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Comic book storylines can get outlandish at times, but there's usually a sensible explanation for characters' behavior, based on the universe they're in. Not so with these entries, though.

Works with their own pages:

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  • Adjectiveless X-Men has the final fight with Arkea, a badass villain who has been built up as so dangerous that even John Sublime is scared of her. Arkea is able to escape into electrical grids, among other things.
    You'd Expect: Arkea to build her base around or on top of a power grid.
    Instead: Her home is nowhere near a power grid, and she's quickly taken out by the X-Women.
  • In the early days of the Claremont/Byrne run on X-Men, our heroes find themselves stranded in Antarctica. They decide to cross the Drake Passage to South America and work their way home.
    You'd Think: They would send Storm, who can fly, control the weather, and is a superb thief, on ahead to negotiate for or steal transportation for them.
    Instead: They try to cross the Drake Passage... ON A RAFT.
    Also: They end up in Japan. Yeah. (No, the raft doesn't make it all the way across the Pacific, they get picked up by a Japanese ship on a never-elaborated-on "secret mission" that won't drop them off anywhere else or allow them to communicate with the outside world until they reach Japan.)
    • Also during this exact same time. Cyclops and the X-Men get separated from Beast and Jean Grey after a battle with Magneto in Antarctic and each side presumes the other is dead. Jean returns to New York, and breaks the news to Professor X.
      You'd expect: The Professor to immediately get on Cerebro. The powerful device that allows him to telepathically locate mutants from all over the planet, and double check just to make sure.
      Instead: He automatically believes Jean even though she never even saw a body. Makes no on-panel attempt or even mention of using Cerebro to search for them, and then leaves the planet entirely with Lilandra.
      The Result: The X-Men spend the next several issues on a months long misadventure to get back to New York. During which time, Banshee burns out his powers saving Japan from an earthquake. And Jean ends up brainwashed by Mastermind into joining the Hellfire Club, resulting in The Dark Phoenix Saga, the extermination of an entire alien world, and Jean Grey supposedly dying. Not to mention all of the mess in the first entry. All because Chuck couldn't take five minutes to use a freaking computer. Nice Job Breaking It, Professor.
  • X-23 (the limited series): Julian's friend (and not-girlfriend) has left with no warning to go travel the world. After waiting for a bit, he goes to find Laura and confess his feelings to her; the two meet up in New York and have adventures. However, Laura seems reluctant to talk to him, and changes the subject whenever romance comes up.
    You'd Expect: Julian to treat her respectfully and openly ask her whether or not she reciprocates his feelings. Laura isn't the sort of person who'd laugh at him or try to string him along, and he knows that she dislikes being treated as if she has no thoughts or free will.
    Instead: Julian gets frustrated and insults Laura, calling her heartless and scornfully implying that she's in a relationship with Gambit. This prompts Laura to turn and walk off once the mission is completed, so Julian grabs her and forcefully kisses her. This effectively ruins any affection Laura had for him, as well as making her even more opposed to dating Julian than she already was.
  • In New X-Men: Academy X (the one written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost), the X-Men have decided to form a new team of trainees to fight alongside them. However, one of the possible recruits is emotionless Tyke-Bomb X-23, who can be forced to enter an uncontrollable berserker rage if exposed to a particular scent. Emma Frost, one of the new team's teachers, is understandably worried by this and considers X-23 a danger to the other students.
    You'd Expect: Emma to talk to the other teachers and try to persuade them to get X-23 away from the school. Even though the other X-Men dislike Emma, they'd almost certainly listen to her, being Reasonable Authority Figures who don't want to see their students slaughtered. (And it's not like they don't have the resources to set X-23 up somewhere else, somewhere she wouldn't threaten mutantkind simply by existing.)
    Instead: Emma goes psychotic and decides to invade X-23's mind with her telepathy, mentally scream at the girl that she's a monster, tormenting X-23 with images of her dead mother, and tries to intimidate her into submission, by, oh yes, directly attacking her mental health and violating her most basic freedoms. There is no way that could have ended well. And it didn't - X-23 became even more closed off and violent because of this, and her self-esteem (as well as the tenuous trust she had in the X-Men) was shattered. And no, she does not leave the school.
    • In the same series, Prodigy is brutally tortured during a mission. For various reasons, he and the other students decide to keep this secret from Surge, his girlfriend.
      You'd Expect: That they'd get together and agree on a cover story to use when Surge asks about the mission.
      Instead: They don't, and Surge quickly realizes that they're lying. Then she goes to X-23, who describes the incident to her very graphically (not knowing that her teammates wanted to keep it secret).
    • Still with New X-Men, during the "Return to Limbo" arc, Belasco the sorcerer has tried bringing back Illyana Rasputin after M-Day, only for her to escape. Belasco decides she's gone back to the X-Men, and promptly drags everyone in the mansion to Limbo so he can find her.
      You'd expect: That as a powerful magic-wielder he'd use his powers on the X-Men, ask if they've seen or heard anything about Illyana, and send them back when he's done.
      Instead: He goes for the New X-Men instead, violently torturing and killing them when they have no idea who this Illyana person is in the first place. Because of all this, the New X-Men fight back, giving the recreated Illyana the chance to show up and kick Belasco's ass and take control of Limbo for herself.
  • Uncanny X-Men: Hijack, a newly awakened mutant, is recruited into Cyclops' team of rebellious X-Men. He is told that nobody is allowed to have phones, since if he uses it, S.H.I.E.L.D. can use it to track the team down.
    You'd Expect: Hijack to leave the phone behind. Even if he was caught off guard when rescued by the X-Men, Magik is a teleporter who could easily ditch the phone for him.
    Instead: Hijack brings it with him because he can't break his contract (that's literally the only reason he gives)... Later, Magik teleports the students to an unknown location (without telling them why), and the rest of the students immediately figure out that the teachers are testing/training them. Hijack decides to use Google Maps to find out where they are even after the rest of the students repeat the rule to him and why it exists. His reply? S.H.I.E.L.D. can use it to track them down and get them out of there. S.H.I.E.L.D., of course, tracks the team down, and brings some Avengers with them.
    Worse Still: During the stand-off with the Secret Avengers, Magik teleports the team back. Cyclops says Hijack completely failed the test. He tries to defend himself by saying his powers helped them against S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, Cyke calls him out on the stupid logic.
  • X-Factor: The problem is evident from the outset. Jean Grey comes back from the dead without her telepathy and finds that not only are her old teammates at loose ends and Charles Xavier missing; but Big Bad Magneto was running the latter's school, the X-Men were wanted outlaws, and Mutants had a worse rep than ever. When she gets the old gang together they decide to gather young mutants themselves to train them in safety and away from dangerous influences, but they do not have a Cerebro unit or a telepath to use it.
    You'd expect: Beast and Angel (who, incidentally, have been outed for years in comic book time) would use the former's Avengers contacts and the latter's massive fortune to start up a massive public relations blitz of PSAs along the lines of "Are you Different? Are your children? Call us, we can help." while opening up a nice day-camp/compound well away from New York if security is an issue.
    Instead: They go undercover as a commercial mutant hunting crew that could be summoned to capture and 'cure' dangerous mutants with menacing powers, complete with an HQ in the Big Applesauce. Sure you might beat the real lynch mobs to them, but how many will go underground rather than come to you? Please note that Worthington was backing this with his own money, and the world knows he is a Mutie, so this is a P.R. disaster waiting to happen, considering how many will be digging from every angle.
    Making this worse: Over in Uncanny X-Men, a kid actually commits suicide because he learns he's a mutant, and is told X-Factor are gonna come "get" him. Does the team stop and think they've screwed up royal? Nah. They just keep on with the Mutant hunter idea.
    Making it somehow even worse: The reason for this stupid idea? The P.R. guy Warren hired hates all mutants, and yet Warren doesn't catch on to this until it's just a little too late.
    • And, in the same book: Cyclops, having retired from superheroing, is having difficulties with his marriage. Then he gets a phone call telling him the girl he used to be in love with has just come back from the dead.
      You'd expect: That he'd sit down with his wife and explain what's just happened, reassure her that he's determined to make the marriage work, then ask her to come with him to meet the woman he used to date who is also one of his oldest friends. Sure, it would be tense and awkward and might fuel further arguments, but it would still be better than...
      Instead: He makes vague excuses about how he has to go, then runs out in the middle of an argument and doesn't call for two weeks. By which time his wife and baby son have been kidnapped by supervillains. Whoops. And by the time she reappears, she's turned evil and is trying to destroy Manhattan by using their son as a human sacrifice. Double whoops.

    Marvel Comics 
  • Avengers Academy: The Enchantress II who is working for Jeremy Briggs has the four Avengers Academy students who agreed to join Jeremy with her on the same floor, when Striker, the only one who was depowered unwillingly comes up to her and starts chatting with her.
    You’d expect: Her to cast a spell to detect deception or at least have a magical force field on at all times just in case.
    Instead: She totally falls for his sob story, magically gets the antidote which will prevent him from being affected by the depowering drug ever again, and gets knocked unconscious by an application of his powers she wasn’t expecting the moment she dropped her guard.
  • Doctor Doom: In his Origin Story, he's a college student, aiming with a private project to open a portal to hell. That cursed Reed Richards, who was passing by, points out several mistakes in his formulas. Doom shows him the door.
    You'd expect: That, once Richards is gone and nobody will take undue credit for his project, Doom would double-check the formulas, to confirm if they are right indeed, or if there is some mistake to fix. If Richards was right, nobody would know it, and Doom can deny him any credit. In any case, checking and double-checking his work several times should be a must when he does a project like this all alone, even if Richards never interfered.
    Instead: Doom ignores Richards' warnings and proceeds with the experiment. It goes wrong, there is a huge explosion, and his face gets scarred.
  • Doctor Strange: The Oath. Strange's manservant Wong is near death and Strange has retrieved an elixir which can cure any disease. That potion is currently in the hands of a Corrupt Corporate Executive who is Withholding the Cure to protect his profits. He has just challenged Strange to a fistfight on the roof of a skyscraper. Neither of them can use magic for the next three minutes, and Doc is suffering from a near-lethal gunshot wound inflicted earlier that night.
    You'd expect: Strange, knowing every second counted, would quickly beat the man down, take the elixir, and run to help Wong.
    Instead: Strange allows the other man to pummel him for at least a minute before he starts fighting back. He still wins, but in the confusion and pouring rain, the other man misjudges the edge of the roof and plummets to his death. Strange is able to recover only a single drop of the elixir, forcing him to choose between saving Wong or reproducing it to save the world.
  • Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner is a normal guy on the run who tries to stay away from populated areas and stress because when he gets angry, he turns into a giant monster that destroys everything in his way while screaming "Leave Hulk alone!"
    You'd Expect: S.H.I.E.L.D. to provide Banner with a map of and free transport to the most deserted locations on earth, and the Army to issue warnings to anyone in Banner's vicinity not to antagonize him and keep their distance.
    Instead: The government tries to capture Banner at every available opportunity.
    • Connected to the above, General "Thunderbolt" Ross continually exhorts the government to give him men and equipment to wage his private war against the Hulk.
      You'd Expect: The government would realize that Ross's crusade is costing them a steady fortune and pull the plug.
      Instead: They keep pouring money into his vendetta.
  • in Incredible Hulk #395, The Punisher comes to Vegas looking to take down a hitman named Frost, and happens to see Frost talking with "Mr. Fixit".
    You'd Expect: The Punisher would realize that the 7ft plus green "Mr. Fixit" is The Hulk and would avoid getting involved.
    Instead: He stalks the Hulk, and then starts blazing away at him with a machine gun when the Hulk confronts him, achieving nothing more than shredding the Hulk's clothes. The Hulk promptly knocks him out cold with a tap of the finger.
  • Jonathan Hickman's Avengers:
    • In Avengers #34, the Time Gem has caused the Avengers to jump uncontrollably into various times in the future. Captain America, Black Widow, and Starbrand arrive in the 71st century. There the meet the apparently immortal Franklin Richards, who they know as a kid in their own time. Franklin asks Cap whether he would like to know what's causing the Incursions that threaten the Earth and the entire multiverse in the 21st century, and who's behind them?
      You'd expect: Cap to say, "Yes, please tell me all about it!" Gaining this information would be massively important, because it might allow the Avengers to stop the Incursions and save the Earth and the multiverse. Also, Cap knows that the Time Gem might transfer them into the future at any time without any warning... so the time they have available in the 71st century is limited, and hence an intelligent leader like Captain America should realize this time should be spent in learning whatever they can about the Incursions.
      Instead: Cap doesn't want Franklin to answer those questions yet; instead he wants Franklin to tell him how to stop Tony Stark. Cap is angry at Tony and the Illuminati for trying to stop the Incursions through various morally questionable ways, and for erasing Cap's memory about this so he wouldn't oppose them. Franklin tells Cap he can fight the Illuminati but he can't fight fate, and that that things will only get worse if he fights them, and the Incursions will continue. Before Franklin has time to tell them anything else, the Time Gem once again transfers the Avengers away before they can learn what's causing the Incursions and who's behind them. After the Avengers return to their own time, the Incursions continue, and eventually the multiverse is destroyed. So the information Cap got from Franklin was useless, while the information he didn't bother to get because he was so mad at Tony might've helped the Avengers to save the multiverse. Great job, Cap!
    • In New Avengers #23, an Incursion is threatening to destroy the 616 universe and another universe that is coming to contact with it. This could be stopped by destroying the Earth in either of those universes, but having just seen Namor do this to stop the previous incursion, the other members of the Illuminati can't find it in themselves to do so. So they're content to just wait for their universe to be destroyed. Reed Richards gathers his family, including his two young kids, so that he's with them when everything dies.
      You'd expect: Even if he can't morally justify himself to destroy another Earth in order to save his, you'd think that Reed would at least do something to save his family. He has the knowledge and means to travel to the other universes within the multiverse. He also knows how to travel in time. So he could easily send his family to another universe, preferably one where the Earth has already been destroyed, so the Incursions don't threaten them. Or he could send his family far to the past of the 616 Earth, where they could live their full lives long before the Incursions ever start. At the very least, you'd think he would tell his family what is about to happen. Even if his own moral code says he should do nothing and let everyone (including his family) die, maybe Sue doesn't feel the same way, so shouldn't she be allowed to make her own choices? Maybe she would want to do anything she can to save their kids?
      Instead: Reed doesn't do anything and doesn't tell anyone about the end of the world, even when Sue keeps asking what's wrong with him. Thankfully Namor once again has the backbone to do what the other Illuminati couldn't, so the two universes survive.
  • More on the Goblin front is Phil Urich's discovery of a cache of Green Goblin gear.
    You'd Think: That on finding a bunch of superweapons belonging to a dead insane criminal, he would have left it alone, handed it in to the appropriate body, or sold it.
    Instead: He decided to become a superhero, despite having zero experience.
    Also: Instead of altering it in any way, even by just painting it a different color, he dressed up as the Green Goblin, and went around calling himself the Green Goblin. Now you might think that's a good way to get mistaken for a villain, making his work massively more difficult as superheroes attacked him and civilians fled him. And you'd be right. Even after hanging up the costume and gear, the chemicals in his system have recently driven him insane.
  • In New Avengers #2, a breakout at the supervillain prison known as The Raft has occurred. Spider-Man and Captain America arrive on the scene. The Captain notes that a large platoon of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are on their way.
    You'd expect: Spidey to wait for the backup to arrive. They're S.H.I.E.L.D. agents trained and equipped to take down superhuman criminals and it's just he and Steve on the scene at the moment.
    Instead: Spidey takes this as his cue and rushes into The Raft alone, spouting some half-assed justification that he'd feel guilty about putting other people in harm's way by allowing them to do their jobs. What happens next can be described as Christmas come early for Spidey's rogues gallery as Count Nefaria knocks him for a loop and dumps him into a riled-up mob full of his worst enemies who proceed to unmask him, snap his arm like a twig, and take turns pounding on him until his face is a bloody half-purple mess.
  • The much-maligned One More Day arc of Spider-Man involved Aunt May in a coma, after being shot by a gunman following Peter Parker revealing himself to be Spider-Man. Spidey has asked practically every magical/technological superhero he can find to save his aunt's life, many claiming that they either can't or it would be wrong to do so. In a seance, Aunt May revealed that she accepts her death.
    You'd expect: Peter to realize that maybe the entire elite cadre of the Marvel universe (including, by the way, a character who was quite obviously intended to be a representation of the Judeo-Christian God) is right, and let his elderly aunt pass on, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Peter would be hurt, but he has faced personal tragedy in the past and survived.
    Instead: He keeps grasping at straws in attempts to save his aunt's life. Eventually, the demonic villain Mephisto shows up and offers Pete a deal; he'll save Aunt May's life, if Peter and MJ agree to let reality be warped so that they would never be married.
    You'd expect: that after being told by a guy who's pretty much a Comics Code-friendly stand-in for Satan that destroying Peter and MJ's marriage would make him very, very happy and potentially lead to him being able to take Peter's soul in a future deal, Peter would realize the danger of making a Deal with the Devil, and refuse.
    Instead: Spidey accepts.
    What's Worse: The deal involves sacrificing Peter and MJ's unborn child. Aunt May would never have sacrificed a baby to save herself.
  • The Punisher is a vigilante who occasionally spends time in prison. He is one of the most lethal people on Earth, feared and hated by every criminal.
    You'd Expect: The other inmates to either avoid him or gang up in the dozens and kill him.
    Instead: A lone prisoner will try to kill him for revenge or to make his reputation, usually with no plan or weapon and ignoring the literally hundreds of other people Castle has killed in similar circumstances.
  • In the last arc of Runaways an accident apparently kills Old Lace and causes Klara to have a panic attack, which drives her to seal the other Runaways inside their house within a forest of thorny vines.
    You'd Expect: The other Runaways would try and make Klara feel safe and calm, since her powers only work if she's thinking clearly.
    Instead: Nico allows Chase to verbally threaten to abuse Klara until she's so frightened that Nico decides that she absolutely has to use magic to tranquilize her, lest Klara's plants attack Chase in defense.
  • Spider-Man tends to be framed for various stories. Sometimes it's an average story, others it's for a storyline, but it's occurred quite a bit in his career.
    You'd expect: The citizens of the city would recall "Hey, Spider-Man's been framed before. For all we know, those crimes could have been committed by Mysterio or The Chameleon."
    Instead: Civilians alike go straight to the accusation. Yep they're that thick-skulled.
    • Similarly, J. Jonah Jameson has made it his personal mission to make the world see Spider-Man as the menace just like he does (out of petty jealousy mostly) so he prints unflattering stories in the Daily Bugle time and time again, accusing Spider-Man of countless things at the drop of a hat, even when a villain isn't trying to frame him.
      You'd expect: The people of New York to recognize what a total ass Jameson is, that's he's totally full of it, and ignore his paper's claims, especially where Spider-Man is concerned.
      Instead: Nearly EVERYBODY shown reading his paper is shown completely believing what it says about Spider-Man, primarily being the source of his Hero with Bad Publicity status. To top it off, often in earlier stories there will be somebody saying "they couldn't print it if it wasn't true!"
    • Of course, this also goes for Jameson. He pretty much admits in The Ultimate Universe that he's attacking Spider-Man both to sell papers and to deal with the death of his son. As he tells Peter, whom he temporarily fired, he doesn't understand how his son was a hero and died while Spider-Man is alive.
      You'd Expect: Jameson would establish to his staff that this is a publicity stunt and maybe try to look further inward as to why he has this vendetta. Smearing Spider-Man sells more papers but it also messes with the communication of important information, which is the whole point of a newspaper.
      Instead: Jameson continues doing his thing in the Ultimate Universe. He never looks inward, apart from apologizing to Peter and re-hiring him.
      The Result: Jameson gets the motherload of a Jerkass Realization when he finds out that Peter is Spider-Man, and realizes that one of his loyal employees has been putting his life on the line on a regular basis, even saving his life from a gunshot. By the time he tries to turn the tide, it becomes too little too late; Peter dies defending Captain America just as Jameson covered his college tuition. Jameson is heartbroken, grieving and guilty. When his employees suggest investigating a new Spider-Man, Jameson vetoes it because he doesn't want to ruin someone else's life.
  • The S.H.I.E.L.D./HAMMER kerfuffle in the Marvel Universe.
    You'd Think: That when it comes to the head of an organization like S.H.I.E.L.D, you'd not appoint someone who is openly psychotic even when on his medication, and that if for any reason this became necessary, you would at least ensure that there were reliable, sane people under him to keep things under control.
    Instead: S.H.I.E.L.D. has been disbanded, and the staff for its replacement, HAMMER, have been chosen by Norman Osborn, the Green Fucking Goblin. Who bombed his own arraignment hearing on live TV, for Thor's sake. It's not even as if they don't know he's a psychopath!
  • Totally Awesome Hulk: Amadeus Cho (the new Hulk) has just met Lady Hellbender and her goons, and Lady H has demonstrated that she's pretty powerful (able to knock Hulk on his ass at least, and was pretty confident she could take Fin Fang Foom as well). She has stated that her hobby is finding the toughest, strongest monsters there are and adding them to her collection. However, she's unimpressed with Cho, who doesn't unleash his Hulk rage like Banner did. She even abandons him when he goes to face Foom.
    You'd expect: Hormonal teenager and hot warrior babe aside, this woman CLEARLY has a screw loose and should be kept at arms' length, if not treated as a threat outright.
    Instead: Cho becomes determined to prove to this woman that he's still the World's Strongest Man and curbstomps Foom while she watches. She immediately shoots him with some sort of capture device and proceeds to add him to her collection.
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four: It's the dramatic conclusion of the arc, and Reed Richards is squaring off against Nihil on the Vegas Strip! The tyrant opens his mouth to devour the hero, who stops him by picking up a nearby plasma rifle and wedging it in between his jaws!
    You'd expect: Nihil to do literally anything except what he actually does.
    Which is: Trying to pull the gun the trigger.
    The result is anything but pretty.
  • Ultimate X-Men. In the first arc the US government finds the Savage Land (Magneto's mutant hideout) and decided to destroy it. The government has also just admitted that not all mutants are bad and the X-Men in particular are the good guys.
    You'd expect:—which means they've got a well-trained group of mutants to send in to battle Magneto.
    Instead: They sent Sentinels, Humongous Mechas, made of metal To combat freakin' Magneto. Not the Sentinels of Earth-616, which were Magneto-proofed ages ago, but regular Sentinels. Magneto even lampshades their stupidity, noting that any species dumb enough to send chromium machines against the "Master of Magnetism" deserves to be replaced. He reprograms the Sentinel fleet to fly back to D.C. and kill every non-mutant human they can find. This leads to a battle that nearly destroys D.C. If not for the X-Men and Quicksilver's betrayal they would have been toast.
  • Under Siege: The Masters of Evil have secured the mansion, have Jarvis and the Black Knight as helpless hostages, and banished Captain Marvel to a darkforce dimension. Now, thanks to Hercules' reckless Leeroy Jenkins act, they have beaten him to a pulp and almost killed him, and also defeated Captain America and the Wasp.
    You'd expect: They would keep all the defeated Avengers as their hostages (those listed were the whole regular team at the time), keep a low profile, and torture and kill them at their leisure. Nobody would know anything until it's too late.
    Instead: They let the Wasp leave, get rid of Hercules' body (who is then saved at a hospital, as he was actually Not Quite Dead), and surround the mansion with darkforce. A giant banner saying "overrun by villains" would have served just as fine. The Wasp manages to get enough reinforcements, and starts the counter-attack.
  • World War Hulk: Doctor Strange brags at length about how easily he could beat Hulk.
    You'd expect: He'd smash Hulk into the ground. It's obvious that Hulk is never going to stop, and Strange has every right to defend himself with lethal force. Strange has routinely taken out enemies that make Hulk look like a ten year old girl.
    Instead: He makes himself vulnerable to Hulk and gets his hands crushed for his trouble. Then he invokes a demon weapon too powerful for him to handle, loses the battle, and eventually steps down from the title of Sorcerer Supreme.

  • Dark Nights: Metal: There are several such moments of idiocy, especially in the Dark Knights' origin stories. Apparently a higher proclivity for murder goes hand in hand with the inability to think things through.
    • The Batman Who Laughs tries to recruit the other fallen Batmen to his cause at the moment their worlds are being destroyed, promising them that their worlds will be saved and that they will be heroes again. For context, the Batman Who Laughs himself is a Batman who was transformed physically and psychologically to resemble the Joker and plans to destroy the Multiverse, as he has done to his own world.
      You'd Expect: That given that the Joker is any Batman's worst enemy, they would refuse to join him on the grounds that he is too insane and unpredictable to place their trust in.
      Or: Since most of them still have some semblance of a moral code, however tainted it may be, they would realize that the Batman Who Laughs's endgame goes against what they believe in and refuse.
      Instead: They agree to take part in their Jokerized counterpart's plan and buy into his empty promises.
      Result: Not only does this fail to solve the problem of their worlds crumbling, but all of the Dark Knights (barring the Batman Who Laughs) get themselves killed during their invasion of Earth-Prime.
      Even Worse: A couple of the Batmen have their doubts about the plan, particularly the Drowned, who briefly realizes that invading the prime Multiverse for the sake of being a hero isn't a very heroic thing to do, and the Merciless, who dismisses the Batman Who Laughs's statements as lies at first. The Devastator even briefly mistakes the Batman Who Laughs for his world's Joker (for obvious reasons) before agreeing to his deal. And they still follow him throughout the invasion attempt, ignoring their concerns by trying to justify that their actions are for the greater good.
    • Earth -52 is coming to an end, as all worlds in the Dark Multiverse usually do. The Flash is being pursued by a grieving Batman, who wants to steal his connection to the Speed Force not only to save the world and his fallen sidekicks, but also to overcome the limitation of age. Flash is trying to reason with him so that they can work together to save their world from crumbling.
      You'd Expect: Batman to listen to common sense and stop battling with the Flash so they can figure something out.
      Instead: Batman keeps attacking the Flash, eventually succeeding in claiming the Speed Force and killing his rogues gallery with his newfound power. However, Earth -52 is still doomed to die.
    • When Earth -44's Alfred is killed by Batman's worst enemies, Batman enlists Cyborg to help him create the Alfred Protocol to replace him. However, the AI becomes unstable and murderous, killing every single villain before turning to Wayne Manor, requesting that Bruce "let him in", which Cyborg strongly advises against in favor of shutting it down.
      You'd Expect: Bruce to listen to Cyborg and deactivate the AI.
      Instead: Bruce lets the Protocol into the Batcave with hopes of reprogramming it.
      Result: The Alfred Protocol assimilates Batman, who then embarks on a spree of mass murder before killing the Justice League when they try to stop him.
    • On Earth -32, moments after a young Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered, he gives chase to the mugger, devoid of any emotion. A Green Lantern ring picks up on his lack of fear and attaches itself to his finger. However, Bruce wants to kill the mugger, which the ring cannot allow. However, Bruce is insistent to the extent that his willpower starts to override the ring.
      You'd Expect: The Guardians of the Universe to realize that something is wrong with Bruce and strip him of the ring as soon as possible so they can find someone else who is worthy of it.
      Instead: The ring stays on his finger, allowing Bruce to corrupt it with his lack of emotion.
      Result: Bruce uses the corrupted ring to kill the mugger, then Gotham's criminals, and the entire Green Lantern Corps when they attempt to intervene.
    • The Batwoman of Earth -11 loses her lover Sylvester Kyle to rogue metahumans, causing Bryce to seek to avenge his death by killing the ones responsible.
      You'd Expect: Bryce to simply kill the ones who took Sylvester's life and be done with it, as there are likely many heroic metahumans in her world.
      Instead: She extends her hatred towards every superpowered individual, eventually killing Aquawoman when she returned from her self-imposed exile.
      Result: The Atlanteans view this as an act of war, and thus submerge Gotham in retaliation; Bryce is forced to experiment on herself to adapt to these conditions, but she still can't remove all of the water from her city.
    • On Earth -12, a world in which Batman and Wonder Woman were romantically involved and fought against Ares to prevent him from using a helmet that would amplify his powers by a hundredfold, they succeed in removing the helmet, although Diana has apparently been slain by Ares. Bruce notices the helmet, which Diana warned would corrupt whoever put it on.
      You'd Expect: Bruce to check for signs of life to verify if she really is dead and make a retreat with the helmet, while also heeding Diana's warnings not to wear it.
      Instead: Batman assumes she is dead and, driven by grief, puts the helmet on his head to battle Ares.
      Result: Although he is successful in killing Ares, Bruce is corrupted by the helmet and discovers that Diana was only incapacitated by Ares's attack, but he is so addicted to the helmet's power that he kills her when she tries to take it off.
    • When his world's Superman went mad for an unknown reason, the Batman of Earth -1 tried to get through to him until Clark killed Lois, his own wife. Luckily, Batman had cultured a modified strain of the Doomsday Virus should he be forced to battle and kill Superman, and the virus can spread from person to person.
      You'd Expect: Bruce to use the virus as quickly as possible to not only give himself an edge against Superman, but to "inoculate" civilians with it to protect them from the Man of Steel while they are still alive.
      Instead: Batman only uses the virus in the middle of his climactic battle with Superman.
      Result: Although Batman succeeds in killing Superman with relative ease, he discovers that there is no one left to save and/or infect with the virus, only a barren expanse of rubble and bony spikes, much to his dismay.
    • After killing his world's Joker, the Batman of Earth -22 inhaled a dose of his latest toxin, which causes him to adopt Joker-esque mannerisms, as demonstrated when he laughs when Superman tells him that one of the children affected in the Joker incident tore out a psychologist's throat. Both are alarmed.
      You'd Expect: For either Bruce or Clark to realize that something is very wrong and seek help immediately.
      Instead: They don't.
      Result: Batman's condition continues to worsen, culminating in his meeting with the rest of the Bat-Family at the apogee of his infection. He tells them about the toxin's effects on him and admits that he didn't call them over to help him, but to ensure that no one finds out about his condition.
      You'd Then Expect: The Bat-Family to realize that Bruce is a threat and attempt to restrain Batman as quickly as possible, ensuring that he is in a position where they can help him regardless of if he wants it or not.
      Instead: They do nothing besides staying where they are.
      Result: A completely-Jokerized Batman catches them off-guard with a pair of machine guns, killing them before doing the same to the Justice League and the entire world, completing his transformation into The Batman Who Laughs and turn to evil.
    • As an honorable mention, Superman, initially the sole survivor of a now-insane Batman's Watchtower massacre, confronts Bruce and is poisoned, although there is still an opportunity to stop him.
      You'd Expect: Superman to try and blast his former friend with heat vision, disarm him with his super-speed, freeze him with his breath, or really do anything to stop Bruce.
      Instead: He does nothing but try to reason with Batman even though it's already clear he's beyond redemption and just lets him monologue the entire time.
      Result: Batman whips out a chunk of Black Kryptonite and tosses it at Clark, causing him to murder Jon and Lois (who were also on the Watchtower at the time) before the Kryptonite kills him afterwards.
      Admittedly: Superman was already very weak from the Kryptonite gas Bruce released into the Watchtower before he arrived, as revealed in a flashback in the first issue of Batman/Superman.
    • The standard Batman gets in on the Dark Metal idiocy himself. After finding out that the demon Barbatos is here and a threat to the universe, Bruce decides something must be done.
      You'd Expect: He'd contact the Justice Leage, Justice League Dark (the demon killing specialists) and anyone else to stop Barbatos.
      Instead: Bruce, who has no powers and is only so-so at occult matters, decides that only he can survive an encounter with Barbatos and will fight him with a magic mace but no special armour. He'll have the other members of the Batfamily to run interference with the other superheroes.
      Result: Bruce didn't even go to the right place and ended up getting captured. The superheroes were badly scattered and delayed by the Batfamily actions, this gave Barbatos plenty of time to send in his Dark Knights unopposed.
  • Jean Loring, the ex-love interest of Ray Palmer, The Atom, decides she wants to get back together with him.
    You'd expect: Just ask him. He's clearly still carrying a torch for her, and she was the one who broke up their relationship to begin with. He's a decent guy; he's not going to hold a grudge over it.
    Instead: She decides to orchestrate a half-successful assassination attempt against Sue Dibny, the Elongated Man's wife, using Ray's technology, because this will make people think friends and family of heroes are being targeted and maybe make Ray worried about her enough for him to rekindle their relationship. The attempt accidentally turns into a successful attempt, and Sue is killed.
    So then: Apparently, Jean realized beforehand that this might kill Sue, so she decided to bring along something to destroy the evidence.
    You'd expect: The evidence apparently consists of extremely small indents on the brain (there should be more, but none of the coroners noticed it). Bring along a shotgun, or a sledgehammer, or anything else capable of smashing the brain, and not only would that destroy the evidence, but it would be tricky to trace.
    Instead: Jean brings along a flamethrower. Not only does this not actually destroy the evidence, but a flamethrower is a hell of a lot more traceable than a sledgehammer.
  • The Justice League are on the scene and looking over the body. They notice it's been burned, first and foremost.
    You'd expect: Them to look up fire-based villains. Even assuming they're somehow too dumb to notice the smell of propellant, a burned corpse doesn't leave many alternate options.
    Instead: They go looking for Doctor Light, because of a Retcon that he apparently raped Sue and he might want revenge for that or something. Not only is this completely gratuitous for a Red Herring, and not only does this not make sense, since it's a plot point that Light was mindwiped of the knowledge of him doing so, but Doctor Light's lasers shouldn't look anything like the kind of burns Sue had.
  • Doctor Light has realized that the League is hunting him for reasons he shouldn't remember, and so he hires Deathstroke to protect himself. The League engages Deathstroke.
    You'd expect: Green Lantern to just shove him in a force bubble in the first five seconds, taking him out of the fight. Or Zatanna to say a few words backwards and instantly tie him up or turn him into a squirrel. Or... well, anything other than what they do.
    Instead: They all lose their brains, forget how their powers work, and charge into melee range with a heavily armed master of martial arts with the strength of ten men. Deathstroke manages to knock out about half of them before being subdued by Green Arrow, who remembers he has a bow and can shoot Deathstroke.
  • Loring has gotten back together with Ray Palmer, in the aftermath of all of the above and her own faked murder attempt.
    You'd expect: Just call it there. It's already led to multiple deaths, a manhunt, and some horrible stuff happening; quit while you're ahead. Or, if you do want to try another death, hire someone subtle, since neither of the other attempts had an obvious killer, so why would this one?
    Instead: She hires Captain Boomerang, who is about as subtle as a flash grenade, to kill Jack Drake - and instead of just telling Boomerang to rough up Drake and let him go, she sends Drake an anonymous tip and a gun to protect himself. This ends in them both killing each other, and eventually to Loring accidentally revealing evidence that she couldn't have known about.
  • During Infinite Crisis, a superhero named Risk was one of the many fighting Superboy-Prime. In the process, he got his right arm torn off.
    You'd expect: Risk to stay far, far away from the guy.
    Instead: The next time Prime is on Earth, he jumps out at him again with the apparent intent of punching. He promptly has his other arm torn off. It was admittedly pretty ballsy, but stupid nonetheless.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, the U.S. government has noted that Superman is growing somewhat unstable, developing Knight Templar tendencies, and most importantly interfering in political matters after the trauma of being manipulated into killing his wife and getting Metropolis blown up. He has also revealed his secret ID.
    You'd expect: IF they involve Jonathan and Martha Kent in any way at all, the Feds would visit them and politely ask (not insist, let alone threaten, ask) if they could help talk their boy into toning it down a bit.
    Instead: They send commandos and supervillains (in particular the Mirror Master) to the Kent farm to kidnap them, and leave a message threatening to send pieces of them to Superman if he does not behave. Knowing full well that Superman and Thou Shalt Not Kill are no longer one and the same.
    • Later, Batman merges with Etrigan, defeats Superman, and puts him to sleep by using some kind of dust (likely magical).
      You'd expect: Batman to capture Superman and create a proper prison for him, also possibly taking away his powers.
      Instead: Batman just goes away. And judging that it was a backstory, Superman gets out of the sleep, continuing his reign.
  • Joker's Last Laugh: The Joker has finally been sent to a real prison, Slabside Penitentiary, nicknamed "The Slab".
    You'd Expect: Even though he's serving time in a real prison and not Arkham Asylum, the staff should still realize the Joker is still volatile and dangerous, and try to avoid doing or saying anything that could provoke him into going into another rampage.
    Instead: A doctor tries to put the fear of God into the Joker by bullshitting him into thinking he has cancer. To say this was ill-advised (not to mention counterproductive) would be a doozy of an understatement, as this kicks off the story, and the story is itself a freakin' Crisis Crossover that resulted in the Joker endangering the entire world and literally moving the Slab to Antarctica.
  • Justice Society of America:
    • During his time in the JSA, Captain Marvel dates Stargirl. Captain Marvel looks like he's in his late twenties, but he's actually a sixteen-year-old named Billy Batson — "Captain Marvel" is just a magically induced Older Alter Ego. Stargirl, who is also sixteen, obviously knows about Cap's secret identity, but the rest of the team don't. Jay Garrick eventually confronts Cap about it.
      You'd expect: Captain Marvel to say his magic word and reveal his true identity to Jay. Because they're teammates, you know? No harm, no foul. Plus, this is the Justice Society, they're some of the most trustworthy people in the DCU, and serve as Morality Pets to two generations of heroes.
      Instead: Captain Marvel says something vague about appearances being deceiving, then flies away when Jay begs for Cap's confidence. Cap then quits the JSA and breaks up with Stargirl (much to the consternation of the shippers).
      What's worse: You just know that the JSA probably now thinks that Captain Marvel is a perv. So much for the Wisdom of Solomon, eh?
    • JSA: Axis of Evil: Kid Karnevil keeps bragging about how he's going to break out in mere minutes. The only thing keeping him locked up is a jail cell powered by Alan Scott's green flame, which only works as long as Alan is alive. Alan finds a strange wooden crate in a hallway of the temporary JSA headquarters.
      You'd expect: Alan to heed Karnevil's warnings, since the kid has already proven to be a resourceful and methodical sociopath with friends on the outside. Alan should find Mr. Terrific or someone else who could analyze the crate (just to be safe), since Alan's green flame doesn't work on wood. Alan could later be of enormous help when/if Karnevil's associates attack the JSA.
      Instead: Alan assumes Karnevil is delusional and ignores his warnings. A bomb inside the crate senses Alan's power ring. Alan gets blown up when he steps too close. He succumbs to his injuries, and surprise! Karnevil escapes.
      • Later, Shadow of War starts up the Darkness Engine, powered by Obsidian (who is trapped in egg form). The machine de-powers all meta-humans within its broadcasting radius, but doesn't affect technology. Shadow of War threatens to amp up the power to lethal levels if Mr. Terrific doesn't call off his T-spheres.
        You'd expect: Mr. Terrific to break his lethal force rule (due to extraordinary circumstances) and accelerate one of his T-spheres into Shadow—or at the very least, the engine's computer—at 14 miles per second, before she can react. He had bragged about doing so in the previous story, when he battled one of Mordru's illusions. Either way, it would solve the problem, and they might even have a chance to hatch Obsidian from the egg.
        Instead: Mr. Terrific does nothing. The JSA surrenders. The Darkness Engine de-powers ALL the supers on Earth. The Fourth Reich takes over the planet. Nearly everyone dies.
      • The Green Lantern Corps sees what happens to Earth. They notice that Hal Jordan died after his ring was de-powered and he fell out of flight. Naturally, the Corps quickly puts a Quul-level quarantine on the planet. Secretly, they plan an invasion to stop Those Wacky Nazis and the Darkness Engine on a day when the subtraction field is dialed back and doesn't cover the whole planet.
        You'd expect: The Corps to quietly sneak some GL's (and other resistance) onto unaffected portions of the planet, and start working to destabilize the regime from within. At the very least, they could easily sneak some tech or something onto the planet to help stop the Engine. And further, they should NOT use their rings to fly, just in case the Nazis detect them, because of what happened to Hal Jordan.
        Instead: The entire Green Lantern Corps Zerg Rushes the planet from space. The Fourth Reich naturally detects this and amps up the Darkness Engine. All the GL's are depowered and drop out of the sky like rocks, and all die upon impact.
  • JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice. Captain Marvel is turned back into Billy Batson, freeing him from possession. This happens in front of a lot of people, who are all very experienced superheroes.
    You'd expect: Everyone to put two and two together.
    Instead: Green Arrow says "Who are you? And where's Captain Marvel?" Really, Ollie? Just... really?
    What's Worse: In Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, when Marvel is changed back in mid-fight, Batman's thought box says "He's just a kid. No older than Robin." The goddamn Batman couldn't even figure it out.
  • In a later appearance by Superboy-Prime, he's fighting the Legion of Super-Heroes in the distant future, only to find that the Legion's greatest enemy, the Time Trapper, is himself, aged centuries and now sporting a cool beard. Upon meeting, the Time Trapper insists that they need to team up to win the fight against the heroes.
    You'd Expect: Superboy-Prime to listen and obey, knowing that he had to work alongside his future self and he'd be a good source of advice and knowledge with his enhanced powers and time-altering abilities.
    Instead: Superboy-Prime angrily insists that the Time Trapper isn't him and that he "looks stupid." Filled with rage, Prime punches his future self which tears a hole in time-space and sends him flying back to Earth-Prime, powerless and trapped. Brainiac 5 even quips "What an idiot" after seeing it happen.
    Also: Superboy-Prime's older self should probably have remembered that his younger self was unstable, easily antagonized, and prone to destructive rages. So, barging in there and barking orders makes the older Prime just as much of an idiot.
    At Least: Superboy-Prime's consistent.
  • Mongul has just defeated Arkillo in a fistfight and now has a good portion of the Sinestro Corps under his command.
    You'd expect: He would assume that maybe Sinestro is Properly Paranoid enough to have a contingency plan for this sort of thing, and take his ring off and order the other Corpsmen loyal to him to do the same, get the Manhunters under his control involved, and stage a coup via sheer numbers.
    Instead: He goes at Sinestro solo and tries to kill him. Sinestro states that he has always been prepared for potential coups and has devised failsafes, namely emergency ring control overrides, and takes control of Mongul's ring. After turning him into a pincushion, Sinestro imprisons him within the central power battery.
    • Stupidity runs in the family. In Underworld Unleashed, the demon Neron has gathered villains from all over and is offering them their heart's desire in exchange for their souls. One of them is Mongul Sr., who had his ass handed to him by pre-Face–Heel Turn Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Rookie Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.
      You'd expect: Mongul to take the offer and use it to get back at Kyle and attempt at his dream of rebuilding Warworld. Or, if he doesn't want to sell his soul, just reject the offer and leave it at that. Neron allowed several super villains who refused to deal with him to go without harming them.
      Instead: He proudly boasts that he'd do no such thing and attacks Neron. Neron promptly kills him for his stupidity.
  • Robin: Year One: Dick Grayson is trying to prove himself and seems to win Bruce's respect when he busts a pedophilia ring. Then he gets badly beaten while trying to save a man from Two-Face, and Batman fires him for defying orders, even though if Robin had done nothing, Batman wouldn't have had the time to free himself and save Robin. Alfred tells off Bruce for telling an injured boy that and to wait for Dick to recover. Dick becomes depressed and angry about the situation. He and Bruce don't speak for months. As soon as he recovers, Dick runs away from Wayne Manor, leaving a note and burning his utility belt.
    You'd Expect: Bruce would pull all stops to find his foster son. Dick could be killed or mistreated, which he nearly was as a member of the League of Assassins.
    Instead: Bruce just assumes that eventually Dick will return or that he'll get a lead at Haley's circus. In Gotham City, with every villain running around.
    The Result: The League of Assassins recruits Dick, mistaking him for being a homeless orphan. Alfred chides him for his apathy, and for both of them missing Dick returning to leave another note for them. Dick survives because Bruce follows up on the lead. And when Bruce fires Dick again for getting shot, Dick as a young adult severs ties with him for a while.
  • The Sandman
    • "Calliope": Richard Madoc is a young author with a bestseller debut. He's signed a contract to deliver another book on deadline. There's just one problem: he has terrible writer's block. The success has crippled his creativity. This isn’t a unique situation; lots of writers have one-hit wonders that cause pressure for them when they write a sequel.
      You'd Expect: He would seek out friends, support groups, or even recreational drugs to write his second book or get away from the pressure.
      Instead: He makes a Deal with the Devil with an old author to buy a muse that said author captured, Calliope. To get inspiration from Calliope, he rapes her and then sits down in front of a computer when he’s ready to write. Calliope begs for her freedom after he finishes the book on contract, but Richard refuses because he doesn’t want to lose the ideas.
      The Result: Messing with forces beyond human comprehension eventually means that karma hits Richard years later. Calliope at the beginning of her captivity sent out distress calls, including to her ex Oneiros, aka Morpheus aka Dream. While she and Oneiros didn't part on good terms due to Oneiros forcing their son Orpheus to stay alive after he's torn apart so that his living head is kept on an island sanctuary, begging for death, she is desperate. As soon as Morpheus is free from his own predicament and regains his power, he goes to answer her distress call. He then confronts Richard and first politely demands that Richard let her go. Richard refuses, after trying for Implausible Deniability, because he says he needs her for the ideas, and the Lord of Dreams gets angry. Morpheus invades his mind with an ideas overload until Richard is forced to agree. Then when Calliope thanks Morpheus and tells him to free Richard; he does and leaves him with the worst writers block possible. Richard suffers this for years while being institutionalized.
    • "Facade": Urania Blackwell is the former superheroine Elemental Girl. She feels she has been Blessed with Suck in that she is horribly disfigured, her human disguises fall off rather quickly, and her only company is the man who sends her pension checks. Also she can't kill herself because she's Nigh Invulnerable. One of these disguises falls off when she's reconnecting with a friend, Della, who turns out to be pregnant and needs advice. Della is kind, if Innocently Insensitive. Urania apologizes for her face falling off and runs away, tear-stricken.
      You'd Expect: The friend to run after her, bring her back, pay the bill, and ask if they can talk in private.
      Instead: Della stays at the restaurant, watching Urania go.
      The Result: No one reaches Urania in time as she begs Death, who was attending to a woman in the apartment next to hers, to help her shed her unwanted immortality.
    • "A Game of You": Thessaly is a demi-mortal woman who has changed her name and identity multiple times over millennia. She is also one of Dream's many exes. One night, her neighbor George attacks her and the other residents of the apartment; Thessaly kills George, and then painfully resurrects him to interrogate him. She, Hazel, Foxglove and Wanda learn that the main target was their neighbor Barbie, a recent divorcee. Barbie is in an enchanted sleep, due to some unfinished business with her dream world The Land. George tells them his boss is the Cuckoo, a mysterious malevolent force who only exists in the Dream realm. That is, a realm ruled by one of the most arbitrary Endless. Thessaly wants to kill the Cuckoo not because she particularly cares about Barbie, but rather because the Cuckoo tried to kill her and thus It's Personal.
      You'd expect: Thessaly would swallow her pride, summon Dream or signal to him, and explain the situation. It's a very unusual situation that Barbie was forced out of her dream land, and she may need help. She and Dream can argue if she has the right to pursue and kill the Cuckoo but at least he won't have the means to harm her. Also, she has no idea what this creature is.
      Instead: Thessaly summons the Moon Path, which is forbidden, to go into Dreaming without telling Morpheus. The women she summon expressly warn her about this, since Dream is a stickler for the rules. Then she has the gall to demand Dream of the right to kill the Cuckoo when Dream appears to end the Land. And as part of the process, she reveals that Hazel is pregnant, which angers Hazel's girlfriend Foxglove since obviously the baby isn't hers and it's a new expense and life experience.
      The Result: The Cuckoo manages to incapacitate Thessaly by tricking her into thinking someone else is the Cuckoo and then putting her and her friends into a trance. When Thessaly tries to make demands of Dream, he points out that she and the others entered his realm without permission and prepares to leave them on a barren patch of sand, as a Cruel Mercy. Barbie, who is granted a boon by Dream, uses it to save her and her friends so that they can return to real life. Meanwhile, Thessaly’s meddling causes a hurricane in New York, which kills Wanda and Maizie, a homeless woman who protects Barbie’s body when the hurricane levels their apartment building. Thessaly goes Never My Fault while Barbie grieves for Wanda and for her secret land that has been destroyed.
    • In the past, Dream and Calliope's son Orpheus is overcome with grief when his wife Eurydice dies shortly after they're married. He tries to beg Dream for help, but Oneiros as he is known brusquely tells his son that rather than try to revive the dead, to seize the day and live his life. Dream isn't wrong because there are consequences to undoing the laws of the universe, but it's the exact sort of unwanted advice that drives Orpheus to beg his aunts and uncles for help. He knows they are gods, and attempts Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!.
      You'd Expect: Death and Destruction would counsel Orpheus more gently than his father did; death is something that happens, and it's best to leave things be after grieving for a healthy amount of time. If he wants to spend time with them, or perhaps talk to the shade of his wife, maybe that would be healthier. What happened was awful, but fighting fate when you're a Greek demi-god is a bad idea. Trying to undo the unnatural order of things can have consequences down the road. Destruction knows that, given that he quits the position much later.
      Instead: Death decides to be a Cool Aunt and not only give Orpheus immortality, but also grant him access to the Underworld to reason with Hades and bargain to bring his wife back.
      Predictably: When Orpheus fails to live up to the condition of walking to the outer world and never looking back, he despairs. Orpheus throws his life away, or at least his body, by singing sad songs and letting the Maenads tear him apart. He spends centuries as a living severed head first barely surviving the French Revolution and living on a remote Greek island with priests who attend him. None of the Endless can kill him without invoking the wrath of the Kindly Ones. By the end of it, Orpheus no longer mourns Eurydice but wishes to die so he can move on the way a normal human should.
    • Speaking of the French Revolution, Dream commissions Johanna Constantine to rescue his son's head. She's reluctant, but he promises her a high price. Johanna survives because Orpheus sings a song that drives all of their pursuers to despair.
      You'd Expect: At some point Dream would try to find a way to restore his son's body before removing his immortality, so that Orpheus will die of natural causes. That avoids the wrath of the Kindly Ones and gives Orpheus what he wants: a natural death.
      Alternatively: Dream would put Orpheus in a dream where he would be with Eurydice's ghost, and bend the rules the way Brute and Glob placed Hector and Lyta Hall together. It wouldn't be real, but it would be close enough to give his son paradise. Orpheus grew up in the Dreaming, as a matter of fact.
      Instead: Dream never tries either of these options and expects Orpheus to enjoy immortality as a severed head.
      The Result: When Orpheus begs for death in exchange for revealing Destruction's location, Dream has no choice but to comply. That means the Kindly Ones murder him eventually and wreak havoc on the Dreaming.
  • Secret Six. Yasemin, the woman who filled Deadshot's marksman position on the Suicide Squad, is pissed about being told that Deadshot did her job better than her and decides to engage him in a gunfight to prove that she's the better marksman.
    You'd expect: Yasemin to be familiar enough with Deadshot's "don't fuck around" approach to combat and lack of patience for trivial matters and plug him the minute she gets the chance.
    Instead: Yasemin decides to challenge him to a duel; before she can even finish laying out the terms for the duel, Deadshot shoots her dead and coldly reminds her that she should have taken the first shot she had.
    • Not long after, Dwarfstar has Deathstroke ice Ryan Choi. Of course, he didn't realize that Giganta was his girlfriend; when she finds out, he's savagely beaten and tortured by her and ends up just barely clinging to life in a Louisiana hospital. Then Ray Palmer shows up.
      You'd expect that Dwarfstar would have been humbled enough by the experience to keep his mouth shut and not say anything. Not just because his teammate almost killed him, but also because Deathstroke doesn't like having his client list be a matter of public knowledge and reacts poorly whenever someone outs themselves as one of his employers.
      Instead: Dwarfstar not only admits to ordering the hit on Choi, but he's also stupid enough to tell Palmer that he hired Deathstroke to carry it out. Palmer even lampshades this by telling him that when Deathstroke finds out, he's going to be pissed.
  • One Superman/Batman team-up featured Doctor Light trying to take down Superman with a magic wand, explaining that apparently Zatanna's magic has... something to do with light, nobody's really sure what.
    You'd expect: He'd place the wand in his hand, point it at Superman, and kill him with it, since Superman isn't strong against magic. Having done this, he'd then nuke Batman, thereby removing two of the most dangerous Justice League members.
    Instead: He somehow gives Superman a secondary personality who believes that Superman is trying to kill him. This second personality duly hires a group of backstreet assassins to take out Superman with the Satanstaff, which has somehow found itself at the North Pole. When it looks like it's going to work, Light comments that he used this kind of tactic because he personally is incredibly inept and if he tried the "sensible" way of doing it, he'd lose. For additional idiocy, he expected the crooks' Split-Personality hired to hand over the Satanstaff to him, despite having used it to take down both Superman and Batman.
  • In the "Absolute Power" arc of Superman/Batman, time-travelling villains manage to replace the origins of Batman and Superman with new ones that turn them into tyrants. Eventually their memories are restored and they set out to correct the timeline. However, this involves traveling to the point where Batman's parents were murdered, and letting it happen.
    You'd expect: Superman to do this in secret, as quick as possible without Batman's knowledge.
    Instead: He goes with Batman, and fully expects him to just stand there and watch as the worst trauma of his life replays in front of him. Naturally, Batman snaps, kills Joe Chill, and saves his parents. This erases Batman from existence entirely and screws up the timeline even worse. Good judgment call there, Clark.
  • In the first storyline of Superman/Batman, Lex Luthor announces there is a massive planetoid made of Kryptonite headed towards Earth, and in typical Luthor fashion, he blames Superman.
    You'd Expect: The heroes of Earth double-check this, maybe ask Superman, who by this point has spent several years as a selfless hero and member of the Justice League, if any of this is even remotely true, maybe get Wonder Woman to use her Lasso of Truth on him to make sure.
    Instead: They instantly believe Luthor, and try to hunt Superman down.
  • Superman has sometimes had encounters with Xenomorphs.
    You'd Expect: Superman would realize that xenomorphs sit somewhere between a highly destructive invasive species and an intergalactic plague of incurably lethal proportions and would use his Nigh-Invulnerability, Super Strength and Eye Beams to destroy them wherever he finds them
    Instead: He averts What Measure Is a Non-Human? and tries to let them live, fighting non-lethally if he can and even attempting to prevent others from killing them. Admittedly, the first time he meets a xenomorph is canonically soon after his traumatic execution of three criminal Kryptonians from the Phantom Zone, but he never stops trying to find a way to "live and let live" with xenomorphs.

    Other Comics 
  • Halfway through Asterix and the Falling Sky, an alien spacecraft (yes, really) lands in the Gaulish village, incinerating Cacofonix's hut as it does so. Near the end of the story, said aliens have left, and another, friendlier alien wipes the memory of the villagers, who then see Cacofonix's destroyed hut and immediately assume that Fulliautomatix and Unhygenix are the culprits.
    You'd Expect: Fulliautomatix and/or Unhygenix to point out that since Cacofonix's singing is so bad that it can literally cause thunderstorms, chances are he unwittingly summoned one, a stray lightning bolt set his hut on fire, and he just doesn't want to admit what happened. Heck, this would also explain the sudden fog that popped up (actually a result of the amnesia ray) moments beforehand.
    Instead: They deny responsibility, but in an obviously half-hearted way that fails to convince anyone they're not the culprits. As a result, they both end up gagged and tied to a tree at the end-of-story banquet, a fate usually reserved for Cacofonix himself.
  • Bone:
    • The Bone cousins have been separated due to entering a strange valley. Fone Bone and Phoney Bone reunite in the dead of winter, and have sought shelter with the locals. Phoney Bone doesn't like how their hosts, Grandma Ben and her granddaughter Thorn, are all about rules and doing things their way. Fone Bone disagrees, not just because of his crush on Thorn, but also that they can't be picky about where they're staying in the winter, with rat creatures waiting for a chance to eat them.
      You'd Expect: Phoney Bone to realize his cousin has a point, pragmatically speaking. They need to stay together, since they don't even know where their brother Smiley is.
      Instead: Phoney Bone walks away after the latest argument. He doesn't even leave a note.
      The Result: Fone Bone doesn't find his cousin until spring, and strangles him out of Anger Born of Worry.
    • Phoney Bone reunites with Smiley Bone, who is a bartender at a tavern where Phoney's paper currency is worthless, and you have to trade tangible goods. The owner, Lucius, rips up the money when Phoney uses it to pay for his drink.
      You'd Expect: Smiley would have warned his brother, or covered his tab.
      Instead: Smiley doesn't.
      The Result: Phoney has to wash dishes to Work Off the Debt, and he's angry that Smiley didn't tell him that dollars were useless.
    • In the Dragon Slayer volume, Phoney Bone, sets up a scam to exploit the townspeople's paranoia of dragons by claiming to be a Dragon Slayer as the title implies.
      You'd Expect: That after the cow race incident, where Phoney nearly tricked everyone into giving up their fortunes if not for Lucius intervening, the townsfolk would actually start thinking and realize that Phoney is full of crap.
      Instead: They take him up on his "offer" and pay him riches. Not one of them, save for Lucius, bothers to question him even though he doesn't bother even looking for a dragon. Not to mention that just the way he introduced his dragon slaying business should have been enough to alert at least one person.
      The Result: Phoney leads the town people off to hunt the completely non-malevolent dragon, (not actually even planning to slay the dragon, only to slip away and return to Boneville.) and the quite malevolent Rat Creatures attack the unguarded village. To be fair, Phoney DID unintentionally save half of the village because he led said half away from the village to hunt the dragon, so it's not as bad as it could've been.
    • After this, the town is angry with Phoney Bone for his deception. They want to lynch him. Thorn steps in and saves Phoney Bone, pointing out that it was the villagers' fault partly since they believed him. As she points out, regardless of how they feel, now is not the time to blame Phoney because they need to regroup and make plans to survive with their home destroyed.
      You'd Expect: The villagers to realize Thorn has a point, especially when they find out she's a lost princess and technically has the authority to overrule their angry mob.
      Instead: They don't listen. Phoney then learns he's the target for the Rat Creatures because of his star shirt.
      The Result: Phoney runs away, both because he's scared for his life and because he truly regrets endangering his cousins, and he gets captured, while Thorn is nearly killed trying to protect him.
  • A two-part Darkwing Duck comic story in Disney Adventures: Gizmoduck is about to go pay a visit to fellow Super Power Union member Mr. Wonderful, but just as he's opening the door, he discovers that Mr. Wonderful is in fact working for F.O.W.L. when he sees him speaking with Steelbeak via videophone.
    You'd expect: Gizmoduck to get out of there without being noticed and go alert Darkwing to tell him he was right.
    Instead: Gizmoduck rushes into the room, preparing to pulverize Mr. Wonderful, who responds to his threat by calling the other members of the Union to come take care of Gizmoduck.
  • The Double Duck story "Reboot" has quite a few:
    • The story follows up from "Timecrime", where the leaders of the various criminal organizations the Agency was fighting were captured.
      What You'd Expect: Given the defeat of the Agency's main enemies, the backers of the Agency would obviously reduce funds but still make sure to keep the Agency efficient enough to prevent new villains from moving in the power vacuum, and keep the best agents operative in case a new enemy becomes as strong as the old ones.
      Instead: The Agency is disbanded, and everyone's fired.
      What's Worse: The Organization, the Agency's strongest enemy, is still around, if weakened.
    • The Direction is formed to replace the Agency.
      You'd Expect: That the new leader is someone experienced, who'd try and rehire the members of the Agency-especially Kay-K, whose checkered past would give him leverage over her. Or, at the very least, for the Direction to act as secret agents.
      Instead: Wile-Y, the Direction's chief, is "an arrogant paper-pusher with no field experience", he and his new agents have no idea of what secrecy means and think they can counter spies and international crime with e-mails and online petitions, they're trying to expose the real identities of the Agency's operators because they don't think the secrecy is needed, and have pushed Kay back to crime.
      What's Worse: The one Agency member they did rehire is the former director Head-H, who betrayed the Agency to remain a spy-and could betray them too, as he despises their methods and wants to stay in charge.
    • As said above, the Direction is trying to expose the identities of the Agency's operators.
      You'd Expect: They would leak them to the news or expose them on a website.
      Instead: They send gophers to contact the Agency's operators and have them acknowledge they're secret agents before releasing their dossiers to the public. The title character (alias Donald Duck) has of course no trouble convincing the gopher at his home they got the wrong guy.
      What's Worse: As the Direction has no idea of what secrecy means, the gopher sent to expose Double Duck knows sensitive information that our protagonist gets out of him with ease.
      At Least: That information allow Double Duck to intercept a train filled with illegal advanced munitions.
  • In Drama, West and Bonnie are dating while playing the leads in the school play. They get into a fight when West finds out that Bonnie asked her tutor Jesse to cheat for her on a physics test. He gets mad, and thanks Jesse for telling him after night three and Bonnie already caused trouble by showing No Sympathy for West injuring his ankle onstage.
    You'd Expect: West would wait until after the last performance to break up with Bonnie. He knows that she is a Drama Queen, and it's also a basic courtesy to your partner to prevent Hostility on the Set in-universe.
    Instead: He goes to confront her about fifteen minutes before curtain while the stage crew is cleaning up a spill onstage. Then he breaks up with her, right as they need to go on and perform as a couple in the wartorn South.
    Predictably: Bonnie despite being an Alpha Bitch and going Never My Fault about everything is appropriately saddened and heartbroken. She makes it through Act One and then locks herself up in the closet during intermission, refusing to come out for Act Two. Her alternate also is a no-show despite the choir director calling repeatedly. Jesse steps in to fill in and save the show, but it's a close call. Everyone also (rightly) yells at Bonnie for her selfishness and drama at the wrap party, including the teachers but West is let off the hook for causing the trouble in the first place.
  • FoxTrot:
    • Jason is an Insufferable Genius who finishes his assignments well ahead of time, makes them complicated on purpose, and has an A+++++ average.
      You'd Expect: The school or Andy and Roger would have looked into moving Jason up a grade, or having him attend an advanced school.
      Instead: Jason is stuck in the same grade. He may get assignments or extra credit but that's about it
      The Result: Jason acts out in class and trolls people, which gets him in trouble. Miss O'Malley manages to challenge him by correcting his various extra details on his assignments, but even she gets worn out by his shenanigans.
    • Roger has a new intern in his office, a sycophant named Skip Riley who is a few years older than Peter. He starts talking about Skip so much at home that he tunes out Peter, who wants to spend some time with his dad. Both Andy and Peter notice, and Peter outright accuses Roger of transferring his affection to Skip.
      You'd Expect: Roger being the good dad as he is, to apologize and keep his home and work life separate. Normally he will notice when someone is talking to him directly.
      Instead: He starts praising Skip again in the middle of Peter's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
      The Result: Peter walks away in disgust. Roger only apologizes to him when Skip uses his sycophantic act to win over upper management and transfer out of Roger's office, making Roger realize he was just being used.
    • Andy wants to do something with her life. She just writes fluffy newspaper pieces, while one of her former classmates is owning a building and expanding her business. Andy decides to write something serious, a screenplay.
      You'd Expect: She would start small and work her way up.
      Instead: Andy makes ambitious plans that never come through; waking up at five AM backfires because she falls asleep at the typewriter. She doesn't even have an idea for her screenplay.
      The Result: Her screenplay never comes to fruition.

    • Andy picks out back-to-school supplies for Jason.

You'd Expect: She'd get him things featuring one of his favorite themes, e.g. Jurassic Park (in fact, she does appear to choose a Jurassic Park lunchbox).

Instead: She gets him nothing but Barney-themed school supplies, much to his disgust ("Barney isn't a dinosaur! He's a big, sappy doofus who sings to little kids!").

Fortunately: She returns them, and lets Jason pick out the supplies.

You'd Expect: Jason would choose things featuring themes such as Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Men, Spiderman, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as Jurassic Park.

Instead: He chooses Beavis and Butthead school supplies, e.g. a T-shirt featuring the "Frog Baseball" episode, in which Beavis and Butthead use a live frog as their baseball, and end up killing it.

The Result: Andy learns to never again pick out back-to-school supplies for the kids, and to never again let them pick them out.

  • Andy has mother issues, mainly because everyone thinks her mother is perfect, even her husband Roger. Roger invites Andy's mother for Christmas without consulting Andy. Andy does a Dramatic Drop of the groceries she bought, and starts yelling at Roger.
    You'd Expect: Roger to seriously listen to Andy about why she's upset.
    You'd Also Expect: That if Andy's mother is as "perfect" as everyone claims, she'd explain to Roger and the kids that there's more to Christmas than just the material aspects, e.g. presents, decorations, and food, and that Andy is trying to get them to realize this as well, because she loves them and wants them to be properly informed about such things.
Instead: Not only does Andy's mother refrain from doing any of this (she even gets the kids a Jupiter-64 Gamestation as a Christmas present, while Andy gets them a thesaurus), but Roger ignores Andy's stress, keeps being an Innocently Insensitive ass, and runs when Andy's mother catches her daughter grousing behind her back.
The Result: Andy has to have a long-overdue conversation with her mother about her resentment, while Roger doesn't change.
  • The Haunt of Fear# 9 has these two cases of terminal stupidity:
    • The story The Gorilla's Paw has a hoodlum tricked into buying a primate hand like the original story, but with a twist. The paw physically carries out it's master's wishes,in the most literal way possible, usually at the cost of someone's life. When he wishes he had his money back, the paw murders the guy who sold it to him and brings back his fare. When he gets mugged for his watch, it kills the mugger to get his watch back. When he sarcastically wishes his Big Eater friend "didn't have a stomach"....well, you get the idea.
      You'd Expect: That the guy would keep his mouth shut, stop saying "wish" or better yet, lock the paw away or just destroy it.
      Instead: He calls up his friend and the friend advises him just to wish for money(as if that worked out before) and the guy says back i quote, "I wish I had your brains!". It doesn't end well for either of them.
    • Forbidden Fruit follows a businessman and his secretary washed ashore a tropical island from a plane crash. After getting to know the place(which doesn't seem to have any edible plants or animals) the couple spot a strange figure in the jungle. They follow him to a fenced off stockade surrounding a tree full of strange exotic fruit. The voice of the stranger calls out to them from behind the fence to not eat the fruit as he too ate it upon washing up here, and soon discovered his body was being consumed by a mysterious mold-like substance carried by the fruit. Months later, he is barely recognizable as human, and implores them to take their raft and search for another island.
      You'd Expect: The couple would ask the stranger to reveal himself and prove he's not lying to take food. Even if he's a gruesome sight, it'd still be better than eating potentially biohazardous fruit.
      Instead: The man assumes the stranger is lying without getting a good look at the guy, and they plan to break into the stockade that night. When they start chowing down on the fruit, the stranger runs at them in a panic and the businessman shoots his decayed,festering form dead, and only then do they start to realize he may have had a point about the fruit they just ate. Even worse, it apparently didn't occur to the infected man that he should reveal himself the moment they found him, which would've saved a lot of trouble.
  • In issues 29-30 of the Invader Zim comic series, Dib is roped into a secret society of soda-powered wizards. He's tasked with retrieving a bottle of Darkpoop Cola to prepare for the final battle with Poopthulu. Zim has bought all the Darkpoop bottles in town to clean his spaceship, so his base is the only place Dib can find said Darkpoop.
    You'd Expect: For Dib to just bust into Zim's base and take as much Darkpoop as he can carry. After all, he did infiltrate Zim's base several times before, what's stopping him from doing it again?
    Instead: Dib tries to bargain with Zim. ZIM, Dib's mortal enemy who tried to take over the Earth dozens of times over.
    The Result: Things go exactly how you'd expect. Zim forces Dib to do several tedious and humiliating tasks while the wizards are stuck fighting Poopthulu without the Darkpoop. By the time Zim gives up a bottle, the battle was already won and Dib is chewed out for taking so long.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • Dave Lizewski wants to become a real-life superhero. After a few weeks spent walking on walls and wearing his costume under his clothes, he decides he wants to start fighting crime for real. His first attempt to do so ends as well as you might expect with him getting beaten up by a trio of vandals, stabbed, and finally getting hit by a car. Ultimately he manages to survive and recover from all of this, and although he tries to give up the superhero lifestyle, he soon gets drawn back into it.
      You'd Expect: That if Dave was insistent about being a superhero, he'd try and take some martial arts/self-defense classes, or do something to give himself more chance in a fight, as soon as reasonably possible.
      Instead: He does absolutely nothing of the sort until the next series.
    • The Motherfucker wants revenge on Dave because of the latter's role in the death of his father. He decides to go after the people Dave cares about.
      You'd Expect: The Motherfucker to try and limit his victims to those connected to Dave, and not cause unnecessary bloodshed.
      Instead: While going to attack Dave's crush, he and his supervillain friends massacre an entire suburb, respectively killing and injuring about 30 and 100 innocent people, including children. This results in the Motherfucker's friend Vic Gigante withdrawing police protection from The Motherfucker. And then, he decides to start another massacre in Times Square, seemingly for no other reason than it sounding cool. Ultimately, this course of action leads to his downfall, and his actions turn him, and his secret identity, into figures of public hate.
    • Pointed out by Kick-Ass in Volume 2, after he & Hit-Girl find out that the Mother Fucker's plan is to burn New York to the ground - Chris is asthmatic, so what's he going to do when he blows up all of the pharmacys & hospitals, and he needs his medication?
  • In one Kid Gravity story, the titular character creates a machine that prints out his homework in record time, like one essay.
    You'd Expect: He'd check over the paper for anything wrong.
    Instead: He doesn't.
    Consequently: He gets an F because his machine credited the work to itself.
  • In Lefranc, Guy Lefranc is tasked to infiltrate the Nazi remnant and steal their flying saucer. There's another spy helping him, a Russian agent since its a joint Western-Soviet operation. Along the way Lefranc runs into his eternal nemesis, Axel Borg, who's after the Nazi's treasure. Unfortunatly for Borg, his covers is blown and he is captured.
    You'd expect: Lefranc to let him rot and continue the mission. Borg is a dangerous war criminal (think of him as Olrik, but FAR more competent and successful) and has taken the lives of many.
    Instead: After succesfully destroying the Nazi base and capturing a flying saucer, Lefranc insists on saving Borg before leaving. Naturally Borg betrays Lefranc and left him to die in the collapsing base. Lefranc makes it out alive on his own, since he's the main character of the series. As for Borg and the spy, their flying saucer crashed somewhere in a jungle. Only Borg is seen walking out of the wreckage, the spy's fate is unknown.
    What's Worse: The Russian spy confied to Lefranc that she wanted to defect to the West.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Chapter 5 "The Laird of Castle McDuck:" Scrooge is called home to help his family protect their ancestral castle from their rivals, the Whiskervilles. He arrives just as his Fiery Redhead sister Hortense is singlehandedly sending the would-be intruders running for their lives.
    You'd Expect: ...well, anything except what unfolds here.
    Which is: Scrooge's father instructing his uncle to take "the women" — including Hortense! — home while he and Scrooge handle things. The Whiskervilles even make sure upon their return (when they nearly kill Scrooge) that the coast is clear because she's gone! Stupid stupid chivalry!
  • The origin story of Golden Age hero 711 is a doozy:
    • It all begins with Inexplicably Identical Individuals Daniel Dyce, an attorney, and Jacob Horn, a career criminal about to serve a life sentence. Jacob is upset that he'll miss his first kid's birth, so he asks Daniel to temporarily switch places with him so he can be with his wife. He'll relieve Daniel after the birth. Daniel agrees to the plan, flawed as it maybe, but Jacob is later killed in an accident on the way to the hospital. The newspaper article reporting the accident identifies Jacob Horn as the dead man.
      You'd Expect: Prison officials would realize the "Jacob Horn" they have isn't him and release him. Or, Daniel would realize he no longer needs to keep up the ruse and comes clean.
      Instead: Nobody comes to either conclusion and Daniel concludes he's stuck in prison for life. Even though the man he's meant to be impersonating is dead. Eventually, Daniel digs a tunnel out of prison.
      You'd Expect: Daniel: "Free at last! Now, to live my life!"
      Instead: Daniel: "But I'm forgotten by now! [...] My place is back behind these walls." Daniel, however, takes on the superhero persona of 711, escaping prison by night to fight crime and returning dutifully to his cell in the morning.
    • 711's most famous foe, Brickbat, isn't the brightest bulb either. In his issue, Brickbat gets a scientist to make him poison gas bricks, then he decides to kill him.
      You'd Expect: Before he does so, Brickbat would extort the scientist's formula for the bricks. Because, sooner or later, Brickbat will run out.
      Instead: He doesn't and when he kills the scientist, the formula dies with him. This bites him when 711 confronts him in a warehouse. Brickbat starts tossing bricks, but 711 dodges them all.
      You'd Expect: Before Brickbat runs out of bricks, he'd stop and ponder why he keeps missing. He'd find 711 standing in front of a window.
      Instead: He fruitlessly empties his arsenal on 711, who calls him out on his stupidity: "Yes, Dope! Why do you think I made it my business to get in front of a window!"
      You'd Expect: Brickbat would have an alternate plan of attack should his bricks fail.
      Instead: Apparently, he doesn't, and 711 knocks him out with a single punch.
  • The Snow Cat Prince:
    • Syv has just been told that everything he thought about his culture and history was a lie, and he's on the brink of a Heroic BSoD. The fox who's telling him this knows that the survival of all foxkind hinges on Syv accepting this information.
      You'd Expect: That the fox would not do anything to make himself look untrustworthy. He has literally said nothing but the unvarnished truth, which he can easily prove if need be, and Syv has come closer to accepting it than any snow cat ever has. He just needs to give the kid some time to process everything.
      Instead: He then shows Syv that his Only Friend, whose welfare Syv is clearly concerned about, has actually been lying to him since the minute they met. Horrified, Syv breaks and runs out of the room...right into the Big Bad's lair.
    • All the foxes' magic stems from a mystical Tree of Life that the villain has taken over and corrupted for his own purposes. Everyone who has gone to the tree since has been transformed into a murderous demon- usually against their will.
      You'd Expect: That the foxes would place some guards near the tree, to warn away anyone getting near it. Yeah, the corruption might twist the guards then, but the foxes still live in a city built all around the corruption's source. They're clearly not that worried about proximity to it.
      Instead: They just leave it alone, so any would-be hero or traitor greedy for power can walk in as they please. And now the villain has a constant supply of minions he can puppet.
  • In Tales of the Jedi, Master Vodo-Siosk Baas has a highly talented student named Exar Kun who is also flagrantly bigoted against non-humans, humiliates his fellow students in sparring sessions, and keeps looking for knowledge about the Sith.
    You'd Expect: Vodo to check these tendencies as soon as he saw them and perhaps get some help from other Masters.
    Instead: Vodo worries, but waits until Exar really crosses the line before trying to teach him a lesson (which doesn't work, because Exar has surpassed him in dueling skill). Exar Kun soon takes a short hop over to the dark side and starts an interstellar conquest. Characters elsewhere in the Star Wars Legends canon have used Vodo as a prime example of Jedi misjudgment.
  • In the Tintin story The Blue Lotus, the son of the Chinese resistance movement's leader is discovered to have been poisoned with Rajaijah Juice, a potent hallucinogenic which induces a permanent state of madness.
    You'd Expect: That he'd be confined to his bedroom, possibly tied to his bed and sedated, and definitely not allowed access to anything he might use to hurt himself or others.
    Instead: He's allowed to wander around the house, unsupervised, and carrying a huge scimitar. This results in him nearly killing Tintin when he wakes up at the house, and then almost doing the same to Snowy when his father fails to take the hint the first time around.
  • The Transformers Megaseries: During a spotlight tie-in Ramjet attempts a coup on Megatron, and spends his time building resources and making plans to overthrow him. Being both a threat to his authority and ultra-secret infiltration plans (which make the Decepticons almost invisible to the humans), Megatron kills him and ends the rebellion easily.
    • You'd Expect: Megatron to just recycle or destroy the body, and take it back to base like what he did when he crushed Starscream's insurrection.
    • Instead: He dismembers Ramjet and dumps his remains in the different areas of earth that Ramjet was manipulating. Giant robot parts are now in very public places exposing the Decepticon activity to the public. Years later the government reverse engineered Ramjet and mass produced drones based on his design.
  • Watchmen:
    • At one point, Rorschach gets framed for murder, and ends up trapped in a building surrounded by the NYPD. Before storming in, the cops demand that he send out any hostages he's taken.
      You'd Expect: Rorschach to discard his mask, trenchcoat and hat, either hide them or burn them, and leave the building while posing as a released hostage. You wouldn't think he'd have a problem with dropping his disguise, given that he's been masquerading as a doomsday sign carrier throughout the story.
      Instead: He tries and fails to fight his way out, gets himself arrested, and is shut up with several criminals he's put in jail, all of whom want to kill him.
    • The in-universe comic book Tales of the Black Freighter features the captain of a destroyed ship making a raft out of tree trunks and the corpses of his crew so that he can travel back to his hometown of Davidstown and warn them of an imminent attack by the titular pirate vessel.
      You'd Expect: That on his return to Davidstown, the captain would check whether or not the place actually had been sacked or taken over by the Black Freighter before doing anything drastic. After all, the pirates might have been delayed by weather issues, battles with other ships, or even changed their minds about attacking Davidstown during the captain's journey.
      Instead: The captain automatically assumes that the town has been taken by the pirates, despite seeing no evidence of this. This leads to him murdering a moneylender and his girlfriend after mistaking them for collaborators, mistaking a scarecrow for a pirate guard, and almost beating his wife to death in front of his kids after sneaking into his old home to kill the pirates he thought were sleeping there. Granted, he's become unhinged from his recent travels, but still.
      Result: The captain gets chased out of Davidstown by a lynch mob, and has little choice other than joining the Black Freighter's crew.
  • Y: The Last Man is another tale that starts out with a screwup. Two months after everything on the planet with a Y chromosome drops dead out of the blue, the son of one of the surviving congress critters shows up at the White House.
    You'd expect: The U.S. government would promptly haul Mr. Brown to the most secure place they can reach and gather whatever security/military/police people to track down the following in this order of priority: A) a competent and functioning shrink; B) whatever salvageable sperm-bank equipment that can be found, along with a reliable power source; C) any medical/biotech experts that are remotely qualified to figure out why this boy is still alive and how to duplicate it/him; and D) the guy's girlfriend, last seen in the Australian Outback.
    Instead: They send the guy, escorted by one secret agent sort, to a cloning expert that was last seen in Boston before everything went to heck. Supposedly they were convinced by his arguments concerning being too easy to locate if he were in one spot, even the mother who was probably aware he was pretty hung up on this Beth person.


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