The very concept of death in superhero comics has become a running joke. Characters die and return with such alarming frequency that some, both in and out of universe, have referred to death as having a revolving door. The greatly lessened consequences associated with dying in the Marvel and DC universes has the side effect of allowing those publishers to kill their most important characters off in an effort to sell more comics, confident that fans will accept it when that superhero returns to life in a matter of months.
With all that being said, nearly every major superhero from either Marvel or DC has died at some point. Superman got punched to death. Batman’s died several times. Even Spider-Man has been snuffed out a time or two. The real special feat these days is to be a superhero who has never died. Only a handful of notable characters carry that distinction, and that number gets lessened with each passing year.
A few ground rules, before we start: alternate universe/timeline deaths don’t count, nor do the surprisingly numerous situations in which the entire Earth was temporarily destroyed.
Come on, chere, who would want to kill Gambit? The smooth-talking, card-tossing Cajun was one of the most popular X-Men in the 90s, which was a dangerous time to be a mutant in the Marvel universe. Since then, X-Men have been dying off (and returning) at astonishing rates, but Remy LeBeau has avoided the chopping block like the charming rogue he is.
Gambit’s avoidance of death may not be entirely heroic, however, as he’s been known to abandon the team when the going gets tough.
Sweet Christmas! No character has seen their profile rise more in 2016 than Luke Cage, whose turn as the star of a Netflix series outdid the expectations of most. The tough-skinned hero from Harlem is designed to be basically unkillable and, although he’s had a few close calls over the years, no one has managed to permanently shut the lights on the occasional Power Man.
Theoretically, Cage could be killed by poisoning, drowning, or suffocation, but nobody’s been able to pull it off yet. This Hero for Hire has never been more popular, so don’t look for him to die anytime soon.
- Photo: DC Comics
Cyborg is a character whose reputation was dramatically improved by the New 52 reboot of the DC Universe. Formerly a regular member of the Teen Titans, Cyborg was handed a position as a founding member of the Justice League in the refreshed continuity.
Cyborg is one of the highest profile Black characters that DC has and made his big screen debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Cyborg, formerly known as Vic Stone, first appeared in 1980, and has made himself so useful that the powers that be at DC have never seen fit to kill him off.
Of the five founding X-Men, Bobby Drake, the Iceman, is probably the one with the least interesting publication history. Despite this, Iceman is secretly ridiculously powerful, being an omega mutant, and may be essentially immortal thanks to his eternally replicating ice-form.
Drake has been in continuous service for the X-Men and other superteams for well over five decades, which means he's had ample opportunity to expire, but has survived to ride frozen slides right into a new millennium. Not even climate change could take out this true original.