*Note that this article contains some spoilers for recent major character deaths in both Marvel and DC Comics.
There’s been a saddening trend in comics over the last thirty years or so that seems to be increasingly popular to the Big Two publishers: killing off leading characters. Batman, Wolverine, Superman, Bruce Banner, Batman (again)… every time we turn around, either DC or Marvel seems to be making some big announcement that an unexpected major character is about to meet their big end! Frankly, guys, this is getting old. And it has been for some time.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why writers kill off characters or why publishers are financially motivated to push things in that direction. Sales increase, fans clamor to hear which hero is getting axed next, and in Marvel’s case, it gives them an opportunity to diversify their stable of characters with (insert hero name here)’s replacement. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make more money or refresh properties for the new millennium — in some cases, the new characters become as beloved to new fans as the old ones were (I <3 Miles Morales!!!).
But here’s where I have to get off this train. In the last two years, DC comics has ‘killed’ Batman, a Robin, a Superman and faked Nightwing’s death. Marvel has ‘killed’ a Wolverine, a Hulk, Rhodey, Black Widow, Cyclops… the list goes on. I’m certainly forgetting as many characters as I’m remembering, but you get the idea. And for the love of #@$, I am tired of it!
When did artful storytelling leave the building? When did publishers get so tired of characters or storylines that they just decided to kill it off with a death and start over instead of being clever and turning everything around again? When did these storytellers decide to adopt Hollywood’s storytelling techniques for their own? Because guys, the “let’s get our characters into as much trouble and shit and problems as we can without knowing how we’re going to get them out” is bad TV writing logic. It doesn’t work well for them, and it’s definitely not working well for you.
So when I read Batman #5 yesterday and finished the last page, I was about ready to slam my head into the wall. “The death of Batman…” For. Crying. Out. Loud.
I like Tom King, I really do. He’s one of my favorite new talents in comics and I know he’s not typically one for gimmicks. This is probably just a publicity stunt or some cliffhanger nonsense to get everyone excited for what’s coming up next, but on the off-chance that DC is planning yet another ‘Batman’s dead’ story, I’m putting in my two cents now.
I’m tired of seeing Batman die and come back to life through some shoddy mumbo-jumbo that masks itself as science. I’m tired of seeing all the characters have their grieving moments only to get over it half a second after the dead character is miraculously alive again. I’m tired of the universe rebooting every time the publishers can’t figure out a way to logically resurrect a ton of characters that they killed off when they were being peevish.
It’s time for this bull to end and for legit writing to start. Like, right now.