10 Tragic Superheroes Who Suffer The Most In The MCU, Ranked
Every hero needs a good background story, and even better if it’s a tragic one. Such is a familiar troupe that appears in literally every superhero film ever, and the MCU is no exception. For character development, we can see almost every member of the Avengers has a bad past that motivates them to do something good. From having their parents unfortunately killed off when they were young, to being brutally used and tortured for different purposes, there are countless ways to make a Marvel hero’s backstory miserable and make us feel sympathy for them.
However, even in the MCU, there are some characters who simply suffer more than the others. Not only in their background, but they also experience great losses that keep coming one after another during their story arc, which makes us wonder what keeps them standing for so long, only to suffer again. Let’s take a look at these 10 MCU superheroes whose life is nothing but painful memories and trauma, who deserve happiness in the end.
Having her planets and family eliminated by Thanos, Gamora was adopted by the Mad Titan and had been living in resentment and the urge to avenge ever since. The Zehoberei grew up without love, constantly at each other’s neck with Nebula, until she became a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But even that happiness didn’t last, as she was later captured and sacrificed by her own adoptive father to achieve the Soul Stone.
At least, the other variant of Gamora finally found peace, becoming a part of the Ravagers now.
#2. Steve Rogers/Captain America
Born at the start of the 20th century, Steve Rogers lost his father in World War I and his mother to tuberculosis. He also wasn’t blessed with a physique and athleticism like the others, suffering from asthma and other diseases, which made him a constant victim of bullying. Steve got denied the privilege to join the US Army until he received the super serum from Abraham Erskine.
Becoming Captain America, Steve Rogers lead the line to fight against the Hydra and Nazis, and found the love of his life, Peggy Carter, only to get separated from her for sixty-six years. After he was revived, almost everyone The Man Out of Time knew was gone, including Peggy who was on her deathbed. Later on, he learned the fact that his best friend, Bucky was alive, but was brainwashed by Hydra and became the Winter Soldier. Yup, Cap has been through a lot alright.
Overcomes all those past traumas, Steve fights along the Avengers against powerful enemies to ensure the safety of the Earth. In the end, he finally gets his happy ending, traveling to the past to live his life with Peggy in Brooklyn.
#3. Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier
Unlike his friend Steve, Barnes has a quite fortunate childhood, but everything has gone downhill for him ever since. Survived falling off a cliff during World War II but was captured and brainwashed by the Hydra, Barnes suffered torture and experiments for nearly a century, and was turned into a cold-blooded Soviet assassin who killed a lot of important people, including Tony’s Stark parents.
His brainwashing is finally undone and he reunites with Steve Rogers in the present, but is chased by the government due to his past deeds. Now, having left all behind, Barnes deserves a much-needed rest and a peaceful life, because he earns it.
Also an adoptive daughter of Thanos like Gamora, but Nebula’s fate is way worse than her sister's. Also having her home and family destroyed by the Mad Titan, Nebula always feels inferior to her sister, losing every fight against her, and for each loss, she is brutally tortured by her adoptive father and is injected with a new mechanical upgrade to her body. No wonder she looks so grumpy all the time.
After reconciling with Gamora sometime later, Nebula finally finds her home in the Guardians of the Galaxy, frees from Thanos’ shackles, and is now enjoying her new life in Knowhere.
#5. Rocket Raccoon
One of the most underrated characters in the MCU, Rocket’s tragic past wasn’t revealed until the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Originally an experiment subject of the High Evolutionary, Rocket suffered from brutal experiments and engineering from a young age, and his first word after gaining sentience were “Hurt.” Nebula even described that Rocket’s experiments were even worse than anything Thanos had done to her.
The raccoon finally made some friends, only for them to be killed by the High Evolutionary later. Devastated, Rocket escapes from the ship, and closes his heart from his new friends and family ever since, worrying that someday they might get taken from him again.
#6. Shuri/Black Panther
At such a young age, the genius scientist Shuri lost everything: Her father, her brother, and then her mother in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. We all shed a tear at Queen Ramonda’s funeral, when Shuri said: “I’ve buried the last person who knows me.” Now she’s left alone, managing a whole country with an unlimited vibranium resource and it’s her duty now to protect it from outside forces. At least, she still has some trusty companions and friends, who would lay their life for her to help preserve Wakanda’s legacy.
#7. Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Peter Quill’s life has been an emotional roller coaster ride. He lost his mother at a young age to cancer, got kidnapped by a bunch of aliens right after, found the Guardians of the Galaxy, and reunited with his father, only to learn that he’s the culprit for his mother’s death. Quill and the team had to eliminate his own father afterward, and then his adoptive father, Yondu, sacrificed himself to save his life.
Star-Lord’s tragedy is not yet over, as his lover, Gamora, also got killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, leaving him completely devastated. He met the past Gamora after Endgame, but despite his attempts, they didn’t come back together at the end. Quill left the team afterward, passing the mantle to Rocket, and returned to Earth, living with his grandfather. After all he’s been through, this is the least he deserves.
#8. Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch
Even in the MCU, few can match Wanda in terms of tragedies. The Sokovian lost her parents at a young age to a bomb made by Stark Industries, and then his brother, Pietro was taken from her in Age of Ultron. Later, Wanda finally found some comfort, having a romantic relationship with Vision, only for him to be taken from her again under the hand of Thanos. The poor girl was filled with despair and vengeance, which fueled her power to get stronger.
After the events of Endgame, Wanda used her power to create Westview and bring back Vision to life, and they even had kids. Unfortunately, this is only an illusion Wanda created using her magic, as she lost them all once again. Drowned in sadness and despair, Wanda was corrupted by the Darkhold later, and became the Scarlet Witch, using Dreamwalk to roam the multiverse, to find the reality where she can be with her children again.
If there’s a single word to describe the God of Thunder’s MCU entries, it’s Lost. Thor lost everything during the four movies, from his friends, his mother, his father, and Loki. He even lost his eye and his home Asgard, destroyed by Hela and Sutr, respectively. Even the love of his life, Jane Foster, who’s his only motivation left, also succumbed to her illness later on. Thor, now filled with guilt and misery, only knows to mask his pain with humor, and it’s a painful sight to see for his fans.
At least, now the Asgardian God has a new purpose to protect: Love, daughter of Gorr The Butcher. Hopefully, we’ll see a different version of Thor in the next sequel, one who’ll finally get the happiness he deserves.
#10. Peter Parker/Spider-Man
It seems that the infamous “Parker Luck” follows Spider-Man everywhere, even his MCU version. After losing his first girlfriend in Homecoming, poor Peter disintegrated from existence following Thanos’s snap, and then after his return 5 years later, his mentor Iron Man gave his life to defeat the Mad Titan. But the tragedy only has begun.
At the end of Far From Home, Mysterio gave away Parker’s identity as Spider-Man, turning his life upside-down along with his friends and family. Moreover, he lost his dear Aunt May, the only family he had left, in No Way Home, and then his whole existence was wiped out from everyone’s memory, including his friends and lover, MJ. Now, our young Spidey is all alone, and continuing his act of vigilante without anyone to support.
Which hero do you think has the most painful story arc in the MCU? Share your thoughts in the comments.