Top 10 Grim 'n' Gritty Reinventions of Classic Characters

I'm a person who pretty clearly hates the grimdark-ification of comic books. It's often a juvenile attempt to expand the character’s audience to include the type of people who still demand a Zack Snyder cut of Justice League. But when done right, a grim and gritty reboot can add unheard-of depth to a previously existing character or story. It can change any concept from light and trite to meaningful and deep. So, when does it work?


10. Vigilante

Sometimes, updating a character means throwing out pretty much everything about him. That’s how Old West gunfighter The Vigilante was replaced with The Punisher, But For DC Comics Vigilante.

Adrian Chase was a lawyer who lost his family to violence, and responded by also turning to violence. He executed criminals; that was his deal. But his series was interesting because it believably showed the toll such actions took on his psyche, right up until the end of the series.

You aren’t likely to see a Punisher book that eventually decides its protagonist is A: insane, and B: a danger to himself and those around him, but Vigilante sure ended that way. This is one of the only comics so dour and bleak that Alan Moore wrote two issues. They’re good issues, too.

But yeah, if you’re feeling down, don’t grab a few issues of Vigilante as a pick-me-up. I can tell you that.