DC Comics was founded over 80 years ago, and their inventive and beloved characters have been through countless battles, spanning multiple generations.The very DC Comics Universe itself has been rebooted and retooled several times, meaning that the characters in the Universes we knew and loved had died, and new ones took their place.
Luckily most of the DC Comics heroes and heroines are too strong for even death to keep them down for long. That being said, there have been some drastic and cataclysmic events in DC Comics 80 plus year history, and almost every hero has fought and died at some point to keep those they love safe from harm. With heroes like the Flash, it’s easy for the Comic giant to just turn back time and resurrect our favorite superheroes.
Unfortunately, some of the characters have managed to bite the dust several times, and it can sometimes feel like the comic creators are grasping at straws, attempting to place emotional weight into a scene that’s severely lacking it. Some of these characters have died far too many times for it to still mean something impactful to the audience.
So without further ado, here are 15 DC Characters Who Won’t Stop Dying.
Parallax was originally just an alter-ego to Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern, after he became a villain for a short time. Later, DC Comics retconned his origin so that the creature would have more of a science-fiction spin. Parallax was later introduced as an intergalactic being that was derived totally out of the yellow energy of fear.
Parallax’s first death was actually emotionally gripping, as it died so that Hal Jordan could rid himself of the mind control that was crippling him. But later, as Parallax became a sentient life force, comic creators saw fit to have him destroyed in numerous (often ridiculous) ways. Not to mention his awful appearance in 2011’s Green Lantern, where Parallax was basically a giant brown gaseous mass that was forced into the sun by Hal.
Parallax has stopped being an interesting foe for the Lanterns, and instead become an entity that merely grants powers to its host, before being ripped out and imprisoned time and time again.
14. Thomas And Martha Wayne
The Waynes have a long and illustrious history in DC Comics, but that is mainly due to the event of their death, and the subsequent birth of Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego, Batman. Of course, Flashpoint proved that the Wayne’s could be interesting characters themselves, but only if they adopted the identities of another hero or villain.
The Waynes have been a punching bag for generations at DC Comics. They show up briefly, Bruce sees them killed, a pearl necklace drops, and a wonderful flash-forward happens, revealing Bruce Wayne brooding in his costume. And filmmakers have gone back to this well numerous times, adding their own little flare or Easter eggs, attempting to put their own spin on the iconic scene.
Audiences of both the comics and the films have seen them die enough. Maybe it’s time for them to finally rest in peace.
The Boy Wonder himself, Batman‘s sidekick has proven to be quite the helping hand over the years, and those who have worn the tights have gone on to become beloved heroes themselves. Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Jason Todd, and even Damian Wayne have given the character a breath of personality. Hopefully audiences will be able to forget about the Batman Robin movie when the character is finally introduced to the DCEU.
There is a glaring problem throughout Robin’s history, however, and frankly it’s a problem with any character that aligns themselves with Bruce Wayne. Batman’s villains always find out that the perfect way to hurt Bruce, is through the people he loves. And Robin has gotten the worst of it.
The Robins have been kidnapped, beaten to death with crowbars, blown up, and even killed off screen in the current DCEU. Robin deserves better, and hopefully Chris McKay will deliver an epic on-screen Dick Grayson.
12. Lois Lane
Superman‘s greatest love has seen her fair share of disasters over the years. She’s been a damsel in distress so long that it’s hard to read a Superman story where she’s not in trouble.
One of the most notable deaths that she’s faced was at the hands of her own love, in the Injustice storyline. It’s utterly heartbreaking when Superman finally realizes that it’s not Doomdsay he’s been pummeling, but his own wife, who he recently found out was pregnant. It’s one of the most repulsive acts the Joker has ever committed, and it completely tears the DC Universe apart after Superman does the same to the Joker.
Lois is always smarter than Clark, constantly snarky, and unabashedly kind, and hopefully Amy Adams’ wonderful Lois Lane won’t have to die in the DCEU to make for interesting Superman material.
Hawkman and another character that will be introduced later on this list are linked to each other, and that relationship forces them to continually die. The history of both of these characters dictates that they will be drawn to each other every time they are eventually resurrected. When they finally meet back up in their next lives, and their love begins to blossom, fate dictates that they have to die.
Throughout their time in DC Comics, these characters have died and been resurrected dozens of times. They also usually find out about this curse shortly after they meet, but then decide to stay together anyway. It’s certainly one of the most intriguing romances in all of comics (although that’s not saying much).
The Man of Steel had arguably the biggest death of any superhero in comics history when he died in the 1992 arc, The Death of Superman. In the comic, Superman is the only hero that can stop the war machine that is Doomsday, a creature that had been resurrected thousands of times throughout time, growing stronger with each subsequent death.
The fight itself is incredibly brutal and full of carnage, and was even used partially as inspiration for Zack Snyder’s 2016 film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Since then, Superman has died over five times in the comics, and also was presumed dead in Bruce Timm’s animated Justice League cartoon. One of the greatest acts that a hero can perform is the act of self-sacrifice, and Superman has sacrificed himself for the good of humanity countless times.
9. General Zod
This is a pretty touchy subject, but it’s worth noting that Zack Snyder was not the first person to have the Big Blue Boy Scout murder the infamous General Zod. Of course Man of Steel is certainly the most iconic and prevalent scene in which Zod is killed by Kal-El – in a horrifically tense scene in which Superman has to snap Zod’s neck in order to save a group of civilians.
Sometimes heroes need to make the impossible choice to kill, and having Clark be so conflicted in those few moments was brilliant, no matter how bombastic the backlash was.
Another instance of Superman killing Zod was in the comics, where Superman executed Zod and his minions using an extremely powerful variation of kryptonite. At the end of the day, premeditated-killing Superman seems worse.
8. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman has died numerous times, both inside and outside of continuity, in actual and artificial realities, and even at the hands of those closest to her.
Wonder Woman has also died about five times throughout her DC Comics history, the most famous of which being in Crisis on Infinite Earths, when she was turned into clay. She was also later brutally murdered by Steppenwolf in Earth 2, vol. 1.
The Amazon Princess, much like the Man of Steel, is a hero that other characters have to demonstrate their strength against. Nothing says “formidable foe” like being able to put the Amazon Warrior six feet under. It’s also a way to keep both the audience and her allies on their toes, because it’s not easy to take on the armies of Apokolips without Diana.
Hawkgirl is one of the most powerful heroines in all of DC Comics, which is saying quite a bit, seeing as DC prides itself on having many strong female characters. She is a powerful Thanagarian that is destined to find, fall in love with, and die in her lover’s arms. She also made quite the powerful impression on young audiences with her inclusion in Bruce Timm’s Justice League series, as she offered a different perspective on femininity compared to Diana.
It’s hard to make an expected death impactful, especially when your audience is anticipating it at any time, but DC has always been smart to make sure the deaths of both Hawkman and Hawkgirl are meaningful and impactful for the entire DC Comics Universe.
Batman loves to die, but in his defense, he does it in a much greater fashion than almost any other character. He usually doesn’t die at the end of a brutal fist fight, or from being outsmarted. No, Batman usually dies in the most horrific ways possible, and usually at the hands of his greatest nemesis, The Joker.
One particularly horrific death was in Action Comics vol 1. Issue #770, where the Joker is granted all of the power of Mr. Mxyzptlk, and he uses those powers to take full advantage of Bruce. The Joker ensnares Batman in a constant time loop, in which the Joker continually kills in and brings him back, and each death is more brutal and creative than the last. The worst variation is when Batman was torn apart by hundreds of vultures.
This killing machine was mentioned earlier on in this list, but he deserves this spot on the list. As mentioned previously, Doomsday’s very existence is linked to him dying and coming back even stronger than before. His most notable death is the same as the Man of Steel’s, as they both died trading blows with each other.
The only real flaw with Doomsday as a character is that he doesn’t really bring a ton of intriguing material to the DC Comics world. He’s basically just a walking punching bag for Superman, and the other more powerful DC Comics heroes.
Doomsday’s origin has also been rewritten numerous times, from the monster being conceived on Krypton, to being brought to life by Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
4. Vandal Savage
This is one of the few instances where a character dies more in film or television than in the comics. And Vandal Savage did die in the comics when he was outsmarted, and then blown to pieces by his own nuclear missiles. But the character has died the most in The CW’s series, Legends of Tomorrow. There, Vandal Savage isn’t killed by Superman, Batman, or Wonder Womanl he’s offed by discernably C-level heroes.
Vandal Savage is supposed to be one of the most formidable, and most intelligent characters throughout DC Comics history, and a lot of that wisdom comes from him being the oldest human character. If only he’d learned to stay away from meta-human teams that can travel through time.
3. Ra’s Al Ghul
Quite frankly, Ra’s al Ghul has died too many times. The seemingly immortal character has been stabbed, beaten to death, blown up, and impaled numerous times. With the Lazarus Pit always at his disposal, DC Comics has really taken advantage of the fact that Ra’s al Ghul can be left lifeless at the end of a panel, only to be brought back in the next.
He’s died so many times now, that it’s hard to actually get invested in the character. It’s now become a game of guessing exactly when Ra’s al Ghul is going to die. His deaths have shifted from horrifying to hilarious in a matter of years. He even dies in an epic train crash in Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Batman Begins, only to show up in “Force ghost” form in The Dark Knight Rises.
2. The Flash
Barry Allen, aka The Flash, is really the emotional lynchpin of the entire DC Comics Universe. He is the character that the audience views the world through. He’s always excitable, often clumsy and awkward, but consistently kind. That’s why it’s especially hard to watch his character bite the dust so many times.
His most notable death was also in Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Barry sacrificed himself in order to stop the Anti-Monitor device from destroying the entire Universe. Barry’s death caused a rift that forced the DC Universe to collide within itself, creating a singular continuity, and essentially resetting the entire Comic Universe.
It seemed to be a pretty concrete end for the Scarlet Speedster, until (like most heroes) he was eventually bought back to life.
1. Resurrection Man
Resurrection Man is easily the most obscure comic character on this list, but he undoubtedly deserves the top spot on this list. Mitch Shelley was a lawyer that was unwittingly implanted with Tektites; little sentient devices that gave him the gift of immortal life. He can, of course, die, but he is always revived seconds later.
His only true power is that he is granted the powers of the being that last killed him. And with villains like Mr. Mxyzptlk, Darkseid, and numerous other immensely powerful beings existing in the DCU, it means that Resurrection Man could potentially be one of the deadliest characters in the Universe at any given time. He’s died so many times, that it would take several lists to arrange them all, but trust us, he’s died… a lot.
Were there any that DC characters you hoped to see who wouldn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments below!