Comic Book Deaths: Pointless? (Part I)

A couple days ago, I was at a gathering, and my friends and I got into a conversation about comic books. At first we discussed amazing stories such as The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, and DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke. Somehow, once our conversation got to the legend, Grant Morrison, something in me clicked. He was the creator and murderer of Damian Wayne (and he probably killed a lot of other characters too). It then made me think about the many pointless comic book deaths used to raise sales, because according to the comic book world, unless you’re Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy, or Bruce Wayne’s parents, you’ll probably come back to life (they used to say Jason Todd and Bucky too).

Seriously, what’s the point of killing a character if you’re just gonna bring them back to life in around a year later. Maybe they can at least aim to make it meaningful and keep the character dead for at least a while, right? But NO. Here’s an example.


That cute little punk is him. And he's dead. (Art by Chris Burnham)

That cute little punk is him. And he’s dead. (Art by Chris Burnham)

Damian Wayne was brutally killed by his age-accelerated clone, The Heretic, in the pages of Batman Incorporated (New 52) in 2013 in the month of May. However, it already looks like he’s gonna come back to life, because according to Batman and Robin writer Peter Tomasi, there will be a someone at the mantle of Robin by the end of December. DC has not introduced any new candidates for the Robin role that appear prominent since the Robin Rises story arc started in July, so who else would there be to take the mantle other than Damian himself?


Robin Rises: Alpha #1. (Art by Andy Kubert)

“New” Robin? Yeah right.

It’s only been almost two years, and we already find Damian crawling out of the grave. If they were going to do this, why not have kept him alive? Shock value, and so that Batman can be even more depressed than he already is. Unless Tomasi has had us fooled the whole time, and THERE WILL BE NO NEW ROBIN… I should make a post on Robins some other time.

Now to give y’all an example of death that, I guess, was meaningful.


Oh wow, Bruce, that’s 1/2 of your Robins dead…anyone still up for the position?


RAWR! The Robin with the “mean streak.”

Jason Todd was Batman’s second sidekick, beaten half-dead with a crowbar by Joker, then blown up with his mom in a warehouse back in 1988 in the Death in the Family story arc. He was brought back to life in 2005 in the Under the Hood story arc, making a debut as the anti-hero Red Hood. Let me make myself clear on why Jason’s was meaningful: RED HOOD IS A SUPER-BEAST. Allowing Batman to grieve for years, it added upon Batman’s character, showing what would happen to a man if one of his kids were to die. Grief, anger, guilt…things that actually mean something. Killing Damian was just pointless and repetitive. Bringing Jason back as a anti-hero with a view on killing villains added someone really interesting to the Batman mythos, and notice how he was dead for almost twenty years.

Jason Todd as Red Hood. (Art by Kenneth Rocafort)

Jason Todd as Red Hood; with Roy Harper. (Art by Kenneth Rocafort)


Just like Jason Todd, another cool revival and old sidekick. He was believed to be dead ever since a 1964, in an issue of Avengers stating how Captain America and Bucky Barnes met their fates in an explosion on an airplane, with Bucky unsuccessfully dismantling a bomb. Brought back as the Winter Soldier in 2005, Bucky is now cooler than ever.


Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier. (Art by In-Hyuk Lee)

Here’s the thing, though. Bucky never really died. He fell into the freezing waters as well, and was found without a left arm by Russians. Then, he was trained to become a Soviet assassin called the Winter Soldier, but in the end, Captain America gets Bucky back to his senses. Bucky continued this mantle for a while, and then even took on the Captain America role during times of crisis. He is currently operating as the Winter Soldier. How cool is that? He even became CAPTAIN AMERICA.


Notice how long Bucky’s and Jason’s time difference is between the death and resurrection. Now look at Damian’s predicted time. Bucky and Jason’s death allowed for their mentors to develop character, but Damian’s death didn’t show us anything new, other than “BUT IT WAS MY SON WHO DIED THIS TIME!” I’ve already seen a Robin die. I don’t need to see another one. Seriously, if you wanna kill off a character, at least give it meaning. Didn’t Wolverine just die? Ugh. I don’t really keep up (HARDCORE DC + SPIDER-MAN FAN). My friends and I will discuss this even more some other time, so don’t think this is over…

~Double-Reeded Warrior (Dennis) [Is that even my real name?]


One thought on “Comic Book Deaths: Pointless? (Part I)

  1. I really liked the topic that you discussed in this blog. I, a fellow comic book reader, can relate to your sentiments. I like how you noticed how superhero deaths are becoming more and more meaningless. You are right in your evidence, since they are often resurrected or remade in a new reboot. These deaths create no more meaning and don’t teach the characters anything. Comic books writers now advance the plot to make up for these tragic moments, ruining the emotion that can come from these events.


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