We were spoiled by pretty much all mass media and comics media before the comic was even published.
And then, very quietly, without any fanfare, two other characters died, one in Marvel book Amazing Spider-Man, another in DC book Knight And Squire. Neither was announced, neither was expected, neither was bagged, both will be shocking to those not expecting them for varied reasons. Oh and something else happened in Ultimate Spider-Man. And unlike the Human Torch, neither are deaths that anyone should expect to see reversed. And I’m going to spoil them by talking about them. Saying the things I didn’t say when reviewing these comics. So look away now. Spoilers.
In Knight And Squire #5, not only do we meet The Joker, as he arrives in the UK to play havoc with the harmless Jarvis Poker, the British Joker, but he kills superhero The Shrike in the process. Who happens to be the boyfriend of titular character, Squire.
Which means Paul Cornell has just given us the male equivalent of Women In Refrigerators. How about Men Being Shot On Bridges? Not quite as catchy. It’s seems to be a proper death, a gunshot at close range, and not a magic gun at that (see Batman and Captain America – no time travelling through your own past here). It’s done to very visibly demonstrate the difference between the UK Joker and his US inspiration. But it’s bound to be a motivating force for Squire in the next issue, to take revenge against the Joker, which is where this refrigerator business began anyway.
And in Amazing Spider-Man #654 in a scene very familiar to those who remember the death of Gwen Stacy, in fact it’s good enough to be a swipe, J Jonah Jameson cradles the very dead body of his wife Marla. But rather than it being seen as a motivation force for revenge against Spider-Man or anyone else, Jameson takes the approach that it’s all his fault, and he’s not suddenly seeking revenge.
So not only do we get the death of a long standing character, but we see a change in an accompanying character that doesn’t follow the norm that we expect. Also there was no real lead up. these were as much a surprise as the death of Jean Grey in X-Men. And proof that it can still be done and can have the same effect.
And then in Ultimate Spider-Man #153, beginning the Death Of Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe, we get very diferent deaths. The Black Cat kills the population of an entire tower block with a mystical doodad. The death count may include Mysterio, it probably won’t. We didn’t know any of the people, this is a mass killing that will no doubt rock the Ultimate Universe, etc etc. It could be a 9/11 for the Ultimate lot, and it has the Death Of Spider-Man plastered over it – though he stays resolutely alive.
But dammit there’s a lot of death. Feel free to post any other major death moments today (random guards. murder victims there to be solved etc. do not count. They never count.) I may update with others…