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Superheroes We Lost In 2021

We had a lot fewer superhero stories to enjoy in 2020. COVID-related delays in TV production, movie releases, and even comic book shipping forced superhero fans to be a lot more patient than usual. Thankfully, 2021 brought comic book champions back with a vengeance, due in large part to long-awaited original content from streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max. With series like WandaVision and Invincible, new films like Thunder Force and Zack Snyder's Justice League, the resumption of CW's DC hero line-up along with the new series Superman & Lois, and more comic books back on the stands, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the busiest years for the superhero world yet.

Sadly, more superhero stories means more costumed do-gooders meeting their ultimate fate, and 2021 has already wracked up an impressive butcher's bill of heroes. Whether they've been wiped from existence, beaten to a pulp by a treacherous ally, or forced to sacrifice themselves on the whim of cruel and ungrateful taskmasters, a good number of superheroes are sure to be dead by the end of the year. We're making sure we keep a complete list of the super-dead so you don't have to. Here are the superheroes we lost in 2021. 

(Be warned — there are major spoilers below.)

The Hex Vision was the first superhero to go in 2021

Since Paul Bettany's Vision suffered a brutal death at Thanos' hands in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, there were — as with just about everything in WandaVision — plenty of theories about how Marvel's favorite synthezoid was alive in the show. In the series' penultimate episode, it's finally confirmed that, shortly after viewing her lover's disassembled body at S.W.O.R.D. headquarters, Wanda used abilities she didn't even know she had to create a dream Vision, along with transforming the town of Westview and its inhabitants. 

The Vision of the Hex is, in Wanda's words, "the piece of the Mind Stone" living within her, a body she created, her sadness, and her hope. "But mostly," she says to Vision, "you're my love." She tells him this in the series finale, moments before she brings down her mystical Hex, along with all the illusions within it ... including Vision. Her lover seems hopeful that he will find some way to return to her before he fades into nonexistence, and who knows?  S.W.O.R.D.'s reassembled White Vision is still out there somewhere, and he could be the key to such a return. 

Along with Vision, the twins Billy and Tommy also presumably fade away, but this isn't quite as certain as the dream Vision's death. In a post-credits scene, as Scarlet Witch communes with the Darkhold, we hear the boys calling out to her for help, perhaps pointing towards the twins' return in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Yalan Gur died fighting Darkseid

One of the impressive highlights of Zack Snyder's Justice League is the opportunity to watch an expanded and beautifully epic version of Darkseid's first effort to conquer Earth. In this flashback, we see a lot more of all the combatants, and in particular, we see a lot more of the Green Lantern who dies fighting the enemy general.

Considering who the Green Lantern is, it's fitting he should live and die in only a single flashback scene. The alien Lantern is Yalan Gur, whose counterpart in the source material is introduced in 1991's "Green Lantern" #19, likewise in a flashback that ends in his death. In the comics, Gur's story is a cautionary tale about a Lantern who's gifted with a ring with no weaknesses, and he's killed by his own overconfidence. 

You could argue the movie Yalan Gur dies from the same thing since he falls going one-on-one with Darkseid, but heading straight for the big bad is kind of a Green Lantern's job. Gur is knocked out of the sky by parademons, and Darkseid takes the opportunity to dominate his foe. He chops off Gur's hand and then impales him, killing him. Gur's ring leaves his dead finger, and Darkseid reaches out to claim it, but he's interrupted by the arrows of the Greek goddess Artemis. Presumably, the ring flies away to find a new member of the Corps to succeed Gur.

Before his death, Abra Kadabra went from supervillain to superhero

Referring to David Dastmalchian's Abra Kadabra as a superhero may seem strange. The time traveler's real name is Philippe, and he's a crook from the 64th century who uses nanotechnology that looks like magic to 21st-century eyes. He's introduced in The Flash's third season, stuck in the present and attempting to steal technology in order to build a time machine to get home. But he returns in Season 7's "Central City Strong," eventually proving to be a much more sympathetic character and ultimately dying to save Barry Allen.

After realizing Abra Kadabra is constructing an anti-matter bomb to destroy Central City, Flash rushes to confront him, and he learns that Phillippe is looking for payback. See, in the future, Abra Kadabra discovered the device Cisco Ramon created that could give people back their memories from before the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. Using the device on himself, Abra Kadabra learns he had a wife and son before Crisis, but the restoration of the multiverse had taken them away from him.

Barry is able to convince the vengeful Philippe to disarm the bomb, but the danger isn't over. The monstrous Fuerza — an antagonist later revealed to be the host of the Strength Force — arrives abruptly and attacks Flash. Abra Kadabra stands up to the beast, protecting Barry, but since Philippe doesn't share Barry's enhanced healing, a single strike from the super strong Fuerza kills him instantly. In the aftermath, Team Flash agrees that Abra Kadabra died a hero.

The original Guardians of the Globe were massacred in 2021

Amazon Prime unveiled its new original animated series, Invincible, at the end of March, and the premiere ends in a way that lets you know that while this isn't The Boys, it also definitely isn't Superfriends

Early in the first episode, we meet the Guardians of the Globe – Invincible's version of DC's Justice League, comprised of obvious stand-ins. Instead of Aquaman, there's the fish-headed Aquarus. Instead of the Flash, there's Red Rush, and there's Darkwing instead of Batman, and so on and so on. We meet them as they're battling the formidable Mauler Twins in Washington D.C., who they defeat only with the timely arrival of Omni-Man – Invincible's answer to Superman and the father of the series' titular protagonist. 

In spite of what at first appears to be a strong friendship between Omni-Man and the Guardians, the episode ends with Omni-Man luring the other heroes into a secret meeting and brutally murdering them all, one by one. Aquarus, Red Rush, Darkwing, the Immortal, Martian Man, Green Ghost, and War Woman are all dead before the scene ends, with Omni-Man not bothering to give his victims any explanation. In the episodes that follow, a new Guardians team is formed, one comprised mostly of younger heroes, and certain characters like the mystical detective Damien Darkblood and Cecil Stedman — head of the Global Defense Agency — suspect Omni-Man, but they don't have proof or any notion of a motive. 

Battlestar's death sent John Walker over the edge

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been decidedly ambiguous regarding the fate of Steve Rogers. We still don't know if he's dead, retired in secret, or on the moon like Joaquin Torres and his buddies seem to think. But we know of at least one hero who doesn't survive the series. In Episode 4, Lemar Hoskins, aka Battlestar, sacrifices himself to save John Walker from the Flag-Smashers. 

The head of the Flag-Smashers, Karli Morgenthau, decides the new Captain America needs to die in order to send the world a message. She sets up a meeting with Sam, knowing that John Walker will follow whether he's invited or not. Walker does what's expected of him, and in the ensuing melee, one of Karli's men gets ahold of him while Karli charges him with a knife drawn. Lemar intercepts Karli, tackling her to the floor. Enraged, the Flag-Smasher hits Lemar with all of her enhanced strength, sending him flying backward into a pillar and killing him instantly.

Battlestar was John Walker's best friend and his biggest cheerleader. His death pushes the already unstable Walker over the edge, and at the end of the episode, he murders one of the Flag-Smashers in a very public and brutal fashion. Episode 5 opens with Sam and Bucky clashing with Walker to take back his bloody shield, and before long, Walker has returned to the States, where the title of Captain America is stripped from him. 

Bolt's rescue mission majorly backfired

In spite of "Suicide Squad's" premise being that no one is safe, certain eras have filled the line-up with far too many too-big-to-die characters. For example, the volume of "Suicide Squadthat premiered in 2011 as part of DC's New 52 reboot regularly included characters like Harley Quinn and Deadshot, each of whom you could safely predict would survive to the next issue. But if you like your "Suicide Squadbody count to be a bit higher, the volume that premiered this year is for you. Four members of Task Force X break into Arkham Asylum in 2021's "Suicide Squad#1, and all but one of them are dead by the issue's end.

The first to fall is Bolt, and ironically, he's killed by the guy he's there to free. The Suicide Squad's mission is to rescue William Cobb — the Court of Owls' most infamous Talon — but when the Squad gets into his cell, it's clear the guy is in a psychiatric facility for good reasons. Cobb is huddled in a corner, seemingly unaware of them, and the word "who" is carved into just about every inch of his cell's walls. When Bolt puts his hand on Cobb's shoulder, the latter strikes, ripping Bolt's throat open with one of his homemade shivs. 

The Bolt who dies in "Suicide Squad" #1 is actually the son of the original DC villain who bore the name. The younger Bolt killed his own father at the orders of the Clock King in 2009's "Terror Titans" #3. 

Film Freak meets a not-so-funny fate

Earlier in March, DC released "Infinite Frontier" #0, which included — among other things — an attack on Arkham Asylum with Joker's deadly gas. Those events spill into "Suicide Squad" #1, shrinking Task Force X considerably. 

After killing Bolt, William Cobb doesn't prove any more cooperative with the team sent to free him, taking on the survivors Shrike, Film Freak, and Peacemaker all on his own. As the deadly Joker gas creeps towards the group, Cobb punches Film Freak, knocking him closer to the oncoming cloud. As the gas overtakes him, Film Freak quotes the famous Porky Pig line, "That's all folks," before taking on the rictus grin that all of Joker's gas victims display.

First appearing in 2006's "Catwoman" #54, the pale-skinned Film Freak is a psychopath obsessed both with movies and with Catwoman. Before his death, his mind possessed no true memories but only clips from countless films. In his final appearance in "Suicide Squad" #1, he speaks exclusively in quotes from movies, TV shows, and song lyrics. 

Shrike is abandoned by his Suicide Squad teammate

The last Squad member to fall in "Suicide Squad" #1 — but not the last Squad member to fall in this story — is Shrike. A student of the notorious League of Assassins, Shrike existed primarily as an antagonist for Batman's first partner — Dick Grayson, better known as Nightwing and also as the first Robin of Gotham City. And as for his ultimate fate, depending on how you look at it, Shrike dies either because of his only surviving teammate's betrayal or because he's simply a low priority. 

After Film Freak dies, Peacemaker and Shrike continue to try to subdue William Cobb, forcing him toward a nearby exit in the hopes of escaping the Joker gas. As they reach the exit, they find two guards blocking their escape, and Peacemaker tells Shrike to take care of the guards while he grabs Cobb and charges with him through the exit. In spite of Shrike calling for him to wait, Peacemaker keeps going, allowing the exit door to close behind him and leaving Shrike to die in the encroaching gas. 

Mindwarp might've been murdered by his boss

Before the end of "Suicide Squad" #1, we learn that Amanda Waller has Superboy as her prisoner. In the following issue, she sends a second squad led by Superboy — equipped with gas masks — to Arkham Asylum to rescue Cobb and Peacemaker and to leave a corpse in Cobb's cell in the hopes he'll be presumed dead. Superboy's squad includes the vampiric Batman villain Nocturna and three characters making their first appearance in "Suicide Squad" #2 — Culebra, Exit, and Mindwarp. 

With the ability to psychically manipulate others, Mindwarp uses his powers to force any surviving Arkham guards to forget about the squad. But just as the team is about to leave, Mindwarp's mask cracks, exposing him to the Joker gas. He quickly collapses, succumbing to the fumes and dying. 

While it's only speculation, the timing of Mindwarp's death is suspicious. Waller calls him over the comms and has him confirm that his powers worked on the guards. As soon as he confirms, his mask cracks without any visible outside influence causing the damage. Earlier, Peacemaker's narration refers to Mindwarp as a "true psychopath," and he calls him "untrustworthy." Perhaps — uncomfortable with the supposed "psychopath" on her squad — Waller causes Mindwarp's mask to crack remotely once she has what she needs from him. 

As for his backstory, while there is a Mindwarp named Jay Young who was introduced in 2012's "Justice League Dark" #3, Peacemaker's narration notes this Mindwarp's real name is Peter Howard, making him a completely different and new character.

Exit made his, well, exit in Suicide Squad #2

Though he hasn't been seen before in DC Comics and presumably won't be seen again (at least not for a while), the most sympathetic of Task Force X's members to fall in the first two issues of "Suicide Squad" is Jason Phillips, aka Exit. Peacemaker's narration calls him a thief with "delusions of redemption." If Peacemaker is right and Exit's hope for redemption is a delusion, then it's a delusion he dies feeding. 

Shortly before the squad leaves Arkham, Superboy argues with Amanda Waller when she orders him to leave without helping any of the facility's survivors. He argues they "just need time," and likewise, Exit tries to save one of the Arkham guards by letting him use his own gas mask. Sadly, that act of kindness seals Exit's fate. On the following page, the gas overtakes Exit. Before dying, he opens a portal so the rest of the squad can escape.