10 Most Shocking Deaths in DC Comics
Throughout it’s long history, DC has killed off many a character. These are the 10 most shocking deaths in the history of the comic giant.
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For all the incredibly powerful characters within the DC universe, virtually all of them are far from indestructible. For years, several of their many characters have constantly died by some means, with even characters as powerful as Superman perishing from time to time.
Though almost all of them have since returned, some character deaths have been completely unexpected. Despite how popular a given character may be, it doesn’t always save them from whatever threat is being fought against at the time. Looking at some of the more surprising deaths from the publisher over the years, here is our list of the 10 most shocking deaths in DC Comics.
10 Damian Wayne
Though audiences had plenty of foreshadowing to signal the death of Batman’s son, seeing Damian die was still a rather shocking moment. After several years on various Batman related titles, Grant Morrison’s epic run with the character concluded shortly after Damian himself died.
While reader’s did have time to prepare themselves for this event, Damian’s death was still shocking, especially in how Morrison approached it. After several years in Batman’s life, the character had really grown into his own and died as a hero. Likewise, on top of going out in a truly epic manner, seeing Damian killed by a warped and twisted clone of himself was all the more shocking. Though he wasn’t the first Robin to die, Damian’s death still had plenty of shocking elements.
9 Ferro Lad
Though many people have likely never even heard of Ferro Lad, his death was still incredibly shocking, especially given the time and location in which it took place. As a member of DC’s Legion of Superheroes title, seeing a major character killed off so suddenly was incredibly shocking.
Furthermore, seeing a character die in a title like Legion of Superheroes, which had a much lighter tone than many other books, was incredibly surprising in its own way. Likewise, Ferro Lad’s death occurred at a time where death was much more permanent in comics. While he may have been a smaller character, Ferro Lad’s death is still one of the most shocking that DC has ever delivered.
8 Barry Allen
Towards the end of DC’s massive Crisis On Infinite Earths event, Barry Allen made the ultimate sacrifice by literally running himself to death in order to save countless lives. For years, the character remained dead, leaving the mantle to Wally West, the original Kid Flash to serve as the Scarlet Speedster in his stead.
Given that Barry was such a popular character, it is truly surprising that DC chose to kill him off at the time. Furthermore, it would be years before Barry would make a return to the land of the living, making his death one of the most impactful in DC history as well. Thankfully, Barry is now the star of The Flash series once again, but it doesn’t take away from the impact that his death had on comic books overall.
Within the same series that killed Barry Allen, Kara Zor-El also met a tragic end. As the only living blood relative to Superman, Kara would also not be seen for several years, with Matrix serving in the role following her death.
Though arguably not as impactful as Barry’s death, Supergirl’s was much more shocking as it was much more immediate than Barry’s. Readers actually got to spend a few moments with Barry, despite actually knowing that he was going to die, while Kara’s came as a much greater surprise. Though she is also back within the DC universe, her initial death was just a bit more shocking at the time.
6 Alfred Pennyworth
As the most recent death on this list, fans everywhere were surprised when Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s long-time butler and companion, suddenly died as part of the “City of Bane” arc. After an evil version of Bruce’s father finds his way into the main DC universe, his attack against Alfred is done so as a means of showing Bruce what kind of pain being Batman can cause him.
Since Alfred’s death, Batman has relied on the assistance of Lucius Fox, but Alfred’s absence continues to weigh on him. Likewise, the entire Bat-Family has been affected by this loss, including a memory-wiped Dick Grayson. Considering how long Alfred has been around and everything he has done for Batman, his death not only came as a surprise, but is also one of the saddest ones.
5 Alexandra Dewitt
The death of Alexandra Dewitt is shocking in more than one way. As the girlfriend of Kyle Rayner, the main Green Lantern for Earth at the time, Alexandra’s death marked a major turning point for the character, taking him down a whole new path.
However, what was just as surprising was the fan response to her death, as many fans used her as an example to show just how expendable female characters are in comic books. Though she wasn’t around for very long overall, Alexandra was used to note one of the most overplayed and harmful tropes for women on this platform. Since then, creators and publishers have been better about their treatment of women, though the trope continues to happen on occasion to this day. Despite being a minor character, Alexandra’s death holds great importance that had a massive impact on the comic book industry.
In the Crisis On Infinite Earths sequel series, Infinite Crisis, Superboy’s death was easily one of the most shocking moments. After playing a major role within Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans series, it was incredibly saddening to see the character meet an untimely end.
Part of what made this death so shocking in particular was in that Superboy was never actually supposed to die in the first place. Instead, Dick Grayson’s life was supposed to be taken, but there was so much backlash from the fans that DC decided to kill Superboy instead. Though it was nice that Grayson managed to stick around, it doesn’t take away from the nature of Superboy’s death.
3 Green Arrow
Though readers did have a bit of time to prepare themselves for Oliver Queen’s death, the most shocking thing about it were the circumstances in which he actually died. While it is apparent that not even Superman can save everyone, he actually could have saved Oliver, but at the price of his arm as well.
With a limited amount of time and few options to consider, Oliver queen could have kept his life if Superman removed his arm from the bomb he was attached to. Instead, Oliver chose to live his life his way, deciding instead to die. For years, Oliver was actually dead, with his son assuming the role of Green Arrow, but the overall nature of his death is still one of the more surprising that comics have given readers.
2 Blue Beetle
Before Infinite Crisis could begin, Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, was fatally shot by Maxwell Lord, someone who was presumed to be a friend of the Justice League until that point. To make matters worse, Ted was shot in the head right in front of Booster Gold, his best friend.
Though Booster managed to survive the encounter, Ted’s death came as a big surprise. Especially since Maxwell was supposed to be an ally, this betrayal shocked many fans at the time it was released. Like almost every other comic character who has died, Blue Beetle is alive and well once again, but his death remains one of the most shocking in DC history.
1 Jason Todd
Jason Todd’s death was so surprising that DC themselves were shocked. Given the character’s unpopularity with readers, DC decided to let fans vote as to whether he lived or died as part of the “Death in the Family” arc. Though some doubt has been cast as to the fairness of the poll, Jason still died and remained dead for years until making his return as Red Hood.
Furthermore, Jason’s death continued to influence the DC universe, as Batman was forever changed following this moment, well before the character returned from the dead. As such a young character as well, Jason’s death is easily one of the most shocking and most memorable in all of comic books.
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