6 Absurd Ways Comics Brought Dead Superheroes Back to Life
Pretty much every comic book character, from Archie to General Zod, has died at least once, mainly because comics get a big sales boost when readers think they're never going to see their favorite hero ever again. But of course that's never what happens -- publishers are not going to walk away from piles of future cash that can be made from those same heroes. It's kind of understood that, within a few months, they'll find some excuse to bring them back.
But explaining how those characters miraculously cheated death is when things get all kinds of weird, even by comic book standards. Like the storylines where ...
Nightcrawler Teleports Back to Life From Heaven
Nightcrawler, the X-Men's third-most-famous blue person, meets his end in Uncanny X-Force after taking a robot punch through the chest, a fate today's young people are all too familiar with.
How many more lives must be lost before we lower the robot punching age?
As if to confirm the finality of his demise, the next time we see Nightcrawler, he's in heaven, getting yelled at by his dickhead father, Azazel, who is equally dead.
This is the weirdest family reunion Nightcrawler's had since that time he fucked his sister.
It turns out Azazel is leading a demon invasion of heaven, and every eternally resting soul apart from Nightcrawler is terrible at fighting. Nightcrawler decides to enlist the help of his living comrades, the X-Men, by sending miniature versions of himself to create a portal to Earth, which is apparently a thing he can do now.
"Make sure one of you brings back my cowboy hat. It looks good on me, and I miss it."
Bringing the X-Men turns out to be pointless, because Nightcrawler ends up solving the problem by booting his father back to Earth through the portal his junior Nightcrawlers made.
This is exactly what happened in the Gospel of Mark.
And that's it. Nightcrawler is back on Earth, alive again and seemingly immortal considering he can just teleport between the living world and the Kingdom of God's Reward any time he feels like it. He can pretty much just charge headfirst into danger from now on, since death holds no surprises for him and is every bit as permanent as a sunburn.
"I'll stop those robbers' bullets with my face.
Green Arrow Has His Body Rebuilt From Splatters on Superman's Cape
Green Arrow, the arrow-shooting superhero whose real superpower is his fantastic beard, is given a noble and heroic death: he gets his hand stuck while trying to disable a bomb, and he heroically explodes, even though Superman could've easily used his laser vision to cut Green Arrow's arm off.
"WE COULD'VE BOUGHT YOU A ROBOT ARM!"
That outcome seems pretty final -- Green Arrow gets atomized by that explosion. How is he supposed to bounce back from that? The only thing left of him is whatever pieces happened to stick to Superman's cape.
Yeah, about that ...
"Are you telling me you farted? Just say 'I farted,' man."
A few years after his death, an amnesiac Green Arrow is found homeless and wandering the streets, practicing vigilante justice with weapons made of literal trash (this is generally referred to as "being a crazy hobo"). The Justice League are understandably surprised to see him, but he has no idea how he came back to life. Luckily, the ghost of Green Lantern shows up and explains everything.
"Glad we cleared that up."
Turns out that before Green Lantern died, he wanted to make up for some of his past mistakes, including not being there to stop Arrow from needlessly blowing himself up, so he used his Green Lantern powers to bring Arrow back to life, which is an ability he never had before and will never have again. How did Green Lantern remake his vaporized friend? By scraping off the little bits of Green Arrow that had stuck to Superman's tights after the explosion. That's right -- that joke we made earlier is literally how Green Arrow is brought back to life.
In a pose of erotic confusion.
Nick Fury Has Endless Robot Clones
Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., has enjoyed a decades-long career of chewing cigars, toppling regimes, and looking nothing like Samuel L. Jackson.
This isn't ultimately awesome at all.
Just like we saw in The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury is a master of subterfuge and duplicity (and by that we mean he fakes his death every other Thursday). Previous resurrections have been explained by the fact that Fury owns hundreds of Life Model Decoys -- robot duplicates of himself that he can use if he needs to fake his death and/or spend a week in Hawaii without burning any vacation days.
But the writers seemed to have closed this "easily revoke any apparent death" loophole when the Punisher, the biggest fan the 2nd Amendment has ever had, manages to outfox the slippery Nick Fury by destroying all of his Decoys. And we don't mean he solves some complicated algorithm to deactivate every Nick Fury drone -- we mean he blows up an entire warehouse full of robots while speeding away in his battle van, because the Punisher has all the subtlety of the Terminator if they never bothered putting human skin on it and it just walked around strangling people to death.
He also murders every person named Nick in the state of New York, just in case.
After the Punisher punishes every part of that building that ever thought about breaking the law, he tracks Nick Fury down and unceremoniously shoots him in the back. The only witness to the carnage is Daredevil, who is blind.
"What happened? Is Nick OK?"
Naturally, at first everyone assumed it was another robotic decoy that got shot, but nope -- that was the real Nick Fury, killed by the Punisher, a superhero who once fired a machine gun into a crowd of people for littering.
Not a joke.
Marvel let Nick Fury stay in the ground for a year, until someone finally decided to exhume his corpse to make triple sure he was dead. And you'll never believe what happens:
That's a weird thing to say before kicking someone's head off.
Yep -- it was a robot all along (even though the entire Marvel roster swore up and down to us that it wasn't). As it turns out, Fury had an extra-special robot clone built for him by Tony Stark designed to SUPER fool people in the event of his attempted assassination, and Tony somehow manages to completely forget this exchange had ever happened. How does this clone manage to trick everyone? It has an extra-thick layer of fake flesh that makes it harder to detect the circuitry underneath, which seems to suggest that doctors in the Marvel Universe aren't as thorough as they could be.
"Oh, yeah, I think I remember building this. You gotta understand, I was wasted for, like, that whole year."
The real Nick has conveniently fallen into a time tunnel and is stranded in the distant past, which at this point is the least ridiculous part of the story.
Punisher Is Sewn Together Like Frankenstein's Monster
After an unsuccessful attempt to murder the Green Goblin in the name of righteousness, the Punisher gets dismembered by Daken (Wolverine's evil son), who throws the gun-toting vigilante's body parts into a sewer.
We will assume this is the Dolph Lundgren version.
If you think being chopped up like home fries and tossed in a disease-filled gutter would stop Frank "the Punisher" Castle, well, then, you're a logical person who probably leads a fulfilling life. However, if you've read more than your own body weight in comic books, you know that hideous dismemberment is merely a preamble to an even more insane turn of events.
Like the Punisher's limbs being collected by mole people and sewn back together, for example.
"Thank god we saved you."
See, the mole people, using their advanced Sewer Polytechnic degrees, decide to bring the Punisher back to life to defend them from a group of humans who are relentlessly hunting them. They name their new creation Franken-Castle, and are somehow surprised when he decides to attack them all instead of assisting them.
Outside of battling John Travolta, this is the most ridiculous thing the Punisher has ever done.
After a few issues of this nonsense, the Punisher finds a magical gem that turns him back to normal, presumably because Marvel just wasn't selling as many Franken-Castle action figures as they'd anticipated.
"I ... I can't do this anymore. I'll be in my room, crying over my hideous reflection."
Flash Is Saved by an Alien Hospital in His Chest
Considering the Flash's entire shtick is being able to move faster than anything (including gunfire and time), you'd think he'd be pretty hard to kill. The villainous Vandal Savage gets around that problem by kidnapping just about every person the Flash has ever met to lure him into a trap.
"Or how 'bout I not step on the plate and just rescue everyone in a nanosecond. No? OK."
With literally everyone the Flash knows held hostage, Vandal exposes his diabolical plan: in order to free the people he cares about, the Flash has to stand on a platform that takes away his super powers and let Vandal shoot him (it is unclear why Vandal needs to take the Flash's powers away, since "let me shoot you" is explicitly part of the rules). The Flash, nobly accepting his fate, catches a round of life-obliterating metal in his chest and crumples face down into a rapidly expanding pool of his own blood, dead.
Did he do good, Tank-Top Joe? Did he really?
After checking to ensure that his adversary is indeed slain, Vandal carts all of the hostages off like murder souvenirs and leaves the Flash's body lying in the dirt like a Butterfinger wrapper. The next time we see the Flash, instead of being a vulture-eaten pile of costumed bones, he looks like this:
He's most concerned about that one probe above his crotch, just hovering there, waiting.
No one is more surprised than Flash is when a giant medical pod erupts out of his chest and violently stabs him back to life. His spectacularly coiffed sidekick later shows up to provide the necessary exposition, explaining that the pod is a piece of alien technology tasked with the singular purpose of resurrecting everyone's favorite guy who can run really fast.
Rule No. 1 of sidekicking -- you're required to think out loud.
Then the Flash wakes up, completely healed and surprisingly OK with the fact that his chest birthed an alien automaton. It turns out that a star-villain called Kilg%re (sic) implanted a tiny metal chip in the Flash several months ago that sprouted into action as a De-Murderfication Machine the instant the Flash got shot. Apparently, an alien lord of evil cramming a microchip into his body isn't especially weird to the Flash.
(Kilg%re implanted the chip with his p#nis.)
Its work complete, the device conveniently dismantles itself into a sputtering pile of electric dust, never to be referenced again.
"Plot device out!"
Spider-Man's Aunt May Is Replaced by a Lookalike Actress
Considering Aunt May was already as old as time when Spider-Man debuted in 1962, it's not surprising that she would eventually succumb to the harsh reality of senescence. When the moment finally comes, it's extra poignant: she reveals she knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man all along, tells him that his Uncle Ben would have been proud of him, and gently passes on, somehow without instantly turning to dust despite being at least 130 years old.
Not to derail the emotion of the scene, but Peter's body makes no anatomical sense.
It's a truly memorable send-off for Aunt May, only slightly diminished by the fact that that's not really Aunt May -- it's the world's greatest method actress, hired by the Green Goblin as part of a nefarious plot that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
A few years after May's "death," the Goblin lures Spider-Man into an elaborate trap and then springs this shit on him:
"I mean: hooray, my most beloved relative isn't dead after all!"
That's the real Aunt May, alive and well. Turns out that as part of the Goblin's moronic plan to convince Spider-Man he's a clone (for no reason), he hatches an even more ridiculous secondary plan to make Spider-Man think Aunt May is dead, only to later reveal that she isn't. Now, imagine finding out that a dearly loved family member of yours was really still alive. Would that fill you with crushing anguish, or would you be bursting with unbridled joy? Yeah, exactly. We can't see any part of this plan that translates into a gain for the Green Goblin.
But who was the woman who passed away on Aunt May's bed? As the Goblin later explains, she is just some random actress he hired on Craigslist or something.
"She was really desperate for work."
Just so we're clear, the woman dispensing heartfelt advice in these touching, bittersweet scenes?
"Aaaaand ... scene."
Yeah, that's a total goddamned stranger, so devoted to her Green Goblin paycheck that she literally dies for her role. This person gets facial reconstruction, severs all ties with her former life, and forges a meaningful relationship with Peter right up until her death. That's the most protracted revenge plot ever conceived. It would have been much easier for the Goblin to just toss the real Aunt May off a fucking bridge.
If you've got an itch for more superhero comedy, check out Diana's website, Texts From Superheroes or follow her on Twitter.
For more ridiculous comic book moments, check out The 6 Most Bizarrely Offensive Comic Book Supervillains and The 6 Worst Comic Book Super-Husbands.
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