relationship dwindled to nothing.

4 The Justice League International Seemed Like A Joke

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The League Greets The UN In Justice League International in DC Comics

All the stories surrounding Infinite Crisis seemed dedicated to making the Justice League International’s era into a joke. They made it seem like the JLI was so stupid they couldn’t figure out Max Lord was evil, while also making it seem like they were never the “real” Justice League. JLI members couldn’t even get the new League to return their calls.

The Justice League International run was a must-read at the time and its heroes seemed to be in on the joke. The mid-2000s changed things so that the members of the JLI were now being laughed at by other heroes, instead of laughing with everyone else. In-universe, it made no sense since most of the “real” heroes eventually joined the JLI. For readers, it felt like fans were being mocked for enjoying those comics in the first place.

3 Pairing Superman And Wonder Woman Together

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>A split image of Wonder Woman kissing Superman and Lois and Superman in DC Comics

The New 52 had a lot of problems at its beginning, from its inscrutable timeline to changes fans never wanted to see. They quickly established the end of Lois Lane’s and Clark Kent’s marriage by giving Lois a new boyfriend. It wasn’t long before Clark was in a relationship too, with Wonder Woman.

The idea of a relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman had been broached before, not long after the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot. It was generally viewed as a “too much power” couple, though. It felt like they both lost too much of their humanity by dating each other. Losing the Superman & Lois marriage just to try out a relationship that hadn’t worked very well before didn’t sit well with most fans.

2 Ric Grayson Was A Thing

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Ric Grayson fights his enemies in DC Comics' Nightwing (2016)

Sometimes it feels like comics deliberately introduce bad ideas just to make fans appreciate the good ones. Just before Infinite Crisis, DC went for a new idea with Nightwing. After being shot by the KGBeast, Nightwing lost all his memories from the moment he was adopted by Bruce. This led to Dick leaving the superheroic life, and even abandoning his own name.

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As “Ric” Grayson, the former Robin got into the exciting world of taxi cab driving. Meanwhile, a collection of other people got into his old costumes and began getting into trouble by pretending to be Nightwing. This experiment lasted far too long, considering how no one ever wanted to see it to begin with.

1 The New 52 Rebooted The Entire DC Universe

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Pandora gets caught in the middle in Trinity War in DC Comics

The New 52 itself was a sales success. They even did a few things that the Infinite Frontier era could learn from. However, there’s little doubt the reboot was controversial. Making the heroes younger, eliminating romantic relationships, and erasing legacy characters made it very hard for longtime fans to stay on board.

For many young fans, the New 52 was their doorway into the DC Universe. However, while they gained a lot of fans, this also cemented DC’s reputation as the company that reboots all the time. Even with Infinite Frontier undoing everything and making most of the Post-Crisis canon again, things still aren’t fixed. Now fans just assume DC is always waiting to reboot, erasing everything they love without reason or warning.

NEXT: 10 Most Popular Superhero Designs In DC Comics


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