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My God What Have I Done / Comic Books

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That's because you were her only friend, Supergirl
  • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, this is Sally's reaction when she regains her memories as Mecha Sally, going into Heroic BSoD over how she nearly killed her friends and family.
  • Look at the faces of The Rogues after they realized they just killed Bart Allen.
  • X-Men:
    • Uncanny X-Men #150 gives Magneto a moment of this when he nearly kills Kitty Pryde in anger; he realizes he's become just like the Nazis that killed his family, and — for a span of almost a decade's worth of issues, at least—reconsiders his villainous career.
    • In Astonishing X-Men, the team is attacked by one of the giant Sentinels that murdered the population of Genosha. Kitty defeats it by kicking it up to full sentience. Suddenly capable of comprehending what mass murder is, with a machine's ability to actually evaluate all those deaths individually rather than just as a vague statistic, it suffers a Villainous BSoD and flies away in horrified remorse.
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    • The trigger scent sends X-23 into a blind, murderous rage in which she will kill anyone marked with it, Friend or Foe, and no matter how much she cares about them. Because of this, she's been consistently shown to be very sensitive about its affects on her, and is deeply traumatized when Zander Rice uses it to force her to kill her sensei (after which Laura is shown to begin cutting herself with her claws) and mother. Most recently, the revelation by Stryker, Jr. that Arcade posted footage of Murderworld, particularly her trigger scent-fueled rages, to the internet sends her crashing hard into a Heroic BSoD upon learnin the whole world has seen her in that state.
    • A less serious example happens with the New Mutants. During a friendly game of football, Sam accidentally runs into Roberto and knocks him against the goal post. Roberto loses his temper and uses his Super Strength to knock Sam away, leaving him unconscious. He turns out to only have a concussion, but Roberto is so mortified by what he's done that he temporarily quits the team. It takes the Fallen Angels mini-series for him to get back on his feet.
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    • Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #350 reveals that Gambit, who owed a debt to Mr. Sinister, got suckered into forming a group for Sinister for a task he wanted to carry out. The group and task? The Marauders for their infamous massacre of the Morlocks in the Mutant Massacre storyarc—and Remy was still in the sewers when the group started and was naturally horrified.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Norman Osborn accidentally kills his son while in his crazy goblin form. When he changes back he has one of these and asks a nearby SHIELD Agent to kill him.
    • Ultimate Origins: Hulk attacked Richard and Mary Parker, and saw the helpless Peter Parker baby. He reverted back to Banner in shame.
    • Ultimatum: When Magneto realized that mutants are not the result of evolution, that he's a human being with powers, but a human being nonetheless. He falls down in horror to the things he had done in his pro-mutant crusade, such as moving the earth's axis.
    • Punisher has a war on criminals, but will never kill an innocent. During the fight between the New Ultimates and the Ultimate Avengers he tried to shoot Captain America in the kneecaps, to stop him. Spider-Man was passing by and took the bullet, dying as a result. Punisher was horrified by it.
    • The Ultimates: After nearly killing Jan, Henry Pym realizes what he did.
  • Justice League Elite: Dawn had a affair with Green Arrow because her husband began paying more attention to work and the trials of the "Stony Path" than her. She eventually regretted the affair and betraying Raven, especially when Raven apologized to her. Before she could apologize to Raven and reconcile with him, he died while taking the brunt of a bomb blast, leaving her heartbroken by his death and the fact he knew about the affair before he died.
  • Grant Morrison's JLA:
    • JLA #15, the final issue of "Rock of Ages": In order to stop The Joker, who has the title reality-warping artifact, from wreaking colossal global havoc, the Martian Manhunter uses his telepathic powers to make the Joker temporarily sane. The Joker says "What have I been doing with my life?... I've been insane... Oh my god. What have I done?" It doesn't last.
    • JLA: Earth-2 sees Batman fear that the Justice League really weren't fixing things in the Crime Syndicate's world—a fear confirmed when the alternate version of his father informs Bruce of his intent to turn Gotham into a Police State and execute Owlman. Naturally, Batman is horrified by this, forcing him to recognise that the Syndicate's world is so naturally corrupt that even good acts will become evil long-term.
  • In addition to that moment in JLA, The Joker has had other moments of this, too:
    • The Joker underwent similar remorse when Ra's Al-Ghul killed him at the end of their Villain Team-Up, and Batman was forced to resurrect him using a Lazarus Pit to find out the location of Raz's super virus. While the Pits normally bestow temporary insanity, it instead made Joker temporarily sane. During this brief period, he shows enormous remorse over his horrible crimes.
    • Subverted when the Joker was temporarily rendered sane again in the storyline Cacophony; when on so much pain medication that he was temporarily rendered reasonably stable, he nevertheless affirmed that he does genuinely want to kill Batman.
  • The Old Man Logan storyline in the Wolverine comic is set in an alternate Marvel future in which the villains teamed up and successfully annihilated nearly all the superheroes. In a flashback, we see how the X-Men were done in: Wolverine and Jubilee are doing monitor duty when dozens of supervillains break in, intent on killing everybody. Wolverine meets all of them with deadly force in the inimitable Wolverine style. Just after he offs the last one- Bullseye- he turns into a dying Jubilee. Mysterio had set up an illusion, and Wolverine has just murdered all the X-Men, along with the mutant schoolchildren and staff.
  • This is Magog's reaction in Kingdom Come after he accidentally causes the destruction of Kansas.
  • It's Science With Dr Radium contained an "Ask Dr Radium" section on the fan mail page. One reader wrote in, asking "My God, What have I done?" Dr. Radium replied, "Um, you haven't given me much to go on. All I can tell you is that I've alerted the authorities, and hopefully they'll arrive soon."
  • Main character Matty Roth has this reaction in DMZ when he orders his private security force to chase and kill a group of soldiers who just gave him a crippling beatdown, (despite pleas not to do this) and he hears that his security people killed a group of Innocent Bystanders instead.
  • In Runaways, though in a very light manner: after Chase nearly gets Killed Off for Real because of drowning, when the team storms the Marine Vivarium, and Molly and Karolina argue about which way was correct to resurrect him. Fortunately, Gert followed Molly's advice, leaving Karolina pondering about what she nearly caused. Though that lasts about 2 seconds (Angst? What Angst? ?).
  • During Final Crisis, when Superman and Mandrakk have their first battle, Zillo Valla tries to give Supes advice from the sidelines. Mandrakk kills her to shut her up, then realizes in horror who she was: his former lover. However, after a second of grief, he blames Superman for his mistake and keeps attacking.
  • Prickly City: Electing Kevin, the Lost Bunny of the Apocalypse, to the Senate.
  • In the first issue of Crystar Crystal Warrior. when Moltar has been manipulated into stabbing his brother Crystar and (wrongly) believes he has killed him, he cries "WHAT HAVE I DONE?" A few scenes later, when his actions lead to him and his followers being turned into monsters (as they will remain for the rest of the series), he has a single Beat Panel of blank horror as it all sinks in... and then composes himself and loudly embraces this fate, for the benefit of his followers if nothing else. Moltar remains a rather reluctant Big Bad through the whole series' run, deeply unhappy about what his actions have made him.
  • In Invincible, the titular character reacts this way after accepting An Offer You Can't Refuse, even though it was the only way to avoid an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. So when he says the trope's title out loud, the character making the offer responds "You have saved the lives of every living thing on this planet".
    • Invincible loves this trope. Another issue had Invincible go into a rage and quite literally beat Angstrom Levy into meat, before realizing he's not invulnerable like himself. "I thought you were stronger..."
  • This is actually Ghost Rider's schtick with the Penance Stare, forcing those to confront all of their sins. The best use of this was in the 1995 Fantastic Four cartoon, where he takes down Galactus.
  • In one Diabolik story inspector Ginko has this reaction after he realizes why Eva Kant was kidnapping people with the same blood type as Diabolik: the King of Terror was suffering from radiation poisoning and needed a full blood transfusion, for which Eva needed as much blood as five or six persons had. To try and not kill anyone, Eva was kidnapping a lot of donors, but Ginko discovered and stopped her after the fifth kidnapping, and she immediately performed the transfusion by taking all the blood of the kidnapped donors.
  • Superman:
    • Kryptonite Nevermore, Superman and his Sandman doppelganger are about to fight. However a friend makes them see a vision in which their battle tears the world apart. Superman believes it to be real and he gets horrified. He covers his face with his hands and begins weeping.
    • In War World, Mongul kidnaps Superman's closest friends, blackmailing him into stealing the Crystal Key which controls a star-sized satellite-weapon (and getting in a big fight with Martian Manhunter to do it). Superman feels so guilty that he recruits his cousin and sets out to bring Mongul down or die trying.
    • Early in Superman's Post-Crisis career, he was forced to execute alternate versions of General Zod, Ursa and Nod (the ones from Legion of Super-heroes Superboy pocket universe), breaking his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule. He's so guilty after doing so that he ends up sleep-crime fighting as Gangbuster and doesn't realize this until an encounter with the Guardian has the hero shred Gangbuster's outfit and reveal the S-Shield underneath. When he does realize this, he's so shaken by it, he decides to exile himself from Earth and stays that way until he finally comes to grips with it with the aid of an alien Cleric.
      Superman: Wait! — Look! The flames... the cracks...! I can't see any sign of life — anywhere! Oh, dear Lord... What have we done? For our own selfish ends, we've destroyed — everything! Forgive me, forgive me...
  • Supergirl:
    • In Action Comics #317 Supergirl thinks her friend Lena is dating an enemy spy and she makes them to break up to protect Lena from a future heartbreak. Shortly after Supergirl discovers said boyfriend wasn't an enemy spy and Lena is completely distraught because she thinks she is alone since her only friend has betrayed her. She has this reaction before explaining herself and apologizing to Lena and her lover.
      Supergirl: Oh, what have I done? My meddling has destroyed Lena's whole life. And I called myself her best friend!
    • In Supergirl Vol. 2 issue #23, Linda Danvers' professor has been overtaken by his dark side and transformed into an evil psychic mutant. Supergirl tries to reach him out, and when it fails, lets him believe he has killed her. Just as planned, his good side is so horrified that he regains self-control.
    • Averted in the Superman: Doomed story arc. In Supergirl vol. 6 #34, Kara Zor-El runs into a disabled boy and wonders if his spine got damaged when she fought the Worldkillers in New York. She's starting to get upset but Michael stops it saying it was a car accident, not a hero-villain battle.
    • Bizarrogirl storyline provides several examples:
      • Supergirl extradited Reactron illegally, believing he would have a fair trial. Instead of it, he was tortured. And then he blew New Krypton up. She blames herself for all of it.
        Supergirl: I stood in that room and watched my mother torture that man for information. A man I'd taken back to New Krypton. A man I'd... I'd illegally extradited for his crimes. [...] I thought I was doing the right thing. I was "Supergirl", right? I always do the right thing. The man I took back, his name was Reactron. He was the end of my people. Because of me, they're gone.
      • When she fights alongside Supergirl, Bizarrogirl learns the difference between killing people and saving them... and she realizes what she killed a man back on Earth. She falls apart and decides to punish herself.
  • Spider-Man:
    • This is Peter's reaction upon realizing that by stopping a thief running past him earlier, he could've stopped the guy before he killed Uncle Ben.
    • Spider-Man's done this concerning Doctor Octopus. The first was during Ends of the Earth, when he realized that all of Doc Ock's equipment was made from his inventions. He does it again in Dying Wish when, stuck in Doc Ock's dying body, he orchestrates a break-out and nearly involves the Lizard in the attempt, making him realize that he's probably starting to act like the madman himself.
    • Doc Ock also has this after Peter forces him to relive Peter's memories, giving his enemy a taste of his conscience.
  • Star Wars:
    • Kanan: Commander Grey has this reaction when Caleb points out that he and his troops had murdered Depa without a second thought despite their loyalty and devotion to her previously. After realizing his brothers won't stop trying to kill her apprentice, whom they'd only months before viewed as a surrogate little brother, he decides to make amends by sabotaging his ship and sacrificing himself in order for Caleb to escape. Grey is to date the only clone to actually fight off and go against the conditioning of Order 66 without having his control chip removed.
    • Star Wars Legends:
      • Tales of the Jedi:
      • Gav Daragon has one when he finally realizes that the Sith are the bad guys.
      • Ulic has a massive one when he kills his brother. This knocks him back to the light side, but he also spends the next decade in self-imposed exile and looking for a place to die in isolation.
  • Morbius says this in Punisher v7 #12 when Hellsgaard and his men have entered Monster Metropolis and start killing the monsters indiscriminately. They are in search of the stone Morbius has in his possession; if he had given it up like the molten preacher suggested they would have been safe.
  • In Batman, Incorporated, a dystopian future is shown wherein Gotham is in flames and Joker venom has become a plague essentially, and the few survivors are holed up in Arkham Asylum. Batman (Damian Wayne) brings a child that does not show signs of the strain, and thus must contain the cure... but is actually a carrier, and Barbara realises this, killing the baby. She completely breaks down afterwards, telling Damian that the Joker succeeded in turning them into monsters, and opens the gates so the insane mobs may kill everyone inside Arkham.
  • Sin City:
    • Happens to Mort after his obsession with Ava Lord causes him to shoot his partner Bob in A Dame to Kill For. The realisation leads to him eating his gun.
    • In Daddy's Little Girl, a young man shoots his beautiful lover's rich and controlling father at her urging and immediately regrets it. He doesn't get long to ponder when the man gets up and beats him to death, as the gun was a blank.
  • Deadpool has a "My God, What Am I Doing?" in The Death of Wolverine: Deadpool and Captain America, when Old Man Steve Rogers gives Deadpool a knife with Wolverine's blood on it and DP decides to use it to try to revive Wolverine. He stops just before he puts blood samples inside a machine and decides to "think about it".
  • In Seconds, Katie experiences this a lot as more and more of the changes start getting out of control, especially during the timelines where she's married to Max.
  • This is Overman's primary characterization in Mastermen #1, as he's the Superman of a world where the Nazis took over the world, and he feels horrible knowing the utopia he built was founded on the crimes of Adolf Hitler.
  • B.P.R.D.: Industrial CEO Landis Pope schemed to transform himself into a new version of mystical WWII villain the Black Flame, giving him control over a growing army of frog-like monsters and the power of Katha-Hem. When it turns out that the frogs were only manipulating him to wake Katha-Hem, a titanic star-spawn that makes Cthulhu look like fishbait, heralds another big step towards the end of the world, and promptly destroys much of Nebraska, he can't quite cope with the realisation.
    "I... I think I made a mistake."
  • Judge Dredd:
    • Chief Judge Thomas Silver has this reaction when he realizes that the corrupted Judge Kraken, whom he personally approved against Dredd's judgment, is going to release the Dark Judges and start Necropolis. He is Driven to Suicide, but is denied this escape, as the Sisters of Death resurrect him as a zombie and forces him to join the rest of the city in damnation.
    • Dredd asks himself "What have I done?" when he holds himself responsible for Yassa Povey being blinded by the Sisters of Death.
    • Chief Judge Eustace Fargo regrets having ever created the Judges in the first place. He wanted to restore order, but he believes he has destroyed the American Dream in the process. He never wanted to oppress people. Dredd keeps this to himself.
  • The events of Joker's Last Laugh gets kicked off when a doctor lies to The Joker and says he had a tumor in order to give the Joker a taste of his own medicine. To say this backfired is an understatement and the doctor is naturally horrified by how the Joker reacted when Black Canary visits him and learns what the doctor did.
  • In Southern Bastards, blind Big takes the young Euless Boss under his wing, teaching the young kid to become a football player and not let anything stand in his way. Boss soon becomes so obsessed with using football to get ahead that he makes a deal with the local crime lord to kill his own father in exchange for becoming the high school team coach and become the most feared man in town. When the young Boss off-handled mentions how he has to get rid of the crime lord too, a horrified Big whispers the trope verbatim. He eventually commits suicide
  • During the Siege event, Loki realizes that he's been making a massive mistake: He wanted to make Asgard greater than ever, but let his hatred of Thor get in the way of that. In a last ditch effort to stop the Void, he uses the Norn stones to empower the New Avengers to give them a fighting chance. When this doesn't work, Loki takes the full blunt of the Void, dying while tearfully apologizing to Thor. Fourtunately, Thor brings him back to life, now as a child with no memory of his evil deeds or his previous life beyond the age of twelve, but still has the guilt of what happened, with Thor's encouragement he becomes a kid hero.
  • Joe Chill has this reaction whenever an incarnations learns the couple he killed is the Waynes, or worse, that their son, Bruce, became Batman because of it.
  • Dastardly & Muttley: Zee asks this after shooting, Uncle, Dick and Mutt. Fortunately, the gun became a dart gun.
  • In The One Hundred Nights Of Hero, a king smashes the mirror portals his daughters have been using to sneak out to go dancing in a fit of rage - while his three youngest daughters are still on the other side of the portal. They're trapped in the mirror realm until they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence as the weird moons of the setting. He regrets it horribly, and actually rebuilds the portals in hopes that they'll be able to cross back through.
  • Batman: White Knight:
    • Jack asks this after defeating Batman in a fight.
    • Harley later asks the same when Neo-Joker uses Mr. Freeze's technology to demand the Joker.
  • Thunderstrike: Bobby Steele is Marcy Masterson's second husband, and wants to adopt Kevin, the son from her previous marriage. Marcy doesn't think it's right, since it would lose Eric Masterson's right as a father. After getting in an argument with his wife, Bobby flies into a rage and hits her. His regret causes him to work hard to be a better person, and earn his place as Kevin's father after Eric's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Iron Man: When FBI agent Neil Stretch threatens to arrest Pepper Potts and the hospitalized Happy Hogan unless Pepper agrees to cooperate with him, Pepper agrees to work with him. Pepper provides Stretch with the code he needs to activate a failsafe which deactivates the Iron Man armor. She regrets giving Stretch the code the minute she gives it to him, as she tells a comatose Happy.
  • Wonder Woman: In general Diana's lasso's ability to instill this reaction into her opponents by forcing them to face the truth of the consequences of their actions and their motivations is a large part of the reason her rogues gallery is less well known; a lot of her foes only fight her once before reforming to some extent and changing their ways.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Diana's Lasso of Truth causes the Duke of Deception to realize he'd been deceived into allying himself with Ares and killing hundreds of innocents and soldiers for the Axis powers after being lied to about his little brother's supposed death. Not only is his little brother still alive but it was Axis bombers that bombed the city he was in not allied bombers like Ares lead him to believe.
  • In Chassis, Elizabeth Tall Mountain has this reaction after her sabotage of Matt Geer's car causes her 'nephew' Mark Little Crow to crash. He manages to avoid a stand full of spectators, but, in doing so, slams into the sea in an apparently fatal crash.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW): "All in Moderation" uses this twice:
    • Pinkie Pie reacts this way when Temperance makes her believe she's made people sick and hurt them with her baked goods and parties.
    • Temperance has the realization when seeing what her extremist views are doing to Ponyville, with half the populace unhappy and miserable from holding up her stance to an unhealthy degree, and the other going on huge sugar binges out of fear they'll never eat sugar again. She eventually sees the light when Twilight teaches her to preach moderation instead of an "All or nothing" mindset.
  • The Flash:
    • Ashley Zolomon was the subject of this. After she barely survives a car accident, Wally, who was charged with repairing her car and had obvious motive along with having been witnessed arguing with her, is accused of tampering with it. It turns out he was responsible, due to having failed to finish repairs because he went to help Nightwing fight Penguin, and becomes incredibly guilt-ridden over it. Fortunately, Ashley doesn't press charges and makes peace with him.
    • Ashley Zolomon also has this to leaving her husband Hunter Zolomon, feeling he never would have become Zoom if she had not left him. Guilt-ridden she admit to a comatose Hunter that she was the one that got him discharged from the F.B.I. and help destroy his life.
    • Kid Flash (Bar Torr/"Bart Allen) realised that rebellions hurt people when he accidentally kills his sister. This causes him to call the entire thing off, because...yeah, he apparently didn't realise that people get hurt in armed rebellions.
    • When Reverse-Flash III (Daniel West) attempts to kill his father in front of a young Iris and younger version of himself, a terrified Iris dubs him a "monster", leading to a brief moment of this that allows Flash to temporarily borrow his powers to get them back to the present. Thoroughly subverted when they get back though, as he flatly tells the adult Iris he'll do it all over again when he gets another chance.
    • After Future Flash (Barry Allen) accidentally kills Wally from five years in the future.
    • Fast Track / Negative Flash (Meena Dhawan) is horrified by her actions the instant she is freed from Grodd's influence.


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