The job of a comic book superhero has never been an easy one. With the constant threat of supervillains vowing to take over the world and kill us all, superheroes must always be ready for the next big attack. As well as this, heroes have to deal with the many moral and ethical issues that having powers comes with. They can’t just go around killing all the bad guys, although sometimes that does happen! But generally they have to stay on the good side of the line and not kill, which can be a pain for the heroes, as the villains ultimately come back to try again.
Away from the supervillains theses superheroes also have to battle with each other. Especially in recent storylines and movies such as Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War. But unlike the movies, the comic book story arches are a lot bloodier and result in a lot more death as hero is pitted against hero. Sometimes the hero is tricked into killing, sometimes they are possessed and other times they have no choice but to kill a fellow hero for the greater good. With that, here are 15 heroes that have killed other heroes.
We start our list with not technically a hero killing a hero. Deadpool is not technically a hero at all. However, because of the large volume of death of every character, hero or villain, in the comic book Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, we feel that Deadpool deserves a place on our list.
As with many story arcs that feature ‘The Merc with the Mouth,’ the universe is slightly ‘cock-eyed’ and anything can happen. On this occasion, Deadpool is committed into a mental hospital and ends up being treated by Psycho-Man. After killing Psycho-Man Deadpool sets out to kill every single character within the Marvel universe, which he does. He even enters the ‘real world’ and confronts the writers that created him. As with many deaths in comic books, they were soon restored. In fact, in Deadpool’s next comic book Deadpool: Killustrated, he realizes that the characters he killed still exist. The fact is that no one has killed more heroes than Deadpool, even if it was for only one story.
Over the years no two heroes have faced off more times than Superman and Batman. This feud has recently been depicted on the big screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, within the pages of the comic books these two have gone at it many times and sometimes it has resulted in death. There was a story arc in which Superman brutally beat up many of his superhero friends, including Batman, but the Man of Steel was brainwashed by the powerful Maxwell Lord at the time, until Wonder Woman put Lord down permanently.
The story arc that we are interested in for this entry is the 1991 Superman Annual series: Armageddon 2001. In this comic book Superman has taken it upon himself to disarm the world of all its nuclear weapons and pretty much does whatever he thinks humanity needs him to do in order for it to be safe. Fearing that Superman is becoming the world’s dictator, Batman is called in to take the Man of Steel down. Reminiscent of many battles between the two, Batman equips himself with some heavy armor and a Kryptonite ring. This time however, The Dark Knight kills Superman.
13. Teen Titans
There are many heroes in the comic book world that live with a constant struggle between good and evil, none more so than Raven. Being the child of a human and the powerful demon Trigon, Raven is at constant odds with the good that she wants to be and the evil hold her father has over her. Being linked to her demonic father has a damaging effect on Raven as he can possess her at will and make her do all manner of evil things. So much so that Raven went to the Justice League for help, but sensing her demonic side, they turned her away.
Not knowing what else to do, Raven turned to the Teen Titans and together with the likes of Robin, Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy, and calling themselves the New Teen Titans, Raven found her place as a hero. However, her father didn’t leave her alone for long and he soon reared his ugly head and possessed Raven once more. This time however, the Titans were manipulated into thinking that the only way to stop Trigon was to kill Raven, which they did.
As with the previous entry, the line between good and evil can often be blurred, and even if you believe you are on the side of good and doing the right thing, it can often be wrong. This is the case with Sentry. Having a split personality that is both good and evil can be a challenging thing by itself, let alone when villains such as the Green Goblin weigh in to try and manipulate the good to become completely evil. Sentry lives his life fighting between Sentry, which is his good side, and The Void, which is pure evil. Always living in fear that The Void will take control of him, Sentry does whatever he can to prove himself as a hero and beat back the dark.
However, when Norman Osborn kills Sentry’s wife, he is manipulated into joining The Dark Avengers. Even though he is working for the side of evil, Sentry still believes he is doing good and even attacks Asgard as he feels they are a strong threat. But of course, all the time he is being manipulated by Osborn and when Ares finds out and goes to stop Osbourne, Sentry literally tears the god of war to pieces.
11. Squadron Supreme
The Squadron Supreme are an interesting group of superheroes. Led by the powerful Hyperion – think Superman but slightly power hungry – the Squadron Supreme are from an alternate version of Earth in which they rule the planet in what they see as a utopian paradise. Not wanting to just help or serve the world like The Avengers or Justice League do, the Squadron Supreme want to do what they think is best to protect everyone, and in their minds, that is to control it.
So with already a slightly warped view of what a superhero is, The Squadron Supreme are a no-nonsense and zero tolerance group. So when Namour misguidedly joins the likes of Thanos in order to wipe out other versions of Earth, with the idea that the main Earth would be saved, The Squadron supreme are not happy. They travel to Atlantis and Hyperion decapitates Namour and then raises Atlantis out of the ocean, crashing it to the ground to ensure that anyone inside it will be killed.
Sometimes a comic book storyline can tug at even the coldest of hearts, and one such storyline is the journey, and ultimate death, of Indigo. Being an android that escaped the future and came back to our time, Indigo tried hard to find refuge within the superhero community. At first she fought against Young Justice and the Teen Titans as they saw her as a threat. However, after they realized she just needed help, Indigo got the chance she needed and joined The Outsiders.
While working with The Outsiders, Indigo fell in love with the superhero Shift, but unfortunately their love affair didn’t have a happy ending. It was revealed that Indigo was in fact the supervillain Brainiac 8 sent back to destroy certain heroes. Indigo managed to take control over the Brainiac side of her but it was short lived and the only way to save everyone and to keep Brainiac away was for Indigo to die. She asked her love Shift to perform the duty, which he did and she died in his arms.
Namor has already appeared on our list, although he was on the receiving end and was decapitated by Hyperion! But the Atlantean has also caused heroes’ deaths. Being what some would argue the first ‘anti-hero,’ Namor has had an up and down time as a hero as well as being a member of most of the superhero teams at one stage or another, Namor has also gone up against them. But through all his actions and acts, Namor does it for the greater good and the good of his fellow people. None more so than when he fell in love with Marrina.
Marrina is an alien being with aquatic powers that served her superhero apprenticeship with Alpha Fight. Showing great skill and power, Marrina soon left the Alpha Fight and met, and fell in love with, Namor the Submariner. With Namor, Marrina helped out the Atlanteans as well as The Avengers. However, as with many other stories of love between heroes, this one was also short lived. When Marrina became pregnant, her alien DNA reacted badly and turned her into a barbaric monster. Thor and Captain America, along with some of The Avengers, tried and failed to stop her. So it was left up to Namor, and with the help of The Black Knight’s enchanted sword, Namor killed his love in order to stop her.
The next entry is a death, and sacrifice, deemed to be for the greater good. As with many heroes that battle against extraordinary beings, there comes a time when the only way to save the world is by laying down your life. This is what happened to Rogue when The X-Men fought Master Mold.
Being a Sentinel robot that’s prime objective is to hunt and kill mutants is bad enough, but Master Mold is also a portable Sentinel-creating factory, which means he can make more at will. Having been in battles with the X-Men before, Master Mold usually came out as the loser as the X-Men stopped it. However, when Master Mold merged with another genius robotic Sentinel named Nimrod, the battles changed. With the new and improved Master Mold on the war path, the X-Men threw everything they had at it but to no avail. So Rogue stepped up; using Colossus’s power, Rogue flew into the air and crashed down on Master Mold like a giant cannonball. Unfortunately this didn’t work and Rogue got mixed in with Master Mold. The only thing to do was for Dazzler to blast Master Mold, but that would mean killing Rogue as well. With the help of Psylocke’s telepathic powers, Rogue passed on a message that it’s either kill her and Master Mold or let Master Mold kill everyone. So Dazzler blasted them both.
We know what you’re thinking; “Surely Supergirl can’t be a killer?” It may come as a surprise to the casual comic book fan to find Supergirl on a list of killers, but she has taken the life of another hero. Superman’s cousin shares a similar life and path as the Man of Steel. The same background, powers and more importantly, the same morals and approach to being a hero. However, there was a moment in which Supergirl killed none other the Superwoman. In her defence though, it was an accident.
There have been a few women to used the mantle Superwoman, both good and evil. But here we are talking about the Superwoman name that was used by Lois Lane’s sister, Lucy Lane. Lucy gained similar powers to Superman when she wore a special contamination suit and used the name Superwoman in his honor. However, with powers comes responsibility and her father General Lane used and manipulated his daughter into doing some bad things. When Supergirl confronted Lucy in order to stop her, she ripped off Lucy’s mask which ruptured the suit and Superwoman died.
Thor is no stranger to death and the God of Thunder is also no stranger to killing fellow heroes as he has been responsible for the deaths of Wasp and Sentry.
After the secret Skrull invasion of Earth, The Avengers thought they had come out victorious and stopped all the Skrull that were posing as heroes. However, they didn’t catch a Skrull Yellowjacket who had been secretly poisoning Wasp and turning her into a giant bomb that could kill everyone. Thor saw this and had no choice but to blast her into a vortex before Wasp went off.
As well as this, after Sentry’s struggle with his dark side, The Void had caused so much destruction, including killing Aries, attacking Asgard and killing Thor’s brother Loki, Sentry finally had a handle on his dark side and reverted back to being good. But not being able to live with what he had done, Sentry wanted Thor and Ironman to kill him. They refused as they wanted him to pay for what he’d done by going to prison. However, Sentry didn’t want to go on so he changed back into the Void which gave Thor no option but to kill him.
Rogue has already appeared on this list as a casualty but now she gets her own spot as the killer. The Avengers Unity Squad were at war with the Apocalypse twins in the story arc Uncanny Avengers and within that comic book, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Wonder Man and Wolverine are captured by the twins. Away from this, Red Skull is using his powers and doing everything he can to turn humans even more against mutants. Because of this the Twins offered Scarlet Witch a deal; she could cast a spell that would send all the mutants to a different world in order to keep them safe. Scarlet Witch agreed, although secretly she was going to cast a spell not to transport the mutants, but to turn them into an army to take down the twins.
Unfortunately for her, Rogue became aware of the deal Scarlet Witch made with the twins but she didn’t know the secret plan. So thinking Scarlet Witch was about to cast another devastating spell, Rogue killed her with the help of claws she had absorbed from Wolverine.
4. Hal Jordan
In perhaps one of the most famous and possibly most controversial storylines that DC has done, Hal Jordan kills a lot of beings.
Emerald twilight saw villains Mongul and Cyborg Superman destroy Jordan’s hometown of Coast City while Jordan was away. On his return to Earth, Jordan was devastated and broke down at the site of his city and all the people that lived there being completed destroyed. Jordan used the power of the ring to recreate the city and the people, but it wasn’t enough to permanently bring it back. So with the little strength Jordan had left, he flew to the planet Oa and attempted to drain energy from the Central Power Battery; which is the source of the Green Lantern power. In doing so Jordan was confronted with the Lanterns and the Guardians, all of which Jordan killed.
3. Scarlet Witch
There are many comic book characters that have a hard time of it and struggle with the weight of either their powers or their handle on good and evil. The queen of all these issues is Scarlet Witch. There have been several rewrites and incarnations of Scarlet Witch’s upbringing and backstory, but none of them are happy or easy going. On top of this, because of her vast power and unstable mind, Scarlet Witch is often used and manipulated into doing very bad things. Several of these times have resulted in the deaths of other heroes.
Putting aside the famous House of M storyline in which Scarlet Witch essentially wiped out all mutants, Scarlett Which has been responsible for some big hero deaths. Most notably in the story line that resulted in Scarlet Witch losing the memories of her kids. When she found out that she had indeed had children, Scarlet Witch was not happy and attacked The Avengers’ mansion. Cursing Jack of Hearts, she sent him into the mansion to explode which resulted in Ant-Man being killed. She has also hexed She-Hulk and got her to rip Vision apart as well as summoning a Kree army which resulted in Hawkeye being killed by his own arrows.
It will be no surprise to even the casual comic book fan to know that Wolverine has blood on his claws. Not just the blood from bad guys but from heroes too. Even if he did kill for the greater good. The most famous hero death that has come at the hands of Wolverine has to be Jean Grey. In the movie X-Men: Last Stand, Wolverine kills Jean Grey in order to stop Dark Phoenix from killing everyone. In the comic books the outcome is the same but it took Wolverine 6 goes to kill her. With each stab of his Adamantium claws, the Phoenix Force kept reviving Jean Grey until it became too weak.
Away from Jean Grey, Wolverine has also used his claws on none other than Jean Grey’s daughter, Rachel. Being from an alternate future, Rachel can also access Phoenix level power and on one occasion went to use those powers to kill. When Wolverine heard about it he went to stop her and the only way he could was to kill her, so out came the claws. More recently in the Old Man Logan storyline, Wolverine is tricked into thinking villains have attacked the X-Men mansion and he sets about killing them all. Unfortunately for everyone it turns out that he in fact was attacking the X-Men themselves and he killed them all.
The number one spot on our list goes to the most recent, and could yet be the most devastating death of a hero, and that’s the death of the Hulk.
With the comic book Civil War and Civil War II exciting fans everywhere, there have been many heroes that have fallen as a result. Unlike the movie Captain America: Civil War in which no major character died, the comic books have been very different. With the deaths of War Machine and She-Hulk at the hands of Thanos, it next became the turn of arguably the most famous of the Marvel heroes, and that’s the Hulk.
Having managed to stay Hulk free for a year, Bruce Banner was nervous about his latest cure attempt so he entrusted Hawkeye with a special arrow that could penetrate The Hulk’s skull. He also ordered Hawkeye to use it if he ever Hulked out again. After seeing a vision from the InHuman known as Ulysses, a vision that showed the Hulk killing everyone, Hawkeye had to make a choice; kill his good friend before he turns bad or take the chance that they could contain The Hulk if it came to it. After careful thought, Hawkeye picked up the special arrow and the rest is now history.