Time flows differently in the world of superhero comics. Batman can remain in his thirties for decades in the real world, while teenage superheroes can grow into adults in the space of a few issues. Time flows at a speed that is convenient for the writers and the audience, yet for some, it does not flow at all. The worlds of Marvel and DC comics are filled with immortal beings that cannot die from the ravages of old age. They make up some of the most powerful heroes and despicable villains of their respective universes. Immortality does not guarantee a long life, however, and with strange aeons, even death itself may die.
We are here today to look at the ancient and powerful beings that aren't as durable as they first seem. From the devourer of worlds to the king of monsters, from the lord of Apokolips to the actual Apocalypse himself. They can all be taken down just like anyone else.
Here are the 15 Immortal Comic Book Characters Who Keep Getting Killed!
Galactus is one of the most ancient beings in the Marvel universe. He is the last survivor of the universe that existed before the big bang, who was reborn in our reality as Galactus. He can only sustain himself on the life force of planets, which has caused Galactus to wipe out countless lives in the process of his feeding.
The Silver Surfer was responsible for killing Galactus in the Galactus the Devourer miniseries. He did this by turning Galactus' energy siphoning machine back onto him. In the What If... comic that dealt with the future of the Age of Apocalypse timeline, Galactus was killed by an alliance of Magneto's X-Men and the remaining human heroes. He was also devoured by the Marvel Zombies.
In Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer, Galactus is killed pretty easily by the Silver Surfer at the end of the movie. If you are going to take video games into account, then Galactus was defeated by many different Capcom characters in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. He is the end boss of the game, which means that the likes of Ryu from Street Fighter, Chris Redfield from Resident Evil and Phoenix Wright can take him down.
Thor is one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe. Despite this, he is destined to keep dying. According to Norse mythology, the final days of the gods is an inevitable point on the horizon. Thor will one day have to face his doom in the time of Ragnarok and his buddies in the Avengers cannot help him. Luckily for the Norse gods, they also exist in a cycle of rebirth, so their death isn't permanent.
Ragnarok has come for the Norse gods of Marvel in the past, which has claimed Thor's life. He has also been slain by the Midgard Serpent in battle. Thor most recently perished whilst fighting a horde of Beyonders, where he battled alongside Hyperion in a doomed effort to save reality from destruction.
The Ultimate version of Thor sacrificed his life during the awful Ultimatum event. He gave his soul to Hela in order to allow Captain America and Valkyrie to return to life.
Darkseid is considered to be the ultimate evil being in the DC universe. As such, he is a prime target for both heroes and the villains. In recent years, Darkseid was killed by the Anti-Monitor when the two of them battled.
One of the most memorable deaths of Darkseid happened during Grant Morrison's epic run on JLA. During the Rock of Ages storyline, a few members of the League visit a timeline where Darkseid has taken over the world. He is finally defeated by a team up of Green Arrow and the Atom. Green Arrow fires one of his light arrows into Darkseid's face, which allows the Atom to enter his body (by transforming into light particles). The Atom sacrifices himself to destroy Darkseid's mind, leaving him to watch helplessly as reality unravels around him.
Darkseid was defeated by Lex Luthor of all people in Justice League Unlimited. Luthor teaches Darkseid the Anti-Life Equation, which causes them both to disappear. According to the creators of the series, the two of them have now become part of the Source Wall, where they will remain until the end of time.
12 Mr. Sinister
Mr. Sinister is one of the youngest characters on this list. He is a genetically altered human, who was given a powerful new body by Apocalypse. Mr. Sinister has total control over his molecular structure, which makes him very difficult to kill. He can regenerate from almost any wound in an instant and can regrow his entire body from a single cell.
Due to his amazing regenerative abilities, physical durability, and the fact that he can move his consciousness into a new body whenever he chooses, it is very hard to kill Mr. Sinister. It has been done, however. In the main Marvel continuity, Mystique held Mr. Sinister against Rogue's unconscious form until she drained all of the life from his body. He was later killed by Hope Summers in the city of Sinister London.
Mr. Sinister has also been killed in the alternate realities of the Marvel universe. He was killed by the X-Men in the sequel to the Age of Apocalypse and was also killed by Professor Xavier in the Mutant X timeline.
Thanos is one of the most feared beings in the Marvel universe. He seeks out the power of the Infinity Gems, as placing all of them into the Infinity Gauntlet will turn its wearer into a god. Thanos loves Death in a literal sense. As in, he wants to get it on with the Grim Reaper. To this end, he has sent thousands to their graves, in what is considered to be the supervillain equivalent of sexting. He also plays "Sir Only Appearing In The Post-Credits Sequences" in the Marvel movies.
At the end of the Annihilation miniseries, Thanos was killed by Drax the Destroyer of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos was actually happy with this ending, as it finally allowed him to be reunited with Death. Thanos was later killed by Mar-Vell in the Cancerverse (which didn't last long) and was later trapped in the same dimension as it fell apart. He later returned to the main universe, where he was trapped in a state of living death by his own wayward son, Thane. Thanos was also another a victim of the Marvel Zombies.
Mephisto is one of the many Marvel equivalents to Satan. He is known for torturing the souls of the sinners who are unfortunate enough to end up in his nightmarish realm. Mephisto is also known for torturing the audience, as he was the architect behind the awful One More Day storyline that happened in Spider-Man.
It is possible to destroy Mephisto, though he tends to not remain dead for long. Mephisto once captured the Fantastic Four and tortured them for his own pleasure. He was destroyed by Franklin Richards, who was just starting to tap into his own incredible mutant powers. Mephisto has also been killed by his own son, who is a demon known as Blackheart. This is to be expected from demons, however, and Mephisto almost seemed proud of his son's murderous ambition. Mephisto has also managed to goad his old enemy, the Silver Surfer, into giving in to anger and killing him.
9 The Shadow King
The Shadow King was originally introduced as a mutant telepath, named Amahl Farouk. He had the ability to possess the bodies of other people, which allowed Farouk to become wealthy and powerful. Farouk eventually ran afoul of Charles Xavier and the two battled on the Astral Plane. Xavier managed to sever the link between Farouk's physical body and his psyche. This encounter with an evil mutant is one of the reasons that Xavier formed the X-Men. It was later established that the Shadow King is actually an ancient demon, who possesses powerful mortals in order to feed his desires.
With his physical body destroyed, the Shadow King continued to exist on the Astral Plane, where he continued to hound the X-Men for years to come. He later possessed Karma of the New Mutants, who managed to break free of the Shadow King's control and destroy him. The Shadow King was the principal villain of the "Muir Island Saga", where he was destroyed by the X-Men. He would return later, only to be destroyed by Forge and Psylocke. The version of the Shadow King that appeared in Ultimate X-Men was killed by Storm.
8 Kulan Gath
In the '70s, Marvel Comics bought the rights to produce comics based on Conan the Barbarian. This allowed them to create their own characters to use in the series, such as Red Sonja and Kulan Gath. Conan needed a powerful villain, so Marvel created Kulan Gath to act as an ancient sorcerer, who battled Conan's physical strength with evil magic.
Marvel officially crossed over the worlds of Conan and their modern superheroes when Kulan Gath was awoken in the modern age. He used his magic to transform New York into a Hyborian city, which brought him into conflict with the heroes of Earth. Kulan Gath was eventually sacrificed to his own demonic gods, which was his last official Marvel appearance. He did show up in the Spider-Man/Red Sonja crossover comic between Marvel and Dynamite, where he was destroyed by Mary Jane Watson.
Kulan Gath was killed in The Exiles by Heather Hudson, who transformed into an equally powerful evil being known as the Tanaraq. He was also destroyed by Hyperion in Paradise X.
In the Marvel universe, there are a rare subspecies of mutant that naturally possess immortality, along with their regular powers. They are referred to as Externals and they were a big fixture of the early X-Force comics. According to Cable, the Externals became important figures in the future of the Marvel universe. Despite this, most of them have been killed, with only Cannonball and Selene still confirmed to be alive.
One of the Externals to come into conflict with the X-Men was Candra, who possessed powerful telekinetic abilities. Candra kept her life force in a gem, which made her even more powerful. This also gave her a major weak point, as she learned when Cyclops destroyed the gem with an optic blast and killed her. Candra would later return as an undead monster. This new form would go on to be destroyed by the Scarlet Spider.
Candra was one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen in the Age of Apocalypse. She would later be killed by Holocaust when it was revealed that she was secretly working for the Assassins Guild.
6 Ra's Al Ghul
Ra's Al Ghul's immortality is not a built-in power. In order to extend his lifespan, he requires the use of Lazarus Pits that will heal him from any wound (up to and including a recent death). Despite this, he is resourceful enough to remain alive in the far future of many DC timelines.
The ease of which Ra's Al Ghul can resurrect himself has made him an easy kill for the writers of Batman comics, as he can be brought back with no explanation needed other than "Lazarus Pits". Ra's Al Ghul was murdered by his own daughters in the Death and the Maidens storyline. Bruce Wayne allowed Ra's Al Ghul to die in Batman Begins, by leaving him on a runaway train that explodes. The most surprising death of Ra's Al Ghul happened in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, when Batman threw him off a mountain in the Himalayas and made no attempt to rescue him. It seems that the screen adaptations of Batman ignore the whole "don't kill people" rule when it comes to Ra's Al Ghul. Then again, he can always just Lazarus Pit himself back into life.
5 The Guardians Of OA
The Guardians of Oa are one of the oldest races in the DC universe. They are the founders of the Green Lanterns and the creators of the rings that they use in battle. The Guardians are some of the wisest and most powerful beings in the galaxy.
Hal Jordan lost his mind due to grief when Mongul destroyed Coast City. This caused him to turn on the Green Lanterns, leading to him massacring almost everyone in the organization. Hal Jordan murdered almost all of the Guardians of Oa, before draining the energy from the Central Power Battery.
There have been individual instances of Guardian deaths, such as when Appa Ali Apsa went mad. The Green Lanterns and the Guardians were forced to kill him in battle. One of the Guardians was permanently wounded in battle with the Anti-Monitor and took the name Scar. It was revealed that Scar was secretly trying to bring forth the Blackest Night. She was later killed in battle with seven different Lanterns.
4 The Anti-Monitor
The major comic companies have a habit of creating all-powerful beings out of nowhere for the express purpose of murdering superheroes. Doomsday showed up unannounced and killed Superman, whilst Onslaught popped into existence and killed most of the Marvel heroes. A similar example can be seen during the Crisis On Infinite Earths storyline, where an inter-dimensional menace was destroying all of the various realities. It was called the Anti-Monitor and it took an alliance of the most powerful heroes of the DC multiverse to stop it.
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Anti-Monitor was killed by the original Superman, who finished him off with a punch. The Anti-Monitor would later return as a member of the Sinestro Corps, though he would later be betrayed by Superboy-Prime, who broke a hole right through his body. In recent years, the Anti-Monitor would be destroyed by Steve Trevor (Wonder Woman's love interest), who used the power of the Anti-Life Equation to destroy the evil god once and for all.
As a vampire, Dracula can keep on existing for as long as he can find fresh blood. Anyone who is familiar with the character from his countless appearances in movies, books, TV show, cartoons, comic books, and video games, will know that he tends to die a lot. Vampires are powerful beings with a couple of glaring weaknesses that can be exploited. The version of Dracula that appears in Marvel comics is no exception to this. He can go toe-to-toe with the Silver Surfer but he can still be fried by the sun.
In terms of history, Dracula was killed by Val Helsing in the past. He was later killed by Apocalypse when the two battled in Victorian London. In recent years, Dracula was killed by his son, Xarus.
Doctor Strange once cast a spell that destroyed all of the vampires in the world, including Dracula. The writers went to great lengths to prove that Dracula's death was permanent, to the point where the issue came with a death certificate which stated that he was dead. His death didn't last and he soon rose from the grave once more.
2 Vandal Savage
Vandal Savage is likely the oldest living human in the DC world. He was originally a caveman from the dawn of humanity, who was exposed to the radiation of a meteorite that crash landed into the Earth. The radiation transformed Vandal Savage into an immortal, while also vastly increasing his strength and intelligence. Savage still exists in the modern day, with his fingerprints smeared over most of the major events in human history. Vandal Savage would go on to become one of the fiercest enemies of the Justice Society of America. He continues to battle the group into the modern era.
The power of immortality hasn't protected Vandal Savage from death, as he was killed by the Flash during Flashpoint. The version of Vandal Savage that appears in Legends of Tomorrow has been killed on three separate occasions. Savage also managed to kill himself by accident in DC One Million.
Apocalypse believes in the survival of the fittest. He has repeatedly attempted to start world wars in an effort to see who exactly is strong enough to survive the conflict. Apocalypse should really pick another credo, as he doesn't live up to his own standards. He has been killed on numerous occasions throughout the X-Men comics, which means he probably isn't that strong himself.
The most famous death of Apocalypse happened at the end of the Age of Apocalypse storyline. Magneto uses his powers to rip Apocalypse in half, in a scene that was both awesome and confounding. Fans were left wondering why Magneto hadn't done it years earlier when Apocalypse first rose to power?
During the recent Apocalypse Wars event, Nightcrawler killed Apocalypse by dropping him into a vortex that was created by the World-Eater. Apocalypse is also destined to die in the far future, as was seen in The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix. In Cable's timeline, Apocalypse is killed by Cyclops, Jean Grey, and a young Nathan Summers, as he attempts to transition into a new body.
The X-Men movies also made short work of Apocalypse, as he was killed by the Phoenix at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse. He didn't even last a single film.
Apocalypse wasn't even safe in the X-Men cartoons. In the '90s animated X-Men show, Apocalypse was literally wiped from existence by Professor Xavier, who led all of the psychics in the Marvel universe in an attack.
So yeah, Apocalypse should maybe switch his belief in "survival of the fittest" for something more manageable.