Who was the first hero to ever kill a super villain in Marvel comics? Someone told me that it was Wolverine who killed Sabretooth, but I can't seem to find the issue.

Edit: Not a simple villain, but a super villain/ main antagonist like Dr. Doom, Loki etc.

  • 2
    Wolverine has "killed" Sabretooth many-many times but just like Logan, Creed has a healing factor... Heck in issue 90 of the 1st Wolverine regular series Wolvie pops his claws through Creed's brain and next issue Sabretooth is still alive, though it takes some time before he's 100% again. Apr 7, 2014 at 3:37
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    @22ndCenturyFza raises a good point. How final must the death be? My friends and I joke that there are five levels of dead: "for reals dead", "mostly dead", "soap-opera dead", "comics dead" and "x-men dead".
    – phantom42
    Apr 8, 2014 at 12:59
  • @phantom42 That's actually pretty good. Too bad we don't have a wiki attached to this SE, or we could publish it as a standard.
    – John O
    Apr 8, 2014 at 14:54
  • @phantom42 Has there ever been a dead dead one? Apr 8, 2014 at 16:00
  • 2
    The problem is that lots of characters (including villains) have been seemingly killed permanently, only to return much later. Take William Stryker who is currently supposedly "dead dead" again. Or the return is fake and only revealed much much later, like Captain Marvel, who appeared to have been revived, but turns out it was just an imposter. While there have been subsequent Captain Marvel's, the original is still dead.
    – phantom42
    Apr 8, 2014 at 17:22

4 Answers 4


One of the earliest and most gruesome "hero-killing-villain" deaths was performed by Captain America (Steve Rogers) in a battle against the vampire, Baron Blood.

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The Captain performs the gruesome deed, complete with decapitation in Captain America #254 (1981).

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As my runner-up and dear to my heart (because I despised the Green Goblin) I present the Amazing Spiderman, Vol 1, #122 (1973) who was involved in and could be held culpable in the death of the Green Goblin.

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  • As I said, he could be held culpable though he did not deal the killing blow...just a whole bunch of them which lead up to the Goblin's demise.

  • The Green Goblin is responsible for the death of Peter Parker's first love Gwen Stacy after throwing her off a bridge. Spider-Man was unable to save her and takes his rage out on the Green Goblin looking for all intents and purposes a man possessed with a murderous rage.

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The Goblin looks doomed. Spider-Man regains his sanity and stays his hand. The writers could not have Spider-Man going down that dark path, but someone would have to pay for Gwen Stacy's death. The fans were outraged. For the Goblin, this meant his time was up...

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  • 1
    I like Union Jack on the Captain America cover, just kind of hanging out while a vampire has its hands around Cap’s throat. Apr 23, 2015 at 14:20

It very much depends on your definition of 'villain'. In the very first story of "Marvel Comics #1" (which deals with origin of the The Human Torch) about halfway through the story, Torch kills a gangster called Horton, albeit in self-defence.

Human Torch

In the very next story (same issue), Namor the Sub-Mariner kills several individuals who've been trying to kill him.

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  • 3
    I updated my question. Sorry for the mistake. I meant like a main antagonist Apr 8, 2014 at 12:05

Tricky because many villains don't really 'die'. I don't believe Doom or Kang have ever been killed. Captain America killed the Red Skull in Captain America 300.

Das Ende

The only other high profile deaths I can remember are Drax killing Thanos during Annihilation.

Drax Kills Thanos

And Red Hulk murdering The Abomination in revenge for infecting his daughter with cancer.

Red Hulk Kills Abomination

  • I think the issue here, whether or not the villain returns, is that the hero has crossed the moral threshold of killing. Looks like Cap is the winner so far. Sep 18, 2014 at 17:33
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    I think you're being harsh on Captain America. Remember he is a soldier and has said in the past he would kill if he didn't have a choice, which was the case here, even if Red Skull died of a heart attack it was a fight to the death. Neither Drax or Ross have any qualms about killing. Spider-Man killing someone, that would be a big deal. I don't believe he has? Sep 18, 2014 at 20:06
  • Thanos did return, though. But he was explicit rejected by Death herself, so I guess that counts
    – Zommuter
    May 5, 2017 at 6:13

The original Human Torch killed Adolf Hitler pretty early on. Often rebuked by readers (for some reason the logic of a character fighting in WWII doesn't work with some people?) and restated by the writers, though it's been currently cemented as an act of self defense. Sorry the phrasing of your question makes answering it fully difficult but this at least stands out in my mind as a contender.

  • Does Adolf Hitler really count as a "super villain"?
    – phantom42
    Jan 5, 2015 at 5:37
  • 5
    @phantom42: If he doesn't, who does?!? Apr 23, 2015 at 15:01

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