We all know that writers and artists love to kill off our favorite characters since they do it all the time. Remember the Death of Superman? He kicks the bucket whenever sales are down and that’s true for a lot of heroes. You may not realize it, but Wolverine is currently dead in the Marvel Universe. Kind of a strange thing to think about considering Logan just came out in theaters and is absolutely killing it at the box office.
Of course, when we are talking about the deaths of superheroes, we usually find them succumbing to an enemy who outflanked them or simply beat them to death. You live the life of a caped crime-fighter, you die the life of a caped crime-fighter, right? Usually… but not always. On occasion, creators have let their characters die of natural causes. Cancer isn’t just a problem for those of us in the real world, it can take out even the best superheroes and supervillains in the universe. After kicking some names around the ScreenRant office for a spell, we came up with the following 15 Superheroes And Villains Who Died Of Natural Causes..
Whizzer was Timely’s (Marvel) answer to DC’s Flash, a speedster who, at the top of his game, could run upwards of 100 mph! That’s such an infinitesimally small fraction of the current Flash’s speed that it’s not worth the electrons it would take to display on the screen. There have been multiple characters called the Whizzer, but the first was named Robert Frank who debuted in USA Comics #1 in August of 1941. He became a speedster after a cobra bit him on a trip to Africa. In order to save his life, his father infused his blood with a transfusion from a mongoose, which mixed with the cobra venom and somehow gave him tremendous speed (kids, don’t try this at home).
Throughout the Golden and Silver Ages, Whizzer fought against fascism alongside the Liberty Gang and then the All-Winner Squad. He even joined the Avengers at one point, when they worked to control his son, Nuklo, but Whizzer suffered a heart attack and soon retired after engaging the Atlanteans and Namor with the Avengers.
Unlike pretty much everyone else in the pages of comics, he continued to age but returned to battle a longtime foe named Isbisa. While fighting his old nemesis, he suffered another heart attack, only this time, he didn’t survive.
Mastodon was a member of Team X alongside Wolverine, Kestrel, Silver Fox, Sabretooth, and Maverick who first appeared in Wolverine #48 as an old man. Much of his story is told in flashbacks where it is revealed that he is a weapons expert and is well trained in the use of all firearms. While a test-subject for the Weapon X program, he was given an age-suppressing mutation, which allowed him to age at a much slower rate than a normal human, but given his appearance as an older man, the effects had clearly begun to wear off.
Not much is known about Mastodon. He only appeared in 16 issues and was killed off in a somewhat natural, yet horrifying way. As Wraith, Wolverine, Jubilee, Wolverine, and Sabretooth accompany Silver Fox to speak with Carol Hines, a scientist who worked on the Weapon X program, Jubilee suddenly screams out. Mastodon’s age suppression factor has finally given out and he disintegrates in Jubilee’s arms. Old age had finally caught up with him.
13. Peggy Carter
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agent Peggy Carter is played by Hayley Atwell who has appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s Agent Carter, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. She is based on the comic book character of the same name who was first introduced in Tales of Suspense #77 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. The characters are somewhat different across media, as the comic book version is actually an American agent who served with the French Resistance during the Second World War, while the television and film character, played by Atwell, was a British agent who fought alongside the Americans.
In both universes, Carter survives the war and ages like a normal human. Since her wartime beaux, Steve Rogers, had seemingly come back from the dead, still young and lively, the two once again became friends. Carter would continue to help Steve as he worked his way through modern times, but she would eventually require hospitalization due to age-related illnesses. Unlike just about every character in comics, she was allowed to die of old age, peacefully in her hospital bed, in both Captain America #1 (2011) and in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).
12. Enemy Ace
Enemy Ace was created for DC by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert in Our Army at War #151, published in February of 1965. Hans Von Hammer was born in Germany and raised by his father with a sense of gentlemanly conduct and superb hand-to-hand fighting skills. When the Great War broke out in 1914, he enlisted in the newly-formed flying school where he showed incredible talent and skill at flight operations. The character was based off Manfred Von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron. Throughout the conflict, Hammer achieved 70 kills, but he never engaged an injured pilot and refused to take action against an enemy who could not fight back.
Unlike his real-life inspiration, Richthofen, who was shot down and killed in 1918, Hammer survived the war. He returned to combat during WWII. Though he did not sympathize with the Nazis, he fought for his homeland as he did in the First World War. Enemy Ace is not a typical superhero, but the character does represent regular people who fight for what they believe to be right. He died of natural causes at the age of 71 in 1969.
11. Union Jack
The very first character to call himself Union Jack, James Montgomery Falsworth, was an exceptional athlete skilled in numerous types of armed and unarmed, hand-to-hand combat. He was a skilled spy who served the United Kingdom in much the same way that Steve Rogers’ Captain America served as a patriotic hero to the United States. Though he lacked any superpowers or chemical enhancements like Rogers, his costume was able to repel gunfire and he was, to all who fought alongside or against him, a true badass and superhero. He fought as a member of the Freedom Five during World War I and with the Invaders during the Second World War.
His nemesis was a vampire named Baron Blood, who turned out to be his own brother. During WWI, the two battled and Falsworth defeated his foe, but he survived. Following WWII, Blood returned and Falsworth put on his old threads after getting some help from Captain America in an attempt to lure his brother out of hiding. Before he was able to carry out his plan, he suffered a heart attack, but Joseph Chapman helped Cap finish things off.
10. Miss America
Madeline Joyce was a wealthy young woman with no superpowers whatsoever… that is, until she met a scientist who created a device that could empower a person if they were struck by lightning. While she was playing around with it, a thunderstorm rolled on in and she was knocked unconscious. When she awoke, she found that she had the ability to fly, was invulnerable, and had super strength and stamina. Since it was all the rage at the time, she donned a patriotic costume similar to Captain America’s and dubbed herself Miss America. She first appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #49, back in 1943.
Throughout WWII, she fought alongside other superheroes in the All-Winners Squad, Liberty Legion, and the Invaders. She even fell in love with Robert Frank, also known as the Whizzer. She and Robert retired in 1951 and toured the world on their pension.
Due to excessive radiation exposure they faced after the war, Madeline’s second child was stillborn and she died as a result of the traumatic childbirth and revelation that her second child did not survive. She mistakenly believed her first child died soon after birth and the shock of a second was more than she could bear.
9. James Wilson
James Wilson was just a regular guy who was down on his luck when he came into the world of Marvel superheroes. After running away from home at the age of 15, he found himself on the streets of Las Angeles. While living in an abandoned tenement , he met the Hulk, who was doing his usual “Leave me alone” thing. The two bonded and from that point, James’ life changed. He became an ally of the Hulk and something of an assistant to the United States Army due to his ability to help calm the rampaging green monster. James spent a great deal of his time helping the Hulk on his numerous adventures and became a part of the superhero community. It was later revealed that Sam Wilson, The Falcon, was his uncle.
James appeared in nearly 100 issues, but during a time when A.I.D.S. was still misunderstood and prejudiced, he succumbed to the disease. It was never revealed exactly how he contracted H.I.V., but it may have been from a blood transfusion. While lying on his deathbed, he asked his friend and ally to transfuse his Gamma-infected blood to save his life. Knowing that would only create another monster, the Hulk only pretended to do so. Jim saw through the deception and apologized for pressuring him.
8. The Question
Vic Sage was an orphan who was raised in Hub City, where he established himself as something of a troublemaker. Once he matured, he attended college to study journalism and eventually became a reporter (as many DC Comics characters do). He never really embraced the life of a reporter, finding that he had difficulty containing his anger and aggression. He then trained with Aristotle Rodor to channel his anger into an alternate persona, The Question. The Question had no superpowers but possessed a brilliant mind and was highly capable at hand-to-hand combat. The character was adapted from another, who was previously published by Charlton Comics and was the inspiration for Alan Moore’s Rorschach from Watchmen miniseries.
When The Question appeared in DC’s The New 52, he made contact with Renee Montoya. He informs her that he believed she should succeed him as The Question and revealed that he was dying of lung cancer. In an attempt to save him, she tried to return him to Nanda Parbat but failed to reach the city before he succumbed to the disease just outside the city’s perimeter. Before he died, he was able to pass the mantle of The Question onto Montoya who donned the mask and became The Question.
7. The Thinker
The first character called the Thinker was originally a failed attorney named Clifford DeVoe, who first appeared in All-Flash #12 in 1943. His time as a lawyer taught him that Gotham City’s villains lacked the skills to achieve their goals so he decided to lend his intellect to them as The Thinker. Though got his start in Gotham, he came into conflict most often with the Flash. Though intelligent, he didn’t possess any superpowers, but he did have a metal hat, called the Thinking Cap, that was able to project a mental force. This became his primary weapon and he used it for years.
He would later go on to join the Suicide Squad in order to get a pardon for his past crimes and was seemingly killed by the Weasel. Later, he was shown to have survived the encounter, but was dying from cancer. It turned out that prolonged exposure to the Thinking Cap contributed to his disease. The Flash tried to save him, but DeVoe refused his offer, preferring instead to die peacefully.
6. Two-Gun Kid
Matthew Hawk started out as a lawyer who decided to abandon his practice and become a crimefighter during the Wild West period. He was inspired to adopt the name Two-Gun Kid by a hero he had read about in his youth. After some training by an aging gunslinger named Ben Dancer, he went out into the world to fight crime and tame the Wild West. He was originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Two-Gun Kid #60, published in 1962, but was later brought into the modern age, thanks to the Avengers and the wonderful storytelling element known as time travel.
Matt would take part in numerous story arcs that took place in the late 20th and early 21st century, including the Secret Invasion and Civil War. It isn’t known exactly when he was returned to his original time, but he lived out his life until he died of old age sometime in the 1930s.
He was misdiagnosed by Dr. Thomas Halloway as being delusional because of his many tales of the future, but following his death, his mask and guns were passed to the doctor who learned of Matt’s true identity as the Two-Gun Kid. Halloway donned the mask and fought during WWII in Matt’s honor, as The Angel.
5. Trick Shot
The original Trick Shot, aka Buck Chisolm, made his first appearance in Solo Avengers #1 in 1987. He was an enemy of Hawkeye and displayed many of the same attributes. Namely, he was an expert marksman and archer who used a variety of trick arrows. In some stories, he appeared as an anti-hero who would ally with his nemesis, but mainly worked for the bad guys.
Chisolm began as a circus performer who trained a young Clint Barton in a retconned explanation of Hawkeye’s origin. Barton found that his mentor was stealing from the carnival’s paymaster and confronted him. Eventually, Clint is pressured into helping rob a bank, where he shoots a guard who turned out to be his brother, Barney. Clint turned against his mentor once again and the two have remained enemies ever since.
Many years later, Chisolm’s lifestyle of drinking and unhealthy living caught up with him in the form of cancer. Refusing to die in his bed, he challenged his former pupil to a death duel, intent on losing. Barton learns of Chisolm’s cancer and, after defeating him, agrees to fund his treatment instead of killing him. Chisolm’s cancer goes into remission but eventually returns.
After getting involved with Baron Zemo, Chisolm is tricked and dropped at Avengers Mansion as a message to Barton from his brother Barney. He died from his cancer a short while later, and Barney took up the Trick Shot mantle.
Marcus Daniels was working as a laboratory assistant when an accident in a lab caused him to be bathed in the extra-dimensional energy of the Darkforce (you know, that old chestnut). The Darkforce is a type of energy that comes from the Darkforce Dimension, which is used by another Marvel character, Cloak. With his newfound powers, Daniels became Blackout and set out to live his life as a criminal. He had difficulty controlling the energies he could tap into and required a stabilizing device to protect his sanity. He became paranoid and somewhat delusional over time.
Eventually, he would join the newly-formed Masters of Evil under the command of Baron Zemo, but his mental condition continued to deteriorate. Zemo was forced to control Blackout through mental manipulation to get beyond his psychological issues and he was instrumental in defeating the Avengers by sending them to the Darkforce Dimension. He rebelled against Zemo and regained some of his mental faculties thanks to the help of Doctor Druid. The mental strain proved too much and he succumbed to a massive cerebral hemorrhage.
Will Everett was an athlete and Olympian who competed in the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin before finding work in a laboratory once his athletic career came to an end. A lab accident and subsequent explosion exposed Everett to some dangerous chemicals, which altered his physiology in amazing ways. He gained the ability to mimic any substance he touched such that were he to touch diamond, his body would then be composed of diamond. Initially, he worked as a henchman for the Ultra-Humanite and Deathbolt, but later joined the good guys in the All-Star Squadron. He fought alongside his teammates throughout the war-torn 1940s and became a civil rights activist during the 1960s.
Everett fought the good fight but was last seen in Justice League America #86-87, laying in a hospital bed, afflicted with an unspecified form of cancer. Will Everett III, his grandson, was visiting him in the hospital and he would later become Amazing-Man in place of his grandfather. Sadly, he would die and be replaced by another grandson, Markus Clay who continued to honor his grandfather’s memory by carrying on the family tradition of crime-fighting in the name of Amazing-Man.
2. Jeffrey Mace
Jeffrey Solomon “Jeff” Mace was the Golden Age comic book character known as the Patriot. He was created by Ray Fill and Bill Everett for Timely Comics’ The Human Torch #4 in the Spring of 1941. Though he didn’t have any superpowers, he was an exceptional athlete skilled in various forms of hand-to-hand combat. Do to Marvel’s tinkering with Golden Age characters and retroactive continuity, it was revealed that Mace also worked as the third Captain America after Steve Rogers went missing at the end of the war.
Mace’s appearances in the Modern Age of comics were in the form of flashbacks. As the third Captain America, he was revealed to have carried the shield between 1946 and 1950 but was also seen in later Captain America Annual issues, where he took part in various post-war adventures. His death was depicted in Captain America #282 in September 1983. Like many on this list, Mace died from an unspecified form of cancer, in a story titled “Letting Go.”
1. Captain Marvel
Following the first encounter between the Kree and humanity, Captain Mar-Vell is dispatched to determine whether or not Earth is a threat to the Kree Empire. While observing the people of Earth, Mar-Vell dons his uniform and intervenes to save those he is keeping an eye on. As he does this, the people mistakenly hear his name as Captain Marvel and the name stuck. He is accused of treason by the Kree and sentenced to death, but escapes and ends up in the Negative Zone. While there, he communicates with Rick Jones telepathically and leads him to the Nega-Bands, which, when struck together, transfer Mar-Vell and Jones between Earth and the Negative Zone.
Through the 1970s and 1980s, Mar-Vell worked as a superhero and became friends and allies with most of the Marvel universe’s superheroes. Mar-Vell learned that during a battle with the villain Nitro in 1974, exposure to Compound 13 Nerve Gas has led to the development of cancer, which was unable to be treated due to the Nega-Bands’ influence. He dies on Titan surrounded by his friends.
Thanks to the usual techniques employed in comics, Mar-Vell eventually returns, but his death was a major event in the Marvel Universe when it was published in The Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel in 1982.
Are they any other superheroes or villains who didn’t go out in a blaze of glory? Let us know in the comments!