DC Supervillains have a nasty habit of popping up again and again. Even when presumed dead, they frequently reappear. Some villains might just be too bad to die, but others are well connected and recruit people or resources to revive them in an emergency.
Despite this, or perhaps because of it, some villains meet remarkably bland or undignified deaths. Whether the circumstances of a particular villain’s death are absurd, the person responsible has nothing to do against the villain, or a resurrection is all but inevitable, some rogue deaths turn out to be downright stupid.
10/10 Talia Al Ghul dies repeatedly at the hands of her sister
Ra’s al Ghul uses the Lazarus Pits fairly regularly, either immediately after his death or when he is near death. The pits allow him to live much longer than he would organically. On occasion, The Demon’s Head allows his closest family and allies to use the pits, including his daughter Nyssa Raatko. Unfortunately, Nyssa’s long life forces her to suffer tragedies for which her father is partly to blame.
Eventually, Nyssa Raatko hatches plans to end the demon’s lineage. In an effort to turn her sister against her father, Nyssa repeatedly murders Talia al Ghul, throwing her into one of the Lazarus Pits after each murder, and relying on the Pits’ psychological effects to manipulate Talia. It’s a ridiculous way for Nyssa to get Talia on her side. Since the truth about her father is so abhorrent, a frank conversation would probably have sufficed.
9/10 The penguin’s fake death is a mess
Oswald Cobblepot stages his own death and blames The Dark Knight for it. When Selina Kyle confronts the penguin about his choice, he admits that he faked his death to bring his children closer together.
While the sentiment is understandable, the method for Cobblepot’s orchestrated family bond shows exactly whyHis children have such weak relationships with each other. Maybe they would all have gotten along better if they’d grown up in a family where they talked about their conflicts instead of dramatically pretending to die and implicating Batman.
8/10 The Batman Who Laughs could not have defeated Perpetua
Perpetua is the mother of the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, the World Faker, and the Multiverse. She’s evil, meaning she has blind spots because of her agenda, but she’s almost omnipotent. But during the Dark Nights: Death Metal event, the Batman Who Laughs manages to kill her and take her power for himself.
The allegorical implications of Perpetua’s death at the hands of Batman Who Laughs are certainly interesting, but practically her death makes little sense. She is far too powerful to be outwitted by Batman Who Laughs. Mortals of all persuasions, even those with Bruce Wayne’s intellect and the Joker’s motivations, should pose no challenge to them.
7/10 Every time Grundy dies, it just feels redundant
Solomon Grundy is a revenant or undead. For this very reason, Grundy’s various deaths in his publishing history rarely feel significant. Since it is difficult to defeat a being that is virtually impossible to harm, a common tactic used to subdue Grundy is to kill him.
So it reads as a little redundant every time Grundy “dies” or is otherwise deeply incapacitated. One cannot become more “dead”, after all, and Grundy’s physical form usually reverts to its intact nature (albeit zombified) even after a hero has completely dissolved their body.
6/10 The death of Priscilla Rich is woefully anticlimactic
As the original Cheetah, Priscilla Rich’s death deserved more fanfare than the apparent afterthought it was. Not only does Rich’s death fail to capture her importance to Wonder Woman’s lore, his stakes feel incredibly low in context. In a toxic team for the ages, Barbara Minerva frees Hunter Zolomon from prison, after which Zoom urges the newest Cheetah to kill the original (who is 84 years old) so Minerva can unlock her full potential.
While Rich’s cheetah was a villain, Wonder Woman’s non-reaction to Rich’s death feels inauthentic as they certainly shared a dynamic. As a result, Rich’s murder reads more as a circumstantial crime than a personal one. Crafted by the writers to get Wonder Woman and the Flash onto the Cheetah/Professor Zoom lane, it didn’t even up the ante for either team.
5/10 Brainiac murders Psimon
As a villain whose cognitive abilities are his greatest asset, it’s quite humiliating for Psimon to be slaughtered by another brain-themed villain – especially one he’s already killed. Brainiac returns from the “dead” to exact revenge on his killer Psimon, illustrating the saying “pride comes before a fall”.
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths In this event, Psimon attempts to blow up Brainiac so that he can take over the Coluan’s plans to control five Earths. Psimon assumes that Brainiac is really gone, but immediately after his death, Brainiac reappears. Psimon is unaware of his victim’s return, as he can only perceive thoughts from organic life. Brainiac brutally takes out Psimon in the midst of rejoicing, revealing that he transferred his data to his ship’s infrastructure upon sensing Psimon’s presence on board.
4/10 The Joker murders Psimon…again
Few villains have seen as many stupid deaths as Psimon. To offend Psimon even more crisis Murder, the Joker took Psimon after-crisis, to. With the Injustice League stranded on an uninhabited planet, Psimon suggests they accept their new reality and repopulate rather than attempt to escape their fate.
The Joker immediately murders Psimon with a rock, calling him an “idiot”. While it logically follows that Psimon could not sense Brainiac’s presenceSince the latter is inorganic, being a powerful telepath, Psimon really should be able to manipulate his fellow human beings, living evildoers, with no problem. This leaves readers wondering why Psimon doesn’t telepathically compel everyone, including the Joker, to carry out his plan.
3/10 The Anti-Monitor should have stayed dead
Like its mother Perpetua, the Anti-Monitor was supposed to be indestructible. Like his mother, a cohort of mortal heroes defeats him, ending the crisis he brought to the multiverse. While Perpetua remains defunct after their respective crises in continuity, the Anti-Monitor has actually reappeared since then Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Anti-Monitor came back during the Sinestro Corps War, and his resurrection is all the more puzzling thanks to his mother’s death: the Anti-Monitor essentially derives his powers from Perpetua, making him less powerful than her. This raises some serious logistical questions and makes his “death” seem made up.
2/10 Doctor Light’s death is very complicated
The already confusing “Trinity War” storyline in justice league volume 2 is only confused by Arthur Light’s death. The villain, seemingly reformed, dies when Superman very suddenly and inexplicably burns light with his heat vision. Atomica (an alternate Earth Atom working with Prime Earth’s Justice League at the time) reveals that she placed a microscopic piece of Kryptonite in Superman’s brain and activated his thermal vision.
Atomica did this to create a conflict between Doctor Light’s iteration of the League and Superman’s. This leads to power struggles that weaken the League against the Crime Syndicate (Earth-3’s evil Justice League analogue, where Atomica’s true allies lie) when they appear later in the issue. Basically, Doctor Light’s death is a bizarre and awkward way for the Crime Syndicate to prepare for a takeover.
1/10 A’monn A’mokk’s plan backfires completely
The White Martians and the Vulcans share an ancient blood feud. The Vulcans are heroes imbued with a special metagene and a mission to destroy the White Martians, and the White Martians seek to reciprocate the favor. In the second volume of son of VulcanWhite Martian A’morr A’mokk kills Vulcan Johnny Mann in a fight, but also sustains fatal injuries himself.
This motivates A’morr’s companion, A’monn A’mokk, to redouble his mission to destroy the Vulcan legacy.
Embarrassing enough for A’mokk, his efforts backfire royally. Even with the help of his human-Martian hybrid children, newly appointed fourteen-year-old Vulcan Mikey Devante kills A’mokk without breaking a sweat.
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