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Break The Cutie / Comic Books

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  • Alias: Jessica Jones was a teenage superhero who confronted the Purple Man and instantly got hit by his powers. Which he used to pretty much torment her for eight months before she was rescued.
  • Anarky: Anarky gets this at the end of his "Metamorphosis" storyline, where he is confronted with a hallucinatory vision of his successful plan leading to the formal institution of "parasite tests", with failures being ghettoized and left to rot, a state of affairs that promotes Might Makes Right brutality and ruthlessness amongst the imprisoned until the strongest, meanest, most savage individuals are left and these promptly roll out of the ghetto, unleashing such barbarism against the "enlightened" that they end up reverting back to the "old ways" of authority in return for guaranteed safety against them.
  • Buddy from Animal Man starts off as an idealistic funny person, but after his wife and children die, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and kills people.
    • Of course, this, like many other events in the comic, is meant as a meta-commentary on The Dark Age of Comic Books that had started a year or so after
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Hershey during the End Game arc, when she learned that her Jerkass ex-boyfriend Drago Wolf tricked her into [almost] killing Sally. Let's just say that near the conclusion, the traitorous wolf learned the hard way about "a woman scorned"...
    • Sally Acorn. Over and over again.
  • Avengers Arena:
    • Hazmat's harsher than your typical cutie, but she's been through absolute hell while in Murderworld.
    • Juston was always a sweet kid, but Apex crippling him and being left in the desert for a week, has completely broken his spirit and made him angry enough to want to kill her.
    • All Nico went through including getting brutally killed pushed her to the point at which she would willingly kill Apex.
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    • Death Locket’s backstory has her seeing her mother and little brother murdered by a Deathlok cyborg that time-traveled to killed her father Harlan Ryker, who created them. She gets caught in the explosion that killed her mother and brother. Her father transforms her into a Deathlok to save her life. And then her father is taken to jail, and just when she wakes from her coma and finds out she's a cyborg, she's transported to Murderworld. You can also add being controlled by Apex into shooting at the heroes, not to mention killing her first love to the list.
      • All of this culminates in Avengers Undercover when Baron Zemo notes the look on the survivor's eyes when they find Arcade again.
  • She-Hulk is always the Life of the Party, but in Avengers Disassembled she suffers a lot. She saw a friend killed for no reason, lost control like the Hulk and killed the Vision, controlled by the Scarlet Witch.
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  • Cloud 9 during the first thirteen issues of Avengers: The Initiative.
  • This is essentially what happens in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns when Carrie sees the bodies of the Cub Scouts who took the poisoned cotton candy from the Joker. Batman's internal dialogue lampshades it.
  • It's quite a shock to see Nelson Gardner, previously a neurotic wreck in Watchmen proper, as a fit and self-assured younger man in Before Watchmen. His relationship with HJ probably had a lot to do with it. Byron is following a similar downward trajectory.
  • A major reason Huey has for talking to Jazmine in The Boondocks though he doesn't exactly mean to be malicious - he truly thinks she would be better off if she were a cynic like him, so he makes it his mission to tear down her childlike beliefs.
  • Ice's meeting with Guy Gardner in Brightest Day post-mindwipe by Max Lord; to keep the JLI from recruiting their Green Lantern friend, Max alters Guy's memories so that a fake post-Blackest Night meeting between the two happened, where Ice tried to kill Guy Gardner for no good reason. Given that this came after the two began dating again after Ice's resurrection, as well as Judd Winnick proclaiming that the point of the scene was to sink the Guy/Ice ship, it makes it a major moment of sadness.
    • And then Ice suddenly manifests "repressed memories" of belonging to a Romani tribe (of the stereotyped "mostly thieves and conmen" type) and killing her father and grandfather trying to escape. Her previously revealed family of magical ice people were supposedly her imagination, despite the fact that other people in the Justice League have met them existed, but were not her birth family. After about two issues of angst, Ice puts these developments on the back-burner, however, as she has other things to worry about.
  • John "U.S. Agent" Walker's entire tenure as Captain America was one of these.
  • Kaito in Casanova: Gula.
  • Amanda in Psychopath is one of the few survivors in Crossed to cling to her humanity, and tries to help out Harold Lorre when she finds him injured and helpless. Guess how dearly she pays for doing such a foolish thing.
  • Daredevil has several nervous breakdowns; unfortunately for him There Are No Therapists.
    • Poor gentle Melvin suffers another mental break down after being manipulated by both Alexander Bont and Mr. Fear.
  • Mario Falcone in Dark Victory honestly believes that he can make the Falcone family a legitimate and respected part of Gotham City's upper crust, much like the Wayne's, and even helps the DA's office take down the remainder of his family's criminal organization. It does not end well.
  • Diabolik
    • In their first encounter, Diabolik murdered Gustavo Garian’s father and his aunt, drove his mother mad twice, and nearly killed him, all in order to steal a priceless treasure from him.
    • In the span of a few days, Elisabeth Grey’s beloved Walter Dorian was revealed to be the terrifying murderer Diabolik, she was forced to testify against him and have a direct part in him being sentenced to death, and Eva Kant saved him in a way that made clear she had already been replaced as lover, driving her on the verge of madness. Then, in the aptly-titled story "Atrocious Revenge", Diabolik waited for her to recover and find a new love in her therapist to drive her fully mad.
      • This became much harsher with "In the Tunnel of Madness", when we find out that she would have become Diabolik's accomplice had he just asked. Gets even harsher with "Inside Clerville's Underground": he did consider doing that and even tested her, but, after proving herself a capable accomplice, she failed by telling Ginko about their encounter with a dead terrorist (even if she omitted the circumstances).
    • Eva Kant as a child: she was the sweet illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and his maid, but her uncle drove her mother to suicide and sent her to a reform school filled with sadistic teachers.
  • This could very well be the theme of Empowered.
    • Main character Emp is subjected to it several times per book. She's a superhero by virtue of a supersuit that's only as sturdy as her self esteem, which is so low that digging for it won't begin to help. Every time the suit gets shredded, or even slightly torn, she loses her powers and gets tied up by the bad guys. Her teammates make fun of her and sexually harass her on a regular basis. For every victory she has, there are two setbacks.
    • Ninjette is a pre-broken cutie, thanks to her incredibly abusive father.
    • Sistah Spooky. She was the only black girl in a school of model-hot white blondes. They bullied her so badly that she resorted to summoning a demon just to get them to stop (via a hellfire-fueled revenge, though thankfully that didn't happen). Then the demon gave her hotness and magic superpowers, and she joined the Super Homies... where she became the very thing she despised in regards to Emp. She gets severely broken again later in the series, though that's more a case of "Break the Haughty". For the Curious... 
  • Aroree from ElfQuest
  • Endymion's treatment in Empire is a very comprehensive breaking. Ambassador Rasmussen also gets this, though a different way.
  • Stacy Palumbo of Grendel's corruption from a Cheerful Child into a Creepy Child/Broken Bird began from her discovery of her adoptive father Hunter Rose's identity as Villain Protagonist Grendel, the man who killed her uncle. After planning out Hunter's death (and murdering her governess along the way to keep her from interfering) by secretly assisting Argent taking down Grendel's criminal empire and ultimately leading both into their final showdown. After Rose's death she was institutionalized. Just when things are going to look better after a few years with her marrying her therapist, her husband goes ahead and rapes her on their wedding night before hanging himself. Since then she began to slowly waste away in body and mind until she finally dies.
  • Guardians: According to Word of God; "[Tao's] all bold now but he grows up to be pretty emo."
  • Hack/Slash: In flashbacks we learn that Cassie was bullied in school because she was poor and "ugly". Aww. Not to mention the part where her mother is an undead serial killer who has had to be put down by her on two separate occasions so far. That tends to be a bit traumatic.
  • Mezmerella's plan for Violet in The Incredibles.
  • X-23's treatment by the Facility in Innocence Lost was intended to break her down and turn her into an emotionless killing machine.
  • Happens a lot in Inspector Canardo. Rasputin's daughter in Mark of Rasputin suffers a horrible breakdown when she realizes what her father is.
  • Irredeemable: Kaidan's one of two members of the Paradigm that can fight Tony off and have a chance of survival. She's the only surviving member of the team who's not shown signs of a pending Face–Heel Turn, and her origin story strongly implies that she'd see such an opportunity coming and choose death without hesitation. Her powers require her to speak. If she survives, it'll be one hell of a subversion.
  • Shazam: Adrianna Tomaz, aka Isis from 52. She starts as All-Loving Hero, determined to see the good in the world despite all of the horrible things she had endured up to that point (being kidnapped to be used as a bargaining chip by Intergang for starters). As Isis, she brings light to Kahndaq and convinces her new husband Black Adam that he doesn't have to be a violent Anti-Villain anymore. Then it all goes to hell in One Bad Day. Her brother is eaten alive by their Team Pet Sobek, who was really a member of a group of Eldritch Abominations sent by Intergang to destroy the Marvels. Then she gets a mouthful of plague and dies a painful death in Black Adam's arms. Adrianna is so broken that she renounces her idealism, tells Black Adam that he had been right all along about the world, and with her last breath asks him to "avenge us". Believe it or not, it went From Bad to Worse. Being resurrected and brainwashed by an Evil Sorcerer who used her to free himself from a prison and subsequently being constantly raped by said sorcerer sent her soaring over the Despair Event Horizon. When Black Adam eventually frees her, Adrianna's first act is to castrate the sorcerer with her bare hands. Finally, she crosses the Moral Event Horizon into full-blown villainy when she declares the people of Kahndaq, the people who worship her as a goddess, to be just another bunch of bastards, and starts turning them into dirt statues. Even Black Adam is horrified by this!
  • Jellyfist: What happens to the little rabbit thing in the untitled comic after "Breakfast".
  • The entire Destroyer Arc in Knights of the Old Republic counts as Zayne's Break the Cutie. He's enslaved, shown visions of torture, experiences an elaborate manipulation at the hands of Chantique, is forced to watch as a slave he befriended dies, drives Jarael away, and doesn't realize that he's been lied to until it's too late.
  • Issue #5 of Lazarus featured a flashback to Forever as a young girl, being forced to fight and defeat a woman at least ten years her senior to be given the family sword. Not surprsingly, she fails, and Malcom coldly reprimands her. The look on her face is heartwrenching.
  • Nemo's daughter Janni in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, oh so much. Ironically her gang rape by her employer and the customers of the bar she works in makes her willing to accept the role of Nemo, the very thing she ran away from home to avoid, in order to have her revenge. And she does. By the end of the volume Ishmael reckons she's more of a monster than her father. "Ain't it bleeding wonderful?"
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • v4 did this with a number of characters, but particularly harshly with the White Witch. Previously depicted as a slightly shy, bookish type in a (platonic?) relationship with teammate Blok. At the start of v4, she was shown to be in an abusive marriage with former archnemesis Mordru. She was rescued by the reconstituted Legion just in time to discover that Blok had been brutally mutilated by genocidal pirate Roxxas the Butcher.
    • Cera Kesh from the Glorithverse Legionnaires, a rejected Legion applicant who showed everyone Who's Laughing Now? when the Eye chose her. Also, Shrinking Violet.
      • Ingria Olav, Leland McCauley's girlfriend, had no idea what she was getting herself into when Leland let her become the Empress in his new Fatal Five.
  • A lot in Les Légendaires. ESPECIALLY during the Anathos Cycle with the Legendaries themselves.
    • Shun-Day. Twice.
    • Saryn when Raptor killed her father.
  • Yz was always the more innocent of the two hybrids and managed to avoid sharing most of her brother's murderous/destructive tendencies. Near the end of Les Lumières de l'Amalou, his death made her snap and become a savage beast.
  • In Life with Archie: The Married Life Betty undergoes a serious depression after Archie picks Veronica over her. Not even dating Richie Cunningham or Troy Bolton lifts her out of it.
  • In Locke & Key, Bode is an adorable six-year old boy with insatiable curiosity. The breaking starts in issue one, when his father is murdered and his mother is raped during a home invasion executed by his older brother's classmates. It just kinda goes on from there. Trying to protect him is actually a concern for his older siblings Tyler and Kinsey. At one point Tyler actually uses the Head Key to remove his memory of a monster attack, explaining that if Bode could remember it, he'd never sleep well again.
  • Dani from Marvel Star Wars
  • Bobbi/Mockingbird started out as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who hung out with Ka-Zar and later worked with and ended up marring Clint Barton. Then she was abducted, drugged and raped by the Phantom Rider, who then proceeded to try and ruin her life. She was one of the first characters to be replaced by the Skrulls and spent time on the run from them on their own planet, avoiding capture by a Skrull who had taken on Clint's appearance. Then when she was eventually returned, it was to a different life than the one she'd left behind because she'd been gone for years. Then the Phantom Rider came back to try and kill her again so they could be together forever.
    • Seemed very broken when rescued from AIM in Secret Avengers, to the point where Taskmaster wonders what they did to her.
  • Daramount's goal for Jun, Hunter, Casey and Jade in Morning Glories.
    • Also Daramount to Hodge as children, in a way.
  • Muties: Prior to meeting Nata, Jisa was kicked out of her home by her parents and then knocked up by her asshole boyfriend.
  • Twilight gets it several times in Issues 15 and 16 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW), first going into nervous breakdowns and fits of rage when she discovers her precious books have been eaten, and even more breakdowns and frustrations with her friends recreating their stories with various improvisations.
  • New Mutants:
    • Illyana in original series with all Belasco did to her, Inferno and Legacy Virus. Most of the characters from New X-Men got it in one way or another after Kyle and Yost took over but the crown goes to Pixie, who got part of her soul stolen. TWICE.
    • Age of X crossover has broken both Pixie and Cannonball. To explain, in that story we see alternate reality, that is terrible Crapsack World and all mutants are fighting for their survival until it's revealed that it's actually pocket reality created by one of Legion's personalities and all those people are members of 616 X-Men dragged into it. Everybody have now different history and Sam and Megan have ones of the most depressing ones and once everything goes back to normal they are devastated and demands their memories about whole thing erased. Oh, and Pixie counterpart from that world, Nightmare, apparently survived as Superpowered Evil Side inside her mind.
    • Mercury after getting kidnapped and tortured by Facility.
  • The Professor's Daughter: Poor, poor Lillian.
  • Jessica Jones again gets hit with this in The Pulse; When she thinks she's lost her baby after getting caught in an explosion, she's first enraged, then reduced to tears.
  • Almost everyone in Punk Rock Jesus who isn't Slate gets this at some point. Most notably Gwen (who at one point nearly gets Driven to Suicide) and Dr. Epstein.
  • Tim Drake, Robin III now Red Robin, started out quite differently from his predecessors. Initially he had two living parents and a large supporting cast at his school, though his mother was tragically murdered soon after he took on the role. Overall, he was portrayed more as a realistic teenager than the usual vigilante. That was until his school was shot up and his girlfriend was brutally tortured to death by Black Mask. Within a month, his father was killed by Captain Boomerang. Less than a year later his two best friends, Conner Kent (Superboy) and Bart Allen (Impulse/Kid Flash), died saving the world making Tim the last surviving Young Justice founder. Then his adoptive father went missing in time, and Tim's attempts to convince his siblings of the fact convinced them he'd lost his mind to grief. He has since taken up far more ruthless crime fighting techniques and become more serious and less likely to joke or laugh in or out of costume.
    • Oddly enough, Cassandra Cain is a mirror image of Bruce. Despite the Training from Hell, she was a true innocent who thought the mastery of combat arts was as much a game as anything and the painful parts (two for flinching, with light caliber handguns) were "normal" to her. Then she reduced a living, thinking, man to a large mass of inert meat with her own 8 year old hand... seeing the horror in his eyes as life faded from them... and it was suddenly not fun anymore.
    • Jason Todd was broken by dying, even after he was killed off for real, when he became Red Hood.
    • Batman himself. Watching his parents get shot dead right in front of him at the age of eight (or ten, depending on the continuity)... you didn't think a guy in an armored bat costume swinging from the rooftops on a nightly basis to beat up crooks was sane, did you?
      "What do you suppose something like that does to a kid?"
      — Alexander Knox, Batman (1989)
  • There's the sad history of Klara Prast of the Runaways, who kept talking to plants. Her religious asshole parents convinced her she was the spawn of Satan and married her off, at the age of eleven, to a creep who raped her and forced her into dangerous jobs to earn money for him to buy booze. Luckily, the Runaways rescued her and brought her into the future where New York happened to be under invasion by Skrulls. And then, just when she was starting to get the hang of our modern world, someone fired a missile at the Runaways' home that came so close to killing her that she lost control of her powers and accidentally attacked her friends, and Nico decided to mystically pacify her. In Avengers Academy, she's become such a nervous wreck that Hank Pym and Tigra decide to break with the Avengers' previous stance on the Runaways and let them stay together, specifically because they fear that separating Klara from the Runaways might further damage her emotional well being. Of course, then Avengers Arena happened...
  • The Sandman:
    • Delirium was originally Delight, until something caused her to change. Most likely when she realized that she's older than the universe, but she's forever the youngest of the Endless.
    • Nuala was sent by Oberon and Titania as a gift to Dream as part of a diplomatic mission to keep Hell closed (LongStory). No one expected this mission to be successful, and Nuala was allowed to believe she'd be returning to Faerie when it was done. Cluracan reluctantly informs her when he leaves that Titania will not allow the gift to be rejected win or lose, and so she would not be welcomed back to her home. When Dream accepts her into his employ, he strips her of her beautiful and dignified Glamour, returning her to her gawky, awkward and mousey natural appearance. She spends a lot of time afterwards miserable. Dream doesn't even give her a position in his court — she begins acting as a housekeeper out of a need for something to do.
  • Happens to quite a few of Dian's friends in Sandman Mystery Theatre. Also, poor, poor Emily...
  • Taken Up to Eleven with Scarlet Witch. She finds out Magneto is her father, her children turn out to be kinda sorta not real, she loses her husband, her brother manipulates her into altering reality, and Magneto kills her brother. That's not even half of it. She reacts by wiping out the powers of 90% of the world's mutant population.
  • What the antagonist appeared to be attempting with Sparkle in Shadoweyes.
  • After all the years, Daredevil has finally snapped in Shadowland.
  • Subverted in Sin City. The Yellow Bastard was unable to make Nancy Callahan scream... twice. She remained safe and unbroken every time he kidnapped her.
  • This happens to Spider-Man on a depressingly regular basis. See the Death of Gwen Stacy and One More Day for precise examples.
  • Shazam: Freddy Freeman, who has the distinction of: A) being the only superhero to gain his powers thanks to a hate crime; B) being orphaned as a result of said hate crime; C) being left with a permanent disability as another result of that hate crime, which — despite the fact that he knows an all-powerful wizard — can't be magically healed for reasons that are never fully explained; and D) losing his athletic prowess (and subsequently all of his friends) thanks to that disability. While all of the Shazam! kids have a rough lot in life, Freddy has traditionally portrayed as being more "broken" by his experiences than everyone else. He's the most cynical member of the Marvel family, and has a temper that oftentimes gets him into trouble and exacerbates his problems.
  • Supergirl:
    • Kara Zor-El always goes through this, not matter the universe. She is a genuinely nice, sweet teen girl who loses her family and her whole world when her parents launch her off Argo City to save her life. She crash-lands into a strange, alien, primitive world where she doesn't blend in and strangers want to kill her or capture her and examine her.
    • In the Pre-Crisis universe, Superman -her only living relative- sent Kara to an orphanage because he feared that his enemies would do if they found out about her, telling her to keep her existence a secret while he trained her. Kara hated the Midvale Orphanage but she had to live there during her training, performing heroic deeds anonymously and avoiding to be adopted. Finally her cousin is about to make her -Supergirl's- existence public when she loses her powers.
    • Post-Crisis Kara was getting used to live on Earth when Superman retrieves the Bottle City of Kandor -in which were imprisoned her parents and several thousands of Kryptonians- from Brainiac. However, one of her villains -Reactron- kills her parents and blows New Krypton up, exterminating the last survivors of Krypton. So she lost her family and world twice.
    • Post-Flashpoint Kara didn't trust her cousin, felt lonely and stranded in a strange world and was manipulated by most of people until she flew off the handle.
    • Many Happy Returns: Kara loses her parents and her entire world when they launch her off Argo City to save her life. Her rocket changes course and she crashes into the post-Crisis universe instead of Earth-One. Everyone yells at her, hurts her, thinks she is an idiot or crazy. Her only living relative turns her down before she can explain she is his cousin because he believes her to be an obsessed fan. She tries to go school and make friends but she is treated as a freak. And then a cosmic being turns up and tells her that she has to return to her universe... where she will eventually get killed.
    Kara: It's nice. It's... peaceful. Not like here. Here people yell at you... or hurt you... or think you're an idiot or crazy... Or let you down. I've never hated anyone or anything in my life. But I hate this world. I hate it.
    • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. Two examples: Kara Zor-El -Supergirl- was an nice, innocent, naive woman. Then she found out that her father figure -someone who she thought was a very good person- murdered her baby cousin several years before, and was manipulating her all along. Barbara Gordon -Batgirl- was a sweet, smiling child until she saw her parents being murdered by a punk with a gun. She became a harsh, cynical, paranoid person.
  • Wonder Woman in Superman: Red Son, who loses a piece of herself when she has to break her own lasso to save Superman.
  • Cay Qel-Droma, the Abel half of the Cain and Abel duo in Tales of the Jedi. While he bounces back to his cheerful nature almost immediately after losing an arm in the Onderon conflict, subsequent events break down his optimism. First he loses his master, then his brother Ulic insists (against the advice of absolutely everyone) on pretending to join the dark-siders responsible... and winds up joining them for real. Ulic insults and berates him after being captured and put on trial for his life, and then Cay has to watch him leave again as The Dragon to a Sith lord. Cay makes one final effort to reach Ulic on Ossus, and in this he at last succeeds... posthumously, because Ulic realizes what he's done immediately after striking Cay down.
  • Poor Ironfist in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers. Every issue seems devoted to piling more and more torments upon the poor weapons engineer. First, he gets mocked for his hero worship; then he finds out that This Is Reality and War Is Hell in heartbreaking fashion, complete with Heroic BSoD; then he reflects on his long, depressing life and volunteers to die; then a quick Mind Rape; and finally he casts the deciding vote to execute his former idol, Impactor. Poor guy really needs a hug. And then after Overlord's defeat, he dies on the way back from Garrus-9 from a mechanical aneurysm.
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye:
    • Pipes get some of this, but Tailgate undoubtedly takes the cake.
    • Rewind’s futile search for Dominus Ambus can be considered this.
  • Poor Bumblebee just keeps getting pushed farther and farther by all the things happening around him in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
  • V for Vendetta
  • Most of the cast in The Walking Dead. Carol's is so horrific that it leads her to be Driven to Suicide. Twice.
    • And Carol's breaking simultaneously leads to the breaking of her daughter, Sophia.
    • Carl and Andrea have it particularly bad as well.
      • Bad doesn't even begin to describe it...
  • Lisa from Witchblade.
  • X-Force did this to Psylocke. Uncanny X-Force started with Betsy Braddock cool, collected, and confident and together with the man she loves. Then the man she loves turns evil. And then she kills him. And then she kills her brother to save reality. And then she's mind-raped after being ambushed by another psychic. And then a second man she's come to have very complicated feelings for sacrifices himself to save her. And then she finds out she causes a totalitarian Bad Future. Post-traumatic stress disorder doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Do NOT attend the Xavier Institute. Just don't. This goes double if you're on Earth-616. They will kill all your friends, run over your dog, and rip out your soul all in the space of a few hours if you go to the Xavier Institute. This goes quadruple if your on Earth-1610, where nearly all of the original X-Men are dead at this point, the remaining mutants are living on the run from a government even more prejudiced than before, and while he was alive, Professor Xavier wasn't above using his powers, and sometimes just his intellect, to manipulate his students.
    • Illyana Rasputin (Magik) started as Colossus' little sister; after being sucked into Limbo (Belasco's dimension) while at Xavier's, she returned with new magic powers and a severely damaged mental state (to be fair to the team, time differences were so great, she appeared to only be gone a few seconds). She is then returned to Belasco's, where she undergoes a weird process that causes her to split into multiple beings, rather confusing, one being a soulless girl stuck in Belasco's dimension.
      • Then you get to poor Megan Gwynn, aka Pixie, a girl who (before House of M) was voted most cheerful person at Xavier's. She along with her classmates are dragged into Belasco's dimension, where, in order to escape, team up with the soulless Illyana. In the process, Pixie loses a portion of HER SOUL. She returns with black streaks in her hair (presumably representing the darkness now in her soul) and a magical dagger that allows her to teleport. Then in another arc she returns to that dimension, this time with the main team. Here she attacks Illyana for stealing a portion of her soul and after losing, Illyana takes YET ANOTHER chunk of Pixie's soul and sends the X-Men back home. Later she gets badly beaten by some racists, kidnapped by demons and finds out her parents aren't her real parents and she is really a daughter of Mastermind and some witch. And then she gets to Limbo and has another part of her soul stolen AGAIN, though this time she regains all parts of her soul at the end. And then, along with everybody else, she gets brainwashed by a powerful reality warper into believing her life was one big hell on Earth, which turns her into murderous sex-obsessed psychopath with a demonic look, called Nightmare. And once she gets back to normal, Nightmare survives in her mind as a Superpowered Evil Side. Poor girl cannot catch a break.
      • Or Longshot - a peppy, happy-go-lucky charmer. WHO HAS HIS SOUL EATEN BY A DEMON in the Inferno storyline. Even when everything goes back to normal, he's left with some serious angst.
    • If you're a young mutant, this is bound to happen no matter where you live. The only place more dangerous than the Xavier Institute (or whatever the current headquarters of the X-Men happens to be) for young mutants is the world outside of it.
    • Rahne Sinclair has this in spades. Rescued from being burned at the stake by her abusive father, her life seemed to be getting better once she joined the New Mutants. Cue a long string of traumas — her first love dying to save her, being mind-raped by an evil psychic, her best friend being possessed by a demon, being kidnapped and mind-raped/genetically modified into a mindless slave, seeing another dear friend murdered, struggling to break free of brainwashing, losing her powers and adoptive mother in a single day, and being shown a Bad Future where she murders two dear friends. Then she got recruited onto a black ops X-team, where she would be brainwashed and given a heroin overdose by her father. This resulted in her nearly murdering her teammates, and eventually EATING HER FATHER, a trauma she's blocked out. While being deprogrammed, she was reunited with an old love and became pregnant, only for him to sell his soul to save her. The baby nearly killed her and turned out to be a supernatural beacon for bad things when close to being born. All of this over the course of maybe 7 - 8 years of time.
    • What was done to X-23 from birth until she escaped, then her handler tracked her down, and what happened wasn't pretty. And what makes it worse is that the Facility was breaking her on purpose. When they decided she had too much empathy for others, they gave her a puppy with orders to kill it. When she played with it instead and failed to carry out the orders they threatened to torture it to death and make Laura watch as punishment. She gets better, and learns to be a normal girl from Jubilee... kinda.
      • And now, Avengers Arena looks to be attempting to break her all over again...
    • Little Jean Grey, who begins as the sweetest person at Xavier's. She's the Team Chick and is as cheery and perky as can be. Then, while hunting Proteus, Jean starts having these daydreams where she's slipping into the past, where she is in a rather intimate relationship with a man who is far less straight-laced than Scott. Did I mention that just a little while before this, Jean, dying of radiation, made contact with a cosmic entity called The Phoenix Force who just happened to share its infinite power with her? And that with that power she'd fought Galactus to a standstill and healed a cancerous galaxy? So yeah, Jean keeps having these visions until she can't escape from them. Then the masquerade is over, and Jean realizes she was being used by Mastermind and The White Queen, who have been more or less raping her mind and forcing her to do things that were scandalous to her. Except when the mask comes off, Jean loses her grip on all that infinite power that The Phoenix gave her, and it drives her mad. She's filled with the hunger of a Cosmic being, and the memories of her glorious triumphs. So she breaks down and eats a star. Then the Shi'ar get upset and condemn her to death, and Jean knows there's nothing for it, so she commits suicide to avoid repeating the things she did.
      • The above did NOT happen to Jean, but to the Phoenix itself, which from time to time wants to know how it is to feel human, and took her memories, looks and personality while the real Jean was healing in a cocoon at the bottom of the ocean. However, after the real Jean has come back and her clone Madelyne Pryor (read below) dies, Jean is given the memories of both Madelyne and the Phoenix. Given that she also had a traumatic experience at the age of 10, watching her best friend die from a car accident while being mentally linked to her and feeling everything she felt, we can safely say Jean has three sets of screwed up memories in her brain, two of which are of women that looked exactly like her.
      • Then, when she's revived, the love of her life is with a clone of hers, who has her own breakdown, resulting in a deal with the devil and the return of the Phoenix Force. Then Scott cheats on her with the very woman who caused the Dark Phoenix to come into being. Then Jean dies, and sees a future in which all her friends suffer incredible anguish and, because the Phoenix is as much her tormentor as her friend, it convinces her that the only way to fix all this is making her push her husband into the arms of the woman who caused the Dark Phoenix to come about. Then the Shi'ar slaughtered her entire family. Then they hurt the Phoenix and it forced her back out of the grave, so she had to die AGAIN. Then the Phoenix came back and handed itself into the arms of The White Queen, and with that power, Scott went nuts.
      • Long story short, the day the Phoenix saved Jean's life, it set her on a very, very painful path.
    • Can't forget to add in Dust. Separated from her mother (whose fate is unknown), was sold into slavery until Wolverine saved her and becomes enrolled in the Xavier Institute, only for some of her new friends and love interest to die as the comic progresses.
    • What about Cyclops: his life started going badly when his parents threw him and his little brother out of a plane when he was a young child, leaving him an orphan with brain damage. His life only got worse from there, even more so once he reached adulthood. The level of shit he has gone through since then makes Charles Xavier rescuing him from an abusive criminal seem more like an act of Yank the Dog's Chain than anything else. To put how much Cyke has been broken into perspective, when he first arrived at the school (while still undeniably broken) he was a Dandere. Adult Cyke proceeded into Sugar-and-Ice Personality to avoid being hurt anymore.
    • Angel has also been horribly broken beyond recognition, similar to his two teammates mentioned above. When he started out at Xavier's Angel was a conceited but caring young superhero who wanted nothing more than to fly and protect his teammates. Unfortunately, this lead to him taking a lot of punishment from various villains as he was tortured, knocked around and sometimes nearly killed. And this was back in the original run of the comic book when things were nice and happy. He leaves the X-Men, returns to see his childhood crush go crazy and kill herself, and then quits because the team now includes Wolverine, who Angel disagrees with strongly. Surprise though! His childhood crush is now alive and is interested in his married friend, not him. His girlfriend thinks he's cheating on her (he isn't), he is outed to the public as a supported of "mutant hunters" (really a cover), and when trying to save a child he gets tortured and his wings ripped apart. The wings are amputated, he nearly gets blown up, Apocalypse brainwashes him, and a childhood friend kills his girlfriend. Hoo boy.
      • This isn't even the end of it. Angel, now Archangel, is recovering until his wings get ripped off AGAIN. He becomes bipolar, gets put on a murder squad, and gradually descends into insanity until he finally loses it and kills a small town. Another girlfriend, Psylocke, kills him and and Angel comes back with no memory. He then loses it again, gets used as a puppet by Psylocke to kill people, and then gets used by a cult as a weapon. Who even knows what he is now. Someone at Marvel must really hate this guy.
  • In the 2000 AD black comedy story "D.R. & Quinch Go Girl Crazy", Waldo "Diminished Responsibility" Dobbs has paired up with Chrysoprasia, a drama coach's daughter, and is putting on a respectable front to win her approval. His friend Ernie Quinch is worried that she is falling for his evil, delinquent friend and also breaking up the evil, delinquent partnership of D.R. and Quinch. So he kidnaps her and shows her their home movies, to prove to her that she doesn't want to know D.R. But instead, the horrific experience triggers a mental breakdown leading to a Face–Heel Turn whereby she becomes more evil and delinquent than either of them and reinvents herself as "Crazy Chrissie".
  • Gwen Stacy: Originally an Alpha Bitch who took a level of Character Development until she became a mature and thoughtful Tsundere Girl Next Door type. Then, her dad died. When she finally managed to get over that, SHE dies.
  • Poor Kid Loki, you never stood a chance. First he's brought back to Asgard, a place where he's widely hated and mistrusted for things he did which he can't even remember. Sure, at least his brother is on his side, but he's barely ever there. His first companion? Ikol, The spirit of his old, evil self. Then he gets a friend his own age, only she seems to enjoy being as mean as possible to him. And then she leaves. And he gets a dog, too. An evil dog that spits out fire and is obsessed with killing people. And his mother blackmails him into being a spy. And his dreams are mostly nightmares of his past deeds and growing up to be horrible all over again. Then his friend comes back only to betray him and the dog turns on him and what little respect he managed to garner through hard work and doing good is tossed aside when everything comes crushing down on his 13-year-old little head. But, hey, at least Ikol won't turn on him, right?
  • Both played straight and for comedy with DCU's Miss Martian, M'gann M'orzz. After One Year Later, it's said she left the Teen Titans due to something Ravager did to her; while fans wonder as to the implications, it's later revealed that Ravager just yelled at her, making her cry, when M'gann threw a pie in her face. Eventually, she is nearly broken when her Future Evil Self's body is destroyed and their minds merge. M'gann eventually wins the mental war by using bunnies and cute images in her mindscape to keep her evil future self at bay.
  • Pick any characters who happens to be Brian Michael Bendis' favorite. Any single one.
    • Joe Quesada once said of Bendis: "He wants to kill everyone."
  • Suzie, the main character of Sex Criminals, notes that her "whole world" ended when her father was killed.

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