5 Absurd Ways Comic Books Have Resurrected Dead Superheroes

Superhero comics have an inherent problem. They are intended to run indefinitely, so you can't really kill off characters. Yet we the reader need to fear for the character's lives when danger is about. They deal with this by repeatedly killing off the good guys, and bringing them back ... often in the most absurd and/or insane way possible...

#5. Spider-Man Gives Birth to Himself

In a storyline titled "Changes," Spider-Man has to fight The Queen, a ridiculously powerful villainess no one has ever heard of before. Her powers are insect-related, so she picks Spider-Man to make spider-babies with (spiders aren't actually insects but just go with it). The Queen kicks his ass in their first fight and then proceeds to rape him in the mouth. Which looks like this:

The Queen eventually lets Spider-Man escape, having accomplished her goal. Later that night Peter finds out that the kiss had a side-effect: it's turning him in a real spider.

The Queen then tracks Spider-Spider-Man down and takes him to her lair, where he can finish his transformation into Frodo's worst nightmare. Oh, and she also reveals that he's pregnant.

So even though Spider-Spider-Man is still male, and The Queen never boned him as promised (tease!), he's somehow been genetically altered to become pregnant. Well, okay. So, what does Spider-Spider-Man do with this news? Nothing, because he's a fucking spider who can't understand what the hell people are saying. Instead, he starts to have a seizure and his body topples over dead, leaving The Queen genuinely heartbroken.

"Oh well. Off to molest a horse, then."

But The Queen leaves just in time to miss ...

... Spider-Man emerging from the dead shell of his own body. Trying to figure out how that makes sense? It doesn't, so don't bother. He's even got all his memories and knows where he is when he pops out, which means somehow Spider-Spider-Man was pregnant with Peter Parker, in human form, fully aged, and then died giving birth to himself. Of all the sentences we thought we'd never get to write, that was easily in our top twenty. Then we finally get to the reason why this horrible story has been going for five god damn issues.

Organic webslingers. You see, the first Spider-Man movie had come out not too long before this storyline, and one of the changes they made was that Spider-Man no longer used webshooters of his invention, he simply shot the webbing from his wrists (because that's clearly more realistic). The writers at Marvel were tasked with coming up with a way to introduce this development on the comic, and "having Spider-Man morph into a giant spider and give birth to himself" seemed like the simplest option.

Also, he discovers that he can also talk to bugs now. This is such an incredibly useful superpower that he has never used it again in like eight years.

#4. Alfred is Saved By His Love for Batman and Robin (Plus, a Regeneration Beam)

Back in the '60s, Batman readers were getting a bit wary about the whole "keeping a young boy in a cave with old men" part of the premise, so the writers had Alfred killed off to be replaced by Aunt Harriet (the annoying old lady from the Adam West show).

"Aunt Harriet must never know about the cave, Dick." "Because we're Batman and Robin." "Um, right."

So, Alfred was dispatched with all the dignity and respect usually reserved for Wile E. Coyote: he's flattened by a boulder. While riding a motorcycle.


A grief-stricken Batman decides to place Alfred's corpse in a "refrigerated coffin" (basically, a freezer), then forgets about the guy and doesn't mention him again for two years. However, it's later revealed that shortly after Alfred's death, a man named Brandon Crawford was in the cemetery studying bugs when he heard a moaning noise coming from a tomb, and ...

"And what is he -- oh God don't look at his pants, don't look at his pants."

Turns out Alfred was only sleeping, a small detail the world's greatest detective neglected to notice while he was burying the man alive. The explanation was that Alfred's love and devotion for Batman and Robin gave him enough "will to live" to counterbalance the physical damage caused by a giant fucking boulder. By this logic, half the people who post on the Internet should be indestructible.

Don't pretend you don't speak their names in your sleep, too.

But "slightly alive" is still "mostly dead". Thankfully, Brandon Crawford, a self-proclaimed "radical scientist", happens to have a handy regeneration beam he keeps in his basement. Alfred's resurrection would have been ridiculous enough if the story ended there, but this is just the beginning. The regeneration ray does restore his life, but it also has a few bizarre side effects: it gives Alfred the worst skin rash of all time, grants him unexplainable superpowers, and turns him into a deranged supervillain.

Oh, it also knocks out Crawford and conveniently transforms his body to look exactly like Alfred's (just so the writers could pretend he was dead for a few more issues). Alfred has a brief stint as The Outsider, a villain who causes Batman and Robin trouble because he knows their secret identities. And by trouble, we mean he can turn them into pieces of furniture by touching them.

This at least saves your family one step in the burial process.

The final fight takes place in Crawford's basement, where Batman accidentally knocks The Outsider into the regeneration beam, transforming Alfred back to normal. Alfred doesn't remember anything he did while he was The Outsider, which is great, because it means they never have to mention any of this ever again and Batman doesn't have to explain why he dumped Alfred's body in a freezer.

But wait -- the public has been told Alfred died, Aunt Harriet moved in to replace him, and they even set up a charity in his name. What kind of crazy explanation will they come up with to explain his return?

So, no explanation, then?

Note that she's stammering out of sadness, and not out of sheer terror because a fucking zombie just walked into the house. You have to turn a blind eye to a lot of things to work at the Wayne estate, apparently. Then again, maybe she couldn't -- Aunt Harriet mysteriously disappeared a few years later and was never mentioned again.

#3. The Thing is Drawn Back to Life by "God"

The Thing from the Fantastic Four, whose superpower is basically "being indestructible", once took a dirt nap because fellow Fantastic Foursman Reed Richards killed him. He didn't want to, but The Thing was possessed by Dr. Doom at the time, and he was taunting Reed with the fact that the only way to stop him now is to kill his best friend.

Tough decision, right? Not really. Reed shoots a death ray at The Thing while dramatically shouting his name (perhaps trying to fool him into thinking someone else was doing the shooting).


Afterwards, Reed's feeling slightly guilty about the whole situation, so he pays Ben the ultimate respect by stealing his dead body to study it in a lab. Behind everyone's back.

Soon Reed discovers a way to bring Ben's body back to life. The catch: his soul has moved on to Heaven, so they'll have to retrieve it first if they don't want him to come back as a zombie or an entertainment lawyer. And how do they plan to achieve this? By literally traveling to Heaven and fetching him.

This is exactly how most suicide pacts begin.

Yes, they decided they needed to steal their friend's soul back from eternal bliss, since Ben would obviously rather be back on Earth than sipping endless martinis in fucking paradise. So they all jump into an old Heaven-transporter Dr. Doom built years ago to, uh, visit his mother.

Yeah, there was definitely something disturbing going on there...

After reaching Heaven and beating up some angels, the Fantastic Three eventually make it to Ben, only to find that (shockingly) he's in no a rush to get back to Earth. While they're trying to convince him to leave the only place where he can look like a normal person and chill with his dead brother, the team somehow gets in trouble and Ben ends up saving Reed from... we're not sure what, since his only options are being sent back to Earth or dying in Heaven and reappearing right there. This shows Ben just how utterly incompetent the rest of the team are without him, so he's guilted into agreeing to go back with them.

And the story could have ended there, but then they're all invited to meet God before they leave. Since they can't really say "no" to that, they step into a door and find...

...a studio with a guy who looks suspiciously similar to Jack Kirby, the artist who co-created most of the Marvel characters with Stan Lee but gets way less credit because he died before he could film any cameos. God draws Ben back into reality and tells the Fantastic Four that Dr. Doom's Heaven-transporter won't work again, which is really just a nice way of staying "stay the fuck out".

He also turns Ben back into The Thing, because he's much more interesting as a miserable monster than as a happy human being.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!