Comic book heroes (and superheroes) who have died and gotten better.

OK, Superman died a few years back, I remember there being a big flap about it, but since I wasn’t reading comic books at the time, I don’t know the circumstances. He seems to have recovered quite nicely, though.

I heard Wonder Woman also kicked the bucket during the '90’s, but I recently saw a newish WW issue on the rack at a comic book store, plus she seems to be an active member of the JLA, so I’m assuming she recovered. And, so, how’d that happen?

The Green Arrow got blowed up with an airplane but is looking none the worse for wear, although his relationship with the Black Canary seems to be on the rocks. Haven’t read “Archer’s Quest” yet, so I don’t know how his return was accomplished.

And I haven’t even touched the Marvel Universe yet.

So, how many comic book men (and women) in tights have bought the farm, then sold it back again?

Jean Grey, several times.


The Punisher.

Jeebus. All of them, give or take.

I mean, in the Infinity Gauntlet crossover, Thanos wiped out half the population of the universe, including half the superheroes thereof.

And the entire JLA was killed in a recent storyline where they were hurled into the past - a shaman later called their spirits back to the material plane and reincarnated them.

I’ll expand tomorrow, if folks don’t beat me to it - but on the cover of Identity Crisis #1 and #2, I was thinking to myself how many of those folks had died… Hal Jordan, barry Allen, Green Arrow, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman…

Honestly, a shorter list might be who had never died.

Would Deadman count as having gotten better since he stayed dead?

Actually, Green Arrow’s return from the dead was explained in “Quiver,” the first trade paperback, written by Kevin Smith. Since you mentioned being a Green Arrow fan, I’d start there–at the beginning. “Quiver” reprints #1-12.

Does anyone know the FIRST major hero to die and get better?

I vote for Jean Grey as the person I was most hoping would stay dead. I like the character a lot, but her death as the Phoenix was just so perfect.

Is Jean Grey the one who has died and come back the most times? Or would we count Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who have lived and died many, many times through the process of reincarnation?

As far as characters who died and got better, I think Jason Todd is a much better character dead than he was alive.

Is that by any chance out in TPB yet?

Oh, and *Lou, I think from now on you are going to be my default source for information about all things comic book. Us newbies need more people like you.

Oh, OK, I’ll ask the guys at Dreamwell if they can get the TPB for me…

Better to ask what heroes died and stayed dead.

I can only think of two: The Flash (Barry Allen) and Ferro Man*.

It got so than when the hero of one space adventure series in the late 70s (I forgot the title) put on the cover “What happens when a hero dies?” the obvious answer was “In a comic book, he comes back to life.”

And, of course, the first major hero to die and come back to life was the Spectre. He died in 1940, in his very first story. Though there was some ambiguity, his human identity, Jim Corrigan definitely returned from the dead.

There also Caspar the Friendly Ghost in 1945, though it was never shown how he died.

*Anyone remember?

The most fun ‘death’ (although it wasn’t so much a death, so much as a coma) and return, IMO is Metamorpho.

After turning into a sort of unpowered space-craft in order to protect the JLA and get them back to Earth after their satellite blew up, he was catatonic - and several bits of him got knocked off. Most of them were collected and returned to the main portion before he came out of the coma.

But one piece didn’t, and it gained sentience in its own right, and, as the original wasn’t known to be back and active, everyone thought HE was Rex Mason - although he was missing broad swaths of memory.

Eventually, Rex revived, and started trying to track down the new guy, who was working with the new Outsiders.

Eventually, Nightwing, Jade, and Indigo convinced Rex not to try to reabsorb MII, and now both Metamorphos are running around.

Do you mean Ferro Lad, the Legion of Superheroes character who sacrificed himself to destroy the Sun-Eater?

If not, he does count. That particular version of him stayed dead (although Legion history gets even more confusing than usual superhero history).

Other Legionaires (postboot - I’m unsure of preboot, although I’m pretty sure Ferro Lad wasn’t the only) that have stayed dead:

Kid Quantum I
Element Lad

(Iffy preboot: Proty I)

And one(/two) that came back:

Lightning Lad (preboot)/Livewire (postboot) (In Element Lad’s body.)

This is from the top of my head.

There are two GA TPBs out now, both penned by Kevin Smith, and both excellent. Buy 'em both at once, save yourself the second trip.

Cypher, a mutant with the power to translate languages, died. Warlock, a techno-organic alien, died. Their corpses somehow combined and came back as Douglock.

Professor X died. It was later revealed that it hadn’t really been him, but a shapeshifting mutant posing as him.

Dan Ketch, the human host of the second Ghost Rider (the motorcycle GR’s not the cowboy ones) died. Dan would transform when innocent blood was spilled. When a serial killer tore out his throat, he killed Dan. But, triggered the transformation into GR. Eventually, GR transformed back into Ketch who was saved by Dr Strange.

Robot Man of the Doom Patrol. He started his career as a superhero when his car crashed. Niles Caulder was able to save his brain by transplanting it into a robot body. Then, a villain called the CandleMaker destroyed his brain. Fortunately, Caulder had backed up Robot Man’s mind on disk. A new RM was built, using a hard drive. Eventually, beings from another dimension gave Caulder a fully developed, but blank, human brain and RM’s memories and personality were transferred to it. (Then Rachel Pollack became obssessed with menstruation and the series was cancelled. Then, it was picked up as a more normal but still quirky series. Then, that was cancelled. Then some morons decided to let John Byrne do a Doom Patrol series so that he could crap all over it).

The Vision- John Byrne crapped all over this poor android. He had him disassembled. When he was reassembled, he had no emotions. A later writer with a working brain restored the Vision to his usual self.

Ghost Rider 2099- Poisoned and surrounded by members of a rival gang, Zenshiro Cochrane decided to deny them the data stored in his neural implants by burning them out. He uploaded his entire mind into the net. There, a strange agency found him, built him a robotic body, downloaded him into it and sent him into the world.

The Flaming Carrot- He fell to his death while rescuing a cat. His corpse was found by trashpickers, who exhibited it a flea market. The Artless Dodger recognized it and bought it cheap. He sold it to the Carrot’s enemies, the Hudson Dusters. The Junior Carrot Patrol was able to retrieve it. They gave the corpse to FC’s friend, esteemed mad scientist Professor Heller. He subjected the body to various treatments. In the end, it was a matter of the Carrot’s will to live. Playing Lorne Green’s lyricized version of the theme to Bonanza revived the Flaming Carrot.

And Mango, while it is nice to support your local comic shop if you have a good one (I don’t), there are several online retailers that offer discounts on TPBs. One of my favorites is 35% Discount Comic Book Stores, at .

I’ve never dealt with Discount Comic Book Service, but they seem to have some great deals. However, I’ve heard they are extremely slow to ship, and some people have had communication problems with them. You can see for yourself: .

Of course, you can’t go wrong with , which regularly offers 30% discounts on TPBs. And then there’s always eBay and! Good luck, and good hunting.

The New Mutants- The Beyonder destroyed them, and all memory of them, during Secret Wars II. He later brought them back.

The Wasp?- I can’t remember which hero was killed in Secret Wars. At the time, many of the heros were staying in an alien village. One of the aliens (I believe her name was approximated as Ystaja) had the ability to heal injuries. When the corpse of a hero was found, Ystaja healed her even though it cost her her own life.

The X Men- I forget which ones exactly. They sacrificed themselves to empower a spell cast by Forge. The Goddess Roma resurrected them.

Machine Man/X 51/ Aaron Stack- He sacrificed himself (I don’t remember how exactly but it had something to do with an airship). He was able to imprint part of his programming on a SHIELD Life Model Decoy. When the LMD found Machine Man’s head, it exchanged it with it’s own and MM was resurrected.

Ambush Bug- He’s been dead several times. For reasons that are unclear, Bug was condemned to Hell. There he would be tortured for all eternity by being forced to dance the jitterbug with fat ladies. Ambush Bug was able to escape Hell when he noticed a door marked “EXIT”.

Hal Jordan died and became the Spectre, but I don’t know if that was an improvement.

He will be returning as the Green Lantern later this year.


(Okay, it was a TV show, not a comic. sue me.)



Sherlock Holmes.

There was a JLA/JSA team-up in the early 70s where the whole Justice Society got killed. The Spectre, heretofore not in the story, brought them back to life for no particular reason other than a sentimental mood.

Jesus or Mithras