5. Ultimate Wasp (Ultimates Vol. 1)
Even with a total do-over, the size-changing Wasp can’t get a break. When Marvel introduced the Ultimates, an alternate-reality version of the Avengers, it looked like a fresh start for all involved, including Janet Van Dyne. But things quickly took a turn for the worse. In the regular universe, the Wasp had gone 40 years with only one instance of domestic violence, a backhand from her then-crazy husband Ant-Man, but the Ultimate Universe decided that they didn’t want to wait that long. Six issues into the series, the Wasp managed to incur the wrath of her jealous husband, and when he hit her, she shrank to a tiny size to escape him. However, he then proceeded to spray her with Raid, THEN he used his telepathic helmet to order (relatively) gigantic ants to attack her. She was eventually found and hospitalized, prompting Captain America to track down her fugitive husband and beat the snot out of him.
4. Karen Page (Daredevil)
Bullseye has killed a lot of people, including two women in Daredevil's life: Elektra and Karen Page. Now, we could have chosen Elektra because she got stabbed in the chest by Bullseye with her own sai, but she went into that fight to the death with her eyes open. (Also, she totally came back to life.) Meanwhile, Karen Page here was given a pretty tough row to hoe. She moved to L.A. to become an actress, got into porn (like you do), got hooked on drugs and then was impaled with one of Daredevil's batons, hurled by Bullseye, while protecting the hero. Granted, she chose to do that, but it still happened to her, and redemptive though it was, it was a shittty end to a shitty life. You can thank Kevin Smith for that one, too, although by that point it was more of a mercy killing.
3. Barbara Gordon (Batman: The Killing Joke)
While she fought crime for years as Batgirl, it was the fact that she was Commissioner Gordon’s daughter that caused Barbara to receive a visit by the maniac known as the Joker. In an attempt to drive the Commissioner insane, the Joker showed up at Barbara’s house and shot her in the stomach, then proceeded to remove her clothes and take pictures of her. He showed these pictures to her father to try and break him, but the Commissioner remained sane and was freed by the Batman. Barbara, however, was paralyzed -- the bullet lodged in her spine, and she never walked again, becoming the wheelchair-bound information broker known as Oracle. Also, they gave her a crappy TV show, so, you know, double whammy.
2. Alexandra DeWitt (Green Lantern, Vol. 3)
When comic book artist Kyle Rayner was handed a magic ring by a blue midget, he thought it was the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. But little did he know that a paid killer known as Major Force would come looking for the ring, and would torture Kyle’s girlfriend to get it. Kyle came home to find Alex crammed into her refrigerator, thereby inspiring the catchphrase, "women in refrigerators," as well as a Website speaking out against violence against women in comics. It's also a handy reference tool for a writer trying to create informative entertainment out of it! [Author pulls on collar a la Rodney Dangerfield…but when he was funny, not when he was an abusive father in Natural Born Killers.]
1. Sue Dibny (Identity Crisis)
Sue Dibny was the wife of Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. The two were always the happy couple of the superhero set, with Sue often acting as den mother to the Justice League, and the pair did detective work on the side, like some sort of stretchy Nick and Nora Charles. Then came the Identity Crisis mini-series.
Right off the bat, Sue gets horribly burned to death in her home. The culprit is unknown, but based on the evidence, the League suspects it to be Dr. Light. Now Doc Light is usually a D-list villain, and he actually had his name stolen by a superhero once, but we find out through a flashback that one day, when Sue was hanging out on the Justice League satellite (by herself, in space), Dr. Light somehow managed to get aboard. Yes, a supervillain had somehow gained access to the League's high-tech HQ (in space), and that was when he decided to rape Sue to within an inch of her life. The League showed up soon after to pull him off of her, but the damage was done, and they had to blank Sue's memory to make her forget it. I wish they could do that to my memory—when I close my eyes, I keep seeing Dr. Light's rolling eyeballs and wagging tongue as he violates a minor character who never hurt anybody.