Before I continue, I just want to clarify that this is not a rant about the issue. But the feeling of nuisance cannot be avoided when these publishers feel the need to constantly kill off major characters only to bring them back not long afterwards. The shock factor has faded. No one is surprised anymore if a major character takes a fall.
I’ve compiled a small list of major characters dying and returning in the same decade. Between the years 2000 and 2010, we’ve seen the deaths and returns of: Aquaman, Batman, Booster Gold, Captain America, Colossus of the X-Men, Donna Troy, The Flash (Bart Allen), Hawkeye of the Avengers, Martian Manhunter of the Justice League, The Thing of the Fantastic Four, and Wasp of the Avengers. And this is only to name a few. A much larger list can be put together. These are all major characters that died and returned, all within the last ten years. Makes you wonder if these publishers can make their minds up.
But that is not to say that they haven’t done a good job of it at times. My focus when someone dies in the storyline is not if they die but how they die. And when they are brought back, it’s not if they return but how they return. I tend to enjoy the experience better when I kind of push the irritability to the back of my mind. It’s the least I can do if I want to have fun reading these books.
As for Batman, his return was a fun ride. He was zapped back in time during the Final Crisis. The world thought he was dead. That was not the case. In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, we found out where he was and we watched his slow and eventual return to the present. Each issue of this mini-series took place in different time periods, as Bruce placed clues and evidence in a previous era to discover them in the future. It truly displayed his masterful investigative skills, proving that he is indeed the world’s greatest detective. Naturally, in the end, he returns. Who didn’t know that would happen, right? Even if Dick Grayson held his own as Batman when his mentor was gone, how can DC Comics continue on without Bruce Wayne, the original Dark Knight?
Much like Captain America, I was more enthralled with what Bruce Wayne does upon his return. An epiphany! And Bruce decides to take his life in a whole new direction. A direction we feeble-minded mortals would never think Bruce Wayne would take Batman in. He launches a new operation he calls Batman Incorporated, which will see an expansion of Batmen stationed around the world. Thus, Bruce Wayne is no longer focusing on protecting the streets of his hometown of Gotham. His death-and-return made him realize that there’s a whole world out there worth saving, and if anyone has the means to afford this operation, it’s our favorite billionaire son, Bruce Wayne.