Monday, November 7, 2011

Heroes Who Died Stupid Deaths

While there are several hero deaths that serve a purpose, some are just plain dumb and have no reason other than a lazy writer looking for a gimmick or a reboot. Here are some that I never liked:

The White Tiger

The original White Tiger was the first major Puerto Rican of the 70's. He was a kung-fu fightin' machine with perhaps one of the simplest costumes of all time.

He made his first appearance in "Deadly Hands of Kung Fu" magazine, but it was the Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man comic series that introduced him to me. I instantly loved this guy and picked up every issue of PPTSM that had him in it. Eventually Marvel flopped out on him and had him give up the amulets that gave him the power. He drifted off into the sunset in the early 80's and such was life.

Until Marvel wanted a reboot. Rather than bring this character back and send him center stage (imagine how relevant he would be now and how cool it would have been to see him take on the Black Panther!), they opted to kill him off by being shot after being framed for murder. So this awesome hero's legacy is destroyed in his final minutes...go Marvel.


Yes, I know his death was indeed awesome and he went out with a "Yippi Ki Ya" moment most heroes would love to have...until you realize that his death was literally a five-issue gimmick with no lasting effect. He literally was dead less than 12 issues of comic continuity, making his return in the "House of M" story that immediately followed.

He died during the Avengers Disassembled storyline fighting the Kree and a hundred other baddies outside what was left of the Avenger's Mansion. A stray shot sets off one of his explosive arrows and rather than take the quiver off and throw it away he chooses to explode in a Kree mothership. Indeed a boss death and worth noting.

But it's the after-effect that I hated. I liked the character and hated to see him die. His death was really a good storytelling blow to the Avengers and Marvel Universe...but we never had time to let it register before he was back. They wasted a perfectly good death scene for this gimmick.

Ant Man (Scott Lang)

While Hank Pym was indeed the original Ant Man, the one I actually grew up reading more about was Scott Lang. He took the reins in 1979 with Marvel Premiere 47 and stayed Ant Man possibly longer than Hank Pym himself.

This was (and is) who I consider Ant Man when I look at the Bronze Age of comics. He took the character in a very cool direction, and helped out in several different titles, even becoming a member of the Fantastic Four while Reed Richards was believed dead.

Unfortunately he didn't last forever in the role. In the same storyline that killed Hawkeye we saw Scott Lang die when Jack of Hearts came back from the dead and blew him up. No purpose or reason for anything...just stupid shock value at the start of this "ground-breaking" event.


Dr. OTR said...

These days, any hero's death seems to be just for shock value, and you know they're going to come back, sooner or later (and often sooner). In lieu of creative story telling, they just figure, "I know! Let's kill of the main character! And then bring him back!" It's a gimmick they've pulled so often that it's one of the reasons I've recently given up reading contemporary comics.

Reed S. said...

I think I can sum up the majority of your list:

"Brian Michael Bendis sucks at writing"

And I agree, oh god how I agree. In fact I think you left out the most idiotic of all the super hero deaths in history: All of Alpha Flight being killed in 2 seconds by 1 guy...OFF SCREEN!

I mean, I know they're not as popular but just because they're not actively using the characters doesn't mean you have to kill them. And to be completely honest, the guys from Alpha Flight are on par with or stronger than the New Avengers (With the exception of Sentry).

Johnny Storm's death was pretty pointless in terms of not having any real weight (they might have already brought him back).

William said...

Like Dr. OTR pointed out, B.M. Bendis is indeed responsible for every one of these very stupid and pointless deaths. I too was a big fan of the original White Tiger. I first discovered him in PPTSM #9 and I instantly loved him. I picked up every comic with him in it (even the issues of The Human Fly he was in). So, I was very excited to see him return in the pages of Daredevil a few years ago, then Bendis killed him off in a very contrived and idiotic fashion (like he always does). I was so ticked off after that "story", I immediately dropped the book and have not read another issue of DD since, (and DD was always one of my favorite characters, BTW).

As a lot of people have, I too quit reading contemporary comics a few years ago, right after Civil War in fact. I recently read an interview with an editor of Marvel comics (I don't have time to look up his name) who admitted that they "kill off" a major character once or twice a year just to boost sales. He said it works every time, so they just keep doing. So much for credibility and artistic integrity.

Don Hudson said...

In my humble opinion, the caretakers of the characters( Editors) surrendered power to the Writers. Scott lang was a great hero that was killed and I remember that he was a single father with a daughter.
Hey Marvel, stop killing off your characters!

dbutler16 said...

I think that all of these "stupid" deaths involved Brian Michael Bendis. No surprise there. By the way, while Hank Pym is the first Ant-Man I knew (thanks to reprints) I've always liked Scott Lang in that role. More interesting than Pym, actually.

Shaun. said...

The fact that you people have 'given up reading contemporary comics' means that you are extremely narrow minded when it comes to comics in general. Just because a writer has killed off a character, it doesn't mean they're all going to be killed off!

Futhermore, the realities in these comics are tangible, so these heroes and villains can be brought back, leading to a richer and more compelling character history. They don't have to be based in the real world, which is why they are comics - a fantasy, where almost anything is possible!

Just because you don't like what one person has done to a few characters, it doesn't mean you should flip-off the rest of the comics that are out there! There is some real talent that you're shutting out because it's 'contemporary', or because 'they'll probably kill off the main character'. You need to use some perspective.

Shaun. said...

Also, Brian Michael Bendis is a great writer, story-teller. He's written more amazing stories than any one of you people who criticise could.

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