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Help Me Work out a Good Scale…

by  in Comic News Comment
Help Me Work out a Good Scale…

for the finality of a comic book death in a superhero comic. When I read this week’s Secret Invasion finale, the major death in the comic made me think, “Oh come ON! That’s hilariously easy to reverse!” So THAT made me then think that it’d be cool to have a nice 10-point scale where I could measure how “final” a comic book death is. Don’t get me wrong, obviously, ALL comic book deaths can be reversed. But the odds certainly go up and down based on the circumstances, and I figured it’d be cool to have a scale to measure it. I would just do it myself, but come on, something like this requires far more than one person – I can only imagine the nit-picking of a list by one person – much better to just do it as a consensus sort of thing.

So read on to see what I’m thinking of as the framework of the scale (there will be spoilers involved as I will discuss comic book deaths in some superhero comics that you might not have read yet), and then you can enter suggestions for what each point on the scale should be!

Okay, so ten point scales are the best way to go, I think, and I figure 10 will be “Most final death” and 1 will be “Barely final at all death.”

10 would be for a non-powered human getting killed in a standard physical manner. You know, like the Joker beating Jason Todd to death or Maxwell Lord shooting Ted Kord in the head. These are the deaths you really have to go waaaaaay out of your way to reverse.

1 would be for the standard “explosion but no body” situation that comes up all the time, like Joker AFTER he beat Jason Todd to death. I waver on it only because I wonder whether I should have 2 be “normal human in a standard explosion without a body” and 1 be “superhuman in a standard explosion without a body.”

The Wasp died in Secret Invasion due to a Skrull formula that we don’t even know what it does. She died by basically dissipating into energy. The Wasp’s powers involve re-arranging her molecules. So we have a cosmic alien formula that turned the Wasp into basically energy, I guess. That struck me as pretty darn easy to reverse. I figure this would be somewhere in the middle of the scale, and I’m thinking “Superhuman killed with a cosmic death,” as those always seem easy to reverse. Like getting turned into a statue or something like that. Or getting absorbed into an energy field, etc.

Roughly speaking, I’m seeing the 10 points as:

10 Regular human killed in conventional manner (shot, stabbed to death, etc.) with a corpse.

9 Superhuman killed in conventional manner with a corpse.

8 Regular human killed in a tremendous explosion without a corpse (like ground zero at a nuke)

7 Alien/cosmic being/magic being killed in conventional manner with a corpse.

6 Human killed in a cosmic energy thing

5 Superhuman killed in a cosmic type deal

4 Alien/cosmic being/magic being killed in a cosmic type deal

3 Any sort of magic death

2 Regular human killed in a standard explosion without a corpse

1 Superhuman/alien/comic being/magic being killed in a standard explosion without a corpse

Obviously, there is a LOT of wiggle room there in the middle, so help me out, folks! Suggest what you’d like to see at various scale points!

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