There are certain things you might see when reading a comic book that'll make you say, "Oh, s&%#! Did he just do that?"
Don't forget to use the spoiler tag where appropriate. You don't want to give too much away, now. Some of us haven't read them yet.
Comics with their own pages
Jeff Smax trying to arrest a cosmic-level villain who's taken out several of his fellow officers, taking her best shots and getting up again- while reading her her Miranda rights ("Okay. Let's go through that again.").
Smax: Sir? Permission to use extreme force.
Captain Jetman: Break her Â£$%&ing neck, son.
Smax: * calmly* Yessir.
Dust Devil facing down Lomax/Hound in his own base, about to get run over by the Houndmobile— "However you wanna play it, hombre. Slap leather." —and shooting the engine out of the car, then calmly picking up his hat, dusting himself off and reporting that "the Hound got collared".
Joe Pi demonstrating that he doesn't have a future as a siege negotiator by "accidentally" convincing Atoman to kill himself. Atoman is practically immortal and would barely age by the time any prison sentence was up, but without his other powers (which would have been suppressed while in prison), he was unlikely to find his stay in prison very enjoyable..
When he, in his first day on the job, identified Dr. Incredible's body and had the perp in the car roughly three minutes after arriving on scene. Then got her to waive her right to attorney and confess back at the station.
His humiliation of the bigoted Shock-Headed Peter was also great.
From the Top 10 spinoff Smax, the dragon Morningbright describes himself to Smax before incinerating the girl Smax is protecting, burning her hand into the "Maiden's Mark" he carries on his chest.
Morningbright: You see, it's like this. In the beginning, God created me... Then he made the universe, from what was left. You will never forget this next moment.
Smax going into battle against Morningbright many years later, armed only with his singing sword (which was singing "Dancing Queen", by the way). After rising victorious, the girl's spirit kisses him on the cheek and lifts the Maiden's Mark.
For the record: he didn't kill Morningbright, Robyn did. Using science. And it was awesome.
In The Forty Niners The Maid, Joanna Dark, blessing the city's reservoir so that all the water in the city can be used against the massive vampire cabal the department is busting.
Detective John "Peacock King" Corbeau winning an interdimensional gladiatorial competition for the Top Ten, and telling his son that the trophy he won is nothing to be proud of, because violence isn't the answer.
He probably kept it in the bathroom.
Harry "The Word" Lovelace subduing a powerful psychokinetic (after a few humorous slips-up).
Judge Fear's comeuppance at the hand of the titular character: "Gaze into the fist of Dredd!"
For those who have seen this line all over this wiki and still wonder what that means: Judge Fear's face causes most of those who see it to die of fright. Judge Dredd's response on seeing it? Putting his fist through Fear's face and out the back of his head. That is why it is awesome.
The climax to The Apocalypse War, where Dredd has the ability to end the war by wiping out East-Meg One - killing five hundred million people with nuclear fire - while being pleaded with not to... and then presses the button. "You shouldn't start wars if you can't take the consequences!"
"You forget, Spikes... if someone calls on the law for help... the law cannot turn a blind eye! AND I AM THE LAW!"
In a more villainous form, the iconic shot in "America" of Dredd standing on the gunned-down body of a Democratic terrorist, the American flag on her and covered in blood: "Justice has a price. That price is freedom."
In "Goodnight Kiss", Dredd is crucified in the Cursed Earth, starving to death, and hallucinating... and then rips his way free of the cross to go find the villain.
One single-issue gag strip has Dredd assaulted by a gang of hoodlums in his own apartment while he's taking a bath. The thugs are heavily-armed, Dredd has nothing but his wits and his fists, but after the six pages are up he's taken them all down. And goes calmly back to his bath, all without once removing his frickin' HELMET.
The closing sequences of Grant Morrison-scripted nasty follow-up, Dare: The Future. "I sold everything EXCEPT my soul..." And later, "Trust me. It's EASY." These quotes mean nothing out of context, but when you read the whole thing...YOWSAH is the only word. Also, from the same comic, Digby's Last Stand ("Eh-up, John Willie, y'bastard!")
In the recent series by Garth Ennis, British space hero Dan Dare gets one; captured by the forces of his arch-nemesis, the Mekon, he is dragged in chains before his arch-nemesis and subject to a lengthy monologue about how futile the resistance posed by him and his allies is. Dare's response? Midway through, he calms interrupts the Mekon's rant with "We always oppose squalid little men like you. There's really nothing more to say." And then proceeds to ignore him entirely in favour of chewing out the Mekon's ally, the Quisling Prime Minister of Great Britain, instead.
Used and deconstructed in issue #10 of Scott McCloud's Zot!: Zot is punched through a wall as the Big Bad attacks Jenny. Suddenly, Zot reappears from the smoking rubble, shouts ''Sneed, YOU... Villain, you!" then... KAPPOW!!! YEAH! Then... it's revealed that cameras across the globe have seen this Crowning Moment, and people have started worshipping Zot as not just a hero, but a savior... something Zot is not at all comfortable with. He turns to the camera and immediately downplays his role in the world's salvation, asking "Isn't justice more than a punch in the mouth?" and saying while he might be able to win a fight in an awesome way, it really has to be up to the people of the planet if anything is truly going to be solved.
Shaolin Cowboy consists of these. The best ones are the main character turning just enough to reveal that the panel-wide pole he's carrying has chainsaws at both ends, which he then uses to cut a shark in half down the middle as he leaps out at him; the same character taking out a seemingly endless army in its entirety by punching a crab...one time; and Geof Darrow'sCrowning Moment of Awesome, the epically massive World Turtle that has to be the single most detailed two-page spread in comics history.
Tales From The Bully Pulpit is all awesome, but a special mention goes to Lincoln answering Hitler's great-great-great-grandson's "You're mine" with "Bring it, boy. I'm gonna emancipate your teeth."
The Spirit: in one of Will Eisner's greatest artistic triumphs, he illustrated the climactic battle between the Spirit and his archnemesis the Octopus as a fight in a darkened room, showing only what was illuminated by a dropped flashlight rolling around the floor.
In the Firefly comic Better Days, Shepherd Book gets his very own moment of awesome when he beheads a killer death robot with a sword he pulls from nowhere. In his own words, "There's no hell for these things."
Katchoo facing down Veronica in her summer house in Strangers in Paradise.
Tambi has several, but the crowningest of them might be when she saves Katchoo from the FBI, by offering to join their side.
(Agent Bryan is jubilating after finally capturing Katchoo when the phone rings)
Tambi: Not supposed to keep the little fish, Sara. I'm the one you want.
Bryan: Who is this?
Tambi: Tambi Baker! (Bryan's eyes go wide) I want to come in!
Loaded Bible, set in a post-apocalyptic future, Jesus Christ returns to earth to kill vampires. During one fight, he spits in a vampire's face, and its head explodes.
The end of the fifth issue of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac is a moment of awesomeness for Johnny, our sympathetic sociopath. As he's being confronted yet again by his two styrofoam Pilsbury Doughboys on whether he should just end it all or just kill some more people to paint the ever-drying wall, Johnny decides to stab the both of them and go on a psychotic yelling spree, shouting, "I'M NOT GOING TO PAINT THE WALL! THINGS WILLS CHANGE! I WON'T BE A SERVANT TO ANY OF YOU EVER AGAIN!" However, he dies at the end, only to come back to life a little later on.
The price of the whole comic is worth it for the chapter called "Goblins". Edgar Vargas displays confidence and fearlessness in facing Johnny. He doesn't want to die, but when it comes down to it, "A heaven for me, and a hell for you. So fuck fear." BAD. ASS. AWESOME.
Dhalua Strong in Tom Strong, upon finally meeting Ingrid Weiss. There couldn't be more enmity between the two. Weiss raped Dhalua's husband, makes incessant comments about her own attraction to him and the attraction she presumes he has toward her, and raised the son resulting from the rape to be a Nazi, like herself. She consistently uses Nazi racial slurs in referring to Dhalua and family. Dhalua confronts Ingrid as she's saying...
Ingrid: Our business here is finished.
(Dhalua, in a 5/6ths page splash, is standing athwart the exit, wearing Paul Saveen's "Atomic Knuckles", initially behind her back)
Dhalua: Not quite. Miss Weiss, it is my feeling that you and I need to talk. One woman to another.
Ingrid: Out of our way, schwarze bitch! I am the cream of the gene pool! You and your kind are the scum in its filters! If you will not move then I shall swat you aside like the black bug you...
(Ingrid throws a punch at Dhalua. Dhalua, face utterly calm, catches Ingrid's fist in her right Atomic-Knuckled hand. And squeezes.)
(Dhalua throws a full-body left cross, with visibly complete follow-through, while pulling Ingrid into the punch by her captured fist.)
(Ingrid collects herself on the ground. Dhalua, facing away, stretches her knuckles.)
Ingrid: *pfaa* You... you black whore... you...
Dhalua: I am Dhalua-Omotu-Strong, Princess of the Ozu. You have transgressed against my husband. Against my family. Against me. Get up.
Ingrid: Wh-who do you think you are? Who do you think you are to order me? I'll...
(Ingrid charges Dhalua. Dhalua backhands her to the ground again without looking at her.)
Dhalua: I am Dhalua-Omotu-Strong, Princess of the Ozu. Get up.
Ingrid: *unngh* I-I'll kill you for this. I'll kill you. My blood is stronger, purer! It's the Sang-Real, it is the true blood...
Dhalua: Yes. And it is on your clothes. And on my hands. And on the floor. Miss Weiss, I do not believe you have yet understood the trouble you are in. I do not believe you understand just who you have offended.
And Tom Strong himself defeating his archenemy for the final time in the first issue of his series.
In issue #17 Tesla Strong's boyfriend, who until recently lived in a volcano with his own people, gets one in a space mission to stop an Alien Invasion of giant ants.
Val: Ha! Val Var Garm can kill these little ants, they nothing are like!
Tesla Strong: "Like they are nothing." Val, I said before, these aren't little ants.
Val: It's not matter. Ants big, ants little, Val burn them in fire.
Tesla Strong: Uh... Val, look, maybe we should leave this stuff to dad.
Tom Strong: Hey, let your boyfriend talk, Tesla. Let's hear where he's going to find a fire he can control out here.
Val: (gestures to the sun) "Duh." Is right- that what you say?
Or, Hell, when he charmed Sophisticated Lady without even knowing it when they first met.
Captain Everything's entire deal is huge fight scenes where he punches people a lot, but the most spectacular was the fight between him, Megaton Man, and many other independant comics figures (like Zot, Fone Bone, etc) that he started because he was bored.
Speaking of, norm punching out Scott McCloud (who was talking about Understanding Fight Scenes) for stealing his look.
The fact that the series takes on sacred cows like Grant Morrison is awesome in itself.
In Stormwatch Team Achilles #6, Jukko HÃ¤mÃ¤lÃ¤inen fights The Midnighter over a man who can activate latent superpowers in people. It starts when Jukko asks the man if he can deactivate superpowers as well and the Midnighter mocks him over it. In response, Jukko presses the Big Red Button on a remote, instantly turning off the Cybernetics that make the Midnighter superhuman. He proceeds to beat the shit out of him ("You're... using... superpowers..." "No. Just jiu-jutsu. And anatomy. And leverage") before telling him:
And just so you know... my "superpower"? The one I used to "beat" you? I'm uber-empathic. I feel the pain of every living being within a four-mile radius. Including yours. I just felt everything I did to you. So don't you ever mock me for wanting to be human again.
Despite the fact that the Midnighter used to be a Special Forces operative before he was given superpowers, and would likely not react to jiu-jitsu as if he was naive of the martial arts in general.
The final page of issue one of Ex Machina, for both the characters and the creators. In character, because it reveals that Mitchell Hundred managed to save one of the World Trade Center towers during 9/11, and for the creators because of the extreme HSQ.
Ex Machina #49: Mitchell Hundred has gone into a Heroic BSOD after finding out his mother has been murdered. But when he is told that people are going crazy in the streets, he immediately snaps out of it, figures out the cause in seconds and coordinates a plan to stop the riots. Then he goes even further:
A somewhat unusual but still awesome scene from the French comic Le dernier Chant des Malaterre comes when the (extremely cowardly and generally dislikeable) squire of one of the main characters tries to escape but loses control of his horse and heads back towards the place where his master is to be burnt at the stake. His last thoughts/words are "Fuck this." followed by "I'M COMING MY LORD!" It doesen't end well but damn, it's kind of awesome...
His finest moment: After being sent on a rocket mission to Mars and, thanks to Stephen Hawking (yes, THAT Stephen Hawking), having absolutely nothing to distract him on the incredibly long journey out, Robo is forced to hang around on Mars for over a year before he can come back. In order to distract himself, he starts "studying Martian rocks". His departure is marked by the following message, written across a significant proportion of the surface of the planet:
STEPHEN HAWKING IS A BASTARD
In the Archie ComicsTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, the Turtles go back in time to World War II. Eventually they run into Hitler, who thinks they are demons from Hell who have come for his soul. Playing along, Leonardo tells Hitler that they already own his soul and have come for his brain instead. So, to keep them from getting his brain, Hitler kills himself with a bullet to the brain. That's right, the Turtles are responisble for the death of Hitler! And they did it on purpose!
ElfQuest has a few, although they can be hard to pick out from the general awesome that is the whole series.
Skot and Zhantee during the war for the palace shards. Anyone who's read it will know about the events to which I am referring.
Redlance protecting the children alone after trolls attacked the Go-Backs' lodge, even though he hates fighting.
Rayek's coolest moment was during the fistfight between him and Cutter. They aren't allowed to kill one another, but the fight isn't considered over until one of them calls for healing. After a pretty even start, Cutter gets the advantage and delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown unto Rayek, telling him to "CALL!" Rayek, near death but still fighting back, refuses, "because you haven't had enough". It eventually dawns on our hero that this is Rayek's way of apologising for everything he's done - so he calls for him to be healed.
Cutter forcing Door to open, even though before that only Strongbow was able to, out of sheer loyalty to Skywise.
Vaya taking a third option between betraying her comrades and being slowly tortured by the troll King Guttlekraw. She grabs a mook's knife and goes for Guttlekraw's throat. The guards kill her before she can get him, but she still gets a much better and much easier death than she could otherwise have hoped for. It is Awesome.
Chizu fighting more or less all of her own Neko Ninja after her Number One framed her as a traitor - and winning.
Norikomaking her way out of the collapsed mine, surviving - by the skin of her teeth - thanks to sheer stubbornness and pride.
Lobster Johnson, of the Hellboy universe, has oodles of these, but two that stand out particularly are:
Upon discovering the location of the enemy fortress, what does The Lobster do? Sneak in quietly? Try not alert any of the guards? Fuck that, he blows the front door off and mows every henchman down with a Tommy gun!
His mere existance in the current day of the Hellboy world. The most powerful ghost in the whole of the 'verse through sheer willpower and commitment to justice.
Cute little Liana, of A Distant Soil, smacks her beloved brother, Jason, in the face after he screams at Seren and calls him a faggot.
Liana: WATCH YOUR MOUTH!
Any time a writer can manage doing three or more successful comics at a time, while staying (at least mostly) on schedule should be celebrated. Notable examples are: