If you’re a superhero or even a supervillian for that matter, odds are good you’re going to get hurt while in the line of duty. When you live in a world where you’re battling giant mechanical monsters, demigods, and evil martial artist dictators, it’s probably for the best that you take out some insurance. It’s easy to see superheroes as god-like beings; they nearly always win any fights they engage in and they typically come out unscathed. Rarely do they come across a problem or antagonist that has what it takes to deliver a vicious and serious hurting.
From Batman and Superman, to the Hulk and even members of the X-Men, no hero is exempt from experiencing a painful reminder that it doesn’t pay to go into battle without thinking first. Even if you possess the power of a god, there’s always someone out there mightier than you. Overconfidence can lead to one to getting their bones broken and lives lost, but it’s also important not to get caught in an equally deadly sneak attack. Plenty of comic book characters have suffered gruesome injuries; here at CBR we’re taking a painful look at 15 of the most brutal broken bones in comics!
15. BATMAN’S BACK
Batman, the Dark Knight, was long since considered unbeatable. When the ’90s came around, Batman was pushed to his brink when the villain known as Bane made his frightening appearance. During the “Knightfall “storyline, Bane enlists Batman’s rogue gallery to cause a seemingly endless wave of chaos. With no one to stop it, the Dark Knight tirelessly works days and night to put away all the criminals, forcing his body past the point of physical exhaustion.
When Batman finally returns to the Wayne Manor, on the verge of collapse, Bane appears. Challenging Batman to a fight, the hero has no choice but to respond. Within moments however, with Batman too fatigued, he is easily defeated. For the coup de grace, Bane lifts the fallen hero over his head, and then brings him down on his knee, breaking the Dark Knight’s back in horrific fashion.
14. MAXWELL LORD’S NECK
Leading up to one of Superman and Wonder Woman’s most brutal battles, the mind-controlling villain Max Lord has been manipulating Superman’s mind for months. When the Man of Steel and Wonder Woman discover Lord and his intentions, Max compels Superman to fight and try to kill the Amazing Amazon in Wonder Woman #219.
The battle is long and fierce; Superman isn’t holding back, tricked into thinking that Wonder Woman is Doomsday. Finally, Diana is able to successfully distract Superman long enough to ensnare Max Lord with her Lasso of Truth. Asking him how she can save Superman, Max states the only wave to save her friend is by killing him. Realizing he’s speaking the truth, Wonder Woman steels herself and then snaps his neck. It was a horrible moment, as Wonder Woman was forced to break the one rule of being a superhero: don’t kill.
13. RED HULK’S ARM
During the Marvel event “Avengers Vs. X-Men”, the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, are locked in a battle with the X-Men over the mutant Hope Summers. Long story short, the Phoenix arrives just as intended, but Iron Man splinters the cosmic beast, dividing its power into several members of the X-Men. With their new, uncontrollable, power, the mutant team starts taking over the world and remolding the planet as they see fit.
Unable to fight all the X-Men at once, the Avengers fight the Phoenix-empowered mutants one at a time. Their first foe is Namor, who’s trying to destroy Wakanda, the home of Black Panther. Nearly every Avenger arrives and proceeds to fight the super-charged Sub-Mariner. During the fight, Red Hulk attacks Namor, who counters the assault by breaking Red Hulk’s arm, nearly ripping it off in the process.
12. KYLE RAYNER’S FINGERS
Kyle Rayner, a Green Lantern and protector of Earth and Sector 2814, is no stranger to broken bones. During Identity Crisis, Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man has been murdered. The Justice League, remembering that the last time she was attacked was at the hands of the twisted Doctor Light, hunt down the villain.
When Kyle, along with Hawkman, the Atom, Black Canary, the Flash, Zatanna, and Green Arrow find Light, they discover the deadly mercenary Deathstroke protects him. With no choice, the heroes attack Deathstroke, but the master tactician takes down all the heroes one at a time until it’s just him and Kyle Rayner. Immediately grabbing Rayner’s hand, Deathstroke breaks the Green Lantern’s ring-slinging finger, trying to wrest control of the powerful ring. Despite the pain, Rayner resists long enough for his fellow heroes to regroup and beat Deathstroke.
11. SCARLET WITCH’S NOSE
During AvX the Avengers finally get a moments reprieve from the exhausting fighting they’ve endured. Hope Summers has joined their side, realizing the X-Men have gotten out of control. One of the few people who can harm the Phoenix X-Men is the Scarlet Witch and her hex powers. It turns out when Hope applies her mimicry powers, she can copy Wanda’s abilities. The Yin to the other’s Yang, thanks to training from Spider-Man and Iron Fist, Hope is finally getting a handle on it.
However, when Hope happens upon Wanda while she’s training, the young mutant has plenty of built-up aggression towards the woman who nearly wiped out all mutants. The two have a rather large skirmish, their powers canceling each other out. Wanda realizes their fight is getting out of hand and says they should stop. Hope agrees but not before she head-butts Wanda, breaking her nose.
10. HAL JORDAN’S ARM
Hal Jordan, generally considered the greatest Green Lantern of them all, wields “the most powerful weapon in the universe.” With his Green Lantern ring, Hal’s saved Earth and the galaxy from all sorts of incredible foes. Yet for all the Power Ring’s energies, it hasn’t prevented some of the strongest villains in the universe from hurting him severely.
During the climax of “Reign of the Supermen”, Hal encounters the intergalactic warlord Mongul. The two battle it out while Superman rushes to confront Cyborg Superman. As they fight, Mongul’s yellow skin offers protective shielding and he breaks Hal’s arm. In the first story arc of the New 52 Justice League, Darkseid attacks Earth. Despite uniting with the Justice League, a young Hal Jordan has too much to prove and attacks Darkseid alone; as a result, he gets his arm broken.
9. MOON KNIGHT’S KNEES
Life has never been easy for Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight. He’s forever struggling with his internal demons, trying to figure out whether he’s crazy or not in talking to the Moon God, Khonshu. Things got even bleaker for the dark superhero when he encountered his nemesis Bushman for what should have been their last battle.
Fighting atop a roof in New York, their fight is bloody; the two men carve into each other with knives and fists until Bushman sends them plummeting over the side. Hitting a fire escape on the way down, one of Moon Knight’s knees shatters; the other one breaks when he hits the pavement. Of course Moon Knight is not finished yet, as he crawls over to Bushman, kills him, and rips the guy’s face off. From there, Moon Knight went into a downward spiral of depression, on account of not being able to walk.
8. HULK’S ARM
When the Red Hulk first appeared, he might as well have been an unstoppable juggernaut. He beat Thor, punched out The Watcher, defeated the Abomination (both versions), knocked out She-Hulk, and even took down Iron Man and crashed S.H.I.E.L.D.’s helicarrier. Eventually the Hulk went up to bat as he wasn’t at all happy with the Red Hulk.
Unlike Bruce Banner and his Hulk, the Red Hulk maintained his intelligence whenever he was transformed, which included a proficiency in hand-to-hand combat. So when the Hulk first encountered the Red Hulk, he thought that brute strength would be enough to win the day — he was sorely mistaken. Red Hulk takes the Hulk’s best shot, and then in a startling reversal, breaks Hulk’s arm, defeating “the strongest one there is”.
7. DOCTOR STRANGE’S HANDS
In World War Hulk, the Hulk has returned to Earth from his long exile among the stars. Thinking his fellow heroes are responsible for blowing up his adopted planet, Skarr, Hulk is on the warpath. With the Hulk angrier and stronger than he’s ever been, the heroes of Earth have no choice but to bring their strongest weapons to the fold.
Black Bolt, Iron Man, and the Fantastic Four try their hand at stopping the Hulk, but his strength proves too great. Doctor Strange, watching from afar, realizes he’s needed. Summoning dark magics, Strange allows a demon to run through his body, boosting his power. Strange nearly defeats the Hulk, but is tricked when the Hulk transforms into Bruce, lures the doctor in, then grabs him by the hands and breaks them.
6. SUPERMAN’S ARM
In the world of Injustice, there are plenty of brutal fights and broken bones to go around. Yet the fight between Superman and Wonder Woman, carefully orchestrated by Batman in Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 4 stands out. The two former superheroes face each other in battle, forced to fight in ritual combat. While the fight starts evenly, Superman begins overpowering Wonder Woman.
Pleading with Diana to surrender, Superman’s begging only infuriates the Amazon and she gets a second wind. Refusing to back down, Wonder Woman uses her superior fighting skills, and Clark’s hesitation, to full effect. Pounding at him ruthlessly, she gouges his eyes, before wrapping around him and breaking Superman’s arm in a terrific display of violence. Despite his broken limb, Superman struggles to fight back, but it’s pointless; Wonder Woman crushes him.
5. THE FLASH’S TIBIA AND FIBULA
Injustice: Gods Among Us is notorious for all the brutal fights that transpire over the series’ five-year period. At this point in the comic’s run, Superman has all but taken over the world. Out of fear of taking some heat vision to the face, many heroes and villains have signed up to join Superman’s regime. Yet there are some, such as The Flash, who ultimately believe Superman is doing the right thing.
As issue #1 of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 5 kicks off, we see The Flash battling a horde of super powered miscreants. With a little assist from Superman, they win. Meanwhile, the Kryptonian monster known as Doomsday is crashing down to Earth from the upper atmosphere. Pushing Superman out of the way, Doomsday lands directly on the Flash, shattering his tibia and his fibula. Superman then battles the monster, while the Flash struggles to stay alive.
4. BATMAN’S BACK (FOR THE 2ND TIME)
During Tom King’s Rebirth Batman arc “I Am Suicide”, Bane has kidnapped the Psycho Pirate and Batman desperately needs to retrieve the mind-controlling villain so he can save Gotham Girl’s psyche. Enlisting a small troupe of antiheroes, Batman formulates a master plan and then storms the island Bane is nestled on, demanding the hulking criminal return what he stole.
Batman fights through wave after wave of henchmen, all the while spouting the same words over and over again, until he final reaches Bane. Still demanding Bane return Psycho Pirate, lest Batman break his back, Bane does not take the Dark Knight’s threats seriously. Rather, he breaks Batman’s back (again) and throws him into a hole, thinking he’s leaving Batman to die. Batman does not die, instead he snaps his back into place.
3. BANE’S BACK
This time its Bane’s turn to be on the losing side of a back breaking. Much to the criminal mastermind’s shock, Batman returns, warning Bane once more that his time is now at hand. As the two men snarl at one another, Catwoman watches from the sidelines. Earlier, it looked as though she betrayed Batman by giving him up to Bane; turns out it was all part of Batman’s elaborate plan.
When it looks like Bane is about to once against crush Batman, even though it turns out the last time was all a ruse so Batman’s allies could locate the Psycho Pirate, Batman gives the signal. Immediately Catwoman leaps into action, attacks bane from behind, and breaks his back. Batman and friends leave, the Caped Crusader having kept his promise to Bane.
2. COLOSSUS’S ARMS
During World War Hulk, the Incredible Hulk has a long list of people he wants to exercise some frustration on. Charles Xavier, the leader of the X-Men, is high on that list and the Hulk makes a personal stop by the X-mansion. When he arrives, the Hulk is greeted by some of the younger members of the X-Men who valiantly try to stop him and fail. The Uncanny X-Men team, made up of Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Beast, and Colossus show up next.
Rocking the foundation of the ground they’re standing on, the Hulk takes the best the X-Men can throw at him and keeps on going. When Colossus opposes him, even the metal mutant is no match for the Hulk’s newfound rage. The Hulk snaps Colossus’s arms, but the mutant hero refuses to surrender.
1. BATMAN’S ARM
In the Dark Knight Returns, one of the seminal works in all things Batman-related, the Dark Knight has been out of commission for years. Eventually, thanks to a series of events, Bruce Wayne forces himself out of retirement and dons the iconic cowl once more. While he might be old, he hasn’t forgotten how to be Batman.
Upon discovering mutant gangs as the source of many problems in Gotham City, Batman, in his awesome Bat-Tank, heads to confront the mutant leader. When Batman arrives at their stronghold, the leader of the mutants calls out Batman, challenging him to a fight. Despite his better judgment, Batman is unable to resist pitting himself up against such a formidable foe. It’s a costly mistake, as Batman is beaten mercilessly and his arm is ruthlessly broken. Not to worry, Batman would eventually return and break the mutant leader’s leg.
Are there any other nasty broken bones that we missed out on? Let us know in the comments!
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