At the end of what is now the most highly rated episode of The Boys (“Herogasm”), Annie, aka Starlight, exposes the corrupt dealings of Vought International to the public and quits. It’s a decision that aligns with her personality since she had always been bothered by just about everything the superhero management company stood for.
It’s indeed a shocking moment but one that isn’t uncommon in superhero storytelling. Many characters, mostly from Marvel and DC, have over the years chosen to stop saving the world. Some have stuck to their decisions while others end up missing their glory days, ultimately returning to superheroics.
Peter Parker Throws His Costume Away
In Spider-Man # 50, Peter Parker becomes frustrated at the lack of appreciation from the public and throws his costume in a garbage can. His absence leads to the rise of Kingpin. .
The image of Peter walking away as his costume hangs on a garbage can has remained iconic to this day. Though the young hero believes his decision to quit will bring him more peace, his workload only ends up doubling. Within no time, he finds himself not only having to deal with Kingpin but also J. Jonah Jameson, who managed to get the disposed costume and is not willing to part with it.
Clark Kent Chooses Normalcy
In Superman # 296, the Man of Steel realizes that he completely loses his powers whenever he changes back to Clark Kent. The desire to just be a normal human becomes greater in him so he decides to never turn into Superman again.
The decision is inspired by his wish to live a normal life. He realizes how close he has come to dying on past occasions so he begins worrying what life will be like for Lois if he died. It’s a decision he remains firm on for a while and it isn’t until Superman # 299 that he finally decides to revert to his former self.
Steve Rogers Discovers The Government’s Dirty Secrets
In Captain America # 176, Stever Rogers discovers that the President of the United States is in fact the leader of the Secret Empire. It’s one of the worst things to happen to Captain America because it disappoints him so much that he decides to no longer be part of the Avengers.
It’s one of the rare comic moments that are inspired by real events. The events in the comics happened right after the Watergate Scandal was took place in real life (via Hollywood Reporter). And the Avengers member’s resignation is more than justified. Since Steve considers himself a true American hero who prides himself in working together with the government, he does not want to be associated with the President’s corruption.
Bruce Wayne Is Unable To Continue Without Selina
The Earth-2 Batman does not have the same “No-Guns” policy as his counterpart so he engages in plenty of shootouts with criminals. In Detective Comics # 27he loses Selina Kyle (who is his wife) during a one of the shootouts and becomes so devastated that he hangs up the cape.
Losing a loved one can make one feel like nothing matters anymore. Since Catwoman has always been one of Batman’s best love interests, the Caped Crusader can be excused for his decision here. After all, the two had been such a great duo and it’s normal for a part of him to worry whether he’ll manage without her. Luckily, his decision is reversed after several comic issues.
Tony Stark Opts Out After Seeing His Colleagues Die
Earth-982’s superheroes are revealed to be 15 years older than their Earth-616 counterparts in A-Next # 1. Soon, they face a major threat in the name of Doctor Doom and while battling him and his forces, only 7 of Earth’s superheroes survive. Overcome with grief, Tony Stark chooses not to continue anymore.
After seeing what happened to his friends, Tony cannot be faulted for opting out. To some, it’s a cowardly move but to him, it’s a way for him to live his sunset years peacefully. After all, he had already done so much for the world. And he is noble because he does not just leave the citizens without an option. Tony creates Mainframe, an AI version of him that can do pretty much the same things he used to do.
Diana Prince Abandons Her People
As Diana Prince and Steve Trevor are trying to figure out a way to stop Doctor Cyber in Wonder Woman (Vol 1) # 179. She is summoned to Paradise Island where Queen Hippolyta tells her that the Amazonians are losing their powers after their 10,000-year stay on Earth. They, therefore have to leave in order to recharge. Surprisingly, Diana refuses to go.
Diana’s stance is partly justifiable because she feels closer to Steve and the two make one of the best couples in DC comics. Still, choosing to stay on Earth ends up being more detrimental than beneficial, She loses her powers and stops being Wonder Woman, settling for life as the everyday girl. And things stay this way for several more issues.
T’Challa Plots To Bring Down The 66 Bridges Crime Gang
T’Challa and 74th Precinct’s Organized Crime Control Bureau agent Kasper Cole once cook up the perfect plan to take down dangerous gang. The events happen in Black Panther (Vol. 3) # 50, where T’Challa announces he has quit. Kasper then takes over the mantle, instilling fear in the gang and eventually wiping it out.
For a long time, T’Chala’s resignation is believable, not only to the people of Wakanda but also to his fellow Avengers and the readers at large. That’s because the actual scheme is revealed at the end of the comic run. Kasper goes as far as to undergo the Right of Ascension so that he can be more like Black Panther. But after the gang gets defeated, T’Challa surprises everyone by coming back.
Hal Jordan Throws In An Insult With His Resignation
After serving as Green Lantern for a while, Hal Jordan starts to feel like the job is putting a strain on his personal life. In Green Lantern # 181 he quits in dramatic fashion, telling the superiors to “take this job and shove it.”
One would not have to look hard to find the origin of Hal’s disgruntlement. His relationship appears to be falling apart in the events prior to the resignation so a part of him feels like spending more time with her will steer them back to happy days.It’s sad for him but his decision opens the door for John Stewart, who takes over as the new Green Lantern.
Carol Danvers Elopes With Her Husband
When Carol’s inter-dimensional husband, Marcus, shows up in Avengers # 200, she becomes smitten. After learning she is pregnant with his child, she quits being a member of the Avengers and runs away with him.
It’s a decision that leaves fans baffled because Carol doesn’t really know Marcus that well. But there’s a sensible explanation later on where it turns out that Marcus had brainwashed her as part of his scheme to make the Avengers weaker so that he could attack Earth. When she finally comes back to her senses, it’s a huge sigh of relief for everyone.
Barbara Gordon Runs For Office
Having grown tired of hopping from one skyscraper to the next, Barbara Gordon stops being Batgirl in Detective Comics # 424. She then spends her time campaigning for the position of Gotham’s Congressional representative.
The arc leads to an interesting development in DC comics. For the first time, the city of Washington DC is explored. Through her, it becomes obvious that superhero work can be addictive so Barbara starts living a double life again after a few years. During the day, she happily serves as a Congresswoman and during the night, she takes on Washington’s criminals.
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