10 Unluckiest Comic Book Characters

When bad luck and hardship are the true villains...

Spider-Man Spot
Marvel Comics

In the arena of comics, no genre can court an audience quite like superhero stories. People around the world dip into daydreams of superpowers, fame, and being able to go to work in spandex.

Even those who aren’t so imaginative, still spend hours relaxed in front of their screens winding down to the colourful lives of comic book crusaders.

However, superheroes are rarely lucky. They end each adventure standing tall but usually at tremendous personal cost, loss, and injury. In no other medium are character’s tragedies and triumphs so acutely balanced. The over-the-top nature of comic book worlds also makes these peaks and dips starker.

Characters rarely receive a blessing without being burdened with a curse. The most notable example of this balance is Batman. He gets to be a billionaire playboy, but also carries the burden of an orphan whose effort to conceal his secret identity pushes him further and further still into isolation.

While it is true all comic characters have their share of misfortune, some seem to exist in a persistent state of tragedy, never able to catch a break.

10. Dr. Manhattan

Spider-Man Spot
DC Comics

It may seem odd listing a character who transformed from a man to a god as unlucky. However, one giant dose of misfortune changed the life of Jonathan Osterman forever.

When Osterman left his girlfriend Janey Slater’s gift (her repaired watch) inside his lab coat, he went back into the test chamber to collect it. The door’s safety feature shut him inside. Osterman was ripped apart during the commencing radioactive particle test.

Osterman materialised as Dr. Manhattan, a borderline god - however, his misfortune continued. His new life came with soul-crushing isolation. Experiencing time in a non-linear fashion, created immediate distance between his former life and the people in it. When he acted in accordance with his omnipotent knowledge, others often accused him of being callous and unsympathetic.

Dr. Manhattan’s isolation was taken to the extreme when he exiled himself to Mars after his assumed ally, Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), tricked him into believing anyone who spent prolonged time with him would get cancer.

Though he was ultimately persuaded to return to Earth by his love interest Laurie Juspeczyk, the borough of Manhattan had been destroyed and Laurie was now happy with Daniel Dreiberg. After agreeing with Veidt’s plan to promote world peace, Dr. Manhattan left alone to find a less complicated galaxy.

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An English Lit. MA Grad trying to validate my student debt by writing literary fiction and alternative non-fiction.