Last week, Disney and Marvel announced a metric ton of new shows and characters coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’re getting Ironheart, we’re getting Secret Invasion, we’re getting She-Hulk, we’re getting America Chavez, we’re getting Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania; we’re getting so so so much content over the next few years! It’s going to be great!
Most exciting at all (debatable) is the fact that Stingray could finally make an appearance in the new TV show Armor Wars, starring Don Cheadle as War Machine.
Why is this the best chance to get Stingray into the MCU? I’m so glad you asked!
Armor Wars is a classic Iron Man story from the late 1980s, wherein Tony Stark discovers that his armor technology has been stolen and integrated into several armored villains from around the Marvel Universe. So Tony launches a crusade to shut this stuff down, taking on all of these villains…and then it evolves to taking on anyone with armor. He wants to get his tech out of the hands of everybody.
And one of this suspects is, our favorite, Stingray.
So Iron Man goes after Stingray and battles his fellow Avenger. It’s hero vs. hero! But in the end, after defeating Stingray, Tony learns that Stingray’s armor is not based on Stark designs. He attacked a hero and fellow Avenger for no good reason!
It’s a bit of a turning point in the Armor Wars story…and easily something that could be a turning point in the TV show! It’s one thing to take on the likes of Stilt-Man and the Controller, but to beat up a fellow Avenger? A fellow hero? That’s a big deal! And great for TV drama.
If you’d like to learn more about what the heck I’m talking about, the Iron Man cartoon from the 1990s did an Armor Wars two-parter. And both episodes are available on YouTube! And Disney+, if you’re subscribed.
But YouTube clips are easier to share on this blog. So check out this episode. The Stingray portion begins at the 4:00 mark.
How fun is that? Such an underrated show.
Also, now that I think about it, Armor Wars is also our best chance of getting Stilt-Man into the MCU. That’s also exciting!
Good news, everybody! Stingray is alive and well! He’s one of my favorite comic book characters, and one of the characters that is so rare that I like to catalog his appearances when he does show up. And Stingray shows up for a quick bit in the new issue of Iron Man 2020!
What’s even better is that he’s still alive by the end of the scene! That sort of thing isn’t guaranteed these days.
Stingray was last scene in Jason Aaron’s Avengers comic, where he barely survived an attack by Namor’s sharks! So I’m very happy to report that he recovered from the attack and went right back to being a nautical superhero!
Today’s a good day.
In a Little More Than 2 Years, Nearly Every Single One of My Favorite Comic Book Characters Has Been Killed
As a longtime comic book reader, I have my personal list of favorite characters. Everybody has one, right? Those characters that you love to read about and see pop up in new comics. For a lot of people, their favorite characters are big name superheroes, like Spider-Man or Batman. For me, I tend to prefer the smaller supporting characters. That’s just what happens when you read a lot of comics and are exposed to a lot of characters.
As such, when I started this blog back in 2011, one of my earliest Lists of Six was my top six favorite comic book characters of all-time. With the exception of one name, that list has remained pretty firm over the past eight years.
In the past two years and a couple months, nearly every character on that list has been killed. Several characters in my Honorable Mentions addendum have been killed. And a couple other characters I love have either been killed or nearly killed within this time frame.
I don’t…I don’t know what’s going on.
I don’t presume to think this is some sort of targeted attack on yours truly. I think this is just the unfortunate cost of loving minor comic book characters, the sorts of characters that can be chewed up and spit out as any given writer sees fit.
But damn, this has been pretty hard on the soul.
And I guess I just felt like listing them off, as if that would help me somehow. Let’s start with my favorite characters list:
Multiple Man was killed in Death of X #1 in October 2016.
He’s still dead. Multiple Man has returned to comics, replaced by one of his duplicates. And his character has been re-written as a feckless coward. So that’s some good salt in the wound.
The Mimic was killed in Extermination #5 in December 2018.
This one was really disappointing. He made a surprise appearance in Extermination after being out of comics for a few years. I knew from the moment he appeared that he probably wouldn’t survive the series, and I had to wait several months for those fears to be confirmed.
Phil Urich was killed in Amazing Spider-Man #797 in March 2018.
Phil was my favorite superhero as a kid, and the first comic I actively started collecting on my own, issue-by-issue. I endured years of him being transformed into an unrepentant villain before they finally put him out of his misery.
Tim Drake was killed in Detective Comics #940 in September 2016.
Thankfully, his death was a fake out. He survived and returned to service shortly thereafter. He’s even gone back to being just “Robin” instead of the far more ridiculous “Red Robin”. So there’s at least one happy ending in this list.
That’s it for my list of favorites. I listed “Robin” on that list as more of the concept of the character. Damian Wayne, the current Robin, is still alive…but if I’m being honest, he hasn’t really been ‘Robin’ in a long time. The concept of ‘Batman and Robin’ as a team is pretty dead. So does that count? Not to mention that Damian was killed in early 2013. So for a short while there, Robin was dead.
The Spot is also still alive, but he’s the one character I would probably take off my list of favorites. I’ve always been a big fan of the Spot, and will always be a big fan of the Spot, but there are characters I like better. Which is probably why he’s still alive.
How about some of those Honorable Mentions at the bottom of the page?
Mach X was killed in Thunderbolts #12 in April 2017.
The Scorpion was maybe killed in Venom Annual #1 in October 2018.
I’m not too sure about this one. It does appear that Venom kills the Scorpion, but then Scorpion has been showing up in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man recently. I may have to check and see if there’s an explanation.
Strong Guy was killed in Uncanny X-Men #12 in February 2019.
This is the most recent, and inspired this list. Strong Guy is Multiple Man’s best friend, and one of my favorite duos in comics. And now they’re both dead, and neither one particularly cares about the other these days. So just bleakness all around.
Avalanche was killed in Uncanny Avengers #1 in October 2012.
That happened a year after I started my blog and he’s still dead. The recent X-Men Gold comic introduced a new Avalanche, but I didn’t read it, and I’m pretty sure the character didn’t stick around. The X-Men have since ignored the new Pyro also, and he joined the X-Men towards the end of that comic. So that’s not looking good.
That’s the major list. Eight of my favorite comic book characters have been killed since I started this blog, most of them within the past two years or so. And only one of them has been properly ‘resurrected’ in that time. It’s just a little soul-crushing.
That’s not counting the time Stingray was nearly killed in a recent Avengers comic. Or the speculation that Simon Baz, my favorite Green Lantern, is probably going to be killed in Heroes in Crisis.
I don’t have any larger point to make. And I’m largely just whining. But c’mon. There’s only so much my soul can take. Is it really so wrong to have favorite comic book characters? Is there somebody specifically targeting me?
When will it stop?
All I really know is that Beta Ray Bill had better be very careful now that he’s a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s almost no way he’s going to survive that comic.
I was worried for a minute there. But we can rest easy, folks.
Stingray is probably my all-time favorite Avenger. It’s all in the costume. That is one damn cool superhero costume. And I love his reserve status, this ordinary dude who sometimes helps out the Avengers when it comes to watery stuff. I love that he designed his suit for his job as an oceanographer, and first and foremost, he’s an oceanographer, but will help out as a superhero when necessary.
And should Marvel Comics ever come calling, I have a tight 5 to 6 issue Stingray pitch to offer. Seriously, call me.
Last month, it appeared that his longtime ally, Namor the Submariner, killed Stingray in Avengers #9, by writer Jason Aaron. I was devastated. It’s been a rough year for me and having my favorite superheroes killed.
The issue opens with a really awesome scene of Stingray fighting Tiger Shark, drawn by David Marquez.
But then a new evil Namor shows up, having once again declared war on the surface world, or some such. When Stingray balks at kissing Namor’s ring, Namor beats him within an inch of his life and orders his war sharks to kill Stingray. It’s pretty brutal.
And that looked to be the end. Stingray is a minor character, and having him killed to kick off some big Namor storyline in Avengers is a perfectly reasonable use of a minor character. That’s what happens to minor characters.
And fans of such minor characters, like me, just have to deal with that fact.
But then the follow up issue, Avengers #10, came out this week. Captain America seems to reassure me personally that everything is OK and the world isn’t as dark and horrible as I’d feared.
Stingray doesn’t actually appear in the new issue, but that comment from Cap is good enough for me! He lives! Stingray lives!
What a week for comics. I’m on vacation, so I’m feeling extra lazy. But I still found a couple of OK to good comics to read — and one really bad one! If you were waiting for me to turn on Dan Slott, your time has come!
But we’ve also got the end of Multiple Man (or is it the beginning), and more Heroes in Crisis. Comic Book of the Week goes to West Coast Avengers for another jaunty adventure!
Meanwhile, I stopped reading Jason Aaron’s Avengers awhile ago, so I apparently missed it when he killed Stingray last month, one of my favorite characters and a frequent shout-out dude on this blog. Man. What the freakin’ heck. I just can’t have nice things. We’re still one issue away from finding out if Mimic dies in Extermination.
If that happens, then this year in comics has killed Mimic, Stingray, Phil Urich, possibly Simon Baz and maybe sorta Multiple Man again. This just isn’t my year…
Comic Reviews: Heroes in Crisis #2, Multiple Man #5, Tony Stark – Iron Man #5 and West Coast Avengers #3.