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Top 10 Superhero Defeats

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Clayton Martino. Superheroes almost always win, almost always. But there are times when even the best superhero gets his or her ass handed to them. For this list, we’re looking at the worst losses suffered by a superhero, either at the hands of a villain or another hero. We are not including incidents where the hero failed to save someone close to them, however, and instead are focusing on personal defeats. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 superhero defeats.

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Script written by Clayton Martino.

Top 10 Superhero Defeats

Just because they’re superheroes doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Superhero Defeats.

For this list, we’re looking at the worst losses suffered by a superhero, either at the hands of a villain or another hero. We are not including incidents where the hero failed to save someone close to them, however, and instead are focusing on personal defeats.

#10: Bullseye kills Elektra

We’re kicking things off with a nasty death in one of the most grisly superhero scenes ever drawn. Wanting revenge against Daredevil, Bullseye decides to go after his superhero girlfriend, Elektra. Elektra is more than capable of holding her own in a fight, but Bullseye is merciless, and the best assassin in the Marvel universe. After a brutal battle, Bullseye ends up impaling her with her own sai. Of course, like any good superhero, Elektra doesn’t stay dead for long, but this was a tough defeat for both her and Daredevil.

#9: The Hulk defeats The Thing

It could be argued that this is the greatest superhero battle of all time, with two guys that define the word ‘heavyweight’, going toe-to-toe. Seeking revenge on the Avengers, the Hulk travels to New York, where he is confronted by the Fantastic Four. The only one who is truly a match for the Hulk is Ben Grim, and two engage in a vicious, destructive fight. Exhausted and beaten, the Thing eventually collapses and the Hulk continues after the Avengers. While the Thing would pursue him, this was the first time that he was soundly defeated in a fair fight.

#8: Aquaman Loses a Hand

You may be familiar with a darker version of Aquaman that impales enemies with his sweet hook. However, In order to gain that hook, he had to lose a hand to the villainous Charybdis (ka-rib-deis). Charybdis steals Aquaman’s power to communicate with fish, and explains his plan to poison the Earth. Aquaman persues Charybdis on land and the two engage in a fistfight, with Charybdis eventually forcing Aquaman’s hand into a river full of piranhas. Ouch.

#7: Crossbones Assassinates Captain America

The Civil War storyline was tough on several major characters in the Marvel Universe, but no one expected it to be the death of Captain America. After surrendering to Tony Stark, Captain America was arrested. Unfortunately, Cap’s troubles go from bad to worse. His imprisonment didn’t put him out of the reach of Red Skull, who hires Crossbones to assassinate the hero on the steps of the courthouse. Crossbones puts bullets through the back of his neck and stomach, killing him. Ish.

#6: Batman Defeats Superman

For years people have been debating over who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman. In “The Dark Knight Returns”, however, Frank Miller puts all those debates to rest. Pulling out all the stops, donning a powered exoskeleton suit and armed with synthetic kryptonite Batman confronts Superman in the same alleyway where his parents were murdered. With all of these advantages, Batman is able to defeat Superman, and then fakes his own death to escape the government.

#5: Ozymandias Outsmarts the Watchmen

Arguably one of the greatest comic books, sorry, graphic novels, of all-time, “Watchmen” ends its brilliant saga with an unexpected twist. Retired Crimebuster Adrian Veidt (vite), also known as Ozymandias, turns out to be the mastermind behind the deaths of several masked crime fighters. Veidt reveals his genius plans to the remaining Watchmen, and then proceeds to defeat all of them when they confront him at his secret lair. Veidt succeeds in murdering thousands of people, and lays the foundation for a new world order.

#4: The Joker kills Jason Todd

Jason Todd may have been losing popularity among the fans, but that didn’t make his brutal defeat at the hands of the Joker any less impactful. Revealing his identity as Robin, Jason is handed over to the Joker by his estranged mother, Dr. Sheila Heywood. The Joker and his gang proceed to savagely beat Robin, and both Robin and his mother are killed by a bomb before Batman can rescue them. While Jason would eventually return, the magnitude of this defeat was felt across the comic industry.

#3: Magneto rips out Wolverine’s skeleton

Wolverine is one of the toughest superheroes out there, and a big part of that is his adamantium-plated skeleton. Unfortunately, this makes him an easy target for Magneto, and his ability to manipulate metal. While Magneto tries to avoid harming mutants whenever possible, his patience wears out, and he decided to make an example of Wolverine in front of the rest of the X-Men. Using his mastery of magnetism, Magneto rips the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body, tearing him to pieces in the process. Wolverine would survive, although this defeat left him discouraged and broken for quite a long time.

#2: Bane breaks Batman’s Back

The Joker, Two-Face, Riddler and Penguin have all challenged Batman several times over the years, but none of them can hope to defeat Batman in a fight. The muscle-bound Bane however, after figuring out Batman’s identity, waited at Wayne Manor for the caped crusader to return. Exhausted from fighting criminals all night, Batman was easily beaten by Bane, who snapped his back and left him broken. This is not only arguably the greatest defeat suffered by Batman, it is one of the biggest defeats suffered by any superhero.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions:

Hela Scars Thor’s Face

Spider-Man Loses to Doc. Ock

The Incredible Hulk breaks Dr. Strange’s hands

Sub-Mariner defeats Daredevil

Donatello is Apparently Killed by Rocksteady and Bebop

#1: Doomsday kills Superman

Batman may have defeated Superman, but Doomsday is the one who killed him. Yes, Superman would return, but this was the first time in history that Superman left the battlefield feet first. After an epic battle, Doomsday and Superman hit each other with such force that the two simultaneously kill each other. Superman dies in Lois Lane’s arms, and the DC universe gets a little darker. Arguably setting a bad precedence for future superhero deaths and returns, there is no denying the shock that this left on comic book fans everywhere.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favourite superhero defeat? For more wild Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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