Welcome to the first installment of View2View. This where you will find my esteemed partner in crime (Not So) Silent Mike and yours truly, Comic Canuck posting our views on the topic of the day. Sometimes he’ll speak on behalf of the “for” side and I’ll play the “against” side of the debate. And other times we’ll switch sides just to mix it up a bit.
Today’s topic: Killing off heroes and whether or not to bring them back
Comic Canuck’s View [(Not So) Silent Mike's View follows below]
I have to admit, like many of you I get angry (at times sad) when a hero is killed off. Especially heroes that have become such an ingrained part of a book or a team that it’s a really hard pill to swallow when the “powers that be” decide to kill off a big name. Heroes such as Superman, Green Lantern, Colossus, Captain America, most recently Nightcrawler and many more. But what really makes me angry is that nine times out of ten, these heroes will return from the dead.
Here’s what I respect and don’t respect about killing off a beloved hero. I admire the death of a hero when it’s handled properly and takes the fans emotions into account. I disrespect the moves by the “big two” when they kill off heroes purely for a marketing gimmick and to make quick cash.
When Marvel decided to kill off Colossus (Uncanny X-Men #390) it was a death that I really admired. It made me sad because I loved his character, but I accepted it because at the time he did everything a hero is supposed to do. He fought for the rights of mutants in a world that hated and feared them and when the time came to initiate the cure for the Legacy Virus to save thousands upon thousands of mutants, he stepped up to the plate and sacrificed himself for the greater good.
Much to my chagrin, Colossus eventually returned from the great beyond and is to this day an integral part of the X-Men. Like many heroes before him who have died and come back, sadly this is becoming a repetitive trend in the comic book universe. I will not lump the current “Brightest Day” storyline in here because it’s a series that has a logical reason for being the way that it is.
What I’d like to see is comic book creators and companies show a bit more courage. If you’re going to kill a hero off, do it and stick to it. Only bring them back if you can logically write a story arc that explains how it’s even possible. The latest issue of Marvel previews touts the “Death Of Spider-Man” storyline. I gasped when I saw this and immediately opened it up to see what the hell Marvel is up to. Thankfully, they’re not killing off the one true Spidey we all know and love, but rather the Ultimate Spider-Man. Which even that has a very good shot at returning one day after he’s killed off.
I have a bit of advice for the comic book creators. Respect your fans and have the guts to kill a hero and keep them dead for, oh I don’t know, ever. If there’s a hero that you know fans will clamor over to bring back, maybe think twice about killing said hero off. You see, the universe abhors a vacuum so when you kill a big name (or well-known) hero don’t go back to the same well and bring him back again or reboot the universe, use your awesome creativity and introduce a new character that we will all love. Sure, toss in traits of the hero you just killed., but make this new hero someone we can all get behind. That is, until such time you decide to kill him off (and bring him back).
(Not So) Silent Mike’s View
While it is slightly irksome to constantly have heroes killed off and brought back I feel the heroic death and the year or so later return, when done properly, has always been a welcome situation in either of the comic book universes. Yes there have been returns that have not only gone unnoticed, but have annoyed a lot of readers, a prime example being Jean Grey from the X-Men series. I do however feel that the appropriate death and return of certain heroes, especially those who had been killed off many years prior, has not only given those heroes who were at one time B listers at best a second wind and the ability to be on the A list. Great examples of this are Green Arrow and Green Lantern, both of which had been moderate players before their death are now well known characters and are being portrayed on either TV (GA on Smallville) or in the movies (GL in the summer of 2011).
In my opinion it is not the fact that characters are killed off too often, nor are they brought back too often, it is all about the writers that setup the death and the delicacy with which they bring the hero back. When Kevin Smith wrote the return of Green Arrow in the now graphic novel entitled “Quiver” it wasn’t an instantaneous deal. He had to explain what happened, remind us of GA’s death, and more then anything make it an interesting read. The amount of effort put into bringing a character back matters more then most people think, you have to explain away the impossibilities of it, and make them believe that a man truly can come back from the dead.
These stories not only make the character though, they can make the writer. One of the best things that ever happened to the Green Lantern series was Geoff Johns and vice versa. Johns not only brought a new flair to the Green Lantern universe he completely recreated the mythos and has brought Hal Jordan back into prominence, and he didn’t stop there he revived the entire Green Lantern Corps!
Without the resurrection of heroes that had been long dead a lot of the stories we know and love would not be in existence, nor would some of the greatest stories ever told. Without the return of Superman there would be no Batman/Superman Adventures, without the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps there would be no Brightest Day nor Blackest Night, and without Colossus imminent return there would be no fastball special. Without the return of the greatest characters there would be no greatness. I firmly believe when done correctly the return of a hero can make or break who that hero is.
Latest posts by View2View (see all)
- Do the Big Two In Comics Depend Upon Crises More Than Good Story Telling? - March 23, 2012
- View2View: Mainstream Media Geeks - February 10, 2012