Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: There were enough wizards and highly advanced factions that Robotnik really shouldn't have been around for the ten odd years that he was. People that could teleport or power up characters to their super forms, some could even banish people to a pocket dimension. None of them could realize that they could trivialize out this one guy who was destroying the planet with their resources and the right plan. While Tails and Knuckles had big prophesied destinies, and Robotnik did play a part in those, neither of those specifically required Robotnik to be alive. In fact, destinies or not, a lot of innocent people died or became enslavedbecause these people let Robotnik live for no adequately explained reason. Of course with the reboot, this is all moot, but even the reboot could've been prevented if these morons acted.
A security guard in Arkham Asylum: Madness ran head first in to this trope when he decided to put the Name "Milton Napier" on a plaque to screw with The Joker. It ended badly. For the guard that is.
Speaking of The Joker, any Gotham City mook that decides to work for him is Too Dumb to Live. What do those mooks have to look forward to? If they're lucky: almost certainly getting their asses kicked by Batman. But not only does the Joker routinely kill his own Mooksfor failing him, he'll do it in order to try and kill Batman, because they have outlived their usefulness, because they might have said something that he didn't like, or because he wasbored. How dumb to you have to be to work for a guy who will kill you for shits and giggles? The rest of Batman's rogue's gallery aren't much better, but the Joker takes the cake.
There are a couple explanations. Some of the Joker's mooks are almost as crazy as him and are drawn to his madness. The Joker's randomness also means that he'll shower his mooks with money as often as he kills them for kicks, so working for the Joker is basically Russian Roulette.
Let's face it: Thomas Wayne. Instead of waiting for Alfred to show up and chauffeur them back to the mansion, he decided to take a shortcut through Crime Alley. All dressed up. At night. In the rain. It's just a pity his foolishness got both himself and his wife killed, and his son traumatized along with him.
It wasn't called Crime Alley back then. It's canon that it used to be a nice neighborhood called Park Row. The Wayne murders signaled the decadence of the neighborhood. But then again, they walked into some random, trash-strewn alley, through a side door of the theater,because that's how rich people routinely exit such establishments.
While we're in Gotham, any supervillain who has ever shown up in his city and thought, "What threat could a meremortal pose to me?"
Joker: "There's nothing mere about that mortal."
In the Batman storyline "Bruce Wayne: The Road Home", Vicki Vale is a major target for Ra's al Ghul: Vicki's deduced the Bat-family's identities and is preparing to reveal them. Ra's doesn't want that and has sought to silence Vicki to preserve the Detective's dignity. The entire storyline has the Bat-family, the GCPD and the Birds of Prey trying to keep her out of trouble and the entire time she keeps slipping away, thinking that she is not in any danger. It isn't until Bruce himself finally snatches her away and lays out what's going on does she understand.
Subverted in an early Bongo ComicsBart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror story. The Grim Reaper announces to the reader at the outset that Homer, on his way home from work, will do something stupid that results in his inevitable demise. In fact, Homer proceeds to do many stupid things, but makes it home alive and well, to the Reaper's complete astonishment and frustration. And then cheerfully announces he's off to make toast in the bathtub.
The U.S. government (or the population in general), as portrayed in recentMarvel Comics. Yes, let's give Norman Osborn, a mass-murdering, barely contained psycho, his own private army and spy agency on our dime and let him be the one giving orders to all registered superheroes. Since he ended the Secret Invasion, we can ignore every single detail of his past actions. Let's also let him have a team made up entirely of OTHER mass murdering barely contained psychos. Including a misogynistic serial killer, a cannibal serial killer, a feral berserker serial killer, a living god serial killer, and a pathologically depressed schizophrenic whose alternate personality is a serial killer. The US Government doesn't catch on until Osborn decides to invade Asgard. The President doesn't approve of his actions, but by that point, Osborn has too many resources and manpower to care.
It isn't quite that bad. Most of Osborn's recent work for the government was leading the Thunderbolts (a team of criminals allegedly trying to reform) and he had incredible success. Also, he was keeping most of his craziness under wraps. The only people who knew he was batpoop insane were criminals like Spider-Man, people who worked for him, and Doc Samson (who Osborn framed as insane and petty). Oh, and, of course, people who had "accidents". And Osborn made it a point to conceal the identities of his Dark Avengers. Combine that with incredibly good PR due to Secret Invasion, and it is quite believable that Osborn would become the new Nick Fury.
He bombed his arraignment hearing on live television and threatened to kill J.J.'s family to his face. The only way this couldn't be TDTL is if both these events were simply retconned.
It is actually worse when you think about it. The U. S. government has several times tried to restart the Sentinel program despite it being a disaster each time. The security for things ranging from nuclear launch codes to the safety of the president is surprisingly lax in a world of superpowered individuals and super-geniuses. The citizens of the U. S. are quick to turn on the heroes who have saved them a dozen times over and make a hobby of terrorizing mutants. They then whine for the heroes to save them or when the mutants strike back.
Forever Evil: One villain, Monocle, doesn't trust the Crime Syndicate and insults them to their face. Ultraman turns him into a smoldering mark on the ground for his troubles.
Slightly different in Emerald Twilight of Green Lantern, with The Guardians of the Universe again. During Emerald Twilight (when Hal Jordan became Parallax), Jordan was on his way to Oa to take nearly limitless power from the Central Power Battery. After stranding several Green Lanterns in space (where they probably would have died), Hal arrives on Oa. Jordan removes his power ring, effectively making him a normal human, and the Guardians, who have power on a cosmic scale (give or take) just let him walk into the central power battery. They knew Jordan would kill them if he had the chance, and they practically let him. The central power battery explodes, revealing Hal Jordan as Parallax. All but one of the Guardians died, and for no good reason.
It's supposed to be because the Guardians don't directly interfere in anything. They tried that with the Manhunters and it didn't work out so well, which is why they give their powers to local mortals throughout the universe instead of doing everything themselves. It's still taken to the extreme here and later stories show the Guardians occasionally willing to get involved (at least some of them). Most times, it seems like no matter what they do, the writers make it backfire on them. Get involved, don't get involved, they will choose whichever is the wrong option and get a lecture from beings they are supposed to be vastly superior to.
Especially problematic since, only 48 issues earlier, the Guardians had directly and personally fought and killed the Old Timer.
It should be telling that Ross' only argument to Doc Samson's suggestion is to protest what might happen if America's enemies took control of Hulk. Doc Samson, quite succinctly, points out that the best way to tick the Hulk off is to try and control him, which means that little problem would settle itself pretty quickly.
This ultimately culminates in Ross becoming Red Hulk just to finally take down Banner, which basically makes him dead in the eyes of everyone who ever knew him (literally).
Infinite Crisis the Joker comes to find out that Big Bad Alexander Luthor didn't let him in because of his unpredictability. Of all the super villains Alex was gathering, he didn't let the Joker in. The Joker is understandably pissed. Jump to the final issue, with Alex planning to rebuild his power and his power base, only to be ambushed by the Joker and Lex Luthor. And as Alex is begging for mercy, Lex tells him flat out his one big mistake wasn't attacking Superman or killing Superboy or any of that. It was "not letting the Joker play."
Also, anyone who has ever teamed up with The Joker and then decided to double cross him thinking, "He's just a clown with too much free time. What could he possibly do?"
At least people who team up with the Joker usually have their own Joker Immunity to prevent serious problems. Henchmen that work for the Joker though are just asking to be killed.
In Knightfall's finale, Knights End, AzBats and Batman have accidentally caused a helicopter to crash onto a bridge and the two start tangling on a maintenance bridge. Batman gets the upper hand and tosses AzBats off and into the water. As he's falling, AzBats attempts to use his flamethrower in an attempt to kill Bruce. One problem, the helicopter's been spraying diesel since crashing. AzBats erupts into flames.
Also, the Siskel and Ebert expies, who criticize a movie directed by The Joker.
Although Lex Luthor is a genius, even he has done jaw-droppingly stupid things. Everybody knows Superman is super-vulnerable to Kryptonite, right? So, why not wear a ring made of the stuff at all times, just in case? Well, as Mr. Luthor was reminded the hard way, it may not kill humans in minutes, but it is still a radioactive element, as he already knew. Turns out wearing a radioactive rock on your hand gives you terminal cancer in the long run.
Lucky Luke: Rantanplan's stupidity frequently causes him to almost kill himself. If it weren't for Luke (or, in the spinoff, the prison guards, who are none too bright themselves but at least not suicidal) rescuing him, he would have drowned, starved or frozen to death by now.
Lampshaded in Nightwing #150. One of Two-Face's mooks was standing right behind a guy Two-Face wanted to shoot. Two-Face points out that this isn't a good place to be, and the guy needs it explained to him: "I can't afford to lose any red shirts." When the mook doesn't get the reference, Two-Face has had enough, declares him too dumb to live, and blows him away.
Then there's Lester Dent in Batman: Gotham Adventures #2. After he wins two million on a game show, Two-Face takes over the studio. A session of Calling the Old Man Out ensues on live television, but Lester keeps calling his (gun-wielding, supervillain) son a "punk" and whining that he's ruining his lucky day. When it's clear that Two-Face is going to flip the coin on whether to shoot him or not, he dares him to do it.
The crocodiles from Pearls Before Swine frequently end up killing themselves or fellow crocs in their idiotic attempts to kill the Zebra ("zeeba neighba"). This was even lampshaded in one strip where Charles Darwin appears and explains that the crocs are so dumb, they have to die for the good of the rest of society (survival of the fittest, and all that).
In the story arc "Welcome Back, Frank", Castle is attacked by the entire remaining army of a certain mafia boss after finding out his location. Coincidentally, he had just been on his way to finish them off. Caught in the street but with all of his ordnance at hand, he proceeds to butcher several carloads of Gnucci soldiers, only to run out of ammo when he's down to the fast few. After killing one with his bare hands, the last man does the smart thing: he shoots him from a distance. However, while his gun is powerful enough to punch through Castle's kevlar, it doesn't take him down. So what does the guy do? He keeps shooting him in the chest. When a person is in shock, more bullets to the center of mass doesn't accomplish much of anything. Yes, head shots are hard to pull off, but when the target is only a few feet away and staggering slowly towards you, even a novice gunman could pull it off. Six bullets at close range, and not one head shot.
A street thug in another issue is lightly beaten on a rooftop (with the implied threat that he would be thrown off of the roof) for information. He tells the Punisher what he needs to know, then tries to extort money out of him. When it doesn't work, he says that he has to get some money somehow tonight, and that he might even have to cut a woman up.To the Punisher, whose biggest Berserk Button is cruelty to women and kids in general. It all goes downhill for this thug from there.
In a textbook case, a punk that the Punisher just blackmailed into helping him get close to his drug dealing boss watches as Frank cuts down said boss, along with his entire crew. Once the shooting is done, the punk starts laughing, kicks the dead crime boss, and begins talking about how he's going to take over the business and run things because he now has all the connections and knows how the operation works. Suddenly he realizes that he's saying all this while the Punisher is holding a gun and staring at him. He then announces he's going to give up crime, get a legitimate job, and go straight. Frank: (Pointing the gun at his head and pulling the trigger) "Yeah. Well, just in case."
The "Up is Down, Black is White" storyline from The Punisher MAX opened with the returning Nicky Cavella digging up the skeletons of the Castle family — Frank's wife, son and daughter — and urinating on the bones, then mailing footage of this CLEARLY IDENTIFYING HIM (panning up to his smiling face) to the news, in HOPES that Frank Castle would see it. Amazingly this almost went according to plan, to so enrage the Punisher that he'd lose focus and thus be vulnerable to ambush (as even the Punisher admitted, that's what happened)... what made it Too Dumb to Live was assuming that his mooks could take advantage. This would prove his downfall once the mooks realized that they were the ones supposed to be taking on the Punisher, and let Cavella know it in no uncertain terms.
Though viciously mangled and missing a few limbs and eyes, a pair of skinhead thugs (The Zyklon-B Boys) managed to survive an encounter with Deadshot and Catman in an issue of Secret Six. However, a few weeks later one of the thugs sees Deadshot entering a club and decides it is time for revenge, following him until the rest of the gang can gather for the attack. Deadshot notices him and delivers another vicious beating, but again leaves him alive because he had made a promise not to kill anybody tonight (he was on a date). However, even though the thug has now lost a second eye, when the rest of the gang arrives they decide to still go after Deadshot. This same person has now beaten and mutilated their members on two separate occasions, and they still want to track him down. At this point they are simply asking for it, and Deadshot's date kills the lot of them, explaining that she did not make any promises that night.
For that matter, Yasemin. She was probably aware of Deadshot's uncompromising nature and Combat Pragmatist tendencies thanks to her underworld activities (after all, most of Deadshot's clients are crime bosses). That doesn't stop her from challenging him to a duel when she finally meets him instead of just blowing him away as soon as she got the chance. She didn't even get a chance to finish laying out the terms for the duel before Deadshot caps her, calmly notifying her that she should have taken the first shot she had as she lay dying on the ground.
Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D. who looks down upon superpowered individuals who aren't with S.H.I.E.L.D., and would try to arrest them if they go against the law, and she'll do it with a Red Shirt army with weapons which are as lethal as paper balls to them. And would focus on the heroes first, and let the villains get a free pass, who are right next to them. This has come back to bite her in the ass several times, but she gets the worst of it during Norman Osborn's reign.
In the Tales of the Jedi series, Exar Kun gave a powerful and ancient Sith ship to the traitorous Aleema with instructions on how to use its star-manipulating powers. Aleema lures a Republic task force into a star cluster and uses the ship's device to tear the core out of one of the stars and throw it at the enemies. It succeeds in killing them, but apparently Aleema knew little to nothing about how stars function and didn't see any danger in catastrophically disrupting the natural order of one. It goes supernova, triggering the rest of the stars in the cluster in a titanic explosion that kills Aleema—exactly as Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma wanted.
Esano in The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters. His sister arrives with Darth Maul and Savage Opress and tells him they rescued her and he must pay them or they will kill her. Esano refuses, preferring to be the sole heir to the family fortune. The Sith quickly realize that the best way to acquire funds is to kill him.
When asked about the premise of Darth Maul: Death Sentence, the author himself said: "Someone, somewhere, is stupid enough to put a price on Darth Maul and Savage Opress’ heads." It ends with the brothers capturing him and forcing him to transfer his fortune to them … then killing him anyway.
Blood Ties: Boba Fett Is Dead features an Imperial officer who, while training his troopers, is approached by a messenger whose message is not exactly credible and who is wearing obviously stolen armor. He describes it as "one of the stupidest things I've ever seen", then orders his men to assume an attack formation that from the intruder's point of view means "line up in front of the grenades" …
One of the villains in Shadows of the Empire: Evolution, Spinda Caveel, employer of the Pike Sisters, two martial arts masters. When they run into the Rebellion heroes, he orders them to kill them. They say it would be suicide and quit. He's insulted and attempts to kill them. That's right, his own hired muscle, whom he a minute earlier expected to be able to take on the people who destroyed both Death Stars. He doesn't appear to survive.
In the post-Endor comic Star Wars Crimson Empire, Carnor Jax grows increasingly disgusted with his incompetent right-hand, General Wessel. Whether or not Wessel was actually too dumb to live, Jax said as much to one of his more competent underlings and left Wessel to be killed by a trap that Jax had foreseen.
During an exceedingly Dork Age arc, Steel and his niece Natasha move to Jersey City, New Jersey, and it plays a bit like the 'Town Of Citysville' did for The Powerpuff Girls, only much darker and grittier, and the series has to end before they wise up and leave. In one sequence, a local ganger that Natasha has upset brutalizes, and it is implied, rapes her. He also warns her not to bring her uncle into this, or she will feel the wrath of his 'peeps'. He is actually murdered by Natasha's long-lost father, John Henry's brother, but let's review. This thug's 'peeps' include psychos with knives and guns. Steel, no slouch himself, has peeps known as THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA! Among Natasha's unofficial 'uncles' is this alien dude you might have heard of. Too Dumb To Live? Booster and Beetle could have taken out their whole gang while looking for a good pizza place. This thug was too dumb to leave his father's privates.
Inverted in The Tick comic book. After several bullets bounce off the Tick and he falls off a balcony, one of his would-be-assassins remarks "Incredible. This jerk is too stupid to stop living."
The short-lived X-Man Thunderbird. Here's the situation, the issue's big bad Count Nefaria is getting away in a plane, Thunderbird goes after him, in an effort to prove himself "Warrior of the Apache". So what does Thunderbird do? He punches through to the cockpit and starts ripping the plane apart. Despite Professor X, Banshee, and Nefaria yelling at him to get off the plane before he kills them both, he just keeps it up until, big surprise, it explodes, killing him. He doesn't even take Nefaria with him. The worst part is that during this Banshee even outright states that he himself could have taken the plane out and caught Nefaria without anybody getting killed. Too dumb to live indeed.
Every single thug, crook and street punk in every comic book universe ever. In a world where guys in costumes rip tanks apart with their minds and/or bare hands, why do you think being a petty criminal is even remotely a good idea? If you have powers; fine, special weapons and training; they'll do in a pinch. But if you're not even a Badass Normal, and you decide to rob a convenience store a week after you saw your friendly neighbourhood superhero punch out an eldritch horror, then quite frankly, you deserve to get beaten up and go to jail.
Special notice goes to every villain that tries to kill the hero right after an alien invasion. Yes, try to kill the person that was instrumental to preventing humanity's destruction, despite not having any, or enough, of the abilities that your opponent has to begin with. Things will work out just fine if the aliens invade again.
And if your world's "heroes" are on the darker side of heroic, then you're even more of a moron, at least if you're up against The Cape you can be reasonably certain he'll hold back.
The thing here is that some criminals steal to survive. People do desperate things when starving, homeless, etc, and any remotely realistic comic book acknowledges that even superheroes cannot catch all criminals, especially when they have apocalypse-scale supervillains tearing down the Eiffel Tower every week. Not all of them are rebellious psychopaths looking for kicks. Unfortunately, comic books rarely acknowledge that either.
New York City is a big place. Problem is, roughly half the Marvel Universe calls NYC home. Your odds run from "Street-Leveler (Spider-Man, Daredevil, etc...) on Patrol" to "Big-Timer (Cap, Thor, etc...) 'Off Duty' but charitable" down to "The Punisheris bored"
The non-mutant residents of the MU and use of the Sentinels. That trick never works, quoth the Squirrel, and their efforts to use them never get as close as the Moose, and they always backfire, even forgetting about 'Future Days'. The two biggest problems, always recurring, are the big tin cans being taken over by their target, or moving to take over themselves. Even the Human-sized ones left horrid devastation in their wake. This is somewhere in a realm beyond just carrying the Idiot Ball.
It gets even stranger when you consider some of the other stuff that happens in the Marvel Universe. Aliens have invaded on frequent occasions, the Hulk tends to level half of a city when he's angry, and Galactus himself has shown up a few times intending to consume the planet... Exactly why mutants are considered a worse threat in comparison to everything else in anybody's guess.
Special note goes to the Friends of Humanity. Members of this Politically Incorrect Villain group are rarely better equipped or better skilled than an inner-city street gang, yet, in any story where they are featured, you can almost count on a group of them thinking they can fight someone (or a group of people) who is obviously stronger than they are; Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm... In fact, name any member of a mutant team, frankly, and it's a sure bet that a group of these guys have picked a fight with him or her, only to get their asses handed to them. They just don't seem to grasp the concept that mutants are powerful enemies, and never learn.
The Idiot Ball on mutants could be justified here because of Sublime, a 3-billion-year-old Eldritch Abomination in the form of a sentient strain of bacteria. Read Here Comes Tomorrow from the end of Grant Morrison's run on the X-Titles. Sublime could easily be manipulating humanity to fear the other, and mutants represent the other among us, the people who don't quite fit in no matter what their background.
Also, justified to some extent since most mutant powers aren't that good, since the chances of getting a notable and useful power (and as such, becoming one of the still-under 500 named and pictured mutants in comics) are less than one in a few million. Picking on Cyclops, Wolverine, or anyone at Xavier's or with Magneto is suicide; picking on the guy with the power of green hair down the block is a piece of cake.
And to top it off, now they're doing it to another group of people. A series of events lead to the terrigen mists, which is what gives the Inhumans their powers, spilling over large, populated areas. While most people were unaffected, some people ended up being engulfed in cocoons, from which they eventually emerged, now with superpowers, some of them with visible physical changes. These people, now referred to as inhumans, are now treated as badly as mutants are by the general population, this despite the fact that it's common knowledge that they were normal people who ended up gaining superpowers by a freak accident.
Police forces, militaries, etc. the world over seem to be quite stupid when it comes to dealing with superpowered threats. For instance, despite knowing perfectly well that Magneto's powers allow him to manipulate metal however he wishes, they keep sending soldiers with metal guns, metal missiles, metal tanks, etc. at him, Metal Master is a similar case. It isn't limited to those villains either, the rather facepalming lack of common sense when fighting supervillains by the rank and file is a continuous problem in comics in general.
PSA comics always have one-shot characters whose entire purpose is to do what the comic preaches against and ruin their lives.