I’m sick of death.
I’ve never been a big fan of the “shock death” in superhero comics, I have to admit; if nothing else, it’s become an increasingly lazy way of grabbing attention and attempting to give the story “importance” and “weight” without really earning it over the years, as well as one that’s become more and more pointless considering the number of characters who’ll later return from the dead at some point (Final Crisis‘ knowing funeral for J’Onn J’Onzz comes to mind: “We’ll all miss him. And pray for a resurrection”). But over the last year, it’s become particularly overused with the “deaths” of the Human Torch, Ultimate Spider-Man – although I’m not sure that counts, considering he’s clearly not dead yet, three months after having been fatally wounded – and now Captain America (again). So, imagine my lack of thrill when I saw Tom Brevoort discuss Cap’s death in the most recent Talk To The Hat column at CBR:
I’ve talked about this in a couple of other places, but to reiterate what I said there, we don’t go into these things thinking that you have to have a death. What we do go in thinking is that you have to have a change. Something has got to change from the beginning of an event series to the end. The landscape in some way, shape of form needs to be different. That can involve any number of things. It can certainly involve characters perishing. It can involve characters being resurrected. It can involve characters ending up in different places around the universe or any number of other things. But you need a certain amount of legitimate change to give the event and its aftermath the necessary gravitas. Without that, it’s a big, fun adventure, but it doesn’t amount to very much.
Firstly: We’re back to the idea that stories only “count” when they impact a greater continuity permanently again, aren’t we? I miss the days when a “big, fun adventure” could be accepted as an end unto itself.
Secondly: I’m not sure that I necessarily buy that “we don’t go into these things thinking that you have to have a death,” if only because some of the Big Event Book Deaths have been so astoundingly random (The Wasp’s in Secret Invasion, for example, came out of nowhere and didn’t really accomplish anything that couldn’t have been accomplished without her dying. It’s not the most WTF death on a recent event book – That would be Firestorm’s, in Infinite Crisis, if you ask me – but it’s close) and not responsible for the “change” that the events ultimately led to. Also, if there isn’t a death expected for every event, why has every Marvel event since Avengers Disassembled – with the exception, I think, of House of M, unless I’m forgetting someone - had a death? Disassembled had Hawkeye (and Ant-Man and Jack of Hearts, but come on). Civil War had Goliath, and the aftermath had Captain America. Secret Invasion had the Wasp, Siege had the Sentry and Ares, and Fear Itself has, to date, Captain America. Is that really just a coincidence?
(Outside of the major crossovers, X-Men: Second Coming had Nightcrawler and Cable dying, as well.)
Most worryingly, Brevoort ends his comments with
And it’s not the only fatality we’ll have by the end, so there’s more change of that nature to come in the pages of “Fear Itself.”
Great. Well, I’m glad we’ve got more of that to look forward to before the series ends. Maybe this time, Odin can die for a third time!