If you – a fairly average person – went up against just about any superhero or supervillain, there is a 100% chance that you’re going to lose. Hey, that’s what happens when you challenge a being that is either god-like or an actual god. The resiliency of your average super being is the foundation of what makes them so special. After all, if you could just walk up and kick them in the shin to put them out of commission, then they wouldn’t be very super, now would they? The point here is that there are very few notable superheroes and villains that we would classify as “easy to kill.”
Yet, there is a select group that's a cut above the rest in terms of their sheer resiliency to death. Some are immortal, some are capable of healing themselves instantaneously, some are ancient gods, and a few satisfy all of those criteria. In a fictional multiverse populated by figures that laugh at death like we may typically laugh at internet videos of people falling down, they are the beings whose tenacity, toughness, skills, and desire to live forever make them the characters that wouldn’t even be able to kill each other.
These are the 15 Toughest To Kill Comic Book Characters.
15 Painkiller Jane
Painkiller Jane possesses an ability that is going to be referenced quite often on this list, which is commonly known as a “healing factor.” Just as it sounds, healing factor means that that character has the ability to regenerate from any possible wounds they may sustain, and they often do so at an incredible rate. If you were to shoot Painkiller Jane in the head, for instance, she would pop back up reasonably quick and come after you.
Painkiller Jane’s healing factor has been presented as one of the most powerful in all of comics. Recovering from seemingly irreparable wounds is kind of her business. Outside of that, though, Jane isn’t necessarily more difficult to kill than some of the other entrants on this list. You’re going to have a real bad day if you go up against her with intentions to kill, but Jane isn’t an incredibly powerful figure outside of her other-worldly toughness and general resiliency.
Yes, we all know that Superman has died before. There was a whole series about it that was a pretty big deal. That death, however, was merely temporary and caused by a force so powerful that its capable of killing any superhero. No, we’re not talking about Doomsday. We’re talking about comic publishers’ desire to move some issues during times of slumping sales. Aside from that instance and the weaknesses of Superman – kryptonite, Red Sun, some magic – we’re still talking about one of the most absurdly powerful characters to ever grace the pages of comics.
Canonically speaking, your best bet for killing Superman is to destroy the sun. So long as that’s still kicking, Superman can theoretically live forever and will continue to possess powers that have longed helped him serve as the measuring stick for powerful superheroes. Aging does not really seem to faze him, though, and it would take an incredible supply of kryptonite and optimistic circumstances to keep him at bay for good.
As with many conversations relating to the ranking of superheroes based on their powers, the inclusion of Thor is sure to be met with the familiar refrain of, “Oh come on, he’s a freaking god!” Yes, it’s true that Thor is a freaking god, and that his Asgardian ancestry is the source of his freakish power levels. Thor isn’t always going to come to come out on top, but he is able to go toe-to-toe with any great warrior you can dream of and hold his own. Even Hulk and Wolverine tend to try to stay on his good side.
Nobody looks forward to tangling with Thor, but for the purposes of rankings, it should be noted that there are a couple of flaws in Thor’s immortality game. First off, he does depend on golden apples of Idunn to retain his long lifespan. Secondly, one could theoretically break his hammer in order to kill him. However, there’s more than enough golden apples to go around, and there are few who pose a threat to the hammer of Thor.
12 Mister Immortal
Mister Immortal is like that one fly who sneaks into your home when the weather grows cold. He’s a survivor, and he’s not planning on letting you take him down for good. Born Craig Hollis, Mister immortal became aware of his incredible immortal abilities after trying to commit suicide on several occasions. Eventually, he decided to use his powers for good, and he later became the leader of the Great Lakes Avengers. He is notable for volunteering for the most dangerous of assignments, since he does not fear death.
Yes, Mister Immortal cannot be killed permanently, but you’ll find that’s true of many of the entrants on this list. However, Immortal doesn’t possess tremendous abilities outside of his immortality. Aside from some enhanced athleticism, there isn’t much keeping Immortal from his initial death other than his resilient spirit and some semi-respectable combat skills. Still, you’re never going to keep him down for long.
11 Resurrection Man
As you might have gathered from his name, Resurrection Man is a man who has the ability to resurrect himself. Actually, he was created by DC as a sort of commentary on Mister Immortal. The DC team felt that Mister Immortal’s ability to resurrect himself was undeniably impressive, but ultimately kind of boring. As such, they added a bit of a wrinkle to the premise. Every time that Resurrection Man dies, he rises again with some random new superpower.
Because Resurrection Man is technically unkillable in the long term, but can be temporarily eliminated, he occupies a similar area as Mister Immortal so far as the hierarchy of immortality goes. However, his ability to gain new powers arguably makes him tougher. While some abilities that Resurrection Man gains are more valuable than others, he’s usually equipped with at least one useful attribute that makes him a challenging foe to dispatch of, even in the short term.
10 Ra's al Ghul
Immortality and Ra’s al Ghul go together like entire pizzas and regret. Even casual Batman fans know that the Ghul’s entire shtick is based around his ability to rise from the dead time and time again. Even if the Dark Knight was the killing type, he would find it difficult to put Ghul down for the count for good thanks to the villain’s access to the legendary Lazarus Pits. A quick dip in those pits and the man is right back into the fight.
While his need to utilize those pits in order to maintain his immortality is something of a detriment, you do have to appreciate that Ghul possesses an incredible wealth of knowledge as it concerns matters of combat, which he has acquired over his many, many years of living. Ghul would prefer not to die if it comes right down to it, which is why he uses his incredible intellect, unrivaled sword fighting abilities, and almost superhuman physical attributes to stay as far away from death as he can.
Once upon a time, Galactus was just a mortal man. He could stub his toe, break a finger, and die. However, a series of comic book-y circumstances eventually turned that mortal man into a cosmic being that which even other cosmic beings have come to fear. With the entirety of the Power Cosmic at his disposal, Galactus’ abilities go well beyond pedestrian things like strength and speed, and include capabilities such as the manipulation of reality and the creation of life. When Galactus comes knocking, an entire legion of powerful warriors need to be at the door in order to actually prevent him from coming in.
Galactus is immortal and unkillable in all the usual ways, but he does have one weakness: his incredible hunger. Galactus needs to consume worlds in order to keep his life force intact, and if he doesn’t consume those worlds, then he ends up losing his most potent powers. Still, that happens fairly rarely.
8 Silver Surfer
It never fails. As soon as a conversation develops regarding the most powerful characters in all of comics, someone is going to come swooping in and start talking about the Silver Surfer. In defense of this legion of fans, Silver Surfer is one of the most quietly powerful comic book characters ever. Those who follow the character’s full exploits know this well, while those who only have a passing familiarity with him don’t always cite him among the toughest.
Make no mistake about it, though -- killing Silver Surfer is mostly a pipe dream. Because he is imbued with the Power Cosmic, it’s not entirely clear what the full extent of the Surfer’s powers actually is. Even a minimal estimation of his abilities, however, rightfully portrays him as a character that could only ever fall to the combined might of the world’s most powerful beings. Even then, it’s highly unlikely that Surfer would ever fall for good.
7 Vandal Savage
Immortality? Sure, it’s nice if you’re an “I want to live forever" kind of person. However, everlasting life alone is not enough to make you one of the toughest to kill characters in all of comics. That requires a series of abilities that ensure that you are also tough to even temporarily stop. Abilities such as the ones that Vandal Savage possesses. Savage is more than a person who is destined to live forever; he’s a person whose entire repertoire is based on his everlasting life.
Savage possesses regenerative healing abilities so strong that his gift of immortality is rarely ever even needed. He’s also a certified genius who possesses not just a millennia of knowledge, but also some uncommonly great reasoning abilities which allow him to master the moment as well as the past. On top of this all, he’s incredibly strong, which is useful when you want to smack around a would-be killer in-between sessions of uncontrollable laughter directed at their futile efforts.
The Juggernaut’s abilities in relation to how tough he is to kill are quite interesting. If we’re talking about Cain Marko in his base form, then we’re talking about one of the most purely tough characters in all of comics. Juggernaut’s natural strength and durability allow him to withstand some of the most punishing blows you can imagine, while his helmet grants him invulnerability to mental attacks as well. Once he gets running…well, there’s just no stopping the Juggernaut.
Juggernaut really earns his place on this list, however, when you consider the abilities he gains from the mystical entity Cyttorak. Once he becomes empowered with those abilities, he is virtually unstoppable, whether or not he is running at full speed or not. If there’s one knock against Juggernaut, it’s that his momentum can be used against him by a clever opponent. His greatest strengths can be turned into his greatest weaknesses, and he’s not technically among the immortals.
Lobo was one of DC’s most popular characters in the ‘90s. His status at that time came as kind of a shock to the character’s writers and artists, who presented him as something of an elaborate parody of Marvel’s Wolverine during that era. Like Wolverine, this antihero possesses an incredibly strong healing factor to go along with his superhuman speed, strength, cunning, and general durability. As a parody of Wolverine, however, Lobo’s abilities go a bit beyond those of Logan in some interesting ways.
Lobo is capable of generating clones of himself, and he possesses a strength level that may very well place him among DC’s most powerful characters. As a bounty hunter, he also has a Terminator-like mindset that ensures that nobody he sets out to kill lives long. As for those who would seek to take Lobo down, they’ll quickly find that the Main Man is impossible to take down for long, much less take out for good.
Killing the Hulk is a theoretically simple task. You don’t need super strength, speed, or intellect. You just need to find a way to kill Bruce Banner. Now, to be fair, that’s not an easy task. Bruce Banner is an incredibly intelligent and incredibly cautious man who isn’t likely to let some sniper pick him off from a mile away. Still, it is theoretically possible to take down Hulk in his human form, even if many have failed in their attempts to do just that. Of course, there is the frustrating matter of Hulk being able to sense when Banner is dying and healing him quickly.
Once Banner goes full-Hulk, however, all bets are off. The exact power level of the Incredible Hulk has been a matter of fascinating debate over the years, but it’s generally agreed that he’s among the top-tier of comic creations. Hulk has been “beaten” over the years by a variety of heroes, ranging from Wolverine to Spider-Man, but if the task at hand is to actually kill the Green Goliath, then it’s hard to imagine how such a thing could ever occur.
The Merc with a Mouth is many things. He’s a mercenary, he’s a very capable sword fighter, he’s quite funny, he’s a fourth wall breaker, and he’s the one character in all of comics who seems to be having the appropriate level of fun with the incredible powers granted to him without actually descending into supervillain status. Deadpool is the kind of superhero you’d want to invite to have a drink, since you wouldn't have to worry about hearing some speech involving truth, justice, and other such nonsense.
Because of Deadpool’s relaxed attitude towards the whole superhero thing, it’s easy to forget that he’s a very capable warrior whose regenerative healing factor is seemingly one of the most powerful ever conceived. Sometimes, Deadpool bases his entire strategy around losing a limb or even temporarily losing his life. His reckless personal nature has afforded him many opportunities to test the limits of his healing abilities, and they have yet to fail him.
You don’t get a name like Apocalypse unless you’re able to bring the ruckus in a big way. Some X-Men storylines present Apocalypse as the first mutant, but whether or not that’s true, it’s clear that the character has lived for many, many years as a tremendously capable warrior with abilities that have only grown more fearsome as time marches on. Apocalypse has absolute control over every molecule in his body. Along with the usual speed and strength, this grants him abilities like teleportation, telepathy, and other impressive-sounding powers that don’t begin with a “T.”
For our purposes, however, Apocalypse’s key powers are his immortality and instantaneous healing factor. You can’t really kill this guy, and those who have even gotten close enough to attempt to pester En Sabah Nur rank among the most powerful beings ever conceived for the purposes of comic book entertainment. Apocalypse has almost always been and will seemingly forever be.
For years, Wolverine has remained one of the most beloved characters in all of comics. Why? Well, if you had to assign a word to what makes Wolverine great, it would likely be “attitude.” Wolverine doesn’t care if you’re a powerful mutant, mystical being, or great hero. The moment that you indicate to him that you want to fight, he simply sees you as just another opponent. Besides, he knows that his adamantium skeleton and god-tier regenerative abilities will ensure that he not out of the fight long enough to not stand a chance at winning it.
For years, Wolverine has been painted as the ultimate survivor. In Days of Future Past, he was one of the few mutants left on the planet to survive what was essentially the mutant apocalypse. He has been ripped in half, torn to shreds, burnt to a crisp, and slammed into the ground by the Hulk. Despite all of this, he has always been there on the next page, ready to go another round.
What other superheroes are incredible tough to put down for good? Let us know in the comments.