These are instances that can define a character, an era, or even become a pop cultural touchstone. Death is the great equaliser. Even for demigods, mutants and superheroes of the highest order, the Grim Reaper must occasionally pay a visit.
While many characters who die in comic books are put through the revolving door of resurrection, once in every blue area of the moon, whether you perceive a return to the mortal plane is in the offing or not, a comic book death sticks with you.
Scores of major superheroes have died at one time or another only to return, but temporary or not, many of those deaths had a lasting impact on that character’s world.
Widely considered as one of the biggest publicity stunts by DC, Superman is killed in a 1992 comic book storyline that occurred in DC Comics’ multi-issue The Death of Superman.
The death occurs in issue No. 75 of the series, when Superman and the lethal supervillian Doomsday engage in battle on the streets of Metropolis. By the end of the fight, both parties are severely wounded and end up succumbing to their injuries.
Superman soon returns in Reign of the Supermen. The death was mostly for the shock value as many considered Superman to be indestructible and hence his death was a huge surprise.
2. Jason Todd/ The Second Robin
It may have been the Joker who wielded the crowbar and set the bomb that took Jason’s life, but it was the fans and a telephone number that decided the second Robin’s fate.
The death of Jason Todd will always be remembered as the event that further darkened the Dark Knight. It was also the first character death in the history of the medium that fans were directly responsible for.
The death was shocking, and the demise of Robin led to an era where Batman grew darker as a result of failing his ward.
Batman dies from an Omega Beam as he tries to kill Darkseid with the last bullet he has.
In Final Crisis #6, the death of Batman is almost hard to process. Fans who read Final Crisis ironically had the same feeling about the labyrinthine plot, where all manner of metaphysical and moral villainy collided for a truly epic comic book tale.
While Darkseid taunted him about the destruction of Earth, Batman had no qualms about breaking his one rule – no killing. Loading a gun with the very bullet that killed Orion, the Dark Knight rationalizes this impending murder and takes the shot at Darkseid. Just as the bullet clips his shoulder, the Lord of Apokolips unleashes his radioactive Omega Beams and effectively incinerates his opponent.
The Death of Wolverine storyline began after a virus from the micro-verse turned off Wolverine’s healing factor, allowing his enemies to be able to kill him.
Losing his healing factor, Logan becomes a target as his many foes try to become the one who finally kills off the Wolverine.
The story takes place in the deserts of the American Southwest, in an isolated Weapon X facility. He faces one of his original tormentors, Dr. Cornelius, one of the sociopathic scientists who inserted Adamantium into his skeleton and wiped his memory, setting him on the eventual pathway to becoming the costumed Wolverine.
While coated in the Adamantium and slowly suffocating as a result, Logan stabs Cornelius and then turns to face the horizon.
Deadpool dies when the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe collide. The huge energy surge consumes the entire Earth.
Deadpool and his friends were marked for death by the new Flag Smasher and his ULTIMATUM goons, so we thought that he would go out in a blaze of glory protecting them. But that never happened and Deadpool managed to easily overcome this challenge. He then goes to a yacht to celebrate this victory.
Then the Secret Wars happen. The mainstream Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Marvel universe collide, the opening scene of Marvel’s mega-event, and Deadpool and his friends are burnt up in the explosion that destroys their Earth.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #700, Parker loses to Dr. Octopus after the villain traps the hero’s mind in his own dying body.
Comic book fans were left in shock after Peter Parker died in The Amazing Spider-Man issue No. 700. This death was staggering because it happened 4 days after Stan Lee’s 90th birthday. This was a weird way to die and it definitely caught comicbook fans off guard.
It wasn’t the first time Peter Parker died, though. He was also was shot and killed by the Punisher in the 160th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man in the Ultimate Marvel Universe. In that version, Miles Morales, a teenager of mixed racial descent, becomes the new Spider-Man.
7. Captain America
Another temporary but undeniably impactful death, the loss of Steve Rogers was a suitably seismic event that underlined the importance of Marvel’s patriotic hero.
The Death of Captain America story arc appears in Volume 5 of Captain America and follows the superhero after he is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody in the aftermath of Civil War.
While under the organization’s keep, he is assassinated by a brainwashed Sharon Carter on the orders of the Red Skull. His best friend Bucky Barnes takes his place after receiving a letter written by Steve Rogers, urging him to continue the Captain America legacy.
8. Jean Grey
Jean Grey had to kill herself to protect the Earth from what she might turn into – Dark Phoenix.
In the final issue of The Dark Phoenix Saga, the X-Men fought the Imperial Guard on the Blue Area of Earth’s moon to prevent them from executing Phoenix, whom they (rightly) regarded as a danger to the galaxy.
In the midst of combat, Cyclops went down, and Dark Phoenix returned. Colossus found himself unable to deliver a death blow, but his shot to Jean’s jaw shook her up. Jean froze Scott with her powers, then killed herself with a Kree laser cannon to ensure that she couldn’t endanger the universe.
Barry has to run faster than ever and die in the process to protect the Earth he cares about.
One of DC’s central characters since his debut in the late ’50s, Barry Allen was a long standing member of the Justice League, a hero who carried a very important legacy and whose death left fans in utter shock.
Barry’s death was an act of pure sacrifice, a moment where he needed to run faster than ever before to save the reality he had worked so hard to protect. When Barry was reduced to a burned out skeleton, fans knew the DCU would never be the same.
Which one was the most shocking for you? Do let us know in the comment section below.