Death in Comics is Never Forever

News that Marvel Comics will kill off one of the Fantastic Four is no real shock.  Ever since DC Comics hit the jackpot with its Death of Superman storyline, heroes have faced the Grim Reaper, only to eventually return to life again.  Captain America and Batman are just two of the most recent examples. Killing off an iconic character has become a cheap storytelling cliche, meant to spark sales and create some shock value.  Yet, in comics, death is never final.

Killing off characters is so common in comic books that the image of Michaelangelo's Pieta has become a cliche itself. Superman holding Supergirl in his arms after she sacrificed herself in Crisis on Infinite Earths or Batman holding Robin after the Joker killed him are just two of the more memorable.

Dead characters always come back, it seems, in some form or another.  Some deaths I thought would be permanent, like Jason Todd or Bucky Barnes, but even they have been brought back from the grave.  Apparently, no death is sacred in storytelling, especially when you have so many ways to bring characters back to life: cloning, the Lazarus Pit, alternate universes, time travel.  Oh, and did I mention zombies?

So, have no fear, Fantastic Four fans.  Even though one of the core Four (the Thing, the Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman) will bite the dust, I doubt it will be permanent.  Remember, Marvel has killed off Ben Grimm and Reed Richards before only to have them return to glory.  Others have stepped in to temporarily fill out the ranks of the superpowered quartet until the original four were reunited again (my favorite was the She-Hulk, but let's not talk about H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot).  No matter how certain death may seem, the original Fantastic Four will be together again someday.

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