Hoist By His Own Petard: Comic Books
have no shortage of Guile Heroes
, many of whom get rid of a villain who's otherwise invincible
with his own almighty powers
- In both the Spider-Man movie and the comic storyline it was based on, the Green Goblin attempts to kill Spider-Man by impaling him with his hovercraft, but Spidey jumps to avoid it and it hits GG instead.
- Parodied in Spider-Man 3 How It Should Have Ended.
Spidey: I'm just sayin' there's only one way this is gonna go down, it happens every time. We'll fight for a bit, you'll tear my mask, but in the end I'm gonna leap outta the way and you're gonna do something that makes you kill yourself.
- Norman's son, Harry (before the One More Day Retcon), also suffered a Hoisting of his own — he created a new Goblin Formula that made him stronger. However, it would later kill him. Thankfully, Spidey saved his son from that same fate later on down the road.
- During the AXIS storyline, Phil Urich, taking up Norman Osborn's old title of "Goblin King", ends up getting impaled himself when battling the inverted Hobgoblin.
- In the limited series The Thanos Quest, the titular supervillain seeks (and ultimately attains) the Infinity Gems in order to become God and thus a worthy mate for Mistress Death. However, he miscalculates spectacularly when he discovers that omnipotence made him not her equal but superior, preventing anything other than a servile relationship; for the extra kick in the teeth, he is now subjected to the (no pun intended) cold shoulder of the cosmic being, who considered his pursuit and attainment of godhood a heinous betrayal, and his subsequent attempts at wooing her back childish and insulting.
- It doesn't get much better in the follow-up storyline The Infinity Gauntlet, as when Thanos decides to give up on Mistress Death and fully embrace his status as God, eventually defeating Eternity and becoming the very embodiment of the universe, he makes another grievous error (or perhaps not) when by forsaking his body in replacing Eternity, he leaves it (and the Infinity Gems) vulnerable to theft by his upstart "granddaughter" Nebula.
- Later in the same story, Thanos' friend and eternal nemesis Adam Warlock outright states that Thanos subconsciously sabotages his own schemes for ultimate power, as, in the darkest depths of his soul, he believes he's unworthy of it.
- Subverted with Lex Luthor: the kryptonite ring that he used to bedevil Superman ends up giving him fatal radiation poisoning due to prolonged exposure. However, he cheats death because of his
brilliance Joker Immunity.
- Then played straight just before the New 52 Relaunch: Luthor gains omnipotent powers and learns Superman's Clark Kent. However, that knowledge just increases his anger and his desire to kill Superman, leading him to lose his powers, lose the knowledge and, for good measure, sends him spiraling into the Phantom Zone.
- This seriously happened to the Red Skull soon after he was reborn in a clone of Steve Rogers' body, and he has never recovered from it. Throughout the Skull's entire career, he used a poison called the Dust of Death, which not only killed people, but caused the skin on their head to shrivel and turn red, making the corpse look like a "red skull". But when he tried to use this on Captain America, he fell victim to it himself. He survived due to an antidote he took, but still suffered the secondary effect, turning his head into a living red skull.
- To make this more ironic, soon after being reborn in the clone's body, he had resolved to change his strategy, and no longer use his masked identity at all, thinking that being a well-recognized terrorist was a hindrance to his plans. After this accident, he really didn't have a choice.
- Used in the tongue-in-cheek The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe: The Punisher actually manages to kill the nearly unkillable Wolverine. How does he do this? By forcing good ol' Logan into a generator, using his metal bones as a conductor to electrically fry every cell in his body.
- Mentioned for being hilarious, the otherwise quite forgettable Superman vs. Dracula comic ended with Dracula draining Superman's blood and absorbing his power - at which point his head exploded. Superman, after all, is solar powered.
- A similar incident happened in Runaways - the teens discover that one of their newest companion is a vampire and, to save the others, Karolina offers herself to the vampire. When he goes to drain him, he realizes too late that Karolina is solar powered and he promptly explodes.
- After a rooftop battle in the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a defeated Shredder is about to use a thermite grenade to kill both the turtles and himself, when he is thrown off the roof by Donatello's bo staff. Boom.
- Unus the Untouchable was a mutant criminal with a force field that protected him from all harm. Eventually, it got so powerful that not even air could get through.
- In Watchmen, Dollar Bill was killed when his cape was caught in a revolving door in a bank, and was shot by some thug. It becomes double when the bank happens to be the one who he worked for, and made him put on a cape
- The Punisher 2099 villain Fearmaster has a hand (later a claw) that can turn anything biological it touches into anything else. When the Punisher finally corners him, he tries to turn Jake's entire body to mud. Too bad he forgot that he chopped off one of the Punisher's hands two issues prior; all Jake has to do is reach out with his prosthetic hand, grab Fearmaster's arm, and shove the claw right back in his face.
- In Teen Titans Terra died by accidental suicide when she imploded the HIVE complex out of sheer rage, trying to kill Deathstroke when she thinks he betrayed her.
- The U-Foes, enemies of the Incredible Hulk, seem to kill themselves off like this the first time they turn up— their newly gained powers are strong enough to potentially take down the Big Green Machine, but Power Incontinence kicks in. Vapour can turn herself into any gas... but soon cannot keep her molecules together. Ironclad can increase his mass... which keeps increasing so he cannot move and sinks into the ground. And their leader Vector, just like Unus above, can repel things— eventually he repels the air around him so he suffocates, then he repels Earth itself and shoots out into space. X-Ray's ability to manipulate radiation very nearly causes him explode from absorbing too much energy. They come back.
- In Final Crisis, Batman shoots Darkseid with the same bullet that Darkseid used to kill his son, Orion. Then, Wally West and Barry Allen turn intangible and run through him, causing the Omega Beams that were chasing them to hit the villain and blow him up.
- In Wolverine: Enemy of the State, the titular hero kills Gorgon by using his metal claws to show the villain his own reflection, thus turning his own petrifaction abilities on himself.
- In one of the later comics, Conan the Barbarian comes across a particularly vile Zingaran noble/religious fanatic who assassinates his rivals by giving them the Ring of Molub, a Clingy MacGuffin that can only be stolen or passed on to others without their knowledge. The ring is connected to an ancient, Nigh Invulnerable demon of the same name who graphically slaughters the bearer of the ring and anyone who tries to stop it. Conan later acquires the ring himself and then passes it to the noble by slipping it on his finger. Then he breaks his finger just to make sure he can't get rid of it.
- When Emperor Palpatine returns from the dead to restore his empire, he captures Luke Skywalker and nearly turns him to the Dark Side. Leia eventually boards Palpatine's flagship to rescue her brother, and the two Skywalkers defeat Palpatine. In retaliation, he summons a devastating storm of dark side energies to lay waste to the New Republic fleet, but Luke and Leia overwhelm him with the Force, causing him to lose control of the storms. His flagship (and he himself) are subsequently torn apart by them. But he is still Not Quite Dead.
- In the Atari Force second series, the Dark Destroyer intended to destroy Martin Champion's New Earth universe with an anti-matter bomb. However, as Dart tried to defuse the bomb, she accidentally deactivated the fail-safe mechanism and caused it to detonate. The Dark Destroyer, who at that point was defeated by Martin Champion in a fistfight, ended up dying in the explosion of his own bomb while the Atari Force team escaped.
- Fantastic Four
- In one story Doctor Doom gloats to an imprisoned Reed Richards about a torture room he designed full of thousands of mirrors arranged in such a way that the myriad reflections are so incomprehensible to the human mind that looking at it without protective goggles can induce a Heroic BSOD. At the end of the story, about five issues later, Doom and Reed's climactic battle leads to Reed chasing Doom into the aforementioned room, where Doom beats the living crap out of Reed and strangles him while screaming about how much he hates him. However, Reed manages to tear off Doom's mask just before he passes out, and the sight of his grotesquely disfigured face reflected at him thousands of times drives Doom completely insane (he gets better).
- Fantastic Four #10. Doctor Doom develops a Shrink Ray device with the intent of using it on the Fantastic Four, but he ends up getting shrunk down to nothingness by it.
- In Astérix and the Roman Agent, Magnificent Bastard Tortuous Convolvulus has sown seeds of discord in our heroes' village, and for a time convinced them that Asterix, Obelix, and Getafix have been suborned by the Romans. After our heroes set their differences aside and pwn all four Roman garrisons, Asterix gives Convolvulus a gift and thanks him for "keeping your end of the bargain". Centurion Felix Platypus is enraged and has Convolvulus chained up and taken back to Rome as a traitor. Convolvulus is back up to his old tricks before long, however.
- "You committed a BONER, Joker! You were so busy forcing ME into a boner, you forgot you were committing one yourself!"
- In Tintin: The Broken Ear, after several failed attempts at assassinating General Alcazar, Corporal Diaz is given a time bomb set to go off at eleven o'clock. Diaz sets his watch by the street clocks, but at ten o'clock, when he thinks he still has time to spare, he is puzzled to see a municipal worker adjusting a street clock to make up for time lost due to an earlier power cut. The corrected time: eleven o'clock. BOOM.
- In the Batman mini-series, The Cult, Bats is able to turn Deacon Blackfire's own doctrine against him when he beats him within an inch of his life, then let him live for his followers to deal with. His followers, who were broken by him into believing that their own suffering meant nothing in the greater scheme of things, were so enraged by his own weakness, they literally tore him apart.
- In Flashpoint, the Reverse Flash had suddenly appeared and began attacking Barry Allen while telling him that the reason this timeline exists was because Barry tried to save his mother from Zoom and suceeded, only to screw up the rest of the world.. As he does, he tells him that, because how things are, Barry could never kill him lest he break time again. As he said that, he learns of a loophole too late as Thomas Wayne!Batman impales him with a sword.
- In the Mickey Mouse comic, "Race To Death Valley", Mickey swipes a map out of Shyster's hand from a window, boasting "It's an old Shyster custom I learned from you!".
- General Spears in Aliens: Nightmare Asylum is a General Ripper on a remote colony who does not believe the heroes when they tell him that Earth has been overrun by the Aliens. He has been training Aliens to be his own personal soldiers by training their Queen with Pavlovian responses to fire. The moment they touch down on Earth and he plans to defeat the entrenched natives, the Queen turns her drones on him. She hadn't learned to fear him—she had learned to be clever.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 's Sonic Universe side-series, the demigod Enerjak is invincible, and makes a note to rub this in Silver(who is dueling)'s face. Upon mentioning that Silver is not strong enough, skilled enough, or wise enough to best him, Silver realizes Enerjak is correct. He proceeds to redirect Enerjak's attacks at him, actually cracking his armor and inflicting pain on the demigod for the first time in decades. Enerjak is promptly drained of his powers moments later.
- The original Robotnik fell to this, as well, being the only one destroyed by the Ultimate Annihilator's destruction. Granted, Snively pulled a Starscream on him, but it WAS his weapon.
- Interestingly, this is the ultimate fate of the post Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide Mobius - because Eggman was so hasty in trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, his attack on Sonic has reversed everything he has done - Princess Sally is no longer roboticized, Knothole and Mobotroplis stand once more, the Freedom Fighters are whole again and he's still no closer in getting rid of Sonic.
- The reboot is also this for many characters in the old continuity, namely those who could've stopped Robotnik/Eggman in the past, but chose not to for whatever reason. Namely Ixis Naugus note , and the Brotherhood of Guardians (and the echidna race by extension) for feeling that the world conquering villain that makes flying armored battle stations and apocalyptic super weapons like the Ultimate Annihilator was not a threat to them.
- In the Final Crisis storyline "Legion of Three Worlds", Legion of Super Heroes villain the Time Trapper sends Superboy Prime into the future, where he attempts to finally make his mark with the world and unleashes a plethora of villains. While the Legion of three different dimensions resurrect Kid Flash and Superboy to battle Prime, Superman and the Legion's three founders are dragged in to deal with the Time Trapper, revealed to be a future version of Superboy Prime. Eventually, the four drag the Time Trapper out and he and Prime confront each other. When the Time Trapper starts commanding Prime to aid him in eradicating them all, Superboy Prime flips out and slugs him, causing them to be seemingly eradicated. Braniac 5 sums up that moment perfectly:
- In the final arc of New X-Men, bacteria-based Big Bad Sublime summons the Phoenix to Earth, in hopes of using her in her role as destroyer of evolutionary dead ends to wipe out mutantkind. Guess who she ends up deeming the actual evolutionary dead end and destroying?
- Ock!Spidey gets one over J. Jonah Jameson in Superior Spider-Man. He records Jameson giving him explicit instructions to outright murder Alistar Smythe and, once he does the deed, uses it to blackmail him into giving him the Raft.
- Issue 19 has everything tumble on top of him. In issue 9, Octavius seemingly deletes Peter and his memories and prepares to romp around as a truly Superior Spider-Man... until a time disaster strikes Horizon Labs and Spider-Man 2099 arrives in an attempt to fix it. Ock promptly knocks him out, then tries to stop everything by himself. In short time, he's briefly killed, loses 9 hours of his life, destroys Horizon Labs, allows Ty Stone to acquire what's left, forming Alchemax Labs, gets Spidey 2099 stranded in the past, kills more credibility from his closest friends... oh, and gives Peter the chance to dig himself out of the Mental Rubble Octavius buried him in.
- Issue 25, what makes The Avengers stop pussy footing around and go and fully confront Spidey? Tony Stark finding out that he erased the files on his diagnostics and the security camera tapes... except for the one Tony knows about. For all of Octavius' smarts, he was outwitted by one man smarter than him.
- In one Peanuts comic strip, Snoopy threatened the mean cat next door with an electric cane, threatening to "zap" him if he came near him again. Unfortunately for Snoopy, when he put it down, Woodstock landed behind him, curiously picked it up, and "zapped" Snoopy with it. (Causing the cat to laugh out loud and Snoopy to groan in the last panel, "That's the first time I've ever heard that cat laugh...")
- The JSA villain Sorrow can attack people by making them look at his face. Heroes this to Dr Mid-Nite, and thought he had killed him. Except Dr Mid-Nite is not only blind, but used the lenses in his goggles recorded the image, and showed it to Sorrow himself.
- Knights of the Dinner Table many times. For example, they sent their npc servant to fetch a dented old crown from a room that they figured was trapped. The servant put the crown on his head which was then revealed to be the powerful Crown of Lordliness. The Knights ended up serving him as he amassed followers and created the most benevolent and progressive ruler in all the realm. This trope came back to bite them again when the Knights years later ended up in his courtroom.
- Brian killed the last member of a species while taunting the patron god of said species knowing that god could not directly act against mortals. Recovering an artifact from that creature, he made an ironclad wish (a pages long meticulous worded run on sentence) that made him immortal. B.A. couldn't find a way to revoke his immortality then he remembered that the god Brian had pissed off was allowed to attack other immortals and promptly decimated Brian's character.
- Wanting to take advantage of their newfound wealth and the ridiculous amount of storage in their Bag of Holding, the Knights stocked up on all kinds of supplies and got into the habit of using the bag to transport their npc troops. Months later, when they desperately needed the supplies from that bag, they started going through the inventory and realized they'd left their hirelings in their all this time. When they opened the bag, they saw that a fortress had been constructed and garrisoned in the bag. From that point on, the Knights had to negotiate with the very pissed off npcs anytime they wanted to make use of the bag's storage which led to multiple wars between the two groups.
- In the Archie Comic adaptation of NiGHTS into Dreams..., Reala is supposedly killed when his anchor in the real world, Roger, is convinced by Claris and Elliot to let him go as he has no real reason to keep him around anymore.
- Iznogoud: Almost every story ends this way.
- Neron in Underworld Unleashed is defeated when he gets what he wants - the soul of Captain Marvel. However, because Cap gave it to him selflessly, his soul was too pure to keep and he's hurt by its pureness.
- In "Slitherers of the Sand" the monster is beaten when Vampirella lures it onto its own waste, which is toxic to it.
- In "Into the Inferno" Granville is killed by Vampirella, who he had accidentally driven into a bloodthirsty madness by the drug he had ordered given to her.
- In the Quasar storyline "Starblast", Bigger Bad Skeletron's desire to obtain the Star Brand is what leads to his defeat, as he gains the portion of the power from The Stranger, but The Stranger is able to leave him stranded in the now-lifeless universe of The New Universe while its Earth is shunted into the 616 universe.
- In the Superman storyline The Trial of Superman'', Superman's brought to a tribunal to be judged in a case of Sins of Our Fathers for the near extinction of the Kryptonian race. This was brought on by Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman. Not only was Superman deemed innocent in the end, but the tribunal member who had a major hard-on for trying to execute Supes is deposed for being blatantly insane, then executed for resisting arrest, and Henshaw himself is tried and convicted for the destruction of Coast City.
- Judge Dredd: To turn the tide of the Apocalypse War, Dredd assembles a strike team to infiltrate an East Meg nuclear silo so it can be turned against its own city.
- Happens several times in Thunderworld #1. From Dr. Sivana and his counterparts across the multiverse foiling their own plans of creating a 8th day (Sivanaday) where they're allowed to win by cheating themselves out of suspendium to make it an 8-hour day, to Lady Sivana (Georgia Sivana) getting tricked into depowering herself by Captain Marvel Junior, out of her own desire to use her beauty to get her way.