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What You Are In The Dark / Comic Books

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  • Played heartbreakingly straight by a doomed Buffy body double in one of the Buffy Season 8 Comics. "I tried to feel it. I tried to face the darkness like a woman and I don't need any more than that. You don't have to remember me. You don't even have to know who I am. But I do." Made all the more powerful because we never learn the girl's name.
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  • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe story, "Being Good For Goodness Sake", the Beagle Boys break into a dilapidated house disguised as Santa Clauses (since it's Christmas Eve) with the intention of using it as a base to plan another robbery of Scrooge's vault. However, they find a poor widow and her son are living in the shack who mistake them for "real" Santas. They really have no reason to help them, but sympathizing with their plight and its similarities to their own childhood, they give them a few hundred bucks out of their own pockets. They end up getting caught by a police officer soon after, but, completely unknown to them, there was a contest happening at the same time to find the most sincere act of generosity in Duckburg before Christmas, which Donald Duck and Scrooge have both been running ragged over to try to win the ten-thousand-dollar-prize. The Beagle Boys end up winning the contest because, unlike Scrooge and Donald, their act of kindness was the most sincere. And to top it off, they end up giving the prize money to the widow and her son because they realize they really have no way to use it.
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  • Arguably the entire impetus of Empowered in later chapters, with the titular character proving her heroism in ways that will never garner acclaim or repair her tarnished public image because, quote, "THIS. IS. WHO. I. AM." Compounded by the most jerky of her Jerkass teammates actively blaming her for the incidents she resolved.
  • In Chapter 7 of Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck pictured on the main page, "Dreamtime Duck of the Never-Never", Scrooge (years before becoming wealthy) chooses to return a huge opal that had been stolen to its rightful place in a sacred Aboriginal cave, rather than take it for himself and make a fortune selling it. Even though the theft wouldn't be discovered for a hundred years.
  • Parodied in Richie Rich. An associate of Richie's father claims that most people are dishonest. Mr. Rich says the opposite. The associate suggests a Secret Test of Character: leaving a wallet stuffed with cash on the sidewalk and seeing whether the first person to notice the wallet keeps it or tries to find its owner. Along comes a man whose face lights up when he sees the wallet, but who then holds it up and asks if it belongs to anyone. "What do you think now?" says Mr. Rich, smiling. "I don't think this was a fair test," says his colleague, as the last panel zooms out to show the passerby is being filmed for television.
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  • In the Rising Stars setting, the superpowered Specials were initially banned from all government jobs, including law enforcement. However, Matthew Bright had always wanted to be a police officer like his dad, simply to serve and protect people. So he built himself a fake identity, passed himself off as a normal person, and managed to join the police force. After establishing himself as a damn good cop, an arsonist bombs a building several of Matthew's fellow officers are in, leaving them trapped as the building burns and collapses around them. The only way to save them is to use his powers, which would out him as a Special, cost him his job, destroy this new life he's made for himself, and possibly land him in prison. The only way to keep the job and life he loves is by letting those men die, which no one could blame him for. After all, he's just a normal guy, right? Nothing he could do. As Matthew's inner thoughts at the time show, he's most definitely not a normal guy, and it has nothing to do with his powers.
    Matthew: "I signed on to save lives. If I meant that, then I had to do what was necessary. Or it was all a lie. Whoever did this was smart, all right. Lead me on a wild goose-chase. And now my men are trapped inside the building I didn't search. I can't let them die. I refuse. Damn the exposure, I REFUSE.
  • Sonic the Comic: Tails was given a chance to shoot Robotnik from a building, looking down on Robotnik's parade. The unicorn who gives him this chance tempts him by saying that Mobius will be free if Tails pulls the trigger. He doesn't go through with it. Turns out the whole thing was an illusion set up by the unicorn as a Secret Test of Character.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Wedge Antilles earned one in a X-Wing Rogue Squadron comic set shortly after the destruction of the Second Death Star. Corellia's capital city is attacked by an Imperial madman desperate to show that the Empire had not yet been defeated. After several days of intense fighting, they cornered him and forced him to flee in a TIE Interceptor, with Wedge chasing after him in another. Wedge manages to shoot him down and lands to find the man crawling out of the wreckage. After giving him one strong punch in the face, Wedge binds his hands, saying that no one would question him if he decided to execute the Imperial right there, but then all of the man's victims would never see justice.
    • The same four-issue arc of the X-Wing Rogue Squadron comic that introduces Baron Soontir Fel, Ace Pilot of the Empire, shows us that he's not that bad a guy by including a scene where his superior, a corrupt admiral tasked with protecting a planet, tells him to relax and enjoy the planet's luxuries, which includes a scantily-clad local girl named "Grania". Fel says that his wife wouldn't approve. The admiral tells him that his wife wouldn't either, but no one needed to know. Fel uses the stock answer of "I'll know."
    • Star Wars: Invasion #3: Finn has the opportunity to kill a trapped Yuuzhan Vong warrior, but instead he frees him, instructing him to "learn." Luke Skywalker was covertly watching this Secret Test of Character, however.
      True natures are revealed at times like this. [...] No mercy could be expected — but some individuals exceed expectations.
    • In Star Wars (Marvel 1977), Leia briefly ends up stranded on the low-tech world Shiva, where she makes quite an impression on the natives and is widely accepted there. She enjoys the feeling, but when Luke finds her again and offers to leave her there to find that peace and happiness she wants so much, she refuses first with the stock phrase, then with this:
      "I am Princess of Alderaan, Luke. Fate has cast me as a leader of the Rebellion. For better or worse, whatever the outcome... I'll play that role to the finish."
  • In the Holiday Special of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, a Sparkling ends up on the Lost Light, smuggled in a crate of booze even as everybody prepares to hide for the night. Only Whirl, Swerve and Nautica know about the Sparkling, and though they've tried to send it safely back to Cybertron, Whirl's left holding the baby, the last one awake. The only safe option left seems to be to flush the Sparkling out of an airlock, and nobody ever needs to know. It's the only way to protect the crew, anyway. Even if they did find out, it's not like Whirl's got some kind of heroic reputation to lose. Whirl tucks the Sparkling into his own cockpit and turns off his own spark to keep everybody safe — which nearly kills him, because it's not actually a Cybertronian at all, it's a horde of Scraplets. It's a big Character Development moment for him.
    • Brainstorm turns out to A) secretly be a Decepticon spy, and B) even more secretly has been working on a time machine all this time. He escapes into the past, with the seeming goal of killing Optimus Prime and winning the war for the Decepticons. Turns out that was never his intent; instead he planned to prevent the war (and the billions of deaths it caused) by changing significant events in Megatron's past. After this fails, he goes back to the day Megatron was constructed, to kill him before he even comes online. Alone in a room with the founder of the Decepticons, one shot could save countless people. The Autobots arrive, and Rung manages to talk him down. Rung reveals he knew Brainstorm wouldn't take the shot because he checked the security footage; Brainstorm stood there for ten full minutes trying to work up the nerve and couldn't. He reveals that despite being a brilliant weapons designer, he has never taken a life himself, because he chooses not to. Then Rewind shoots Megatron dead, because due to the time travel he's seen the reality it'll create, and while it is a horrific nightmare world for Cybertronians, the war never occurs and spreads off planet, and he figures that makes it worth it. Then Whirl puts a Spark in Megatron's body anyway, wanting to spite the Functionist Council.
  • The Spirit: In "The Christmas Spirit", a bank robber named Basher is visited in prison by Santa Claus one Christmas Eve, who lets him out of the cell and gives him his costume so he can escape and get revenge on The Spirit, as per his Christmas wish. However, while retrieving his stash of hidden loot, Basher runs into three boys who thinks he's the real Santa because of the costume. While initially dismissive of them, Basher has a change of heart when he finds out one of the boys is blind, and the christmas wish of all three was that he'd be able to see again. Basher ends up using his stolen money to pay a back-alley doctor he knows to fix the boys eyesight, before returning to prison and giving Santa his suit back. Since the boys think it was the real Santa who helped them, the only people who know what actually happened that night are Basher and Santa himself, though the ending implies The Spirit might know too.
    Spirit: That was about a year ago today, and no one, not even the urchins signing outside our window, know the truth about what really happened that night. All they know is that Frankie can see, and that it was a gift from Santa Claus!

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