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Nightmare Fuel / The DCU

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  • Grant Morrison lampshades the horrific implications of the first DC reboot in their run on Animal Man. How? By having the post-Crisis version of Buddy Baker meet the old, Silver Age Buddy Baker, who says that thanks to the reboot he and billions of other beings no longer exist. What's even worse? The older version of Buddy is aware that he's a comic book character, so he knows that his death and the deaths of billions of others were done for our entertainment.
    Animal Man: "What happens when the continuity changes? What happens to all of those lives? Who's responsible? They twist and they torture us. They kill us in our billions. For what? For entertainment."
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths: Nearly every single Universe out there simply ceases to be. Untold billions, dead and gone in about the time it takes to tell, over and over again. More chilling when you realize that suddenly they never were. Take a moment to examine the implications of that.
  • Detective Comics #881 does a great job reminding us that Nightmare Fuel in the DC verse doesn't necessarily come from galactic horrors or super powered zombies, but from ordinary humans who don't have powers but are downright psychopaths and James Gordon Junior was terrifying.
  • The second run of Doom Patrol, in which the villains are often anatomically askew and don't want to kill you, just redefine your existence.
  • The scene from the excellent 52 miniseries from The DCU in which "Sobek" reveals his true colors and eats Osiris alive. Osiris desperately tries to summon Black Adam's power again, but Sobek bites down even harder. Sobek's last line at the end of the issue is particularly creepy.
    Sobek: I'm not so hungry anymore.
    • 52 also featured a scene where Ralph Dibny wanted to disprove that a cult could resurrect his wife, only to see a straw version of her call out to him. The last page of that issue was particularly haunting as it seemed as if he lost his mind. He was faking it.
    • The second panel of #2 where the Elongated Man recalls the memory of cradling his dead wife with an agonized stretched scream on his face. Edvard Munch has nothing on that panel.
    • Captain Comet's fate.
    • Jean Loring, as Eclipso, pleaded with Ralph after he's acquired the Spectre's powers, he'd made her sane and had taken her to the moment when she'd killed Sue Dibny, to make her relive that moment for eternity. It was both frightening and heart-rending at the same time.
    • It's a testament to how awesome the series is that Mr. Mind is absolutely terrifying in it, before and after he stops wearing adorable little Skeets like a cheap suit.
    • Mr. Mind/Skeets killing Waverider by skinning him alive and then wearing it over his plating.
  • Final Crisis: The entire planet becoming slaves to the evilest being in the DCU, all in a plot by a cosmic vampire to eat reality.
  • Identity Crisis (2004): After stripping away his Robin costume and desperately attempting to pull the boomerang from his father's chest, Batman comes in and holds him. In that last page, all you can see is Tim, mostly in shadows, with the main focus being his eye and the tears streaming from it. Eerie, depressing, haunting, and a true Tear Jerker.
    Batman and Robin. Orphans.
    • Tim Drake had, almost from the start of his career as Robin, a terrible dread that being orphaned was part of the role inherently. It had been over ten years since that storyline, and it finally happened.
  • Starro, the Justice League of America villain. An alien starfish that latches onto someone to steal their free will and can replicate an army of itself. Its brief appearance on Batman Beyond was quite scary. If Superman could be overpowered and controlled by it, what hope would anyone else have against it? It's the Anti-Life Equation incarnate, and Darkseid proved how scary that was in Final Crisis. Real starfish are already disturbing enough.
    • Then you don't wanna watch the recent episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The teasers, instead of being a short Batman adventure, are heroes from around The DCU, from prominent to obscure, brand new to not-seen-since-the-forties, being taken over one by one by Starro, leading up to the season's Grand Finale. Seeing it in action, and seeing everybody who handles this sort of thing for a living being easily overrun in a way that doesn't stink of jobbing, is definitely going to stay with you.
    • Averted in DC Rebirth, where he's absolutely hilarious and kind of adorable, especially when he's reduced to a tiny version of himself living in a jar after a fight with one of the Omega Titans.
  • Citizen Steel's whole family getting massacred by Vandal Savage's superpowered Neo-Nazis at a reunion in Justice Society of America.
  • Chalk one more up for DC with Gail Simone's Secret Six. The jokes and the freaky stuff are so tightly entwined sometimes (*cough* Ragdoll) that you'll get Mood Whiplash.
    • Junior is a woman who's the younger sister of the second Ragdoll. Their father, the original Ragdoll - who was a mass murderer, rapist and cult leader, among other things - was also a pedophile and he molested Junior for much of her life. Grown up Junior has become so psychotic and feels so "Ugly" inside that she had surgery to make herself as hideous as possible. She now gets her jollies by torturing, raping and murdering (not necessarily in that order) men and women. The three most horribly memorable moments are her ordering a priest to absolve her of her sins, only to murder him brutally when he refuses, torturing Bane by throwing bricks against his body with such force that they shatter on impact (counting down how many bricks are left to assault him with as she does) and calmly slicing her brother's fingers off with a pair of scissors.
      Yes, she is Nightmare Fuel Incarnate, thank you for asking.
  • Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D certainly has its moments, particularly when Supes comes to the realization that the Monitors are in fact a higher order of intelligence that feeds on our energy like an epic cosmic vampire. They've been cultivating the multiverse in a jar to keep their oldest enemy and original Monitor (yes, that original monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths) alive. He's now known as Mandrakk the Dark Monitor.
  • Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!: The universes are destroyed, similar to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Only one major universe and a pocket universe are left by this point, and that is being slowly wiped out from both ends of time, heading slowly towards the Present. And Heaven help you if you get caught in a time rift as it's opening. You see, you are alive as the rift scatters your atoms across what is left of time. The scream Batman gave out as it happened to him in this event points towards this very thing.
  • Despite bad writing, the villain Harvest is buckets of Nightmare Fuel - Coming from the future, he's utterly, soul-crushingly obsessed with winning the war in his time between humans and meta-humans, due to the fact his son died in that war. For the purpose of winning the war, he travelled back in time, eventually snatching Superman's son Jon Lane-Kent from his parents by faking his death and turning the boy into a weapon of destruction Harvest intended to use on his hated meta-human enemies. Speaking of meta-humans, his War Games suggest he just really likes making them kill each other, and gathering "The Best" to become even more human weapons against other meta-humans. As if compounding all of this, due to running out of chronal energy for his time travel mechanism, he ended up deteriorating and becoming the "futuristic grim reaper" we know him as, Eyeless Face and all.
    • The kicker? The reason the whole war started was because Superman retreated from the world out of grief from his son's death - that's right, Harvest is responsible for the very war he set out to win. Even worse? Harvest doesn't seem to make the connection at all.
  • Dark Nights: Metal introduces the Dark Multiverse, where worlds are created from every bad decision or fear that people have, and said worlds are filled with a malformed contents of nightmare and despair, until they're doomed to rot apart. To illustrate, Batman has about eight Evil Counterparts of himself coming from the Dark into the Prime Multiverse, with their backstories ranging from being driven to madness form losing his entire family to becoming twisted and psychopathic whilst retaining his technological and intellectual prowess after killing The Joker out of pure rage.
  • Tales from the Dark Multiverse later explores more on what happens from the bowels of said multiverse, but this time focuses on notable DC Events and how they could've turned out if things were to go sideways. That said, the stories depicted from the one-shot miniseries emphasises the fact that hope is non-existent amongst the worlds being doomed to rot apart.