The first year that I did NanoPoblano, one thing that was a topic of a number of those posts were the comics I was reading with my Marvel Unlimited subscription. I still have my subscription, but this time I also have a complaint. Not about the service. I’ve never had a problem with the that. No, my complaint is about something they do in the stories.
Now, I’m not picking on Marvel here. They’re certainly not the only ones guilty of doing the thing I’m complaining about. I’ve seen it done in every form of storytelling: movies, television, comics, and novels. In fact, I mentioned it in a post that I wrote a few weeks ago. “What is it?” you ask without clicking on the link.
The answer is this: bringing characters back from the dead.
In the past few years of reading things with my Marvel Unlimited subscription, I’ve seen this done a number of times. The more I see it, the more it annoys me. And it seems to annoy me more when done in comics, especially when it’s done with a major character. The death of Superman? Of Wolverine? Was there anyone on Earth who thought either of those would stick when those stories came out?
The newest issue of Uncanny X-Men to upload to Marvel Unlimited had the death of a character in it. Two days later, I saw an article on Marvel’s website about the relaunch of one of their titles. The character who had died in the issue I just read was going to be resurrected and be in this relaunch.
Granted, six months had passed between the time the issue I read was published and it was uploaded to Marvel Unlimited, but still. It’s getting ridiculous. Even the characters themselves are making light of it. I’ve seen a couple of times when someone says to a resurrected character, “Weren’t you dead?” and they’d reply, “It’s not the first time I’ve died,” or “People don’t stay dead around here.”
A character dying should be a big thing. It’s not. They’ve turned it into a gimmick and it’s irritating the heck out of me. It’s hard for me to stay invested in a story when there’s no consequences. “Oh no! Villain X is about to kill Hero Y with his latest weapon! What will he do?
“Oh, yeah. It doesn’t matter. Even if Villain X kills Hero Y they’re just going to bring him back in a few months anyway…”
Maybe I did it in my pre-blog years, but I don’t remember ever bringing any of my characters back from the dead. I’ve taken a few of my dead characters and made them undead, but I don’t recall ever bringing any back to life. Not in any of my serious stories anyway. I think I did it once or twice in my nonsensical ones. Now, there have been a few times when I’ve been tempted to do it, but I have no plans for it any time soon.
On the off chance that I do decide to bring one back someday, it won’t be for a gimmick. No, the only way I’d do it is if doing so would not only make sense in the story, but would also enhance the story.
So far, none of the Marvel resurrections I’ve read recently have met those two criteria.