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Wolverine. Charles Xavier. One version of Archie. Damien Wayne for a bit. Deadpool almost. These are all comic book characters who’ve kicked the bucket. Or as much as comic book characters can. More often than not, it’s used as publicity stunt. A way to drive up sales. Sometimes, on the rare occasion, it can be used to give a story some weight or really drive a point home.
The endless nature of comics necessitates death. Like a cleansing forest fire that allows young saplings to grow up in the old one’s place. Change is the name of the game. So in that spirit, I present to you five comic book characters that need to buy the farm, so to speak, in order to shake things up.
Now I know these characters don’t stay did forever. Even Bucky came back. For this I suggest that the “death” period be last at least five years. Five years our time. That way, actual full-fledged stories have a change to unfold and new characters have a chance to be fleshed out.
Yes, Iron Man. He’s often presented as the antithesis to Captain America and that’s no more true than in Hickman’s current run of Avengers. Well maybe Civil War. But here, he’s willing to destroy an entire Earth while Steve refuses, begrudgingly insisting to look for another way. Also, Tony is now evil thanks to Axis. So… that makes things a little simpler.
Anyway, the last time Tony and Steve clashed over values, it ended with Steve dying. While it was a big event in a lot of character’s stories, I feel that Tony’s death would be much more impactful. I don’t mean in a “whose is gunna be Iron Man, now?” sense (because it’s Rhodey, duh). I mean in the consequences for his death.
Chiefly, all his tech is just out there now and no one really knows how to stop it. I mean, Pym could maybe figure something out, or Banner, but none as fast or as easily as Tony himself. So there, right away, you’ve got a ton of story potential. New villains, new heroes, new plots. Sky’s the limit. Think like if Armor Wars happened but Tony wasn’t around to stop it. Like that.
Hal Jordan has died before and it was kind of a big deal. Or at least for Coast City. We even got a new Specter out of it! It was a super eventful death that ranks among the best of all time. Which, for a character as dull as Hal Jordan, that’s saying something. Which is what I’m getting at.
Hal’s fine, don’t get me wrong, but he’s the least interesting Lantern in the universe. He was much better as Specter. That makes his death in the Nu52 needed on two fronts. First, obviously, he needs to clear up the comic for a more interesting character to take over. I mean, the best possible outcome would be for a new character. That’s the whole point of the article after all. With a hole to fill, you’re free to do whatever you want. Freedom! But knowing the business, there are plenty of pre-established Lanterns that’d work too.
Outside of that, the ripples across the Nu52 may be on the smaller side. He’s not really an irreplaceable member of the Justice League. Any yahoo with a Lantern ring could fill his spot in an instant. Sure, some of the cosmic stuff will shift, but the real change would be from whoever took over (shout out to my boy Kyle). They’ve got to be an improvement.
A bit weird right? Why Emma Frost? She’s not really a heavy hitter in the Marvel universe. Hulk wont mourn her loss. Nor would that pterodactyl guy who lives in the Savage Land. What was his name? Sauron? Yep, Sauron. Yeah, he won’t be too sad. So why her? I’ll tell you why: Cyclops.
True, her mutant schoolchildren and her surrounding associates will take it hard, but none harder than Scott. Currently, there’s not a whole lot holding him together. Sure, they’re no longer together (or at least for now), but she’s still a huge source of support for him. He’s just waiting for one more push to put him over the edge. What better push than loosing his lady love (again)?
That’d be the biggest consequence of her death, I think. Which may be a little sad. In any case, there’s a ton you could do with a fully off the rails Cyclops. Not an extremist like Magneto, but much more hardened than Charles Xavier. The school that’s much less about family and more like a paramilitary boot camp. Though, that’s up for the writers to decide.
Wha?! You read that right. Wonder Woman. She’s had her powers taken away and all manner of things, but she’s never had a decent Death Event. I think the only thing that was keeping DC from doing it was their lack of popular female heroes. However, now that there is a wave of diverse female characters on the way, I feel like Wonder Woman’s ending has opened itself up.
Yes, Superman will get to go any number of moody ways from the event. The writers could even get the darker, brooding Superman that they love so much. Regardless, I think that’s the least interesting aspect of her death. The most exciting? The hole she leaves behind. With a big female presence gone, DC will need to replace it with someone else. An original character? Possibly. Another female character in need of a profile boost? Maybe. A former sidekick? Probably.
It’s not that Wonder Woman doesn’t work as a character, it’s that her status as an old favorite makes her stale more often than not. We’ve seen dozens of iterations of Wonder Woman. We understand the character, we’ve seen it. With her gone, there’s a chance to develop something new, something just as resonant with the audience. A new voice to make the chorus fresh, you know?
“It’s been done already!” Yes, I know. Do you? He didn’t really die, you guys. It was a dumb work-around that allowed them to kill off the Batman without actually having to give him up. Bruce was just sent back in time and had to travel forwards through tropes like a cavemen, cowboy, pirate, detective (?), and so on and so forth.
During that time, Dick Grayson took over for Batman and it was great. Maybe it was just because it was written by Grant Morrison, but it turned the entire Batman world on its head. There was an acrobatic Batman that quipped with Robin. And it made sense, it worked! The same old kind of stories were now fresh and new! It was awesome.
I realize we’re stuck with Bruce Wayne for the distant future, but I think the Batman title could do with a change. Bruce Wayne dying and mantle moving on would do that. Think of the ways you could go (besides the way it did kind of go). A Barbara Gordon Batwoman? Jason Todd Batman? There could be even more Batman titles. That’s DC’s greatest dream! The hole left by a dead Bruce Wayne would open a whole universe of story potential.
But what about you? What heroes do you think need to die? Let me know in the comments below.