In June of 2022, DC Comics released “Justice League” #75, titled “Death of the Justice League,” where, you guessed it, the Justice League “died” at the end of the story. This issue was followed by the seven-issue limited series “Dark Crisis,” later renamed “Dark Crisis on Infinite Earth.”
The series’ plot followed the remaining DC heroes fighting evil and surviving a world in the Justice League’s absence.
As I was reading the series, I got the feeling that the Justice League would miraculously come back by the end, and I was right. They did come back at the end for the final battle.
Spoiler alert! The Justice League weren’t even dead, just on different Earths (still trying to figure out the logistics of that). I didn’t particularly appreciate that I was right. I wanted to be surprised. The ending just felt anticlimactic; the build-up was just for nothing.
And as I was sitting in my room, trying to process what I had just read. I started to think about all the other times characters have come back from the dead unscathed.
My main problem with continuously resurrecting characters is it just gets stale after a while. What is the point of me reading or watching something if I know what the plot twist will be? In all honesty, it makes me not excited for any new media if the creators will recycle the same old tropes.
Now in some instances resurrecting a character can work. One example that comes to mind is the 1992-1993 crossover event “The Death of Superman,” where Doomsday killed Superman. This story was huge because Superman is supposed to be invincible and save the day. But in “The Death of Superman,” he does neither and the supporting characters have to live with the consequences. Does Superman ultimately come back in the end? Yes, he does; because it is Superman, he has to be resurrected at some point.
Another instance of bringing a character back to life and it worked was 2005-2006 “Batman: Under the Hood.” In this arc, the reader is introduced to Gothmans’ newest criminal, the Red Hood and Batman is on the case in finding out the identity of his newest foe. The plot twist is that Batman already knows who the Red Hood is. It’s the second supposedly deceased Robin, Jason Todd. What I have always admired about this story is that it shows Batman’s betrayal in finding out his former partner is back from the dead and how he can turn “evil.” Plus, showing a former Robin as a criminal is just entertaining. Jason Todd’s whole personality changes as a result of being resurrected.
These two examples aside, the repetition of bringing back characters from the unknown seems pointless and a cash grab. Character development has been thrown out the door for the same old story.
At this point in my article, I sound like a broken record. But look, if you have been reading comics all your life you start to notice details about the media you consume regularly. Plus, I believe I am obligated to do some sort of a rant. Like, my friends have to hear my rants about an array of topics I am passionate about, and I think it was time to put one to paper, finally.
Even though I only mentioned resurrecting comic book characters. There are examples throughout pop culture. Soap operas have been making them a genre staple since its invention. In the few times I have ventured into horror movies, obviously characters come back from the grave, but at least it’s scary.
Maybe the moral of the story is I need to find new comics to read or movies to watch. Really expand my horizons so I don’t get hurt again. We’ll see.