The industry of superheroes and villains is at an all-time high. With so many movies and shows coming out at a time, they have to pull out the big guns and subvert their own rules in order to stay on top. Because of this, 2018 has already been a big year for comic books. Movies like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War have come out to shake up the foundations of typical superhero movies, while TV shows like Jessica Jones and Legends of Tomorrow have continued to explore new avenues and themes for their stories.
Then, comics have brought new characters to the pages and taken away older ones. Due to 2018 being such a big year, we have already lost so many characters we've grown to know and love. With these deaths, audiences are starting to realize their emotional connection to these heroes and their mediums -- we're seeing the end of one era of superhero movies and we're beginning to experience the loss. Get ready to pour salt in fresh wounds as we explore 20 comic characters we've already lost in the first half of 2018. A major spoiler warning is in order for any superhero movie, TV show, or comic book that came out this year.
20 THE CHILDREN OF THANOS
About a year leading up to the release of Avengers: Infinity War, we learned that Thanos wouldn't be fighting the Avengers alone. He would have Ebony Maw, Cul Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive at his side. Known as the Black Order in the comics, they were called the Children of Thanos in the movie. The group were cosmic beings that knew how to put up a fight in service of their master. They traveled to Earth ahead of the Mad Titan to try and take the Time Stone from Doctor Strange and the Mind Stone from Vision.
The Children of Thanos put up a decent fight, but every one of them fell to the Avengers, leading the audience to believe that Earth's Mightiest Heroes might actually win. Ebony Maw was killed when Spider-Man and Iron Man shot him out of a spaceship, Cul Obsidian was destroyed by the defense barrier at Wakanda, Proxima Midnight was thrown into a massive saw blade by Scarlet Witch, and Corvus Glaive was stabbed through the heart by the Vision. As secondary antagonists, they didn't have the same presence that Thanos did, but were strong enough to pose a fair threat to the Avengers, which led to some excellent fight sequences.
19 ELONGATED MAN
Ralph Dibny is a character that has long been a superhero for Central City and it was only a matter of time that the CW would bring him to the cast of The Flash. Appearing in season four, he was a cop who would butt heads with Barry Allen frequently. Despite how the two of them were constantly at odds, Dibny would gain some impressive stretching powers and use them to help fight crime. When Barry was unable to protect the people of Central City, Dibny was the one who would fight in his stead. He would later get his own leather jacket costume from Cisco.
Ralph was going through an arc in the show where he began to understand what he was meant to do in life.
Unfortunately for him, that story would come to an end when the Thinker was one step ahead of Team Flash. He caught both Barry and Ralph off guard and placed his consciousness into Ralph's brain, instantly killing the metahuman. This was a major blow to the team, as they had grown to care for the hero. Don't cry too many tears though, as there's a chance that he could still come back considering the season isn't done (as of the time of this writing).
Basil Karlo has been one of the tougher villains that Batman has to fight. Seemingly being made entirely of clay, Karlo is able to change his physical form to create different weapons as well as masquerade as other people. Being an actor by trade, Karlo is obsessed with the theatricality of his new persona and wants to take over Gotham in lavish and over-the-top ways. He was always thought to be a villain until he the Gotham Knights came into the picture.
Karlo had finally decided to right his wrongs and go down a morally just path. He decided to hang up his villainous ways. He seemed to gain the trust of Batman as well, because Karlo was allowed to join the Gotham Knights along with Batwoman. Unfortunately, their celebration wouldn't last. Clayface would eventually go insane and start rampaging through Gotham, using his powers to decimate everything in his path. Batwoman knew she had to stop him. Given a gun that could kill Clayface, she was faced with no other choice but to shoot him through the head. It was a painful sequence that was made even worse once Batman found out, and he immediately removed Batwoman from the Gotham Knights and scorned her.
17 ALISA JONES
Jessica Jones is an unhinged character who had to learn to survive on her own. She grew up with the knowledge that both of her parents were killed in a car accident. That said, she found out in Jessica Jones season two that was no longer the case. As it turns out, her mother survived the crash and was brought to an evil doctor, where she was experimented on and given a set of powers similar to Jessica's.
Alisa and Jessica would later cross paths and reunite as mother and daughter.
Their "happy" reunion wouldn't last, though. As it turns out, there were a series of murders were victims were harping on about a monster who killed without mercy. After some investigation, Jessica discovered that it was her own mother who was responsible. Eventually deciding to help her mother, the two made a break for the Canadian border. However, it was Jessica's friend, Trish, who was on to them. Trish ended up killing Alisa, severing any hope that Jessica would have for a mother. Considering that she just got her mother back, Jessica was spiteful to her friend and the two are going to have a long way to go before making amends.
Gamora was known across the galaxy as the daughter of Thanos. Being taken from her planet at a very young age, she was trained by the Mad Titan to become the greatest fighter in the known universe. However, she started to see that her father was a monster through and through, so she decided to double cross him by taking the Power Stone to a safe place. It was during this that she also ran into Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, and Drax the Destroyer. Eventually joining forces with them, she became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Her involvement in the story of the MCU wouldn't end there, though. During Avengers: Infinity War, she had a lot to overcome as the daughter of the movie's central antagonist. She had to give him the knowledge of the Soul Stone in order to save Nebula's life. The two went to take the Soul Stone, but Thanos had to give up a part of his soul in order to obtain it. It was at this point that he had to sacrifice the only thing he ever loved: Gamora. He dragged her against her will and threw her over the side of a cliff.
Vigilante is a character with a similar goal of Oliver Queen: to save Star City and rid the world of all of its criminals. However, he takes matters into his own hands when it comes to the justice system. By killing everyone he fights, Vigilante immediately gained the attention of the Green Arrow and his team. First appearing in season five, the character fought the team on several occasions before going on hiatus and get out of the range of Prometheus. After Prometheus was dead and Team Arrow returned to Star City during season six, Vigilante decide to make his big move.
It was revealed that Vigilante, under the mask, was the old partner and lover of Dinah Drake, the new Black Canary.
Despite being one of the show's villains, Vigilante and Black Canary managed to keep their old connection alive. However, their forbidden romance wasn't meant to last. During a fight against Black Siren (the Earth-Two Laurel Lance), she had Vigilante bound up and unleashed a full blast of her shriek right in his ear. It wasn't long before Vigilante's brain was turned to mush and he was another villain who bit the dust, leaving Dinah Drake a sobbing mess.
Heimdall made his MCU debut in Thor. Being the guardian of the Bifrost, he constantly watched the bridge to ensure that nobody left or entered Asgard without his say so. He also had the impressive ability to be able to see anyone anywhere in the world, which made him a much more effective guardian (though he wouldn't hold his post throughout the entirety of the MCU). He would eventually join the fight against the Dark Elves in Thor: The Dark World and the resurrected soldiers in Thor: Ragnarok. He was one of the ones on the Asgardian ship that evacuated the planet to find sanctuary on Earth.
Unfortunately, none of his progression throughout the Thor trilogy mattered because of one thing: Thanos. In the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos was looking for the Tesseract and brought an end to the Asgardians on that ship. After battling the Hulk, he was getting ready to kill the giant before Heimdall summoned the energy to send Hulk to Earth. After that, Thanos told him that was a grave mistake and stabbed Heimdall through the chest. The guardian of Asgard died just moments later, leaving Thor alone in the world and without a best friend.
13 JOHNNY BLAZE
Johnny Blaze was a very reckless man. Riding a bike and performing crazy stunts, his life was changed forever when he sold his soul to be given the curse of the Ghost Rider. He could then turn into a skeletal creature with a flaming bike. Becoming the embodiment of the Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny took the mantle of the Ghost Rider and quickly became one of the most fearsome heroes in the Marvel Universe -- anyone with half a brain knew better than to pick a fight with him. However, Ghost Rider isn't the strongest hero in the universe.
Recently, the demon Mephisto turned Earth into a living Hell and it was up to Doctor Strange, Wong, and Ghost Rider to fix the reality and stop the demon.
They eventually found his throne where Johnny, decked out in his Ghost Rider suit, walked right up to Mephisto. Instead of putting up a decent fight, the demon instead blew out the Ghost Rider, lifting the curse from Johnny Blaze. He then threw him down a long flight of stairs, which resulted in Blaze meeting his end, which happened to be Mephisto's plan all along. Don't mourn for too long, as Strange wants to bring him back (and maybe he already has?).
12 THE COLLECTOR
The Collector is an extremely weird individual. He has a love for all sorts of interesting artifacts and hoards them within his collection in Knowhere. In the MCU, he started collecting the Infinity Stones at the end of Thor: The Dark World, where he was sold the Aether by the Warriors Three. He would later reappear in Guardians of the Galaxy as the buyer who wanted to obtain the Power Stone before Ronan the Accuser got his hands to it. Unfortunately, one of his slaves touched the Power Stone and caused an explosion that ruined his collection. He still kept the Aether, though.
As we all knew, Thanos eventually traveled to Knowhere in Avengers: Infinity War. We see the Mad Titan interrogating the Collector to try and find where the Reality Stone was, but he wasn't giving up the information. When the Guardians fought Thanos, they soon figured out that it was all an illusion and the Mad Titan had already grabbed the Stone by the time they got there. From the looks of Knowhere at the time, we can assume that the Collector met his end, as he stands no chance against someone who can smash the Tesseract in his hand.
11 THE MIGHTY THOR
Marvel has experimented with having different characters possess the power of Thor, but the most notable one (next to Beta Ray Bill) has to be Jane Foster. She was diagnosed with cancer and had a limited amount of time to live. Coincidentally, Thor was considered unworthy at the time following the events of "Original Sin". She ended up forming a connection to Mjolnir and wielded the hammer as The Mighty Thor. Her connection with it immediately solved her physical afflictions and she gained a much more impressive physical form. After some discomfort at first, Thor eventually came to terms with Jane being the new Thor. However, if she were to lose the power of Thor, Jane would succumb to the cancer.
Jane's abilities were tested when Mangog came knocking on her door, ready to destroy Asgard once and for all.
With the help of the Odinson, the original Thor, Jane managed to hold him back, but he was too strong for her. Because of this, she came up with the idea of attaching Fenrir's chains to Mjolnir and use them to hurl Mangog into the sun. She succeeded in her mission, but she had to give up the powers of Thor to do so and she quickly succumbed to the cancer. Jane Foster herself was later revived, but the Goddess of Thunder is no more.
Black Panther opened with an emotional sequence, where King T'Chaka visits his brother, who had left Wakanda and was in the real world. Unfortunately, the king wasn't there just to catch up. He had heard that Vibranium had been getting into the wrong hands and that it stemmed all the way back to his brother. The only way T'Chaka could confirm this was by placing a spy to shadow his brother, Zuri. That sequence ended with the death of T'Chaka's brother and Zuri would return to Wakanda and serve as the adviser to the King.
In present day, Zuri became one of the best friends to T'Challa and was a pseudo father figure following the death of T'Chaka. When Killmonger showed up in Wakanda, the son of T'Chaka's brother, he blamed T'Challa for the death of his father. In order to save the King's life, Zuri outed himself as the one that was responsible for that death. Killmonger took his word for it and immediately killed Zuri, leaving the Wakandans in a state of panic and the King without a spiritual guide. In just a matter of months, T'Challa had lost two father figures. You better believe it was personal after that.
9 RIP HUNTER
Rip Hunter was the main character of Legends of Tomorrow when it debuted. Being a Time Master from the year 2166, he witnessed his wife and child get murdered by the tyrant named Vandal Savage. Because of this, he went back in time and recruited a team of heroes and villains who had little consequence on the timeline to form the Legends of Tomorrow. However, he wouldn't always serve as the team leader, as Sara Lance would take over that position.
Rip would later form the Time Bureau to solve time aberrations across the universe.
After being removed as the head of the Time Bureau, Rip would disappear for much of season three before returning to help the Legends in their fight against the demon, Mallus. He helped them by buying them enough time to make their move against the demon. He removed the Time Drive from the Waverider and let it reach critical mass while Mallus was going after him. The Time Drive exploded, halting Mallus long enough for the Legends to retaliate, but it ended up with the death of Rip. What made this scene even more painful was that he wanted to see his wife and son again.
If you're not familiar with who Scragg is, don't feel too bad -- the character hasn't been that big in Marvel's history. Scragg was conceived as a drawing in the notebook of Kid Kaiju, a young home-schooled boy who just so happens to be an exceptional artist. When he discovered that he had the power to bring his drawings to life, it wasn't long before Scragg was ripped from the pages and brought to the real world. Scragg was a powerful yet colorful beast that is exactly the kind of being that would be drawn by a young boy. There was a certain "Baymax and Hiro" type of relationship to them.
However, not even the imaginations of children are immune to the effects of the real world. There was an outbreak of symbiotes that came to Earth. One of them managed to bond itself with Scragg. Having a poison within its body, Scragg was injected with the poison and killed. It was only Anti-Venom who could come and defeat the symbiote. Unfortunately, it was too late to save Scragg. There was a part of the monster's consciousness that was preserved, but the Scragg as we all knew him as is forever gone.
7 DAMIEN DARHK
Damien Darhk first appeared in the Arrowverse in season four of Arrow. It was there that he was the main antagonist of Oliver Queen, using his HIVE soldiers to ensure that Star City would be brought to its knees. Having been trained by the League of Assassins as well as bearing special magic abilities, it took everything Team Arrow had to beat him. Eventually, he became a villain in Legends of Tomorrow, initially becoming a member of the Legion of Doom in season two before working for Mallus in season three.
Darhk, even in the poorly-received fourth season of Arrow, was one of the best villains in the Arrowverse.
He had a certain charisma about him that many other villains didn't have -- he knew he was bad and loved it. He tormented people because he enjoyed it, and he was extremely cocky and brilliant. However, he would get his own shot at redemption. After Mallus possessed his daughter, Nora, effectively killing her, he decided to change fate. Going back in time with the Legends, he allowed himself to get killed by the demon so that his daughter could live. He died a noble death, which was surprising to everyone watching.
6 ULYSSES KLAUE
Ulysses Klaue made his MCU debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He was an arms dealer who had an encounter with Tony Stark in the past. He knew about the land of Wakanda and was after the Vibranium that was kept there. Knowing all of the tribe's secrets, he was willing to do whatever it took to see his goals met. He was also unlike most Marvel villains because he was charismatic and enjoyed every minute that he was on screen -- he would later bring this same presence to the MCU three years later.
His appearance in the movie was to set up his inclusion in Black Panther, which came out this year. He helped Killmonger get the gear that he needed to in order for him to get into Wakanda. However, Killmonger was two steps ahead of the dealer. He ended up killing Klaue so that he could bring his body to Wakanda and get the attention of the higher-ups. After Klaue caused so much trouble for T'Challa and his friends, it was sad to see Klaue go out with just a bullet to the head. We barely got to know him and he was gone before we could really see what he could do.
Thor and the rest of Asgard have faced a lot of terrifying villains over the years, but none were quite as terrifying as Mangog. This beast was the culmination of hatred for the gods and had a persona vendetta against Odin and the Asgardians. He was chained up for several years before being released into the Nine Realms. He immediately made his way to Asgard and tried to bring down those he hated. However, he has been subdued several times with the intervention of the God of Thunder. In The Mighty Thor, though, Mangog was, once again, trying to bring down those he hated.
This time, he was desperate to win and wanted to deal a significant blow to Asgard.
This time, when he came to battle, he went up against Thor (now going as Odinson) and Jane (who had the mantle of Thor). Mangog proved to much too powerful for either of them to handle, and the battle was intense. It wasn't until Jane had some quick thinking that Mangog ended up perishing and the Nine Realms were saved. Unfortunately, the defeat of Mangog that day came at a painful price, one that would affect both Thor and Odinson for many years.
4 GOBLIN KING
Phil Urich didn't exactly have it easy. Being the nephew of reporter Ben Urich, he had to constantly look over his shoulder. One day, he came across one of the Goblin suits developed by Norman Osborn. He decided to use it after he fell in a container of the Goblin Formula. He was fine for a while and used his new suit to help out characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil. That said, it wasn't long before the formula caught up with him and he took the name of Hobgoblin after killing the twin of the previous bearer of the name, Daniel Kingsley.
Phil would later have some encounters with various other Goblins in the Marvel Universe. He started working with the original Green Goblin and took the name of Goblin Knight, even using a sword in battle. However, after Norman Osborn lost his power, Phil took the leadership of the Goblin Nation under the guise of the Goblin King. Determined to protect his title, he was prepared to fight when Osborn reappeared. He charged Norman with his sword, but his adversary was prepared with the Carnage symbiote. He stopped Goblin King in his tracks and stabbed him with the tendrils of the symbiote.
The MCU hasn't had the best track record when it comes to their villains, but Marvel has been prepared to battle that criticism in the latter half of season three. Up until the release of Black Panther, Loki was often considered the best villain that the MCU had to offer. However, he could be beaten by Michael B. Jordan's portrayal of Erik Killmonger.
Killmonger was the son of King T'Chaka's brother and after T'Chaka killed his brother, he had no clue about the little boy.
Because of this, Erik grew up with a revenge plan to go to Wakanda one day and overthrow the King so that he could take over and protect the minorities of the world. What's most shocking about Killmonger's plan is that it actually changes T'Challa's perspective and, in a way, Killmonger wins. However, his ideals were taken to extremes, as he even killed some members of Wakanda to see his goals met. During the final battle, where the tribes of Wakanda were fighting each other and choosing sides, T'Challa won the fight by stabbing his cousin with a dagger. Refusing to go to Wakanda as a prisoner, Killmonger removed the dagger and let himself bleed out.
2 THE VISION
The Vision was brought into the MCU in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He was created by Ultron as the "perfect body" that would be able to withstand just about any attack. However, the Avengers intervened and Ultron got away with Black Widow, while Earth's Mightiest Heroes managed to take the Vision. With the help of Stark, Banner, and Thor, they managed to give life to the Vision. Stating himself as "being on the side of life," he became a crucial member of the Avengers. Unfortunately, he was powered by the Mind Stone in his forehead, meaning that we all knew Thanos would go after him.
Avengers: Infinity War saw that come to fruition. The Mind Stone was the only object Thanos needed to complete the Infinity Gauntlet and wipe out half of the universe. In the final sequence, the Mad Titan came to Wakanda and fought off all the Avengers just to get to Vision. Scarlet Witch, to ensure that Thanos wouldn't get the Stone, destroyed the Stone and Vision at the same time. However, the Mad Titan just laughed, reversed time, and ripped the stone out of Vision's head. We're left with a gray, lifeless robot with a big hole in his forehead.
Loki is one of the best and most complex characters the MCU has to offer. After debuting in Thor, he was the villain with an understandable motivation. He constantly lived in the shadow of his hotheaded brother and knew he could do a better job of ruling Asgard. After Thor returned with a humble attitude and defeated Loki, the God of Mischief left Asgard. He met Thanos and would return to Earth in The Avengers to retrieve the Tesseract and become a god.
After that, he would go through a redemptive arc in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok to become more of a brother to Thor than he ever was.
Avengers: Infinity War opens with Thanos and his children on the Asgardian ship and Thor is in chains and Loki is being interrogated. Thanos knows that the God of Mischief has the Tesseract. After giving it to the Mad Titan, Loki pledges his service to him while wielding a knife, preparing to kill him before he can get away. Loki goes to slice Thanos's throat, but is stopped dead in his tracks. Thanos picks up Loki by neck and snaps it. He then throws the body to the ground and leaves Thor for dead, grieving over the loss of his brother.