In Death is not the End, we spotlight the outlandish explanations for comic book characters (mostly super-villains) surviving seeming certain death.
Today, we look at the superhero resurrection that was first presented as a parody of absurd superhero resurrections that was later accepted as the ACTUAL resurrection of a superhero!
Okay, to start off, we have to go to “Alpha Flight” #12 (by John Byrne), when the leader of Alpha Flight, their most famous member at the time, Guardian, is killed (in one of the most shocking comic book deaths of the 1980s)…
Byrne then shocked fans by seemingly returning Guardian from the dead a year later! In “Alpha Flight” #25 (by Byrne and Bob Wiacek), Guardian explains how he survived…
The joke is that this was Byrne trying to come up with the most ridiculously convoluted explanation for a superhero’s return possible, because, of course, it all turned out to be bogus, as revealed the following issue…
So Guardian was still dead. Now, over 70 issues passed and Fabian Nicieza took over writing duties on the series (almost at the precise time that he launched “New Warriors” for Marvel – he went from no ongoing titles to two ongoing titles all at once) and in “Alpha Flight” #88 (by Nicieza, Michael Bair and Mike Manley), Guardian was revealed to actually be alive!
And in the next issue, they established that the ridiculous story about his return? It was totally true!
This was elaborated on in the next issue…
It’s interesting, while it is pretty silly to say, “Hey, remember that story that was invented as a joke about how convoluted superhero resurrections can be? Let’s say that that is actually true!” I also totally get what Nicieza was thinking here, which was namely, “Wait, if I want to bring a guy back, we have already been GIVEN a reason for how he could have survived – even if it was a joke, it was a reason that the fans are familiar with ALREADY, so why not just embrace the ridiculousness and just hang a lampshade on the whole thing?” In other words, if you concede within the comic book that yes, we get it, this is a ridiculous explanation, that sort of saves you from the wrath of the fans, as how can they yell at you for the explanation being ridiculous when you openly agree? It reminds me of the Peter David-penned issue of “Incredible Hulk” when Rick Jones was seemingly killed in a spaceship explosion, but luckily, he was wearing the mini-parachute he carried on his person at all times in case he ever needs to jump out of a spaceship before it explodes. When someone tells him how absurd that idea is, he retorted that hey, he DID need it, so how could it be absurd? Similarly, yes, this resurrection is absurd, but it happened, and Guardian was now back, so what can you say? The most important thing was that Nicieza wanted Guardian back into the series and that was achieved.
But still, it will certainly go down in history as one of the weirdest superhero resurrections of all-time.
If you have a suggestion for a superhero (or supervillain) resurrection that you’d like to see explained here, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I just might feature it in the future! You can also send to email@example.com, but I’d prefer you to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, because it saves me having to check two accounts. 😉
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