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Godzilla Threshold / Comic Books

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Examples of Godzilla Threshold from Comic Books:


  • In the Age of Apocalypse Magneto treats Exodus as this, intentionally holding back the full extent of the boy's abilities as a Superpower Lottery winner out of concern that knowledge of his full power would corrupt him. When Sentinels attack a human settlement, he is forced to cross the Threshold and reveal to Exodus his ability to teleport.
  • In Avengers Assemble, when Thanos shows up on Earth looking for the Ultimate Nullifier, Iron Man calls the president and tells him to invoke the Cosmic Protocols (which are only for when the destruction of the planet is possible; Iron Man calls this "DEFCON 1000"). They then proceed to detonate the atomic core of a helicarrier on top of Thanos, nearly killing the Avengers, certainly killing some of Thanos' lackeys, and barely inconveniencing Thanos.
  • It's implied that this is Commissioner Gordon's attitude toward Batman, at least in the early adventures before they became friends. In a Wretched Hive like Gotham, where crime and corruption are rampant, and you can count the number of good cops and competent authority figures on one hand, letting this weirdo who likes to dress up like a bat and fight crime lend a hand couldn't make things much worse...
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    • Gordon actually discusses this trope in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, when he meets with his successor-to-be Ellen Yindel and talks about the Bat. Gordon steers the conversation to World War II, how President Franklin D. Roosevelt rallied the United States to join the War in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack... and the Conspiracy Theory that Roosevelt had advanced warning of the attack, and let it happen. Gordon says that after thinking about the moral implications, he decided that he couldn't judge — "It was too big. He was too big..." When Yindel says that she doesn't see what this has to do with Batman, Gordon simply replies, "Maybe you will." Despite actively leading the police in hunting Batman after taking power, Yindel is forced to cooperate with him in desparate situations. Finally, when Batman leads the Sons of the Batman to the rescue of Gotham after an EMP-induced blackout and a prison break, Yindel orders her men not to interfere, only saying "He's too big."
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  • In Batman Eternal, things have gotten so bleak for Gotham and Batman's still clueless as to who's pulling the strings and ruining his city and his allies. He seeks out several Big Bads of previous New 52 Batman-related story arcs including Riddler, Ra's al Ghul, and the remnant of the Court of Owls, not only to challenge them on their relation to the massive attack on Gotham, but for help finding the true culprits. If the Joker had been present during the events of Eternal, it's highly likely Batman would've gone to him.
  • In the Batman Vampire trilogy, Batman is turned into a vampire, and when he succumbs to his bloodlust by killing the Joker, he has Alfred and Gordon stake him to prevent him from killing anyone else. In the final story, Crimson Mist, a massive crime wave has hit Gotham in Batman's absence, causing Alfred to return to Batman's resting place and remove the stake from Bats' heart in the hopes of giving Gotham a savior again.note  Unfortunately, Batman, having spent months fully conscious but immobile as his body decayed and his bloodlust ran rampant, has been driven completely insane by his condition, and does so by slaughtering the crooks for their blood.
    • Gordon crosses a similar threshold near the end, willingly forming an Enemy Mine with Two-Face and Killer Croc after Batman has killed all the other villains.
  • Birthright: In the world of Terrenos, there are purifying spirits of light known as Diviners that are summoned to destroy the minions of Lore. However, these are beings of terrifying power who destroy everything on their path, twist nature all around them and possesses innocents and it will not stop until all Lore agents are destroyed. Only madman would think about summoning a diviner because the price is not worth the risk, yet there are those desperate enough to do it anyway.
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  • Large-scale Blackest Night example: the heroes release the Parallax entity and allow it to repossess Hal Jordan in order to defeat Black Lantern Spectre. This is the same entity who nearly destroyed the entire universe with Jordan the first time. And then Wrath of the First Lantern sees the heroes unleash not only Parallax again, but also Nekron, the Big Bad of Blackest Night, to defeat Volthoom.
  • The Boys: Parodying this and Crisis Crossover, the Homelander tells the press that the appearance of a massive alien battlestation is causing every super, hero and villain alike, to go into space to fight it. Naturally, this being The Boys, it's really an excuse for every super to go to Herogasm, a nonstop orgy on a tropical resort.
  • One one particularly bad day in Clean Room, a leader of the anti-demon army is shot. With mere minutes to live, someone proposes allowing a demon to possess the body and use its flesh-shaping abilities to remove the bullet and fix the damage. There is no precedent for trusting a demon, nor any leverage over its result.
  • In the Crossed story arc The Fatal Englishman, the last surviving soldiers in Britain have agreed that the only sane reaction to the Crossed virus is to set off a base full of chemical weapons and hope enough of the uninfected survivors (which they estimate at about 50,000, from a population of 60 million) have access to biohazard gear to rebuild in the aftermath.
  • While so much as looking at Eldritch Abominations in Death Vigil is enough to drive a normal person mad, the sight of Mia going One-Winged Angel will outright kill them. This is part of the reason why the Pale Court launches its attack in the middle of downtown New York City; the presence of so many innocent witnesses hamstrings the Vigil by preventing Mia from involving herself in the fight, thus stripping them of one of their most powerful assets. However, the Vigil decides the threat presented by the Court's public attack is so great that they have no choice but to unleash her despite the risk of collateral damage.
    • Bernie's nature actually invokes this: No matter how much she might like to, her scythe won't even touch a monster that's below a certain power level. Once again, the Pale Court takes advantage of this by sending a monster to New York that's too far below that threshold, and sends one that she can fight as a distraction to draw her away as part of Maria's plan.
      • Bernie's own One-Winged Angel form falls under this as well; as apparently even her Death Knights can't tolerate the sight of her, so she's only "seen" using it once against a sufficiently powerful threat.
  • Doctor Strange has to pull out these options quite a bit. In one memorable multi-part storyline from the late 60's, he went through a whole chain of these; to defeat Dormammu's sister, Umar, he had to free the awesomely powerful demon Zom; to defeat Zom, he had to yank out some of its hair, which spread evil magic all over the world and also summoned the Living Tribunal, who threatened to destroy Earth unless Strange could remove all the evil magic he had unleashed; to gather together all the evil magic, he had to give it all to Baron Mordo, giving him a tremendous power-up; to defeat the empowered Mordo, he had to use an Artifact of Doom given to him by the Obviously Evil entity Nebulos, which gave all the evil power to it instead. Finally, he aided the Living Tribunal in defeating Nebulos, and the Tribunal then declared Earth was safe, ending the chain.
  • In Final Crisis, it takes the impending end of existence, facing Darkseid at the height of his power and with no other options left for Batman to finally use a gun.
  • A few from the 2014 Crisis Crossover Forever Evil:
    • During the Blight sub-story, Constantine and Nightmare Nurse invoke the Blackmare Curse, manifesting their own repressed darkness, in Justice League Dark #27 to fight Blight. Just when they have Blight down, Nightmare Nurse turns on Constantine and hurls both of them off the George Washington Bridge into the river.
    • In JLD #29, Zatanna uses a massive teleportation spell to get the freed mystic prisoners out of Nanda Parbat before the area's spirits complete their spell to teleport the entire temple complex to another realm. Phantom Stranger warns her that teleporting so many different mystics at once could be hazardous to reality itself, but she does it anyway and there seem to be no immediate repercussions.
  • An issue of the original 1980s GI Joe comic had a Cobra base at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico using ultrasonics to kill the local sea life. The base was so heavily armored that the government almost called in a nuclear strike against it. Averted at the last minute when someone realized they could just drop enough conventional explosives to achieve the same force.
  • In the IDW Publishing Godzilla comic, Boxer, former SAS soldier and leader of the team that captured most of the kaiju, decides it's time to free the monsters to battle Hedorah, Gigan, Space Godzilla, and Monster X when they appear and attack.
  • Invoked in Lady Death when a resistance group against the Death Queen are seriously considering releasing Satyricon, a powerful and terrible demon he nearly devastated the the Underrealm and he had to be sealed inside a cave because it was impossible to destroy him. Wargoth, who was responsible for locking him up in the first place, strongly opposes this idea but he is overruled, the rebels in favor say they prefer a quick destruction than a slow one. In the end, they decide to not go through releasing him and Death Queen is later defeated through other means, with that said Satyricon manages to find his own way out...
  • The opening arc of Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers is the discovery of a chain of collapsing universes, which begin when two parallel Earths 'incur' into each other and can be slowed if one of the Earths is destroyed. The Illuminati agree that this crosses the Godzilla Threshold, with a single dissenter who is promptly expelled from the group. But when confronted with the reality of an entire planet of people dying, the Illuminati ultimately realize they can't stand back and let them die.
  • Nick Fury's worst case scenario plan for if Doctor Doom ever gets too out of hand is to drop the Incredible Hulk on one side of Latveria and The Punisher on the other, and see who gets to the middle first.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • When Sonic is roboticized into Mecha Sonic, the Freedom Fighters are forced to do the same to Knuckles, though they take precautions to make sure he keeps his free will.
    • The "Enerjak Rising" storyline was just one big conga line of Thresholds being reached. When Knuckles couldn't be found, the first thing they did was stop Dr. Eggman and called a truce in order to capture Enerjak. Sally was barely able to contact G.U.N. and they ended up sending their Threshold, Shadow the Hedgehog. When Enerjak proved to be too much, Shadow reached his own and removed his limiters in an attempt to stop him. Locke grabs Sonic and Julie-Su and gives them a new version of the Chaos Siphon in an attempt to stop Enerjak, knowing it'll kill him (and knowing it's Knuckles in reality), but Sonic smashes it. Then, Sonic throws himself on the cursed Master Emerald in an attempt to become Super Sonic (which works). All of this leads to the last Threshold: Locke sacrificing himself to end the curse and rescue Knuckles.
  • In Suicide Squad #29, Amanda Waller plans to force the Thinker-possessed OMAC through an interdimensional portal and make him another universe's problem if Kevin Kho can't retake control of it. At the last second, Kho appears to have beaten the Thinker and taken OMAC's body back. Then Captain Boomerang jumps him and knocks him into the portal.
  • In Supergod, an Eldritch Abomination is released in a desperate attempt to get it to communicate with another Eldritch Abomination who's wreaking havoc on the world.
  • Superman:
    • The Doomsday Protocol was a backup plan in case of a threat similar to Doomsday (i.e., it can't be stopped by the JLA combined), which was meant to avert this trope. It was never brought up again after Superman's return.
    • From Superman: Red Son: "What have we got to lose? Release all those supervillains Luthor created over the years!" Doomsday was set loose on the National Mall in hopes of damage control.
    • In H'el on Earth, Superman fears he may have to break his moral code and kill H'el to stop him from trying to resurrect Krypton at the expense of Earth. However, it's Supergirl who defeats H'el.
    • In The Supergirl Saga, Superman is forced to break his moral code to execute three Kryptonian criminals. He... doesn't take it very well.
    • In Superman: Doomed, Superman is being turned into a Doomsday-like out-of-control monster. Fearing hurting anybody, he leaves Earth. Supergirl -who back then was using her rage to protect the galaxy as a Red Lantern- suggests he merely needs to learn how to channel his anger properly and takes him to a planet which is being devoured by a planet-eater so he can cut loose. When Superman objects he doesn't want to make everything worse she asks "How?"
      Superman: They're... evacuating?
      Supergirl: Yes. Something down there's destroying the Moon. Everyone here's about to die... unless you help them. What's the problem, Kal?
      Superman: I... I don't want to make things worse.
      Supergirl: I don't see how that's remotely possible...
  • A couple of examples in the original Marvel Transformers series:
    • In the Headmasters miniseries, Lord Zarak of the Nebulan Council of Peers did whatever he could to paint Fortress Maximus' band of Autobot colonists as hostile invaders, in contrast to his political opponent Galen, who was willing to negotiate peacefully. When Zarak couldn't turn public opinion against Galen and the Autobots fast enough, he resorted to inviting the Decepticons to Nebulos in the hopes that they would get rid of the Autobots. When Galen and his allies binary-bonded with several Autobots to become Headmasters to fight back against the Decepticons, Zarak opted to binary-bond with the Decepticon leader, Scorponok. Once he realized that he had brought Nebulos to the brink of destruction, he convinced Galen to take the Autobots and flee, while he would take the Decepticons to pursue them, exiling themselves from Nebulos but giving their homeworld a chance to recover.
    • Later in the main series, Optimus Prime decides to surrender to Scorponok in order to bring the Autobots and Decepticons together so that they can combine their forces to fight Unicron. Prime considered it a necessary move because Thunderwing had disappeared with the Creation Matrix. Ironically, Zarak's influence on Scorponok made opening negotiations for the Autobots and Decepticons to fight together possible.
  • Transformers: Stormbringer:
    • The mere presence of Thunderwing is enough for Megatron to order his flagship to hit Cybertron with everything they have. Even the Predacons balk a little at this order. For that matter, Thunderwing's original rampage resulted in the Autobots and Decepticons resorting to Enemy Mine.
    • A smaller scale version occurs in Spotlight: Arcee, where the Decepticon siege of Garrus-9 is bad enough that Jetfire and Fortress Maximus decide to release Arcee in order to prevent the Decepticons getting their hands on Monstructor. While the Cons are still able do so, her presence does insure that they're driven off before they can slaughter everyone else.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • In The Ultimates, Nick Fury gives "Permission to traumatize Banner" when things have gotten that bad during a Chitauri invasion.
    • Ultimate X-Men: The US government agreed to cease using Sentinels, but gave them a last mission. Magneto's base was finally found, and that's too good an oportunity to pass.
    • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Reed figured out a way to hurt Gah Lak Tus, perhaps even kill it, but it is a crime against nature. The idea is to open a portal to a universe having its Big Bang, let it get out like a death ray, and attack Gah Lak Tus with it.
    • Ultimate Vision: The satellite is blowing up, and a message that a scientist managed to send included the words "Gah Lak". Nick Fury ordered to deploy the bombers codenamed Ares.
      Technician: Ares? Colonel, we can't use nukes so close to a major population center. Not without presidential authorization.
  • In another Hulk-related example, during World War Hulk, Tony Stark gives his second-in-command the authority to send the whole of Manhattan into the Negative Zone if things with the Hulk get out of hand. Meanwhile, they repeatedly attempt to bring in The Sentry to fight the Hulk, and Doctor Strange sees fit to drink in the essence of a universe-destroying demon. Both of these options end up making the situation worse.
  • X-Men
    • Alpha Red from X-Men 92 is a Monster Progenitor of such lethal efficacy that the X-Men are forced to use the Darkhold to turn every vampire in existence human permanently. As one might expect, tampering with reality on this scale has major consequences that come back to bite them further in the run.
    • Clan Akkaba is an Ancient Conspiracy-perpetuating cult made up of descendants of perennial X-Men Big Bad Apocalypse, and at any time the Clan can awaken and summon Big Blue if ever they need him. Thing is, Apocalypse is a Social Darwinist of genocidal proportions and the Clan all subscribe to his philosophy, so any time they summon Apocalypse the strongest member of their Clan, dubbed "The Fittest", is slain by 'Poccy as the price for being so weak as to request a boon from him.
    • One of the first X-villains to evoke this kind of response was the high-order Reality Warper Proteus, who was so powerful he made Wolverine break down sobbing. His one Weaksauce Weakness was metal, which ultimately forced Gentle Giant Colossus to Shoot the Dog as literally no one else on the team could possibly stop him.
  • In a number of DC Comics Crisis Crossovers, such as Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour!, the situation may reach a point where The Spectre will step in and do battle with the villain.
  • Happens a number of times in W.I.T.C.H.:
    • Every time Kandrakar intervenes through the Guardians: as a rule, Kandrakar is neutral and meant to provide advice and training to heroes, and at most sending heroes from a world to one that needs them, so the Guardians of Kandrakar showing up to solve a situation means things have gone really south-or someone hostile to Kandrakar just won't listen to reason, hence the Oracle sending his five incredibly powerful agents to negotiate as a warning to stop pushing it. And then there are the rare occasions the Guardians are not (apparently) enough...
    • The world of Metamoor was host to Phobos, an extremely dangerous mage who is implied to be incredibly ancient and reincarnating, and generations of Guardians have proven unable to capture him. Thus Kandrakar isolated Metamoor through a magical Veil that while it can be crossed by others through its holes it will keep Phobos contained until some generation of Guardians can finally capture him (the current generation being the one to finally succeed).
    • Nerissa, the corrupt Keeper of the Heart in the previous generation of Guardians, managed to steal the Heart of Kandrakar, and is now attacking Kandrakar itself. The Oracle immediately orders to use the Resonance, a powerful spell that may destroy Kandrakar-because while the destruction of Kandrakar would mean the complete destruction of the universe using the Resonance carries a risk, and not using it would mean Nerissa will destroy Kandrakar and the universe with it. The Resonance fails, but at least slows Nerissa long enough for the current Guardians to recover and stop her.
    • During the third arc, some humans were on the verge of exposing Will and her friends as possessing magic, prompting the Oracle to intervene personally to make them forget.
    • The New Power arc takes name from what the Oracle resorted to: having realized there's some threat to Kandrakar but unable to identify it he releases the full power of the Guardians, weakening Kandrakar terribly in the process, and isolates the otherwise defenseless Kandrakar for the time being.
  • The Powerpuff Girls story "Micro Managing" (DC run) had the Micro-Puffs—three sprite avatars of the girls who show up to yank their chains—brainwashing Bubbles and Buttercup into thinking they should be the leader of the team. It doesn't work on Blossom as she's already the leader. Things get out of hand, so Blossom is consigned to recruiting someone as treacherous as the Micro-Puffs to stop them: Mojo Jojo.


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