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...
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.
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.
"ALFRED DO YOU KNOW WHAT BOULDER I'M TALKING ABOUT"
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.
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.
Robin (Jason Todd) - Punched Back Into Reality
Jason Todd was the second Robin, a new teen character introduced in the '80s after the other Robin's legs started getting too hairy for that outfit. Batman fans hated the guy with a passion, so after a few years of having to sort through the hate mail, DC figured out a way to capitalize on this: they announced a telephone poll for readers to decide whether he lived or died. 10,000 votes later, Jason was officially declared dead after being intimately introduced to a crowbar by the Joker, blown up, and then buried under a collapsing building.
If only voting on American Idol could produce results like this.
Since they didn't want readers to feel like they had wasted their money, the editors at DC assured everyone that Jason's death was permanent by stating on the back cover of the comic that "It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back". And then they did exactly that -- twenty years later. But if they were willing to risk making themselves look foolish, they must have at least had a great resurrection story planned, right? A Batman story twenty years in the making can only be orgasmically epic, right?
One day in 2005, Jason shows up in Gotham, angry, all grown up, and inexplicably alive, making Batman and comic fans alike go "What the flying fuck?" The audience is later told that Jason has been alive for years without Batman's knowledge, and actually came back to life only a few months after his death.
"Leg cramp! Leg cramp!"
After digging himself out of his grave, Jason was found by Batman enemy/former lover/Latin pop sensation, Talia. Talia and her father, Ra's al Ghul, fix Jason up and train him as a villain, then sort of forget about the guy and never mention any of this to Batman on any of the dozen encounters they've had with him over the years. Meanwhile, Jason's dicking around in Europe for a while, seemingly just so it will be shocking when he returns as a full grown adult.
But none of that is as ridiculous as the reason why he's alive in the first place -- it's because someone literally punched time.
Another DC comic published in 2005 showed an alternate reality Superboy trying to escape the dimension he's trapped in by punching reality in the face. Because apparently that's something Superboy can do. You know that scene in Superman where he undoes Lois Lane's death by making the Earth turn in reverse? It's like that, only with more teenage angst.
In a fit of emo rage, Superboy punched reality so hard that it was like it gave time itself a concussion, changing details in the history of the DC universe. So this was the perfect opportunity to, say, give Wonder Woman a breast augmentation or something, but they wasted it on reviving Batman's annoying dead sidekick. The one everyone hated anyway.
"Let's go for ice cream, everyone!"
So, for Jason, the universe changed to match one where he had survived the explosion that killed him, but the rest of the world remained the same (which is why he woke up trapped in a coffin, possibly stuffed with embalming fluid). Of course, we only know all this because the narrator told us -- the characters have no idea what happened, and they never make any attempt to find out. For all Batman knows he buried the kid alive, like he did with Alfred that one time.
Optimus Prime is Saved Onto a Floppy Disc
If you've seen the Transformers movies you know that their leader Optimus Prime is a big fan of sacrificing himself for a noble cause -- it's the closest thing a talking truck can have to a hobby. Well, in the comic books he's no different, except you have to replace the word "noble" with "nut-bustingly stupid". On this occasion, Optimus Prime's terrible resurrection is overshadowed only by his incredibly pointless death: he commits suicide over a videogame.
It all starts when the Autobots and the Decepticons are about to have an all-out brawl about something or other, when this kid shows up with a less destructive alternative.
He suggests they all log in as characters in his videogame so they can fight there, and whoever wins in the game gets the thing they're fighting for. Megatron agrees on one condition: that both he and Optimus stuff their bodies with explosives and whoever loses the game gets blown up in real life. Since Optimus hasn't sacrificed himself for at least ten issues and is starting to get a little testy, he agrees.
Ethan is ashamed to admit he's dyslexic.
Once they're inside the game Optimus reminds the Autobots not to hurt any of the game characters, even though they're not real and don't have personalities, 'cause that's not how Autobots roll. They have no qualms about shooting Decepticons in the dick, though.
"A dick ambush!"
Megatron uses a cheat code to kill off most of the Autobots and is about to win, but at the last moment Optimus knocks a tower over onto Megatron, pushing him off a cliff.
So this means the Autobots won and should be able to blow Megatron to pieces, right? Wrong. To everyone's astonishment, Optimus announces he didn't win at all because he accidentally killed some game characters when he beat Megatron, which goes against his principles. So, looks like it's a draw then... or it would be if Optimus didn't suffer from some weird death fetish.
Megatron is totally making a trollface there.
Optimus is essentially killing himself over some goombas, thus harming his team, endangering the universe (the Decepticons got the thing they were fighting over), and mentally scarring every child in the '80s with the following image:
There was no Christmas that year.
But then, after letting the Decepticons leave and the Autobots mourn their friend for a little while, Ethan reveals he had conveniently saved Optimus's mind onto a floppy disk before he destroyed him.
That's right, his entire consciousness is contained inside one floppy disk. And no, this isn't some sort of ultra powerful alien technology disk he used: the Autobots didn't even know about it, which means this is a regular floppy circa 1986, the ones that could hold around one megabyte of information. If you cut and paste this article into Word it will take twice as much space as Optimus Prime's entire being.
This .GIF is literally 10% of Optimus' personality.
The only problem is the little shithead took so long to mention this that by the time he did the Autobots had already shot Optimus' dead body into space, though on the other hand we hope our friends do us the same courtesy. They travel to three different planets looking for someone capable of rebuilding Optimus, and finally find him on the planet Nebulog. So they rebuild Optimus from scratch, download his memory into the new body, and then...
...he immediately dies again.
They're forced to make even more changes to his new body to survive (just in time for a new Christmas toyline release!) and he ends up looking pretty bad ass. Then he dies sacrificing himself again 30 issues later, not to mention that he also died on the movie that came out on the same year. At this point, we're not sure why the Autobots bother reviving him at all.
For more comic book awkwardness, check out 6 Superheroes Who Completely Lost Their Shit and The 6 Creepiest Comic Book Characters of All Time.
And stop by Linkstorm to learn about Swaim's miraculous resurrection.
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