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Be Careful What You Wish For / Comic Books

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  • Superman:
    • In the very first issue of Action Comics #1 — the comic book that began the saga of Superman — the feature story included an episode where three gangsters kidnap a woman (later known as Lois Lane) as she is traveling home from a nightclub in a taxi. Clark Kent and Lois were dancing at the nightclub when one of the gangster's, Butch, smugly tries to cut in, but Lois refuses. Kent tries to stand up to Butch but gets nowhere. Later, after Butch and his goons have kidnapped Lois (no doubt planning to take her to a remote location to brutally beat and rape her), Butch arrogantly hopes that Kent will come after him ... not knowing that Kent (now as Superman) is coming to the rescue. The confrontation leads to Superman catching and (easily) picking up their car, shaking it violently so that the bad guys fall out and then, after securing Lois' safety, vaulting the now scared-out-of-his-wits Butch onto a telephone wire to await the authorities.
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    • In For the Man Who Has Everything, Superman has been trapped by an alien plant that gives him a hallucination of the happy ending he would have wanted — living on Krypton, which was never destroyed. Apparently, the plant's victims are normally happy in their delusion, but it turns out that the logical extrapolation of what would have happened on Krypton includes social upheaval and unrest and Superman's father Jor-El having become a reactionary bigot, making the scenario kind of nightmarish. It's a bit borderline to say all this follows from the wish; the things that happen are not illogical from what is known of Krypton, but there's no clear reason they had to be like that other than the writer deciding it.
    • In Superman Vol 1 #282, Supergirl is considering giving up her Supergirl identity. To illustrate she might regret that decision, Superman tells her a tale about a Kryptonian who wanted to live forever and managed to make himself immortal, only to find out that he would be alone forever.
      Superman: So you see, Kara... Sometimes, when we get the things we think we want most... they turn out to be a curse rather than a blessing!
  • Supergirl:
    • This happened to Kara Zor-El in the Elseworlds story Superman vol. 1 #149: The Death of Superman!. Back then she was Superman's secret emergency-weapon until her cousin decided she was well-trained enough and ready to operate openly. Kara was dying to reveal her existence to the world... until Superman got murdered by Lex Luthor. She arrested and punished Luthor, revealed herself and took over for her cousin, becoming a beloved hero, but she wasn't happy at all.
      Bystander: Good luck! We miss Superman, but we're glad you're taking over for him!
      Supergirl: ... I never thought it would turn out this way... All the time I was Superman's secret emergency-weapon, I eagerly looked forward to the day when I could operate openly! Now that it's finally happened, I — I feel no happiness at the "glory" that's now... mine...
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    • In Supergirl vol. 6 issue #21 -titled "Be Careful What You Wish for…"- Kara Zor-El arrives on I’noxia, a planet whose inhabitants could completely recreate Krypton. However, Cyborg Superman’s presence means the reimagining of Krypton can cost Kara her life.
  • At the beginning of All-New X-Men, the Wolverine's X-Men are disgusted with their ex-teammate's Cyclops militaristic turn, to the point Iceman states he wishes young Scott saw what he's turned into. Beast somehow thinks that jeopardizing the entire time-space continuum is a great idea and brings the original X-Men to the future so they shame adult Scott. What happens instead is the Original Five are originally horrified, but then they discover the modern X-Men twisted and withheld facts to make adult Cyclops look worse. At the end of Battle of the Atom the Original Five decide Wolverine and his X-Men aren't better than adult Cyclops and can't be trusted, and they all join older Cyclops' side.
  • In the "Id" story line of JLA, a group of 6th-dimensional beings release an entity capable of granting wishes... unfortunately, it's a Literal Genie. It affects the league, splitting them into their superheroic and secret identities, and wreaks havoc (most hilariously when some guy wishes his boss would go to hell). In the end, Plastic Man's alter-ego pulls the league back together, comes up with a plan to defeat Id, and saves Earth.
  • In Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes since there is no Reset Button at the end. Protagonist Hana, having used up all five wishes and finding herself no better off, maybe even worse, than at the beginning of the story, decides to jump off a bridge so as to get rid of the demon Romeo and prevent his magic from harming anyone ever again. Romeo somehow escapes from the box before they reach the riverbed, claiming that he "can't die." The last page shows a news report saying that Hana's body has still not been found.
  • "Wish You Were Here", a 1953 story from the EC Comics horror title The Haunt of Fear, uses a variation of "The Monkey's Paw" story: A businessman's wife discovers an enchanted Chinese figurine and wishes for a fortune. Learning that her husband was killed while driving to his lawyer's office (after naming her the beneficiary of a generous life insurance policy), and remembering what happened in "The Monkey's Paw", she wishes for him to be brought back to the way he was "just before the accident"; unfortunately, he's still a corpse since his actual death was due to a heart attack. She uses the third and final wish to make him "alive now, alive forever!"...which condemns him to eternal pain and agony, since his dead body had been embalmed. Even her hacking him to tiny bits can't put him out of his misery. (The comic was later adapted for the 1972 movie anthology: Tales from the Crypt.)
  • When a powerful Reality Warper throws a fit, really bad things can happen. Shortly after House of M, the Scarlet Witch's Laser-Guided Amnesia that had suppressed the memories of her children was undone. In a rage of fit and grief, she wished for a world with no mutants. The result? M-Day.
  • From Knights of the Dinner Table:
    • When given the opportunity for a Wish, resident Rules Lawyer Brian pulls out a 20-page legal document he's been carrying around for just such an opportunity. It's so complex that the Dungeon Master has to call several other DMs to help him interpret it.
    • Ultimately, B.A. is able to invoke this trope. While the wish was airtight the immortality granted to Brian leaves a vengeful deity he previously pissed off free to attack him with full force. Fortunately for Brian, a clause of the wish stated that if he died as a direct consequence of the wish, all effects of the wish would be undone and Brian would get a 25,000 gp consolation prize.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation comic "Artificiality", Captain Picard, at a crewmember's funeral, wishes that all of his crew were as durable as Data. Q obliges him by turning the whole crew into Soong-type androids.
  • This tends to happen quite often in the Grimm Fairy Tales comic series.
  • The 2011 "Heart of the Monster" arc in The Incredible Hulks is built around this trope - Hulk and his team encounter a Wishing Well. Everyone involved knows what it will twist every wish it grants. What they don't know is the intentions of the Red She-Hulk, who used it to wish doom on her ex-husband.... if she meant it, his circumstances are going to improve, but if she liked him... As it turns out, she hated him at the time, meaning all of his dreams briefly came true.
  • Planet Hulk. After a fight between the Hulk and the Thing leaves Las Vegas in ruins and a dozen people dead, the Illuminati - specifically Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Doctor Strange, and Black Bolt - decided that Hulk was too dangerous to be allowed on Earth, so they came up with a plan to send him to a peaceful world with no intelligent life. The green behemoth always wanted to be left alone, why not grant his wish? Of course, everything goes horribly wrong.
  • Doctor Strange, in a moment of grief after losing Clea, wished he were dead. Enter D'Spayre, who put him through a series of Mind Screws so painful that Strange nearly took his own life.
  • In a Transformers: More than Meets the Eye sidestory, Trailcutter briefly wishes that he no longer had his signature forcefield before going to sleep as he feels that is the only thing people remember about him. When he awakens, an malfunctioning pulse weapon has frozen everyone else on the ship and taken away his ability to project forcefields. He later learns that his forcefields are what protected him from the inventions effects.
  • In the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comic Mina Mongoose, after being traumatized by the Iron Dominion's occupation of New Mobotropolis and of NICOLE's brief Magitek-induced Face–Heel Turn, uses her status as a music icon to send a message across the city to inspire them and raise awareness concerning possible problems should NICOLE become compromised again. In comes Ixis Naugus, who uses his magic to augment all existing feelings of anger and fear in the public to turn NICOLE into a Hero with Bad Publicity and eventually get her exiled from the city altogether, which, combined with the revelation that NICOLE was acting as The Mole proceeding Sonic and Sally's departure from the city, leaves Mina guilt-ridden. When Mina goes to Freedom HQ, the place of NICOLE's exile, to speak with her and apologize, NICOLE explicitly informs her that with her exile, she got what she wanted.
  • A laser guided version occurs in The Sandman. Richard Madoc holds one of the Muses captive as a sex slave because, as a writer, he needs ideas. It all works pretty well for him until Morpheus (said Muse's ex) gives him more ideas than his brain can handle. When he pleads for it to stop, he loses the ability to think entirely.
  • In a sense, in Seconds, as Katie starts using the mushrooms to make long term changes in her life. As you can imagine, she quickly finds out there's no such thing as a "perfect" life.
  • In The Just #1, Damian Wayne says that the world needs a genius supervillain like his mom or his grandad. It has one. He's sleeping with her.
  • Paul Patton, a.k.a The Fox, originally became a costumed crimefighter to better attract stories and scoops, being a photojournalist and everything, but by the time of The Fox Hunt, he can't seem to stay away from front page news (read:crazy dangerous villains) and has begun to see his Freak Magnet-ness as a curse.
  • In Empowered three high-school students were given an art assignment to imagine themselves as superpowered people. They imagined themselves as a pair of angel and devil Conjoined Twins, a warrior with cynderblocks for hands and head, and a Tyrannosaurus rex-human hybrid... And when they woke up the next morning, they had become just that. Only the tyrannosaurus was happy with it.
  • In "When Susie Sneezes" from Mandy, Susie discovers that any wish she makes while sneezing will come true - but in the heat of the moment, she often wishes for things that she later regrets.
  • The conflict in Kingdom Come originates when the public reject the traditional heroes, who won't kill their enemies no matter how deadly they are and instead turn them over the justice system to be dealt with. The public demand a new breed of heroes who are willing to permanently deal with threats such as the Joker and not being concerned about taking lives or deferring to the justice system. They get what they ask for,— but unfortunately, the new breed of heroes are also not particularly concerned about collateral damage or what the public think about them, resulting in unrestrained metahuman warfare and the complete stagnation of human society. Suddenly, Superman's Thou Shalt Not Kill rule didn't look so bad after all...
  • Happens very often in Dylan Dog. A particularly sadistic example is Dust, a Fallen Angel who was sentenced to suffer by committing evil while being unable to understand it due his nature as an angel, searching for Ash, a devil kicked out of hell and sentenced to bring happiness by helping people have what they wish the most, so Ash will be forced by his own punishment to make him understand evil. It happens, and Dust goes instantly mad.
  • Black Panther' gives us one during the 2016 arc. The two new antagonists, Zenzi and her ally Tetu have been trying to overthrow T'Challa, but in order to put a more democratic government and just society. However, their benefactor (financially and technologically), the Iron Monger, warns Tenzu about one of the core tenants of revolution:
    Stane: Okay, here's the thing, you say you want a revolution, but are you ready for the future, friend? Let me tell you what is coming. Panic in the streets. Fire in the sky. Casualties. Agony.
  • Tales of Telguuth: It's very common for characters hoping to gain access to secret powers or explore hidden wonders to have it backfire on them (often to deadly effect), usually because they fail to take into account that Evil Is Not a Toy.
  • Teen Titans Go!: Beast Boy tells Dr. Light this when Dr. Light gets electrocuted trying to get Cyborg's battery's power.
  • Asterix and the Goths: Kuningaz Metric wanted to see Getafix' druid magic? By Tīwaz, he got to! He also got ousted by his interpreter, and then at least eight more rivals sprang up.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: After Mystery, Inc. returned to their normal sizes, a monster shows up and Shaggy regrets no longer being small since it'd be easier to hide that way.
  • Animaniacs: In Issue #26, Slappy and Skippy get a monkey's paw. Slappy accidentally wishes to get rid of her bunions and a guy with an ax visits her. She redirects him to the Olsen twins. Realizing the paw is dangerous, Slappy throws it away and Walter Wolf finds it. He wishes for a wheelbarrow of dynamite and all fuses are already lit. He then wishes for a mack truck to run Slappy down and it falls on him. Deciding to "cut the middleman" instead of wishing for more stuff to get rid of Slappy, he wishes "to be rid of Slappy Squirrel once and for all". A chasm opens under him and he falls while Slappy and Skippy save themselves from that fate by grabbing on a tree branch. He eventually reappears in the Galapagos Islands, where he runs afoul of a gorilla who has a hook to replace a missing paw.
  • Ultimate FF: Subverted. Without more ideas on how to deal with the monsters of the incursion, the team (except Sue) wishes that Reed was there. Then, Coulson sent the cavalry. Sue thought that it was Reed, all the red herrings suggested that it was Reed, but no: it was Victor Van Damme.
  • In Sonic the Comic, after having beaten back Metallix, Sonic and Amy find themselves on the Miracle Planet (which had recently been covered in Dr. Robotnik's machinery in an inexplicably short timeframe). Amy revels at the prospect of getting to be alone with Sonic, while Sonic himself dismissively states that he'd rather fight Metallix again. No prizes for guessing who appears behind Sonic and starts shooting at him.
    Metallix: As you wish.
  • Batman '66: In the Wonder Woman crossover, Ra's Al Ghul used the Lazarus Pits so much he's eventually deaged into a ten-year-old. Batman agrees with his "old chum" when he says "Holy be careful what you wish for".
  • Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Triple-Zero spends the entirety of the Remastered, Catastrophe Con, and Worst Among Equals arcs (nearly two dozen issues) trying to recover his original memory files, in order to resolve the mystery of why he was created to be the perfect Killer Robot. When he finally succeeds in Issue #30, he learns that his murderous personality was a mistake that his creator was horrified by, which breaks him and drives him to suicide.
  • Be Prepared: Vera wanted to spend her summer at a camp so she wouldn't have to be the only girl in her neighbourhood. When she got there, however, she began to regret her decision.
  • A common Running Gag in Mortadelo y Filemón, where a character wishes something... and gets it but not only never in the expected way but also for the worse.

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