—Barbe-Rouge, many a time before Astérix and Obelix send yet another ship of his to Davy Jones' locker.
This is the typical reaction the average citizen has upon realizing he/she's in the presence of The Joker. He is even feared by almost every other villain and hero in the DCU. He is quite simply the most dreaded villain of Batman's Rogues Gallery and one of the most in comics as a whole. When a guy with no superpowers causes as much or more panic than cosmic menaces like the Anti-Monitor or Darkseid, you know he's an evil, evil guy.
A Star Wars Expanded Universe example occurs after Darth Wyyrlok has concealed his murder of Darth Krayt for many issues, tricking everyone into believing he's just in stasis. Darth Nihl and Darth Talon go to the stasis chamber and find Krayt's empty armor levitating, with his body utterly vanished. Wyyrlok, a cold, calculating and infallible schemer for the entire series, goes completely twitchy-eyed, flat-out dumbstruck when Darth Nihl reports this.
Deadpool is driving a monster truck down a highway (don't ask). When his foe, Bullseye (dressed as Hawkeye) launches a missile from a stinger straight at him. Deadpool gives an "oh shit" moment, before turning it into a Crowning Moment of Awesome, when he simply rolls down both windows, brakes hard, slides to the left, and lets the missile pass through the cabin, and out the other side! Then he drives back, crushes Bullseye's leg under one tire, and then pulls out a chainsaw. Chainsaw!FOR THE WIN!!!
Even Bullseye gets a minor one, though one would imagine that it's covered up by him muttering "OK, yeah, I admit... That was pretty awesome." Deadpool did counter this when, after stopping on Bullseye's leg, he gets out and asks "cool to park here?" before firing up his chainsaw. That was the point where Bullseye had a REALLY "oh crap" moment, and started thinking fast. Very fast.
Superman has done this a few times. Some examples from Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow? include Superman frightening away some 30th century villains after hearing that they killed Lana, and later did the same to Mr Mxyzptlk by pointing the Phantom Zone projector at him, causing him to panic and try to get away, which results in a fatal Portal Cut.
Superman does it again quite memorably in the Elseworlds alternate universe story Red Son. Towards the end of the story, an entire platoon of Green Lantern Corpsmen attempt to subdue Superman by simultaneously using their Green Lantern rings to construct a massive safe around him and make it impossible to break out of. They assume their plan is perfect... until Superman basically punches his way out, shattering their creation, as one of the Corpsmen screams "Oh my God!". After freeing himself, Superman then points out the stupidity of attempting to use a thought-based weapon against someone who can move at ten times the speed of thought, (in this story, Superman is portrayed as having his Pre-Crisis levels of power).
Hellboy seems to lovethis phrase, and most of his enemies get this when they realize things are going badly for them.
A particularly memorable one of these occurs in The Authority after it's implied that Captain America pastiche the Commander rapes Apollo. After incinerating the spine of the Commander, Apollo leaves him to his boyfriend, Midnighter, who shows up with a jackhammer. Oh crap◊...
Hal and his buddies have a moment like this when they see dozens of rings flying through the sky looking for new owners following the escape of Superboy-Prime.
In The Ultimates, Smug Snake Herr Kleiser seems to react this way every time he's caught flat-footed when something unexpected disrupts his plans. Which they do, spectacularly. Claiming to be the universal embodiments of order isn't always an advantage.
Bone has a lot of these. The best are Phoney Bone's expression when he discovers that the people of Barrelhaven have a barter system and he just assaulted the most badass man in the village for no good reason, and the entire latter half of the Great Cow Race.
There's two more in that same comic; after Scrooge gets done destroying Soapy's boat, he drags Soapy with him to the Mounted Police, where one of them says "Please mister, there's only 20 of us! Can't you at least wait until reinforcements arrive?" Then while digging for gold, he gets mad at the locals following and digging in his spot. This even causes the wild life to head for the hills.
In the Don Rosa story "The Dream Of a Lifetime", the Beagle Brothers steal an invention from Gyro Gearloose that lets them enter Scrooge's dreams, where they can steal the combination to his Money Bin. Donald follows them into the dream, and manages to get the Beagle Boys out one by one, until finally, when the dream changes to Scrooge's gold prospector days in Klondike the last Beagle Boy has had enough, runs up to Scrooge, grabs him by the neck, and tells him to give him the combination. However, as Donald points out, the Scrooge he is now trying to extort is Scrooge from his Badass King of Klondike days...
Frank Castle gets this quite often from the criminals he hunts down. One notable instance was in "The Slavers" arc of the MAX series, where Castle walks up behind a group of goons attempting to rape a woman in an alley. One of the thugs is so completely horrified that he drops to his knees and starts praying for forgiveness.
In Watchmen, Ozymandias reveals every small detail of his evil plot to Nite Owl and Rorschach until Nite Owl finally asks when he was planning to "do it." The look on the two heroes' faces is priceless, at which point Hilarity Ensues. Not.
Soon after, Laurie shoots Ozymandias, who appears to be killed or incapacitated by the bullet. Then he opens his hand to reveal that he has in fact caught it and is unharmed. Laurie is suitably stunned at the revelation.
Away down alley, heard woman scream, first bubbling note of city's evening chorus. Approached disturbance. Attempted rape/mugging/both. Cleared throat. The man turned and there was something rewarding in his eyes. Sometimes, the night is generous to me.
This is the standar reaction of anyone who meets Rorschach.
After disintegrating Dr. Manhattan, Ozy has a few moments to gloat that he didn't think it would work, only to see a reconstituted, skyscraper tall Dr. M reaching down through the skylight.
When old Bernard gets the news and see the headings: "USSR invades Afghanistan".
Many is the Batman comic which has included a panel of a gang of street thugs about to mug, murder, rape or otherwise harm an innocent civilian in a darkened alley or villains plotting evil deeds in some deserted warehouse (or penthouse with a convenient window or sunroof) gazing up in horror as the Dark Knight swoops down on them from whatever vantage point he had been observing them from to deliver an almighty ass-kicking, For Great Justice.
Magneto gets a really good one in Ultimate X-Men: while he's taunting Colossus about how vulnerable his metal body is to his magnetic powers, Colossus is slowly breaking free, and though his taunts continue on, he still has this look in his eyes...
Black Velvet: You like this, divided man? You're mine now, like the others. My power flows through you. My darkness touches your heart. Touches it, squeezes it... clenches it until it stills. How do you like that, madman? Jitterjack: Not... not good. Heart breaks. B-but, is good thing for Jitterjack... (Jitterjack tears through Black Velvet, rising into a triumphant pose) Jitterjack:HE HAVE SPARE!!!◊
The First of the Fallen pulls off a really nice, multi-layered one in part II of the "Dangerous Habits" arc of Hellblazer when he realizes that John Constantine has just tricked him into drinking beer that's a few snuffed candles away from turning to holy water. It has a nice mixture of confusion, disgust, and shock that a mere mortal managed to outwit him.
Razguts: Just a few sekonds more... just a - aw frag. KRUNCH
The climax of V for Vendetta, as the new chief of police Dominic Stone oversees a massed but not yet violent mob, where the situation could go either way depending on whether or not V turns up at midnight. The chimes of Big Ben ring twelve times and he feels a bit better... but then he realises that Big Ben was blown up at the beginning of the story. As realization sinks in, he looks up and sees V on a rooftop, provoking the second consecutive Oh Crap.
Earlier in the same comic, the head of the secret police is in the middle of cleaning his gun when he gets information on who will be V's next victim. He immediately rushes out, and seems to have V caught. Then he pulls the trigger and realizes he forgot to reload the gun before leaving. The next panel is a close up of his horrified expression.
There are a few of these in The Sandman, of course. Several major characters get the look when various Gaiman-style horrors drop into their lives, Mervyn has one or two Right Behind Me moments when he's monologuing about Dream being "a complete... uh nevermind, just complete," and Dream has a quite impressive one when the Kindly Ones show up in his palace uninvited, having slaughtered one of his door guards to get in. It's the first time in the whole series Morpheus looked frightened of anything.
During one of the Firestorm annuals, Firestorm has decided to protect mankind by, of course, disarming all nuclear weapons, everywhere. Before it's done he ends up in New Mexico fighting against a Soviet agent named Pozhar, when the President hits them both with a tactical nuke. And Army gets to watch Firestorm shut the whole thing down - Radiation, blast, everything. The General is less than sanguine about attacking Firestorm with conventional forces immediately afterwards, but follows the orders he is given.
In Cable & Deadpool, Cable sets up a utopia called Providence and tries to change the world, though, as Professor X points out, he has no right to. Cable's efforts are meant to be sympathetic, and the rest of the world, especially America, is corrupt and wrong. A group of people involving SHIELD, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men try to warn Cable that his heavy-handed antics will not be tolerated and have to be toned down (though not completely abandoned; after all, he is trying to help people). Cable wipes the floor with them, declaring that he is much too powerful for all of them. And then they call in the Silver Surfer. Cable stoically comments that he did not see that coming, but he clearly didn't consider that someone even more powerful than him may be called to smack him down. Cable puts up a tough fight, even breaking the Surfer's board, but the Surfer beats him down, warning him that "hunger consumes worlds", comparing Cable to his former master Galactus.
During George Perez and Kurt Busiek's run on The Avengers, the heroes (which, at that moment, included Cap, Justice, Firestar, Hawkeye and newcomer Triathlon) were fighting a group of terrorists in an airport... A fight that was getting really, really tough for the heroes. Until, from offscreen... "I SAY THEE NAY !!!". Cue the bad guys crapping their pants so hard they switch their plan from "let's beat up the heroes!" to "let's blow up the building so that they'd be too busy protecting the civilians to catch us!".
Common in the Swamp Thing graphic novels, particularly because the villains tend to be so apocalyptically full of themselves before the fit hits the fan. Anton Arcane's stymied bafflement, when he finds out it's not Alec Holland he's facing, but a pissed-off wood elemental is priceless, and it resurfaces in Hell when he learns just how long he's been there (one day... so far). Likewise, Woodrue's expression as the Green breaks off their psychic link, leaving him powerless and bereft, is both haunting and an Oh Crap moment.
Red has a great one at the end, when Beesley is on the phone with Moses thinking he's won, and confidently telling him that unless he stops he will place an order to have Paul's niece murdered. Then they hear a knock on the door behind them, and Moses calmly walks in with his cell phone and a gun having slaughtered the rest of their defenses... during the conversation. The look on his face is priceless
Detective Comics #826: Robin gets caught in the middle of a gang shootout. His motorcycle is wrecked and he needs cover. A concerned citizen sees the fight from his van and calls Robin over.
Robin: I don't know who that is and at this point, I don't care. I need distance from those thugs. Besides, any port in a storm... (oh, crap)◊
Then the Joker gets a brief moment when Robin screws up his plan, uses his last trap against him, and leaves him standing in front of an oncoming Mack truck.
In Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers, the stock response when the titular team members find out that they're fighting Overlord is "Oh crap". Even twin badasses Topspin and Twin Twist have this reaction.
In the Marvel event Siege, Taskmaster warns Norman Osborn to turn around, which he does to find Captain America's shield about to hit him in the face. Though his face is hidden behind his armor, you can imagine his expression when the comic dedicates four entire panels just to show the shield edging closer and closer to his face.
Birds of Prey (second series) #1: Black Canary's reaction when she and Huntress find themselves facing off against an Asian woman who is a very skilled martial artist. In her words, "Two terrifying names, two impossible possibilities spring to mind. Cassandra Cain. Or, god help us... Shiva Woosan. In either case, there's a good chance neither of us makes it out of this stinking, filthy alley tonight."
In the first series, Spy-Smasher has that look when, after having just been humiliated in a fight by Oracle (who was still in a wheelchair, mind you), she threatens to ruin Barbara Gordon's life and steps outside to find herself facing a small crowd of heroes and villains and is informed by Black Canary that no, she won't be doing that.
Gotham CentralRenee Montoya accidentally lets slips, to the Captain no less, that Romy Chandler had her gun taken from her by Batman, after the detective shot at him. Everyone knows what's coming, and there's a single panel of Renee standing with her face displaying this perfectly.
Sawyer: What was that? Renee: Oh, hell.
Done twice on the same page of Elfquest, when Savah discerns Cutter's and Rayek's worst fears for the Challenge of Heart. In issue #21, containing preliminary sketches from the previous 20 issues, Rayek even says "Oh, shit!" in place of the eventual dialogue.
Played for Laughs a few issues later when Cutter and Skywise are trying to escape from Picknose and his family of trolls. Skywise grabs the sleep dust Picknose used to capture them and throws it triumphantly at the trolls... only to realize a couple of panels later that it doesn't work on them (turns out it only affects wolves and Wolfriders).
One Daredevil arc had a new gang making a lot of trouble, leading to Daredevil busting in the door to the warehouse they are using as a headquarters. The head bad guy laughs as he points out that he has over a hundred men armed with guns and swords in the room. He then notices that Daredevil has brought along Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Spider-Man.
In the Astérix comics, there is a recurring pirate gang in which Asterix and Obelix always runs into during any travel through the sea. After the first beatdown, every single time the Gauls approach the pirates react in an Oh Crap way. In the newest volumes, they've got so used to getting a beating and having their ship sink, they resort to sinking their own ship themselves out of despair and at least avoid being beat down.
In Asterix and the Goths, Rhetoric has been deceiving Chief Metric about what the imprisoned Getafix has been saying, as Metric will Shoot the Messenger. Then, when The Cavalry (read:Asterix and Obelix) arrives...
Getafix: O great Gothic Chief, your interpreter is deceiving you! I never had any intention of showing you any magic. Metric: *is in too great a rage to speak* Rhetoric: *terrified* He speaks Gothic [sic]. He speaks Gothic.
Then in Asterix and the Helvetians there is the moment when governor Garovirus realizes that Getafix didn't just cure the man he had poisoned, but gave him a few drops of the magic potion as well.
Calvin and Hobbes: Pretty much every times Hobbes pounces on Calvin, Calvin makes an Oh Crap face just before impact. And it's always hilarious.
Our main page quote, however, comes from Hobbes hiding on a tree limb and dropping a single snowball in front of Calvin to get him to look up — so he can see the full payload of snowballs Hobbes is about to dump on him from above.
In the final battle of the third Blue Beetle against the villainous Reach, the bad guys' command ship is collapsing all around main villain the Negotiator and hero Jaime Reyes. Now, the Reach are the never-defeated Evil Commercial Empire who worry even the Guardians of the Universe... and this plucky teenager has done what nobody ever did: bring them down essentially with the power of Heart. But just as the conflagration threatens to consume them both, time-travelling hero Booster Gold appears and drags Blue Beetle out. Reyes reaches out to the Negotiator to save him, too, which leads to the pertinent moment: the villain tearfully whispers "We never stood a chance..."
Near the end of Archie Comics' Death Egg miniseries in Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic has just defeated his oversized robotic double, Silver Sonic. Robotnik decides go after him, wearing his Eggs-O-Skeleton powersuit. He flies up to where Sonic is, gloating on how he'll easily crush the blue blur...only to find that Sonic has climbed into Silver Sonic's empty shell, wearing it like armor!
And just about everyone has one when, in Issue #224, the new Death Egg is seen hovering over New Mobotropolis.
Iron Man has a few in the original Armor Wars storyline alone:
When Tony realizes that Stingray's battlesuit doesn't contain Iron Man tech.
When Tony runs out of weapons in his Stealth armor against the Titanium Man.
Iron Man: "No weapons? No negator packs? I'm in trouble..."
Averted with Dmitri Bhukarin in that issue, as he was (reluctantly) willing to die for his country as the Crimson Dynamo (he doesn't), but played straight with the Gremlin when his Titanium Man armor ignites (providing horrific imagery for Tony, and some readers as well).
As seen above, occasionally in Spy vs. Spy, the losing spy learns an important fact a couple of seconds too late..
An amusing moment in Captain Atom: Armageddon. Captain Atom goes up against Maul, from Wildstorm. Maul's power is that he can reconfigure his body mass and become a figure similar to the Hulk. Captain Atom can manipulate atoms, and he turns Maul back into his skinny scientist self.
The discovery in New Avengers that Elektra is a Skrull and that Wolverine, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange weren't able to tell, leading to the possibility that anyone could be a Skrull and kicking off the entire Secret Invasion saga.
In Mega Man Issue 4, Mega Man finds a teleporter in Dr. Wily's fortress that he hopes will take him to his lair without having to fight anymore. However, since this corresponds with the Boss Rush from the games, he instead teleports to a room with the six Robot Masters gathered around him, with smug smiles on their faces. He can only utter "Oh..."
During her term as a Magistratus She-Hulk defeated the villain Trycko Slatterus and made it impossible for him to use his gem of infinite power again. So he gave it to her arch-enemy Titania, making her capable of lifting small mountains over her head. This turned out to be a bad idea:
Titania:(while holding a small mountain over her head): ''So, even though I've got the gem now, if you really wanted to you could take it back?
Trycko: Yes. Why do you ask? Oh no.(Gets crushed under a small mountain)
In World War Hulk, this is the default expression of pretty much anyone unfortunate enough to go up against the Hulk in full Worldbreaker mode. Doctor Strange, of all people, is driven to an "Oh, dear" that speaks volumes.
The Avengers get one during the Spider-Man storyline "Alpha", when Spidey reluctantly calls in the titular teen hero to help fight Terminus... then gawk in shock as the kid makes Terminus panic.
In Death Of The Family, The Batfamily gets this at the end of the second main issue when Joker says he knows all their identities, and gives proof by talking about Alfred (who he tortured) and the Batcave.
At the end of Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide, Sonic and Mega Man are set to utilize Chaos Control to fix the damage done to their worlds. However, Eggman refuses to remain beaten and decides to attack Sonic while he's preparing his own Chaos Control attack. Then, when Sonic launches it, Eggman hits it with a laser, distorting it! Sonic's last words before everything goes white is "'What did you just do?!"
When the Shi'ar first get introduced in X-Men, a Shi'ar warship is pursuing the rebel Princess Lilandra when she flees to Earth. The ship's captain is informed about the recent activities of various other alien empires (such as the Kree and Skrulls) on Earth and is unconcerned, but then his subordinate tells him that the people of Earth have fought Galactus several times and won. The captain immediately issued a panicked order to retreat before the humans have a chance to notice them.
In the original Runaways series, the kids encounter Old Lace, a deinonychus, in Gert's basement. Chase is convinced she's just a hologram, and to demonstrate, swings a broom at her, convinced it'll go through. It... doesn't. The next panel shows an Oh Crap expression from Chase.