Astute comic book fans know that death is only temporary, and many heroes and villains have been resurrected. Sometimes a character’s death may enrich their legacy and make them better.
The impermanence of comic book mortality affords authors many chances, from Jason Todd’s rebirth to The Winter Soldier’s character revamp. Only a few characters have returned from the dead better than before.
Jack Of Hearts
Jack of Hearts just returned after self-destructing when his abilities grew unmanageable. The human/alien hybrid possessed enormous talents but never fully harnessed them.
In the latest She-Hulk comic book series, Jack is robbed of his abilities and becomes a human. Death and rebirth have made Jack of Hearts a more dynamic figure, and people are eager how he’ll fit into the Marvel Universe.
Professor X has died many times, but he’s never been gone for long, and one of his deaths was positive. Charles Xavier’s extraordinary intellect has enabled him to return again and again.
Xavier was blown out of existence by a Phoenix Force-possessed Cyclops during the Avengers vs. X-Men epic. The brainiac returned as one of his most powerful varieties, inspiring him to safeguard mutantkind.
Marvel brought back Norman Osborn as a richer character after retconning his death. The Green Goblin is one of Spider-most Guy’s known foes, and the man beneath the mask was a creep.
Through a complicated retcon, Norman turned out to be a person who had been controlling what happened for years. Before he died, Norman was a psychotic supervillain. After he came back to life, though, his complicated and mysterious personality has given writers a lot of room to play with him, including his time as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s leader.
Alan Moore’s superb storytelling converted Swamp Thing into a hero in the 1980s. The novel changed when Swampie was blown to shreds by General Sunderland’s forces.
Swamp Thing regenerates in “Anatomy Lesson,” one of the finest Swamp Thing stories ever, but realises he’s not Alec Holland. Always imagined Holland’s soul inhabited the Swamp Thing, but he soon found it was a swamp monster who thought it was Holland. The character’s modest change gave Moore’s run an existential dynamism that hasn’t been surpassed.
DC has never shied away from big reboots and retcons, but Hal Jordan’s comeback improved him. Hal Jordan’s tenure as Parallax terminated his Green Lantern career, although his death lightened the impact.
His reappearance during Rebirth helped explain Hal’s rapid character shift. When Hal came back, they were able to explain that he was possessed and never fully in charge. His retcon made him more appealing to viewers after his gloomy departure.
Despite being one of the initial X-Men, the former Marvel Girl was largely a love interest for male characters. Jean Grey came into her own as she sacrificed to become Phoenix.
Radiation exposure killed her, so the Phoenix Force produced a copy, which began the “Dark Phoenix Saga.” The real Jean Grey returned with more mental strength and a deeper persona. Jean Grey became a vibrant persona after her encounters with death and Madelyne Pryor.
Marvel put things right by bringing back one of their earliest sidekicks, Bucky Barnes. Bucky was believed to have died towards the conclusion of WWII, but his history inspired the Winter Soldier.
After the war, the Soviets trained Bucky to be an assassin for them. This gives his character new life in comics today. Bucky was perfect for 1940s comics, but Marvel enhanced him by altering his fate.
Doomsday, who murdered Superman and became one of DC’s most fearsome villains, becomes stronger with each loss. Born of hatred and meant to destroy, Doomsday uses his deaths to develop.
Throughout his childhood, the creature died and was cloned and enhanced. When he attacked the DC Universe, his repeated losses made him nigh unbeatable. Once reborn, Doomsday can’t be destroyed that way again.
Crisis on Infinite Earths is an important event, and the authors made decisions that lasted decades. Wally West became The Flash following Barry Allen’s sacrifice.
Allen was reborn during the Flash Rebirth storyline as a more vibrant figure. Barry’s typical flippant demeanour was darker when he returned. Barry Allen developed a deeper character and a better awareness for life and death.
Jason Todd’s death as the second Robin was determined by readers. DC authors used Todd’s reappearance to create a huge shock and establish a terrific new character.
When Todd was exposed as the Red Hood, it was an atonement for DC’s prior failure. The new and better Jason Todd has lasted longer in the DC Universe after his death and new background.
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