Who would you say is the most merciless, heartless killer in nerd culture? Anakin Skywalker was pretty ruthless when he mowed down those adorable little Padawans, right? Maybe the Doctor, who killed every other Time Lord and a good chunk of Daleks in the Last Great Time War? While these people are brutal killers, all pale in comparison to the most remorseless, cruel murderer in nerd history: Joss Whedon. Here are the 7 most tragic deaths caused by Joss Whedon.
Penny serves as a unrequited love interest for the evil mad scientist, Doctor Horrible. In the end, Doctor Horrible's hollow victory is caused and hinged upon Penny's death. That's the way tragic irony works - the audience yells, "No! That is the exact opposite of the thing that was supposed to happen!" Penny dying is like your mom giving away your favorite teddy bear because it got old and the dog puked all over it, but replacing it with a new, better teddy bear. Sure, you got a fresh new toy now, but at what cost? (oh, also, Joss Whedon stabs your old teddy bear in front of you a bunch, too) Penny is portrayed by the funny, smart, talented nerd queen Felicia Day, who I kinda want to be when I grow up. I think it was my Felicia Day love that left my heart as vulnerable as hers was when she was punctured through the chest by stray shrapnel. Wait, I guess all hearts are vulnerable to that.
Agent Phil Coulson is all dryly serious like a dad, but ass-kicking like a dad who's been told the Olive Garden lost your reservation and there will be a 10 minute wait. In The Avengers he attempts to take on Loki solo (you know, in a ship full of superheroes, like one tends to do), only to get impaled by the twisted God of Mischief. When Nick Fury held his hand as he died, Agent Coulson said that his death is important and the Avengers needed something like this. Way to wink at the camera through tears, Phil. That plot device was so naked and in-your-face that Lady Gaga would have asked it to put on a sweater. We contend Coulson's death was *un*necessary. The superheroes would have saved the world anyway, because that's pretty much the only thing that superheroes do.
Of course, he mysteriously came back to life in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but (like the Marvel movies) we're going to ignore that for now.
Joss Whedon said Kitty Pryde was one of the reasons he took the X-Men writing job. In an interview with Time Magazine, Whedon said, ""Kitty was a huge proto-Buffy. I mean, there was no other you could point to as strongly." He then laughed maniacally for a few hours and tore up a picture of Kitty into a thousand pieces. And, to be honest, we're cheating a little here: Kitty's death is never certain, and it's later revealed that she didn't die when she phased a giant space bullet through Earth and was stuck on it as it hurtled through space, but there was the implication of her demise, and it hurt (to be even fairer, even if Joss Whedon had shown her being beheaded and her corpse chopped up into tiny pieces, she would have been back in another couple issues anyways, because comic books). Kitty was one of the younger X-Men and still in most ways a little girl, making her apparent end all the more tragic. At least the tears will just go right through you.