The Demise of Spider-Man and The Top 5 Comic Deaths That Weren’t
Nov 2010 16

The Demise of Spider-Man and The Top 5 Comic Deaths That Weren’t

Posted In Blog,Comics,Entertainment

by Damon Martin

In a real world context, Benjamin Franklin may have very well been right, but those rules don’t apply when talking about the comic book universe. Like a bad soap opera where the lead character is bound to find out that his wife – whom has just made a full recovery from a terminal illness – is also his long lost sister, comic books are notorious for never letting any character stay dead for too long.

That leads us to the February 2011 Marvel Previews in which they tease us with the “Death of Spider-Man.” Sure, the sticky guy has flatlined a time or two in his day, but this will be the first major run where the character is billed as meeting his ultimate demise. While Marvel is apparently being very hush-hush about the events surrounding the eventual “death” of Spider-Man, the big goal of course is to raise sales for the Spider-Man titles before they rub him out.

Comic book deaths however are a cautionary tale because the concept is rarely very final in the land of the superhero. The genre has exploited this device for years, and many fans tire of the ubiquitous “dead hero/miraculous resurrection” storylines. With Peter Parker apparently the next hero on the chopping block, let’s look at some famous comic book deaths and how the heroes came back to life:


[Katie in Spidey]

Top 5 Comic Deaths That Weren’t

1. Death of Superman

Probably the most famous demise of any superhero in comic book history, DC Comics revealed the death of Superman in 1992. The story featured an unstoppable killing machine named Doomsday that came to earth. Only the Last Son of Krypton had any chance of stopping him. An epic battle ensued, and, in the end, both Superman and Doomsday met their deaths. The story closed with an iconic image of Lois Lane holding the Man of Tomorrow in her arms as she wept.

The death was short lived though as DC soon revealed the re-launch of the Superman titles just a few short months later. Four separate heroes emerged with ties to Superman, but in the end it was revealed that Kal-El had been tucked away at his Fortress of Solitude and was placed in a “regeneration matrix” where he was brought back to life.

2. The Death of Captain America

Following the events of Marvel’s epic “Civil War” storyline in which Iron Man (Tony Stark) supports a Superhuman Registration Act that will see all of earth’s mightiest heroes unmasked and registered with the government, Steve Rogers (Captain America) meets his doom. The registration act pits hero against hero as some support Stark in his mission, while others, like Captain America, are vehemently against it. After a lot of fighting and bloodshed, Captain American opts to give in to Stark’s initiative and he is arrested. As he’s led away in shackles on the steps of a courthouse, Captain America is assassinated.

Months later it’s discovered that the assassination was orchestrated by Cap’s greatest nemesis, The Red Skull, and instead of actually killing the Patriotic icon, he sent him spinning throughout time and space. The evil Red Skull then brings Cap back to present day and thus Steve Rogers returns to the comic book world.

3. The Death of Batman

Even for a comic book, the death of Batman was one of the more bizarre stories of the last half-century. First DC launched a storyline titled “Batman: RIP” – which most presumed would bring about the end of the Caped Crusader. What resulted was a strange and confusing acid trip involving alternate identities that would likely confound you more if I were to explain – suffice to say, he didn’t actually die in the end.

Batman then pops up during the DC epic “Final Crisis” where he is confronted by the bad guy to end all bad guys, Darkseid, who plans to take over the entire universe (of course he does). Batman breaks his only real “rule” when he fires a gun, shooting and wounding Darkseid. Before Darkseid meets his own doom, he unleashes the “Omega Sanction” on Batman, sending his consciousness back through time, although on Earth he is believed to be dead.

Needless to say, Batman fights his way back through time and reappears in the present. While he was absent, former ward Dick Grayson has taken over the mantle of Batman, and when Bruce Wayne returns from the dead he allows his former Robin to stay in charge, while he focuses on a new worldwide venture called “Batman, Incorporated.”

4. The Death of Jason Todd/Robin

Oddly enough the death of Jason Todd was one that was cheered by most comic book fans. Todd took over the mantle of Robin after Dick Grayson left Bruce Wayne’s side, and for whatever reason fans never took to the new version of the Boy Wonder. After a short stay as Batman’s faithful sidekick, Todd is brutally beaten by the Joker with a crowbar, before a bomb is set up that fatally wounds him.

Years later, Todd is found to be alive after the universe is altered by Superboy-Prime. It also turns out that the former Robin has been walking around for years with amnesia unaware of who or what life he once led.

Once Todd regains his memories, he targets Batman for “letting him die” and then becomes the ominous Red Hood in the DC Universe. As Red Hood, Todd is a gun-toting “hero” willing to cross the lines that Batman never would to subdue criminals.

5. The Blackest Night

Geoff Johns huge storyline that encompassed the entire DC universe brought the zombie mythology to a whole new level as hundreds of dead heroes were resurrected as “Black Lanterns” and sent out into the universe to destroy life. Among the resurrected were Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and several others who followed the directions of Nekron as he sought to destroy the original source of life in the universe.

The heroes eventually prevailed over Nekron, but then a dozen souls from the Black Lantern Corps were actually brought back to life and given a new chance. Currently those characters are involved in the “Brightest Day” storyline, which is still ongoing with those 12 being the central part of the storyline.

***

So as February fast approaches and the death of Spider-Man apparently nears, just assume that even if Peter Parker is presumed dead, even for a moment, he’ll be back sooner or later because in the comic books you’re only dead for as long as it takes for people to care about you again.

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