Throughout the course of the DC Animated Universe, there have been several characters that, in some way or another, have managed to survive scenarios that should have killed them (in other words, they "cheated death").
In some cases, the fates of many characters (especially villains) were left ambiguous, with the producers sometimes wanting them to return but not succeeding; depending on the character, some of these cases could count as experiences for the characters.
In some cases, the survival of characters may not have been shown onscreen in the DCAU, but were explained in the DCAU Comics. Due to the fact that some of this comics are written by members of the DCAU crew, these cases could also count.
The Joker is the most notable and prolific example of this phenomenon, having survived a grand total of nine times, making him the character that had cheated the death more times in the whole course of the DC Animated Universe, along Brainiac.
As the table below shows, Brainiac has cheated "death" nine times during the course of the whole DCAU, making him, along the Joker, the character that have cheated the death most times in the DCAU. However, considering the events he has already survived and the fact that he is basically a living computer program, it is possible that he is still "alive" in some form.
As Luthor tries to reconstitute him from the asteroid debris, Darkseid is resurrected instead by Tala's power.
This process merged Brainiac with Darkseid, and so when Darkseid vanished with Luthor, the very last traces of Brainiac disappeared as well. However, the episode "New Kids in Town" shows that some remnant of Brainiac somewhere had survived and continued to exist in the far future until traveling to the past and being destroyed by teenaged Clark Kent.
Sinks to the bottom of the sea after Lex Luthor's yacht is destroyed during battle with Superman.
The final shot of the episode shows Metallo ominously walking across the sea bed. Obviously, his metal body is durable enough to withstand ocean pressure, and apparently, he now doesn't need oxygen any more than he needs food.
In an elaborate deathtrap, the Riddler locked Batman in a warehouse with a large bomb overhead. Broadcasting his image to a large TV in the building, Riddler taunted Batman and gave him a ten-second countdown to detonation. When the Dark Knight couldn't find a way out (all escape routes had been sealed off), the bomb went off and the building exploded. The Riddler presumed Batman was dead and their "game" was over.
With no way out of the building, Batman hid inside a safe he spotted, and the safe protected Batman from the explosion (a fact that Batman cruelly refused to share with the Riddler as he was arrested and taken back to Arkham Asylum; not knowing how Batman escaped his "inescapable" deathtrap, drove the obsessive-compulsive Riddler even more insane than before).
After Jack accidentally entangles his arm in the propeller of the helicopter where Harley was, which crashes; somehow, she survives without an a definite explanation and leaving the fates of both Jack and the helicopter's pilot unknown.
She is electrocuted when Livewire accidentally causes a breakdown voltage when falling into the water that came out from the water key of the water tower. However, it was later reported that she was arrested.
During her fight against Superman in the Metropolis's hydroelectric plant, a dam accidentally breaks and the water apparently kills her with a short circuit. Subsequently, Superman takes her away and she was finally locked into a special machine by Lex Luthor.
Is apparently eaten alive by the killer seals in the giant pool of the Iceberg Lounge in an attempt of the Penguin of kill her.
As she was known for risk her life in various activities, she apparently dome one of the seals and reached with the help of the animal to the iceberg of the pool, and eventually escapes from the Penguin's clutches.
While Jay was knocked by Roxy Rocket with a wrench at the landing track, Lark and Raven were pulled by Rocket inside an active airoplane, which collides against a water tower, falling over them, but Lark and Raven emerged alive from the cockpit flooded with water of the tower after the crash.[nb 23]
He falls along his freeze bomb from his enormous helicopter to the sea, in which a large iceberg forms as the explosion of the bomb.
As he could separate his head from his body (because his head was the only part of his original body alive), Freeze released himself from his armor, which was locked into the iceberg. Years later, he was recovered by Warren Powers, Derek Powers' father.
After Batgirl and Batman stop Baby-Doll's attempt to explote a nuclear bomb and saves Doll from a sure death into a spinning turbine inside the nuclear power plant of Mid River Island, he brokes one pipe and subsequently he is gassed by boiling water of the tube.
Clark Kent is believed killed, but he survives because the only witness that saw him apparently dying had short vision (and wasn't wearing his glasses at the time), allowing Clark to claim that he swam to the other end of the lake and saved himself.
While being pursued by The Judge, Penguin tries to open an emergency door, but The Judge cuts with his sword the strings of a giant artificial penguin, which crashed against the wall, hitting the Penguin at the same time.
Is hospitalized and eventually operated by the doctors of the hospital of Gotham City.
During his fight against his brother Aquaman, the ice shelf in which he was standing collapsed. Although he begged his brother to help him, Aquaman let him fall into the black abyss to an unknown fate.
His brain get overloaded by not being able to beat Batman and kill James Gordon in his virtual world and is eventually left in a catatonic state after being unable to escape his world. His body was found in a room of the abandoned World of the Future Fair.
He is tied with chains by The Judge, and after Lar and Cur were trapped with a kind of shackles, The Judge cuts the ropes that held an enormous book, which crushes the Riddler. However, the news reported that he had survived.[nb 43]
1. After being gassed and pulled inside a vat of chemical substances by the Joker, this one puts an explosive cigar in his mouth that explodes to him wasting some machines of Ace Chemicals, but inexplicably Ryder emerges alive of that deadly scenario after the chemical is expelled by a pipe, but becoming the Creeper.
2. Coquetting with Harley Quinn in Gotham City's Port, Creeper is distracted by Quinn for a moment and was subsquently crushed by a giant wooden box because she actuated the crane that supported it to be released. But later, he emerges from it alive and without injuries.
After fought fiercely with Lex Luthor at the Legion of Doom headquarters, Grodd ends locked into the airlock, which Luthor opens and ejects Grodd into space, while he yells revenge before disappearing into an unknown fate in the infinite cosmos.
All the Jokerz (except Bonk, who was killed by the Joker at the beginning of the film) were defeated by Batman and left in the rooftop of the Jolly Jack Candy Factory, leaving their fates unknown after the explosion. However, it was later seen that Dee Dee survived the explosion and were taken in custody, meaning that they could have been likely put in jail after that event.
Chucko was defeated along the other Jokerz by Batman and left in the rooftop of the Jolly Jack Candy Factory, leaving his fate (along the fates of the other Jokerz) unknown after the explosion. However, it was later seen that Dee Dee survived the explosion and were taken in custody, meaning that he could have been likely put in jail after that event.
Was freezed by Mister Freeze to a container of cold water inside Oceania and later dissapears during the explosion of the the theme park.
Because Freeze froze Walker and the armor protected him, this action turned Walker into an immortal being, and subsequently he ended trapped inside a block of ice forever in the deepest of the sea.[nb 58]
↑However, the height of the fall wasn't too high, letting likely the Joker to survive the fall.
↑However, the Joker could have swam away or maybe the shark was trained to not devour him. Batman implies in the end of the episode that he suspected Joker's survival.
↑This is unusual because the explosion caused by the crash was considerably large, and, being the pilot, Joker was close to the front of the plane.
↑However, this could be considered non-canon, due the debate that surrounds if the DCAU videogames are canonical with the DCAU or not.
↑His survival was subsequently confirmed without any reason given in "Joker's Millions". Oddly, Batman implies during this instance that he believed Joker was dead by saying "at this point, he probably is [pudding]." in response to Harley Quinn's crying out his name.
↑Although Joker seemingly didn't survived the fall, he send some flowers and a love note to Harley Quinn at the end of the episode. His survival was confirmed in "Injustice For All". In the original comic that the episode was based on, however, Joker when knocked into the smokestack cries out "Not again!", implying that this was not the first time he was knocked down a smokestack.
↑However, at the final, Joker recovered from this state offscreen, because he is back to normal in the flashback sequence of Return of the Joker.
↑Joker's seemingly ultimate fate is dependent upon the version of the film. He is shot by Tim Drake in the unedited version, and electrocuted with water in the edited.
↑Originally, Cheetah was meant to die in this episode after being dragged to an unknow fate by Solomon Grundy, but an animation error (which showed her in the police van along with the other members of the Injustice Gang) "spared" her life.
↑Although unexpected, writers have stated that Darkseid's resurrection was deliberately brought about by Tala as a final "screw you" to Lex Luthor for killing her to resurrect Brainiac.
↑Although Abel Cuvier's fate was left ambiguous, a DCAU comic reveals that he unexpectedly survived the explosion and that he recovered his spliced form.
↑This is strange because the water tower collided above the airplane, which should have exploded instead to be seriously dented.
↑ 24.024.1However, considering that is a metahuman, it's likely to have survived.
↑However, her metahuman abilities could have let her survive the electrocutation, because she was arrested at the end of the episode, but she seems to be in a catatonic state.
↑Although Freeze apparently perished in the destruction of Oceania, he later reappeared unharmed inside a giant block of ice, along her wife Nora, without an explanation given.
↑However, Freeze's armor could have protected him from the fire and let him to escape from the oil station before the explosion.
↑Although Mister Freeze's ultimate fate was left unknown, it's likely that he perished in the explosion, although it was previously supposed to be transformed in an immortal human by Derek Powers.
↑Although Aresia didn't reappear anymore in the series, it's likely that she survived, due the fact that her corpse was never found. Also, Rich Fogel had stated in Toon Zone that Aresia could return in Justice League Unlimited due her ambiguous death, although this never happened at the end by unknown reasons, possibly the Wonder-embargo, althoguh Aresia is an original DCAU character, but based on DC Comics' Fury.
↑This is very unusual, because the explosion of the airplane was very large, and Kowalski and Knuckles were in the cockpit, which was the first part of the plane to catch fire. Although Vinnie didn't reappear after the accident (presumbably he did it, but the screen closed ending the episode), he later reappears along Knuckles and Kowalski in "Make 'Em Laugh", revealing his survival.
↑Although it seems that Croc died (although it also seems to knock him), his survival is confirmed with his appearance in "Judgment Day".
↑Although any explanation was given, Grundy could have been hospitalized after that event. Also, as he was a zombie, he couldn't have been killed by the Aresia's toxin. His reappearance in "Only A Dream" seemingly confirms this.
↑The members of the street gang of Wade, including Duke and Wade himself, never reappeared in the show, but it's likely that they survived and obtained metahuman powers like Ebon and Static. In the original Big Bang which happened in the comics of Milestone Media universe before the company's closement, it's was implied that many members of the gangs that witnessed the event died due the effects of the gas, leaving the fates of Wade and his gang completely unknown.
↑However, although some fans had rumored that Bane didn't survived his supposed fate, it's clear that he did it, because he appears alive, but in a vegetative state in the Batman Beyond episode "The Winning Edge".
↑Although in fact, Tala was effectively killed with Luthor’s machine, a DCAU comic (written by Matt Wayne, the DCAU writer who wrote "Alive!") shows her spirit returning to defeat Batman, Hawkgirl, Deadman and Jim Corrigan, but at the final, she was imprisoned by Doctor Fate inside a crystal ball. As an interest fact, the comic was originally planned as an episode.
↑Although in fact the Imperium was destroyed and his army was killed in the process, Bruce Timm mentioned that they had a little chance of return later in Justice League, although this never happened, since as Timm said, it was very unlikely that the Imperium could return back.
↑Although this isn’t explained onscreen, the production team had stated that they want to believe that Icthultu didn’t die due the fact that it’s an entity, and that an entity can’t be destroyed. Despite this, Ichthultu didn’t reappeared in the show, and the production team stated that they thought that if Icthultu still lives, lives in a lobotomized, brain-damaged state.
↑However, it's likely that the electrocutation only stunned him, because his reappearance at the end of the episode confirms this supposition.
↑Although Colonel Vox died in fact, and the production team stated that his possible survival was very unlikely using as reference the most common fates for the villains of the James Bond film series, his corpse was never found, increasing the chances that he could have survived and cheated the death.
↑Although Orm didn't reappear in the series, the production team stated that his death was very ambiguous that he could return if they wanted (Bruce Timm wanted to bring back him as a member of Grodd's Secret Society. However, he never returned (possibly he would have returned had it not been by the Aqua-embargo).
↑This is completely unusual, because the impact of being crushed by a giant book should have killed the Riddler instead of fainting him.
↑Although Batman supposed that he could have survived, Blight never reappeared in any further episode, possibly meaning that he drowned in the ocean and died. However, a DCAU comic reveals that Powers survived that deadly scenario.
↑This is weird, because the explosive cigar must have killed him instead of not do anything to him, not even hurt his face.
↑However, even so, the wooden box contained an angel stone statue that should have killed or at least seriously injured him.
↑This is clearly unusual, because the impact could have killed Bennett. However, his reapperance in "Harley's Holiday" states that he survived, although if his two hechmen survived was left unknown.
↑This is some unusual, because Bennett's chances of survive the attack of Bud and Lou were low due the ferocity of the hyenas.
↑Although it's assumed that Shade perished along some other members of the Legion of Doom in the explosion of the ship, many fans had thought the possibility of his survival, because in the DC Comics, it was revealed that Shade can resurface from the dead, although this ability was never shown in the DC Animated Universe.
↑However, as Ra's al Ghul had super strength by the experiment that he did with Superman at that time, it's likely that his resistance allowed him to survive the fall.
↑Although his body was never found, increasing the chances that Ra's al Ghul escaped and survived, it's not specify if Ra's survived or finally perished for good.
↑Her reason of survival is completely unknown, due the fact that she didn't acquired the super strenght of Superman like his father Ra's.
↑However, the Jokerz could have escaped during the time in which Batman confronted the Joker and eventually killed him for release Robin. It's assumed that if they escaped were later taken and apprehended in custody by the police.
↑However, Chucko and the other Jokerz could have escaped during the time in which Batman confronted the Joker and eventually killed him for release Robin. It's assumed that if they escaped were later taken and apprehended in custody by the police.