'Avengers Vs. X-Men' And The Cheapness Of Death

Senior Contributor
09.14.12 16 Comments

Relax, I’ll avoid spoilers in this post.

So, yeah, our deadpool, eleven issues into the twelve-issue series, finally has a winner.

I’d post who, but I literally read the issue, went “Huh”, finished it, and by the time I’d read my next comic, I’d totally forgotten said character had gotten bumped off.

I just don’t take deaths, especially major character deaths, remotely seriously in comics anymore. Not even those in the industry really take it seriously. When Marvel killed off Banshee, Peter David wrote his daughter not breaking down in mourning but shrugging and going for waffles. In Nextwave, death is so cheap that Monica Rambeau idly state “X-Men come back more than Jesus.” Hell, DC couldn’t make the death of Green Lantern they hyped up last more than an issue.

It’s not that this death isn’t major: This character will be missed, until Marvel needs to boost sales numbers and he comes back. And it establishes somebody else has gone nuts. But at this point, nobody takes these fatalities seriously. And why should they?

The problem is less how these deaths are written and more the fact that, well, they never ever stick. If you look over the characters that have actually stayed dead in the 616, almost inevitably it’s because the Punisher got them and also because they’re minor characters. Nobody wants them back, so they’re staying dead.

It would be nice to see a company pass a rule that a character stays dead for the length of an editor’s tenure, at least. That way, editors would be a bit more thoughtful about who they pick off for the sake of drama. And I might actually start remembering these deaths again.

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