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Top 5 Worst Comic Resurrections Of All Time

by Justin Adams
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In this article we’ll look at some of the worst ways writers and companies have brought back characters. Just to be clear, this article is about comic book characters, not just super-heroes or super-villains, and I’m not counting characters whose origins involve resurrection or are undead characters. I’m also only talking about the resurrections themselves being bad–I’m not saying the stories where the resurrection occurred are bad. The first entry will be of little surprise to comic readers…

Redhood

Jason Todd 

Jason Todd was the second character to take up the mantle of Robin, appearing shortly before the first Crisis and being well-received at the time. However, after the Crisis, writers altered Jason’s origin (having him introduced by trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile) and making him an arrogant punk. This new Jason didn’t last long before being beaten to a pulp by The Joker and killed in an explosion. Jason’s death would haunt Batman for years, and even more so when Jason returned as a lethal masked vigilante called the Red Hood (a former alias used by the pre-Joker) in an otherwise great story. The only flaw: he was brought back by an alternate Superboy punching reality (because comics).

“Superboy-Prime” was for a period of time the DC Comics equivalent of “a wizard did it,” being used to explain character inconsistencies, retcons, and continuity errors. Sadly, this embarrassing “solution” to continuity was used as a way to return Jason Todd to life. Jason has since grown a new fanbase after returning and DC has thankfully removed the “Superboy punch” resurrection from continuity, having Jason return via the Lazarus Pit in the New 52. Our next entry is also a character from the Batman mythos, although his resurrection story is far more obscure…

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Alfred Pennyworth 

I know what you’re thinking “Alfred died!?” Yes indeed. Alfred died in Detective Comics #328 (June 1964), saving Batman and Robin from a falling boulder and being crushed by it. Alfred was revived by a scientist and inexplicably gained white skin and super-powers. His love for Batman and Robin turned to hate and he became the super-villain “The Outsider.” After discovering the true identity of The Outsider, Batman and Robin manage to return him to normal, resulting in this story being an odd footnote in the history of the Dynamic Duo. Next we move on to the House of Ideas and their resurrection missteps…

Jeangrey

Jean Grey

At the end of the critically acclaimed Dark Phoenix storyline, it was determined that Jean Grey would have to die–having snuffed out billions of lives as the insane Dark Phoenix. Gaining control of herself, Jean allowed herself to be vaporized by the Shi’ar as Cyclops could only watch on in horror. There’s no way to come back from that, right? Wrong. A highly questionable retcon established that the real Jean Grey had been hidden away in a cocoon while the Phoenix Force (now said to be independent of Jean) had been posing as her. Jean was later killed again (and will likely return again), but her initial resurrection gets her a spot on this list.

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Norman Osborn

Although he’s been in many good stories since his resurrection–and arguably become a bigger threat as Norman Osborn than he ever was as the Goblin–it doesn’t change the fact that his initial resurrection was done poorly. While there are many good arguments that Norman should have been kept dead (his death is one of the best in the medium), he was indeed brought back, having survived his chest wound via an unknown healing factor and hiding for years in Europe. While there, Osborn set into motion many convoluted schemes before returning to face his arch-enemy. His resurrection also led to another poorly done resurrection on this list…

Auntmay

Aunt May

Unlike others on this list, May Parker was not killed before her time, she was simply an old woman who passed away peacefully in a touching scene with her nephew. Then it was revealed to have been a genetically-altered actress (ugh) as part of a plot by the original Green Goblin. The real May had been captured by the Goblin. To complicate matters further, May now had a device in her head that if activated would set off “gene-bombs” (what?) that would threaten the planet. Mister Fantastic was later able to remove this device and May retained no memory of her captivity. This is quite possibly the most pointless (and convoluted) resurrection in comics, a desperate attempt to return to the status quo and undoing a touching send-off for the character.

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