Why comic book deaths mean less

Columnist/Web Editor

Deaths just aren’t the same. There’s no power behind them anymore.

In the mid ‘90s Professor X, who leads the X-Men, was killed by his own son.

Fans held a real funeral in Washington D.C., and the Marvel Comics Universe, at least the X-Men, were thrown into an alternate timeline where Professor X had never trained his X-Men and Apocalypse, the biggest bad guy in the X-Men’s world, ruled everything. It was called “Age of Apocalypse” and is without a doubt one of the most important series in Marvel’s history. Go check it out.

In 1992 Superman died. The DC universe was left in shambles. There was the multi-arc storyline called “Funeral for a Friend” leading up to his death and actual funeral with every major DC Comics character attending, then his replacement by four new Supermen, and his eventual return to life to defeat an evil imposter.

That storyline also birthed a movie starring Shaquille O’Neal called “Steel” that was a B-movie, at best, knock off of one of the heroes that took up the mantel of Superman. Don’t watch it. You can never get that time of your life back.

However, it does show how wide reaching the effect of Superman’s death was.

These are arguably the two most important characters in their respective comic book universes, but the point is that their deaths mattered, and fans cared.

Superman is alive and well, but Professor X was killed during “Avengers VS X-Men” in 2012. You didn’t miss the real funeral held by fans. There wasn’t one. You didn’t miss the alternate timeline. There wasn’t one of those either.

In fact there wasn’t much fuss or muss about it at all. He died. So what?

Fans cared, but it wasn’t in the same way. It was just a plot point that we believe will be reversed at some point. Professor X will come back to life. We don’t know how, but we know he will.

Spiderman recently died, as did Nightcrawler (my favorite character) and Wolverine. The first two of that trio have already been brought back to life. Wolverine is sure to be brought back in “Secret Wars” this May. Maybe Professor X will be rejuvenated in “Secret Wars” too.

If not during the “Secret Wars” series, then soon.

There’s no doubt.

Heroes die. Then they come back. Its’ just the way things work in comic books. But, in a world where no one stays dead, sacrifices mean nothing. These deaths are empty.

It’s a tired circle that shows a lack of creativity in the industry and holds little weight with fans.

It’s easier to bring these characters back than to create new ones.

The fun in it isn’t in the drama found in the loss of the character, but in wondering how writers will bring them back.

By The Preface at IUSB

IU South Bend's Official Student Newspaper

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