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Despair Event Horizon / Comic Books

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  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Willow in Season 9, after the magic is gone.
    • Faith after her dad shows up and she does something she regrets, which causes her to go see "Mother Superior" in Daddy Issues.
  • New Gods:
    • Darkseid lives to bring everyone in the universe to this point. His goal is to discover the Anti-Life Equation, a mathematical formula that "proves" to whomever reads or hears it that life is utterly pointless and without meaning and destroys all traces of happiness and hope, though in Final Crisis when he actually found it he altered it so that there was one single meaning to existence- namely, to obey and worship Darkseid for all eternity.
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    • Darkseid suffered his own Despair Event Horizon- he was in love with a scientist named Suli (the mother of his son Kalibak), but his Evil Matriarch mother Heggra saw that Suli was making Darkseid a nicer person and had her murdered for it. Suli tried to make Darkseid a more constructive Evil Overlord by pushing him towards building a more ordered and lawful universe, but when she died he lost all hope that he would ever be more than the monster his mother made him- so, instead, he had his mother murdered and resolved to be an even bigger bastard than Heggra ever intended him to be. Darkseid was a horrible villain before he met Suli, but her death is what made him such a miserable one and is probably the main reason he seeks the Anti-Life Equation in the first place - if he can't be happy, then no one can be.
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  • X-Men: Disassembled is all about the results of Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man finally crossing this, plunging into despair - typified by a conversation he has with Jean in the form of an old woman, where both agree that the world's messed up, but Jean retains optimism. Thus, he decides that he has to remake the world by force. Arguably, though, he doesn't tip over the edge until a minutes-that-feel-like-months stint in Legion's mental construct of the Age of Apocalypse without his powers, where he sadly reflects that while he originally thought that 616 was heaven to the AOA's hell, he's come to believe that it's just a more subtle form of hell. This ultimately leads him to Take a Third Option and create the Age of X-Man.
  • Alix: In Le Cheval de Troie, Horatius has fallen to despair and rage. He planned to adopt Heraclion out of compassion, but had to gave up those plans in order to save him. As part of the agreement, he's forced to marry his sister-in-law's daughter and gave away the Trojan Horse to the Trojan remnant. Humiliated and dishonored, he set the Temple of Hera one fire, killing everyone including himself. Alix, Enak and Heraclion were the only to escape unscathed.
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  • The Darkness: Jackie Estacado can handle the mob life, the killing and the people trying to kill him but after he realises what a scumbag Uncle Frankie is and offers to testify against him Uncle Frankie responds by killing Jenny, the Character Development between the two at this point takes hold and the only 'rational' way for Jackie to get revenge is by blowing himself, Frankie and Frankie's mob straight to hell in a flaming Inferno.
  • Superman:
    • Kingdom Come: Throughout the story, Superman is wary of encountering Magog, the '90s Anti-Hero who in many ways replaced him in the public's regard, until he and the rest of the Justice League encounter him in the ruins of Kansas... only to discover a broken man torn apart by guilt and anguish over his actions and the disastrous consequences they resulted in.
      Magog: Proud? Proud?! PROUD of being the Man of Tomorrow?!?
    • It happens to Supergirl in the Red Daughter of Krypton storyline, combined with a Rage Breaking Point. She starts out a nice, happy-go-lucky girl. In Last Daughter Of Krypton she is shoved into a rocket, put in suspended animation and launched out of Krypton. When she wakes up, she finds herself stranded on an alien, primitive world, and is told that Krypton exploded decades ago. She manages to find the ruins of her hometown Argo City floating in space, but she confirms her family, her friends, her old life... are gone forever. Then Kara is savagely beaten up by Reign and left to die as the city plummets into a blue star. Feeling hurt, weakened and utterly alone, Kara has nearly given. Suddenly, her parent's ghosts appear, help her to get free and encourage her to find a new home. Kara goes back to Earth, but unfortunately she appears to be unable to connect with her only family left, she doesn't manage to fit in with humans, she cannot keep any friends, and everyone wants to fight her, order her around or manipulate her. She falls in love with for the first time, and then she finds out that her crush is a murderous, manipulative bastard. She has a chance to save her planet, and she fails... She cannot seem to do anything right. After several months of endless gloom, she runs into Lobo, who presses her Berserk Buttons over and again until she flips out. After pummelling him, Kara is mad like hell and feeling hurt, betrayed, confused and utterly hopeless, thinking she belongs nowhere and can trust no one.
    • In Many Happy Returns Linda crosses this after she is forced to send the pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El back to her universe and her eventual death, as well as losing her daughter even though Ariella was spared from erasure.
    • In The Jungle Line, Superman gets infected with a deadly illness, the Bloodmorel Fever. He cannot find any cure, so he resigns himself to die, and heads towards some lonely place where he can lie down and wait for death.
  • Watchmen:
    • Walter Kovacs starts out a rather messed up, but functional man, with a fairly normal life outside being a masked vigilante. Then he investigates the kidnapping of a little girl, and ends up finding her dismembered and mostly-eaten corpse, suffering a complete psychotic break and burning her killer alive. From that point on, he's insane, murderous and barely capable of (or interested in) taking care of himself, having completely abandoned all identity outside of Rorschach.
    • The Comedian is a straighter example: When he discovers that reality is actually much worse than his dark parody of it, he breaks into Moloch's apartment to tell him about it, but the Comedian's already so far beyond the point of no return that he only manages to confess to his sins before he realizes how ridiculous it is that his nemesis is the closest thing to a friend that he has.
  • Green Lantern:
    • In the "Emerald Twilight" tie-in to The Death of Superman storyline, the destruction of Coast City by Mongul serves as the DEH for Hal Jordan. He then goes on to be possessed by Primal Fear entity Parallax and become a supervillain. Even after the city is eventually rebuilt, it's more or less a Ghost City as nobody wants to move there because of what happened.
    • Then in Sinestro Corps War, Sinestro declares his intention to invoke this in Earth's population by razing Coast City again. But this time it's defied, as those who did live there, when warned of the coming danger, refused to evacuate and instead shined green lights out their windows in support of the Green Lanterns. This show of courage ended up having the exact opposite effect from what Sinestro wanted.
    • In "The Secret of the Indigo Tribe", Hal meets Natromo, one of the creators of the eponymous Indigo Tribe. Natromo explains how he and Abin Sur created the tribe both in preparation for the Blackest Night and as a test run for the Indigo Rings, which were planned to be used against the Guardians of the Universe when they come to destroy the tribe. When Hal informs Natromo that Abin Sur is dead, Natromo declares that there's no chance in defeating the Guardians, and destroys the tribe's Central Power Battery, not only deactivating the Indigo Rings, but also releasing the tribe from their influence. In other words, he undid the entire tribe's Heel–Face Brainwashing.
    • Atrocitus crossed it in his backstory after his family died in front of him and was pushed further past it when his entire planet was massacred by the Manhunters. Even when he finally had his revenge during the New 52, he didn't recover because vengeance was all he had left, and then he didn't even have that. It gets tragically discussed in a flashback shown in the Red Lanterns tie-in comic as Atrocitus describes what happened.
      Atrocitus: (narration) As my beautiful daughter dies, so does something inside me. Hope. The hope of a future. The hope of happiness. The hope of there being a benign force in the universe. It all dies...
    • Attracting a Red Lantern Ring in general seems to require a particular variation of this combined with Rage Breaking Point. It seeks out people that have lost it all to something or someone, and have nothing left but rage and revenge against it, with the culminating incident that crosses both (and is usually fatal as well) drawing a ring to them. That is usually the point where the mindless rampage begins, and the individual is fully consumed by rage; not that they had anything left but that.
  • Happens to Nuke in the Squadron Supreme limited series.
  • Iron Man after Captain America is killed at the end of Civil War. He suffers a Heroic BSoD over Steve's death, and it also makes him even more reckless with his life than he's been in almost his entire history.
  • In Secret Warriors #24, badass super-agent Nick Fury finally breaks after he has let two teams of young agents die on his watch. Even worse, the second team was led by his own son Mikel Fury. While standing at the graves of the second team, the agents of the Russian spy organization Leviathan come for him. He doesn't even try to resist.
  • Spider-Man: Curt Connors was dragged kicking and screaming over the edge when his Lizard persona ate his son, Billy Connors. Curt's reaction went way beyond Heroic BSoD - effectively he's dead, his personality shredded entirely leaving the Lizard in charge all the time. And the Lizard itself is still plagued with guilt over its actions. Curt's personality was restored, but he's still stuck in his Heroic BSoD. He pretends he's still the Lizard because he believes he deserves to be locked up like an animal for the rest of his life.
  • The Blue Lanterns are empowered by hope. This doesn't mean they are immune to despair. And the moment they give in to despair, the blue power rings abandon them to seek out more worthy wielders. This was especially bad for one rookie Blue Lantern who despaired when the Blue Lanterns' world was invaded since he was in mid-air when his ring left him.
  • This is Doctor Strange foe D'Spayre's mode of attack — flooding his victims with a sense of hopelessness in an attempt to make them take their own lives.
  • X-23 hits one at the end of Target: X. After all the torture and dehumanization the Facility put her through, being forced to kill her mother by the Trigger Scent just as they were about to escape, having to give up all that remained of her family and the normal life she was starting to build to protect them when her Axe-Crazy former handler came looking for her, and possibly spending an unspecified time on the streets as a prostitute under a sadistic and abusive pimp (it's unclear where exactly this series falls in her history), Laura finally reaches her breaking point, and seeks out Wolverine believing that all she has left is to kill him and herself. Logan manages to talk her down, but it's implied she has an ongoing battle with severe, if not suicidal, depression, and much of her character arc focuses on putting the pieces back together after all that was done to her.
  • After being savagely beaten to death by The Joker, Jason Todd is resurrected, only to find that not only did Batman not avenge him by killing The Joker, he has also been replaced by Tim Drake as Robin. At this point he completely snaps, and becomes the Anti-Villain Red Hood.
    • This is Victor Zsasz's backstory - after his parents died and he lost the family fortune, he was about to commit suicide only to be interrupted by a homeless man trying to mug him.
    • Batman himself plunges off here in Infinite Crisis, after he loses control of Brother Eye, the satellite he built to spy on the superhero community, and it turns a bunch of humans into brainwashed cyborgs to murder his superhero friends, then rubs it in Batman's face. There's one page of Batman doubled over on the ground, clutching his chest and saying he can't do this anymore, that is certainly the most pathetic the Batman has ever looked.
    • The Joker briefly believes he has successfully pushed Commissioner Gordon off the Horizon in The Killing Joke, but it's ultimately subverted.
    • Dick thinking Tim was losing his mind to grief note  when Tim tried to explain his theory on Bruce not having been killed is what causes him to give Robin to Damian, and Tim to become Red Robin and leave Gotham when Dick refuses to hear him out.
  • The Doctor gets one at the end of Captain Atom: Armageddon, declaring that he has given up and that they should all just stop trying to prevent the end of the universe, as several of the most powerful superheroes have already died trying, and should instead focus on trying to meet the end with dignity.
  • In the Astro City story "The Tarnished Angel," the heroic El Hombre crosses this when the girl he loves marries someone else and he discovers that he is actually a vain Glory Hound who needs the adulation of the public. He sets up a Monster Protection Racket to rejuvenate his public stature, but it backfires on him and turns him into a shameful fugitive. It gets worse when he becomes the villainous Conquistador, recruiting villains in an Engineered Heroics plot that would end with him killing them all and becoming the city's newest hero.
  • In the 2015 Secret Wars, during the exodus from the incursion between the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe, Mr. Fantastic's lifeboat suffers a hull breach, resulting in his wife and children perishing in the epiccenter of the incursion. Mr. Fantastic gives a tragic speech about losing not only the family he loved, but his optimism as well.
  • In Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Whirl's personality is established as him having crossed this - first he's thrown out of the Wreckers, and then the war ends. All he feels good for is fighting, and he feels so completely useless and alone in this new, war-less world that he starts talking to Sweeps corpses, beating on them to vent his frustrations, and finally prepares to commit suicide among them.
  • In The Sandman, Despair personified is a character, one of the Endless. She basically lives beyond the Despair Event Horizon, watching people approaching the border to her realm through mirrors hanging everywhere. She absentmindedly cuts her own flesh with a sharp hook while admiring the "beauty" of people losing all hope and will to live.
  • Several characters in Arawn cross the Despair Event Horizon one after the other.
    • When his pregnant wife Deidre is kidnapped and his precious cauldron is stolen by his hated half-brothers, Arawn turns into a Empty Shell holed up in his castle to mourn. Its not until Deirdre is killed that he gets out of his despair to pursue revenge.
    • Deidre herself crosses this when her son is killed by Arawn's half-brother Math. Her death in turn also consumes him with despair as he begins to hallucinate with her ghost tormenting him. Unlike Arawn, he doesn't recover as he is mercy killed by Siahm when she finds him a shell of his former self.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni): In Issue 22, Rick tells Morty that he's tried several times to kill Doofus Jerry, but to no success. He decides that no one should have to live in a world dominated by a Jerry, and plans to use a neutrino bomb to destroy everything.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Before being shot in the head by their twin sister, the only living person they trusted, Hypnota was rather mild mannered while not on stage. After this betrayal and the discovery that the brain damage triggered a hypnotic brainwashing power in them they chose to never trust nor care for another human again and began a swift decent into rather horrific villainy as they only valued themselves.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Donna Troy was tortured by Dark Angel, and then her ex-husband and two children died in a fiery car crash which led her to seek out her sister Diana to talk, only for Diana to be captured and left non-responsive and slowly dying when Donna arrived. From here on Donna is a mess when she's not actively helping fight villains (and occasionally when she is), and remains that way even after Diana is restored until both Diana and Hippolyta help her deal with Dark Angel and her losses.
  • The Ultimates: Other than Bucky and Gail, who are elders now, all the people Captain America had ever known are dead. Including his family. He has lost everything. Nick Fury reminds him of the one thing that still remains: America.


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