Death in comic books is becoming almost as common as heroes wearing spandex. It's become sort of a right of passage. A superhero can't claim that ultimate level of greatness until they've gone through a story that's resulted in their deaths. Over the years, we've seen Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man, Superman, Hal Jordan and many many others sacrifice their lives for the fight against evil. And when they come back, they're seen with a new level of respect.
It's impressive when a human superhero dies and manages to beat death but gods are a different story. Just from who and what they are, they play by a different set of rules. They aren't bound to the same laws of physics or of the universe that humans are. But often, we do see gods die in comic books.
With the recent deaths of characters such as Thor, Hercules and Ares, are their deaths immediately inconsequential? Characters return from the dead all the time but because they're gods, should it even be possible for them to die in the first place?== TEASER ==
In last week's FEAR ITSELF #7.2, we get to see the aftermath of the death of Thor. He was destined to die as a result of defeating the Serpent. There was a big ceremony held for Thor and everyone, Odin included, were all sad. Death for Asgardians isn't the same as deaths for humans. How many times has Thor already died? Odin died and came back. Loki was killed during Ragnarok and returned as a women then killed by Sentry during Siege and is now in the form of a child.
In that issue, we also hear the words of a teen who Jane Foster assumes is high on something. He rants about gods being like stories. Gods and stories can't die or end because you can always start them again. This is similar to how the characters in FABLES have their immortality. Neil Gaiman also wrote about this in his novel American Gods. As long as there are people (humans) that believe, worship or follow the stories about the gods (or Fables), they will have their lives.
Look at some of the different gods in history and in comics. It's the ones with a bigger following that have greater power. There could be some connection between how much faith people put them and the energy they are able to channel back into their being. It could just come down to a matter of people believing in them in order to allow them to come back or be reborn.
In FEAR ITSELF #7.2, we also saw the introduction of a different thunder god named Tanarus. What was odd about that is we saw some of his past as the thunder god with the Avengers. "His story started today, a millenia ago, and he stands surrounded by friends and fellow warriors in celebration."
While extremely confusing, it was like his story made him into a hero on Earth and the power of the Asgardian gods is able to take those stories and change the fabric of history. I\
If Sentry could have a complete history with characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Hulk but their memory/history doesn't recall any of it, it's easy to believe a god could do the same thing.
What about Ares? He was torn in half by Sentry during Siege but did he really die? He was later seen talking to his son Phobos when he was killed. He explains to his son about the death of gods. Are they in limbo? Is this what 'heaven' is like for gods when they 'die'?
So is Thor dead? Hercules also died and look where he's at now. If you're wondering about Thor's fate, there is a clue at the end of issue #7.2. There's basically two ways to look at death in terms of gods. They should be beyond the concept of death. They are often depicted as pure energy and can do miraculous things. They shouldn't necessarily be able to die but if it does happen, coming back shouldn't be a problem. The other way to look at them relies on how they get their powers. If they do gain strength from the beliefs of humans, it just takes some happy thoughts (or worshiping) to channel the energy needed to bring them back.
If human superheroes can come back from the dead then it shouldn't even be possible for gods to die in comics.