Marvelous Man looking exhausted

Once upon a time, superheroes were functionally immortal. No writer would dare kill off a potentially profitable intellectual property … until 1980’s "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and 1993’s "The Death of Superman" came along. Or, more precisely, until the characters killed in these storylines were resurrected. After Jean Grey and Clark Kent proved death needn’t last forever, the days of de facto invulnerability for every cape-clad crimefighter were over.

Nowadays, superheroes die like flies. Sometimes they die to give monthly sales a quick shot in the arm, sometimes they die for the sake of a shocking plot twist, and every once in a while, they die to bittersweetly close out an era of blockbuster cinema. The good news is, superheroes can also come back from the dead at any time, for essentially all the same reasons.

What follows is an attempt to chronicle all the superheroes or superhero-adjacent characters across comics, television, and film whose time upon this mortal coil has come to a close in stories published or released in 2022. Let us now solemnly mourn these avatars of justice and might with whom we have parted ways …for the time being, at least.

Updated on March 21, 2022: Like any year, 2022 is sure to see many superheroes take their final breath. We’ll be keeping this list updated to reflect the do-gooders who fall in the line of duty. Be sure to check back often to keep up on every daring demise.

Odin

Odin wearing armor holding staff

Not unlike his baby boys Thor and Loki, Odin appears in Marvel comics, DC comics, various works of fantasy, and, of course, Norse mythology. MCU viewers associate the All-Father with Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal in 2011’s "Thor," 2013’s "Thor: The Dark World," and 2017’s "Thor: Ragnarok." As is the case with Asgard itself, Marvel’s Odin goes through cycles of destruction and rebirth. He dematerializes into particles of bright light at the beginning of "Thor: Ragnarok," and similarly wills himself out of existence at the conclusion of 2022’s "Thor" #22, by writer Donny Cates and artist Nic Klein.

In this penultimate installment of Cates’ "God of Hammers" arc, Odin reveals that his continued existence is preventing Thor, the current king of Asgard, from wielding the full cosmic might usually at the disposal of his royal station. Recognizing that Thor needs an extra boost to defeat the renegade God of Hammers — a blend of Mjolnir’s energy and the nefarious Mangog — Odin releases the last of his power to his son, erasing himself in the process.

We should note that the conclusion of "Thor" #23 indicates the nature of Odin’s death may be a matter of relativity. Regardless, for all practical intents and purposes, the old man is enjoying a permanent vacation in Valhalla.

Vivisector

Vivisector gritting his teeth

Part of the fun of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s low-key classic ’00s series "X-Statix" is how fast and loose it plays with mortality. Famously, all but two members of the glory-mongering mutant squad originally named X-Force fail to survive the first issue. Even after switching the name to X-Statix, the team led by Guy Smith — aka the Orphan — remains hindered by a lethal turnover problem.

As such, when Marvel announced Milligan and Allred were relaunching their beloved satire in the form of 2022’s "The X-Cellent," fans hardly needed psychic powers to predict a one-time fixture of X-Statix wouldn’t stick around for long. Lo and behold, intellectual werewolf Vivisector — whose given name is Myles Alfred — ends "The X-Cellent" #1 with most of his torso separated from the rest of his body, due to a well-aimed energy blast.

We’ll miss Vivisector. However, if it happens to be the case that Krakoan Resurrection Protocols have access to mutants from Milligan and Allred comics, he’s in for a relatively quick dirt nap.

Clemson Murn

Clemson Murn wearing sweaty shirt

In 2016’s "Suicide Squad," only two members of Task Force X bite the big one. In contrast, 2021’s "The Suicide Squad" includes a wholesale massacre of DC C-list baddies. Happily, this slaughter does not include Peacemaker (John Cena), allowing him to return for his HBO Max series.

Perhaps in the interest of consistency with the film, "Peacemaker" ends Season 1 with fewer characters than it starts. Most of these characters are ordinary humans or members of the hostile alien race colloquially known as butterflies. The butterfly Ik Nobe Llok, who inhabits the body of ex-mercenary Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), is sort of both. And in many respects, his ultimately self-sacrificing quest to prevent his fellow butterflies from annihilating the human race qualifies as super-heroic.

After the butterflies take over the police force of Evergreen, Washington, Murn/Ik Nobe throws himself under the metaphorical bus to allow Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) to evade execution and carry on with their mission. In a tragic twist, the butterfly Eek Stack Ik Ik — sometimes referred to as "Goff" and inhabiting the body of Detective Sophie Song (Annie Chang) — happens to be the individual who repeatedly pulls the trigger on Murn.

Comet the Super-Horse

Supergirl riding Comet in space

We haven’t seen a ton of super-pets since 1985’s "Crisis on Infinite Earths" reset the DC universe’s timeline and removed them from officially-recognized existence. So it’s nice to see Krypto the Superdog and Comet the Super-Horse make something of a comeback in 2021’s "Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow."

Tom King and Bilquis Evely’s eight-issue epic — one of the best comics of 2021, in our estimation — sends Kara Zor-El on a galaxy-spanning journey. She’s determined to track down Krem, an interstellar pirate who needlessly slew her friend’s father, then poisoned Krypto while making his escape. By the time the final issue arrives, Supergirl has successfully detained Krem. However, Krem manages to send for a cavalry of space pirates to help reverse his fortune. After a significant struggle, Supergirl manages to dispatch these baddies, but Comet loses his life in the process.

It’s a little ambiguous whether "Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow" is a canonical tale, so this Comet’s precise nature is difficult to pin down. But Supergirl does mention that she knew he was a man cursed to live as a horse — a fact he didn’t love talking about. This death might not stick, but it’s still enormously moving.

Mike Murdock

Mike Murdock introduces himself

This one lands squarely in the "superhero-adjacent" category. Mike Murdock is the twin brother of Matt Murdock, the occasionally secret identity of the crimson crime-slapper, Daredevil. As Mike Murdock points out in 2022’s "Devil’s Reign #5," he technically doesn’t exist. Initially, Matt Murdock uses the phony persona of his imaginary twin brother Mike to throw off folks who’ve come a little too close to figuring out his secret identity. Later, due to circumstances involving the Inhumans and a reality-warping Norn Stone, Mike Murdock goes from being an idea of a person to a tangible person, and inserts himself into the canonical Marvel timeline.

Basically, Mike is a fake person with a past that never happened, but he’s the only one who knows that. By the time "Devil’s Reign" — a miniseries by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto — rolls around, Mike Murdock is a fairly high-ranking affiliate of organized crime in Hell Kitchen. Also, at his brother’s request, he frequently pretends to be Matt while Matt’s off doing Daredevil-related business. In "Devil’s Reign #5," he happens to be disguised as Matt in Matt’s apartment, right around the time Wilson Fisk regains his memory of Matt’s secret identity and decides to extract lethal revenge. Lacking his brother’s ninja skills or hyper-alert senses, Mike is swiftly beaten to death and returns to his natural state of nonexistence.

Marvelous Man

Marvelous Man in the rain

Netflix threw its hat into the superhero satire ring with 2022’s "The Guardians of Justice." Reminiscent of "The Boys," "Invincible," and HBO’s "Watchmen," "The Guardians of Justice" doesn’t treat the cape-and-cowl set as spotless heroes. Marvelous Man (Will Yun Lee), this universe’s ersatz Superman, seemingly dies on live television, but some of his colleagues suspect foul play. Much like Rorschach’s search for the Comedian’s killer kicks off "Watchmen," "The Guardians of Justice" joins Knight Hawk (Diamond Dallas Page) as he explores the mystery of Marvelous Man’s death.

But who is Marvelous Man? He arrived on Earth after his home planet was destroyed by the "Guardians of Justice" stand-in for Brainiac. Like any wannabe Superman worth his salt, Marvelous Man can fly, has heat vision, boasts seemingly impossible strength, and is virtually invulnerable to all potential harm, except for this world’s Kryptonite equivalent. The copyright-safe version of a Kryptonite bullet which kills him is ostensibly stolen from the stand-in for Lex Luthor. Sound bizarre? It is. But that’s how "The Guardians of Justice" rolls.