Total Nerd The 16 Bleakest, Most Nihilistic Moments in Marvel History  

3.4k votes 814 voters 40.6k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up the moments that were so bleak you had to put the book down and take a breather.

With in-fighting between heroes, deaths of loved ones, and heroes trying to protect those who fear and hate them, the Marvel Universe can be a tough place to live, but that’s just scratching the surface. For some characters, Marvel is so grim and depressing that nihilism seems like the only way to view the world.

Here are some of the bleakest moments in Marvel history. Which do you think was the darkest? Vote up the grim Marvel moments you had to take a breather after reading.

1 479 VOTES

In the End, There Will Be Only Hulk

In the End, There Will Be Only... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 16 Bleakest, Most Nihilistic Moments in Marvel History
Photo:  Marvel Comics

The Hulk is the strongest one there is, but one day he’ll be the weakest one there is. In fact, he’ll be the only one there is. In the Marvel one-shot Hulk: The End, readers learn that when all life on the planet Earth is long dead, only the Hulk will remain, finally having achieved what he wanted all those years: to just be left alone. You’re alone now Hulk, how do you like it? Sucks to be you.

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2 342 VOTES

Ruins: Everything You Loved About Marvel, Only More Depressing

Ruins: Everything You Loved Ab... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 16 Bleakest, Most Nihilistic Moments in Marvel History
Photo:  Marvel Comics

The world of Ruins #1-2 is best described with only three words: “everything went wrong.” Writer Warren Ellis created this dystopian parody of the 1994 classic Marvels mini-series to show just how bad things could be. In this world, Johnny Blaze didn’t make a deal with the devil, but his life was so bad that his final stunt involved lighting his own head on fire while biking off a ramp. Bruce Banner mutated after exposure to gamma radiation, but his body continued to sprout tumors until it burst from the inside out. All mutant powers come with terrible side effects, leading Mystique to uncontrollably twist into a Cronenbergian nightmare, Nightcrawler to eat his own tail, and Quicksilver to need amputation to stop the shaking. Galactus died in this book just because. No reason. The main character, photographer Phil Sheldon, contracts a radioactive spider disease from Peter Parker and dies before learning why the world sucked so much.

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3 300 VOTES

Mr. Immortal Can't Die No Matter How Much He Tries

Mr. Immortal Can't Die No Matt... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 16 Bleakest, Most Nihilistic Moments in Marvel History
Photo:  Marvel Comics

One of the biggest jokes in the Marvel Universe is the existence of the Great Lakes Avengers. This team of milquetoast Midwesterners has been laughed at by the Avengers, the X-Men, even the Champions, but they keep coming back for more. That said, they’re horrible heroes, as one of their members, the Grasshopper, lasted with the group for a matter of seconds before dying. Their leader, Mr. Immortal, doesn’t have that problem. He has the unique ability to return from death no matter how he dies and to watch those who die near him go to the afterlife. In GLA #1, readers learned he’d always had these abilities, watching his mother die in childbirth and his father die in a fire he started as a child, and after his first girlfriend left him, he killed himself. Again, and again, and again. Even after he adjusted to his powers, faux suicide became his go-to coping method. Cosmic beings even told him he’ll still be alive and alone with the last sun burns out. Fun, huh?

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4 319 VOTES

Thanos Has Loved Death For Thousands Of Years

Thanos Has Loved Death For Tho... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 16 Bleakest, Most Nihilistic Moments in Marvel History
Photo:  Marvel Comics

The most nihilistic thing in Marvel is the lover of Death. Thanos, the purple-skinned, craggy-chinned, big bad of the Marvel Universe, does not wish to rule the universe or get revenge or any other petty supervillain goal; he simply wants the woman of his dreams to love him, and he’s dreamed of Death since the day he was born.

The Thanos Rising mini-series revealed Death was his imaginary friend since childhood. He was so obsessed, he dissected living beings (including his mother) to find out more about how things died. As an adult, his friend Death said she would love him if he gave her gifts. He began by killing off every child he’d sired, and ultimately, by the now-famous Infinity Gauntlet storyline, he killed half of all the living creatures in the universe to prove his love to her. The metaphysical embodiment of Death is a fickle mistress, however, as she’s often spurned his love. This drove Thanos to suicide, but she rejected him, ensuring he would never truly court Death.

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