- Alas, Poor Scrappy: Alas, poor Osiris!note
- Fan-Disliked Explanation: The original plan for the Booster Gold/Skeets subplot involved fixing the timestream, which had become broken during the recent crisis, and this is hinted at by the discrepancies in Skeets' history files starting in the first issue. However, the writers eventually decided that this plot was too generic and had been done far too often with other time traveling heroes, so they instead had Skeets possessed by Mr. Mind who planned to eat reality. However, with this shift, they never do get around to explaining why Skeets has these initial memory errors, since they occurred before Mr. Mind had ever left the cocoon.
- In general, this series was intended to explain a lot of things that were depicted in DC's concurrent "One Year Later" event, in which DC's books took up the story exactly one year after Infinite Crisis to show that many things had occurred differently. However, the writers of 52 ended up ignoring a lot of these in favour of their own stories, meaning that some of these (such as, in Batman comics, the events that saw Commissioner Gordon re-instated and his successor resign in disgrace) have still not been explained.
- Growing the Beard: Could be seen as this for several of the main characters, such as Will Magnus and (with a literal beard) Ralph Dibny.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
"I swear before this is over I'm gonna hold his dead body in my hands."
- Several of The Question's lines take on a new meaning once you find out he is dying from cancer and knows it. This line in particular from Renee is especially wince-worthy.
- Similarly, Sobek's constant complaints of hunger suddenly hit a lot harder when you learn that he's really Famine, a Horseman of Apokolips.
- Magnificent Bastard: Ralph Dibny of all people. Cross him and you lose. It is that simple.
- Memetic Mutation: Three panels of Will Magnus looking at a page of "machine code" has been photoshopped in a bunch of funny ways.
- By the writers own admission, their original plans for killing Booster Gold came off as hilarious instead of traumatic and they had to rewrite the scene several times in order to arrive at a scenario that had both the impact and the solemnity they wanted.
- An organization called "the Religion of Crime" that has a text called a "Crime Bible" is perhaps hard to take seriously.
- Kate meeting Renee and Vic in the park in the middle of the day wearing a red cocktail dress, the same one she wore previously at her party. It's not what someone would wear to the park, which is emphasized by Vic and Renee's normal looking clothes.
- Nightmare Fuel: There are some truly spine-chilling moments in this series, many of them revolving around the Four Horsemen.
Mark Waid: "And when Keith [Giffen] — who is the scariest, creepiest, most menacing life form I know — called me to tell me how much Wicker Sue made his skin crawl, that was a very good day."
- The Reveal of Sobek's true identity, and HOW it is revealed.note
- The scene where we see the Four Horsemen being unleashed. Even Veronica Cale is horrified into a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
- There's what Intergang says to the ruler of Bialya when he begs for help against Black Adam, and what Adam himself does to the people of Bialya.
- Waverider's death and what we learn happens to him. We don't even get to see it happen, as it cuts away right after Skeets states what his fate is going to be, but leaving it to everyone's imagination somehow winds up making it worse.
- The straw Sue Dibny coming to life. Even the creators thought it was horrifying.
- Strawman Has a Point: The Natasha Irons/John Henry split was written with the intention for both sides to have legitimate points that each would realize over the course of the series, but when a page was re-drawn to display more cleavage it actually derailed the writers' plans. The scene, which featured Natasha welding her own suit of armor, was scripted as her wearing full welding gear as a standard safety precaution. When she was drawn without the gear (so that a close-up could focus on her chest), she burned herself when she struck an air pocket. This small change made her somebody who really was unprepared for the responsibility of Powered Armor, since she did not even have the forethought to take proper precautions in the controlled environment of a lab. The authors were not happy with this change, as they felt it undermined a large part of the story.
- Take That, Scrappy!: Osiris' death for those who didn't see it as an Alas, Poor Scrappy moment (such as Keith Giffen).
- Tear Jerker: See C-List Fodder, particularly The Question's lingering death.
- Isis' death in the arms of her husband. The fact that she had been broken so utterly that she admitted that she was wrong... just gets to you.
- Skeets telling Booster Gold that he (Skeets) was proud of him, just before Skeets had to be sacrificed to stop Mr. Mind.
YMMV / 52