The comic book death has completely lost its meaning. Back during the Golden and Silver Ages of the industry, a character’s death was a huge event that completely shook the comic world to its core. Remember how big of a deal it was when Jason Todd died? Or when Spider-Man’s true love Gwen Stacey met her tragic end? Both were seen as game-changers that left a lasting impact on the characters forever.
However, everything changed in 1993, when DC decided to kill off the Man of Steel in The Death of Superman. Though the story was initially a financial success, fans were beyond livid when Kal-El reappeared in the world of the living just one year after his supposed “death.”
This trend has continued in the twenty-four years since – now it’s a rarity for characters to have never died! Because death has lost its meaning in the industry writers have gone out of their way to make sure that “their interpretation” of a character’s demise stands out from the rest. This has led to some ridiculously bizarre, creative, and downright disturbing ways in which our favorite heroes and villains have bit the dust.
Here are the 15 CRAZIEST Comic Book Deaths!
15. Wolverine vs Magneto
There’s evil, and then there is Ultimatum Magneto evil. While Eric Lehnsherr has always been a major threat to the X-Men, this storyline showed us how truly terrifying he could be if he unleashed his full wrath on the world. Ultimatum sees the villain go off the rails after the death of his two children (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch).
He ends up leading a group of mutants that kill countless humans as well as a bunch of the Ultimate universe’s superheroes. This was the story that famously saw the Blob cannibalizing the Wasp, Doctor Strange get strangled by his own cape, and Cyclops brutally shot in the head.
Even though the aforementioned deaths were shocking and violent, none of them compare to how Logan goes out in this story. During a major battle, Magneto uses his powers to turn Iron Man’s repulsors and Cyclops’ optic blast on Wolverine at full blast, completely melting the skin off his bones.
Thinking he has won, Eric gloats over Logan’s corpse, only for the hero to stand back up and stab him in the chest. Magneto then rips the adamantium from Wolverine’s bones, turning him into nothing but a charred pile of ash.
14. Hal Jordan dis-arms Guy Gardner
DC was able to strike gold with their recent Injustice: Gods Among Us series. Based on the game of the same name, this story deals with the aftermath of Superman turning into a criminal-murdering dictator. A large chunk of the DC heroes follow suit with these murderous tendencies, but Batman (of course!) leads a rag-tag resistance movement with characters who think Clark has gone too far. This series is so much fun because it doesn’t have to follow any of the canon from the main comics.
While characters bite the dust in almost every single issue, it was Guy Gardner’s death that was the most creatively sinister. Being the original human Lantern, Hal Jordan has always been a respected friend to Guy. This makes it all the more heartbreaking when an evil, Yellow Ring-powered Hal ends kills him during the Year Two storyline.
Even worse is the fact that the Green Lantern refuses to fight his friend! Instead he tries to reason with Hal, saying that the Yellow Light is poisoning his mind. Gardner’s words prove to be worthless, as Jordan rips off the arm holding his Power Ring and lets the de-powered hero fall to his death.
13. Death by Jackhammer
Kicking our list off is one of the many murders of the hyper-violent Wildstorm character, the Midnighter. In this comic, the Midnighter is what you’d get if you crossed the Comedian with Batman and sprinkled in a little bit of the Punisher. Lucas Trent is an artificially-enhanced human who gets his kicks by violently killing criminals alongside his partner (both in justice and in love) Apollo. The couple are quite obviously a different take on the Batman/Superman relationship that we all know and love.
During the Authority story arc, the Government sends a team of evil “Avengers-like” characters after the main heroes. One of these guys, the Commander, gets into a scuffle with a de-powered Apollo in which he defeats and seemingly violates the helpless superhero. When the two meet again, Apollo is at full power; he cripples the Commander and leaves him at the mercy of his lover.
12. Cyclops Suffocates in an Energy Cube
If Marvel knows what the fans want (and they most certainly do), we’re bound to see some of the creative deaths from The Infinity Gauntlet storyline make their way into Avengers: Infinity War. In this story, everyone dies. First, the Mad Titan Thanos is able to use the Infinity Stones to wipe out half of existence with the mere snap of his fingers.
Then the surviving heroes (and a few villains) of the Marvel Universe launch an all-out assault on Thanos in which several of them are killed off in spectacular fashion; Spider-Man is beaten to death, Vision gets his insides ripped out, Cap gets backhanded to death after his shield shatters, and Iron Man gets decapitated. Yikes.
It was arguably Cyclops’ death, however, that was the craziest. Thanos didn’t punch him or stab him or break his neck. Instead, he encloses the X-Man’s head in a cube of pure energy, reflecting his own optic blast back into his face. Though that didn’t kill him at first, all oxygen was cut off to Scott’s lungs and he suffocated inside the cube. There’s a reason they call this guy the Mad Titan!
11. The Avengers are killed by Miniature Bombs
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe is one of those fun “What If?” stories that allows fans to turn off their brains and just go along for the ride. Sure, the characters in it are inconsistent at times and sure, the writers completely forget about half of the victims’ powers, but what other story lets you see the Merc with the Mouth go full-on villain?
At the start of this tale, Wade Wilson is brainwashed by the villain Psycho-Man. Instead of doing his bidding, Wade kills the baddie and goes off on a mission to kill everyone in the Marvel Universe.
Though there are numerous deaths from this story that could be included here, the way that Deadpool kills the Avengers takes the cake. We see the superhero team all sitting around in Avengers Mansion drinking coffee and discussing how to best stop the murderous merc.
Suddenly Deadpool appears; he had infiltrated the base by shrinking himself down with Pym Particles. He retorts “You guys sure drink a lot of coffee” as he uses the particles to re-grow the micro bombs he had put in their drinks. Needless to say, they all get blown up.
10. The Flash Runs Himself to Death
1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths was a game-changer for the acclaimed publisher. This crossover started the idea of there being multiple dimensions in the DC Universe, each going by the name “Earth-(X).” Revealing to fans that there were many different versions of their favorite heroes and villains meant that DC could now play around with alternate timelines and introduce slightly-tweaked characters into their main canon. Not to mention, this story gave us two of the biggest deaths of the Silver Age.
Everyone will remember the iconic cover with Superman screaming in agony over his cousin’s lifeless body. What they normally forget, however, is that this series saw Barry Allen meet his demise at the hands of the Anti-Monitor’s technology.
The plotline of Crisis is much too complex to get into now, but the main point is that the Anti-Monitor wants to destroy the five “Earths” that have merged together by firing an antimatter cannon into the “limbo universe.” In a last ditch effort to save the world, The Flash runs as quickly as he can in a circle around the anti-matter cannon; he runs so fast that he absorbs the cannon’s energy and degrades his body down to nothing.
9. She-Hulk Rips Vision In Half
Love it or hate it, readers have to admit that Avengers: Disassembled led to a much-needed rejuvenation of the beloved title. Sales of The Avengers had began to slump, so Marvel brought on writer Brian Michael Bendis to try and right the ship. The result was a controversial story that saw heroes turn evil and axed multiple characters that had been mainstays of the team since the Silver Age.
After all was said and done, a new team (featuring Spider-Man and Wolverine) rose from the ashes and brought the series back to its former glory.
During this story, Doctor Doom is finally able to sway Scarlet Witch over to the dark side. She infects the Vision with a bunch of Ultron nanobots that hatch after he spews them out of his body in the Avengers Mansion. While the rest of the team is occupied with these robots, Wanda hexes She-Hulk and turns her into a raging monster; she grabs Vision and proceeds to rip him in half vertically. The fact that she was his former teammate only adds a twisted insult to the fatal injury.
8. The Joker Snaps his Own Neck
Today, Frank Miller is seen as one of those comic book writers that is extremely hit or miss. In his early days, however, Miller was able to cement himself as one of the greatest comic book minds of our generation. The Dark Knight Returns featured masterful writing, a unique art style, and ended the stories of classic Batman characters in a satisfying way.
Of course, you can’t write a great Batman story without involving the Clown Prince of Crime somehow! TDKR features a Joker who has been cured of his psychosis and is now living a normal life in the post-Batman world. However, the second he sees that the Caped Crusader has returned, he snaps and goes back to his murderous ways.
This gives us a final conclusion to the arch-rivals’ struggle – Batman beats the Joker within an inch of his life, snapping his neck but stopping short of killing the clown. In one final act of defiance, the Joker continues to contort his neck, killing himself while laughing at the realization that everyone will think Batman did it.
7. Wolverine’s Liquefied Innards
Remember when we said The Infinity Gauntlet had some brutal deaths? Cyclops’ may have been creative, but Wolverine’s was downright horrifying! Logan has consistently been shown as one of Marvel’s most powerful superheroes with an incredible healing factor, indestructible bones, and razor-sharp claws. This is why it is so horrifying to see him taken out by Thanos without so much as breaking a sweat.
When the heroes go to face the Mad Titan, Logan is one of the first to engage the villain. Thanos simply smiles at the attack and uses his powers to turn all of Wolverine’s bones into jelly. Just take one look at that image and tell us it isn’t horrifying!
The Mad Titan would use this technique again on Wade Wilson in Deadpool vs. Thanos, where he reduced the Merc with the Mouth into a pile of bloody pulp before realizing that it would be more of a curse to let him live than to kill him.
6. Punisher Beats Doctor Doom to Death with a Sledgehammer
Even though Deadpool’s rampage through the Marvel Universe was much more well-known and recent, Frank Castle actually did it first. In 1995’s The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe the titular character was reimagined as a superhero-hating psychopath who made it his mission to hunt down and kill off all costumed vigilantes. Much like Deadpool Kills, this story had its issues. Unlike Deadpool Kills, this one-shot was a total flop.
Even so, the way that Frank Castle disposes of Doctor Doom is definitely one for the ages. Fans will be quick to point out that Doom never goes anywhere without his signature armor and that Punisher’s bullets couldn’t do any harm to the evil ruler. However, Frank didn’t need a gun to kill Doom; he sets off a magnetic mine on the villain’s head instead!
Though the mine doesn’t penetrate the thick armor, it pins Doom to the ground and keeps him from moving. The Punisher grabs a sledgehammer and says “We’ve got all the time in the world” before proceeding to smash away at Doom’s face until, well… Squitch.
5. Wolverine Cuts His Way Out of the Hulk’s Innards
Old Man Logan is… well…”insane” doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Mark Millar’s Elseworlds tale of a Marvel universe in which the Red Skull has killed most of the superheroes and has taken over as a dictator is one of the greatest stories in recent memory. But that doesn’t make it any less weird!
OML has inbred Hulk children as well as a symbiote-infused Tyrannosaurus Rex and a scene in which Wolverine decapitates the Red Skull with Captain America’s shield.
The climax is probably one of the most gruesome and creative ways we’ve every seen a character meet his maker. Logan returns home from his long journey to find that the Hulk’s grandchildren have murdered his family. In a fit of rage, the old hero kills all of them and sets his sights on Bruce Banner himself.
In his human form Banner still gives Logan a run for his money, but when he transforms into the Hulk he quickly ends the fight by devouring Wolverine. A few hours later, Logan’s healing factor fully kicks in and he slices his way out of Banner’s stomach.
4. Peter Parker Mind-Swapped with a dying Doc Ock
Back in 2014, Marvel decided that they were going to end The Amazing Spider-Man‘s nearly fifty-year run with issue #700. They wanted the series to go out with a bang before the (inevitable) relaunch down the road as well as create a new series that fans could get into as much as they had this one.
The resulting The Superior Spider-Man gave readers a fresh take on the character and exceeded the company’s wildest expectations. The man behind the mask in Superior Spider-Man was not Peter Parker, however. It was just Doc Ock in Peter’s body.
For those of you who might be confused, let us explain: Amazing Spider-Man #700 saw the Wallcrawler taking on his old arch-enemy one last time. Otto Octavius was at death’s door but wanted to make sure he gave Spidey hell one last time. However, at the end of the issue, Octavius was able to successfully switch his mind with Peter’s.
3. Justice Society Murdered by a Comic Book Writer
Alright, here’s where we really start getting into the next-level crazy. In Justice League of America #124, the famous superhero team is mourning the deaths of The Justice Society at their own hands. Not understanding why they would kill their fellow heroes, the League goes searching for answers with the help of Elliot S. Maggin, a writer at DC Comics who lives in “Earth-Prime” (aka our world). Oh, it gets crazier.
Maggin is searching for Cary Bates, a fellow writer from Earth-Prime who was thrown into an abyss, where he gained superpowers and turned evil. You see, it was his own writing that turned the Justice League against the Justice Society and led to their demise.
After a series of events, the Justice Society is resurrected and Bates is turned back to the light. He and Maggins are then sent back to their own world, where they must furiously try to convince their editor of a way around the many plot holes they just created in the comic.
2. Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe
Before Deadpool or Frank Castle set their murderous sights on the rest of the Marvel Universe there was… Fred Hembeck?! Hembeck is a beloved cartoonist who often writes parodies of famous comic book characters.
In 1989 Marvel decided that it was time for Hembeck to play the role of harbinger of death. The story starts out with Hembeck as a homeless man living in a dark alley with only a singular comic book to keep him warm. Suddenly he is approached by the Punisher, who claims that Fred is responsible for destroying all of the Marvel Universe.
Hembeck then tells the story of how “Crackers” the Wizard went around killing all of the superheroes, including stabbing Daredevil with a sai, mind-swapping Namor and an electrical villain (which killed the Submariner when he tried to hop back into the water), and Ant-Man getting microwaved alive.
1. “Go F*** Yourself”
You could randomly flip through the Preacher comics, stop on a page, and it would probably contain something worthy of one of our “craziest” lists. Written by Garth Ennis and recently adapted for TV, the story follows Jesse Custer, a small-town Texas preacher who gets infected with a power called “Genesis” that allows him to command people to do whatever he says. After a terrible accident in his hometown he sets off with his assassin ex-girlfriend and vampire best friend to literally “find God.” We told you it’s crazy!
The most twisted of all of Preacher‘s deaths was one the show cut out. After long periods of annoyance from the Hugo Root (the local Sheriff), Jesse finally uses Genesis on the officer. He looks Root square in the eyes and tells him to “go f*** yourself.” The power of Genesis requires the Sheriff to do as he is commanded, so Root cuts off his own manhood and shoves it where the sun doesn’t shine.
As an ambulance rushes him to the hospital, Hugo asks his son to hand him his gun; the Sheriff shoots himself in front of his son and a large group of paramedics.
Did we miss any other crazy comic book deaths? Let us know in the comments!
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