In the world of comics, there’s a constant battle raging between the forces of good and evil. Superheroes work together to take on supervillains and keep them from destroying worlds, killing innocents, and gaining untold power. With such fierce battles taking place, it’s not surprising that both sides often experience casualties. While many of those deaths are of minor characters or simple peons, there have been many instances where well-known and powerful heroes and villains meet their end.
On occasion, some heroes and villains have returned to life. However, not everyone is so lucky. We’ve already covered the superheroes who died and stayed dead, so now it’s time to review the supervillains who have departed this world, never to return. In this regard, there are numerous cases where heroes have succeeded in stopping the actors of evil, ending their reign of darkness permanently.
Here’s our list of 20 Supervillains Who Died And Stayed Dead.
20. Composite Superman
Joseph Meach was a man who fell on hard times in Metropolis. In an effort to build publicity and regain his former glory as a diver, he decided to dive off a building into a tank of water on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, the tank had a leak, which would have meant the demise of Meach had Superman not swept in to save the day. Seeing Meach’s discouragement, Superman helped him get a job as a janitor at the Superman Museum. While working at the museum, Meach was standing before a statue when it was struck with lightning. The event unleashed a blast of energy that hit Meach and gave him incredible powers.
In his own discouraged state of mind, Meach decided to take down Superman, Batman and Robin. He created a suit that was half-Superman, half-Batman, and called himself Composite Superman. Using his new telepathic ability, Meach learned the true identities of the heroes and planned to release their secrets to the public. Fortunately for Superman and friends, Meach lost his powers before he could complete his plan.
A few years later, with the help of an alien named Xan, Meach was able to recreate the event that gave him his original powers and again take on the persona and abilities of Composite Superman. He captured Superman and Batman and tried to kill them. Once again, however, his powers were lost before he completed the deed. Xan stepped in and used his Magna-Gun to shoot at the heroic duo, but a remorseful Meach jumped in the way of the blast, sacrificing himself to save Superman and Batman. Because of this final act of heroism, a statue was erected for Meach with the saying that he “lived a villain, but died a hero.”
19. William Stryker
William Stryker has earned a place as one of the greatest supervillains in comic book history. However, his position wasn’t enough to keep him from meeting a permanent end in the Marvel Decimation storyline of the X-Men.
The Weapon X religious fanatic was responsible for inserting Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, and taking on the X-Men alongside fellow supervillain Magneto. Thanks to his military background, Stryker was able to create the Purifiers, a paramilitary organization tasked with doing Stryker’s bidding, which often included targeting members of the X-Men.
A great battle broke out between the X-Men and Stryker’s Purifiers, leading to deaths on both sides. To stop the war, Wolverine ordered Archangel to defeat Stryker, which he did by cutting the supervillain in half with his wings. While the action defeated Stryker, it didn’t permanently end the war since Stryker’s son, Jason, continued his father’s work with the Purifiers after Stryker’s death.
Shredder is one of the most well-known supervillains in history, having been featured as the primary nemesis to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in many depictions of the crime-fighting turtles. As the leader of the Foot Clan, Shredder had a personal vendetta against Splinter and the Ninja Turtles, and worked tirelessly to eliminate them. At one point, Shredder offered Splinter a position in his army, but as expected, Splinter refused and carried on fighting against Shredder and the Foot Clan.
Although his Foot Clan cronies primarily fought against the Ninja Turtles, Shredder’s own demise came at the hand of the rat sensei. The supervillain fought against Splinter and the Ninja Turtles with the aid of his Foot Clan, but was ultimately defeated by the heroes. Before his final end, Shredder admitted his faults and revealed that he had introduced a new head of the Foot Clan. After his confession, Splinter slashed the back of Shredder’s head with a sword, permanently retiring the supervillain.
17. Bolivar Trask
Until X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bolivar Trask was a relatively unknown supervillain to the general public. Now his fame as the military scientist who built the Sentinels to take down the world’s mutants is common knowledge. He originally created the Sentinels at his company, Trask Industries, in an effort to stop what he saw as a growing mutant threat to mankind. Unfortunately, the sentinels Trask created were too open-ended in their programming, and turned against Trask, seeing themselves as superior to humans.
During a battle with the X-Men, the sentinels capture Beast and force Trask to read his mind. In doing so, Trask discovers that the X-Men are mutants working to protect and defend humans and that he had made a serious mistake in fighting against them. With this new knowledge, Trask sacrifices himself to destroy the Sentinel’s base.
In X-Force, the Purifiers, who were working to build a team of the world’s top mutant killers, resurrected Trask. The Purifiers credited Trask with killing over 16 million mutants since he was the creator of the Sentinels. Still haunted by the remorse he felt before his first death, Trask killed himself and left the land of the living forever.
16. Alistair Smythe
Alistair was the son of Spencer Smythe, a man who viciously hated Spider-Man and sought diligently to destroy him. Before his death, Spencer created the Spider-Slayers, a series of robots whose mission was to find and eliminate the web-crawler. Spencer was ultimately defeated by Superior Spider-Man, which left the door open for Alistair to pick up where his father left off. To do so, Alistair built a unique contraption that would help him overcome his inability to walk, and give him incredible strength and body armor so he could take on Mr. Web Slinger himself.
The two engaged in multiple battles, with Superior Spider-Man slaying Smythe’s physical body, but failing to destroy his mind. In retaliation, Smythe attempted to enter Superior Spider-Man’s body and take over his life, which would end the mind of Spider-Man. To his dismay, Superior Spider-Man’s armor-plated mask kept Smythe’s mind from entering and taking over. Then, in a significant twist, it’s revealed that Dr. Octopus had already taken over Spider-Man’s body with his own mind-transfer, and was ultimately the one who took down Smythe. Bodiless and with his mind now broken, Smythe left the world as a failed villain.
15. Grim Reaper
Eric Williams was a troubled child whose mom cared more for his brother Simon, and whose dad was abusive. Over the years, Simon grew more bitter at the world and eventually joined up with the mafia, while his brother ran the family business, Williams Innovations. When the business fell on hard times, Simon turned to Eric for help, asking him to use his mafia contacts to support the business, but the action ultimately led to Simon’s imprisonment. To make up for his misdeeds, the Avengers recruited Simon and transformed him into Wonder Man. Unfortunately, Simon died saving the Avengers from a villain named Zemo.
In his despair, Eric determined to get back at the Avengers for his brother’s death, and obtained a scythe weapon, enhanced with coma-inducing abilities. He took on the name Grim Reaper and went after the Avengers. Over the course of some time, Grim Reaper and the Avengers engaged in numerous battles, with both sides winning at various times. Grim Reaper died on a couple occasions, but was brought back each time. Later, in the Marvel NOW! relaunch, Grim Reaper took on Avengers, but was ultimately killed permanently by Vision’s wife.
The first Electrocutioner in the DC Comics world worked on the side of justice, but that ended when Lester Buchinsky took over the role. Instead of fighting for good, Buchinsky lived the life of a criminal and mercenary, and fought the likes of Batman, Robin and Nightwing. His endeavors of evil helped land him in the Secret Society of Super Villains, where he teamed up with numerous other villains and bad guys to take on the Justice League.
In the Rise and Fall storyline, Electrocutioner was responsible for setting off a device that devastated Star City. This pushed Green Arrow and Speedy to take on Electrocutioner and make him pay for his wrongdoings. Just as Green Arrow was about to take the kill shot, Black Canary stopped him, allowing Electrocutioner to escape. However, due to an injury inflicted by Speedy, Electrocutioner was unable to keep away and was eventually captured by Green Arrow and Speedy. Unfortunately for Electrocutioner, Speedy wasn’t too happy with the plan to let him live, and ultimately broke into jail to kill the Electrocutioner, ending his wickedness for good.
13. The Rev
Despite being an atheist, Samuel “the Rev” Smith started a church known as the Church of the Saved, where he taught his people and exercised his faith healing abilities. However, since he wasn’t as interested in preaching righteousness as he was in amassing power, the Rev planned to move his congregation out of the United States to start their own sovereign entity. During this time, the Punisher infiltrated the Rev’s ranks and lived undercover until the time arose that he could stop the Rev. That moment came when the Rev was planning to poison his followers as a mass suicide. The Punisher shot the Rev in the stomach and left him for dead, telling his followers that the Rev’s dying wish was for the congregation to go back to the United States.
Still alive, the Rev began to worship another supervillain named Belasco, who the Rev believed to be Satan. Together, the two villains planned to dump a sterility drug into the Gulf Stream and purge mankind. However, their efforts were halted when the Punisher arrived to destroy them. The Rev boarded a helicopter in an effort to escape, not knowing that the Punisher had planted a bomb on it. The Punisher detonated the bomb, causing the helicopter to go down in flames with the Rev on board.
Autumn Rolfson was an anorexic girl who, as a mutant, had the ability to disintegrate food. Seeing her abilities, Apocalypse, another supervillain, recruited Rolfson to join him, under the guise that she could get revenge against her parents and others who had hurt her. Rolfson cut her hair, donned a green mask, and took on the alter ego Famine.
Apocalypse made Famine a member of his Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and sent the team to take down X-Force. They engaged in numerous battles, but were ultimately stopped by X-Force. Some time later, Rolfson discovered she was pregnant with Apocalypse’s son and fled to protect her child from the supervillain. Archangel, who became the heir to Apocalypse, met with Rolfson and convinced her and her son, who went by the name Genocide, to join him in cleansing the world. However, after Archangel sent Genocide to murder the residents of a small town in Montana, Rolfson confronted Archangel, where Archangel killed her.
11. Black Mask
Before becoming Black Mask, Roman Sionis was a wealthy young man in Gotham who detested the way his rich, self-absorbed parents lived. In public, they worked diligently to maintain their social status, often associating with the Waynes, who they secretly hated. Sionis saw this and resented the “masks” they seemed to wear in public. After his parents died, Sionis took over the family business, but lacking the expertise and skill needed to succeed, ran the company into the ground. Hoping to still see it succeed, Sionis went to Bruce Wayne for help, but Wayne said he would only bail the company out if he could have full control. Outraged, Sionis went to his parents’ crypt, where he was struck by lightning. Taking it as an omen, Sionis crafted a mask from the ebony remains of his father’s now broken casket and became the Black Mask.
Over time, Black Mask took on Batman, Robin, and their pals in Gotham. At one point, he threatened to kill two of Catwoman’s loved ones, enraging the feline character. In return, Catwoman shot him, blowing off his jaw and killing him. In DC’s Blackest Night story arc, Black Mask came back as a Black Lantern and confronted Catwoman. However, Poison Ivy was able to trap Black Mask in a mutated Pitcher plant that had corrosive digestive juices which broke down Black Mask’s body as fast as his Black Lantern ring could regenerate him. Stuck in limbo, Black Mask was effectively removed from the world for good.
Another one of the top Marvel supervillains of all time, Mastermind had the ability to generate telepathic illusions for others. Little is known about his life before he joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, other than that he was a carnival mentalist. As a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mastermind and his cohorts were often at conflict with the X-Men. And because of his unique telepathic abilities, Mastermind was able to instill illusions in the minds of fellow mutants, all save for Professor X, who was able to see through them and help the X-Men defeat Mastermind.
One of Mastermind’s greatest attempts at beating the X-Men came when he tried to take over Jean Grey’s Phoenix Force. Upset by his efforts, Phoenix instead reached into Mastermind’s own mind and made him experience a moment of godhood, which left him catatonic. Eventually, Mastermind was stricken with the Legacy Virus. Near death, he asked Grey’s forgiveness for trying to control her Phoenix Force. She forgave him and he died peacefully in her arms.
Before becoming Bushwacker, Carl Burbank lived as a priest in New York City. However, following the deaths of young parishioners, he forsook his religious vows and joined the CIA, where he received a cybernetic arm and the name Bushwacker. After a short time with the CIA, Bushwacker moved to freelance work, and eventually took up assassinating mutants, especially those whose abilities gave them special talents in the arts.
Wolverine, and eventually Daredevil, went after Bushwacker in an effort to stop his killing spree. The supervillain also had run-ins with The Punisher and Elektra while employed by Kingpin. Bushwacker spent time in the supervillain holding facility Raft, but was able to escape during a mass breakout.
Bushwacker’s violent exploits continued off and on with these and other heroes, but were ultimately stopped by Wolverine. While Bushwacker was working to assassinate Domino, Wolverine found him and executed him with a middle claw to the throat.
8. Time Commander
John Starr worked as a scientist before losing his job and turning to a life of crime. While in prison, he created the Hourglass, a device that allowed him to control time. Using the Hourglass, Starr, now calling himself Time Commander, set out to rewrite his past. However, his first attempts to kill his former employer and make it look like he was innocent of his prior crimes were foiled by Green Lantern and Batman.
Over time, Starr’s desires grew greater and he began resurrecting the dead in an effort to return mankind to the first couple in Eden. In his own mind, Time Commander was seeking to use his Hourglass for good. However, others didn’t see it that way and Time Commander was defeated.
Years later, Time Commander was caught inside an hourglass, where he chided the superhero Waverider for failed promises to make Starr a Time Master. Eventually, Time Commander died by dissolving into sand, leaving him figuratively and literally out of time.
Typhon was the son of Tartarus and Gaia, two characters of Greek mythology, and the father of many mythical monsters. He was known for his hatred of Zeus and his endeavors to dethrone the God of Thunder and Mt. Olympus. At one point, Typhon was able to defeat and imprison Zeus, but Zeus’s son Hermes helped his father escape the clutches of Typhon.
His plan foiled, Typhon made his way to earth where he fought numerous battles with Hercules. At one point, while Hercules went to the aid of Zeus, the Avengers were called to battle Typhon. However, it wasn’t until Hercules returned to join the fight again that Typhon was defeated.
Thanks to the goddess Athena, Typhon witnessed a vision of himself defeating Hercules. At this, his heart took courage and he continued his efforts to defeat the Olympian hero. Unfortunately for Typhon, he was destroyed alongside Hercules during combat.
6. Amon Sur
Amon Sur was the son of Abin Sur, a notable member of the Green Lantern Corps. Because he felt abandoned by his father, Amon swore vengeance against the entire Green Lantern Corps. However, his efforts were delayed when he was stopped by Hal Jordan’s successor, Kyle Rayner, and Lianna, a second-generation Guardian of the Galaxy. During a battle between them, Lianna decapitated Sur, but because of his heritage, Sur was able to regrow his head and carry on his efforts to destroy the Green Lantern Corps.
After gaining power, the Sinestro Corps recruited Sur and invaded earth. However, Sur fled for his life after learning the Green Lanterns had authority to use lethal force against members of the Sinestro Corps. He was eventually tracked down and executed, with his body burned to prevent any chance of resurrection.
Despite being incinerated, Sur returned as a Black Lantern during the Blackest Night storyline. However, shortly after his reanimation, Sur’s ring came off and he was crippled and destroyed by Hal Jordan and members of the Indigo Tribe.
Before discovering his mutant abilities, Gideon was a sailor with the Spanish armada. While at sea, he contracted scurvy and died. However, a few hours after being buried, Gideon awoke to discover he had immortal mutant abilities.
Over the next few centuries, Gideon built his wealth and joined the Externals, a group of antagonistic mutants. He was strongly against X-Force and considered them to be criminals, which led to multiple clashes, including one where Gideon defeated the New Warriors.
Hydra approached Gideon to join their ranks, but he refused and battled a Hydra strike force. Thanks to Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., Gideon was able to defeat the strike force. Despite his actions against Hydra, X-Force attacked and captured Gideon for having tortured the New Warriors earlier.
Eventually, all Externals were executed and, because he’d been a member, Gideon suffered the same fate. Despite being immortal, Gideon succumbed to eternal darkness at the hands of the energy vampire, Selene.
Nathaniel Tryon worked as a security guard at a nuclear reactor while moonlighting as a petty thug. Tryon joined forces with two other criminals to form the TNT Trio and decided to rob the nuclear plant where he worked. During the heist, Tryon was caught in a nuclear reactor meltdown and was transformed into a sentient nuclear energy, which could only be contained with the help of a special suit. After learning the government had both caused and covered up the meltdown, Tryon, now known as Neutron, killed those responsible and embraced a life of crime.
Neutron fought Superman, but was defeated and imprisoned at S.T.A.R. Labs for his actions. He was able to escape when the Fearsome Five attacked the prison and continued his evil ways, working with various groups as a villain for hire. Eventually, Lex Luthor used him as a power source for a teleporter and Neutron was killed when the teleporter device self-destructed.
Scream was one of five creatures generated from the original Venom symbiote. She was a member of the Life Foundation, an organization set up to help the wealthy survive the fallout of a potential nuclear war. However, her intentions weren’t always good, and during her first public appearance she was caught terrorizing a shopping mall in California. Spider-Man responded to the call and easily defeated Scream.
After the symbiote invasion of earth, Scream spent time seeking out the last few surviving symbiotes. During her endeavors, Scream encountered an alien that devoured symbiotes and, with the help of Venom, was able to defeat the beast. With the creature dead, Scream carried on with her efforts to seek out fellow symbiotes.
Jeffrey Franklin Burr was stolen away from his home at birth by the Cult of the Kobra God thanks to a prophecy that said he would lead the group to rule the world. As a member of the cult, Burr accepted the mantle of Kobra and became a skilled scientist and terrorist who tangled with most of Earth’s costumed heroes, including Batman, Wonder Woman, and others. His end goal was always to usher in the age of chaos and take his place as rightful ruler of Earth.
The Justice Society of America eventually captured Kobra. During his trial, Kobra’s followers took the media hostage, allowing Kobra to escape. Upset at the situation, Black Adam and Atom Smasher left the Justice Society and pursued Kobra and tracked him to the Himalaya Mountains. Once there, the duo killed Kobra’s guards and Black Adam ripped Kobra’s heart out, killing him instantly and permanently.
Philip Sterns was a former schoolmate of Bruce Banner who became obsessed with the Hulk. In an effort to emulate the giant green superhero, Sterns experimented on himself with gamma radiation and eventually transformed into a monster with incredible strength and multiple personality disorder. One of those personalities began giving Sterns orders that led him to become an enemy of the Hulk.
Sterns began calling himself Madman and started injecting the Hulk with a poison that deteriorated his physical state. Samuel Sterns, Madman’s brother, came to the aid of the Hulk and helped him reverse the affects of the poison with an antidote.
Madman was eventually defeated as part of Marvel NOW! by his own brother, Samuel. After being exposed to gamma radiation, Samuel became known as Leader, a humanoid with telepathic powers. During an exchange, Leader whispered something to Madman, killing him on the spot.