How Many Innocents Die?
When people watch Superhero or comic books movies in general, it is a sight to behold. Watching these Godlike people defend the normal citizen against an enemy hell-bent on wiping out the earth, it is a marvelous thing. However, a few questions come to mind, one of these questions involves collateral damage. Collateral damage, according to www.Dictionary.com is “The killing of civilians in a military attack.” In this case, it will not be a military attack but a superhero “attack.” Reading up on this question, there are a few instances when both Marvel and DC showcased death and destruction in their movies and comics, but fail to mention how many people died as a result of their actions. In every battle the superhero battle, there is going to be civilian death, the main question that never really seems to get answers as these are all estimates are; how many civilians die in each of these encounters?
Diving into DC first we do see the that most of the known heroes (i.e. Superman, Batman, The Flash, etc.) all live and fight in big cities. With that, all of their main villains reside in the cities as well, except Superman’s villains, they are a little too big. But starting off high, we look at the most notable villain in all of comics; the Joker. The Joker has the single largest body count in all of DC Comics, according to (http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Joker's_Body_Count ). This includes the killing of Batman (over a dozen times actually), Jason Todd (Robin), hundreds of Gotham PD and at one point he killed everyone on planet Earth (This one was revered through a whole time shift that’s pretty complicated to explain). Thinking averagely, in every battle Batman has with the Joker he has killed at least 2–3 bystanders, this is not including the killing of the planet timeline. At this point killing the Joker would be the best suitable option, due to his long list of death however, due to Batman’s no kill policy and the fact that the Joker is his muse, he has not. But because of this, bystanders are dying on Batman’s hands over one moral.
As comics has proved, the bigger the superhero, the bigger the supervillain, the bigger the damage. In the Superman comics, his main enemy is Doomsday and as you can tell, he kills a LOT of bystanders. In his first appearance, titled The Death of Superman, he comes into Metropolis, levels some skyscrapers and literally throws Superman like a ragdoll through streets, buildings, cars and much more. In this comic, it is resulted that he and Superman collectively kill 200,000 people, and that is the minimum kill count of the 1992 comic book. Other notable villain and Superman quarrels have to deal with Braniac (Who freezes Metropolis whole), Darkseid, who levels parts a city in his first encounter with Superman (Justice League War) and lastly/ most notable, General Zod, who was in the film Man of Steel. This reason behind the film Batman v Superman was because of the events that unfolded in the pervious film. In MoS, you see Superman gallantly fighting Zod, destroying his machine and later killing him, ending the fight. On the other side of the spectrum, in BvS you see Bruce Wayne on the ground, running through rubble trying to save people and looking up as Zod and superman alike run each other through buildings and what not. The official kill count of the MoS according to https://www.moviefone.com/2013/06/18/man-of-steel-destruction-cost-analysis/ is “WTC puts the body count at 129,000, with over 250,000 missing and nearly a million injured.” This is very costly when thinking about it logically. There are many alternatives that could have been done but why is it that Superman chose to take on Zod in a populated city?
On the marvel side of it all, it does not get any better and the films have showed that extensively. Starting of with comic books and more notably, the Avengers storyline it talks about civilian death and how bad it is. In the Civil war comic (movie I will talk about later) the reason why it started was due to the fact civilians were killed. What happened was a villain named Nitro; whose power is blowing up himself, blew himself up in a Stamford, a decently populated city and killed at least 300 people, this included a school full of children. This in turn makes the superhero registration act which calls for every hero to register and reveal their identity and as people choose sides, civil war begins.
One of the most well known villains in the Marvel universe is Apocalypse and, judging by his name like Doomsday, has killed many people, but unlike Doomsday, Apocalypse almost succeeds in wiping out the entire planet. When fighting the X-men, both film and comics, we see that the destruction, but it is calculated that over 2 BILLION died in all encounters, due to the sole fact that he has the power to destroy it and has. In one timeline titled Age of Apocalypse, he has taken over the Earth and enacted his will, assuming that he killed anyone that opposed him.
Lastly, in the film circuit, one major marvel movie has a gigantic death count. In the first Avengers film, everything went smoothly for a doomsday scenario. When they arrived to New York to battle, they plan ahead and moved the heroes out to cause minimal damage, remove citizens and most importantly, make sure the fight does not spread beyond where they are at. Although people do die, it was not as drastic as the DC counterparts. According to blog posts by known comic lovers and writers it is estimated that about less than 1000 people died in the Battle of New York, which for an alien invasion headed by the brother of Thor is a very impressive thing to do. However, things change in the second film Avengers Age of Ultron, in the battle of Sokovia, Ultron literally lifted the city off of the ground, with people still above and below it (which can be seen when the Avengers help people off the destroyed bridge). Due to the climatic battle and how it ended, it is safe and sad to assume that 87% of the population died, this including Zeemo’s family (real enemy in Civil War film) and many others shown in Captain America Civil War. This all gets shown in the latter film of the death they have accidently cost while trying to save others in a conference. This was after media backlash when Scarlet Witch accidently destroyed an entire office floor (killing many bystanders) when Crossbones tried to blow himself up and kill the Avengers. This becomes a major staple in the movie Civil War because it comes down is it really necessary to have some innocents killed to save many others.