Top Ten Superhero Deaths and Resurrections
Jesus: he died to save mankind and then, a while later, he came back! It’s a cool trick, you have to admit. He’s not the only one to have done this though; just about every superhero in the book has taken a temporary dirt nap at one point. Here’s our six Top Ten Superhero Deaths and Resurrections.
6. Green Lantern – Hal Jordan
When his home city was destroyed, Green Lantern (space cop with a magic ring) went a bit mad with grief, wiped out most of his Green Lantern Corps buddies and bosses The Guardians of the Galaxy, and took all their power for himself. Then, renaming himself Parallax, he travelled back in time to the Big Bang to remake the universe in his own image. This was seen as Evil, and he was stopped by a collection of other heroes. Later, he sacrificed his life to reignite Earth’s dying sun and save humanity. This was seen as trying to make up for it. Then he was made the host to God’s spirit of vengeance, The Spectre, and went about punishing evildoers for their sins with ironic Old Testament punishments like turning people into candles. Finally, it emerged that Hal’s earlier mood swing was caused by his being possessed by a giant yellow fear monster called Parallax. The Spectre cleans his soul, resurrects him, and Hal gets his job as a Green Lantern back. It’s also revealed that the other Green Lanterns and the Guardians aren’t actually dead after all. Somehow. This is called ‘restoring the status quo’.
5. Elektra Naichos
Badass ninja, sometime villain, and occasional lady friend of Daredevil, Elektra was stabbed through the heart by the hitman Bullseye in a competition to become New York’s top assassin. Later, her body was stolen by the evil mystical ninja sect The Hand, who attempted to resurrect her with a mystical ninja ritual that would also turn her evil. Daredevil stops them, because who wants an evil ex who’s also a ninja, and then tries (but fails) to resurrect her himself with the same mystical ritual, sans the evil part. Later, she’s resurrected by a good (mystical?) ninja named Stick, but soon turns evil again, before being stabbed to death, again. It is then revealed that this Elektra is actually a shape shifting alien Skrull replacement, the real Elektra being still alive, and eventually freed from Skrull captivity. Nowadays, nobody’s sure whether she’s evil, dead, good, alive or anything. She’s probably mystical though.
4. Batman – Bruce Wayne
Darkseid, the god of all evil, had invaded Earth. Most of the population, including many superheroes, had fallen under the thrall of his Anti-Life Equation. Superman was off in a higher dimension not helping. Batman had been captured by Darkseid to produce a clone army of unstoppable Bat-soldiers. But who really thinks a god could stop Batman? He escapes and, breaking his golden rule just once, shoots Darkseid with a god-killing bullet, mortally wounding him. Darkseid blasts Batman with his Omega Beams, and Superman shows up back from his jaunt just in time to cry over a charred Bat-corpse. Bruce Wayne is mourned, and Dick Grayson, the first Robin, takes over as Batman. In fact though, it’s all a big practical joke by Darkseid! The corpse was one of the clones, and Bats is being bounced around time by the Omega Effect, becoming Caveman Batman, Pirate Batman, Puritan Batman and more! Eventually he gets back to his normal time, and everyone has a good laugh. Really, Christopher Nolan should have used this story for one of his Bat-movies…
3. Bucky – Bucky
When he fought Nazis in World War Two, Captain America was almost always accompanied by his youthful sidekick Bucky, because everyone knows that the best place for a teenage boy is a literal war zone. Near the end of the war, Cap fell from an exploding drone plane into the North Atlantic, and was frozen in ice for decades, before being revived in the present. Bucky wasn’t so lucky, and was lost in the explosion, because maybe Nazi-fighting isn’t a suitable replacement to school after all. It turned out, however, that Bucky wasn’t quite so dead. Instead, he was found by the Soviets, who gave him a nifty robot arm and brainwashed him into loving Russia and becoming the assassin Winter Soldier, who murdered the enemies of Communism for decades, kept cryogenically frozen for years in between jobs to keep him young. Cap used the Cosmic Cube (a cube with cosmic powers) to restore Bucky’s memories and loyalty to the good old US of A, and when Cap temporarily died (as part of the villain Red Skull’s plot to steal his body), Bucky became the new Captain America.
2. The Thing – Ben Grimm
When The Thing was possessed by the evil Doctor Doom, and about to rip Johnny Storm in half, his best friend Reed Richards was left with no choice but to kill him and end his rampage. Now, obviously, the remaining Fantastic Three feel pretty bad about this, so, rather than going through the usual five stages of grieving, Reed steals Ben’s body, works out a way to resurrect him and builds a machine that teleports them to heaven to get Ben’s soul back. There, they guilt Ben into giving up paradise and coming back to earth. They also get to meet God – who looks like Jack Kirby, the legendary artist who co-created half the Marvel characters – and he draws Ben back to life. Who needs eternal happiness when you can be a giant rock monster, right? Reed Richards is a dick.
1. Robin II– Jason Todd
Poor, poor Jason. After travelling to Ethiopia to meet his newly discovered birth mother, Batman’s second sidekick found her aiding The Joker in stealing medical supplies from a refugee camp. The Joker beat the poor lad half to death with a crowbar. Then he blew up the building. This wasn’t the reunion Jason had dreamed of. Jason was full on properly dead, and stayed that way until an evil Superboy from another dimension got so angry that he punched the walls of reality so hard that history itself was altered. No, really. Jason then never had been dead, except he had to the rest of the world, and he woke up alive in his own grave. There’s really no way to explain this story in a way that comes close to making sense. Angry at a universe that made no sense (reality punch?!??) Jason became the violent vigilante The Red Hood. Bonus fact: DC ran a phone-in poll to decide if Robin lived or died. Death won by a landslide. Comic readers are harsh.