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Five Dead DC Comics Villains that Are NOT Coming Back

Updated on June 6, 2016
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Chris Peruzzi is a comic book superhero historian who is passionate about how today's comic book heroes are the new mythology for America.

The Black Flash
The Black Flash

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Good Villains Never Really Die

The really bad guys don’t stay dead for long. In the DC Universe, this is almost law.

I’ve been trying to gather and distill a collection of DC Comics villains that have not only died but have no chance on coming back. It’s almost impossible. However, there are some definite villains that have found the revolving door on their coffins either nailed shut or desperately needing an oil can.

The trouble of doing this type of an article about the DCU is they periodically go through a universe reboot. Like the tides, their universe goes from universe to multiverse and then back to universe again. Now with the latest in the 52 storyline we have the best amalgamation of all worlds.

There are alternate histories combined with parallel worlds combined with the absorbed comic book lines of comic book companies of the past. So with some character, while they may have died on the main universe continuity, they could just as easily pop up as a different version within one or more of the 51 other worlds.

Not that I’m complaining – but there is some comfort in the finality of death and when a writer decides that a character needs to end or get an extended time out.

The five villains that I have chosen are really not likely to come back. They have had their chance and have either remained dead or were considered redundant. It took a while for me to find them, but you’ll see that these guys are probably going to stay worm food… which is pretty good for the worms.

Alexi Luthor of Earth 2
Alexi Luthor of Earth 2

Alexei Luthor

No, I didn’t stutter.

Alexei Luthor’s creation was something of an accident. His character was created when there was a mix up between artists back when Siegel and Shuster started their Superman stories they came up with a bald scientist character who was a real thorn in Superman’s side. This guy was out for world domination and wanted Superman dead.

His name? The Ultra Humanite.

Modern readers of the JSA would recognize the Ultra Humanite as a body swapping enemy who primarily occupies the body of a white gorilla. Originally, this was not so. He was a bald criminal scientist.

Later on, the character of Lex Luthor was introduced. Lex Luthor was a stocky man who had a full head of red hair. He invented devices to destroy Superman because the man of steel was just in his way. When the Luthor character appears again, he’s bald.

No one thought anything of this for a while. Eventually after the establishment of multiple infinite earths, writers wanted to separate the continuity of an Earth that introduced superheroes in the 1940’s during World War II and the continuity of an Earth that had characters that began in the current day. Current day heroes were part of Earth-1 and the 1940’s Earth that had the Justice Society of America and heroes of the Golden Age of comics were on Earth-2. As DC acquired more and more comic book companies and characters they worked with the same strategy with Fawcett Comics and Charlton Comics, creating Earths-S and 4, respectively.

Alexei Luthor is the Earth-2 counterpart of Lex Luthor. He fought the 1940’s Earth-2 Superman with elaborate world dominating devices that would be seen in a serial short of that time. Whenever DC had a crossover story that involved the Supermen of Earth-1 and Earth-2, it would usually be against the two Luthors as well. Alexei Luthor would always have the full head of hair and have the plans of global destruction for no reason whatsoever.

During the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi series, the villains from five Earths were gathered by Brainiac and the Earth-1 Luthor. Alexei objects to the other Luthor having a more prominent role in their plans and screams, “You do not need two Luthors!”

Brainiac agreed and disintegrated him immediately.

The Ten Eyed Man
The Ten Eyed Man

The Ten-Eyed Man

When I had done my hub on “Five Lame DC Comic Villains”, I have no idea on how I missed this guy.

Phillip Reardon was a Special Forces operative who lost some of his sight due to a grenade fragment that landed in his eyes. He got a job as a warehouse night watchman. One night thieves broke in, knocked him out, and planted a bomb in the warehouse. Batman arrived on the scene and through his blurred vision mistook Batman for one of the thieves. He began fighting Batman and only recognized him just as the warehouse blew up, burning his retinas, leaving him blind.

He had an unorthodox surgery which reconnected his optic nerves into his fingertips. (No, I’m not making this up.) Having blamed Batman for his blindness, he went on a mission to take revenge on the Batman as “The Ten-Eyed Man”. He fought the Man-Bat (Kirk Langstrom) and lost when he caught a bush. (No, I’m not making this up.)

He fought the Batman twice and lost. Each time he was tricked into touching something wrong and hurting his sensitive eye-fingers.

This villain's only advantage was his ability to see all around himself through his fingertips. The fact that combat usually requires the use of FISTS was an unfortunate disadvantage to this ocular villain. Really, would you want to have your fingertips as sensitive as your eyeballs? I wouldn’t.

As an uber-lame character who essentially had the fighting stamina of bone china, Marv Wolfman, the main writer on Crisis on Infinite Earths, took pleasure in making him one of the casualties of the Crisis.

He won’t be coming back… ever.

The Wrath - Batman's Opposite Number
The Wrath - Batman's Opposite Number

The Wrath

The original character behind this mask is not coming back.

I would also say that it is highly unlikely that they would bring back a character that was a carbon copy of the villain, Prometheus. For lack of a better term, the Wrath was Batman’s “opposite number”.

His origin is a bizarre mirror image of the Batman’s. His parents were petty criminals who were mistakenly taken for perpetrating a crime by James Gordon. Gordon shot both of them dead by mistake. The young boy who saw it all happen dedicated to hunting down the police officer that shot his parents and waged a perpetual war against the law.

Learning the arts of assassination and thievery, he gained power and wealth through the underworld. As he learned the identity of the young police officer, he started to hunt down Commissioner Gordon as Batman was hunting him down.

The Wrath was every bit Batman’s equal in intelligence, combat, and strategy – but in the end, he died as a casualty of an explosion that he triggered.

Prometheus - Batman's Other Opposite Number
Prometheus - Batman's Other Opposite Number

Prometheus

There is a lot to say about this character. My opinion has always been that he is The Wrath on steroids. Not actual steroids, though.

No one knows the real name of the original Prometheus – only the men that temporarily took over his name and equipment. Like The Wrath, his origin is very much the mirror image of Batman’s except he does not have the direct connection to Commissioner Gordon. His parents were two hippie thieves that took him with them to their jobs. Then, during one job, they were shot in front of him. This experience turned the boy’s hair permanently white.

Fortunately, his parents had plenty of money cached away and he used those resources to train himself to be an enemy of law enforcement. He is a master of physical combat, strategy, planning, detection, and is affiliated with terrorist groups around the world. Prometheus eventually found and killed the police officer that killed his parents and continued his war on law.

Very much like Batman, he has his secret lair that only he can access. He’s found an interdimensional “ghost zone” where he’s built a crooked base building.

In the past, he has, without any superpowers, beaten the JLA single handedly.

Prometheus’s chief weapon is his helmet. It allows him to watch any combatant and instantly be able to replicate their fighting style by downloading the information directly to his cerebral cortex. Within ten minutes after meeting Batman, he was able to replicate his fighting style and beat him in combat.

However, Batman was able to turn the tables on him by stealing one of the disks that stores combat ability and replacing it with a program that replicated the motor skills of Doctor Stephen Hawking.

The Prometheus eventually escaped with his mind and body restored. After chasing after would-be pretenders to his name he launched an attack on the JLA which maimed Red Arrow (Roy Harper aka Speedy). After that, he destroyed Star City. Green Arrow, bloodthirsty for revenge, found a way to follow Prometheus into his Ghost Zone.

Thinking that Green Arrow was a stereotypical hero who followed the rules he staked that Green Arrow would never kill him. Green Arrow killed him by shooting an arrow straight through his head.

Given that this was the original Prometheus, he won’t be coming back from an arrow through the brain.

Bug Eyed Bandit
Bug Eyed Bandit

The Bug Eyed Bandit

Yup, this is another character that somehow escaped my DC Villain lame list.

Wow. So close, yet so far.

This was a case where the bar for DC Comic Book villain was so low that a character like the Bug-Eyed Bandit could get an actual story. He was an enemy of the Atom (Ray Palmer). His big schtick was inventing robot bugs to help him commit crimes.

Let me repeat that.

Robot bugs to help him commit crimes.

He invented tiny robot bugs and because he couldn’t find a sponsor to help him develop it further, he decided that he was going to use them to commit crimes. Bear in mind that this was the mid-sixties when making bugs wasn’t as big as it was today.

In actuality, if a writer had plugged the idea today, he would not have used the phrase “bugs”, he would have gone into nanotechnology. If you’re going to make tiny robots, make them nanobots and use them to really cause some chaos.

Ahhh, but we have the Bug-Eyed Bandit (Bertram Larvan) who thought having a robot wasp was really threatening.

This character was, along with The Ten-Eyed Man, so incredibly lame that Marv Wolfman insisted that they be among the casualties of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Wolfman stated that he could not work for a company that could publish them.

Final Words

Apparently the one thing that will seal you into the “final death” in the comic book world is being incredibly lame.

There are two incredibly lame characters in the DCU that seemed to have earned this title and originally, I thought they were beyond redemption: The Bug-Eyed Bandit and The Ten-Eyed Man. Marv Wolfman said back in 1986 that he did not want them retconned. Since then in 2016, I've seen the Bug-Eyed Bandit on the television version of The Flash. And although they didn't name him in the comic book Grayson (Dick Grayson's own title), there was a version of the Ten-Eyed Man as an assassin.

So who knows?

Why bring back a villain if they’re only going to be the object of an ass kicking? This was the thing that plagued Doctor Light before Identity Crisis. Doctor Light was a major bad ass, once upon a time. Then he made the fatal mistake of sexually abusing Sue Dibney.

Yes, you heard me.

He sexually abused the Elongated Man’s wife – the wife of one of the most solid marriages in comic book fiction. He raped her. So heinous was this crime that through the efforts of Zantanna and the rest of the JLA (sans Batman and Superman) that they not only mind wiped Doctor Light, they gave him a partial lobotomy.

Light was getting his butt kicked by every member of Young Justice… until his mind was restored.

Still, eventually DC ended him after the Spectre pronounced judgment and burned him to death by turning him into a candle and making his head a wick. (The Spectre has an ironic sense of humorous cruelty.)

But I digress.

The Crisis on Infinite Earths was a way to eliminate redundancies and get rid of really lame villains. If the Golden Age Batman were alive during the time of the Crisis, he would have been worm food with that. As it stood, the Golden Age Robin essentially faded with the merging of the new continuity and the Huntress (Batman and Catwoman’s daughter) was retconned to be someone completely different.

There is only one way to ensure death in the comic books – either become redundant or become really lame.

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© 2012 Christopher Peruzzi

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      Christopher Peruzzi 4 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      I certainly hope so.

      Prometheus is one of those really bad villains you want to see get away with it. Why? He's really bad and he's really smart. I always like the idea of an "inverse Batman". It works. A man with a purpose and the desire to get there.

      But I digress.

      I put him up there because "arrow through the head" is hard to walk away from - unless you're Steve Martin.

      However, this is DC and there are ways the near impossible happens. After all, they were able to bring back Doomsday after being dropped off at the end of the universe (or the beginning... I can never remember).

      Here's a solution:

      Since Green Arrow was smart enough to follow Prometheus in to "The Ghost Zone" an area of the universe that has leaked into "The Phantom Zone" - the physical rules of time and space may not apply to mortal bodies. After all, if there is any truth to how Mon-El survived his terminal lead poisoning to the 31st Century, Prometheus could have just been playing possum. An arrow in the head could just be an inconvenience while Prometheus' helmet gets to work rebuilding his brain matter with whatever tech is in it. As Green Arrow never took the body back to the physical universe we can assume that he just left him there in that timeless existence.

      A good resolution may be that while Prometheus' brain survived the attack, he may not be able to remove the helmet ever again until he find a way to do something like rebuild his gray matter through a nanotech/stem cell solution.

      That might work.

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      One Eyed Dragon 4 years ago

      Prometheus will be back.