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Uber Geek said on July 19th, 2010 at 12:02 am

No one has mentioned Colossus yet? He sacrificed his life to cure the Legacy virus in X-Men #390.To me, it was one of the best deaths ever. Of course, much like Aunt May’s death in ASM #400, they couldn’t leave it be. And since then, very little has actually been done with him, so what was the point?

Also, I agree Skurge’s death was awesome.

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Gustopher said on July 19th, 2010 at 12:25 am

Crispin Allen’s death in Gotham Central really got to me. I do wish that they let him just be dead, rather than make him into the new Spectre, but it was a great death, with realistic consequences and emotions for those involved (up until the whole Spectre thing and Montoya becoming the Question…)

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Mary Warner said on July 19th, 2010 at 12:45 am

J M DeMatteis also wrote a pretty good death for Nighthawk, a character who managed to stay dead for over a decade afterwards (despite showing up a few issues after his death– it’s complicated, but that didn’t count).
I don’t know how Nighthawk managed to come back, nor can I figure out why anyone would think such a resurrection was needed. I sometimes think that some writers just like to bring characters back simply to show that they can.

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Munkiman said on July 19th, 2010 at 12:56 am

So agree that the problem is rampant death, not resurrection. I’ve been saying that forever.

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Munkiman said on July 19th, 2010 at 1:13 am

“The thing is, KDBryan, killing someone off is not, by definition, a creative act. People say, “Oh, Morrison opened up so many storytelling possibilities with his run,” but what exactly can you do with a dead Magneto that’s more interesting than a living one? Killing a character off is waving the white flag and admitting that you’ve run out of interesting things to do with a character, and killing a character off in a shared universe is an insult because it’s insisting that if you can’t do anything with the character, then certainly the clods you’re surrounded with won’t be able to, either.

Or to simplify it, if Grant Morrison’s predecessors had written comics the way Grant Morrison did, he wouldn’t have been able to write his iconic runs because the Doom Patrol, Animal Man and the X-Men would all be dead.”

I think what KDBryan meant was that by narrowing the possibilities, in a way, Morrison opened up new possibilities. Seems confusing, but think about it. By making later writers unable to use Jean Grey, he forced them to come up with newer stories instead of rehashes of old stuff. To be creative instead of just referencing old stories.

I do think that Magneto was always intended to return, though, and that this was a good idea. Magneto needs to stick around. But I don’t think they should have retconned away his actions in Planet X. I may not have read a lot of X-Men, but it seems very in character for Magneto, based on what I understand of him. He should never be a hero, he works better as the Holocaust survivor trying to prevent the same thing happening to the mutants by killing the entire race he sees as persecuting mutants.

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Gustopher said on July 19th, 2010 at 6:33 am

“I do think that Magneto was always intended to return, though, and that this was a good idea. Magneto needs to stick around. But I don’t think they should have retconned away his actions in Planet X. I may not have read a lot of X-Men, but it seems very in character for Magneto, based on what I understand of him.”

Since Magneto had been using Kick before and during Planet X, and Kick was Sublime, I think it is pretty safe to say that Morrison intended to leave Magneto’s responsibility for his actions an open question, so when he did return (as he doubtless would eventually), the next writers could decide how to deal with it.

Magneto did act mostly in character, so either he was partially in control of himself, or Sublime was doing a Magneto impersonation. He was also far enough out of character that he was pretty clearly not in complete control.

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@Black Bandit: Read it, enjoyed it, own it. Doesn’t mean that I think it’s above criticism. 🙂 A good writer can write a good story without relying on the “This is Significant! Somebody DIES!” card, especially in a comic book universe where that’s less and less interesting every year.

@Munkiman: I don’t think they should have retconned away his actions in Planet X, either. I would have left it as, “The entity in the Kick drug influenced his mind.” But that would have been a lot easier to do if Morrison hadn’t ended the storyline by killing Magneto, something that needed to be retconned away anyway.

@Uber Geek: Again, sorry, hated the Legacy Virus storyline too much to include any of its deaths. 🙂

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Dr. Creaux said on July 19th, 2010 at 9:31 am

Despite the reasons for Jason Todd’s death, the Batman writers turned it into an excellent source of character development for Batman.

I always felt that there was three deaths in comics that should never be reversed because their deaths were such driving factors in the “main” heroes’ stories: Uncle Ben, Bucky, and Jason Todd.

Of course, I’m now down to one still dead on that list, but such is life…in comics.

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@Dr. Creaux: How was Bucky dying any driving at all for Cap? He did not even die in the real series, but in a later retconned in flashback.

I’ll give you Uncle Ben of course.

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“a generation of fan-turned-pro writers with meter-length hard-ons for the Silver Age has undone just about everything good about Crisis”

This encapsulates everything wrong with comics today.

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Skurge’s death should have been on this list, if not because they not only haven’t undone it (unlike every death that did make the list), then because they established that bringing Skurge back to life would destroy the universe.

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A lot of bad came with the Crisis too, though. Yeah, I think Wonder Woman and Superman’s reboots were great and necessary, but the latter’s was done without any regard for how it would affect Wonder Girl. Donna Troy was never the same, not when technically now Wonder Girl had shown up a decade before Wonder Woman!

Then Ostrander was allowed to make the Hawkworld regular series take place in the present so it fouled up continuity in regards to Katar Hol’s appearance in the pages of Justice League. Then there was Power Girl…

I think the Crisis was a great comic, epic in scope and unlike anything I had ever read up until that point. The art was George Perez at the top of his game and it made me a hardcore Martian Manhunter fan (the scene where he comes through the wall to rescue the other heroes and proceeds to go to town was awesome), but I also feel that in the long run it created more messes than it fixed.

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Dan Coyle said on July 19th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Mary Warner: Nighthawk’s resurrection is a bit of a question mark. In Nighthawk #1, he wakes up in a bedroom on the Richmond estate. They tell him he’s been in a coma ever since Defenders #106. No further explanation than that, though it’s implied Mephisto resurrected him in addition to granting him extrasensory powers for some nefarious purpose.

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I’m going to have to agree with those who found Morrison’s killing of Magneto to be completely well-written. The over-arching theme of his X-Men was to evolve the franchise out of the atrophy that it had fallen into. He put in hooks that any good writer (therefore not Austen) could have used to execute the typical corporate need to recover IP.

Evolution is a key conceit of the X-Men property, but after the 90s they kept spinning their wheels. I enjoyed some bits (Bastion, Cerebro’s X-Men), but I recognize that they weren’t great. I completely lost interest before we got to Morrison’s run. Personally, I think he located the two characters most suffering from stagnation and tried to force them to be the root of a new story. Perhaps you feel that he mishandled your favorite character and that he was denigrated by the way Morrison wrote him (doin’ drugs, bangin underage ho’s), but there you go: The ultimate evolution of Magneto as cackling scumbag. And you know what? He didn’t get sent back to that camp for years. Sadly Morrison’s inheritors sucked. They couldn’t wring a good story from the X-Men, much less unknown properties

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Tales to Enrage said on July 19th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

To further the push for Skurge being in the list, here’s a link that has the full sequence of events. To forestall the major questions, Thor has a bandana around his face because Hela has wounded him in the face, and the automatic weapons come from an earlier arc, where the Asgardians were fighting on Earth. They decided to bring the weapons as a surprise for their mission into Hel.

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/08/17/a-year-of-cool-comic-book-moments-day-229/

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Death has never been a permanent thing in comics; there has always been the expectation that a character who is presumed dead is really somewhere offstage, waiting for the proper moment to return. Because of that, it’s almost impossible for character deaths to have any resonance at all. So, when they do, it’s pretty amazing.

The first comic-book character death that I really noticed was Thunderbird in X-Men 95. It wasn’t the character, per se; Thunderbird had been created for the purpose of dying, and his death was really pretty pointless. What struck me was how his death affected the survivors. In many ways, and in retrospect, I rather saw Thunderbird’s death as foreshadowing for what would eventually happen to Phoenix.

Of course, then it was decided to resurrect Jean Grey, and to do so for the purpose of making a comic that was essentially a Ghostbusters pastiche. That was about the time that I really started losing interest in mainstream comics, to be perfectly honest, and started looking at the what was coming up elsewhere — Cerebus, American Flagg! and so on.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, although no one is really interested — long-term serialized fiction like comics can only maintain and grow a long-term audience when it allows its characters to age, retire and, eventually, die, replaced by a new generation. Creators have to stop ignoring or reversing the work of their predecessors, otherwise, we just get the confusing, barely readable mess both Marvel’s and DC’s lines have become.

L.

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Evil Abraham Lincoln said on July 19th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

As usual, I’ll put in my two cents about Norman Osborn being the mastermind behind the Clone Saga: Even in his first appearance, he was a bit too “out there” to work as a believable mastermind. He spent his last few appearances (pre-death) switching into the Green Goblin, getting his ass kicked, then waking up as Norman Osborn and trying to figure out where the fuck all of these bruises came from? Even his *origin* explicitly stated that his powers were driving him insane. And yet, when they needed a go-to Goblin to wrap up the clusterfuck that was their story, they bypassed the *sane Magnificent Bastard* Hobgoblin for the lunatic Green Goblin. It makes as much sense to me as revealing that Lex Luthor is just a past incarnation of Darkseid, or that clattertrap about Ranma being a descendant of Inu-Yasha that always comes up in Takahashi fandom.

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Evil Abraham Lincoln said on July 19th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

P.S.-As much as I love bitchy redheads, Supergirl’s death was the first one to make me cry.

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Uber Geek said on July 19th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

@Lamar: Thunderbird wasn’t created just to be killed. He was created so the X-Men could have a “native” member, and was killed after the writers realized that there was nothing he could do that Colossus and Wolverine couldn’t do better.

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Katefan, sorry for the late reply. You’re right about it being before the X Men’s apparent death. My mistake. A trip through some dusty boxes reminded me that X Factor was avoiding them because they were hanging out with Magneto. Can’t imagine why Cyclops wouldn’t trust him.

As for the head on confrontation, how on earth could you have possibly missed the Inferno crossover? Even Thor got in on that one.

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Snap Wilson said on July 20th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

@UberGeek Thunderbird was created to be killed. Len Wein and Chris Claremont have both said as much.

All of John’s selections are significant and memorable, as are the suggestions of Mar-Vell, Morpheus and Skurge, and as long as we’re throwing them out, I can’t believe nobody has mentioned Elektra being killed by Bullseye and crawling halfway across town to tell Matt she loved him. If we’re not confining ourselves to superhero comics, the respective demises of Speedy Ortiz and Tonantzin Villasenor in LOVE & ROCKETS definitely qualify.

My favorite Legion death isn’t Lightning Lad (so-so) or Ferro Lad (artfully done even though he was meant to die from the outset and we never really got to know him) but Superboy in Paul Levitz’s “The Greatest Hero of Them All” arc. Even though Crisis had reduced him to being a Time Trapper construct and Not Really Superman, the devastated reactions of his teammates was especially touching.

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Snap Wilson said on July 20th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

@Steve. Just an FYI, the original concept for X-Factor was supposed to include Dazzler (whose series was coming to an end) and not Jean Grey. It was actually Kurt Busiek’s idea to bring Jean Grey back to life (Kurt has a particular fondness for the original X-Men). Kurt told John Byrne, who told Bob Layton and they rolled with it.

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I’m incredibly amused that Grant Morrison killed off Jean (and/or Magneto) to force the franchise to go in new directions…while simultaneously bringing it back to the oft-visited “stories happen at a school” backdrop (or bringing JLA back to a “big seven” – as if that’s necessarily a good thing)

His X-men run was not very good, if for no other reason than it allowed Bedard to use Beak in Exiles. Fucking awful end to that story.

Anyway, Skurge, yes.

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“a generation of fan-turned-pro writers with meter-length hard-ons…”

Perhaps they should be in a different branch of the entertainment business.

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Rob Bartlett said on July 21st, 2010 at 1:12 pm

“or bringing JLA back to a “big seven” – as if that’s necessarily a good thing”

Since the Justice League is more of a combo platter than a mythos in and of itself, I think there are only so many directions it can go in. DC would have to create great new characters in order for the title to get new blood.

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@coren: When was the X-Men ACTUALLY a school before Morrison? Seems you have to go almost back to the pre-Claremont years unless New Mutants are included.

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“When death is common, resurrections have to be common or else you start running out of people to kill.”

I’m pretty sure that more than two-thirds of Dick Tracy’s villains over the past, uh, 70 years or so have ended up six feet under. Of course, those deaths were occasionally circumvented by the creation of sons, daughters, or brothers of the more popular villains when they wanted to retread their territory, but in general, you weren’t going to see The Brow show up again. Maybe death in comic books would be slightly more palatable if it were handled that way.

(Speaking of The Brow, he had himself a great death, and one that seems incredibly gruesome to me for a 1940s newspaper strip. I recommend looking it up.)

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Mister Alex said on July 22nd, 2010 at 9:07 am

Hey, how about that issue of “What If?” where due to some minor change of events, the entire superpowered population of the Marvel Universe was slaughtered in the space of three pages?

Oh wait, that was every issue of “What If?”.

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Ambrael, valid point regarding Magneto. This is also the same team that allowed Wolverine and Rogue into their ranks so it is not like the team did not already have a history of trying to convert bad guys or people of questionable moral nature. The reasons X-Factor was not dealing with X-Men were shallow at best.

As for Inferno, I remember it, I remember seeing a few issues, but I quit buying all X-titles before it because Alex Summers screwed Madeline Pryor. His girlfriend has become possessed by an evil entity and is running amok (and it is obvious she is possessed; Wolverine is shown ripping the psychic manifestation free from his neck, so the thing’s power effect is visible. But Alex is apparently an idiot) and he decides the best way to deal with that and his brother’s lack of IQ by forming X-Factor is by screwing his wife.

It felt like Chris Claremont was screwing me.

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@Rob – The Avengers managed to work with just Captain America as a “big” character and three former villains. If that can work, DC with it’s history of legacy characters can surely come up with something (and something better than the Detroit league)

@JG – Aside from New Mutants, Generation X – which ended almost immediately before Grant’s run. Not the same school, but the exact same concept. And it launched around a year after New Mutants ended it’s run – so for something like 15 years there was a book telling stories about young mutants and their school – it just didn’t have Wolverine is all.

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@katefan: Didn’t Havok do that at least partially due to demonic influence?

@coren: True, but it wasn’t the main X-title that had the school, just ancillary ones. There was also a difference in scope; Generation X was only five students hidden away at Emma Frost’s school without interacting much with the “real” X-Men. With Morrison the school was at the forefront serving as background for many stories with the major X-Men as teachers.

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Rob Bartlett said on July 23rd, 2010 at 6:24 pm

coren, well, two of the revamped Justice League’s lineup were legacy characters.

I think the thing about comparing the JLA and Avengers is they evolved in different ways, for several different reasons.

1) Marvel’s universe is more team-based. This tends to mean they can create or foster a larger pool of characters, and writers can nurture them until they become a big deal.

2) Marvel’s books were more popular, to the Flash is always at risk of cancellation, but Daredevil has been plugging along. This pretty much means the major characters at DC were historically “up for grabs”, and therefore the lineup for Justice League always felt more impressive than Avengers. Also, it means there’s usually a larger pool to choose from for the Avengers.

3) Marvel’s better at superheroes that break the mold, while DC is generally better at exploring non-superheroes altogether. Thus, your Warlords or Jonah Hexes don’t really fit in with the JLA.

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JG: That may be true, in regards to Havok. At the time, though, I was so apathetic in regards to the X-Men that maybe I felt anything Chris wrote was seen in the worst possible light.

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Okay, the short short version. When the Pheonix “died”. Madelyne Pryor got a piece of it’s power, which was supposed to wake up Jean Grey from hibernation. This gave her pretty strong telepathic and telekinetic powers, and one thing or another drove her nuttier than she already was. She was mentally manipulating the X Men so she could use them against Cyclops. Then she teamed up with a powerful demon from Limbo and things (by which I mean New York City) generally went you know where in a hand basket.

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American Hawkman said on July 26th, 2010 at 11:47 am

To whoever said that Ostrander was “allowed” to put Hawkworld in the current time, the word you were looking for was “forced” instead of “allowed”. That was an editorial decision, and one Ostrander was ultimately forced into writing an entire arc to straighten out.

For the record? My favorite deaths in comics are Captain Mar-Vell, Skurge, Jean DeWolff, Elektra, and Terra. Good stuff. I also could care less if any of the above were brought back. (As, indeed, some have!)

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Evil Abraham Lincoln said on July 26th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Ambrael: One problem with that statement-Madelyne *didn’t* have any Phoenix-based power until the readers began to use Scott’s abandonment of his wife and son to turn against the character. Read the X-Men and co. Asgard Annuals. When Madelyne was given powers, she became a healer. If she’d been designed to be a pure analogue of Jean Grey, she would have gone all “firebird” as soon as her hidden powers were revealed.

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Would she have? Because RACHEL was still Phoenix then.

Then again, the meme isn’t Rachel Summers dies all the time, now is it?

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The annuals never made it to my particular backwater, so I don’t know what to tell you about that. I can’t cite an issue number, or anything, but in some piece of super villainous exposition, she said said she started using her powers early enough to screw with Cyclops’ mind when he fought Storm for the leadership of the X Men. It was also the Pheonix energy infusion that brought her awake after Sinister cloned her. Before that, she was in a coma or something.

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okay lt’s see
AUNT MAY: one of the reasons i changed spidey’s continuity for my tastes is her death in ASM 400, so Peter stays married AND becomes a father & ben reilly an uncle, it”s called DEVLOPMENT

SUPERGIRL /the FLASH: Barry STAYS DEAD nuff said & linda danvers by PAD was the only time supergirl was really interesting

KRAVEN: who thought bringing him back was a good idea? after the summit that was last hunt he served his purpose so HE STAYS DEAD

JEAN :actually i’m not against her 1st Resurrection (DARK PHOENIX was good but kinda overrated) & nicieza/lobdell made her a great character.and as for Morrison FUCK NEW X-MEN! he fucked the character’s history & characterization & dvlpt just to suit his own sucky plots
his emma frost was fucking annoying, no subtelty at all ;the fact that cyclops trusted her, one of the people that made jean go dark phoenix, without even thinking “i have to keep an eye on her,even gambit is more trustworthy than her…”,he should even hate her by all rights(i swear morrison would make scott & apocalypse best buds sharing a beer while talking about cable ‘s infection). she was not the subtle & cold apathetic antiheroin scott lobdell developped besides sex therapist=teacher now, of course & plumbers are mercenaries!
cassandra nova was pure trash ,how people classify her as one of the best villains is still beyond me,really 50 years & a foetus comes haunting me back because….? i dunno at least onslaught could be seen as xavier id,repressions & nihilism forming a psionic entity bent on destroying free will & make sense
xorn…just xorn:”i impersonate someone all this time to act as a nazi buffoon & to fool the x-men on my asteroid on which i spent time & money which god knows where & then logan can behead me…makes sense”
Now the culture concept and mutant town were nice but if the story doesn’t back it up then it’s trash.& don’t get me started on all i did was die on you… FUCK QUESADA & MORRISON

GREEN GOBLIN: srsly harras chickened out,instead of moving on & saying peter ‘s the real one & letting ben live as the brother peter never had…no …positive evolution is marvel & dc worst nightmare apparently.as for me NORMAN IS WORM FOOD!

as for other great deaths there’s doc ock during web of death,silver surferbizarro, doomsday…

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