If Joss Whedon has taught us only one thing (which Rodrigo might snarkily agree is the case) it’s that the death of a beloved character, used judiciously, can be an essential building-block of a good story.  Granted, you don’t want to overuse any storytelling trope (*coughMarvelandDCcough*) but a meaningful utilization of the “ultimate sacrifice” can make for very memorable stories.  Many people still remember Crisis On Infinite Earths primarily for the deaths of Barry Allen and Kara Zor-El, while my youthful appreciation of ‘Battle Of The Planets’ was deepened, then utterly blown away when the rivalry between Condor Joe/Jason and Ken/Mark ends with Joe dying heroically and saving the day.  That character’s dramatic end put a perfect cap on their partnership and conflict, and perfectly closed the Gatchaman ledgers with a satisfying, yet tragic conclusion.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced “kee-yopp”) is a leaf in the wind, asking:  What in-universe character death would you NEVER want anyone to undo?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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12 Comments

  1. April 22, 2013 at 11:54 am — Reply

    Despite a lot of good choices from the pre-DC 52 era and Marvel the deaths from a current title would be incredibly bad to “undo” for a series I’ve really come to enjoy immensely and that’s Earth-2’s and Worlds’ Finest’s “Trinity” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I was extremely cynical that a “reboot” of my life-long Golden Age heroes would not go well and I was still disappointed that the “new” Earth 2 from the post 52/pre Flashpoint era only appeared briefly in my late, lamented Justice Society book. The way Earth 2 is being set up has been really engaging with it being a world that survived a “Great Darkness Saga” of Legion proportions. Now they’re launching a new non-Bruce Wayne Batman and Mr. Miracle and Barda are back. Somehow bringing the Big Three back to this world would kill the entire premise all together.

  2. April 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm — Reply

    Chewbacca. Granted, I wasn’t happy that he was killed off in the Expanded Universe, but I think they gave him a fitting end.
    *SPOILER ALERT!!* (even though it has been out for several years)

    It took a planet exploding to kill the big fuzzball, and the only reason he was stuck there in the first place was because he leapt out of the Falcon while it was in the air and threw Han’s kid back up to it. Sure, the kid ends up dead a few books later anyway, but that doesn’t really negate the fact Chewie died honorably protecting someone he cared about. And, again, it took a planet exploding to kill him. How bad@$$ is that?

  3. April 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    Uncle Ben. Once upon a time I was told the only three deaths that were permanent in comics were Uncle Ben, Bucky Barnes and Jason Todd. Bucky can’t even stay dead for an entire movie and Tom Welling Prime punched life into Todd. I guess that we can hope that Damien Wayne takes the place of a dead Robin for Batman, but I doubt it.

  4. April 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    At this point, I’d say Ultimate Peter Parker. Miles has become a great character unto himself and having Peter’s death stick just makes the series that much more believable.

  5. JoeM
    April 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm — Reply

    Superman’s parents. All four of them.

  6. Oldcomicfan
    April 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm — Reply

    Any of them. Bringing back a dead character cheapens the whole story and robs it of any significance. But the worst offender, the one I would correct if I could edit the movie and distribute it, would be the “resurection” of Data via B4 in Star Trek Nemesis. They should have ended that movie at the memorial service and let Data go. Bad enough to bring Interchangeable Dead Hero X back after a few brief issues, but to bring back the dead in the very same movie was the lamest of the lame. Especially given the fact that there were no more Next Gen movies, so what was even the point of bringing Data back?

    • April 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm — Reply

      I’d have preferred B4 to remain B4 and not become “new Data” (which is what apparently happened in the comics/novels or something, dunno as I never read them, just a wiki article or two). Making B4 start to become “new Data” at the end of the movie felt, to me, like they were throwing away Data’s whole story over the course of TNG to become more human-like and saying “Well, he IS just a robot and totally replaceable”.

  7. Mark
    April 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    Superman… he came back and the tide came back with him all death is now pointless in comics
    batman, cap et al…

    • B.V.K.
      April 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm — Reply

      This, and it would have been interesting to see what DC would do without Big Blue around.

  8. April 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm — Reply

    Hellboy. His death was so poignant and touching. Mignola really hit me in the feels on that one. Now, with Hellboy exploring Hell and that mythology, I’d rather he stayed dead. It would cheapen the ultimate sacrifice he made to kill the Ogdru jahad.

  9. gary
    April 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm — Reply

    So many options… I’d have to go with Jean Grey in the Phoenix Saga. Close second is Obi Wan Kenobi.

  10. April 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm — Reply

    The problematic part with this whole thing is that there are many deaths to choose from. I would say that having Uncle Ben dead is definitely up there as should never be undone. But the one I would like to have never been undone because it was pretty powerful at the time was Captain Marvel. To me that was a death that should have stuck because its the first death I remember in comics, outside of Superman, as it really meaning something when he died. It probably hits more home with me because it was a death due to cancer rather then a planet killer coming down and beating the tar out of somebody….wait spoiler. So yeah the death of Captain Marvel has gotta be it for me.

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