By VioletPhoenix 4 Comments
I realize as we are all comic book readers, that we must make certain allowances when delving into these extraordinary worlds where nothing is impossible. It is the very real fact that nothing is impossible which I feel makes us the readers find comfort within the pages we read and the titles we hold so dear. As we are reading things out of the realm of regular possibility, suspension of disbelief goes without saying. One aspect I am particularly addressing is the Comic Book Death.
I realize probably anyone reading this is rolling their eyes at the very discussion of comic book deaths, but I guess there's a specific aspect of it that kind of gets to me. I mean, if the topic itself warrants its own Wikipedia page, it goes without saying that it is as much an integral part of the comic book worlds we lose ourselves into as the characters themselves. I am a relatively new comic book reader, but I do understand that, time was at some point a comic book death meant something. It left an impact, it resonated with the reader, it furthered a story and its characters. And if done right, a subsequent resurrection, forgive the pun, breathed new life into the formerly dead character. Uncle Ben's death, Jason Todd's death, Jean Grey's (first) death, Bucky Barnes' etc all changed the way their respective teams, characters, titles and associations continued life afterwards. To be able to shock a reader with a sudden and powerful death would in itself be bittersweet because we would lose a character we came to know and would reaffirm one of the very reasons why we come to comic book worlds: to be amazed.
Most characters do come back from the dead, this is a fact. But basically this rant, is about how soon and why. Particularly with Marvel. I am not too familiar with all things DC, but it came to my understanding that Brightest Day resurrected characters after they had been down for a while and that it was done powerfully. Even Bruce Wayne's "death" was done very low key and tastefully with a following passing of the torch to Dick Grayson. Marvel however, I am familiar with. And several things I noticed about Marvel, is that 1. It's events aplenty, and 2. It's "forever changing the status quo as we know it" every other month and probably the most frustrating 3. A character death and almost immediate resurrection is to be expected.
Number 3 would be fine, as this is a world of comics, except this: A death has come to mean absolutely nothing beyond the scene itself where it takes place or as a means to wrap up the latest event. This does harm to the storytelling and the narrative being told in my opinion. Especially when done excessively. I mean I think its bad when readers have come to expect and their automatic reaction to a Marvel comic death as "Eh. They'll be back next year." Which typically they do. In my opinion I think if you are going to kill a character, do it for the right reasons and do it for the longterm effect, don't do it for the shock of the moment effect and later bring them back. It fractures continuity and it fractures smooth storytelling for the readers. Much like with Joss Whedon when he sent Kitty Pryde away in the bullet, Kitty was seen in other writer pages during Brubaker's Deadly Genesis and Kyle and Yost's New X-Men Childhood's End for example. What about Bucky Barnes' death in Fear Itself followed by his IMMEDIATE comeback? Or Thor's death in Fear Itself and Archangel's death in Uncanny X-Force, whereas they'll both be taking part in the Avengers vs. X-Men event. Pardonnez-moi? How are reader's supposed to really feel their death and feel its impact? How are we supposed to buy into the writer's intention of shocking us with death if they'll cheapen it by a resurrection quick on the heels of the death?
I'm not really wishing for no more comic book deaths, I mean its good stuff in some events and stories, I just wish they'd be done for the right reasons and for the impact of their deaths to matter. I also just wish that if a death is to occur, that a resurrection not happen a few issues later, yeah I'm lookin' at you Human Torch. What's worse is that when a death is done as epically and emotionally as Cable's in Second Coming or Johnny's in Three, it is merely undone a short time later with a resurrection. I don't know about other people, but it sometimes just angers me because it makes me think: what was the point? Maybe sometimes things should go like the successful Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610), wherein anything can happen, anyone can die and it sticks. The characters can be brought back..but give it some time, give it the proper treatment with the proper execution. If Nightcrawler (616) comes back anytime soon, I'm going to have a rage stroke , that death was beyond heartbreaking. It makes me appreciate deaths like Wasp's or Jean Grey's because they've stuck, their team members struggled and coped and were made stronger and moved on. It's when the team is finally in a place of closure following that character's death (years later) that you can bring them back and throw everyone for a tailspin. Have them reassess themselves and their world in its prospective. Have it challenge the characters and make them all the stronger or weaker for it and show their heroic and human sides simultaneously.
Except for that pain in the ass Phoenix Force. Obsessive much? Jesus, that thing needs to learn to move on..talk about separation anxiety. CLINGYYYY.