You Have Failed Me.../Comic Books

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Examples of You Have Failed Me... in Comic Books include:

  • Played straight and slightly subverted in the first Robin miniseries. The villain of the piece kills two of his Mooks with his bare hands for failing him, then promotes a Dragon Lady named Lynx to the position of head Mook. When she inevitably fails as well, he ponders over the dilemma of leaving her unpunished and having to kill a woman. He then hands her to his Dragon for a "not too dire, but memorable" punishment. Which to the Dragon, meant putting out her eye.
  • This is also done in 'Welcome Back Frank', Garth Ennis's opening Punisher mini-series. Ma Gnucci, after having her arms and legs torn off by a polar bear in the NY Zoo, berates her Mooks for failing to catch Castle and then orders one of them executed for asking her how she's feeling. The guy she orders to do it protests, so she orders him executed as well. She goes through about three underlings before she finds someone willing to shoot the previous executees.
  • One of the better variations on this trope in recent years was the "Tangled Web of Spider-Man" issue(#4), "Severance Package", in which the Kingpin deals with an underling who botches an illegal arms job. The story is especially chilling because it's told from the point of view of the underling, who knows full well that he's about to die but refuses to run away, despite having a wife and children.
  • In early issues of Sonic the Hedgehog, Robotnik often did this to robots who messed up.
  • The Joker has an interesting variation: You have succeeded admirably... But I'm bored. Working for Joker is like Russian Roulette. With bullets in all 6 chambers. And two guns. And the bullets are dipped in poison. And you don't get to spin the barrel.
  • Dr. Doom, mostly with his robotic henchmen, though.
    • In one instance during a battle with the Fantastic 4 his head scientist had a flamethrower and the flames were getting dangerously close to a priceless painting he obtained so he shot him with the gun the scientist built for him.
      • He also kills that henchman's vengeful brother (also a henchman) who tried to trick Doom into a device that would kill him.
  • Near the end of the first volume of Runaways, the Pride's main mole in the police, Lieutenant Flores, tries to capture the kids without telling the Pride in advance. The ensuing fight destroys the Hostel and nearly gets everyone involved killed. His bosses are there when his men find him.

"I thought I was dead."
"And for once, you were right." *shotgun*

  • Completely subverted in Hourman. When a villain who presides over a hellish slave camp learns that one of the Mooks screwed up, he finds the underling cowering in fear, certain that he's about to be killed for his failure. Instead, the villain pats him on the back, tells him to believe in himself, and gives him a couple of bucks to go buy himself a snack. It turns out their entire evil organization uses a series of self-help seminars as a front, and so they have a policy of only using positive reinforcement with the henchmen. And it works.
  • Subverted and played straight in Mandrake the Magician. The evil organization "8" has a strict policy to kill anyone who fails, however so many have been defeated by Mandrake that they no longer kill those that fail against him because of the enormous losses it would mean.
  • In the Marvel Universe, HYDRA has this as their standard policy. In fact, in the years when the organization was in disarray without the overall control of Baron Von Strucker, the various factions seemed to spend more time killing each other after each defeat than achieving anything.
  • Darkseid usually averts this (once commenting that such thinking is just wasteful). In fact sometimes it seems you're more likely to live a lot longer the more you screw up because the moment you finish your task he'll throw you under the bus.
    • Not that he doesn't sometimes kill people who fail him - he has to keep up appearances - but since he uses his Omega Beams, he usually just resurrects them later when he needs them again.
  • From Asterix and the Black Gold: Dubbelosix, a Druid spying for the Romans, has to get the secret of magic potion and stop our heroes from procuring an ingredient. Asterix, however, outgambits him, and Dubbelosix and his superior both end up sentenced to death in the arena, covered in BEES!
  • While a competent and highly skilled agent, Count Dooku's Dark Side Adept Asajj Ventress was prone to failure because she specifically targeted Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, who were out of her league. After spending months healing from a particularly brutal loss as Anakin's hands, Ventress is found by Obi-Wan and immediately attacks him, moving far from her master's side across a battlefield. With the Republic forces closing in and Ventress too far away, Dooku comments that she had failed him too many times and orders her shot. She survives, though.
  • Shockwave, as portrayed in most Transformers comics, is the ultimate aversion of this trope. Motivated by logic and reason, and utterly aware of the dwindling numbers available to the Decepticons (in a race that cannot reproduce without the Matrix), Shockwave hates to let soliders go to waste. He can and will harshly reprimand failure (as he does with Frenzy in "Mind Games"), but doesn't ever kill them. Insomuch, that after ursurping leadership from Megatron, then soundly beating the ex-leader - he leaves Megatron alive and makes him swear loyalty to him, not fearing from any retribution. Perhaps the best example, though, is in DW comics "The War Within - Ages of Wrath", where Rumble and Frenzy have seemingly caused an explosion that destroyed most of his work in his lab, Shockwave only questions the two and then sends them away to get back to work... In leaving, Rumble and Frenzy even remark that had this happened with Megatron, he would have ripped them apart in anger.
    • Shockwave even gives failed minions time to explain themselves - and accepts logical reasoning. When Megatron - his subordinate at the time - led a suicidal attack on the Ark resulting in the deaths/capture of many Decepticons, Shockwave prepares to promptly execute him. But after Megatron points out that Shockwave made a bigger blunder by allowing the Autobots to steal the secrets of Combiner technology, Shockwave not only accepts his excuse, but relinquishes Decepticon leadership back to Megatron!
    • In another situation, after Soundwave let Buster Witwicky, whom he was ordered to capture, go away free despite him having the upper hand, Shockwave comes to the conclusion that Soundwave is either a traitor, or defective, and has outlived his usefulness. But when Soundwave explains Buster's mind needs to re-unite with Optimus so the Decepticons can tap into its secrets, Shockwave accepts this without question.
  • Double-subverted by Darkhell in Les Legendaires: Origines, when one of his generals fails to bring him back Princess Jadina. Darkhell grasps him and raises him above a pit of lava. The general begs him for mercy, and the following scene ensues:

Darkhell: I sometimes do give a second chance...
General: T-Thanks, master...
Darkhell: ...Never a third one (let him fall to his death)