When one of our beloved comic characters dies in a story, we’re supposed to be surprised and shocked and saddened. Usually, though, we all say the same thing, “I give it six months and they’re back from the dead.” As true as that is, there have been some deaths in Marvel and DC Comics that have been tragic. I reached out to some of you on Facebook and Twitter to get an idea of your favorites and here’s what you said:
Evan David (Strangers & Aliens): Superman’s my favorite.
David Hunt (Geek This!): I’m with Evan about Superman. The death of superman event happened when I was younger so for me that was the first time thinking “Oh snap! They killed one of the main people!” That was before I realized it had happened before, such as Jean Grey’s death as the Phoenix. Anymore it seems like there’s a “death of the month”. As for returns, you obviously can’t talk about it without talking about Bucky Barnes and Jason Todd.
Ben Avery (Strangers & Aliens): Check out our Strangers and Aliens Easter episode! I give a few of my favorites… Spock kinda tops the list, though.
David Arington (Helix Reviews): I haven’t read a ton Marvel’s Ultimate comics, but the death of the Ultimate Spider-Man was pretty amazing! I also liked the death/return of the 616 Spider-Man with the whole Superior Spider-Man thing. And as already mentioned the Bucky/Winter Solider and Jason Todd/ Red Hood returns are classics!
Dallas Panda Marshal Mora (Geeks Under Grace): Superman is at the top of my list too. Though Tim Drake is interesting.
Before I dive deep into the two stories I’ve selected, I wanted to preface everything. I originally had about six different stories to share for this episode, but the more I dug into them, I realized that some of them happened before I started reading comics, more or less. I narrowed it down to these two, so I hope you don’t mind.
Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man #698 – #700 – 2012) | Dan Slott / Humberto Ramos
The beginning of this story starts in issue #600, but these three issues are the main part of Peter Parker’s 616 death. We find out before these that Doctor Octopus, Spidey’s longest-running villain, is terminally ill.
Issue #698 starts out with Spider-Man swinging across NYC having what he calls “the best day of his life”. Through most of the book he’s reminiscing, but there comes a point when Captain America, Spider Woman, Wolverine and Hawkeye all meet up with Spidey and inform him that Doctor Octopus is dying. Oddly enough, he’s asking for Peter. Cap and the other Avengers take Peter to The Raft (Marvel’s Ryker’s Island) where he hears Ock say, “Peter Parker…” Of course, Peter’s response is, “Yes, I’m Peter Parker.” Next, though, Ock says something weird: “No… Not anymore, Spider-Man. From now on, I am Peter Parker. I have all of your memories. I know everything you knew. I have your life and everything that comes with it. And you are now Otto Octavius. With what little time you have left…” And then Peter begins speaking, continuing Doc Ock’s words, “… trapped in that broken body – brought about by years of your brutal beatings. And like a good magician, I shall not reveal my secrets. You will die, never knowing how I performed my last and greatest trick.” Doc Ock flatlines, Spider-Man calls in the medics and walks out with the Avengers like nothing ever happened. In issue #699, we discover that Doc used some tech to hack into Peter’s brain, copy everything and then put the information into his dying body. (Comic books, right?) Once Peter (in Ock’s body) figures all of this out – through a series of flashbacks – he starts calling on some super villains to break him free from The Raft. The saddest part of this story was in issue #700 where Peter essentially has a glimpse of heaven while flatlining and meets up with Uncle Ben, Gwen and some other characters who have died over the course of the last 700 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. When he comes to, he is broken out of The Raft by Hydro-Man, Trapster, and Scorpion. In the end, Peter, in a broken and dying body, fights his hardest with Doc Ock, who now has all of the strength of Spider-Man. Peter attempts to take back control of his body with one of Ock’s bots (the same ones that took his mind in the first place). As you might expect, Ock thought of everything and installed a steel plate so this couldn’t happen. As the fight ends and Peter is dying in Doc Ock’s body, he makes Ock understand what Uncle Ben taught him so long ago: with great power must also come great responsibility. In a last ditch effort, he explains what it means to be Spider-Man. Thus, Otto – always trying to show he’s the smarter of the two – declares he’ll be an even better Spider-Man. The Superior Spider-Man.
Captain America (Captain America Vol. 5 Issue 25) | Ed Brubaker / Steve Epting
Note: If you don’t know much about Marvel’s Civil War event, go check it out, it’s what got me more interested in comics and is an interesting part in Marvel’s history.
There are a lot of complicated story pieces in this story, but in short, Red Skull is behind everything, he’s exacting his revenge on Cap.
At the end of Civil War‘s run, Steve Rogers – always conscious of the morality of his decisions – saw just how much damage he and the heroes were causing in the fight, so he surrendered himself to Tony Stark who was, at the time, the director of SHIELD. As they stroll Cap out through the massive crowds of people there – some opposing the Super Human Registration Act and some opposing Cap himself – he notices a sniper in a window. Of course, Steve jumps in the way of the shot, but that isn’t the killing blow. No, a gun from the crowd appears and shoots Cap right in the stomach with three shots. Bucky (AKA Winter Soldier) has been watching the whole thing from the crowd and immediately sets off to find the sniper. As does Falcon. Falcon finds Bucky in the sniper’s perch, accuses him of shooting Cap, and once Bucky convinces him otherwise, they team up and eventually take down Crossbones, who actually did the sniping. Like I said early, the sniper shot didn’t take Cap down. We find out that Doctor Faustus (employed by Red Skull) brain-washed Agent 13 into dealing the killing shots. She doesn’t figure it out until someone drops the trigger words at the hospital. Poor Sharon.
So those are two superhero deaths that I’ve encountered while reading comics. Now, there are many, many other events like this and I would absolutely love for you to share the ones that impacted you as a reader.
Behind-the-Scenes: Format Changes
- Hosting duties will stay with me as the primary host, with David Hunt popping in as often as possible; guest hosts will show up occasionally, too.
- Episode lengths will stay within the 30-minute range, but may go longer if a guest is on
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