9 Times Superheroes Were Stone Cold Killers

Wonder Woman Truthfully Snaps Maxwell Lord’s Neck

Traditionally, superheroes aren’t supposed to take lives – but as it turns out, even the most responsible comic book heroes have ended the careers of their opponents in fatal fashion a time or two. In most circumstances, caped crusaders only employ lethal force when it’s absolutely necessary – to save innocent lives, typically, or for complex plot-related reasons. On rare occasions, however, even the best and brightest of the superhero community end others in cold blood.

When someone like the Punisher or Deathstroke eliminates an enemy, it’s never much of a surprise – but it carries much more emotional weight when someone like Spider-Man or Superman does it. That being said, superheroes, by their very nature, face extraordinary circumstances on a daily basis – and perhaps it shouldn’t be all that shocking that they sometimes have to cross the ultimate moral line.

1. The Sentry Tears Ares In Two

The Sentry Tears Ares In Two

The Sentry is often described as the Marvel Universe’s equivalent to Superman – but in reality, he’s a much more complicated character than that. Robert Reynolds contains within him both the Sentry – an almighty hero who once retroactively erased himself from Marvel continuity – and the Void, an equally powerful entity bent on worldwide destruction.

Both the Sentry and the Void are manipulated into joining Norman Osborn’s ranks in Dark Reign, and that leads to them running security when he lays siege to Asgard – an ambitious plot that draws the attention of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Seeking to make a statement for Team Osborn in Siege #2, the Sentry picks out the biggest guy on the opposing side – Ares, God of War, and Reynold’s former Avengers teammate – and literally tears him in two without showing the slightest hint of emotion. 

2. Cyclops Obliterates Professor X In Front Of Everyone

Cyclops Obliterates Professor X In Front Of Everyone

When Scott Summers obliterates his mentor Charles Xavier in Avengers vs. X-Men #11, he’s under the influence of the Phoenix Force – and thus is not entirely in his own mind. However, it’s important to note that Cyclops also possesses the Phoenix Force of his own volition thanks to a zealous scheme to ignite mutant births on Earth – so he definitely still deserves at least a portion of the responsibility for Professor X’s demise.

The traumatizing incident leads to Cyclops briefly going full “Dark Phoenix” before the combined forces of the Avengers and the X-Men bring him down. Xavier eventually comes back to life and – after Cyclops’s own resurrection sequence – the two end up reconciling and working together once again. 

3. Spider-Man Slays Morlun

Spider-Man Slays Morlun

If there’s one hero who tries to avoid lethal force more than any other, it’s probably the Amazing Spider-Man – but even Peter Parker lets his great power get in the way of his great responsibility every now and again. 

The one and only time that Spidey straight-up intentionally ends the life of an opponent, however, comes with some serious asterisks. The wallcrawler is experiencing some unexpected mutations at the time – including fangs and “stingers” on his wrists, both of which he uses to devastating effect against Morlun. Speaking of Morlun, he’s an interdimensional vampire whose entire purpose in life is to travel from universe to universe consuming spider-themed heroes – so Parker has about as much justification as he could to take Morlun’s life.

Still, it’s important to note that – despite his mutations – Spider-Man is more or less in his right mind when he makes the decision to tear out Morlun’s throat in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3 – and that’s a line he’s only crossed once.

4. Wonder Woman Truthfully Snaps Maxwell Lord’s Neck

Wonder Woman Truthfully Snaps Maxwell Lord’s Neck

Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth is generally thought of as a fairly diplomatic weapon – allowing Diana of Themyscira to have her enemies admit their wrongdoing instead of having to beat it out of them. The Lasso, however, has been used to lethal effect at least once – in an indirect sense – in Wonder Woman #21.

As part of a crossover event, that issue sees Diana faced with a rampaging, mind-controlled Superman – so she uses the Lasso of Truth to ask Maxwell Lord how to free the Man of Steel from his thrall. Lord replies that the only way is to end his life, and Wonder Woman barely hesitates before snapping Lord’s neck – saving and horrifying her Justice League teammate in the same instance. 

5. Wolverine Goes Back In Time To Shank Hank Pym

Wolverine Goes Back In Time To Shank Hank Pym

In the crossover event Age of Ultron, the robotic despot is much more successful than his cinematic counterpart – to the point that he nearly ends all life on Earth. This leads to Wolverine and the Invisible Woman heading back in time on a mission to stop Ultron from ever being created – by exterminating Hank Pym, the man who made him.

Wolverine is ultimately successful in convincing Sue Richards to let him end Pym, but they return to the future to find a world even more horrible than the one they left. Somewhat amusingly, this leads to them going back in time once again – and this time around, Wolverine has to save the day by ending himself. 

6. Green Arrow Delivers Cold Justice To Prometheus

Green Arrow Delivers Cold Justice To Prometheus

Throughout the events of Justice League: Cry for Justice, we see the villain Prometheus unleashing a series of natural disasters against the people of Earth – and one of the victims is the daughter of Roy Harper, the Green Arrow’s one-time ward. 

In the final issue of the crossover, Oliver Queen goes looking for justice – and he finds it when he puts an arrow right between Prometheus’s eyes. It may seem like a reasonable reaction to a worldwide act of terror, but it also represents a major moral compromise for Green Arrow, who, unlike his television counterpart, ethically opposes lethal force and tries to avoid it at all costs. 

7. Deadpool Puts A Bullet In Phil Coulson

Deadpool Puts A Bullet In Phil Coulson

Wade Wilson is a reprehensible character, but one of his few redeeming qualities is his genuine bond with Captain America – which makes the circumstances of Deadpool #31 all the more tragic. That issue sees Deadpool manipulated by an evil, HYDRA-worshipping version of Steve Rogers – and sent on a mission to murk Phil Coulson.

Coulson is one of the few individuals wise enough to figure out HYDRA-Cap’s secret, but Deadpool is sent in to shut him up before he can get the word out. Despite Coulson’s best attempts to convince him of the truth, Deadpool refuses to listen and plugs the agent with a bullet – a decision he would later come to regret. 

8. Nick Fury Watches The Watcher Perish

Nick Fury Watches The Watcher Perish

The crossover events of Original Sin #1 open up with the body of Uatu the Watcher, a being of supreme cosmic import, being discovered – and his slayer is still on the loose. It’s eventually revealed that the triggerman in question is none other than Nick Fury – though the actual circumstances are a fair bit more complicated than the average assassination.

Like all Watchers, Uatu has sworn an oath of non-interference – so when unknown assailants break into his base, raid his armory, and take one of his all-seeing eyes, he refuses to tell Fury who committed the deed. Desperate to recover the oculus, Fury slays Uatu and takes his other eye, setting off a chain of events that lead to his own exit from the mainstream Marvel Universe.

9. Fantomex Ends The Apocalypse Early

Fantomex Ends The Apocalypse Early

Fantomex – a human-machine hybrid most frequently associated with the X-Men – isn’t a household name even among Marvel Comics diehards, but he earns the distinction of having committed perhaps the most cold-blooded superhero slaying ever put to page.

In Uncanny X-Force #4, Fantomex and his team engage in a mission to take out a resurrected Apocalypse; however, they find En Sabah Nur in the form of a child. Most of the members of X-Force, including Deadpool and Wolverine, balk at the idea of slaying a kid – but Fantomex steps in unannounced and blows the prepubescent omega mutant away.

His decision proves controversial, but he later seeks redemption by raising another young clone of Apocalypse in secret – and “Evan” grows up to be a star student at the X-Men’s academy under the name of Genesis.