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In the world of comics, a character’s “unintentional” death or severe injury is rarely seen, partly because it doesn’t make sense to kill off or hurt the title character of a series and partly because death is used as a last resort reboot option when sales start to drop. Naturally, our favorite heroes and villains have developed fun traits such as regenerative healing or straight-up invulnerability to most things that might come their way, save one or two special weaknesses.Check out this list of the toughest superheroes and strongest comic book villains and see who really is the best of the best!

The Hulk

Photo:  Marvel Comics

The Hulk is an interesting nut to crack – literally. In addition to having arguably the highest degree of physical strength in the Marvel Universe, Bruce Banner’s Hulk is also known for his impervious skin, heightened agility, resistance to gamma radiation, a regenerative healing factor, and most importantly, a superhuman level of inelegance.

Presently, Bruce Banner’s Hulk is dead. In the recent Civil War II run, Bruce is visited by a group of heroes concerned with a vision the Inhuman Ulysses Cain has, which involves Banner transforming into the Hulk and going on a rampage, killing several heroes. Hulk’s death is at the hands of Hawkeye, who was given a special arrow by Banner himself in the event Banner was ever going to transform into the Hulk again, which, when confronted by a legion of super heroes that are supposed to be your allies, is bound to happen.

Wolverine

Photo:  Marvel Comics

Logan’s initial mutation is a healing factor that allows his body to regenerate over time. Coupled with his adamantium skeleton, Wolverine is, for the most part, unkillable as long as a portion of his biological self remains to regenerate after combat – with a few notable exceptions. Kitty Pryde succeeded in killing him in a What If? one-shot by phasing her hand through Logan’s skull and into his brain, losing the hand in the process.

The primary weakness with healing factor powers is centered around the amount of time required for them to work. If someone were to attack Wolverine at a rate faster than he’d be able to heal, then Wolverine really isn’t that big of a threat. Further, in the 2014 Death of Wolverine run, Logan’s healing factor is effectively worn out and he begins to experience rapid aging while people try to take him out.

Deadpool

Photo:  Marvel Comics

With powers originating from Wolverine’s genetic mutation, Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, is a product of the Weapon X program and as a result, has Wolverine’s healing abilities. At one point in the comics, Deadpool becomes infatuated with Death (note the capital ‘D’), the same Death that Thanos is in love with. Thanos then “gifts” Mr. Wilson with immortality, preventing him from ever being able to fully “be with” Death.

Between the healing factor and his immortality, Deadpool has never and will never truly die in the comics (and hopefully the films, providing Fox and Marvel Studios get their stuff together and collaborate on something amazing).

Doctor Manhattan

Photo:  DC Comics

Doctor Manhattan is basically God with a massive blue penis. Born Dr. Jonathan Osterman, Doctor Manhattan has technically only died once, and that was during the accident that turned him into the being he is today. Without exaggeration, Doctor Manhattan’s powers are nigh limitless including, but not limited to: time vision, precognition, immortality, super strength, telekinesis, reality warping abilities, a bevy of abilities centered around limitless nuclear energy, molecular reconstruction, in addition to his previously existing genius-level intelligence.

As it’s seen in Watchmen, Manhattan’s main weakness comes from within himself. Because of his predicament of omnipotence, he’s slowly become less “human” over time, making those moments of human emotion he experiences at points more jarring, until the climax of the novel.

 

Phoenix Force

Photo: Marvel Comics

The Phoenix Force is an immortal, indestructible, and sentient cosmic being that is a product of all the psychic and telepathic energies throughout the Marvel universe. As such, it’s nearly impossible to kill. But what about the Force’s hosts? Over the 40 years since the introduction of Jean Grey’s “Phoenix,” the Phoenix Force has remained unmatched in terms of potential power, often utilizing mutant hosts (many of which are directly or indirectly related to Jean Grey) that have developed psionic or telepathic abilities like Emma Frost or Madelyne Pryor.

While the Force itself can never be destroyed, it has been known to be broken up into fragments, inhabiting mutants such as the Phoenix Five in Avengers vs. X-Men.

 

Galactus

Photo: Marvel Comics

Galactus’s origin is rooted not in the universe we know of today, but in a universe that existed prior to the Big Bang, placing him among the oldest and most powerful gods and demigods that grace the pages of Marvel Comics. As such, his abilities are, to put them in gamer terms, totally broken in the most awesome way imaginable. Immortality, insane levels of strength, stamina and speed, energy manipulation, matter and elemental transmutation, multiple psionic abilities, and virtually anything imaginable with his total control over the Power Cosmic.

Galactus’s only weakness comes from the fact that he needs to consume planets in order to live, which raises the question: what happens when there aren’t any planets left for Galactus to chow down on?

Superman

Photo: DC Comics

No list about indestructible comic characters could ignore the Man of Steel. Superman is the oldest and most influential superhero in history, so it makes sense that his powers would be copied and emulated over the next century. In 1938, Superman’s powers were significantly dialed down from what they are today. He was bulletproof but capable of sustaining damage from things like bombs and missiles. He remained invulnerable throughout his publication history, but his powers continued to evolve and he gained flight, super senses, and further impermeability to things like large doses of radiation from most materials, except for, of course, Kryptonite.

 

Trigon

Photo: DC Comics

Trigon, father of famed Teen Titan Raven, is among the strongest forces in DC Comics, period. He is a demon made of pure evil (yes, really) and holds a bevy of god-tier powers, including invulnerability to basically everything. Historically, in the comics, Trigon never had any real weaknesses – his main saboteur is his daughter, Raven, whose mother was from Azarath, a magical realm that existed between realities. In every instance of his imprisonment, Raven and a magical artifact from Azarath were responsible, with the exception of the Teen Titans animated series, where Raven undergoes a magical transformation into the White Raven and destroys her father with light magic.

Colossus

Photo: Marvel Comics

Colossus’s mutation is pretty rad – with the ability to transform his entire body into a form of organic steel, he gains a massive invulnerability to most physical attacks in addition to enhanced strength. Like steel, he’s resistant to electricity but maintains a severe weakness to rapid changes in temperature. One of the few things that can consistently damage Colossus is vibranium, the same material that things like Captain America’s shield and Black Panther’s claws and suit are made of.

Brainiac

Photo: DC Comics

This is a bit of a unique addition; Brainiac has died more times than any other character on this list, with the semi-exception of the Phoenix Force. While Brainiac is far from impervious to damage and often doesn’t maintain a healing factor, his primary strength lies with his near-omnipotent intellect, allowing him to effectively predict and plan a myriad of contingency plans in the event of his downfall. This is seen throughout various Superman titles as well in Superman: The Animated Series and the Justice League animated series.

Captain Planet

Photo: Marvel Comics

An unusual addition, but arguably among the strongest on this list, Captain Planet is one of the few characters that has not died at some point in their career. For those of you that might not have been alive in the 1990s, Captain Planet was a cartoon series created by Ted Turner and Barbara Pyle, later turned into a comic published by Marvel, for the purpose of spreading the ideas of conservation and environmentalism. Captain Planet is summoned when the teenage environmental activist team, The Planeteers, each combine their respective power rings (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart) together and he appears for a short period of time strictly to combat whatever the terrorist of the week has planned.

Planet’s powers are recharged whenever he comes into contact with pure, clean environmental factors, specifically clean water, air, and sunlight, allowing him to remain virtually indestructible as long as he is summoned and stays out of the way of man-made pollutants.

Squirrel Girl
Photo: Marvel Comics

Yup. That’s right. Squirrel Girl is not only one of the few heroes to have never died, but also has a nearly unmatched track record of characters she’s squashed, including Doctor Doom, Thanos, and convincing Galactus not to devour the Earth through the underrated super power of conversation. While these feats can totally be attributed to Marvel shenanigans, Doreen Green does have some pretty awesome powers backing up her quirky attitude. Her massive tail doubles as both a weapon for binding foes and as some pretty awesome butt padding, which, coupled with super strength, accelerated healing, and some pretty awesome proportional squirrel leaping and climbing abilities, adds up to a really well-rounded hero that’s mostly ignored as simply a joke.

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