Throughout the continuity of Marvel and DC comics, we’ve seen a great many superheroes meet their ends. So few of these deaths have had lasting consequences that it’s resulted in the phrase “Comic Book Death” existing to describe short term character deaths in fiction. Across the multitude of superhero deaths in comics, we’ve experienced a myriad of effective and emotionally moving deaths in superhero comics.
However, for every great death, there’s one that’s left us scratching our heads, underwhelmed. So with no further delay, we present 10 Superheroes With Underwhelming Deaths. Bear in mind that due to the subject matter at hand, there are potential spoilers for various comics and graphic novels ahead!
In 2008, DC’s Blackest Knight crossover event capitalized over the massive amount of deaths that had transpired across DC’s history, having all of the previously departed rise as superpowered zombies. Pretty much all characters in the DC universe were involved in an endeavor to fight off the horde of super-powered zombies. As with any zombie story, however, there are always characters who unceremoniously succumb to the zombie horde. That is the fate that was suffered by former Aquaman ally and Teen Titan, Tempest.
9 Doctor Strange
When discussing the quality of a superhero death, it is important to keep the proportionate quality of the character in mind. What may be a good death for one character may not necessarily be satisfactory for another. This is the case with Doctor Strange’s death in Ultimatum.
An immensely powerful being capable of altering reality itself, Doctor Strange is killed at the hands of Dormammu. While Dormammu making Strange’s head explode via excessive suffocation is impressive, the showmanship of an exploding head does not change the fact that an all-powerful being killed another all-powerful being by choking him out.
While not a primary Green Lantern, the superpowered Squirrel, Ch’p is a memorable member of the Green Lantern Corps that few could forget. While primarily used as comic relief, Ch’p’s death in the comics is not one befitting of any hero, squirrel or not. While most heroes fall in battle or in great sacrifice, the Green Lantern Ch’p was hit by an oncoming car while crossing the street.
7 Black Widow
The element of simplicity does not inherently make the death of a superhero bad or underwhelming. There are plenty of heroes such as the Blue Beetle who die from bullet wounds, yet the deaths stick with us due to factors such as emotional resonance or impact. In the case of Black Widow in Secret Empire, her quick and simplistic demise left many questioning if this death was for real.
The at-the-time Hydra Steve Rogers delivered a punch to Black Widow’s neck using his shield, resulting in a broken neck. There are simple deaths in comics, but this was a death dealt by a single punch.
6 Baby Wildebeest
A lower-tier member of the New Titans, Baby Wildebeest was an artificial being who was the result of a series of experiments. Though Wildebeest possessed super strength, it could not prevent his demise at the hands of Superboy Prime. In the midst of Superboy Prime’s destructive rampage in 2005’s Infinite Crisis, Superboy Prime takes the lives of numerous fashion, killing Heroes such as Pantha in brutal yet memorable fashion. Unfortunately for Wildebeest, he suffers easily the least memorable and must underwhelming of these kills, simply perishing to a blast of heat vision.
5 Everyone Killed By The Ultimatum Wave
The “Ultimate Marvel” comics are often very polarizing comic due to their excessive use of superhero deaths, and this is the most prevalent in Ultimatum. While many of these deaths are memorable and enjoyed due to their brutal nature, we can’t say the same for each of the deaths caused by the Ultimatum Wave.
A massive tidal wave caused by Magneto, the Ultimatum Wave flooded New York, killing thousands in the process. Among these deaths were Daredevil, Beast, and Nightcrawler who each drowned in the tidal wave, merely a few names among the massive wave.
While not the most popular of Marvel’s Heroes, the mantle of Goliath has been held by various characters in the Marvel universe. While Bill Foster is one of the most notable characters to fill the role of Goliath, we can’t say that his death left any impact other than disappointment. As one of the casualties of the first Marvel Civil War, the anti-registration Goliath is taken out by an attack from Thor. While this would normally seem like a substantial way to go out, as Thor is a mainstay of Marvel’s pantheon, there’s a problem that takes all of the impact out of this kill: it wasn’t the real Thor. Rather than being slain, by an actual hero, Goliath is taken out by a cyborg clone of Thor rather than the real deal. And to top it all off, Goliath had yet to make any real contributions to the Civil War, making the death come off as though he pretty much just showed up to die.
3 The Warriors Three
Thor’s entourage, The Warriors Three were consistent supporting characters who had assisted Thor across the first two Thor films. However, shortly following Hela’s introduction in Thor: Ragnarok, The Warriors Three are quickly done away with.
Being dealt away with quickly and practically instantaneously, the characters are quickly killed off and swept under the rug as quickly as possible, with Thor given little to no thought to the deaths of his former friends. Not cool, bro.
Though Firestorm has never garnered the same popularity as many A-list heroes like Batman and Superman, he’s long been a member of the Justice League, with a great many of accomplishments under his belt. Unfortunately, his death in Identity Crisis does a huge disservice to the character. In the midst of the investigation of the murder of Sue Dibny (the focus of Identity Crisis), Firestorm is stabbed through the chest with a sword. Due to the nature of his powers, this causes the hero to have a meltdown and explode. What makes this death so disappointing is its rushed delivery and lack of focus, as the death occurs within a small number of pages and adds little to nothing to the narrative of Identity Crisis. This results in the death coming off as though it was a quick and easy means of getting the character out of the picture.
At the initial time of the death of Superman in 1993, Clark Kent’s death was anything but underwhelming. Making headlines, Superman’s death was one of the most notable occurrences in comics at the time, and the death itself was brutal, drawn-out, and well handled.
However, we cannot discuss the death of Superman without also discussing his return as well. Shortly after a multitude of issues had built up the death of one of the most important superheroes of all time, he was quickly written back to life.
While superhero deaths often get a bad rap for the lack of longevity their impacts hold in a given comic, and the death (and return) of Superman has the unfortunate distinction of setting the prescedent for all consequence-free superhero deaths to follow.
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