Nothing sets up a superhero's motivations like death. The guilt, the sense of responsibility, the need to make amends for a missed opportunity - it all adds up to a hero who's powerfully driven to do some serious good.
But if you really want to up the ante for your hero (or villain), nothing takes it to its over-the-top extreme like the destruction of the character's home world. Yes, the entire planet they came from. It's rarely the hero's fault that their world was wiped out — though bad guys have no problem with mass genocide — but that doesn't stop a good hero from feeling mountains of regret and remorse.
The following fifteen superheroes and supervillains have all lost their home world. As you'll see, they were lost for a wide variety of reasons, and each one had unique effects on the character in question. These are 15 Superheroes And Villains Whose Home Planet Was Destroyed.
15 Superman: Krypton
When you think about superheroes who've lost their home worlds, Superman has to be the first one to come to mind. His story is so iconic: the alien child sent to Earth by his parents to escape the dying planet he was born on. When he arrives on Earth, he finds that our yellow sun (he was born under a red one) gives his alien body extraordinary powers.
It's been retold countless times, but in most stories, Krypton explodes thanks to excessive use of the planet's resources through efforts such as mining. Other versions have Krypton dying because of civil wars or natural disasters, such as that red star going supernova.
Other survivors of Krypton include Supergirl, Superman's super-dog Krypto, General Zod and his henchmen, and Doomsday, who was a kind of mindless beast engineered in Kryptonian ancient times. There's also the "bottle city" of Kandor, an entire city from Krypton "saved" by the villain Brainiac via shrinking (it's a thing he does).
Superman used to see the death of the home planet he never really knew as motivation to protect his new home, Earth. But the New 52 Superman got all emo about it, always considering himself an outsider — much like his characterization in the movie Man of Steel.
14 Starfire: Tamaran
Perhaps no one has a more tragic history with destroyed home worlds than DC Comics' Starfire. This female alien superhero (who sports one of the most sexually preposterous costumes of all time) has lost not one, not two, but three home worlds.
Her story was largely told in the pages of various Teen Titans volumes, where she was introduced as an exiled princess to a noble family on Tamaran, which had a long, tumultuous history of both war and peace. Among other things, Starfire had been betrayed by her wicked sister, Blackfire, and was later given by her parents to alien invaders as a slave, as part of a treaty. Fun place, that Tamaran.
During one Teen Titans adventure, miss orange skin was compelled to return to her home world, where she became swept up in a new war against an ultra-powerful race called the Psions — a war incited by her sister's betrayal, by the way. Starfire's people were hopelessly outmatched and the Psions launched a final attack that imploded Tamaran's core. Those who remained on the planet were killed instantly, but fortunately a large number of Starfire's race had escaped prior to the attack.
Led by Starfire herself, the Tamaraneans found a suitable moon and rebuilt there, renaming it New Tamaran. But a short time later, it was devoured by a weapon called the Sun-Eater. As luck would have it, a sizable percentage of Tamaraneans were off world again when New Tamaran was destroyed, and this time they attempted to colonize an inhabited world named Karna. A brief war of invasion was ended when a mutually beneficial truce was declared with Karna's native race. Yet soon thereafter, Starfire's people found themselves homeless yet again when probes of Imperiex (a manifestation of entropy, who repeatedly destroys the universe so it can be reborn anew) destroyed Karna.
Sucks to be her.
13 The Skrulls: Tarnax IV
The alien Skrull race is a Marvel mainstay, tracing its origins all the way back to Fantastic Four #2 in 1962. Their history is a savage one, largely intertwined with that of the Kree race, who they've been at war with for millennia. But things took a dire turn for these shape-shifting aliens in 1983's Fantastic Four #257.
That was when Galactus the World-Devourer came calling. The enormous Galactus is usually portrayed more as a force of nature than an outright villain, but even so, you'll find him on this list more than once. Still, the big guy is not without a conscience, and whenever possible he chooses to consume worlds devoid of sentient life. Such was not the case on this day, when Galactus arrived at Tarnax IV, the Skrull Throneworld, but initially refused to devour it. Billions of Skrulls lived on Tarnax, and Galactus couldn't bring himself to snuff them all out. He was willing to lock himself away in his ginormous spaceship and wither away, instead.
Until, that is, Death came calling. Literally. Marvel's personification of Death has a female form — the same one that that weirdo Thanos fell in love with and massacred half the universe to impress — and she arrived just in time to remind Galactus that he is part of something bigger. He's a cog in the universal machine, and although he brings death wherever he goes, that death is his purpose and it must be fulfilled. After Death's pep talk, G popped down to Tarnax, dug through to its core, and had himself a big ol' spherical snack.
12 Skaar: Sakaar
So there was this time the Illuminati — Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Reed Richards, Namor, and Professor X — decided that the best thing for Earth would be if Hulk didn't live here anymore. So they put him in a rocket and shot him into space, where he would supposedly crash onto a beautiful, peaceful world to live out his days. Only it went off course and he wound up on a savage planet as an enslaved gladiator. After overthrowing the king of this world, which was called Sakaar, he was named king, took a queen, and knocked her up.
Then the Illuminati ship he'd crashed onto the planet in blew up, destroying a whole mess of stuff, including his wife. While he flew off back to Earth to smackdown the Illuminati, he failed to notice that his son had survived. This half-Hulk, half-Sakaarian brute — who survived thanks to his father's impossible-to-kill genes — took on the name Skaar and immediately sought out one thing: revenge on his absentee dad. But soon the Silver Surfer arrived with dire news: Galactus was coming, and Sakaar was on the menu.
Even though his dead mother's spirit implored him to try to evacuate the planet, Skaar chose to foolishly threaten the Surfer and Galactus instead. Of course it didn't work, and thanks to his pride, billions paid the price when the World-Devourer consumed Sakaar.
Kids these days.
11 Martian Manhunter: Mars
In this case, "destruction" doesn't mean the explosion of a planet. Martian Manhunter's world was destroyed by a virus unleashed by his own brother, a virus that wiped out his race. J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter's real name, suffered great trauma when his own wife and daughter died, too.
Before he could succumb to the plague as well, J'onn was teleported through space and time to Earth due to a rogue human scientist's malfunctioning device. When J'onn was returned to health, he learned that he was on a different planet and that he'd been brought forward several centuries in time. His people were a long-dead race, and he was the only living survivor.
Or so he thought. Some years later he encountered a few other members of his race who'd also managed to survive — some friend, some foe. The New 52 altered significant details of Martian Manhunter's origin, but the broad strokes remained largely the same.
10 Lobo: Czarnia
Why is Lobo the way he is? DC has never attempted to explain it. We know only that he thrives on extreme, mindless violence. He works as a bounty hunter for hire, and he's the last of his race.
It's said that he was obviously different even at birth, pure evil in appearance. He was born on Czarnia, the utopian home to a nearly immortal race, which makes his gleefully homicidal nature all the more bewildering. Or maybe just ironic. Lobo himself wouldn't care what you call it, he'd just stomp your face in for kicks. That, you see, is the reason Lobo is the last living Czarnian: he exterminated every other living Czarnian just for fun.
A very different Lobo was created for the New 52, one with a drastically altered appearance and a backstory that made him not quite so... joyous about his murdering ways. Don't get us wrong, he still kills with a ruthless passion. And he still destroyed his entire species. But a distinguished background and education have made him a bit more refined.
Until DC decides to change him again, anyway.
9 The Kree: Hala
Kree history is entangled closely with that of the Skrulls, from whom they stole technology to become a more advanced race. Among their many exploits, the Kree are responsible for the genetic manipulation that created the Inhumans, giving Carol Danvers her Captain Marvel powers, and waging eternal war with the Skrulls. They've generally been portrayed in a villainous light, especially when it comes to noteworthy baddie Ronan the Accuser, but they've been more sympathetic on occasion.
Such was their plight during the "Black Vortex" crisis that involved the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy. At one point, Ronan stole the Vortex — a Celestial device that greatly amplifies superpowers — and took it to the Kree home world, Hala. That proved to be a critical mistake, as it brought every party interested in the Black Vortex to the Kree doorstep. One of them was the interstellar bad guy Mister Knife, also known as Jason of Spartax. (He also happens to be the father of Peter Quill, Guardians of the Galaxy's Star-Lord. In the comics, anyway.)
Anyway, with the Kree in possession of the Vortex, a group of heroes who'd been altered by the Vortex came for it, causing a big battle on Hala. Although they were repelled, Mister Knife brought his massive "flying fortress" to the Kree home world and obliterated it to obtain the Vortex.
8 Kilowog: Bolovax Vik
Add the Green Lantern Corps' lovable brute to the long list of "lone survivors of a dead world." His home planet was called Bolovax Vik, and thanks to his species' proclivity for connecting into a single "mass mind," which kept them from wanting to venture out into space, it was a wildly overcrowded world — to the tune of some 16 billion Bolovaxians. That hive mind ability allowed Bolovax Vik to maintain perfect peace; the planet's history was never marred by a single war.
That all changed during Crisis on Infinite Earths, when numerous waves of antimatter collided with the planet. The world was destroyed, but Kilowog, who was present on Bolovax Vik at the time, was engaged in the mass mind at the time of the catastrophe. This, combined with his Green Lantern powers, allowed him to sort of download the energy patterns of all 16 billion Bolovaxians into his power ring.
Months later, while adventuring with his friends in the Green Lantern Corps, Kilowog came upon a planet that he believed could serve as a new home world for his people. His fellow Corps members helped him to terraform this planet to make it suitable for Bolovaxian survival, and then Kilowog released his people's energy from his ring. The people of "Bolovax Vik II," as they called it, were more spirit than flesh-and-blood now, but Kilowog vowed to fix that by finding a way to create new bodies for them.
Too bad Sinestro immediately showed up and destroyed their new home. Kilowog's ring couldn't download the Bolovaxians a second time, so this time they were wiped out for good.
7 Hyperion: Earth-13034
The Marvel multiverse was once home to countless versions of various superheroes and super-teams. That all changed during the domino-effect crisis called the Incursions. The Beyonders — godlike beings who exist outside of multiversal reality — had decided (on a whim, as the Beyonders seem to make all of their decisions) to destroy the multiverse. So they set off a series of disasters where two parallel Earths would collide, resulting in the destruction of both.
One of the super-teams seen repeatedly across dimensions was the Squadron Supreme, a team originally conceived of as a parallel to DC's Justice League. The leader of the Squadron always seems to be Hyperion, Marvel's extremely powerful analog to Superman. Some of these Squadrons were better than others, and likewise, some Hyperions were psychotic tyrants while others were altruistic.
The Hyperion of Earth-13034 leaned more toward the latter, which is a good thing since he came to exist in prime Earth-616 Marvel universe. After watching his entire world die — including every member of his Squadron — thanks to an Incursion, Earth-616's A.I.M. used science to pull this Hyperion out of his universe and into the 616. He's since served with the Avengers and formed a new Squadron Supreme with the survivors of other Squadrons from across the multiverse.
6 The Heroes of Earth 2
The term "Earth 2" or "Earth-2" or "Earth Two" has been used throughout DC Comics' history to describe a variety of parallel Earths and their universes. Alternate versions of popular heroes typically call these Earths home, but one of them met the most tragic of destinies.
Earth 2, a world that originated in the New 52's Earth 2 comic, is a world very similar to Earth-Prime but with one significant difference: its Justice League — known there as the Eight Wonders of the World — were killed in action. Earth 2's story picks up five years later, after the Wonders died defending their world from the Parademon forces of Darkseid. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman were chief among those who laid down their lives to save their world.
Unfortunately, the whole of Earth 2 concerned the return of Darkseid's forces, led once more by Steppenwolf. But this time, he brought Apokalips itself along, and used its overwhelming power and seemingly infinite Parademon forces to consume Earth 2 altogether. A new collection of Wonders of the World came together to defend their Earth, and were able to delay its destruction long enough that a fleet of enormous ships could save millions of survivors, carrying them to a new planet they now call home.
5 Gamora: Zen-Whoberi
Technically speaking, the planet called Zen-Whoberi is alive and well. But Gamora is also its last living survivor. How is this possible? Blame Thanos.
Well, it's not Thanos' fault that Zen-Whoberi is going to die. It's just his fault that Gamora survived/survives it. As revealed in a 1975 issue of Warlock, Thanos made use of a technology called a time probe to look into the future. Twenty years (in comics time, not real-world time) in the future, he saw the planet Zen-Whoberi be wiped out by a totalitarian religion called the Universal Church of Truth. The Church tried unsuccessfully to convert the Whoberians, but Gamora's people refused, which led to the Church destroying their entire race.
Instead of stopping this massacre, Thanos noticed a female infant and decided to rescue and raise her as his own daughter. Thus, he brought her twenty years backwards in time, where she grew up. It's unknown how much time is currently left before the Universal Church of Truth makes its fateful rendezvous with Zen-Whoberi, but despite leaving Thanos and becoming a good guy, Gamora has made no attempt to save her home world. She has run into the Church a few times, though — to their detriment.
4 Galactus: Taa
Before the formation of the current Marvel Universe, another universe existed. This precursor universe was home to many races and species, many of them virtually the same as the inhabitants of the current universe. Earth was even there, with counterparts to many of today's heroes residing on it. But no civilization was more advanced or revered than the inhabitants of Taa, which was regarded as a paradise amid the cosmos.
One of its scientists and explorers was a Taa-an named Galan, who he committed himself to finding a way to prevent the impending collapse of the universe. (An evil entity known as the Dweller-In-Darkness was responsible for that universe's ending, which he accomplished by fracturing a powerful artifact called the M'Kraan Crystal.)
Galan was unsuccessful at finding a way to stop the cataclysm, but the new universe gave him a rebirth, transforming him into Galactus, the devourer of worlds. Despite his new name and purpose, his world of origin and entire species are long gone and will never be seen again.
3 Doctor Spectrum: Earth-4290001
This female Doctor Spectrum was a variation on the male Doctor Spectrum fans may remember from the Squadron Supreme — Marvel's analog to DC's Justice League. Spectrum was always a parallel to Green Lantern, but this one's home world was devastated four years ago by alien invaders. Doctor Spectrum was one of six heroes who united to defeat the aliens and liberate their Earth, catalogued in the Marvel Universe as Earth-4290001.
Another victim to the Beyonder-caused Incursions (see "Hyperion" above), Earth-4290001 was able to stop its first Incursion, which came at the hands of the Beyonders' servants, the robotic Mapmakers. No pesky moral quandaries were involved in that one, but no sooner had they defeated the Mapmakers than another Incursion began with Earth-616, aka the prime Marvel Earth.
The Illuminati — that secret group of superhero leaders that included Iron Man, Black Panther, Namor, Doctor Strange, and others — saw that their counterpart was a civilized world with its own superheroes and proposed working together to find a way to stop the Incursion. The Illuminati noted that, however, if they couldn't work together, they had an anti-matter bomb on standby waiting to destroy 4290001. When that Earth sent Doctor Spectrum to 616 to dismantle the anti-matter bomb, she was discovered by Black Bolt, who knocked her out and left her on Earth-616.
You can see where this is going: Namor triggered the bomb on 4290001, which was wiped out, and Doctor Spectrum was its sole survivor. She has subsequently joined up with the Squadron Supreme on Earth-616, which is comprised of Squadron survivors from other dead Earths.
2 Bizarro: Htrae
When it comes to Bizarro, you either hate him or you love him. Fans enjoy the goofy nonsense of his backwards, simpleton ways; haters fail to grasp his appeal in any way. He began as a villain, a bad copy of Superman, but has become more endearing over the years, even teaming up with Superman at times to defeat evil.
You probably already know that once upon a time, Bizarro found an alternate, Earth-like planet for himself to live on, and then used a duplicator device to populate it with Bizarro counterparts of Earth's citizens. He dubbed this world "Htrae," though it's much better known as Bizarro World. This cube-shaped world (Superman cubed it; long story) was home to plenty of Bizarro adventures over the years, but it was ultimately destroyed in a 1986 story.
Mr. Mxyzptlk received a major power upgrade from another magic-user, and then used his new powers to force Htrae to implode. Everyone on the planet died, but this being Bizarro World, even death couldn't keep the Bizarros down. In both Infinite Crisis and the New 52 reboot, one of DC's 52 alternate Earths has been depicted as the impossible-to-mistake, cube-shaped Bizarro World. How it returned has, in true Bizarro fashion, never been explained.
1 Beta Ray Bill: Korbin
Casual fans may only know Beta Ray Bill as "that dude with a horse's skull for a head who wears Thor's outfit." Bill is actually an alien from a world called Korbin, which was located very far away in the "Burning Galaxy." An enemy of Asgard, Surtur of the realm Muspelheim, sent his fire demons to destroy Korbin for unknown reasons.
The inhabitants of Korbin used cybernetic technology to transform one of their warriors into Beta Ray Bill, their greatest champion. But despite Bill's bravest efforts, he was overwhelmed by the fire demons and Korbin was destroyed. Still, he managed to evacuate a sizable amount of Korbin's inhabitants, place all of them and himself into suspended animation, and point their ship towards the Milky Way galaxy.
There, he eventually met and bested Thor in a fight, even proving himself worthy enough to pick up Thor's hammer Mjolnir. He impressed Odin so much that the Allfather ordered a new hammer forged specifically for Beta Ray Bill, which was named Stormbreaker. When Bill realized that he and the Asgardians were facing a common foe in Surtur, he joined up with them. He soon found justice for the destruction of his world when Surtur was defeated once and for all.