DC’s Killing Fields, by Mike Gold
How many times can you run a stunt into the ground in one month before you just look like you’re totally bereft of originality? DC Comics’ June, 2008 solicitations, as published in Diamond Distributing’s Previews catalog, offers no less than six phony death and/or resurrection stunts.
Gotham Underground #9 asks the musical question “Will Penguin pay the ultimate price?” Well, who cares? If he’s dead, he’ll get better. Death has no sting in the DC universe.
Batman #678 is the third part of their “Batman R.I.P.” arc. “Is it truly the end for one of the world’s finest heroes?” the solicitation asks. Forgive me, but how many times have the sundry world’s finest heroes R’ed in P? Hell, I’ll bet if you ask them they would have wanted to stay dead at least a bit longer in order to get some rest in peace. I should add Robin #165 to this list as it ties in to Batman #678 and has Robin holding a dead-looking Batman on the cover. Maybe – probably – the old buzzard isn’t dead. The fact is, it doesn’t matter.
Booster Gold #10: “Someone from his past must live and someone must die!” My wife informs me (happily) that Ted (Blue Beetle the Second) has already been resurrected. The death – if it actually happens – well, again, who cares? If it was somebody important, he/she/it wouldn’t be killed off in Booster Gold. Unless the stunt has grown so lame that DC is willing to bury it in a title such as this.
Green Arrow / Black Canary #9: Ras al Ghul has been resurrected! No shit, Sherlock! Hey, isn’t that what Ras does? That’s how he pays the rent!
Justice League of America #22: “Red Tornado is given another chance at life!” Hey, I thought he was a robot! “Life” means greasing a few gears, installing a new servo, changing a couple vacuum tubes, and rebooting. It’s not a resurrection.
Finally and most superficially, Final Crisis #2 offers “the spectacular return from the dead.” Okay, that hype carries the strong and awesomely uncreative stench of Barry Allen, but maybe we’ll be surprised. Maybe it’ll be Steve Rogers.
That’s six in the “DC Universe” section alone. I’m not counting the Wildstorm, Vertigo, or other sections. I’m not counting the $89.99 Heath Ledger as The Joker statue; he ain’t coming back and there’s nothing DC can do about that.
To my friends at DC: look, the drama of death wore off years ago. Back in 1978, I was staring at DC’s wall of covers (the latest cover of each published title) and I counted Batman as being dead on six out of seven possible. It was worn out then, long before Crisis on Infinite Crises.
I’m just not going to take this stuff seriously until you bring back C’hp.
Mike Gold is editor-in-chief of ComicMix.