Batman wasn’t the only one who got his heart ripped out in the Elseworlds crossover, DC vs. Vampires; so did every fan who had to bear witness to the death of their favorite heroes and villains. In DC’s best-selling series, the Vampire Apocalypse took the DC Universe by storm, sparking a brutal war between the last remnants of humanity and Nightwing's army of undead vampires.
With the next chapter of the vampire war, DC vs. Vampires: World War Z, on the darkening horizon, it's time for readers to sink their teeth into the top ten most heart-wrenching deaths in DC vs. Vampires and DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War, and explore why some of the villains and heroes lost in this bloody conflict should have lived to see another day.
10 Green Lantern
In light of his transformation into a heartless undead killer, Green Lantern's demise was more than justified. However, the expected moment of satisfaction for fans instead became a moment full of heartache, as they witnessed Green Arrow reluctantly end the life of the man he considered to be his brother. Oliver Queen's act of staking Hal Jordan was an embodiment of regretful mercy, and it resonated deeply when he solemnly said, "This is for you, my brother," before delivering the fatal blow to Hal's heart. Instead of marking a triumphant moment for the heroes, this kill became a profoundly solemn one.
While there are few arguments for keeping Hal alive, one pragmatic reason stands out. Hal's incapacitation, thanks to Alfred Pennyworth's decisive action in disrupting the Lantern's connection to his power-providing ring, which the quick-acting butler did by severing the vampire's arm with a sword, could have made him a valuable source of information if the heroes had chosen to spare him. As a former lieutenant in Nightwing's vampire army, Hal possessed critical knowledge that might have played a pivotal role in turning the tide of the war in DC vs. Vampires. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine Oliver would have let him live any longer than he did.
9 Captain Atom
Captain Atom held a crucial role in converting his energy output into solar radiation for one of the last human sanctuaries on Earth in DC vs. Vampires, Nightlight. In a world where the sun had forever set due to the vampires, this provided a means to grow crops, and obtain essential vitamin D. Therefore, when Captain Atom met his demise at the hands of Damage, it wasn't merely the loss of a single hero; it marked the certain demise of a significant portion of what remained of humanity, a consequence of the catastrophic nuclear blast which resulted from his death.
Atom's passing is unquestionably one of the most profound tragedies in DC vs. Vampires. It signified the end of a sanctuary for humankind, and the loss of the tremendous strength Captain Atom could have contributed to the war against vampires. His exceptional ability, which allowed him to to generate limitless solar radiation, had the potential to serve as a major weapon against vampires, in addition to serving a vital function for humanity's remnant. It could have also offered a means to recharge Supergirl, restoring her solar-powered abilities. These possibilities could have been game-changers and a beacon of hope for the future of humanity.
The Signal is known for his unwavering loyalty to his friends, and his remarkable photokinetic abilities. He stands as one of DC's most pure-hearted heroes, a symbol of hope wherever his light shines. In the Vampire apocalypse, Duke Thomas made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down his life to ensure the survival of his friends and fellow heroes, in the face of an overwhelming vampire horde. While Duke's sacrifice saved numerous heroes, and delivered a severe blow to the vampire forces, it was still disheartening to see him go. Given his extraordinary ability to manipulate light and darkness, the argument for him to have lived on remains compelling, considering how his unique powers might have been harnessed in the ongoing battle against the vampires.
Early in DC vs Vampires, Hal Jordan lured Barry Allen to a remote location, only to betray his closest friend by snapping his neck. Barry's death at the hands of his vampirized best friend – happening so suddenly that he didn't even realize something was wrong – made this a heart-wrenching death, coming so soon in the series. If the Flash had survived, and remained free from vampirism, his powers could have been a valuable weapon for the human resistance. His superhuman speed would have made him the ultimate vampire slayer, potentially altering the course of the war by giving humanity another valuable superpowered ally, after so many heroes were turned.
6 Dick Grayson
This entry on the list stands as a unique case, as it doesn't revolve around Nightwing's literal demise in the series, but rather the death of Dick Grayson's humanity, occurring when he was transformed into a vampire. The issue of DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War recounting how Dick became a vampire was undeniably agonizing. Betrayed by his half-sister, Melinda Zucco, he was essentially offered up to a horde of vampires, numbering in the dozens, if not hundreds. Yet, true to Nightwing's character, he refused to yield to the overwhelming odds and fought with unwavering resolve until he could physically fight no more, and was overwhelmed.
DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War #3 made it abundantly clear, as evidenced by the tears streaming down Nightwing's face in his last moments before being turned, that he had no desire to become a vampire; as with most who are sired and become creatures of the night, this change was brutally thrust upon him. His final human thoughts focused on the well-being of Haley, his beloved pup, added an extra layer of heartbreak to the scene. If the transformation of Dick Grayson into a vampire had never occurred, it's unlikely that the vampire uprising would have been as successful as it ultimately became.
5 Red Hood
At times, Red Hood gets a bad rep within the Bat-Family, often shunned for his disregard for Bruce’s no-kill rule, and, at times, for his penchant for being emotionally volatile. Yet Jason Todd is also the bravest and most fiercely loyal of the Bats, something that is inarguably seen when he knowingly forfeits his life in DC vs. Vampires, going up against a vampire Wonder Woman and Nightwing in order to have a chance at saving Damian. In the end, Jason does succeed in saving his younger brother, but not without facing the cost of Dick Grayson and Diana Prince trying to force the vampiric transformation upon him.
In a final act of heroism, Red Hood orders Green Arrow to kill him before he can be completely transformed into a vampire, a request which the archer obliges, finishing Jason off and denying the vampiric superheroes another powerful asset. Though Jason's sacrifice undeniably marked one of the series' most poignant and impactful moments, the fervent hope among fans was for anti-hero to persevere, allowing him to continue the fight another day. Red Hood would have been an invaluable fighter for humanity in the ongoing war, bringing a heart to the battle that has yet to be matched by any other hero.
Dick ripping Bruce's heart from his chest wasn't merely physically brutal. It was an overwhelming emotional maelstrom, one which peaked with Damian clinging to his father's fallen body, sobbing and screaming for Bruce not to die. This tear-jerker moment etched itself as one of the most heart-shattering scenes in comic history, and was only intensified by the look of utter horror on Alfred's face as he watched what is the equivalent of his grandson sob over Bruce's body – exemplifying the notion that what makes a death sad isn't the death of the person itself, but those they leave behind.
Without a doubt, Batman's loss was one of the most devastating casualties in the war. He carried with him the greatest potential to lead humanity to victory, a recognition that was not limited to the hero community. This was was something that was also acknowledged by even Deathstroke, who believed Batman to be humanity's best hope, and attempted to resurrect Bruce using a Lazarus Pit, only to be thwarted by the vampires. In any continuity, the death of Bruce Wayne is one of the trickiest stories for DC to attempt to tell, and DC vs. Vampires has proved to be one of the best "death of Batman" stories yet.
Deathstroke's internal monologue stands out as the most achingly poignant and profoundly melancholic writing throughout DC vs. V. It rapidly transformed the once-mercenary villain into one of the most beloved characters in the storyline. One of Slade Wilson's most pensive and crushingly sorrowful musings prefaced his confrontation with a vampire Superman: "Before the world ended, there were propositions I still took for granted... and perhaps the most naively of all was Superman will save us." This profound reflection ultimately left fans feeling as though they'd been dealt a heart-wrenching blow, once Deathstroke's demise at the hands of Superman came to pass.
In the end, Deathstroke wasn't merely a formidable fighter; he also served as the glue holding together some of the world's last heroes, a fact underlined by Mary Marvel's deep admiration for the complicated anti-hero, and her unwavering faith in him. His resilience was his defining trait, as he refused to give up, constantly devising new plans whenever his previous ones failed. His death will be sure to reverberate throughout the continuation of the series in DC vs. Vampires: World War V, leaving a profound impact on the conflict between DC's remaining humans, and superhumans, and its legions of thirsty vampires.
Superman's vampire transformation in DC vs. Vampires left his humanity completely obliterated. However, following a brutal battle, which culminated with Deadman piercing Superman through the heart, there was a moment when Clark's humanity seemed to flicker back. In a single, haunting panel, the Man of Steel was pictured with a sword protruding through his chest, smiling slightly in euphoric relief, tears streaming down his face. In the most soul-crushing aspect of the scene, he uttered his final words, "W-we're coming, pa. Krypto's just gone... after the ball. Think it landed... in... Nebraska." If Superman had survived and clung to that fleeting ember of humanity, there's no doubt the tide of fate would have shifted in favor of humanity.
1 Billy Batson
Although Shazam stood as one of the most menacing figures in DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War, Billy Batson was only a frightened child, who lacked control over his alter-ego. Unlike Shazam, Billy's humanity remained intact, leaving terrified by the scattered and horrifying memories of his Shazam persona. In his last moments, Billy sought solace in his sister's arms, believing he was safe, only to meet his end at her hands. His death was made especially poignant through the heart-wrenching artistry of Pasquale Qualano. It is painfully evident that Billy should have survived, if only to reunite with his sister and spare her the guilt that will forever burden her as Mary Marvel, for what she did to her brother while in her compromised human-vampire form.