When it comes to superhero comic book stories, they tend to focus on the never-ending battle between good and evil. Usually the bad guys come up with a plan to conquer the world or achieve some sort of personal gain. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting revenge against the heroes that constantly thwart their plans.
We tend to root for the good guys and there are times when the stories can get pretty dreary for the heroes. The odds can get stacked against them and it appears as if all is lost. Could it be that the bad guys will finally win? Probably not.
Great writers are tasked to come up with compelling stories that make you actually question the outcome. But no matter how much they throw at them, the chances are going to fall in the hero's favor. Does this fact that the heroes will always win lessen the impact of great stories?== TEASER ==
It is possible that the hero might actually lose. There has been the occasion where the bad guy will win to some extent. Bane broke Batman's back and defeated him. Green Goblin killed Gwen Stacy. Red Skull orchestrated the death of Captain America. Doomsday's threat lead to the death of Superman. Joker killed the second Robin. The Human Torch sacrificed his life to save the Thing, Franklin, Valeria and others.
These were all tragic times for the superhero community but if you think about them, the heroes usually bounced back eventually (except for Gwen but then she was a supporting character rather than a superhero). Let's think about some of the current and upcoming stories where things look really bad for the heroes.
Scott Snyder has been putting Batman through some dark times. With the Court of Owls, it looks like Batman has met his match. This marked one of the very few times Batman underestimated his enemies. He refused to believe in their existence and this lead to his capture and near physical and psychological defeat. With a threat as great as the Court is, could this mark the end of Batman's reign as Gotham's champion?
We've seen teasers for the End of the Earth storyline in which Doc Ock plans on getting revenge against Spider-Man. Otto's health isn't what it was and this may be his last chance at finally defeating the Wall-Crawler. To help, he's enlisting the Sinister Six and each teaser suggest it's not going to go well for Spidey. Could this be the end of Spider-Man?
If that wasn't enough, at WonderCon, Marvel announced and previewed the No Going Back storyline set for this summer. The Lizard is coming back and from the cover to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #688, it looks as if the Lizard is going to chomp Spidey's head off. Will this be the end of Spider-Man?!?
The fact that this Lizard story comes after Ends of the Earth pretty much tells us what we already know, Spider-Man will win against the Doc Ock and the Sinister Six.
Sinestro and the Indigo Tribe
Just as we were getting used to Sinestro as a Green Lantern once again and all his revelations to Hal Jordan, he gets whisked away by the Indigo Tribe. They plan on saving Sinestro, just as they saved Black Hand. In other words, make him a mindless servant to the Tribe. Does this mean we won't see more Hal and Sinestro team ups and the Guardians might have that more of a chance to destroy/replace the Green Lantern Corps?
Kitty Pryde Pregnant with a Ton of Microscopic Brood
In WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, Kitty suddenly found herself pregnant, nearly at full term. It turned out there were a bunch of microscopic Brood inside her. Brood of any size is a bad thing. As we read the story and the attack against the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, could it be possible that this would be the end of Kitty?
The outcomes to all of these are pretty obvious. We know Batman will make a comeback and defeat the Court. Spider-Man will beat his enemies just as he has countless times. Geoff Johns is writing Sinestro as too much of a badass to allow him to succumb to the Indigo Tribe. And Kitty Pryde has already been in comic book limbo for too long and there's no way fans would allow something drastic to happen to her once again so soon.
What can be said about all of these, except for the Spider-Man stories since they haven't really started yet, is they have all been great stories. With Dan Slott's run since taking over Spider-Man, we can easily assume both stories will be great as well.
What this means for writers is they have to go above and beyond each time they pit the hero against the next threat. Batman always wins but we're seeing him as we don't usually see him. We know he will win but the way Scott Snyder is telling the story makes you believe that it could almost be possible that he will be completely broken again. But then the solicits and covers from future issues usually tell us otherwise.
This is where indie comics have an edge. They may not have the immediately recognizable characters but there is that heavy sense that anything could happen. In Robert Kirkman's THE WALKING DEAD, we've seen several main characters perish. I wouldn't be surprised if someday we actually saw Rick Grimes die. It's unthinkable but Kirkman could pull it off and replace him with other characters.
For the mainstream superhero writers, they have their work cut out for them. They need to keep readers highly entertained and in suspense. We know the heroes will always win but a really good writer will make you believe it's possible the hero might actually lose. There are those rare occasion when they actually do. But we all know how much of an impact a comic book death has on a person. There's always a way for the hero to overcome even death.