Sometimes I can’t help thinking about stupid things. Things that happen in comics, or on television, or in some other medium, involving characters and situations that I know I will never get to work on. I mean, let’s be honest here: I’m not nearly famous enough that a TV producer or a comic book editor would even look at my e-mails, or consent to look at one of my pitches. Heck, even if one of them should stumble upon this blog, see the idea and like it, they would never give me a call. But I can’t help the ideas. Some are really awesome, but they will never be. This blog, however, is a way to talk about them.
This morning, while shaving, I thought about death in superhero comics, and how it’s become trite through overuse. “Hey, we don’t have any ideas, what can we do to boost circulation? I know! Let’s kill someone!”
If I were in charge of either of the Big 2 superhero publishers, death would me mostly permanent. I mean, why not? It would force the writers to become more creative, and it’s not like I’d be in charge forever (never mind how Joe Quesada over at Marvel Comics makes it feel that way). The next person in charge would reverse that decision anyway.
But as I mulled this over, I realized that there can be a backdoor, if it’s creative enough, awesome enough, or set up at the time of death. For example, when Marv Wolfman killed Barry Allen, he had set up a backdoor for an eventual return. A backdoor that Geoff Johns used to bring Barry Allen back. Not that Barry Allen was ever dead, he was alive and well in the 30th century. I would have brought him back from the future instead.
Or Hal Jordan. He became insane, became Parallax, died, came back as the Spectre, and now is Green Lantern once again. Instead of the way it was done, how awesome would it have been if they had brought him back (not that I wanted him back, but that was editorial edict) as the result of an epic battle between Parallax and Spectre? No “yellow fear entity” crap.
In any case, that would be my “get out of hell free” card: if the possible resurrection is built into the death, go ahead.
Which leads me to Doctor Doom. Heavens help me, I have figured out a way to kill Doctor Doom, and resurrect him, and make it awesome.
The key lies in a line of text that Reed says to DOOM (the one character in comics who needs to be put in all caps all the time) during the Mark Waid run. Something along the lines of, “I won’t send you to Hell because we both know you’d be running the place within six months.”
What if he did?
Suppose DOOM attacks the FF once more. He fails, again. This time, he dies. And goes to Hell.
The next step could be one of two things: one would be a 6 issue miniseries: DOOM – To Reign in Hell, detailing how DOOM takes over Hell. You know — “you’d be running the place within six months.” The alternative would be that other characters who return from the dead make cryptic comments about how Hell has changed since DOOM took over.
Eventually, Mephisto approaches the FF with a request: since they sent DOOM into his realm, costing Mephisto his position and power, and since they are DOOM’s arch enemies, he considers it their job to help the Devil out on this one and get rid of DOOM for him. It would be Ben who would ask the obvious question: why should they?
“Because,” Mephisto answers, “DOOM hasn’t figured out yet how to access and use the full power that is the due of the ruler of Hell. Once he has, he will be even more unstoppable.”
That’s enough motivation (maybe Mephisto would offer them a deal, which the FF would of course refuse — heroes don’t make deals with the Devil) for the FF to get going. Fighting alongside the minions of Hell, they defeat DOOM after a harsh battle. Once Mephisto gets the upper hand, he regresses DOOM to infancy. Both physically and mentally. And leaves the baby in the care of the FF.
“I’ve wiped his slate clean,” Mephisto explains. “He’s all innocent again. Now it’s your responsibility to raise him into, well, someone who won’t come back to my place. Next time he does, however, I’ll be ready. I won’t underestimate him again.”