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Sealed Evil In A Can / Comic Books

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  • In The Astounding Wolf-Man Gorgg is an ancient and evil golem that was imprisoned under Stonehenge. As soon as he is released by The Face he goes to kill the blood relatives of those who imprisoned him.
  • Lampshaded in the short-lived comic BMG, where the Big Bad releases The Dragon from a can labeled "Instant evil. Just add water."
  • The Lord of Locusts from Bone.
  • The DCU:
    • The Phantom Zone is essentially an other-dimensional prison that holds numerous Kryptonian criminals. As such, there many stories where the prisoners escape and the heroes have to fight to throw them back into the Zone. In The Supergirl Saga, though, the Phantom Zone criminals of the Pocket Universe, when released, destroyed the projector that could send them back there, and so without it, the mainstream DC Universe Superman had to resort to using that world's Gold and Green Kryptonite (to which Superman was immune) to deal with them once and for all.
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    • The Source Wall is a huge cosmic barrier between the Source (the source of power behind existence itself) and the rest of creation. The Wall is decorated with the bodies and visages of all of the would be conquerors who have sought to claim the power of the Source for themselves, imprisoning them for all eternity. The Wall is one of the more effective Cans in fiction and only three people have ever escaped it. One of them, Yuga Khan (the father of Darkseid), managed to summon just enough power to free himself from the Wall... only to get himself imprisoned in it again in another bid to obtain the Source, this time for good. The second one was Darkseid himself, and he needed the help of the one who imprisoned him in the first place (Superman) to do it. The third was Superman, who was trapped by Darkseid and required the help of every variation of Supergirl from the last twenty years to break free.
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  • In a Disney Afternoon comic crossover event in Disney Adventures, the Chaos God himself, Solego, was trapped in two pieces: a crystal held his mind and a gold medallion held his powers. Uniting the pieces released him and that isn't a good thing.
  • Zom, from Doctor Strange - a surprisingly obscure hyperdemon who was sealed in a special amphora in another dimension. Horrifically powerful. He was initially imprisoned by a coalition of cosmic beings, including Eternity and frickin' Dormammu, and when he was let out, he frightened Umar (Dormammu's even scarier sister) so much she ran home and said she'd never come out again. Considering how bad-ass he is, the "can", or amphora, must truly be the can of the gods.
  • Earth 2:
    • Green Lantern defeats Grundy by putting him in a place where there is no life for him to corrupt. Namely, the Moon.
    • The Red Lantern. If she escapes from the Earth's core, the world is doomed.
  • Caged Demonwolf (Molestor of Worlds!) from Empowered is an Eldritch Abomination that Emp trapped into an alien-made power-draining bondage gear. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Fables' second Big Bad came out of his can due to the effects of the heroes saving the world.
    • Also, the djinn that Frau Totenkinder dealt with earlier, although that was more of a case of amoral and incredibly dangerous and destructive, especially in the hands of an evil man, but not evil in and of itself.
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  • In Marvel Comics, Galactus acts as a can on a greater, multiverse-destroying evil, Abraxas. Most of the energy he gets from his food goes to maintaining the seal, explaining his unusual diet.
  • In the Godzilla (2014) tie-in comic Godzilla Awakening, originally, Shinomura and Godzilla (and for that matter every radiovore) fled deep beneath the earth as the radiation levels receded. It was only after the bombing of Hiroshima that lured Shinomura from its hiding place.
  • Green Lantern: Rebirth revealed that the long-established "yellow impurity" in the Central Power Battery was actually Parallax, the "yellow fear entity," an insectile manifestation of that emotion, released when Hal "Greatest GL of them all" Jordan entered the Central Battery years before. Before it was in a box that was stolen from Maltus by Larfleeze and his crew. Later it was imprisoned in a Sciencell, and finally got ripped apart and stashed in four separate batteries.
  • One of the main foes of Hellboy is the Ogdru Jahad, an Eldritch Abomination on par with Cthulhu and the boys.
  • The Warlock Graveyard in I Hunt Monsters is this, housing many powerful monsters in it and kept in check by an obelisk that needs to be recharged every century of so. It the protagonist's disbelief and reluctance that ends up freeing the monsters and he forced to track them down and re-seal them.
  • In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Johnny's constant murders are (partially) motivated by the need for fresh blood to paint on one of the walls in his house, which keeps the monster trapped behind it from physically getting out. After Johnny's accidental suicide, the creature breaks free and is revealed to be a horrible, bloodthirsty mass of tentacles and faces; Johnny's conversation with Señor Diablo implies that it was made up of all the evil emanated by humanity, and its escape was serious enough to require the universe to be rebooted.
  • Justice League of America comics occasionally feature early JLA enemies the Demons Three (Abnegazar, Ghast, and Rath), evil beings who ruled the Earth a billion years ago until being imprisoned in crypts by mysterious powerful entities called the Timeless Ones. The three Demons were eventually summoned/released in the present by Felix Faust, with occasional other escapes from imprisonment since then.
  • Ragamuffin, from Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl, the eternal vampire scourge who eats people alive, is trapped in a rag doll for the most part of the comics.
  • Shiklah of Deadpool. An ancient demon Succubus who was locked away in a coffin for centuries. When her marriage to Wade starts to suffer due to his absence, Shiklah begins cheating on him with numerous monsters from her kingdom. She eventually declares war on the surface world in attempts to take over and liberate her monsters, which ends with her marrying Dracula and leaving Deadpool a note to get on with his life. The future in 2099 shows he and Shiklah got back together, but had more wars with one another, leading to Deadpool having to seal her away again in a coffin that he had shrunken, and keeps on his heart.
  • The French comic book Les Légendaires introduces the Evil God Anathos, whose essence was trapped a long time ago by the other gods in a living prison called the Bearer. While his origin is a typical use of the trope, the way he comes back is partially subverted, as he frees himself by taking control of the Bearer and using Demonic Possession, as well as manipulating one of the protagonists rather than another villain; the original Big Bad, Darkhell, actually attempted to prevent his return rather than helping him.
  • Loki's first appearance shows him imprisoned inside a tree. He would become free only if his captivity causes someone to shed a tear. No one missed Loki strongly enough to want to cry, so he forces Heimdall to shed a tear by poking him in the eye with a leaf.
    • Let's just say Loki was sealed and/or punished in one way or another so many times in the years that some incarnations (like the Loki: Agent of Asgard one) outright claimed to be the bona fide expert on escaping from them. Why people still try to imprison Loki is a great mystery.
    • Another example of this in The Mighty Thor franchise is Mangog, the sum total of the hatred of a race that was slain by Odin. It was imprisoned with a warning on the door until released by the Rock Troll Ulik who thought it would be an ally against Asgard.
    • Then there were older foes of Asgard imprisoned by Odin. Ymir the Frost Giant, Surtur the Fire Demon, and Skagg the Storm Giant — the last two were released by Loki to attack Odin.
    • And more recently, there's The Serpent, God of Fear and Odin's brother, who Odin sealed in a prison at the bottom of the ocean ages ago, until freed by Sin (who had been transformed into one of his Worthy).
  • Parodied in a 1983 nine-page story in Love and Rockets by Jamie Hernandez called Maggie vs Maniakk. Maggie plays with a "Mayamese mini transporter" and accidentally frees Maniakk, a costumed super evil trapped in limbo/the ninth dimension by Ultimax, a superhero now down on his luck.
  • In Lucifer, the seraph Meleos long ago created the Basanos, an extremely powerful living tarot deck as both a complement to Destiny's book (which contains nearly everything that will ever happen) and a means of recording and preserving humanity's thoughts. The latter function, however, corrupted the Basanos and turned them into beings of pure evil, so Meleos has since locked them in a box. However, when Lucifer demands the use of the Basanos for divination, Meleos resolves to destroy them and opens the box, whereupon the cards overpower him and escape.
  • Tiamut the Dreaming Celestial was exiled to Earth by his Celestial brethren for committing a crime against "life itself". Later revealed to be a case of Sealed Good in a Can. Tiamut objected when the others tried to cull the Deviants of Earth, and was punished for it. The Deviants understandably worship Tiamut as their savior.
  • A somewhat ambiguous example in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW), where Chrysalis and her Changelings are imprisoned in their own castle at the end of the first Story Arc with the animated Pinkie Pie suit to entertain them (well, entertain the soldiers, annoy Chrysalis). Twilight indicates it would take them "a while" to break out. However, recently, on page 11 of Friends Forever Issue #8, a sign under the Mount Monument observation deck reads "Sign the petition to add Queen Chrysalis to the monument" and bears Chrysalis' fresh signature, which in turn strongly suggests they have since recovered and are back to plotting and causing trouble for Equestria.
  • The Sohrem of Nightschool.
  • One episode of The Sandman had an Arabian Nights-flavored tale with a medieval caliph (kind of like a Muslim king/pope) who wanted to talk to Dream. The caliph went into a dark secret room and took out an ancient globe full of demons, threatening to break it and release them all. Morpheus appeared, took the globe and pocketed it, and then inquired what the caliph wanted.
  • Superman. Doomsday was living Sealed Evil, but ultimately broke out of his own can. He keeps getting re-sealed in stronger cans (we hope!).
    • The quote on the main page has Luthor being a bit resentful that somebody sealed Doomsday and dumped the can on Earth, but Earth did pretty much the same thing. Doomsday can only be temporarily killed, and even if you can do that you don't want him around when he wakes up again, because he mutates in such a way as to be immune to whatever killed him last time. So somebody managed it, packaged him up, and launched him into space, which eventually resulted in him landing on Earth. What does Cyborg Superman do with Doomsday's body? Strap it to an asteroid and throw it into space. It later turns out that Cyborg Superman is actually villain Hank Henshaw.
    • In Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, Cyborg Superman was the Sealed Evil who was contained within the mechanism he planted on the asteroid that he bound Doomsday's body to, so that when Doomsday came back to life and began his rampage on Apokolips, Cyborg Superman took over the body of an Apokoliptian robot and restructured it for his personal use. After Cyborg Superman was defeated by Darkseid, he was sealed inside a capsule which Darkseid kept on hand should he ever need to use it.
  • In the conclusion of The Thanos Imperative event, the now immortal Thanos is trapped in the Cancer Verse. Star-Lord and Nova trapped him there along with themselves to keep him from destroying their own universe in his rage at being forever denied the embrace of his beloved Death. Subverted when it turns out he escaped later on.
  • Jurid from Thieves & Kings, also known as "the Dawn Swallower", is a powerful monster, but spent a thousand years or so stuck in a glass bottle, trapped by a young girl.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: After Methraton defeats Lucifer during his invasion of the New Earth he seals him away inside a prison elsewhere, since he's too powerful to destroy completely.
  • Black Adam from the Shazam franchise was basically this when he was banished to the farthest star by Shazam the wizard when the one-time hero became a corrupt villain, only to be brought back by Dr. Sivana through his science. In the Shazam!: The New Beginning series, Black Adam was sent back to his imprisonment when Billy Batson tricked him into activating the device that brought the villain back to Earth in the first place.
  • IDW’s Transformers comics put an interesting twist on this trope with Carcer, the Cybertronion colony designed to imprison Liege Maximo; it’s eventually revealed that the Sealed Can was intentionally rigged to fail. Onyx Prime (actually Shockwave in disguise) insisted that Vigilem, a Titan loyal to Liege Maximo, be rechristened “Carcer” and used to contain Liege. The other Thirteen were under the impression that it was a way of punishing both Liege and Vigilem; in reality, Shockwave was arranging for his Dragon to be put in a prison he could easily be rescued from when the time was right.
  • Monstress: Two thousand years before the series' present, the Ancient known as the Blood Fox tried to wipe out all Arcanics, as he believed that doing so would reverse the Ancients' loss of power. To stop him, the Shaman-Empress imprisoned him on the Isle of Bones, which he can't leave unless his bindings are removed, which can only be done by a descendant of the Empress.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate Vision: The Gah Lak Tus unit, a straw component of the swarm that attacked earth. AIM managed to capture one, and kept it turned off. Tarleton needed to activate it for his world dominance plan to work. He did, and the unit resumed the swarm's one and only goal: destroy the planet.
    • The Ultimates: This is what Loki was until just before the events of The Ultimates Vol. 1, escaping shortly after The Hulk's first rampage through New York. He had been trapped for more than 50 years within The-Room-Without-Doors until managing to scrape enough power together to slip away. After Odin strips Loki of his godhood, Thor is able to send him back to his prison. The City's attack and ultimate destruction of Asgard allows Loki to escape once more, though he is but a shadow of his former power without his godly strength. This doesn't stop him from being a gigantic pain in the ass, though, as he is still a world-class sorcerer.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Doom's Doorway is the seal to a region of the underworld containing several very dangerous and powerful foes, most notably Cottus, one of the Hekatonkheires, who has turned against the Olympians and regularly kills scores Amazons in his attempts to escape.
    • Wonder Woman (2011): The First Born is an evil nihlistic would be world conqueror who was imprisoned deep beneath the earth for several thousand years held there by the power of his father Zeus. After Zeus dies he's able to dig his way out and start killing gods and humans alike once more.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth) sees the return of Doom's Doorway, though it now acts as a doorway to a much wider array of locations and Darkseid is able to use it.
  • Locke & Key:
    • This is how Dodge is introduced, his spirit (currently in female form) being trapped at the bottom of the wellhouse, unable to pass through the door without fading from existence. He spends most of the first arc there, until he manipulates Bode into giving him the Anywhere Key in order to bypass the door.
    • There's also the Black Door in the caves beneath the Keyhouse, which when unlocked by the Omega Key opens to a dimension inhabited by parasitic Eldritch Abominations that possess and corrupt people. Having been possessed by one himself, Dodge's entire goal throughout the series is to open the door and free the rest.


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