Death comes for all of us in the end. It is one of the singular truths of existence: all things must die. Even the immortals, cosmic beings and gods will eventually cease to be and succumb to death.
Death not only becomes these characters, it is these characters. Each one is a personification of the concept of death to a particular group of people in the Marvel and DC Universes. Ultimately, each of these characters is just an aspect of the final two characters on the list: Mistress Death in Marvel and Death of the Endless in DC.
Osiris was the Egyptian God of the Dead. His people lived in the Heliohpolis, which he ruled after his father, Geb, stepped down. Osiris also moved the home of the gods to the Celestial Heliopolis and placed the Pharaohs of Egypt in charge of direct human affairs.
Osiris’ brother Seth imprisoned him, Isis, Anubis and other members of his family for thousands of years in a bid to control the Heliopolis for himself. In Modern Times, Thor and Odin encountered the freed Osiris and Isis where Odin was reincarnated as Atum-Ra. With Thor’s assistance, Osiris defeated Seth.
Nekron is the Lord of the Unliving and ruled over a lifeless dimension of darkness. He became aware of the world of the living through the former Guardian Krona who created a rift in reality that cost the lives of thousands of Green Lanterns and the near-sacrifice of Hal Jordan to close.
Nekron was the architect behind the Blackest Night. Using Black Hand as his pawn, Nekron resurrected dead heroes and villains in a bid to cross over into the living world. He succeeded and lead an army of Black Lanterns against the living heroes. Hal Jordan aligned himself with the White Light Entity and resurrected many of the dead heroes and the villain Anti-Monitor to break Nekron’s foothold on this plane of existence.
Oblivion is a cosmic abstract entity representing non-existence. Oblivion has a very strong rivalry with its opposite concept, Infinity, that usually played out through avatars. Oblivion had used avatars to meddle in the affairs of several superheroes in Modern Times.
One of Oblivion’s agents, Deathurge tried to collect the souls of Squirrel Girl’s companion Monkey Joe but Mr. Immortal stopped him. Deathurge became unworthy of his duties and was replaced by recently deceased Great Lakes Avengers member Doorman. Another avatar, Maelstrom, threatened to destroy the whole universe but he was defeated by Wendell Vaughn Quasar, an avatar of Infinity.
7 Black Racer-DC
Black Racer is the personification of Death for the New Gods of Apokolips and New Genesis. The Racer’s human form is Sgt. Willie Walker, paralyzed and bedridden Vietnam veteran. The Source came to Walker and told him that it was his duty to take up the responsibility of being the Black Racer.
The Black Racer moved at the speed of light and cannot be stopped by any obstacle. Propelled on his skis, he appears before the New Gods at the time of their death and escorted them to Hadis (their version of Hades). Once he completed his task, he returned to Walker’s immobile form.
Hades aka Pluto is the Olympian God of Death and Wealth. He has ruled over the underworld, also called Hades, for centuries. Hades rebelled against Zeus’ choice to let the worship of the Olympian Gods die out. Zeus left him in Hades until he could find a suitable replacement. Hades tried to trick Hercules into being that replacement by posing as a film producer and sign a contract that would bind Hercules to Hades.
Hades, as Pluto, allied himself with the death gods of other pantheons. He then petitioned Zeus to force Hercules and Venus to marry his allies Ares and Hippolyta. Fearing that Pluto would lead the other Death gods in an attack on Olympus, Zeus agreed. Pluto planned to attack Olympus and believed that if Hercules and Venus were thus married, they could not move against him. Zeus called Pluto’s bluff and sent him back to Hades. This plot led to the formation of the Champions of Los Angeles.
5 Black Flash-DC
The Black Flash is the concept of Death for speedsters. It returns the speedsters back to the source of their power: the Speed Force. It has reportedly been seen by each of the speedsters who have died: Barry Allen and Johnny Quick or by Max Mercury, who has had many near-death experiences.
Wally West defeated the Black Flash by racing it to the end of time where death was no longer a concept. Barry Allen became the new Black Flash at one point after the other one was found “apparently dead” and Professor Zoom became the Black Flash after he was resurrected as a Black Lantern.
Warned by the Fates that she would become a danger to the Asgardian Gods, Odin decreed that Hela would become the goddess of the dead when she matured. Hela rules the twin realms of Hel and Niflheim. She is allegedly the daughter of Thor’s half brother Loki and a giantess.
Trying and failing to claim Thor’s soul on many occasions, Hela cursed Thor to make it impossible for him to die but also impossible to heal from the injuries that he received in battle. Thor had to wear armor to hold his continuingly disintegrating body apart. Beaten to a literal pulp by the Midgard Serpent, Thor took over the Destroyer Armor and invaded Hel, forcing Hela to restore his body and lift the curse.
Azraeuz is the genetically created Avatar of Death for the Four Horsemen of Apokolips as foretold by the Crime Bible. The Horsemen were created for the specific purpose of destroying Black Adam and his family. They succeed in killing Isis and Osiris but all the Horsemen were killed by Black Adam.
The Four Horseman had only lost their bodies and, eventually, Azraeuz took possession of a Bialyan scavenger. Azraeuz began to create new bodies for himself and his brothers from Earth and corpses. They were opposed by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman who dispatched their Earthen bodies but the Horsemen possessed the Leaguers. The geneticist Veronica Cale, swallowed the crystal that was intended to contain the Horsemens’ essences, defeating them.
2 Mistress Death-Marvel
Death, also called Mistress or Lady Death, is a fundamental force of the universe. She was “born” along with the universe and the other cosmic entities associated with it, like Eternity and Infinity. As such, she has no actual physical form. To humanoids, she often appears as a human skeleton or a human woman.
Death began to court Thanos very early in the young Titan’s life, appearing to him as a young girl in his class. She became his confidant as he graduated to killing animals, people, his mother and, finally, people on other worlds. Once Death revealed her true nature to him, Thanos went mad. His father, A’Lars aka Mentor made him doubt that he was actually seeing the embodiment of death at all. This did nothing to deter Thanos from his path of galactic genocide.
1 Death of the Endless-DC
Death of the Endless came into existence shortly after the first lifeforms appeared in the universe. She will function as both the embodiment of life and death until the last living thing in the universe dies. Then she will, in her words: “Put the chairs on the table, shut off the lights and lock up the universe on my way out.” She visits everyone as they are born and then ushers them onto the next plane of existence when they die.
She is not merely an aspect of Death, she is Death. She is omniscient, omnipresent and immortal. She can – and has – chosen not to take certain people for various reasons including Hob Gadling, Madame Xanadu, and boy detective Charles Rowland. Death lives as a mortal for one day every 100 years so that she may better understand mortals.