ByErik Zeitz, writer at
Avid Superhero fan, enjoys both DC Comics and Marvel in their comic roots, TV Adaptations and Cinematic Adaptations. Avid watcher of everyth
Erik Zeitz

Over the years, DC Comics has killed many characters. In this article, we are going to highlight some of the top 6 character deaths in the DC Universe.

These deaths could be surprising in and of itself or the impact of the deaths could be what's surprising. Without further ado, let's get started!

6) The Waynes (Thomas and Martha)

In the comics, it's very common for us to see secondary characters die. However what is less common, is for us to see two characters brought in and killed for the express purpose of creating our favorite bat-like vigilante. These characters deaths are not surprising at all. What is surprising (and in my opinion, makes the list) is the impact that their death had on young Bruce.

While this impact hadn't been explored in depth, Gotham recently started exploring this in Bruce in the year following his tragic loss. He goes to great lengths in an attempt to bring his parents killer to death. More recently, we witnessed that one moment where Bruce decides, "Here is the line. I do not cross it."

What is really important with these characters, is the mere psychological aspect for Bruce and how it still impacts his character today!

5) Jason Todd (a.k.a. Robin #2)

There are a few things about this death that are surprising. One - the fact that it happened; two - the fact that the fans asked for it; and three - the fact he came back as an insane villain who made it his soul purpose to exact revenge by someone else's hand.

For those who don't know, in 1988 (Batman #427-428), Jason Todd was killed off by the Joker using a crowbar. More recently in 2010, we saw this come to an animated adaptation in Batman: Under the Red Hood. This death was an unintended result of Ra's Al Ghul making a deal with the devil (or Joker if you prefer).

What I found to be even more surprising in my research, was that fans called into DC Comics between issues at the cost of 50 cents per call, to decide the fate of Jason Todd. The final vote was 5,343 to 5,271. With that, Jason Todd died in the explosion.

This death also heavily impacted Batman. He grew darker after Robin's demise as a result of failing to protect his ward. Yes, Robin could defend himself but he was Batman, he was responsible.

Naturally, with such a great character, Jason Todd did return as the Red Hood and to this day, has a central role in the New 52 universe.

4) Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash #2)

In 1985, Barry Allen died in Crisis on Infinite Earths. This was DC's first major death. For those who don't know, Barry Allen was captured by the Anti-Monitor as he was the only known being who could travel freely between universes at will. As a result, the Anti-Monitor could not allow Barry to roam free. Barry eventually escapes the Anti-Monitor and foils its plans to destroy the Earth. In the process of saving the Earth, Barry created a speed vortex to draw in the power from the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon. As a result, Barry dies because the power from the blast becomes too strong for his body. Barry does save the Earth!

As a result of Barry's death, many things changed. The first to change was the Flash mantle. Barry's nephew, Wally West (also his side kick) took up the mantle.

What's surprising about this death you ask? Well, in Secret Origins Annual #2 (1988), it is said that Barry Allen turns into a lightning bolt, goes back in time and becomes the lightning bolt that hit his lab on that faithful night where Barry Allen became the Flash! So to answer your question, I am surprised that Barry gave himself his powers! How many heroes can say that!

3) Oliver Queen (a.k.a. Green Arrow #1)

First appearing in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941), Oliver Queen was originally created to be an analog version of Batman. Over the years, he truly developed into his own character and quickly became a voice of progressivism.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. In Green Arrow 101 (), Oliver Queen dies in an explosion caused by his undercover assignment with the NSA trying to infiltrate Eden Corps. While on a plane, there was a massive fire fight where most of the Eden Corps on board were killed.

Unfortunately, Oliver's arm was inside the detonation chamber of a bomb and would go off if he removed his hand. Superman showed up and tried to help him out but unfortunately, his options were limited to one, cut off Oliver's arm with his heat vision. Rather than be crippled, Oliver sacrificed himself to save thousands of people.

As his body was completely vaporized in the blast, hi son fired an arrow into the air and its landing marked Oliver's final resting place (just as in the legend of Robin Hood).

Part of what makes Oliver so important are his far leftist views on almost all topics and his anti-authority personality. He defies Batman by night and fights corporate America by day!

2) Batman

While Batman has died many times over the years, one time stands out. Batman vs Superman. How fitting with the movie we are going to enjoy on March 25th!

In The Dark Knight Returns #4 (1986), our Dark Knight fought the Man of Steel. While this brawl didn't ultimately kill Batman, it makes number 2 because it out smarted Superman. Batman ingested poison which would revive him when it wears off. To note, this isn't the first time he pulled this trick off. It was also used in Batman Vol .1 #72 (1952) where Batman wanted to gain membership to an exclusive club of members who all managed to die and come back. Just as Juliet was poisoned, Batman was also poisoned and brought back to life which gained his entry!

Back to the comic in question, Batman fights Superman and just as Superman started to win, the poison takes effect and Batman dies from a heart attack. This truly convinced the world that Batman was dead.

In reality, Batman's entire plan was for him to go underground and begin training an army to continue his caped crusade!

1) Superman

In 1993, DC Comics dived into braver territory by killing one of their head-lined heroes. In The Death of Superman, DC took it's universe and removed one of its arguably greatest heroes. For better or for worse, this move defined an entire generation of comics. The book sold by the millions as comic book collectors hoarded away as many copies of the book as they could.

Superman's death was essentially treated as a realistic death. Major media outlets were reporting on it and anyone who remembers 1993 like has the Death of Superman come to mind. Some fans even argued that killing Superman was the equivalent to the death of Uncle Sam or pumpkin pie!

Despite Superman dying, DC did bring him back less than a year later. Readers and Critics found the series to be a "stunt" by DC Comics. Regardless of the alleged "stunt", the comic industry fully recovered and continued to thrive.

The reason this death is so important, is that it took away one of DC's most popular characters and showed that the DC Universe is still sustainable. This death opened other possibilities for DC and allowed them to diversify their portfolio.

To note, we saw this comic book make it into an animated adaption (Superman: Doomsday, Sept 2007). However, we did not have to wait a year to find out he's not dead!

In Conclusion...

DC Comics has not strayed away from killing any characters. While it did start off slow, it became a more frequent as time passed. Now-a-days, the thought of a character dying isn't what draws our attention. Simply the fact that we didn't see it coming!

What other death's would you say should be in the top 10?

Who do you think will win? Batman or Superman?

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters Friday March 25th!


Who do you think will win?


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