All this business lately with the death of (Ultimate) Spider-Man generated the same response in me as pretty much everybody else: Peter Parker will be back. Because as we all know, nobody stays dead in comic books. Here are 12 prime examples of superhero resurrections.
Died: Final Crisis #6 (January 2009)
Returned: Batman and Robin #8 (February 2010)
Batman appeared to die at the climax of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, but later we learned that Bruce Wayne was instead sent to the past, while the body recovered in the present belonged to a clone.
Died: never depicted in real time; flashback to his death was finally shown in The Avengers #56 (September 1968)
Returned: Captain America Vol. 5, #1 (January 2005)
Ed Brubaker created the mother-of-all-retcons when he made Bucky a compelling character via gritty WWII flashbacks, and then reintroduced an adult Bucky as a brainwashed lethal assassin called the Winter Soldier. Cap eventually managed to undo the brainwashing, and Bucky even succeeded his mentor as Captain America. Until recently, anyway. (Yes, I’m bitter over Bucky’s recent fate in Fear Itself. What a waste of a compelling character!)
Died: Captain America Vol. 5, #25 (April 2007)
Returned: Captain America: Reborn #1 (July 2009)
Appearing to die via assassination following his defeat in Civil War, we later learn that he was “imprisoned in time.”
Died: Uncanny X-Men #390 (February 2001)
Returned: Astonishing X-Men #4 (October 2004)
Method: Alien technology
Piotr Rasputin sacrificed his life to save his fellow mutants from the Legacy Virus, leaving lover Kitty Pryde to mourn. She later encountered the shock of her life when she found Piotr had been revived by Ord of the Breakworld and Dr. Kavita Rao, who were developing a “mutant cure.”
Died: Daredevil #181 (April 1982)
Returned: Daredevil #190 (January 1983)
Elektra’s death at the hands of Bullseye, following her love affair with Matt Murdock (Daredevil), was one of the most graphic and shocking comic books had ever produced. The mystic cult The Hand returned her to life, using a patented method they’ve used on numerous superheroes which results in brainwashing to do The Hand’s bidding.
Died (the first time): Uncanny X-Men #137 (September 1980)
Returned: Fantastic Four vol. 1, #286 (January 1986)
The Dark Phoenix Saga saw Jean taken over by the all-powerful Phoenix Force, which threatened to destroy the entire universe. Jean appeared to sacrifice herself to prevent that from happening, but later we learn that she was in a cocoon/stasis thing the whole time, and the Jean that died was a duplicate created by the Phoenix. Or something like that. She later died again in the pages of New X-Men, under the auspices of Grant Morrison, but since the X-Men have learned that Jean is subject to the death-and-rebirth cycle of the Phoenix, they fully expect her to rise again. (It even says so on her tombstone.)
Died: The Final Night #4 (November 1996)
Returned: Green Lantern: Rebirth #4 (March 2005)
Method: Soul reunited with body
Hal Jordan’s “death” is a matter of debate, since he was transformed into the Spectre, but the Spectre is in no way alive in the sense that we understand, so Jordan’s servitude as the Spectre’s human tether was a form of punishment for his succumbing to Parallax. If you didn’t understand any of that, don’t worry. All that matters is that Jordan returned to the land of the living in 2005 when a Guardan of the Universe named Ganthet guided his soul back to his mortal body.
Died: The Avengers #502 (September 2004)
Returned: House of M #3 (July 2005)
Method: Altered reality
When writer Brian Michael Bendis wrote Hawkeye’s death into the pages of his “Avengers Disassembled” story arc, he had no idea the fan backlash he would face. So he restored the character to life in the pages of his House of M miniseries, which saw the Scarlet Witch alter reality with her bizarre form of mutant magic. When reality was later restored to its original state, Hawkeye hitched a ride.
Died: Avengers West Coast #100 (November 1993)
Returned: Secret Invasion #8 (December 2008)
Hawkeye’s wife was secretly kidnapped and held in captivity by the alien Skrulls, who then sent a Skrull impersonator to take on her form. So it was really the Skrull Mockingbird who died, not the real one. When all human captives were set free at the end of Secret Invasion, Mockingbird was surprised to find that her husband believed her long dead.
Died: Superman vol. 2, #75 (January 1993)
Returned: Adventures of Superman #504 (September 1993)
Method: Alien technology
Superman’s death is still one of the most talked-about and influential storylines in all of comicdom. His resurrection was a foregone conclusion, but fans lit up the sales charts for almost a full year, waiting and watching to see how he would be returned. Kal-El’s life was restored by something called a “regeneration matrix.”
Died: Infinite Crisis #6 (May 2006)
Returned: Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4 (April 2009)
Method: Alien technology
Superboy was given a noble death, saving the world at the climax of Infinite Crisis, right about the time his character was the most interesting he’d ever been. His restoration was handled by the same regeneration matrix as Superman’s, but his required 1,000 years to complete.
Died: Thor #85 (December 2004)
Returned: Thor Vol. 3 #1 (September 2007)
Method: Awakening from hibernation
While not technically dead, Thor might as well have been after he ended the eternal cycle of Ragnarok, destroyed Asgard, and entered a form of hibernation. He was gone for a long time, until he returned and rebuilt Asgard at the urging of his human host/friend, Donald Blake.