Last time we talked about a bad plot twist, it was a comic book from the 70's. This time we're going to look at one that's just a couple of months old, but it telegraphed the "twist" just the same.
When Marvel announced the imminent death of one of the members of the Fantastic Four, they put a lot into the marketing. They even went so far as to put the issues in a black poly-bag (not done since the "Death of Superman" issue) and told retailers they would not be publishing any extra copies of the issue. In other words, what didn't get ordered for a specific person wouldn't be coming out. It was a brave move meant to draw attention and sales to the comic series that had at one time been Marvel's flagship title and their first foray into a team book.
The problem came when Marvel decided to make this a big news event and invite the non-comics-related news sources into the party. The cat would be let out of the poly-bag too soon.
Unlike Marvel's decision to kill Captain America a few years back and get all the mileage out of it they could, this particular death was meant to be a surprise to the reader. They knew someone was going down, but not exactly who. Unfortunately for Marvel, some guy who probably never reads comics gets this story across his desk on a slow news day and decides to publish it. "Some guy named the Human Torch is getting killed in a comic book somewhere. Ok, whatever, print it."
The problem? The news broke the story the day before the comic book hit the retail stores! Suddenly all the secrecy and hush-hush marketing tactics were thrown out just 24 hours before the big reveal. Granted, in the age of the internet it's just about impossible to keep anything secret for long, but to have gone that long and have it spoiled was a bummer.
In a poll we ran here in the days leading up to the issue, our wise Comics in Crisis readers voted Johnny as most likely to be killed. It turns out you guys were right, but it was all just speculation until the issue itself came out...but then the news media got it.
So in the end, even though the Human Torch went out in a blaze of glory (Ha! Couldn't resist...sorry), the big moment itself fizzled out. Of course, his death was a useless act anyhow. The door was closing behind him already. All he had to do was fly up there, shoot a few fireballs to throw them off, and then just fly away and stay alive for a few days until Reed got back and got him out! Instead, he pulls this macho "me against the millions" routine and gets killed. Like a dog staring down a truck and saying, "I think I can take him", Storm got smashed like roadkill for no reason.
And in all honesty, who really believes Johnny Storm will stay dead? No comic book character ever stays dead, right?