Death. It is so final. Except in the comics.
Everyone dies it seems.
And they all come back.
The list goes on and on. So many characters. Heroes, villains it does not matter. No one is safe. But as they say “no one stays dead in the comics, not even Bucky.”
A death should matter. It should be important. It should not simply be done to increase sales. As some kind of a sweeps ploy. These are characters that we develop relationships with, that we love or hate. Killing them and reviving them for no good reason is a waste.
“The Death of Captain Marvel” worked. It was wonderful, fresh. A hero dying not so much from the actions of a villain but from cancer, it brought humanity to the funeral of a friend. Jim Starlin set the table for many writers to follow.
“The Death of Superman” was done well. The unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. We all knew he would be back, but the death made sense. There were repercussions. New characters were born: Steel, Cyborg Superman, even a new unique Superboy. There was a sense of loss for all the characters in the DC universe. Superman came back as we knew he would, but the story still felt new.
For a time some deaths lingered. Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s sidekick, stayed dead for almost 40 years. Jason Todd, the second Robin, did not even last twenty years before returning to the land of the living. Their returns brought something new, new characters. Winter Soldier and a heroic Red Hood are wonderful, that never would have happened without their deaths and resurrection.
Recently we have had Captain America, Spiderman, Thor, the Human Torch, another Robin: all dead, will they all come back?
The question becomes who is next?
Maybe the question should be who hasn’t died yet?
In company wide crossovers the body count can get enormous, writers simply using characters they don’t care for as cannon fodder. Killing off perfectly good characters to try to create a sense of danger. What happened to crippling someone.
Maybe there is another way. As fans and writers we become desensitized to the carnage. Maybe we need a break. A moratorium on death. Give us time to step back and actually be surprised when someone does die.
There are creative people out there. Can we not find a way to create the same drama without the body count?
Should we not at least try?