Apparently when DC relaunches their entire universe with the special almost 100 page $2.99 DC Rebirth one-shot out on May 25th, it will not be lacking on gimmicks to draw readers in. According to a magazine sent to comic book shops and other retailers the issue will feature one death and three major character returns. After all nothing says rebirth like death, right? As far as the character returns let the speculation begin on who those might be, but you have to applaud DC for the logical move to bring beloved characters back in an event entitled rebirth, even if it may come across as pandering to some.
The problem I have with this news is a major characters death being a focal point in a universal relaunch issue. It seems once again that DC is going to continue to shy away for any tonal light just as their films currently do. Those of us who hoped rebirth would be a return to the joyous optimism of yesteryear for DC, and versions of these iconic characters that inspire us to be the best version of ourselves may want to look elsewhere.
While I understand that DC’s rebirth rebranding is sales driven, and usually major character death’s mean an increase in comics sales, anyone who knows the industry well understands comics are the only place in life were death is temporary. In the past decade there are probably only two comic book character deaths that actually meant something, and both took place at Marvel. Those I am referring to are Captain America’s assassination after the Marvel universe had been torn apart by the events of Civil War, and then the death of Sentry after Brian Michael Bendis’s use of the character in his New Avengers run. While Cap returned, he stayed dead for two years as Bucky Barnes wielded the shield, which is an eternity in comics , while the Sentry remains dead. Cap’s death meant something after an event as emotional as Civil War, I can’t imagine Marvel would have killed off the character to start something like the all new all different Marvel initiative with a bang.
Immediately with this decision DC backs itself into a corner with readers, because if you are going to kill off a character that is going to have a major impact on your universe, then odds are they have a huge fan following. So right away you potentially alienate a large part of your audience who may have read your books, but may now back out. The more and more I read about Rebirth the less optimistic I become, but the funny thing is with each passing Rebirth news headline so does the DC universe.
Please let us know your thoughts on this major character death, and who you think it could be in the comments below, or tweet me @thereelbradbell