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.
Welp, Strong Guy is dead. Remember last summer, when I was worried that he would be sacrificed in that New Mutants mini-series? Only for him to survive? Welp, that didn’t last long. The moment he returns following that mini-series, he’s needlessly killed.
Strong Guy takes the brunt of a bomb in this week’s Uncanny X-Men issue.
There didn’t need to be a bomb. And he didn’t need to sacrifice himself. Neither is intrinsically important to the story at hand. It just happens. Maybe to raise the stakes of the story? Maybe to underline how dark and gritty it is?
I don’t know and I’m starting to not care. Just kill everybody I love. Why not? What have you got to lose? Just kill’em all and bask in the awesome writing skill of killing characters!
That’s how you know it’s a good comic. If a lot of characters are killed, then it’s a good comic. That’s a rule of making comics. Right? Surely that’s right.
This isn’t the end of Strong Guy Watch. It’ll come back in a year or two when he’s resurrected. Because that’s the other god damned rule: characters don’t stay dead. Unless they’re Multiple Man, my all-time favorite comic book character. When he’s killed…no wait, hold off for a second. He’s actually been killed several times now. When he was killed the last time, he’s stayed dead, and Marvel has instead put a puppet in his place.
So no, my favorite comic book characters don’t get resurrected. They get replaced by a mocking simulacrum.
There is no joy in Mudville.
Good news, everybody! Strong Guy has been spotted in Age of X-Man! He’s not one of the main characters, and he’s not even an active character, but I kept my eyes peeled and there he was!
In a picture. One of those classic past-class pictures of the X-Men on the walls of the X-Mansion. Madrox is there, too!
That is from The Marvelous X-Men #1. I doubt we’ll see much more of Strong Guy.
The original purpose of Strong Guy Watch has passed, but seeing Guido show up in the background was too good to pass up. Currently, he’s one of several X-Men trapped by the Phalanx. Hopefully somebody saves him eventually.
I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that Strong Guy isn’t dead. The final issue of New Mutants – Dead Souls came out this week, and Strong Guy is still alive!
The bad news is he spent several years in Hell, so he’s been abnormally aged. But he’s now got a badass long beard.
The bad news is also that the issue ends with Strong Guy and most of the New Mutants being taken over by some new evil version of Warlock. I think?
I dunno. It’s a weird place to end a mini-series, since I don’t think the continuation of this story has been announced anywhere. So I’m not entirely sure what happens next.
The good thing is, though, that Strong Guy is still alive. So to speak. That’s mostly what I care about.
OK, so we’ve known for a bit now that the Uncanny X-Men title was coming back to print this fall. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Marvel loves relaunching the X-Men with an entirely new status quo every two years or so. I call it the X-Men Assembly Line. And the next major twist has been announced, kicking off with the 10-part Disassembled.
I’m not all that excited by this relaunch, at least not until we know more about what’s going to happen. I like the general idea, at least. I think the X-Men are long overdue for an overhaul. The fat needs to be trimmed, and I hope this Disassembled thing is that fat-trimming.
You can read more about the whole thing at Marvel.
There are three important things to note, at least as far as I’m concerned:
- Kelly Thompson is indeed going to be a major player in the X-Men franchise. This is awesome news! She’s the excellent writer behind all the great Rogue & Gambit stuff we’ve been seeing.
- The Multiple Man in that picture has the “M” tattoo over his eye. The currently alive Jamie Madrox over in the Multiple Man comic is a dupe who does not have the “M” tattoo over his eye. Could this mean that Jamie Prime will be back by Disassembled? I’m hopeful!
- Where the heck is Strong Guy? I have been dutifully on Strong Guy Watch for awhile now, and I’m disappointed that this is a big X-Men group shot and he’s not hiding in the background somewhere! That’s his thing right now!
Whatever happens with Disassembled, I will at least check it out. Hopefully the rest of you are more excited than I am.