It’s not typical that you get to hear about heroes doing anything particularly cruel to villains in comics, since the heroes are supposed to be above that kind of behavior. But in a lot of ways, heroes are still human or are at least sentient beings that have a wide range of emotions that can get the best of them at times. They make mistakes, they tend to fly off the hook every now and then, and they definitely feel the need for revenge. This is a part of what it is to be human after all, the need to forget one’s morals and ethics every now and then and make the bad guys feel at least a little of the pain they’ve inflicted on others. Like it or not, this is a human trait that rears its ugly head now and again since it’s bound to happen that people get tired of being moral, ethical, and just want to make those that have hurt others feel something that is akin to remorse, or want to deliver a type of justice that isn’t always available to them. Heroes aren’t perfect obviously, and this kind of behavior makes that obvious since even the most upright of heroes needs to let loose from time to time and realize that the villains they fight aren’t bound to stop.
Here are some of the cruelest ways that heroes have punished villains in the past.
5. Batman destroyed the Lazarus Pits.
Ra’s Al Ghul isn’t the easiest villain to explain away since he does have a decided purpose to his actions, but he tends to disregard anything such as morality or ethics at times, and Batman can’t really let that go. But Batman didn’t just destroy the Lazarus Pits, the source of Ra’s ability to regenerate and keep himself alive, he tampered with them in a manner that made slipping into them painful as all hell since Ra’s skin nearly melted off of him and he was forced to find other Lazarus Pits to regenerate, but Batman managed to hit them all until the only thing left was the fountain of youth, which Ra’s couldn’t access since he’s anything but an innocent.
4. Magneto stranded Red Skull in a fallout shelter.
So yes, Magneto is still technically a villain since he does a lot of horrible things, but this was a Jewish Holocaust survivor turning the tables on a known Nazi collaborator since Magneto had power, and the Red Skull didn’t. To be fair he left the guy water and was candid about the fact that he could still breathe in the space, but the manner in which he left him was pretty cruel since there was supposedly no way out of the shelter, meaning that Skull was effectively stranded and had no way to shout for help or even a way to escape. Likely as not he escaped anyway, but if Magneto was being thorough he would have found a way to prevent this too.
3. Flash turned Inertia into a statue.
Imagine stealing someone’s speed to the point where they can’t move at all. Inertia was still alive and could feel, hear, and see everything that was going on, but movement was impossible at that point. Being turned into a statue is typically something that’s next to death in the cruel and unusual category since it typically means being turned to stone. But in this case, Flash managed to rob someone of their ability to move almost entirely, as a single blink of Inertia’s eyes would take about a century to complete. That kind of movement is hard to imagine.
2. Odin tortured Loki.
In Norse mythology Loki isn’t Odin’s son, let’s just get that out there. But in Marvel comics, Odin actually punished Loki in one of the worst ways possible. He bound Loki using the entrails and innards of Loki’s children and forced him to be bound while a serpent dripped venom into his eyes. His wife was allowed to hold a wooden bowl to stop the venom but had to empty the bowl from time to time, meaning that Loki was vulnerable. When Thor finally freed him, Loki was so afraid of Odin and any further punishment that he gladly lied and told Thor that it was the frost giant that had done this to him. That goes beyond having daddy issues.
1. Sentry rips Carnage in half.
That’s about all that needs to be said since a lot of what Sentry does is just flat out messed up and not at all in the realm of what heroes are expected to do. This guy apparently has little to no filter when it comes to his actions and it shows since he ripped Ares in half at one point too. A lot of people liken Sentry to being the Superman of Marvel comics, but he’s more psychotic than Superman could ever be in a lot of ways. Carnage likely deserved it since he’s usually unrepentant about the things he does, but still, Sentry goes above and beyond quite often.
Even heroes get to be cruel sometimes.