When it comes to superheroes, you almost never see it coming. Even in the toughest of circumstances, heroes tend to prevail, defeating evil and saving the day no matter what the odds are. Still, some situations are too hard to handle, even for those who wear the capes and tights. There have been many heroes who have decided to end their lives for one reason or another, and in the biggest comic book twists -- just as in life -- they're never the characters you'd expect to take such a drastic measure.
The reasons for superheroes committing suicide vary. Some heroes attempt to kill themselves because they are functionally immortal, meaning they can regenerate body parts or simply can't take damage. There are also those who have suffered great loss or disappointment in their lives and decide that they no longer want to endure. Yet there is another group of heroes who try to kill themselves who then realize that they're meant for a greater purpose. There's a particular example in this category that might really surprise you. CBR is taking a deep dive into 15 heroes who have tried to commit suicide and have either failed or unfortunately succeeded.
As you will see, suicide affects even the most valiant heroes. If you have been affected by suicide or are experiencing thoughts about self harm, please reach out and find support.
Your friendly neighborhood Deadpool has died some very gruesome deaths throughout his crime fighting and wise cracking career. He's been burned alive, shot through the head with an arrow, disemboweled, dismembered... name a death and this assassin-turned-hero has pretty much suffered it. But what makes his death in Daniel Way and and Paco Medina's Deadpool #12 different is that he turned a gun on himself.
After Deadpool makes a deal with Bullseye (who's working under the guise of Hawkeye at the time) to lie low in order to evade Norman Osborn, the antihero gets tired of eating junk food and watching TV. Asking what else he (or the audience) could expect, Deadpool, in self-hatred or sheer boredom, puts the barrel of the gun beneath his chin and pulls the trigger. He survives, of course, but the attempt is telling of the character.
Batman is not really known for giving up. He's the kind of guy who will go down with the ship -- or in the case of Tom King and David Finch's "I am Gotham," with the burning plane. Yet it was revealed in the second arc of King's run, "I am Suicide," that young Bruce once tried to kill himself in his despair after the death of his parents.
In a letter to Catwoman that's being narrated as Batman fights through Bane's forces on Santa Prisca, Bruce describes how he tried to slit his wrists with his late father's razor blade. It was at the moment of his attempted suicide that young Bruce surrendered his life for a different one. He would instead devote his life to fighting crime as the Batman.
It's not a shock that Bruce Banner, the tortured scientist who becomes the Hulk when angered, would attempt to end his misery. After all, becoming the Hulk is a serious liability. Bruce loses control of who he is and is more likely to hurt those he loves and other innocent people during his rampages. But it still comes as a shock when Mark Ruffalo reveals in The Avengers that he tried to put a bullet in his mouth, only to come out unharmed from the attempt. "The other guy spit it out," according to Ruffalo.
The MCU Hulk might be invincible if even he can't kill himself. Interestingly enough, in a deleted scene from The Incredible Hulk, which starred Edward Norton, Bruce also attempts to kill himself but is unable to pull the trigger because he quickly transforms into the Hulk.
In 2003, Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos revealed that Eddie Brock had been diagnosed with cancer before he joined with the symbiote. The alien parasite was actually the only thing keeping him alive, as it fed off of the adrenaline being released by Brock's tumor. They both needed each other.
But in 2004's "Venomous" story arc by Mark Millar and Terry Dodson, a guilty Brock decides to sell the symbiote and die of cancer. Don Fortunato, a crime boss, buys the symbiote for his son, Angelo, who pairs with it for a short time before it abandons him while in the middle of death-defying jump. When Brock learns that the symbiote has killed Angelo, Brock feels even more guilty and tries to kill himself by slitting his wrists.
Craig Hollis has had a tough life. Sure, he's a superhero and the leader and founder of the Great Lakes Avengers, but that's not helped his depression much. You see, despite being immortal, Hollis has tried to kill himself several times. In fact, he discovered his powers by trying to commit suicide. He tried jumping off a building, blowing himself up, drowning... but nothing worked. Basically, Mr. Immortal has not had a very happy life.
In a grim turn of events, Mr. Immortal's inability to die has become a bit of a comedic gimmick over the years. The dude has survived being shot, stabbed, suffocated, starved, poisoned, decapitated, burned alive, and pretty much every other gruesome thing in the book, but nothing can quite free Mr. Immortal from the shackles of life.
Mister Miracle is known as the greatest escape artist in the DC Universe. It's said that there's no obstacle, cell or bind that the hero can't escape. But there's one thing that no being, not even Scott Free, should be able to escape: death. That didn't stop Mister Miracle from trying, though. In a shocking set of panels in Tom King and Mitch Gerads' Mister Miracle #1, we are shown the escape artist's attempt at ending his life. Most shocking of all is that he seems to escape his end somehow, even though it was self inflicted.
It's unclear as of now if Mister Miracle actually escaped his death or is stuck in some sort of limbo. There are hints that the reality the hero is experiencing after his suicide attempt isn't quite right and that he might be stuck in what comes next. It remains to be seen.
All that Adara ever cared about was being a Green Lantern. Unfortunately, that honor was taken away from her when the Parallax-possessed Hal Jordan destroyed the Central Power Battery, basically stripping the Green Lantern Corps of the power in their rings. This left a powerless Adara not just in danger, but devastated. For years, she roamed the universe without a purpose.
That is, she did... until she met Kyle Rayner, who had the last working power ring in the universe. Adara took advantage of this chance meeting and tricked him into a romance in order to steal his ring. But once she put on Kyle's ring, she discovered that it would not work for her. This broke her completely. She opted to shoot herself in the head with a blaster rather than continue to live as anything other than a Green Lantern.
Element Girl was a pretty much forgotten member of the DCU when Neil Gaiman decided to reintroduce her in the pages of The Sandman. In issue #20, we meet an isolated and ostracized Element Girl, once a spy turned heroic elemental working for the U.S. government, has been abandoned by her agency. To make matters worse, the only other person who could understand her strange ability to transform herself into any of the elements found in the human body, Metamorpho, has shunned her attempts at a romantic relationship.
The former hero sees no other escape from her loneliness but to kill herself. Death of the Endless explains that the only way that she can die is to look directly into the sun and ask the sun god Ra, her creator, to end her life. Her wish is eventually granted.
In 2016, Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta created one of the most compelling and depressing takes on The Vision. When he decides to build himself a family, The Vision thinks he's entered domestic bliss. His wife, Virginia, and his twins, Viv and Vin, are all he could have hoped for.
But then things start to go terribly wrong, as Virginia is forced to kill Grim Reaper in order to protect her family and is later blackmailed for the murder. To make matters worse, she causes her blackmailer to accidentally kill his son. And then Victor Mancha kills Vin, which sends The Vision on a rampage. Before the hero can kill his "brother," Virginia pulls out Victor's heart and takes the fall for all the murders. She then goes home and drinks Zenn-Lavian flying water in order to die.
It was inevitable that someone would one day make Batman an actual vampire. That's exactly what happened in Doug Moench and Kelley Jones' Batman & Dracula series, which first pit the Dark Knight against the infamous Count and then turned Bats into a bloodthirsty creature of the night. As the more vicious, vampiric Batman, he fed on criminals and evildoers, which alarmed Commissioner Gordon and Alfred.
When Batman kills the Joker and most of the rest of his rogues gallery, Gordon, Alfred, Two-Face and Killer Croc decide to confront the Dark Knight in the Batcave. After Alfred sacrifices himself and Gordon kills himself by destroying the Cave with explosives, Batman finally realizes that he's become the true terror of Gotham. Instead of enduring the painful loss of his friends, Batman walks into the sun and burns away.
Frank Castle has tried to commit suicide several times throughout his vigilante career. Thomas Jane attempted suicide in the 2004 movie but decided to instead continue to fight the bad guys with lots of guns and a muscle car. He also killed himself off-panel in The Punisher: Purgatory by Christopher Golden, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and Bernie Wrightson and became a supernatural hitman. Best forget that, though.
But Castle's death in The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe tops them all. In an alternate reality, Castle's family is killed during a confrontation between the X-Men and Avengers. Like on our Earth, Castle decides to enact his revenge on those responsible. But this time, it's the heroes. The Punisher mows down pretty much every major character in the Marvel Universe, from Cyclops to Daredevil. Once he's wiped everyone out, he turns the gun on himself and ends it all.
Death finally came for Daredevil in Andy Diggle and Billy Tan's Shadowland. In this storyline, Matt Murdock becomes the leader of the Hand and uses them to protect Hell's Kitchen. But when his methods become more and more questionable (he kills Bullseye at one point), the other heroes of New York City step in to stop the vigilante.
He is soon at war with Spider-Man, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and other heroes, who try to free Hell's Kitchen from Daredevil's tyranny. It is later discovered that Daredevil hasn't actually turned bad. Instead, he's been possessed by the Beast of the Hand. In a moment of clarity after Iron Fist uses his chi to free him from the demon, Daredevil kills himself in order to stop the Beast from possessing him again. Elektra later revives Matt and Black Panther takes over as Hell's Kitchen's protector.
Despite once pulling a gun on Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse, Caliban lived to tell the tale for another appearance in Logan. While he works as a tracker for Alkali-Transigen, the corporation responsible for wiping out nearly all mutants in the world, at first, he later defects when he witnesses Transigen's gruesome methods. He instead joins Logan in protecting a senile Charles Xavier from the Reavers, a militant group tasked with hunting down the remaining mutants.
During an escape, Caliban is captured by Donald Pierce, the leader of the Reavers, and tortured by being exposed to sunlight, which burns him. Later, Caliban manages to get a hold of two grenades, which he detonates in order to kill himself and take the Reavers with him.
Rorschach is the toughest and dirtiest of the vigilantes featured in Watchmen. His no-nonsense approach to crime fighting and seriously maiming criminals certainly gets the job done. But that's all small potatoes when compared to the giant conspiracy he later finds himself wrapped up in. You see, when it's revealed that Ozymandias had concocted an attack that destroyed Manhattan in order to bring peace to the U.S. and Russia, he was asked by the other heroes to keep the secret for the good of the world.
This vigilante knew he couldn't handle this secret, that being a part of a terrible disaster that killed millions of people was against his code. So when it came time to agree -- which the other heroes did -- he begged Doctor Manhattan to kill him. Rorschach was zapped out of existence within seconds.
In Constantine, occult detective John Constantine is dying of lung cancer. But after years of serving God by protecting Earth from the demons who wish to turn it into a hellscape, he's denied passage into Heaven by a half-angel named Gabriel, who is secretly plotting to... well, turn Earth into a hellscape.
Constantine eventually meets Angela, who has been impregnated with Mammon, the son of Lucifer. Gabriel plans to cut the demon out of Angela so that he can enter our realm. Having no other option, Constantine slits his own wrists in order to summon Lucifer, who plans to collect his soul after his death. Instead, Constantine's selfless act allows him to enter Heaven, but before he can float all the way up, an angered Lucifer decides to revive the detective and cure him of his cancer. No rest for the wicked.
Can you remember any other time a superhero attempted suicide? Let us know in the comments.