Given comics is a largely serialized medium, it’s not surprising that its history is filled with brilliant – and not-so-brilliant! – plot twists. After all, what better way to entice readers to read the next chapter than with an earth-shattering last page cliffhanger that leaves them thinking “How are they ever gonna resolve this?!”
There’s also few things more rewarding as a fan than seeing a meticulously crafted – and cleverly hidden – plot twist come to fruition. It’s the thrill of being surprised, combined with the satisfaction of knowing that the writer involved has played fair by providing ample little hints in the lead up to the big reveal.
Of course, some comic book plot twists are better executed than others. Indeed, more than a few have fallen flat, often because they either made no sense, or worse, actively damaged decades worth of stories that proceeded them.
In instances like these, it seems like the twist was designed more from a shock value point of view, rather than as a payoff designed to enrich past and future adventures. Still, regardless of whether a major comic book reveal was outstanding or underwhelming, they’re almost always memorable.
With this in mind, I’ve taken a look back at 20 of superhero comics’ biggest narrative surprises to round up this list of the 10 best (and 10 worst) comic book plot twists of all time.