Human Torch: R.I.P (but for how long?)

27 01 2011

Fantastic Four, issue 587 marked the death of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. While this was marketed has a significant moment in the history of the Fantastic Four, for comic book readers, the death of a character as well known as the Human Torch is hard to

Ever had one of those days where you wish you stayed in bed?

swallow.

Today, nearly every significant death to happen in comic books as been reversed or has been heavily considered reversing. Barry Allen, Jason Todd, Bucky Barnes, and more have all returned. Marvel even thought about bringing back Gwen Stacy. Some character,s the publishers have openly said will be returning after death, such as Bruce Wayne. Barry Allen on the other hand, was given one the most heroic deaths in comic books and was well replaced by his former sidekick Wally West. Wally had even become the more recognized Flash in main stream media, but still, Barry Returned.

No one can blame comic book readers when they roll their eyes at the idea of a character dyeing. What tends to matter the most is what is done with the character afterwards. Is a significant change made? If one isn’t, why bring the character back at all? Take Green Arrow. While his return was well written, nothing interesting has been done with him that lasted. Creators have tried to do things ranging from having him carry a sword to getting married. But none of these changes lasted or made him a more interesting character. In fact, his return and these changes not only did nothing for Green Arrow, but ended up doing more harm to his supporting cast then good. His old side-kick Roy Harper was doing just fine without a dad around. He just made it into the Justice League, had a loving daughter, and had a nice little love affair with Ms. Hawkgirl. Then, in an attempt to make Green Arrow more interesting, Roy lost an arm, his daughter, and his sanity. What did Roy do to deserve all that?

Then on the other end of the death coin we have a character like Jason Todd. While I don’t like the fact that Jason came back, I must say a lot of interesting things have been done with him. Not only is he an antagonist to Batman, but even more to the point, he is a living representation to one of Batman’s greatest mistakes. The was Jason interacts with each member of the Bat Family is very different, and he has also developed relationships with other heroes that other characters would not be able to do. Such as developing a love triangle with Donna Troy and Kyle Rayner. And stories like “Battle for the Cowl” could not have happened without Jason. He’s not the same character he was in the late 70’s. You cross this Robin he’ll come after you with Bat-skills and Bat-bullets. No killing code? Not with Jason.

My only real beef with Johnnys death is we don’t actually see him die. Yes, we see him swarmed, but no dead body. If there isn’t a body then he isn’t dead. Add in the fact that another character told him “we’ll be back,” makes me all the more reluctant to believe Johnny is gone for good. I’ve watched Marvel blow-up a guy whose power set matched Robin Hood, shoot a guy on a flight of stairs at point blank, and have someone inject themselves with a deadly virus. All these characters are now dancing downtown with the living. How? Resurrections have ranged from; reality shifting, time stream alters, and alien shape shifters. We’ve seen some pretty sloppy resurrections over the years. In fact, the new trend in comic books isn’t even to bring back character individually in their own books. That takes too much time. Just have fake Satin resurrect a buncha heroes or have heroes that were thought to be dead fall from the sky in a space ship.

So where does that leave the Human Torch’s death? The death itself was a noble one. The final moments where heart pulling. The death itself is one that will be remember and could not have been done better. And as readers, that’s what is the most important. The story itself. Johny Storm needs to either stay dead, or must return in a way that is drastically different then what we are used to. If he comes back the same character, then this death was only done as a way to boost sales for a super hero team that doesn’t make Marvel enough money.





My Thing is alive!

24 01 2011

Tomorrow marvel is releasing what they say to be the last issue of Fantastic Four. Sure Marvel’s already said they’re launching a new series titled “FF” (creative right?) This issue also is said to feature the death of one of Marvel’s

Cover to New Avengers 11.

premier family members. For months now fans, reviewers, and even other comic book writers have been making predictions of who will die. Well one thing is for curtain, it’s not going to be The Thing. I could go analyzing reasons that Marvel would want to keep one the most popular member of the team alive. I could also try and elaborate on observations in this story arc regarding clues that the The Thing is meant to live. Instead I’ll just point out the The Thing is featured on a cover for New Avengers that is going to release in April. So don’t worry Ben Grimm fans, your boy is safe. Word of advice though, if you’ve got a friend who works with Marvel’s marketing team, don’t tell them any secrets. They don’t seem to be very good at keeping them





Can you Steel death?

13 01 2011

So Steel is dead. Killed at the hands of the villain Doomsday. One more Black Super Hero gone, but will he honestly be missed? Since his debut still has been known as a JLA tech man, as well as Superman’s partner. But neither of these positions he held for very long.

                I’m a very big Steel fan, but let’s be honest, how important where his roles? And on a bigger picture, could the DCU actually be better off without him? There is no shortage of black tech guys in DC comics. We’ve got Mr. Terrific, Cyborg, and even John Stewart. And do any of these guys even talk or hang out? No! You’re even all on different super teams! You would think that on one of the many many team ups the JLA, JSA, and Titans have these guys would talk to each other at least once, or try and build something together!

                Then let’s see the accomplishments Steel has made in his super hero career. He stepped up to bat when Superman died, he joined the JLA for a bit, aaaannnndddd then he became part of the “Crisis background” crew. One of the many heroes who fill space in super hero splash panels. Mr. Terrific has been the chairman for the JSA, Cyborg has mentored a generation of young heroes, and John Stewart built the current JLA watch tower. Steele? He became superman’s partner until Supergirl returned and took that spot. Yep, Steel lost his job to a teenage girl. That’s like being a Best Buy employee at 28 and having a manager who’s 18.

                Steel has made fairly regular appearance in the JLA though, stepping in as a tech expert. But if the JLA is supposed to be DC’s most iconic characters, shouldn’t this spot actually go to cyborg? After Dick Grayon and Wally West, Cyborg is arguably one of DC’s most iconic young heroes. He’s made appearances in Super Friends, Teen Titans, and Smallville. It’s way past time for Cyborg to step up to the big league, but with a character like Steele around, that probably won’t happen.

                And how big of a deal is Steele’s death, really? He’s already died once before during “Our World’s at War.” ADuring Blackest Night it was said that now “Dead is Dead,” and with Steele being one of the first major deaths since, I guess we’re going to see if that statement will hold true in DC.