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Superheroes We Lost In 2022

Once upon a time, superheroes were functionally immortal. No writer would dare kill off a potentially profitable intellectual property ... until 1980's "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and 1993's "The Death of Superman" came along. Or, more precisely, until the characters killed in these storylines were resurrected. After Jean Grey and Clark Kent proved death needn't last forever, the days of de facto invulnerability for every cape-clad crimefighter were over. 

Nowadays, superheroes die like flies. Sometimes they die to give monthly sales a quick shot in the arm, sometimes they die for the sake of a shocking plot twist, and every once in a while, they die to bittersweetly close out an era of blockbuster cinema. The good news is, superheroes can also come back from the dead at any time, for essentially all the same reasons. 

What follows is an attempt to chronicle all the superheroes or superhero-adjacent characters across comics, television, and film whose time upon this mortal coil has come to a close in stories published or released in 2022. Let us now solemnly mourn these avatars of justice and might with whom we have parted ways ...for the time being, at least.    

Updated on May 16, 2022: Like any year, 2022 is sure to see many superheroes take their final breath. We'll be keeping this list updated to reflect the do-gooders who fall in the line of duty. Be sure to check back often to keep up on every daring demise.

Odin

Not unlike his baby boys Thor and Loki, Odin appears in Marvel comics, DC comics, various works of fantasy, and, of course, Norse mythology. MCU viewers associate the All-Father with Anthony Hopkins' portrayal in 2011's "Thor," 2013's "Thor: The Dark World," and 2017's "Thor: Ragnarok." As is the case with Asgard itself, Marvel's Odin goes through cycles of destruction and rebirth. He dematerializes into particles of bright light at the beginning of "Thor: Ragnarok," and similarly wills himself out of existence at the conclusion of 2022's "Thor" #22, by writer Donny Cates and artist Nic Klein. 

In this penultimate installment of Cates' "God of Hammers" arc, Odin reveals that his continued existence is preventing Thor, the current king of Asgard, from wielding the full cosmic might usually at the disposal of his royal station. Recognizing that Thor needs an extra boost to defeat the renegade God of Hammers — a blend of Mjolnir's energy and the nefarious Mangog  — Odin releases the last of his power to his son, erasing himself in the process.  

We should note that the conclusion of "Thor" #23 indicates the nature of Odin's death may be a matter of relativity. Regardless, for all practical intents and purposes, the old man is enjoying a permanent vacation in Valhalla.

Clemson Murn

In 2016's "Suicide Squad," only two members of Task Force X bite the big one. In contrast, 2021's "The Suicide Squad" includes a wholesale massacre of DC C-list baddies. Happily, this slaughter does not include Peacemaker (John Cena), allowing him to return for his HBO Max series.

Perhaps in the interest of consistency with the film, "Peacemaker" ends Season 1 with fewer characters than it starts. Most of these characters are ordinary humans or members of the hostile alien race colloquially known as butterflies. The butterfly Ik Nobe Llok, who inhabits the body of ex-mercenary Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), is sort of both. And in many respects, his ultimately self-sacrificing quest to prevent his fellow butterflies from annihilating the human race qualifies as super-heroic. 

After the butterflies take over the police force of Evergreen, Washington, Murn/Ik Nobe throws himself under the metaphorical bus to allow Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) to evade execution and carry on with their mission. In a tragic twist, the butterfly Eek Stack Ik Ik — sometimes referred to as "Goff" and inhabiting the body of Detective Sophie Song (Annie Chang) — happens to be the individual who repeatedly pulls the trigger on Murn.  

Comet the Super-Horse

We haven't seen a ton of super-pets since 1985's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" reset the DC universe's timeline and removed them from officially-recognized existence. So it's nice to see Krypto the Superdog and Comet the Super-Horse make something of a comeback in 2021's "Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow." 

Tom King and Bilquis Evely's eight-issue epic — one of the best comics of 2021, in our estimation — sends Kara Zor-El on a galaxy-spanning journey. She's determined to track down Krem, an interstellar pirate who needlessly slew her friend's father, then poisoned Krypto while making his escape. By the time the final issue arrives, Supergirl has successfully detained Krem. However, Krem manages to send for a cavalry of space pirates to help reverse his fortune. After a significant struggle, Supergirl manages to dispatch these baddies, but Comet loses his life in the process. 

It's a little ambiguous whether "Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow" is a canonical tale, so this Comet's precise nature is difficult to pin down. But Supergirl does mention that she knew he was a man cursed to live as a horse — a fact he didn't love talking about. This death might not stick, but it's still enormously moving.

Mike Murdock

This one lands squarely in the "superhero-adjacent" category. Mike Murdock is the twin brother of Matt Murdock, the occasionally secret identity of the crimson crime-slapper, Daredevil. As Mike Murdock points out in 2022's "Devil's Reign #5," he technically doesn't exist. Initially, Matt Murdock uses the phony persona of his imaginary twin brother Mike to throw off folks who've come a little too close to figuring out his secret identity. Later, due to circumstances involving the Inhumans and a reality-warping Norn Stone, Mike Murdock goes from being an idea of a person to a tangible person, and inserts himself into the canonical Marvel timeline. 

Basically, Mike is a fake person with a past that never happened, but he's the only one who knows that. By the time "Devil's Reign" — a miniseries by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto — rolls around, Mike Murdock is a fairly high-ranking affiliate of organized crime in Hell Kitchen. Also, at his brother's request, he frequently pretends to be Matt while Matt's off doing Daredevil-related business. In "Devil's Reign #5," he happens to be disguised as Matt in Matt's apartment, right around the time Wilson Fisk regains his memory of Matt's secret identity and decides to extract lethal revenge. Lacking his brother's ninja skills or hyper-alert senses, Mike is swiftly beaten to death and returns to his natural state of nonexistence.

Marvelous Man

Netflix threw its hat into the superhero satire ring with 2022's "The Guardians of Justice." Reminiscent of "The Boys," "Invincible," and HBO's "Watchmen," "The Guardians of Justice" doesn't treat the cape-and-cowl set as spotless heroes. Marvelous Man (Will Yun Lee), this universe's ersatz Superman, seemingly dies on live television, but some of his colleagues suspect foul play. Much like Rorschach's search for the Comedian's killer kicks off "Watchmen," "The Guardians of Justice" joins Knight Hawk (Diamond Dallas Page) as he explores the mystery of Marvelous Man's death.

But who is Marvelous Man? He arrived on Earth after his home planet was destroyed by the "Guardians of Justice" stand-in for Brainiac. Like any wannabe Superman worth his salt, Marvelous Man can fly, has heat vision, boasts seemingly impossible strength, and is virtually invulnerable to all potential harm, except for this world's Kryptonite equivalent. The copyright-safe version of a Kryptonite bullet which kills him is ostensibly stolen from the stand-in for Lex Luthor. Sound bizarre? It is. But that's how "The Guardians of Justice" rolls.

Guy Gardner

In 2022's "The Human Target," private investigator Christopher Chance, aka the Human Target, ingests a slow-acting poison intended for Lex Luthor. He has 12 days to figure out who's to blame for his rapidly approaching death, and the hardboiled gumshoe suspects the involvement of at least one member of Justice League International. The ensuing tale blends elements of noir detective traditions and the irreverent side of DC publishing that emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

Whether or not Tom King and Greg Smallwood's miniseries takes place in the mainstream DC timeline is unclear. Therefore, Guy Gardner may appear in another, more canonical story before the end of the year, or even reemerge somehow in "The Human Target." Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Green Lantern Corps' biggest jerk is evidently killed in a fight with Ice, his ex, and Chris Chance in "The Human Target" #6.

Originally one of Christopher's suspects, subzero superheroine Ice eventually becomes his romantic interest, much to Guy's jealous fury. The third-most famous Green Lantern attacks the new couple after a night of passion, only to find himself frozen solid and shattered to pieces, in that order. Let that be a lesson to awful exes everywhere — nothing good ever comes from stalking and harassment, even if you have a power ring from space.

The Justice League

Plenty of folks who'd like to get into superhero comics find themselves stymied by DC and Marvel's convoluted continuity, jarring reboots, and reliance upon obscure characters with omnipotent powers appearing from out of nowhere. They've got a new hurdle to clear, courtesy of "Justice League #75" by Joshua Williamson and Rafa Sandoval: In this issue, a previously benevolent dimensional traveler named Pariah effortlessly dematerializes a sizeable fraction of DC's best-known, usually-unstoppable champions of virtue. Specifically, Pariah kills the Justice League — Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Zatanna, Aquaman, Hawkgirl, and the Martain Manhunter. He also bumps off multidimensional Justice Leaguers including President Superman of Earth-23, Doctor Multiverse of Earth-8, Captain Carrot of Earth-23, and a handful of others. Promotional materials tell us this ghastly, traumatizing massacre of globally beloved characters leads into DC's summer of 2022 event, "Dark Crisis."

All of this is plenty shocking by itself, but here's the kicker — current "Action Comics" scribe Phillip Kennedy Johnson has already made it known, via an interview with CBR, that Superman's death will in no way interrupt Kal-El's noble struggle against intergalactic tyranny and oppression in his concurrent "Warworld Saga." Likewise, ceasing to exist doesn't seem to be stopping Batman from hunting Ra's al Ghul's assassin in the "Shadow War" multi-series crossover. DC's most prominent heroes have died in "Justice League." Somehow, they all continue to prosper in their solo adventures. What gives? We suppose we'll have to keep reading.    

Arion (Ocean Master)

With so many supervillains hatching so many devious plots at all times, you'd think there'd be no original scheme for world domination left untried. The "Young Justice" version of Orm the Ocean Master might be Arthur Curry's answer to Loki with a lot less charisma, but let's give him credit — he attempts what truly seems to be an original evil plan.

Correctly guessing he could charm the people of Atlantis by embodying an imagined glorious past, Ocean Master transplants his consciousness into a clone of Arion, the original leader of the undersea kingdom. As this Atlantean George Washington, Ocean Master wins major battles and makes plenty of inspiring speeches. To cover his bases, he also clones himself and loads that clone up with memories, so only an expert mind reader could sniff out his ruse. 

As it happens, the "Young Justice" crew includes prominent telepath M'gann M'orzz, who easily figures out what's up. But by the time M'gann warns the Justice League-adjacent Atlanteans of Ocean Master's presence in Arion's body at the end of Season 4's "Leviathan Wakes," it's too late — "Arion" is declared the new king of Atlantis. Luckily, thanks to an ancient prophecy involving the Lords of Order and Vandal Savage, "Arion" spectacularly explodes the instant he puts the crown on his head.      

Reed Richards (Earth-838)

Fans of the Fantastic Four have waited years for Marvel's First Family to take their rightful place at the center of the MCU, and they probably won't have to stay patient for much longer. Even though it's currently in need of a new director, "Marvel's Fantastic Four" should come intro fruition within the not-too-distant future. Hopefully the version of Reed Richards from the mainstream MCU timeline fairs a little better than the Reed who leads the Illuminati from Earth-838 because that guy (John Krasinski) dies a swift, excruciatingly painful, and humiliating death.    

In "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," the Scarlet Witch chases Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) to Earth-838, hoping to use America's dimension-hopping powers to reunite with her sons. Earth-838's Illuminati — essentially a secretive group of elite superheroes — do not initially take the threat of the Scarlet Witch seriously. If they can beat Thanos, how much of a problem could Wanda Maximoff possibly be, right? As it happens, the Scarlet Witch controls reality itself, so she turns Reed into string cheese and then makes his brains explode. Better luck next time, Tuna.

Black Bolt (Earth-838)

At this point, the Inhumans are basically the inverse of the Guardians of the Galaxy, where the prominence of superheroes in live-action media has actually hurt the prestige and credibility the characters enjoyed in the Marvel Universe back when there was no serious possibility that they'd have to function in other forms of media. The Inhumans TV show is the biggest abject failure in MCU history, and there is not a close second. The X-Men's movie rights returning to Marvel pretty much destroys any remaining chance of the Inhumans occupying the MCU's lane for genetically gifted outcasts. And Black Bolt (Anson Mount) probably died the most gruesome and unsettling demise of any Illuminati member in "Multiverse of Madness," which is saying something. 

After Reed Richards of Earth-838 informs Wanda that Black Bolt can annihilate her with a whisper, Wanda replies, "What mouth?" The king of the Inhumans then notices that his mouth has vanished. He panics, and the resulting yelp causes his skull to pop like a blister. We don't think the mainstream MCU timeline's Black Bolt, also played by Mount, would ever be dumb enough to use his unfathomably destructive vocal cords while his mouth was sewn shut. He might be a commercial failure, but the Black Bolt of the ABC television network is probably way harder to kill than this guy.  

Captain Carter (Earth-838)

Since arriving on the scene in 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger," Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) has journeyed from movies to network television to streaming animation. While anyone who watched ABC's "Agent Carter" can attest to the combat prowess of the the version of Peggy who resides in the regular MCU timeline, the Peggy variant from "What if... Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?" would probably be more useful in a fight against Dr. Doom. 

The Disney+ series "What If...?" tells us the tale of Captain Carter, a time displaced World War II-era hero who's injected with the super soldier-serum when the original test subject, Steve Rogers, is made temporarily unavailable. However, we can safely presume the events of "What If...?" are not directly connected to conditions on Earth-838. Captain Carter is slated for significant amounts of screen time in "What If...?" Season 2, and the Earth-838 variant of Peggy is all out of time, screen-related or otherwise.

Relative to the other Illuminati members, Captain Carter puts up a decent fight against the Scarlet Witch. She even manages to land a few strikes before Wanda takes telepathic control of Captain Carter's signature shield and uses it to separate Peggy's lower half from the rest of her torso. By the way, is Earth-838's Captain Carter using the Rocketeer's old jetpack? Because she flies around on a jetpack that definitely looks like the sort of thing we'd typically see strapped to the back of Cliff Secord

Captain Marvel (Earth-838)

In the primary MCU timeline, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) is Carol Danvers' friend, the mother of Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and passes away during the years between "Infinity War" and "Endgame." In Earth-838, evidently Maria became Captain Marvel instead of Carol Danvers, and she went on to join Reed Richards' Illuminati. Sharing the attitude of the rest of her pompous secret society, Maria tells Strange they "can handle your little witch" if Wanda Maximoff shows up looking for America Chavez. 

As it turns out, Earth-838's Captain Marvel can not, in fact, handle the "little witch," who squashes Captain Marvel by dropping a statue on her. 

Somewhat curiously, Earth-838 Maria wears a teal-colored costume similar to the uniform Carol Danvers fights in during her time as the amnesiac Kree warrior Vers in 2019's "Captain Marvel." In theory, this could indicate that some sort of diplomatic relationship exists between the Kree and the governments of Earth-838, but who knows if we'll ever hear more about this timeline's history. 

Professor X (Earth-838)

Patrick Stewart played Professor Charles Xavier for the first time all the way back in the year 2000's "X-Men" and once said he'd step away from the role after the high note of 2017's "Logan." Apparently, Kevin Feige used mind control abilities of his own — not unlike Jason Wyngarde or, perhaps, the Shadow King — to convince Stewart play Xavier for the eighth time in "Multiverse of Madness." Although, in fairness, since the Earth-838 variant of the benevolent mutant telepath technically isn't the same person we see leading the X-Men in any 20th Century Studios "X-Men" movies, Stewart could somewhat credibly argue that he never went back on his word.           

Like the rest of the Illuminati, Earth-838 Professor X finds himself utterly overwhelmed by the Scarlet Witch, who creeps up behind him on the astral plane and snaps his neck like a celery stick. We wish we could've seen more of Professor X in the "Multiverse of Madness," especially after Stewart's authoritative declaration of "we should tell him the truth" was so heavily featured in trailers. And perhaps in another universe, when Professor X's '90s-era floaty chair glides into the frame, the movie would pan back to reveal James McAvoy looking ruminative and wise in a bald cap. 

The Scarlet Witch

In 2021's breakout hit series "WandaVision," Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) transcended her status as an ill-defined supporting character in "Avengers" movies and evolved into a morally ambiguous and all-powerful magic wielder. Under the corruptive influence of the Darkhold, Wanda has gone full-on evil in "Multiverse of Madness," only to switch gears in the climax by seeing the error of her ways. As a result, she collapses the Mount Wundagore temple on herself, closing the Darkhold once and for all.

It's possible we've seen the last of Wanda Maximoff in the MCU, but there are a handful of significant caveats we should keep in mind. We only see rubble falling on Wanda's general vicinity. We do not see her corpse, and this is a movie that very much wants us to show us superhero corpses whenever possible. And while many of the Earth-838 variants of familiar characters we meet in "Multiverse of Madness" don't survive the experience, the Earth-838 Wanda Maximoff happens to the end the story alive and well, as far as we know.