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Moral Event Horizon / Comic Books

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  • Ace Powers: Heat Devron Impersonating an Officer and ordering the police to kill all his henchmen.
  • Jodafra from the Eighth Doctor Doctor Who Magazine comics is initially introduced as a roguish trickster who is nowhere near as bad as some of his relatives. Then in his second appearance he tries to feed a bunch of little children to a monster in exchange for mystic power and, when his own niece objects to this, gives her a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown with his walking stick that leaves the Doctor, who's seen some pretty ugly stuff, shocked when he sees the state of her. Unfortunately, thanks to an Aborted Arc, we never got to see him get his comeuppance.
  • The Eye Sees: Ganza plotting to bomb a United States embassy to get America involved in a civil war.
  • Eric in A God Somewhere crosses the Moral Event Horizon for most when he rapes his sister-in-law and cripples his brother. But the narrator, his former best friend Sam, notes that throughout the series of ensuing mass murders, he was still ambivalent about Eric. He finally crosses the Moral Event Horizon in Sam's eyes when the military unit with whom Sam had been embedded as a reporter sneak up on the cave where the two of them are talking, and Eric slaughters them right in front of him.
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  • Gunsmoke: Carr murders his own father-in-law so a range war he's masterminding gets bloody quicker.
  • In Irredeemable the very first thing we see former Cape the Plutonian do is incinerate a little girl's mother, baby brother and father in front of her eyes before, it's implied, murdering her off panel. That's not even the first atrocity he's committed; we learn that he's just destroyed a city and murdered a large portion of the population with in it. And horribly murdered more than a few of his old friends (of whom the father was one). He shows no signs of slowing down in later issues. Including the complete annihilation of Singapore.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • Red Mist and his father manage to cross it at the same time, after setting up Kick-Ass and the others. First, they beat the shit out of them. When Hit Girl tries to fight back, Johnny G orders his men to shoot her in the back, which they gladly do, sending her flying out a window. Red Mist then raves about how awesome that was, demonstrating that he's either a total sociopath or at least isn't very good at separating comic books from reality. In either case, that's the moment when both of them stop being mere villains and cross the line. Interestingly, the film turned this into a humanising Even Evil Has Standards moment for Red Mist by having him instead be suitably horrified.
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    • Also the revelation that Big Daddy isn't an ex-cop and dragged his daughter into the lifestyle after running away from her and lying to her about the fate of her mother. This is one point where a decent amount of people seem to prefer the film version of the character over the comic due to the absence of this.
    • In Volume Two, they pull out all the stops to make the villains seem unstomachably cruel, clearly in an attempt to eradicate any surrogate thrill the reader might get from their exploits. Don't-give-a-shit wanton violence is such a primal power-fantasy, they really wanted it to seem as disgusting as it would in real life. Most common criticism is that they went too far in this, parts of the book are just really unpleasant to read.
  • Kismet: Man of Fate: Herr Schering crosses it by having 700 people killed in one day in retaliation for the assassination of one man.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's Griffen was implausibly popular with fans in the first volume, never mind he was introduced raping teenage girls and shown casually murdering an innocent policeman. To make sure we realise he's a very bad man in Vol 2, he sells Earth to the Martians in Vol 2 — and assaults Mina. It's the latter rather than anything else that results in his Karmic Death — by which point a reader can't feel any sympathy for him at all.
    • Likely because this is a common sexual fantasy, of a pedestal-residing woman being available to someone who sees their social standing as lower than dirt. Some scenes in Hollow Man also play off of this, though they end in killing instead as the serum has driven to recipients batshit crazy by then. Essentially the male equivalent of a bodice-ripper, as far as the reasonings behind this go. (for execution purposes, see guys who got off to the movie Disclosure)
  • The Lone Warrior: The Dictator's Shadow causing a fleet of airplanes to crash just to test a super-weapon.
  • The title character of the Lucifer comics punted dogs as a hobby (naturally), establishing him quite firmly as an epic Deadpan Snarker and Sociopathic Hero that was as amusing and badass as those tropes suggest. This continued all the way until the Basanos arc, where in a rather impressive twist the Basanos actually mortally injured him... only for Lucifer to reveal that he had manipulated Token Mini-Moe Elaine from the start and tricked her into dying in his place. He might have redeemed himself later on (bringing Elaine Back from the Dead helped) but the writer mentioned that he considered Lucifer's destruction of The Mansions of The Silence Lucifer's point of no return, destroying billions of souls because he was impatient.
  • In Negation, Komptin captures Kaine on Komptin's homeworld. He goes to his mother's place and stashes Kaine there until Komptin's superiors arrive. His brother, however, is secretly part of an anti-Negation resistance force, and he helps free Kaine. When Komptin's superior finds out he demands that Komptin discipline his brother or it's his job. Komptin thinks for a moment, and then viciously murders both his brother and mother. Prior to this point in the story, Komptin, while clearly a bad guy, was portrayed with a small degree of sympathy: a hard-working but misfortunate underdog who wants nothing more than to be a successful leader within the Negation. With this act, that characterization changed, and Komptin was afterwards depicted as colder and crueler, living only for his job - and for revenge on Kaine especially.
  • In No Hero, two members of the "superhero" team Front Line bring down a passenger jet full of people to give the newest member of the team Josh a chance to earn some good PR after his horribly mutated face was accidentally revealed to the public. Front Line has apparently been pulling stunts like this for decades in order to maintain their control over the world. No wonder the governments of the world finally got fed up with their bullshit and sent their pet killer Josh to bring them down from the inside.
  • Pat Patriot: America's Joan of Arc: Haubner crosses this when he orders a bombing he's plotting to go through despite the unexpected presence of twenty children.
  • While the man who would eventually become the Saint of Killers from Preacher had already a staggering kill record to his name (among other heinous actions), he was nonetheless a decent human being (at least compared to most of his murderous peers), and for a time lived a life devoid of killing people. However, he finally crossed over when, in the course of brutally avenging the peaceful life that he lost, he cold-bloodedly killed an innocent for the first time in his life, damning himself to Hell in the process. What came afterwards (including the Ratwater genocide) was merely a formality, as it's arguable that he was too far gone by then. Even this is arguable since the series Big Bad, God, is still considered worse. In fact, the Saint of Killers gets a happy ending by killing God and taking his throne, finally able to rest.
    • Also, partially subverted for Cassidy, who slowly approaches the horizon through many of the later books, then seems to cross over forever when he shacks up with a devastated and drugged-out Tulip after Jesse's apparent death scene, lying to her and keeping her stoned to keep her dependent on him. Seemingly subverted when Jesse takes his hand in a redemptive gesture after their big fight scene, the seemingly played straight when Cassidy uses this hand-shake as an opening to sucker-punch Jesse and cripple him, then subverted one more time when we learn that Cassidy made a deal with God to betray Jesse this way, in exchange for a promise that Jesse would make it out alive and ok in the end.
    • Jody crosses when he blows Tulip O'Hare's brains out (she gets better) for the "crime" of being a positive influence in Jesse Custer's life, as does Marie L'Angelle, who ordered the deed. A subsequent flashback shows that Marie and her men spent Jesse's childhood merrily murdering their way through anyone and anything that gave Jesse one iota of happiness.
  • From The Sandman, Doctor Destiny's Diner of Death. JLA Villain John Dee may have kicked the dog when he shot a woman who had been nice to him, but the real proof that he had turned irrevocably evil came next issue. Sure, he would routinely plot to drive the whole world insane back in the silver age, but what he does to those six people over a 24-hour period will keep you awake for days. And the fact that he let the rest of the world tumble into madness at the same time shows that he went for both the macroscopic and microscopic level of sadism. Arguably the cruelest thing he did to those six people was to briefly give them back their minds in the middle of his sick game. When one of his victims demanded to know why he was torturing them, this was his response:
    John Dee: Because I can.
    • This is useful in showing Dream's moral compass: he doesn't care that much, just wanting his stuff back and returning Dee to Arkham. It's also evidence of how The Sandman is not your typical comic. Dream doesn't have a heroic spaz attack, he doesn't beat up Dee, he doesn't even punish him. When it's all over, he gives Dee back the power to sleep. Dee once again becomes an old, addled man in an asylum. He may not have been redeemed, but he's not a monster either, even though even your most depraved villains seldom hold a candle to what he did.
  • This will come as a surprise to some people, but Spongebob Squarepants and his friend Patrick qualify in one of their Nickelodeon Magazine comics. In it, after they discover a gigantic bowl of ice cream, they find themselves in another world with people made of ice-cream related food that look just like the duo and their friends back in Bikini Bottom. The dessert people welcome the two in open arms, which the two greatly return. And by greatly return we mean GO BATSHIT CRAZY AND EAT EVERYONE!! We don't actually see it, but we do see Spongebob and Patrick's psychotic faces as they attack...and the very next panel is them, incredibly fat, and the whole town of ice cream reduced to a lifeless desert. JUST. WOW. (Though in their defense, probably, the ice cream was Impossibly Delicious Food.)
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Raana Tey from the Knights of the Old Republic Series murders her own student, frames the loveable protaganist Zayne Carrick, hires mercenaries to spy on his family, and manipulates his ex-girlfriend into trying to kill him.
    • From the same series, Haazen crosses the horizon when we learn exactly why he warped the Covenant into knights templar, orchestrated the deaths of hundreds of people, and ruined Zayne's life- purely out of jealousy for Barrison Draay, who he already killed years ago. That Start of Darkness made Haazen a pathetic, strangely tragic figure - but it also prevented anyone from sympathizing with the present Haazen again.
    • Issues 45 and 46 are this for Chantique. Before it was obvious that she wasn't exactly the most stable individual, but these issues showed just how depraved she really is. She mindrapes Zayne by showing him 1000 years of pain and suffering, forces him to fight the slave he befriended, mocks him when the slave commits suicide, and she keeps him alive just so that he can drive Jarael away. And it works, with Zayne failing to realize that he was deceived until it was too late. And she does it all to get revenge on Jarael.
      • Also, the little surprise she prepared for her father Demagol. Just these words:
      Demagol: "Where are the children? You said they were out here."
      Jarael:"You didn't pay attention. I said they were IN the courtyard"
  • In Legacy, Darth Krayt, in a fit of temper after losing an important shipyard, orders ten percent of the Mon Calamari species executed on the spot and the rest imprisoned in camps to be worked to death. Even the other Sith thought it was a bit much. As for the reader...
  • Super-American: Tyrannus ordering a small town flooded to cover up him escaping justice.
  • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers: One can pick and choose when Overlord crossed it. There are three big standouts: his earliest actions which were murdering the Decepticon commanding officer, storming the prison, and tossing the Warden to the inmates. When he casually murders Rotorstorm by blowing his cranium open, or at the very end, when in the climactic fight, he tells Springer that all the guards and Autobots they were trying to save he ordered killed as soon as they landed.
  • The Governor from The Walking Dead explicitly steps across a new one of these (or is revealed/implied to have done so) in any scene where he appears for more than a page. By the time he is eventually killed by his own people assaulting the prison after making them execute about 90% of the cast including Rick's wife Lori and their infant daughter Judy, his MEH crossings look like the line of doors from the opening sequence of Get Smart.
  • Curious example from Watchmen, in that many readers think Big Bad Ozymandias's crossing of the Horizon and the greatest crime he commits are two distinct things. Sure he depopulated New York, but he had a damn good reason for doing that (preventing the Cold War from going hot and depopulating the entire planet). But when he gives a dozen innocent people cancer to discredit Dr. Manhattan, cold-bloodedly murders his absolutely loyal refugee servants to prevent them being a loose end, and pulls a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on his loving pet Bubastis in an attempt to kill Dr. Manhattan, which turns out not to work, it becomes a whole lot harder to sympathize with him.
    • If The Comedian didn't cross when he tried to rape the first Silk Spectre, he definitely did when he murdered his pregnant lover because she gave him a scar. Dr. Manhattan's sheer apathy at witnessing said murder is arguably a Moral Event Horizon crossing for him, as well; The Comedian himself certainly thinks so.
      • The Before Watchmen: Minutemen mini-series adds another potential crossing point for the Comedian - He framed Hooded Justices for the crimes committed by Rolf Muller by kidnapping some poor kid from Nite Owl's neighborhood, which led to Nite Owl accidentally killing Justice. The worst part? It's implied that Hooded Justice was actually one of Muller's victims.
  • Will Eisner's Wonder Man: General Attila bombing a Red Cross hospital.
  • The Wraith: Joe Carrol scaring his own father to death and laughing about it.
  • Judge Death decides that, as all crime is committed by the living, everyone must be sentenced to death, and uses a mixture of psychic and nuclear weaponry to wipe out all life on his planet.
  • Augustus Medici of 100 Bullets is a ruthless Mafia boss and Ancient Conspiracy member, but for the majority of the series seemed to have some lines he wouldn't cross. In the last three issues, however, facing a possible out-gambitting by some of the conspiracy's younger blood, he abruptly resigns his seat in favor of his son Benito... then has Benito killed the next day. The resulting power vacuum liquidates every single member of the cast but three, exactly as Augustus intended, but in hindsight he probably shouldn't have bothered: in killing his own son he manages to horrify his pet hitman Phillip Graves, and Graves's sudden attack of standards proves just the Spanner in the Works necessary to shut Augustus down for good.
    • Lono's rape of Sophie the waitress. While Sophie and her boyfriend Carlos hitting Lono with their car and stealing his money was definitely wrong, Lono's response is to tie her to a bed and assault her non-stop for hours on end. When Carlos discovers this, he makes Sophie watch as he breaks Carlos's neck.

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