Superhero Beat Down

Has a Superhero ever fought a villian and lost badly?
I’m talking a serious butt whoopin?

Remember The Rock in Walking Tall? That kind of beating.

There’s always jokes about Batman getting his butt whopped, car stolen, and left nekkid with his butt painted green. Let’s not discuss what happened to Robin the Boy Wonder. :wink:

Has a Superhero ever had a really bad day fighting crime?

Batman had his back broken by Bane. Robin II (Jason Todd) was beaten within an inch of his life by the Joker, and then sent over that final inch by a whole mess of dynamite.

Superman got killed by Doomsday. One of the several iterations of General Zod broke his jaw.

Black Canary was captured by a serial killer, tortured so badly that she lost both her canary cry and the ability to have children, and crucified. The best thing you can say about that experience was that she wasn’t raped, but she herself said that it didn’t make a bit of difference.

Mockingbird (Hawkeye’s wife) actually did get raped by a hero-cum-villain, though by drugging rather than violence. Understandably, she killed the bastich, whereupon her husband and so-called friends got all self-righteous on her.

ETA: Black Adam’s brother-in-law, Osiris, got eaten by a sentient crocodile. On panel. And Marvin (as in “The Superfriends, Wendy, & Marvin”) got eaten as well, though not on panel, by a mutant version of his own Wonder Dog, thanks to a writer who seemed intent on creating nightmare fuel.

I will lay odds that well over at least a third of female super-heroes introduced since 1995 or so have been raped, though typically as backstory.

Batman got the shit beaten out of him the first time he encountered a Predator.

Loved the first graphic novel. Didn’t care for the two sequels.

Captain America was beaten pretty badly by Iron Man.

Colossus got superheated then flash frozen once; not good for him.

Grey Hulk got gutted by Wolverine.

Thor was pounded into literal jelly at one point, when cursed by Hela so it couldn’t kill him.

Sounds like the newer comics are more realistic.

I recall as a kid it seemed odd that superheros rarely got there costume wrinkled. They sometimes got captured and then quickly escaped unharmed.
It takes courage to come back after a butt whoopin. I’d find it easier to identify with a superhero that didn’t always win.

Some high profile ones, off the top of my head…

Doomsday ‘killed’ Superman in their first fight. And had already taken out the entire Justice League (non-lethally) before getting to him.
Bane broke Batman’s back.
Wonder Woman was killed by Neron, just before the Genesis crossover.
Jason Todd was beaten to death by the Joker.
Teen Titans and Legionnaires die all the frikkin’ time. Superboy Prime has racked up a few former Titans, and at least one Legionnaire for his score card - Pantha, Wildebeest, Risk, and Sun Boy (of Earth Prime), for a start.
The first Dove was killed by one of the Anti-Monitor’s shadow-creatures during the Crisis.
The second Dove was apparently (but not actually) killed by the first Hawk when he went evil.
His death was while he was evil, so is not up for discussion, it just explains why there’s a second Hawk…who died during the Blackest Night event at the hands of the reanimated corpse of the first Hawk.
Kole, and the Earth-2 Robin were killed by falling debris, while trying to protect civilians in the Crisis.
The second Terra was killed by Black Adam, during the WWIII event, as was Kid Frankenstein.
The first Kid Quantum died when the belt that gave him his powers failed. (The death was faked pre-ZH, real post-ZH.)
Lightning Lad sacrificed himself against a villain I can’t remember…was later ‘resurrected’…but as it turns out it was just his body reanimated with the mind of Chameleon Boy’s ‘pet’, Proty (who had ‘sacrificed’ himself to bring LL back)…except it currently looks like it was the real him, again. (Legion continuity…it’s fun.)
I’d have to do some research to say how other members of each team died. A few were murdered on off-days, so don’t count, though.
The Anti-Monitor took out the pre-Crisis Supergirl.
Ted Kord was shot in the face when he confronted Max Lord at the beginning of the Infinite Crisis.
Jade was killed in the Infinite Crisis, as part of giving Kyle Rayner the Ion power again, but I can’t remember, for the life of me, who actually killed her. (Kyle is a frikkin’ fridge magnet.)
Any big event will have a number of second stringers and at least one semi-first stringer take a dirt nap, actually.
Connor Hawk, the second Green Arrow was shot, and nearly killed by the cape-killer Onomatopoeia.

Some less specific ones… (And no deaths here!)

This is pretty much the Spirit’s ‘thing’ - he’ll get beaten to a pulp, then later come back and bring the bad guy down.
Batman was beaten near to death by a mind-controlled Superman. (Who was later fought to a stand-still by Wonder Woman.)
I can’t think of any more specific examples, but savage beatings are really pretty common - it’s a good way to get a character out of action to let someone else take the spot-light, or motivate someone to move, without…well, killing a character.

Thor beat the hell out of Iron Man a couple years back.

Spidey, in any given tussle, will come out of it looking like something the cat dragged in. I can’t count the fights that wound up with him being beat purple. Or with a broken arm that lasted for a few issues.

Kid Miracleman beat the hell out of Miracleman the first time they fought. Miracleman only survived because of a stupid slip of the tongue by Kid Miracleman.

In terms of suffering-per-appearance, Mr. Immortal may be the champ. In his very first action as a superhero–an attempt to stop a bank robbery–he was shot in the chest and killed. Since then, he’s been fatally shot, stabbed, crushed, poisoned, irradiated, incinerated, impaled, decapitated, drowned, blasted, speared, chainsawed, and eaten by piranhas. At least some of those were inflicted by enemies.

In fact, every single time he has used his power, he’s been beaten down. Of course, since his power is being unable to die permanently, that probably could go without saying.

The X-men regularly get their asses handed to them and then Professor X appears in the final 2 pages and defeats the villain. The issue that made Wolverine a star was when the X-men were defeated by the Hellfire club and Wolverine came back, infiltrated the club, and defeated all the members single-handedly, killing a bunch of stormtroopers along the way. This seems to be a common trope for the 70’s-80’s X-men: defeat, then one of them makes a singular effort that triggers a chain reaction for the team to regroup for a final showdown with the villain.

Wolverine’s comebacks:
Hellfire Club

Professor X:




Dire Wraiths


Usually, any villain that either bites or uses fire/electricity will tear his costume. That was an early trope with Spiderman during his first 50 issues or so: how much damage would the villain do to his costume, and how much would the damage affect his personal life?

JLA: THE NAIL has a lot of this.

(It’s the for-want-of-a-nail story that asks, hey, what if Jon Kent’s pickup truck had a flat tire the day Kal-El’s rocket landed in that Kansas wheatfield? So the Justice League keeps squaring off against superpowered foes without their signature blocking back looking out for his squishy human teammates, which means we see Green Arrow wind up confined to a wheelchair after one particularly brutal fight sure as Batman gets beaten to a pulp in another, plus Hawkman dies early on – oh, and Robin and Batgirl get ripped apart for much the same reason, and as for the Metal Men – well, look, it just gets ugly, is all I’m saying.)

One of my favorites - before his resurrection, Iron Fist let himself be beaten to death by Captain Hero, a child whose superpowers were a symptom of an alien cancer. In his pain, Captain Hero blindly lashed out, and Iron Fist wouldn’t fight back for fear of hurting the kid. Great story (last issue of Power Man and Iron Fist).

Deadpool has had his ass kicked many a time. Luckily for him he is nigh indestructible. But still, that had to hurt.

Magneto once pulled all the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body, putting him out of commision and then leading to a whole arc about him becoming even stronger–but more feral,–until he finally gets the adamantium back.

If Magneto can sometimes count as a superhero, right after he did that to Wolverine, Professor X pretty much ruined Magneto’s mind.

Also, the Grey Hulk got whipped by a then-stronger Thing (the infamous pineapple phase). He did win round 2 by using Thing’s additional mass to tire him out.

Kraven the Hunter beat Spider Man nearly into a coma then buried him alive.