Poll Position: The Death of …

From Superman to The Flash to Green Lantern to, most recently, Captain America, killing off a main character and replacing him with someone else to wear their costume is a time-honored convention of the genre. So which of these long-established but rarely-killed-off characters would you like to see get that treatment?


Discussion after the jump.

I bet if you had told the various head honchos at any major comics publisher from 1950 through 1980 that they should go around bumping off their main characters and replace them with someone else, they'd have laughed you out of the room before running into their vaults to roll naked in their massive piles of cash. At least, you'd better hope they'd kick you out first, because let's face it, comic book publishers aren't typically the kind of people you want to see rolling around naked.

And yet, it's happened so often in the last couple of decades that it's in danger of becoming a cliche. Captain America is only the latest. So I wanted to see who else you're ready to see undergo "involuntary and morbid retirement":

  • Diana Prince (Wonder Woman): One of the problems with Diana is that she's not very interesting when she's not in character. Which is weird, because you'd think a naive immortal from an all-female society thrust into a man's world would be rife with possibilities for engaging writing, but so far, not so much. The franchise is ripe for a shake-up. I'd love to see Diana fall in some sort of epic battle, and then the competition to see who'd replace her. Preferably you'd get someone a little more militant, because from the time she first fell in love with Steve Trevor Diana's problem was she was too submissive. Which, given that she was originally written by a polygamous S&M devotee, shouldn't surprise anyone.
  • Peter Parker (Spider Man): This would be the equivalent of DC killing off Superman -- a flagship character, in something of a moribund state ("Now he's not married anymore, ha ha!"), gets rubbed out to gen up sales and pique interest. Eventually Peter would be shown to have the disproportionate reincarnation abilities of a spider but in the meantime it might be interesting to see what someone else could do with the role. Like Aunt May, perhaps -- Spider-Granny to the rescue!
  • Tony Stark (Iron Man): Tony's had someone else wear the armor before of course, but he was still around. Granted he was drunk for large chunks of that time, but still, he was there. It would be interesting to see what happened to Stark Enterprises with him gone, who'd fight whom for control, what would happen to the armor, etc.
  • Frank Castle (Punisher): The guy lives in a constant hail of spent shells, you can't tell me a stray round isn't going to nail him at some point. I think it might be kind of cool to see someone who is a victim of his own indiscriminate gunfire kill Castle and take over the mantle of Punisher.

While making this list, it occurred to me that there are a lot of characters who you simply can't do this with, largely from the Marvel Universe. Wolverine and Cyclops and the other X-Men aren't "super-heroes" in the same sense as a Batman or Superman; their "secret identities" are who they are, and their "super-hero identities" are pretty much just extensions of who they are as people. They don't "get into character", they ARE their character. Superman becomes Clark Kent and Batman becomes Bruce Wayne, but Logan is Wolverine and Wolverine is Logan. No one else could really replace him, even if they had big ol' claws and a metal skeleton.

Anyway, out of the four I listed, I think I'd most like to see Wonder Woman get The Treatment. She's just kind of boring, and while killing off the main character is certainly no guarantee that you'll get something better, I'm willing to give it a shot.

What do you think?