In "Countdown to Infinite Crisis," the Blue Beetle kneels in front of Max Lord during his We Can Rule Together speech with a gun to his head. His reply? "Rot in hell, Max." Max shoots him.
While this editor found that moment to be rather lackluster, the arc in Booster Gold where Booster tries to save Ted more then made up for it. After Booster takes the bullet for Ted, Ted loses it and beats the living crap out of Max. And he just gets better from there.
Issue #24 of the new Blue Beetle series: In an Internal Homage to the scene above, the Reach Negotiatior has Jaime Reyes, without his armor, on his knees with a gun to his head. "Do you have any last words?" "Just two... Khaji Da!" (The original Blue Beetle's Power-Up Phrase) Then again, Issues #24 and #25 are arguably a collective Crowning Moment of Awesome for the entire cast.
I changed my mind. All four issue of End Game were Crowning Moments of Awesome for everybody involved. Including the creative team, guest stars, and even the Scarab.
Infinite Crisis provides MANY a Crowning Moment of Awesome for a number of characters, that whole giant event. There's Tim Drake, the 3rd Robin, who POINTS AND YELLS AT SUPERMAN! It's even lampshaded. Then there's Bart Allen, who beats the living daylights out of Superboy-Prime AFTER he escapes from the Speed Force, taunting him by asking "Still got Flash-phobia?" There's also the two Supermen, who fly Superboy-Prime THROUGH A FIELD OF KRYPTONITE, a Red Sun (weakening ALL THREE OF THEM), and eventually knocking him out, not to mention the wall of pure willpower the Green Lanterns used to slow him down. And let's not forget to mention our good Kon-El, aka Superboy's sacrifice to save not only Earth, but the UNIVERSE, in which he flies himself and Superboy-Prime into Alexander Luthor Jr.'s universe-control tower, killing himself and wounding Superboy-Prime in the process.
Not to mention Batman's line to Superman: "The last time you inspired someone is when you were dead."
Superman's line to Earth-2's Kal-L: " If you're from this world, it couldn't be perfect. Because a perfect world doesn't need Superman."
The reappearance of Kal-L. He sets upon the villains who just took down Power Girl and scatters them like ten-pins. And with every second, the red sky grows brighter, until he's shown in a full-page spread, extending his hand to Power Girl against a sky of clearest blue.
And Kid Flash's team-up with his late grandfather (not to mention Max Mercury) to trap Superboy-Prime in the Speed Force to begin with. Also couples as a Tear Jerker.
Flash II: "Wally's waiting for you, Bart."
Max Mercury: "Don't be afraid."
Kid Flash II: "I'm not, Max. Let's go." *shoves Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force*
In the subject of the final battle against Superboy-Prime, don't forget how the three Supermen got powerless after falling in Mogo. With a ton of Kryptonite. Prime punched Kal-L and hit his back with heat vision, then fought against Kal-El, the main universe Superman. Who promptly kicked Prime's ass. In a field full of Kryptonite which only affected Kal-El himself. All while verbally beating Prime up.
You'll never be Superman. Because you have no idea what it means to be Superman. It's not about where you were born. Or what powers you have. Or what you wear on your chest. It's about what you do... it's about action.
Don't forget about Black Adam single handedly killing the Psycho Pirate by tearing off his face.
"Psycho Pirate: Black Adam, you're afraid, you're very afrai-
Black Adam: No more silly faces"
There's also the Spectre's resurrection. When he is resurrected, he ignores the Phantom Stranger, and instead looks at the Star Sapphire. After listing her many crimes, he simply blows her up and leaves.
Barry Allen's death in Crisis on Infinite Earths: There's hope... there is always hope... Time to save the world! Time... back in time... Do what you have to... we must save the world... we must save the world. Also a first-class Tear Jerker.
To elaborate, he's running to destroy the Anti-Monitor's antimatter cannon, which was poised to destroy all remaining universes. He fought on, and on, and on, running as he ruined the cannon's systems... until he ran himself out of existence... and into it, as he became the lightning that first empowered him.
The Anti-Monitor has reached the dawn of time and siphoned the power of Earth's heroes, where he's poised to destroy creation, and sarcastically asks who dares oppose him... The Spectredares, empowered by Earth's magicians! The Spectre manages to stop the Anti-Monitor. Physical God or not, that's very impressive.
The Anti-Monitor has been burned, pounded, poisoned and thrown into a star, yet is still going as a colossal, screaming, living fireball of death. Just before he can cause any more damage, Earth-2 Superman flies in and blasts him into oblivion, yelling I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! Not even yelling I AM A MAN! could compare to that.
Hal Jordan's confrontation with Mongul in The Return of Superman, after Mongul nuked Coast City and turned it into a giant engine so he and the Cyborg/Hank Henshaw can make Earth the new Warworld. Since Mongul is yellow, Hal can't just vaporize him. Solution? Take Steel's hammer and do what comes naturally.
This comes after Mongul has given Hal a massive beatdown and broken his arm and leg. He boasts that he broke Hal's willpower, at which point Hal uses his ring to create a power suit for himself and reaches for the hammer.
Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory event pulled off a doozy - take seven characters we'd never heard of (and may never see again), and over four issues make us care about them, then pit them against an army of time-travelling killer fairies. Naturally, there were a few moments...
Her father, Zatara, even got one when his magnum opus was revealed.
Manhattan Guardian (when faced with the news that NY will suffer a blackout and an invasion in the middle of a bloody hurricane) -
"Call out the Newsboys, Ed. We're taking it to the streets."
Frankenstein got more than most. He... well, he fed one of the main series villains to the Flesh-Eating Horses of Mars. He did a Power Walk while a nuclear device went off in the background. He stabbed a universe in the chest. And then he somehow traveled to the year One Billion to commit a giant terrorist bombing against the world-destroying fairies.
"All in a day's work... for FRANKENSTEIN!"
Special mention to how he deals with said world-destroying fairies. Their queen gives a long speech about how their brand of evil is totally justified and how they will ravage the Earth. Frankenstein's response before he blows up the fleet is probably one of the best cases of Shut Up, Hannibal! ever:
Mister Miracle escaped from the event horizon of a black hole. He shrugged off the Anti-Life Equation like it was Red Kryptonite. He befriended the Omega Sanction. And then he did a deal with Darkseid - MM gets put in a trap, and Darkseid calls off the impending apocalypse. Miracle was just that sure of his escape artistry. The trap consisted of him getting handcuffed, bound, shackled, shot in the head, and buried. He still managed to escape. World's Greatest Escape Artist? Oh hell yes.
Captain Atom #50 is pretty much one Crowning Moment of Awesome after another. First, when Plastique defeats the Cambodian by tossing a grenade inside his indestructible armor, and then, after he manages to strip off his armor in record time, she tells him "Guess I forgot to pull the pin." Then she hits him over the head with a rock.
Doctor Megala gets one too, albeit posthumously: "Wade Eiling wears combat boots."
This is immediately followed by Cap getting his own moment, when he finally comes clean with the American public. It becomes a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when Plastique finally agrees to marry him.
Captain Atom also gets a whole bunch in Captain Atom: Armageddon, but one deserves special mention: When Jack Hawksmoor sends Batman and Superman pastiches Midnighter and Apollo to kill Cap, Cap tricks Apollo into flying too close to the sun so as to get enough power to finish Cap off quickly, only to then be given a near fatal dose of energy when Cap accelerates the reaction. The two of them then get back to earth just in time for Cap to save Nikola and Grifter by using Apollo's unconscious body to knock out Midnighter. At which point Grifter says: "That was surprisingly easy."
Batman: Do you think we can take them? I think we can take them.
Superman: You always think we can take them.
And they do.
Lord Havok gets so many... first, his revenge against his father, the Czar, for forsaking him and killing his mother. He kills his father in cold blood, saying, "You see, father, I can take, too.", before destroying his homeland so completely that the Motherland would be forever barren and lifeless from then on.
And, of course, his victory against the Americommando.
Then he defeated the Monarch singlehandedly before setting his sights on other earths to conquer.
In Countdown to Final Crisis, Pied Piper, known the best for being Flash's ex-villain gay friend, endured weeks of being on the run from every superhero in the USA while chained to another guy, the death of his best friend (who happened to be the same guy), and having to trot through the desert carrying the friend's rotting corpse, only to find out that all of this was staged by the sadistic Desaad to break his spirit and force him to play the Anti-Life Equation on his flute. Piper's answer? Playing The Show Must Go On by Queen and, as a result, blowing up the entire planet of Apokolips. Music almighty like WHOA.
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds: Superboy Prime finds himself in the Superman Museum of the 31st century, and discovers that history remembers him as a no-name scrub who, as Superman villains go, is less notable than losers like Neutron. Then he goes to The Alcatraz prison planet where the Legion of Super Villains is held and breaks them out, vowing to show the world who the real Superboy is one more time. You know why it's awesome? Because Superboy Prime is the villain and it's actually not dumb. What's more, you actually kind of root for him.
Nah, you want villains to root for? Then go read Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge. It's a crowning series of awesome, especially issue #3. Highlights: the Rogues beating the crap of the "replacements" Libra recruited, Inertia going holyshitcrazy/removing Zoom's powers/actually managing to hurt Libra (the freaking SPECTRE literally hurt himself badly after trying to touch him), and of course, his getting wtfpwned by the Rogues.
Heat Wave: This isn't for Kid Flash.
Weather Wizard: This isn't for my son.
Captain Cold: No. This is for one $%@#$@-up year.
The Rogues blast Inertia with their weapons, killing him.
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond is one big crowning moment for Superman, particularly the battle with Mandrakk, but there's also Billy Batson verbally pwning Overman, and Merryman's "LIMBO SAYS NO!".
Green Arrow: Is that so? Well, my absolute hatred of dog ridin' totalitarian [censored] justifies this!
Barry Allen, the original Flash, returning home to Iris West, the love of his life, and doing the impossible by breaking Darkseid's Anti-Life hold on her.
Iris Barry? Oh, God... Everything's going to be okay now, isn't it?
Barry: You bet.
Issue #5: Nix Uotan's apotheosis.
Hal Jordan takes down a GOD with one punch. Without even having his ring on him.
"You have 24 hours to save the universe.".
Most Excellent Superbat: You have thoughtlessly gunned down a global megastar! How will you explain yourselves to this man's fans?
Issue #6: Superman's arrival in Bludhaven.
Tawky Tawny versus Darkseid's son Kalibak. "TAWNY BITES!"
A close second is Tawky straightening his bow tie as he awaits his death at the hands of Kalibak's tiger soldiers... only to see them bow to him.
If there's ONE thing Final Crisis did right, it was that they made Tawky Tawny AWESOME.
Batman's decision to forgo his morals for the sake of the multiverse and uses Darkseid's own radion bullet to shoot Darkseid in the shoulder. This is the catalyst that allows the Flashes to lure the Black Racer to destroy Darkseid's physical body. Batman poisoned A GOD on the verge of total multiversal destruction as a swan song to his illustrious career. Bad. Ass.
Issue #7: The arrival of the Supermen of the Multiverse.
The climactic battle where Monitor Nix Uotan restores the humanity and powers of the Zoo Crew. There is just something so gratifying in seeing these characters who seemed all but thrown into DC's trash can at the horrific editor-imposed ending of their mini-series suddenly rescued out of the blue and placed front and center alongside the greatest of the DCU's heroes.
Let's just say that damn near everyone has had a crowning moment of awesome in FC or its spin offs.
Tim Drake got one in the last issue of his solo series. In it, he gets a note challenging him to a duel to the death from Lady Shiva, the woman who trained him and the single deadliest assassin in the world. He spends the issue narrating about "What would you do if you might die tomorrow?" before confronting her. They banter a bit, there's a Single-Stroke Battle, and Tim has three broken ribs, and is stumbling, while Shiva stands confidently. Then, Tim stands back up and Shiva collapses. Tim reveals that he knew she was coming before she ever left Hong Kong, and he spiked the hotel chocolates that Shiva was seen eating while she was writing the note with a paralytic poison, activated by a rising heart rate. Batman is a hell of a good teacher, it seems.
At the conclusion of the Crossfire Arc, the city of Keystone is being looted by Rogues under Blacksmith's control. Flash is on the ropes. The villainess tells him she's pulling out every stop and throwing ever single villain in her organisation at him, and that he doesn't have the stamina to take it. The next page is a splash of the blue-collar workers of Keystone charging the rioters en masse with bats, lead pipes, nail guns, etc as Union leader Goldface shouts, "This is our city! We make it run, Rogues! Not you!" The whole city got a crowning moment right there.
While it started off slow, The Flash: Rebirth is rapidly starting to pick up with these. The final third of issue 4 is an entire crowning moment in-and-of-itself. Let's start a list:
"MAX?!"◊ The expression on Bart's face is adorable.note Said expression was the exact appearance on Ethan Van Sciver's face when he drew the page (and the fangirls when we read it); his run on Impulse was his real breakout into comics, and so he holds a special place in his heart for Bart and Max This is why a great deal of Impulse fangirls don't care about the Speed Force retcon, which overshadowed all other discussion - we just wanted our favorite characters back, and the creators delivered!
Suicide Squad #22: Rick Flag is going to kill a corrupt senator in full public view. Amanda Waller orders Deadshot to stop Flag from killing the senator by any means necessary. Deadshot kills the senator.
The titular team, through the machinations of a lovestruck technician, a formerly amnesiac Ax-CrazyBlood Knight goddess, and Poison Ivy, got transported to Apokolips. They survived with very heavy casualties... and then they have to face Darkseid. Long before Batman did, Amanda Waller, infuriate, with half her squad dead, stranded without hope in Hell, surrounded by Parademons and the Fatal Furies, decided she had had enough, and threatened the God of Evil with her handgun.
And of course, effortlessly brushing off Batman's warnings to shut down the Squad, sensibly pointing out that if he does go public with the info he gathered, so will she.
The resurrection of the Squad. Amanda's been in jail for a year for pulling the lone wolf act for too long, having irritated too many people in power. Sarge Steel comes in, offers her a pittance and a diminutive job, a probably unique chance she won't ever have again. She laughs him off and asks him only to return when he really wants to negotiate. Turns out, there's a massive Eastern Europe crisis and Steel was trying to rope her in for her unique talents. He has to go back later and fully give in her terms, utterly humiliating himself.
The Janus Directive crossover. Every governmental agency's at war with each other, with Checkmate, Captain Atom Project, and the Suicide Squad ready to tear each other apart. It's actually Kobra's plan so he can fire his microwave cannon unmolested. To ensure maximum disruption, he targets Waller for assassination by a double in her apartment. She kills the doppelganger, takes her place in Kobra's plans, and pulls the same gambit he was hoping to play.
One night, Amanda was returning from her job at Belle Reve, on a moment her future was being jeopardized by a rogue subordinate and the aforementioned senator, having hallucinations and getting more irritable, and upon almost entering her apartment, she noted the matches she put on the door have been moved... it's her daughter. When the clearly irritated Waller asks why she was there, she began making a scene about how she got in a row with her husband. Waller then tried to convince her to got back more or less gently, and then said husband entered - a massive Scary Black Man. Amanda was not impressed. She then convinced them to go back together - by threatening to quit her job and go live with them. Having fixed the situation, she then realized she could deal with it all, and mentally dared her subordinate to try and take the Squad from her.
And then she goes and finds the solution with a little gravedigging. Showing the evidence she'd fished up, said subordinate realized how badly screwed he was. Desperately, grasping at straws, he seriously considers killing her. Amanda tiredly invites him to try.
Admit it. How many people can use the fact they're menopausic black females as threats? Amanda Waller can.
Wildcat. Had. Sex. With. Queen. Hippolyta. AKA Wonder Woman's mom. Stifler, Finch, all you other horny bastards, bow down to your master.
JSA #10: The rest of the team is off on a mission, with Wildcat staying at the mansion because he had his arm and both legs broken by an evil Time Lord. So, he's just taking a bath and having phone sex with Catwoman when the Injustice Society breaks in. Wildcat, an 80 year old badass normal in a bath towel with three broken limbs, takes out seven supervillains using his own knowledge of the mansion. This includes driving a motorcycle over two of them, and dropping an ancient Druid tree god down an elevator shaft. When the rest of the JSA gets back, they find him using a chunk of said ancient Druid tree god as a toothpick. (By the way, there's a decent chance that two of the aforementioned supervillains are his illegitimate children.)
Issue 50 of The Warlord (first series) sees Travis Morgan pursuing his arch foe, Deimos, across frozen plains. Deimos has, over the first 49 issues of the series, caused absolute hell for Travis, culminating in forcing Travis to kill his own son or so Travis believes, but now Deimos is depowered and fleeing on horseback from the vengeance-crazed Travis. At the end of the chase, Travis finds Deimos unconscious and being savaged by a pack of wolves. Travis drives the wolves back, builds a fire to keep them away, and then tends Deimos' wounds. When Deimos finally recovers, Travis kicks out the fire and walks away without a word as the very same wolves return to tear Deimos apart.
When Supergirl stands up to and defeats her absurdly powerful, abusive boyfriend, Powerboy.
(after Supergirl is brutally beaten up by Powerboy, including having her face dragged down the side of a skyscraper, she wakes up in a bed next to a Stalker Shrine devoted to her, bound in powerful, alien-tech restraints)
Powerboy: "Look, I'm just going to lay it all out because honesty is important in a strong relationship... I was born on Apokolips. Taken from the Armagetto Slums to serve You-Know-Who... He made me strong, trained me in the ways of the Earth so I could come here as a "hero" and... Well, it doesn't really matter anymore, because it changed the the day you came to Apokolips. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Ever felt. From that moment, I knew I had found my "Missing Half". I knew we would be together. And then you left... I couldn't eat. Sleep. Think. I knew that my true destiny wasn't with Darkseid and his stupid plans... So I followed you across the universe. I watched you try so hard to fit in, to find your way. All I wanted to do was hold you. Tell you how beautiful you were. But I knew you weren't ready to hear it... Sometimes we have to fall all the way down before someone can lift us up. You could be something so special, Kara... But you're lost. You're lost and you're too weak to find your way alone. Whenever you try... the monster in you comes out. Is this what you what to be?" (cups her face) "You need someone to take care of you, Kara. Someone who loves you to build to up... To make you into something you can be proud of. I love you, Kara. We can be perfect together, if you'll just let me fix you."
Supergirl: "You hit me. You said you loved me... And you hit me." (punches him through a wall to the outside)
Powerboy: "Y-You made me hit you! Because you don't listen, like now! Kara! I'm warning you! Stop it or I'll do it again! I'll hurt you again! You can be happy if you just do what I tell you! I—" (Supergirl rips his house from its foundation and rises into the sky) "Kara, I love you. Don't you want someone take care of you!?"
Supergirl: "No one who says he loves you should hit you, ever." (drops his house on him)
Powerboy: (Flash Step into outer space, pulls out his Father Box) "Ouch. Heh... Heh... Got some fight to her... Gonna have to work on that... Next time... And there will be a next time. Try to drop a house on me now. Father Box... Honey..."
Supergirl: (Flash Step up to him, knees him in the groin) "I out-flew Superman, "Honey". We're not done." (grabs him by the scruff of his neck) "I don't know if you can hear me, so read my lips... Don't call me. Don't talk to me. Don't look at me... Or I'll break every bone in your body."
Day of Vengeance: A team of magical characters who are, at best C-Listers, channel all the magical power of multiple dimensions into Captain Marvel to allow him to beat The Spectre.
From Secret Six: Catman's Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the kidnappers who took his son. Three of the most bloodthirsty hired killers around, two of them with superpowers versus a non-powered man only armed with a few knives whose claim to fame used to be being a cheesy Batman knock-off. And he ANNIHILATES them.
From the same series Scandal Savage facing down a small army of well armed slave camp guards. She tells them they have a few seconds to either call their loved ones of pray for forgiveness. The leader of the guards takes one look at her and...takes out his phone to call his girlfriend and say goodbye. Scandal is THAT damn scary.
Ragdoll is a walking CMOA and CMOF. But his take down of Mr Smyth stands out.
Atom Smasher ripping the Worlogog out of Extant's chest, then putting him on a crashing airplane in place of Al's mother. Notably, this is what starts his major character arc of atonement, instead of coming at the end of it.
The end of the character, however, had him sacrificing his life to save an entire nation from the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Wrath of God. His friends then attempt Godzilla-grade defibrillation. The entire scene was so badass that even Per Degaton, one of the team's most ardent foes, had to give them their due.
The "Princes of Darkness" arc. In its entirety. That is all.
Swamp Thing had his arm ripped off while fighting the demon Etrigan. He picked up said arm, reattached it to the empty socket and punched Etrigan right in the kisser.