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Sunday, October 25, 2009 

DC went way overboard with gratuitous deaths

On the Newsarama blog, one of the writers makes the argument how DC has spent the past decade sacrificing numerous characters as the starting point of their superfluous "events":
It’s 2003, and Judd Winick and Geoff Johns are about to launch new volumes of The Outsiders and Teen Titans respectively. Their storyline kicks off in a special miniseries in which several characters are killed.

It’s 2005, and the pair—joined by Greg Rucka—are about to set the DC Universe on a course towards Infinite Crisis, and they kick it all off in a special one-shot in which they kill Blue Beetle II.

In 2008, Winick gets ready to relaunch a new Titans title, and he does so by slaughtering a half-dozen minor characters.

That same year, the Grant Morrison-written Final Crisis opens with the deaths of Orion and Martian Manhunter.

Surely there must be some reason for all this blood, and since it is the blood of fictional comic book characters, I can only imagine it’s a very peculiar, quasi-religious reason.

It can’t possibly be a creative or dramatic reason, because it’s been done so often in such a short span of time, and despite their occasional shortcomings, all of these men—even Judd Winick, whose work I like the very least—are talented, and have certainly read enough comic books to know that seeing a character get killed barely moves the needle of fan interest, let alone excitement.

These same writers have also been simultaneously restoring dead characters to life during that same time, even undoing some of the most “sacred” comic book deaths, like that of Jason Todd and Barry Allen, further making the act of death meaningless within the context of their fictional universe.
You could surely make the same point about the death of Jonathan Kent, who was put to death at least a year ago, and now has risen from the grave again to terrorize his wife Martha, which renders even that death in the pages of Superman insulting.

And now, James Robinson has added himself to the list of contributors who're wasting time with this pointless death barrage:
Naturally, Robinson begins his run by killing off a character, appeasing his dark lord with the fictional life essence of Blue Jay:

And that’s a terrible shame.

Again, seeing characters killed off in a DC superhero comic book isn’t exciting, and it hasn’t been for about a decade now. It isn’t even interesting, it’s just something that one often sees in comics, like a drawing of a building in the background or a computer console in the Justice League headquarters. But I personally find it depressing. Not necessarily in a “Oh, poor Blue Jay” kind of way so much as a “Oh, poor DC Comics, why aren’t you any good” kind of way.
One can say that third time's not the charm now for Robinson, and unlike the 2 deaths that came at the beginning of Starman and JSA, this time, it's definitely pointless. The answer to why he's doing this one, even at the behest of the editors, shouldn't be too hard to figure out: it's that he's become one of their yes-men, and as a result, has turned himself into a joke writer.

This topic from Speed Force also brings up some of the same arguments, including the wholesale massacre of supposedly redundant c-list characters, whom we cannot expect to be brought back/redeemed under the current DiDio regime.

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