Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy are the worst comic book characters ever.
Why is it that everyone else has this innate ability to get resurrected after their deaths? Even Silver Fox, Wolverine’s lover from back when the Weapon X program was more like a badass mutant A-Team, got to enjoy coming back to life. Sure, she was a total bitch for a few issues and then got eaten by a tree (Wolverine #64, I believe. I know it’s around that issue, anyways), but she did come back to life. Hell, a teenaged Jean Grey is still dealing with the idea that a possible future for her is to die (twice) because it’s already happened, yet here she is on the pages of All-New X-Men getting new powers and adventures! I bet she’s not even scared, because all comic book character death eventually results in resurrection. All of them rise from the ashes like a Phoe---okay, I won’t.
I mean, I wouldn't be MAD if she became the Phoenix again...
Not poor Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy, though…they’ve stayed dead ever since they died. This sounds weird until you look at the status quo for their fellow comic characters.
Marvel is promoting a few big events right now that deal with the concept of death, and it feels as hollow as Longshot’s bones. First up, starting this week, is an event called Original Sin, which involves an intergalactic whodunit because someone shot the Watcher. Someone got a gun, aimed real good, slowly and steadily squeezed the trigger and blew him away…when he wasn’t looking. HE being THE WATCHER. What kind of trickery is this? I’m sure they’ll explain it away.
If you’re reading this wondering who the hell The Watcher is…he’s a plot point, and nothing more. He’s never been more than a plot point to steer the real stars of the heroes towards some truth without the writers having to explain how that truth became known. He’s also been the “host” of most of the Marvel What if? books, where they take a known Marvel story and turn it into some Twilight-Zone version of itself.
What if the radioactive spider had bit Aunt May instead?
What if Wolverines claws were made of Twizzlers instead of Adamantium?
What if Cyclops had to wear a ruby red condom instead of a visor?
What if Bryan Singer was alone in a room with young men? (NSFW, that issue is)
Come to think of it, that Watcher dude is pretty weird. I’m glad he’s dead. The event isn’t so much about the Watcher’s death than it is about what the Watcher knows. The Watcher knows everything about everyone. Everyone’s dirty little secrets. Secrets that everyone will know because the assassin has stolen something with all of those secrets stored on it. So while the idea of death may not be all that intriguing for this event, there might be some shake-up to the Marvel Universe over what is found out. Also, look out for old-school Nick Fury.
The other big event that Marvel is promoting is called The Death of Wolverine, and we have been promised that Wolverine will die. That’s right, folks, Wolverine. It was less than six months ago that Wolverine was in Heaven(or Hell; some sort of afterlife area) retrieving his friend Nightcrawler, so I really doubt that he’s going to stay dead. I doubt he’ll stay dead longer than a year. Marvel has been SO heavy with time travel lately that I wouldn’t doubt they traveled in time to the moment that Wolverine killed his alternate universe self from the Age of Ultron event and grabbed him to be their Wolverine after the Wolverine that killed him died. If that made any sense to you, pat yourself on the back because it made me want to put down the comics and slowly back away.
The problem with an event that doesn’t deal with anything other than a character’s death is that the only repercussions from such a thing are reactions from characters. Boo-hoo from the heroes, hurray from the villains. They might try to make him a martyr by creating some threat that Wolvie dies fighting, but unless it’s an old threat and actually has an impact on the Marvel universe then it feels like there was no threat at all, really. If they let him die killing old Cyclops, or maybe he’s killed by Jean Grey, then that will mean something to me. If Lady Deathstrike comes out of the woodwork and bleeds him out with her same old song and dance, then I’ll be disappointed. Not really though, because he’ll be back in a year or so…which will make the entire event disappointing all over again.
Oh, well, moving on to the here and now. Remember how I said that Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy are the only two non-resurrectable comic characters? I mean, even Bucky Barnes can catch a break, but not those two. Another person in the “do bring back to life” pile for Marvel must have been Peter Parker, who was sort-of killed off during the series Superior Spider-Man. Superior was a fantastic series, with writer Dan Slott really showing off his impressive writing skills and bringing Otto Octavius alive as the superhero he spent his entire career trying to kill. We’re back to having Peter Parker as the Amazing Spider-Man, now, and the #1 issue was quite a doozy that continues to rock the boat that is Peter Parker’s world. I look forward to where all this is going, because it looks like maybe there will be A NEW Spider-Hero for Parker to hang out with…
Not this guy. Mattafac, don't even look at this. Avert your eyes. Now.
Also, my brother is a big Gambit fan so I agreed to read All-New X-Factor so we could have something to talk about whenever it comes out. X-Factor is a corporate-owned vigilante group comprised of Polaris (Magneto’s half-niece or something), Gambit, Quicksilver, Cipher, and Danger. This book doesn’t claim to change the fate of the Marvel universe like the Avengers books often do, it just wants to tell a story about these characters.
Following the recent event The Trial of Jean Grey that paired the All-New X-Men with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers, a young Scott Summers finds out that his father is alive and living as a space pirate. At the end of the event, when the lass is saved and the day is won, Cyclops decides to go with his father instead of live out his stupid future life with his stupid future psychic girlfriend…like a boss. The first issue of Cyclops is out today, and it’s the best Cyclops-centric story I’ve ever read. I really hope this one lasts a while, as it’s started off with a fun vibe that almost makes Scott forget that his douchey older self killed Charles Xavier.
Speaking of fun books, also check out Loki: Agent of Asgard and Deadpool vs. Carnage. The former is about a young Loki looking for a second chance while being a magical James Bond, and the latter is about Deadpool fighting Carnage. There’s not a lot I can say about it other than it’s probably exactly as insane as you imagine it being.
I’m also reading Ms. Marvel, Thor and Uncanny X-Men, which have both been great books since the Marvel Now! launch.
To finish up the gimmick I started in the beginning of this article, I take it back: Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy don’t suck as comic book characters. They don’t get resurrected because it would cheapen the lessons learned by Spider-Man about what to do and how to do it. If they were to come back to life it would be like Batman’s parents being alive again, which is just plain wrong. What would Bruce Wayne have to be dark and brooding about, then? Could you imagine Batman in a lime-green polo and Khakis, laughing it up and putting on weight from having too much fun? Neither can I, and that’s why Gwen and Uncle Ben can’t be resurrected…because Batman said so.
They had a battle to see whose story was more tragic, and Batman won. "Call me when you lose a kid, Parker."
You guys reading anything I didn't mention here? Wanna talk about something I did mention here? The comments section is made for it!