As it is with any other medium, comic books have advanced into the realms of truly compelling storytelling over the years. Where it used to be just superheroes stopping criminals and mad scientists, now readers see complex, character-driven narratives in these larger than life multiverses, tales that truly touch our hearts. One of the hardest parts about becoming invested in the fictitious lives of these characters, of course, is the shock that comes when they pass away.
Yes, comic books have brought us so many implausible resurrections that some might tell you these deaths don't have the impact they could. Nevertheless, 2019 has seen quite a lot of comic book deaths that shocked the industry and the readership at large. Here are the ten most shocking of 2019 thus far. Needless to say, there are going to be all kinds of spoilers here, so watch out!
One of the first deaths of the year was that of Cosmonut. Introduced in the DC Rebirth era of the Suicide Squad comics, Cosmonut was a member of the Russian Annihilation Brigade, who served as antagonists or rivals to the Suicide Squad. However, Cosmonut defied the odds and sacrificed himself for the Squad.
When Amanda Waller was turned into a mindless beast who was nearly unstoppable, Cosmonut stepped in front of Harley Quinn and Rick Flagg to save their lives, losing his own in the process. It was a heck of a shock.
One of the more tragic deaths of the year has to go to Blindfold, one of the younger members of the X-Men roster. After the majority of the X-Men disappeared in February’s Uncanny X-Men, Cyclops and Wolverine had reunited and Ruth was one of the few surviving X-Men to become their ally.
However, her mutant ability to see the future left her tormented by the knowledge of all the horrors that would come to pass and she tragically took her own life, warning the remaining X-Men that “this is forever.”
8 Skurge The Executioner
The recent death of Skurge the Executioner, one of the members of the new team Asgardians of the Galaxy, was truly shocking. After being resurrected after his first death in Thor #362 in 1985, fighting off the forces of Hel, Skurge met his end this time in the realm of Heaven.
During the War of the Realms crossover event, the Angels of Heaven sided with Malekith the Dark Elf, and Skurge stayed behind to fight off the forces of Heaven while Angela summoned an army of undead Asgardian warriors. He passes on and awakes in Valhalla, having died a proud and noble warrior.
The next major death was a big one for DC Comics, part of an off-shoot mini-series based on the major event Heroes in Crisis series. Earlier in the Rebirth era, Batman met two new meta-humans named Gotham and Gotham Girl. He hoped they would replace him one day, but he discovered the siblings had experimented on themselves and were dying as a result.
Gotham passed away early in the series, and Batman worked to rehabilitate his sister Gotham Girl. However, she later sought revenge, resurrecting her brother. Unstable, he would die again (sort of), exploding into energy.
War of the Realms did not only affect many in the Marvel Universe, but it truly affected the mutants of the X-Men in a profound way. One such hero to meet his end was the mutant known as Sunspot, one of the original New Mutants, a business tycoon who bought A.I.M. and turned it into a force for good for the Avengers.
During the event, Sunspot was warned of the power of one of Malekith’s artifacts, Enchantress’ Stone. However, he destroyed it anyway, only to be vaporized in an energy explosion.
In a world full of clones like the Marvel universe, it's hard to discern when a death has a truly major impact on the lives of the heroes. However this clone’s death was especially personal, as it was a clone and sister of X-23 and Wolverine.
The 2018 series featuring Laura also featured her younger sister/clone Gabby, Honey Badger. However, a third sister was found, named X-Assassin, who was part of an army of clones Laura’s creator was making. X-Assassin sacrificed herself to save her sisters, and was named Scout.
4 Kid Loki
Kid Loki's demise was another curveball. After the 2010 event Siege saw the death of the adult Loki, a younger and even more duplicitous version of the villain/anti-hero arrived on the scene. However, his older self has also returned to the Marvel Universe since then, with the two co-existing.
Kid Loki joined the Asgardians of the Galaxy while hiding inside the armor known as The Destroyer, but he mysteriously passed away. Angela, the leader of the team, found him disappearing after he told her his older self undid the spell that brought him there.
One of the most shocking events to come out of DC Comics this past year has to be Heroes in Crisis. The series introduced a facility to treat heroes and rehabilitated villains who were suffering from mental health issues. One day a massive attack leads to the deaths of many of the facility’s patients, including anti-hero Roy Harper, Arsenal.
A former sidekick to Green Arrow (and later his own vigilante hero working with the likes of Jason Todd as one of the Red Hood’s Outlaws) Arsenal had many personal issues that led him to seek help at Sanctuary.
Another truly shocking death in the Marvel universe this year spins out of the War of the Realms crossover event. With the entire Marvel Universe at war, as Malekith the Dark Elf leads several armies against the heroes of Earth and other realms, the Asgardian warrior and team member of Asgardians of the Galaxy, Valkyrie, met her end in a shocking way.
After defeating trolls and dark elves, Valkyrie calls out for Malekith to face her in combat and meet his end honorably. However, Malekith is not honorable. He suddenly appeared behind her, stabbing her in the back before beheading her.
1 Poison Ivy
Out of the Heroes in Crisis deaths that occurred during the DC Comics event, it was Poison Ivy who met the most surprising end. One of Batman’s most prominent villains-turned-antiheroes, Pamela Isley has become a fan favorite in the DC Universe.
Seeking help after suffering trauma (brought on by being convinced she ended the lives of several people during the War of Jokes and Riddles), she was one of the Sanctuary victims. However, in a surprisingly happy twist, the true killer, Wally West, saved her, giving her rose a spark to resurrect her.