Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marvel's Campaign of Death

They kill Johnny Storm (the Human Torch), and not even a year later we're hearing news of his possible return.

They killed Marla Jameson, former wife of J. Jonah Jameson.

They had Wolverine killed Mystique after she helped send his soul to hell.

They killed Strong Guy, from X-Factor. (He got better, though.)

They killed Mockingbird, but she also immediately got better.

They worked so hard to bring Bucky back to life, and make him a fan favorite character - and then killed him during Fear Itself.

They killed Ultimate Spider-Man.

And now Thor is getting the boot too? To be replaced by who? WHO THE HECK IS TANARUS?!

After seeing how successful killing off the Human Torch was, Marvel wasn't kidding when they said they where going to kill off a character every quarter.

...... To say this cheapens the concept of death, let alone the legitimate weight of a story, is an understatement.

Even after Jean Grey famously died, and then was resurrected, and countless super-heros after her, death in comics was still somewhat significant. It was always attached to an event of some kind, or a way to draw in readers and headlines - but the stories where at least still compelling, and meaningful. Not anymore - at least not at Marvel Comics.

The Death of the Human Torch still had meaning, and significance - and lead the Fantastic Four book in an intriguing new direction.

Marla Jameson at least wasn't a significant supporting character in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, but was treated as if she where.

Wolverine killing Mystique seemed plot-driven. (And you can't argue she didn't bring it on herself.)

Strong Guy's death was completely driven by the plot of the series, and while he immediately got better - it's quickly become apparent that his recovery has significant meaning to the series.

Ultimate Spider-Man's death, while completely imitating the success of Johnny Storm's death, at least wasn't written for kicks - and is leading to something new. It still had significance.

Mockingbird was killed in the pages of New Avengers, but was given some super drug that immediately restored her to health. It could have been plot-related - but it still felt like a cheap ploy, especially given that she was brought back alive in the Marvel Universe only a few years ago.

The death of Bucky? No significance, except to make the mini-series Fear Itself seem more epic. Not only that, but it also was mechanical in execution - as Marvel needed to make room for Steve Rogers to be Captain America again.

Now Thor is being replaced. I don't know what the circumstances are - but I'm thankful I made the decision to drop that slow-moving, over priced book at issue #2.

I'm not against characters being killed off. Even when it's corporately driven, the writers on the ground always seemed to make the death have meaning. That point can be argued to death (no pun intended) - but the regular occurrence of it has just become too much. If you're similarly dissatisfied with the direction Marvel seems to be taking, then I suggest letting them know, but also more importantly letting them know with you're wallet. Fear Itself seems to be the crowning achievement in this campaign of death Marvel seems intent on. I'm not saying drop the comics you like -- but, for me at least, I'm not going anywhere near Thor or the Fear Itself follow-up series.


  1. I agree. Resurrecting characters makes death meaningless. At first, it was cool because it's new in the world of comics. But when it became frequent, I started thinking, what the hell is this, Dragon Ball? What draws people upon death is the fact that someone significant is gone for good, and whatever that someone does will be put to a halt. When a superhero dies, questions like: "What will happen to those the hero protects?", "How will the hero's enemies react?", or "Who will continue the legacy?" come up. It's the uncertainty, knowing the person who died can't come back, is what draws readers toward a comic. But by continuously resurrecting characters, death is somewhat treated like a normal phenomenon, leading readers to think than whenever someone in the comic book universe dies, they eventually come back or are cloned. I really hope they put a stop to this because this is what messes up continuity. Like you, I got no problems with characters getting killed. It makes the stories more realistic. But I hope they stop it with all the resurrection stuff.

    Question: What do you think are they trying to do by killing Thor and the Ultimate Spiderman? Do you think it has something to do with the Avengers movie?

  2. Well, for Thor they can bring him back around the next Avengers movie, or the 2ed Thor movie.

    For Ultimate Spider-Man - I think it's purely an attempt to make the Ultimate Universe different. They killed all sorts of Ultimate character in recent years - characters you just couldn't get away with killing - and this is another example of it. Like I said, with the Ultimate Spider-Man one, it isn't devoid of meaning. But done over, and over, and over again... even deaths with meaning seem shallow.