Speaking solely about superheroes, people die in comics all the time. Sure, they never stay dead, but they sure do make a habit of convincing us they're gone for good (except those of us who've read comics for any length of time but that's not the point). Either way, a lot of those "deaths" were pretty tragic, and even manage to pull pretty hard on your heartstrings. There are a tonne though, so the one that made you feel the most feels may have managed to slip my net. But either way, here are my 5 most tragic deaths in comics.
5) Steve Rogers
This is one you may have heard a fair bit about recently, so I'll not delve into it too much, because it contains possible spoilers for upcoming Marvel films. Needless to say though, it was a real gut-punch. Cap, after having everything he believed challenged to its core, is killed as he tries to do the right thing. No big deal about it, no massive sacrifice, just straight up dead on the spot. While it was hardly unexpected (the series was called "The Death of Captain America") it still hit home fairly hard, as he was a character we'd grown to love over time, and seeing him killed off in the manner that he was still hurts upon revisiting.
4) Jean Grey
What was the worst thing about X-Men: The Last Stand? How it managed to botch what is potentially the most iconic X-Men storylines ever, and also one of the best stories ever to come out of Marvel. Jean Grey's journey from Marvel Girl to Phoenix to Dark Phoenix is one that has stuck with the world ever since it happened in the late 70s. The whole idea is that in order to save the X-Men from certain death, Jean must embrace her full telekinetic and psychic power, leading her to become (at the time) the most powerful mutant. However, after she unlocks this potential, she is slowly consumned by it, morphing her into an evil force of complete destruction. The whole descent into madness is almost painful to watch as you see one of the most timid and gentle characters in Marvel, descend slowly into madness. Yet, the real tragedy comes when, for a brief moment, she sees herself clearly as Jean Grey and not the Dark Phoenix. In that moment, her strength of character is revealed as she commits suicide to prevent herself from taking any more lives. It's one that can't fail to tug on those heartstrings. Hard.
3) Arthur Curry Jr.
Did you know that Aquaman and Mera once had a kid? Well, he was called Arthur Curry Jr. after his daddy and everyone was happy, after all, he was one great baby with a world of potential ahead of him. I mean, sure parents have died before, friends, partners and siblings. But who would ever murder an infant? Surely that's too dark for a comic book? Well, Black Manta took it upon himself to tell you that it's not too dark for him. But the worst part isn't just that he killed a harmless, innocent baby, it's how he did it: putting lil' Arthur in a machine that slowly but surely suffocated him. It's a morbid event that has very rarely been rivaled in comics, and one that hit Arthur Sr. and Mera like a freight train. A parent losing a child is horrific, and at such a young age, this is one that it's still hard to believe happened.
2) Barry Allen
The death of the Flash is one of the most memorable moments from Crisis on Infinite Earths and arguably one of the things that makes the series so iconic. Sure, the image of Superman holding the lifeless form of Supergirl is what you may have seen most from the series, but Barry sacrificing himself to prevent the Anti-Monitor from wiping out 5 different Earths simultaneously? That's the one that stuck with me, in no small part thanks to the fact that said death lasted 20 long years. Sure, the pain was softened by Wally West's presence, but we all still missed Barry for those 20 years. It's a rare occurence for a long-standing popular hero to stay down for so long, and that gives it a special place in my heart.
1) Jason Todd
Why is the second Robin dying such a big deal? I mean, Batman has lost a lot of people in his life, so how come Jason is the one you hear people talk about? I'll tell you: it's never been undone. Don't get me wrong, the character came back to life, but the status-quo of his character was never restored. To this day, his death still has effects, morphing him into the villain/anti-hero Red Hood and continuing to torture Batman over his failure of Jason, and the fact that the were on poor terms when Jason died. So few events in comics that aren't backstory ever have that kind of effect in the medium, and the actual story of Jason's demise: 'Death in the Family' is one that solidly delivers one of the most affecting beats in comic history.
So there you have it, my list of the five most tragic deaths in comics. Do you have a personal favorite I missed? Whatever your thoughts, let us know down below, and until next time guys, enjoy your lives!!!
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