DC Comics has a long history with young sidekicks, and the children of superheroes. Unfortunately, superhero universes are inherently dangerous places, and when you've got children being placed in harm's way time and time again, tragedy is bound to strike more than a few of them. For evidence, look no further than the first few months of this year, with the deaths of both Damian Wayne, the most recent Robin; and Cliff Baker, the son of Animal Man. <p>Though <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/18270-former-robin-damian-returns-in-new-series.html>Damian is returning</a> — well, a possible future version is — in the October-debuting <b>Damian: Son of Batman</b> miniseries (pictured), <a href=http://blog.newsarama.com/2013/02/27/what-social-responsibility-does-comics-have/>observers have noticed</a> something of a history at DC of young characters meeting an untimely demise. Whether they're being specifically targeted or it's just a result of 70-plus years of high-stake stories isn't quite clear, but here's a look at some of the DC Universe's youngest victims over the decades. Some of them were high-profile superheroes, and some were simply unlucky enough to be caught in the crossfire between good and evil.
Cliff Baker was the young son of Buddy Baker, better known as Animal Man. Though he exhibited some of his father's abilities in previous continuities, his most current iteration was simply a non-powered teenage boy. <p>Cliff is one of the most recent victims on this list, killed by the Rot in March's <b>Animal Man #18</b>.
Marvin White and Wendy Harris, adapted from characters of the same names who appeared on <i>Superfriends</i>, were young prodigies who took up residence in Titans Tower, acting as the Teen Titans' care takers and tech specialists. <p>Marvin was killed in 2008, when "Wonder Dog," the stray dog that Miss Martian brought into Titans Tower, turned out to be a demonic entity — killing Marvin, and leaving Wendy comatose.
Lian Harper, the young daughter of former Teen Titan and Justice Leaguer Roy Harper, was killed by Prometheus at the end of 2010's <b>Cry For Justice</b> miniseries, when he destroyed most of Star City, the home of Harper and his former mentor, the Green Arrow. <p>Enraged by her death, Green Arrow murdered Prometheus, and Harper himself fell back into his addiction to drugs.
Terra has the dubious distinction of having died twice while a member of the Teen Titans. <p>The first Terra was a double agent placed on the team by Deathstroke, their archenemy. She died at the end of the legendary story "The Judas Contract" in 1984 when she collapsed a building on herself in an attempt to finish the Titans. <p>The second Terra, a clone of the original, was killed while doing battle with Black Adam in 2007's "World War III."
Damian Wayne was the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul, and raised by his mother's League of Assassins to kill his father. After becoming Robin to Dick Grayson's Batman when Bruce Wayne was seemingly killed by Darkseid, Damian remained in the role after his father returned. <p>Damian was killed in this past February's <b>Batman, Inc. #8</b> while battling his own super-aged clone, the Heretic.
Kara Zor-El was killed while saving Superman's life from the Anti-Monitor in <b>Crisis on Infinite Earths #7</b>. While she was no longer the young naive hero, she was still Superman's only remaining relative. <p>After her death, DC's continuity rebooted for the first time, erasing all surviving Kryptonians other than Superman from canon, resulting in this version of Supergirl not being seen again for over 20 years.
Connor Kent, the young clone of Superman (and Lex Luthor) who first came to prominence after Superman's death, died in <b>Infinite Crisis #6</b> while fighting Superboy Prime, his insane doppelganger from an alternate reality. <p>He subsequently returned, and is currently headlining his own ongoing series as part of The New 52.
Though her death was later revealed to have been a ruse, Stephanie Brown was the second Robin killed in the line of duty during the "War Games" story that ran through all Batman titles in 2004 and 2005. <p>Her death sent shockwaves through the fan community, and though she subsequently returned, she's currently in limbo in DC's post-<i>Flashpoint</i>/New 52 continuity.
Jason Todd was the first of Batman's sidekicks to be killed in action. Created to replace Dick Grayson when he became Nightwing, Jason Todd proved so unpopular that fans were given a chance to vote by 1-900 number on whether he would live or die. <p>Fans voted that he should die, and he was killed at the hands of Batman's archnemesis, the Joker. Like many on this list, he came back, and is up front in DC's current ongoing series <i>Red Hood and the Outlaws</i>.
In a surprisingly dark story for 1977, Black Manta reveals that he is African American, and makes a bid to take over Atlantis to secure it as a new kingdom to be ruled by black citizens. <p>Capturing Aquaman's entire family, he places Arthur, Jr., a very small child at the time, in an oxygen tank, refusing to free him until Aquaman and his sidekick Aqualad fight to the death. Despite escaping Black Manta's scheme, Aquaman fails to save his son, who asphyxiates in the oxygen. The story lead to the dissolution of Aquaman's partnership with Aqualad, but also to the end of his marriage to Mera, Arthur, Jr.'s mother.