The past year has brought about the dramatic and controversial actions of bringing back sidekicks from death. Marvel and DC each decided to do what most people were unthinkable and that is to bring back sidekicks that had always been off-limits. DC brought back Jason Todd. Marvel brought back Bucky.
Jason Todd’s death was one of the most incredible Batman stories. Death in the Family was so wonderfully done with the readers voting that Jason Todd should die. DC electing to kill a Robin, regardless if Jason wasn’t the original was pretty radical. After killing Jason, it was pretty much assumed that this was one character that would never be brought back to life. DC shocked many people when Winnick brought Jason Todd back as the Red Hood.
Over in Marvel, the rule of thumb was “Nobody stays dead, except Bucky.” In a stunning move, Marvel broke this long-standing rule when Brubaker brought back Bucky as the Winter Soldier.
Both characters and their returns are quite similar. Both were sidekicks of A-list superheroes. Both were thought to be pretty lame. Both came back as serious ass-kickers who clashed with their former mentors. It seems that most people are rather upset with both Marvel and DC. I’m not too sure which one is more controversial or which one has pissed off more people. Probably Jason Todd since his death was a lot more recent than Bucky’s death.
Personally, I have absolutely no problem with Marvel and DC bringing back these two characters. As a matter of fact, I have no problem with a comic book company bringing back any character no matter whom. My only requirement is that it be a good story and further good character development. If it satisfies those two requirements that I’m all for bringing a character back from the dead.
Both Jason and Bucky’s return from the dead were great stories to read. There were very well done. Plus, they lead to some wonderful character development for the existing characters (Captain America and Batman) and the returning characters (Bucky and Jason). I never liked either Bucky or Jason on their first go around. I found them both to be pretty gay characters without much use. However, as the Red Hood and the Winter Soldier, I absolutely love these characters. Two lame sidekicks were transformed into two very complex and interesting ass-kickers.
Sure people will bitch and complain that certain characters should never be brought back to life. And that such actions cheapen the deaths and the storyline around the death. I totally disagree. A Death in the Family was and still is a great story. The return of Jason Todd is also a great story. Now, if the return of Jason Todd had been mishandled and the story sucked, then I would agree that they should have just left him dead.
Now, there are certain occasions where a character came back from the dead that absolutely sucked. Jean Grey being found in the bottom of the Hudson in a cocoon was so lame. That she had been replaced by the Phoenix entity and that all the stories with Jean Grey as Phoenix was not actually Jean Grey at all. I hated that. I loved the death of Jean Grey. It was wonderfully done. However, I had no problem with them bringing Jean back to life as long as it was done well. It was not. This directly ruined the older stories by saying that Jean Grey was replaced by the Phoenix entity. All of a sudden those older stories were directly changed for the worse.
To me, Jean Grey’s return, and Jason Todd and Bucky’s returns highlight the crucial differences in how a character should be brought from the dead.