When the stellar DC miniseries "Identity Crisis" ended, we saw Ray Palmer shrinking down to microscopic size and then disappearing. That was it! Was he dead? Where did he go? Well, for years he was gone and we were never going to find out where he went.
During that time, a college student stepped into his place and ran with the title for a while. Then Ray came back and the world wasn't big enough for 2 Atoms (ha! Get it?). Of all the hero deaths out there he definitely ended up getting the short end of the stick. We never even saw him killed! Instead, he was just quietly replaced.
I have to say that I fully supported DC bringing Ray Palmer back at the Atom. He had such a rich history that they could draw upon, while Ryan always seemed a lot like a whiner. I don't think killing him was necessary, but it did make for an interesting plot point.
Now this was the first one to really hit the stride and set the mark for major superhero deaths. The "Death of Superman" issue was shipped in a little polybag and I can still remember tearing through the issue of nothing but splash pages. And dude, was I let down by how quickly the fight was over (almost as quickly as it was on "Smallville").
Then the second wave of Supermen showed up. I personally was rooting for the "sunglasses Superman" (the Eradicator, we later found out) to be the real thing, but it wasn't to be. At any rate, it was pretty cool to see some new folks in the red-and-blues for a while. Even the news media knew this was just a temporary gimmick, but it was fun while it lasted, and it gave way to our next change...
At the end of the "Death and Return of Superman" storyline, Mongul destroyed Coast City with the help of the cyborg Superman. In the process, Hal Jordan lost the city he loved. This led to him losing his mind and becoming a bad guy, and then a dead guy, for years on end. Eventually, Geoff Johns, giver of all good things DC, brought him back.
But while he was gone, Green Lantern was replaced by a young artist who found himself the last GL out there. His ring was no longer crippled by yellow, and charging it wasn't necessary. It seemed a dream deal!
It didn't last forever, but Kyle did a good job and is still a major player in the DC universe. To be fair, I also need to mention that Hal was replaced earlier (for a short time) by John Stewart and Guy Gardner.
Thor replaced by the Thor clone
Did you think of this one? I was never a big fan of the Thor title so I'm not really sure why he disappeared or what happened to him, but I do know he was gone for a long time. During the "Civil War", we saw him return...so we thought. Instead, we got this unstable clone that ended up killing Giant Man (Bill Foster). That one move was a big surprise to the fans, and to myself, until it was explained away.
Eventually, that clone was destroyed at the hands of Hercules (and his infamous "Thou art no Thor!" rant). But he did show back up again later, only to be taken down by Thor himself.
I can't think of another hero who got the shaft bigger than this one. They bring The Question into the DC universe for "52", turn him into this really cool character using the JLU cartoon series, and then decide to kill him off! Huh?
If you're going to take out a major character, don't make him cool just before you do it! I never really cared that much about the Question until "52"...and then you take him away!
Vic came back for a single issue during the "Blackest Night" run, but I still think they should have brought him back during "Brightest Day". He was a far more interesting character than Montoya.
Holy Moley! You mean there are more??? Yep, next week we finish out with looking at a final batch of replacements. Not even superheros have job security!
See you next year!