Comic books can often be filled with tons of action, crazy concepts and stories to make you think. They can often make you laugh and get excited. But occasionally a comic can come along that can turn even the most hardened reader into a quivering mess of emotion.
Sometimes, a comic is just so powerful and emotional, it reduces you to tears. And that’s a good thing! It’s nice to be reminded of our humanity every now and then, and what better way to do so than by showing the emotional highs and lows of our favourite superheroes – even, in some cases, the most two-dimensional ones out there?
And some writers are just simply masters at eliciting this reaction, regularly breaking human beings down into puddles of molten feels, right there on a busy train, in the library, or wherever they come across their weaponised sadness mines laying in the wild.
Here at WhatCulture, we’ve gone through the tears and throat-tightening moments so emosh that they can break a reader in seconds. Who says comics can’t be serious?
Beware: this list contains SPOILERS!
10. Journey Into Mystery #645
A powerful end to a story of stories, as the God of Mischief falls to the God of Lies. In other words, to himself.
Journey Into Mystery #645 is the final issue in Kieron Gillen’s critically acclaimed run on the title where, joined by a host of artists, the writer told a dramatic story all about how we resonate with literature.
It’s quite a miraculous achievement: this run on JIM was constantly wrapped up in tie ins to Marvel’s major event du jour, and yet Gillen masterfully weaved a tale even through all these divergences that remained on point and strong up to it’s gut-wrenching, tear pulling finale.
In Journey Into Mystery, Loki was replaced by Kid Loki, a younger, new version of the Asgardian, after the original Loki had mysteriously sacrificed himself to save Asgard during the Siege event. Now, Gillen had already hinted at Loki’s sacrifice being far from altruistic in a previous one shot issue of Thor, but with Journey Into Mystery he took it so much further.
Kid Loki, while a wholly new version of the God of Mischief, was often still treated by the gods of Asgard as if he was the same old enemy. Despite this, Kid Loki saved them time and again, and even though he remained mischievous and a weaver of falsehoods, he was ultimately on the side of the angels.
In this final issue, illustrated by Stephanie Hans, Kid Loki confronts the spirit of the original Loki, who had been manipulating everything from the beginning. Trapped in original Loki’s plan to allow him to become Kid Loki, and in his mind thus changing and escaping the cycle of Ragnarok the Asgardian gods are trapped in, we see Kid Loki go through his last day of existence, losing friends, breaking bonds and even trying to find a way out, though none come.
Ultimately, however, Kid Loki reveals that it is he who is victorious, as the original Loki never changed. He’s doing the exact same kind of thing he always had, incapable of true change, whereas Kid Loki was something new, original and, for a time, loved. As the original Loki takes over, he looks out at the reader, cursing them, as they too cannot let Loki change from what he is and his position in Marvel’s ever continuing universe.
Kid Loki’s final, fatal victory is both a massive ‘f— you!’ to his enemy, and a gut-punch to the readers who had come to love the mischievous, sarcastic little imp.