Like it or not, resurrection is a staple of superhero comic books. In mainstream comics, the afterlife tends to have a revolving door, with characters frequently killed off only to be brought back a few months or years afterwards. It's a proven way to boost interest, and has generated some great stories in the process.
Earlier this month, Marvel released a teaser simply stating "Dead No More," three simple words that resulted in an unsurprising flood of speculation as to which character -- or characters? -- might be returning from the grave. After all, a decade ago Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting brought back Bucky Barnes -- one of the few characters fans thought was a sure-bet to stay deceased -- and the result was the celebrated "Captain America: Winter Soldier" saga, which inspired the hit Marvel Studios film. So there's no real reason to discount nearly any possibility as to what "Dead No More" could be all about.
Answers -- or at least some further hints -- will arrive on Free Comic Book Day, with one of Marvel's two offerings on May 7 including a story by a top-secret creative team kicking off the "Dead No More" story. There are a number of Marvel legends on the deceased list that could make a huge impact if brought back to life -- here are the candidates we think are good bets to soon be "Dead No More."
After Professor Charles Xavier was killed by a Phoenix-corrupted Scott Summers "Avengers vs. X-Men," his school was split in two and his X-Men were caught up in a struggle that shook his dream to its foundation. Now, with the mutant race dying out as a result of the Inhuman-generating Terrigen Mists spreading across the planet, Xavier's people need a savior more than ever. Could Prof. X be on his way back from the grave in his people's darkest hour? With the character playing such a front and center role in the upcoming "X-Men: Apocalypse" film, now would be a perfectly synergistic time for the founder of the X-Men to return.
At one time, the resurrection of Gwen Stacy seemed like an absolute impossibility. Peter Parker's first love was doomed to forever be remembered as the girl hurled to her death by the Green Goblin. But these days, Gwen Stacy is one of Marvel's most popular heroes thanks to the rise of the other-dimensional Spider-Gwen. But, as popular as she is, Spider-Gwen isn't the Gwen Stacy. could "Dead No More" be the first hint towards the return of the original, non-cloned, non-inter-dimensional, non-powered Gwen Stacy?
Wolverine hasn't been dead for long, but already, the Marvel Universe is a very different place. Old Man Logan has taken the traditional Wolverine's place in the X-Men, while X-23 has adopted the yellow-and-blue suit and iconic name of Marvel's most famous Canadian in "All-New Wolverine." But with all these alternative Wolverines in place, what would happen if the original were to return to the land of the living? Certainly, he wouldn't be thrilled to see his older self, especially after hearing about the life his alternate-universe doppelgänger led. We all know that the original Wolverine won't be dead forever, and with all the chaos happening in the X-Men's world right now, his return could really get things jumping.
Ever since the rise of Sam Alexander as Nova, there has been a very vocal contingent demanding the return of the original Nova, Richard Rider. Marvel has been playing it coy when whenever talk of a Rider resurrection comes up, but could "Dead No More" finally see the cult-favorite character's return? Alexander, now an Avenger, could certainly use a mentor, and why not learn from the best? Fans haven't seen Rider since he was lost in the Cancerverse at end of the "Thanos Imperative," and with Marvel's cosmic heroes' profiles bigger than ever, now could be a perfect time for Richard Rider to blast off into the space ways once again.
Back on the X-Men front, we have the long-deceased Jean Grey. There are constant rumors that Jean Grey is to return from the dead -- after all, that's what Phoenixes do -- but right now could be a particularly dramatic time for Grey to return. With a time-tossed younger version of Jean running around the Marvel Universe, establishing herself as a true hero and trying to make up for her older self's sins, what would happen if the older Jean, the Jean that was a destroyer of worlds, was to rise again? A face to face meeting between the two Greys would be an incredibly dramatic moment in X-Men history, once worthy of a teaser campaign and Free Comic Book Day launch.
As we mentioned with Nova, Marvel cosmic is bigger than ever these days, and yet, one of Marvel's greatest cosmic champion has not had a chance to participate in this galactic resurgence. The original Captain Marvel suffered one of the of the most memorable Marvel deaths, succumbing to cancer, Mar-Vell went to his grave with a dignity not afforded many heroes. The Kree-born defender of Earth inspired a number of heroes to take up the name Captain Marvel and fight for justice all over the cosmos. Years ago, during "Secret Invasion," Marvel teased the resurrection of its original Cosmic Protector. While that turned out to be a Skrull ruse, it proved that there can be many great stories told if Captain Marvel were to return from the grave.