web stats

CSBG Archive

31 Days of Comics – Great Plot Twist

Our pal Seth Hahne, of GoodOKBad fame, came up with this 31 Days of Comics challenge, one of those things where each day of the month you’re given a different category that you then make a choice of a comic to fill that category. I figured it would be a fun bit to do, so here we are! Click here to see each of the categories so far!

We continue with Day 13, which is a Great Plot Twist.

Read on for my pick and then you can share yours!

Stray Bullets was already an excellent comic book right off of the bat, but I think that writer/artist David Lapham took it to a whole other level in the fourth issue of the series.

Young Virginia Applejack has a shitty home life in 1978. So in this issue, she runs away from home and is picked up by a stranger with eyes for her…

Throughout their ride together, Ginny and Paul strike up a bond as he says that she can be in his “gang” with him, but Paul also seems to look at her quite lecherously (a waitress at a diner looks at him disapprovingly). What could possibly be in the glove compartment?

After a few stops (including what appeared to be a robbery of a convenience store), we reach the end of the story where Paul finally reveals his motivations…

What a messed up twist. But what a great comic book. I can’t believe we’re actually going to see it return!

48 Comments

A great plot twist that is hard to beat would have to be the end of the first issue of Thunderbolts by Busiek & Bagley. A new superhero team turns out to be the Masters of Evil? Great twist that caught readers off guard.

That’s a fantastic choice Brian and I feel completely lame for not thinking of it even though I did Stray Bullets #2 in the entry immediately preceding this. I so thought I knew where Lapham was going with it and was grumpy with how he was overselling it. Great twist.

I actually couldn’t think of many twists (and still can’t, so I’m looking forward to the comments here). I chose Teddy Kristiansen and Steven T. Seagle’s The Red Diary/The Re[a]d Diary. Both versions of the story feature entirely different twists using the same art. And both twists were solid. Neither floored me, but I don’t believe either was intended to floor me.

Matt Kindt, of course, has also made a world of plot twists in Mind MGMT and Red-Handed featured a couple solids as well.

When Bruce Wayne turned out to be Batman.

The only twists that pop to mind are the big reveals, and most of those I found out about before I read the comics (that Thunderbolts one would’ve been awesome to behold when the issue came out, I’m sure).

But one that caught me flat-footed was Morrison’s Xorn reveal in New X-Men, so I’ll go with that.

The Death of Jean DeWolff in Peter Parker, to me, is the gold standard for plot twists. Not sure if I’d have the same reaction reading it as an adult, but as a kid, I never saw the end coming. Not sure the end of Alpha Flight 12 counts as a plot twist, but it sure threw me as well. Fantastic Four 250 has a couple of big twists.

A more recent story full of fun twists is from Mark Millar’s underrated run on the Fantastic Four. “The Death of the Invisible Woman” runs from 558 to 561, and is a really well told, classic science fiction story.

I would say the reveal in Strangers in Paradise that Casey was working for Tambi. That was really out of the blue and shook up quite a lot of what was “known” in the comic at the time. And it was something no one saw coming.

Hmmm. Off the top of my head, the plot twist about Tex Thompson and Dynaman in James Robinson’s “The Golden Age.” I think you need to be somewhat up on your JSA history to appreciate the revelation about Thompson, but I think it was hidden pretty well through the story.

Nobody’s said “Watchmen” yet, but maybe that’s because the twist in #11 is universally known at this point.

Finding out Wolverine’s claws were part of his mutation gobsmacked me pretty well back in the day.

Sobek’s true role in 52.

Tough to explain, but I like the twist in Animal Man where there’s one issue in which there’s ghost haunting Buddy’s family, and it’s not explained until 12 issues later where *SPOILER* the ghost turns out to be Buddy himself, traveled back in time to warn his family of their impending murder.

I also love the “Why do you let him talk to me that way?” twist in Asterios Polyp.

Oh, and since nobody mentioned it, the first issue of Otto Octavius in Peter Parker’s body. I believe it’s ASM 698, with that great Paolo Rivera cover of Ock in his death throes, mumbling the name “Peter Parker.”

I actually am not a huge fan of Stray Bullets and the nihilistic world view it portrays, but the issue you spotlight was always a favorite of mine. I read it when I was working in a comic shop in Lawrenceville, NJ and it always stuck with me.

As for me, it will always be the revelation of Terra working for Deathstroke in New Teen Titans. I was in my early teens when it came out and I totally didn’t see it coming…I started reading it right around the time her character was introduced and that storyline as much as anything else transformed me from a kid who read comics to the life long collector I have become.

Basically any EC Comic for me. Also, anytime someone is revealed to actually be Mystique. That gets me every time, and then my forehead turns red from slapping it so hard. One would think I would have learned by now…

It’s recent, but since nobody’s mentioned it I’ll say that “Try the red one” in Daredevil caught me off-guard. I knew when I started reading the issue that there was a great plot twist, but I got so caught up in the fight scene that I forgot all about it.

Oh, also from Asterios Polyp, the sexy sexy tape Asterios is watching at the beginning. That was a solid reveal that worked to build our understanding of the character.

“… Thirty-five minutes ago.” seems like a big one.

I found the issue again in a 25 cent bin, but I always liked the plot twist of Black Orchid (regular series) #1. The reporter spends the entire issue trying to track down the Black Orchid. When he finally finds her, her response is, “You know they have followed you…” She then uses her pheromones / scent / mind control powers and instructs him to get into a fatal shoot out with the people hunting her while she flies away.

X-Men #62 in The Savage Land:
“I guess the clothes really DO make the man.”

I can only imagine how much of a shock it was when first published and nobody knew what he looked like under the helmet.

From Aaron & Dillon’s Punisher MAX run: The last thing Frank said to his wife.

It’s more subtle and less “OMG!” than most of these, but I always liked the twist in Volume 3 of The Invisibles, where we find out what the real relationship between the Invisibles and the Archons is… And it’s pretty remarkable that Morrison basically reveals the twist in an early issue, one that came out five years and 40 issues before Vol. 3, but few people would notice that early reveal when they first read the series, it’s only when you read it the second time that you get it.

I’m not sure if anything in Watchmen or the villain reveal in The Golden Age really count as plot twists – though hey are great “oh my god” moments.

The best one I can thing of was the final twist in Denise Mina’s A Sickness in the Family from the recent(ish) aborted Vertigo Crime range. I felt stupid for not seeing it coming – which is exactly how it should be.

“The Return of Barry Allen” seemed to be one gob-smacking plot twist after another…

Xorn is Magneto!
The Winter Soldier is Bucky!

What happened to Matt Cable and Arcane in Moore’s Swamp Thing… Brrrr…

Planetary #12 where it is revealed who the Fourth Man who funded Planetary is. No it wasn’t me.

I knew YOU were gonna say that, The_Fourth_Man!

I’m trying to skim this one and not look, so I don’t get spoiled on things I haven’t read yet. And the ones I can think of have been mentioned already.

So yeah, that time when Kayzer Soze turned out to already be dead, but he was actually Tyler Durden all along! Don’t talk about the Usual Sixth Suspects Club!

@Bill K–

If a “plot twist” is something that forces you to reevaluate what you’ve been reading/watching the whole time, then I think Tex Thompson and Dynaman count. Up until you those points, you assumed that the characters were, well, just acting out of character. The revelations would cause you to re-read everything prior to that completely differently. (Sorry I’m being vague, but you never know who hasn’t read TGA yet.)

“35 minutes ago” is a twist to the extent that it affects the whole of how you were reading Watchmen #11–the scene we thought was in the present was actually in the past. (This effect was then lost in the film.) Maybe the revelation about who was behind the murder mystery was the better twist.

The death of The Comet in MLJ’s PEP Comics #17 and the introduction of his brother, The Hangman in the same issue is the earliest whiplash-inducing twist I can think of.

Captain Haddock

January 14, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Hot dog, Brian, that was a doozy of a twist. I think I needed a shower after the first time I read that.

I didn’t read the comics much and I knew of him more from the tv show and various DC tidbits I’d picked up, but the twist of Swamp Thing turning out NOT to be Alec Holland was a pretty surprising thing for me, I’m sure it must have shocked a lot of people.

The most recent twist that had me jumping for joy was the way Daredevil took down Araki. We already had that great twist where Araki told him to “try the red one”. I was shaking by the end of the issue, and then it gets topped (I think) by issue 27, DD vs Bullseye and Araki:
“I have put near them agents I trust.”
“Really? Well…so have I.”
I’m not exaggerating when I say I literally jumped for joy.

The most recent one I can think of is exactly how Superman gets his comeuppance in the final issue of year one of “Injustice.” It was such a great twist, I damn near jumped right out of my seat when I read it.

Oh, also from Asterios Polyp, the sexy sexy tape Asterios is watching at the beginning. That was a solid reveal that worked to build our understanding of the character.

Yeah, that was excellent.

@Bill K–

If a “plot twist” is something that forces you to reevaluate what you’ve been reading/watching the whole time, then I think Tex Thompson and Dynaman count. Up until you those points, you assumed that the characters were, well, just acting out of character. The revelations would cause you to re-read everything prior to that completely differently. (Sorry I’m being vague, but you never know who hasn’t read TGA yet.)

“35 minutes ago” is a twist to the extent that it affects the whole of how you were reading Watchmen #11–the scene we thought was in the present was actually in the past. (This effect was then lost in the film.) Maybe the revelation about who was behind the murder mystery was the better twist.

I think it’s me you’re talking to not Bill K.

Reasonable points. Watchmen is basically a detective story though, so the villain reveal is just a standard part of that rather than a twist in my mind.

The Golden Age one counts more – and was actually the first one I though of before discounting it. It is also a villain reveal, but it’s actually much more than that because of the nature of the revelation (which I can’t go into). Much as I loved it, it might have meant more to me if I’d ever even heard of Dynaman outside of that story.

I’m so, so happy I was younger when NEW X-MEN came out and I got to read it issue-by-issue with no internet spoilers. The Xorn reveal will always be one of my favorite comic moments (and the post-Morrison butchering of the concept one of my worst).

Ditto the first issue of Milligan and Allred’s X-FORCE. I remember meeting all of the characters in Wizard’s preview and getting super hyped for the book. And then the last page…made me reevaluate that.

And kudos to those who mentioned the recent Ikari stuff from Waid and Samnee’s DAREDEVIL. Such an outstanding book right now, and that run showed that Waid can totally nail dark and serious without having to do grim and depressing like most recent DD writers.

Identity Crisis!

*ducks*

Thunderbolts is #1 for me. Great mentions on Xorn and the Return of Barry Allen though.

The Hobgoblin framing Flash Thompson was as great as the Hobgoblin being Ned Leeds (at least for awhile) was bad.

As disappointing as the Jason Todd stuff was in Hush I really liked the twist at the end with the Riddler, mainly because I’ve liked the Riddler since Frank Gorshin and thought they were finally taking him seriously. Of course then they undercut it all almost immediately after, but for like one page the Riddler was a bad ass.

And Secret Invasion was a disaster, but not having the Skrulls take over (like was being hinted) and having Osborn become a hero was a surprising way to end an awful story. And left some interesting directions to take, which were of course all squandered by the time Dark Reign was done.

the revealation that not only the hobogoblin set up flash thomson but used a brain washing machine to make it look like ned leeds was really him . plus also for me that part of grants run on x-men xavier had a twin he killed named cassadra nova

Another one from Morrison, two words, Niles Caulder.
Such a great twist they ended up using it several times in X-Men (with diminishing returns).

The revelation about the Homelander in the second-to-last storyline of “The Boys”. That absolutely floored me. On the one hand, I never would have guessed it in a million years. On the other, it was there all along…

I think my favourite would be in Starman when it turns out that Culp has been among them for the entire series. The last few arcs were completely full of these, though. Robinson was a genius when it came to Chekhov’s Guns.

Since I just read these this morning, and it’s in the news…

Amazing Spider-Man 698 has a nice twist to it that you don’t see right off. I had seen that that issue was going to be big, but not why, so going in and reading a day in the life story that…goes differently was quite nice.

And then the twist with Superior Spider-Man 1 was nice too, to stave off the fanboy howling.

This wasn’t entirely a mindblower, but I got chills during Detective Comics’ The Black Mirror when James Jr. walked down the stairs. The whole ‘is he/isn’t he’ issue resolved on one page (I think) in a pretty awesome way.

Another one from Morrison, two words, Niles Caulder.

Damn – Good call.

I think I’ll change my vote.

Earth X spoilers, sooo many

- The Jean Grey Wolverine thought he was married to was Madeline Pryor all along…

- Galactus’ role in the MU was to destroy worlds that had a baby Celestial gestating within it.

- Superpowered beings existed as anti-bodies, to protect their planet from outside threats to the Celestial baby.

- When it was revealed that Franklin Richards was the new Galactus

I was going to go with Xorn, but understandably it was taken. How great was it though. I love being tricked if you really earn it. All the clues were there, too.

Anyway, Noaki Urasawa is like the master of twists. One of my favourites is in Monster. I don’t know if I can explain it without giving it away. Basically one of the best moments happens after the twist is revealed, so I’ll use that. Nina Liebert is in a small town in Germany trying to find the secrets of her past, but shockingly everyone in town not only seems to know her, but be quite friendly with her. If you know the twist, then you know why it was so chilling. That twist in that part of the story was so brilliant since it involved what I thought was a good person going down a dark path, only to reveal something much more unsettling.

“Johan is a nice name…”

Ikari was a great plot twist, but I was stupid enough to read a spoiler before picking up the issue, so that greatly diminished it for me.

A classic one (for me, at any rate) that hasn’t been mentioned yet is from Amazing Spider-Man #179. For the past four issues, Spidey’s been fighting the Green Goblin; a Harry Osborn who has snapped again and put on the suit again. The two have been fighting on and off all around the city, with Spidey trying to get to Aunt May, who is in hospital, and the Green Goblin forming a partnership with Silvermane to help him take out Spider-Man. In-between the fighting, the Green Goblin has been returning to a warehouse to check up on a bound up victim of his, who is presumed to be his psychiatrist (he has a bag on his head so we can’t see his face). At the end of #179, the victim manages to free himself, and removes the bag to reveal that he’s none other than Harry Osborn himself. From there it wasn’t too hard to tell who the Green Goblin is, but holy crap, I didn’t see that one coming at all.

I’ll have to go with the ASM 698 twist as well. It makes you reread the issue over and over again for every subtle hint.

Also I can’t believe no one has said this one: Invincible’s twist in the very beginning of the series where Omni-Man kills the Guardians of the Globe and it’s revealed that Mark and Oliver are supposed to take over the earth (Invincible refuses and they fight!). Really puts the whole series in perspective and made Invincible probably the best comic in the entire universe.

The guy above me already said it, but Invincible #7′s twist got me intrigued like nothing else.

But for the sake of saying something different, I’ll go with the identity of the Cuckoo in Sandman: A Game of You. Surprising and a huge gut-punch.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives