The Nerds of the Roundtable make their triumphant return, and talk about some of their own favorite triumphant returns in comics!
In Outhouse Roundtable, Royal Nonesuch gathers the writing staff of The Outhouse to find out where they stand in the landscape of comic book fandom. The formula is simple: one question, a joyous multitude of answers.
Week 8: Which "return" scenes, whether from death, inactivity, whatever, of a character are your favorite?
Note: This Roundtable, by its very nature, will most likely have spoilers somewhere in somebody's answers. Proceed with caution!
For some reason, I was particularly shocked by the return of Ryuichi Kai in the first volume of David Mack's Kabuki. I probably shouldn't have been. I know how to read comics, so I know that if the tortured main character has a flashback to the evil brother who raped and murdered his own mother, and then slices up that same main character's face, chances are he's going to be coming back for a fight. Yet, Kabuki isn't your typical action story. Although it uses an almost Orwellian backdrop, the series is full of lyrical moments and gorgeous artwork, much of Mack's magnum opus takes place in the main character's head. When I turned that page and saw that he was back, my jaw about dropped. It's a perfect example of the "how" taking precedence over the "what."
I guess I'd have to say Hal Jordan and the rest in the Green Lantern: Rebirth mini. I loved how it was all wrapped up with acceptable reasons and I liked the scene with Ganthet saying "no" to Parallax having Hal's body. The captions/dialog describing the differences between each of the human GLs was spot on and well executed.
Other then that, Grimjack. His walking out on heaven to go save his friends was sweet. So was the premiere of the GrimJim Twilley incarnation.
Flash (Vol. 2) #100 from Mark Waids run, when Wally returns from the Speed Force to save Linda.
The one return that comes to mind for me was the resurrection of Colossus in Astonishing X-Men. It came out of nowhere. Marvel did a very good job of keeping it a secret, and I love how Joss Whedon wrote it. Another "return" though this being back to active roster, was Kitty's return to the X-Men in the first issue of Astonishing X-Men. I loved how when Kitty would walk past a spot in the mansion, she would remember major events that happened to her in that spot.
Oliver Queen in Quiver
Its one of the few returns that accepts what it is and not only tells a resurrection story but a good super hero story as well. The fact that it was pre-Crisis Green Arrow that returned along with his initial distrust of the replacement heroes (he didn't know that Hal and Barry had died so he thought Kyle Rayner and Wally West forced them out of their spots) made for good drama and, at least for me, a unique way to bring some one back.
And no matter what anyone has tried to tell me, I enjoyed Jason Todd's resurrection immensely.
Cyclops in Whedon's X-men run. He built that character into a great leader, so you knew when he returned from his "death" something truly epic was about to happen.
Only one possible answer to this question, and that is...
1986 - John Byrne is planning the reboot of Superman in a post-Crisis on Infinite Earths world. He notices that the plan to eliminate Superboy from the Superman mythos means a problem for DC 's second best selling title, The Legion of Super-Heroes. No Superboy = a continuity nightmare for the Legion. JB pitches an idea on how to correct this but is told not to bother.
1987 - The powers that be at DC realize they goofed by not keeping Superboy and continuity gets a retcon to a retcon with the Pocket Universe explanation (that only kind of works).
1990 - Still plagued by the retroactive removal of Superboy (and Supergirl) from the Legion, Keith Giffen sets about retconning the retcon. In Legion of Super-Heroes #4, Mon-El punches himself and the 30th Century DCU into a new reality. It's the same Legion we know and love but now there's Kent Shakespears instead of Superboy and Laurel Gands instead of Supergirl.
1994 - Because of all the retcons and continuity gaffs that have happened to the DCU since COIE, DC sets about fixing them by retconing the retcons of the retcons with Zero Hour. While Zero Hour mainly affected the 20th Century, in the 30th Century there lies the battle for all existence and to win it, the Legion must sacrifice themselves. They honorably do so and then, just like that - they cease to exist. And not just cease to exist - they never existed at all.
1994 - While a new 'reboot' team that calls themselves the Legion of Super-Heroes exist, they simply aren't the real Legion. This clone team would be cast into limbo 11 years later.
2005 - Mark Waid reboots the reboot with yet another team calling themselves the Legion of Super-Heroes. These clones of copies of doppelgangers are absolutely not the real Legion either.
2007 - In a post Infinite Crisis world - There are teases of Starman & Karate Kid, but when Brad Meltzer's JLA and Geoff Johns' JSA have a crossover and after a routine visit to the Fortress of Solitude, Superman does something he hadn't done in over 20 years - he talks about the Legion of Super-Heroes, the real Legion of Super-Heroes.
Later in the story, it happened, at long last it happened, the Legion of Super-Heroes, the REAL Legion of Super-Heroes, MY Legion of Super-Heroes was back!
Sure there were some necessary tweaks to the continuity, but no more than has been seen in any other series from JLA to the Fantastic Four. What mattered most to me was that the team, the characters, Superboy/man, the core concept of the greatest heroic society of them all was back again!
That moment coupled with everything that the Legion has done since, will forever shine in my mind as the most amazing 'return' there is.
"Long Live the Legion"
This wasn't his actual return, but the sequence at the end of Siege #2 where Captain America's shield is reflected in the Iron Patriot's armour is probably my favourite return. Siege was the return of not just Steve Rogers to the wider Marvel Universe, but the return of the Avengers themselves, and even the return of heroism itself, so the way Bendis and Coipel showed this was just wonderful.
You've got Norman Osborn, the Iron Patriot, representative of the Dark Reign, all shining and thinking he's all that. But in that shine, is a shield, and it's coming for him. It's a bit more subtle than most returns, but all the more effective for it, and it was probably my favourite comics moment in 2010.
I also have a soft spot for Colossus coming back in Astonishing X-Men, and the revelation that Supernova was actually a not-dead Booster Gold in 52 was wonderful.
I'm gonna have to say The Reverse Flash in The Return of Barry Allen. You get some clues sprinkled throughout the story. But the moment we get who "Barry Allen" truly is in the Reverse Flash, it's a nasty gut punch yet great twist you just don't see coming. I mean it should have been obvious given who else? But still it's just a great twist.
I never agreed with the way Colossus was disposed of in the X-books. I felt there was a better wrap up story that should've took place to give us the Legacy Virus cure...especially in light of the Legacy Virus as a plot point that went on far too long past its, well, legacy.
So imagine my surprise when one of my favorite writers and directors, Joss Whedon, not only joins the X-men team in a new series but also ressurects one of my favorite X-men of all time and puts right what was so awfully done wrong! By the white wolf, don't you ever fuck that up again Marvel!!! Now if only they'd fix the obvious mistake that is Thunderbird. I mean we got a cool character with Bucky's return right? What, you telling me Thunderbird doesn't deserve a proper come back?
For me, one of my favorite return moments was one that got me reading comics on a regular basis. After years of just picking up random comics because I liked the covers, the one comic that got me into comics for real was Green Lantern: Rebirth #1. Say what you will about the series as a whole, the entire first issue did an incredible job of setting up Guy Gardner, explaining what kind of guy he is, and reminding audiences how badass he really is, or in my case, completely introducing me to a character well enough to make me feel the impact of his return.
This is an easy one: the return of the red-and-blue Spidey suit in 1988, after year's of the black Spidey suit. I remember reading Amazing Spider-Man #300, the epic first battle between Pete and Brock: Pete in a fabric version of the symbiote suit, Eddy in the actual Venom suit. Pure awesomeness. But after Pete's victory, Mary Jane tells him to get rid of the black costume -- it reminds her of Brock's attack. And so, after four years and 48 issues of a black-suited Spider-Man, we see, on the final full-panel page of issue 300, Pete back in his classic costume.
What a way to cap off a milestone issue!
I thought Brubaker brought back Steve Rogers in a very cool way. But that was superceded by the creepy-cool way he brought back the Red Skull. Using the Cosmic Cube to put the Red Skull's mind inside Aleksander Lukin was truly ingenious.
There are three returns that immediately stick out in my mind. The first one was the return of James Barnes (you might know him as Bucky) in the pages of Ed Brubaker's Captain America. Right up to Captain America waking up in the Silver Age (Avengers v1 #4), Bucky was dead. This happened off panel as Cap and his World War II partner tried to disarm a missile heading towards the United States. Bucky got caught on the missile while Steve fell free. One was frozen in a block of ice for decades. The other was assumed dead. The magic of the Comics Code (and most comics without the code) meant that they never pulled the "camera" close enough to see the actual "death." Rogers even went back in time to make sure his partner was really dead but when the time to confirm it came around, he left without looking.
Still, no one ever pulled the trigger on resurrecting Captain America's first partner. For a long time, it was a sacred cow. Bucky, Peter Parker's Uncle Ben, and Baron Heinrich Zemo (the man who killed Bucky) were the trinity of Marvel Characters that could never be brought back to life.
So, naturally, Barnes showed up as the Winter Soldier in Brubaker's Captain America run. And it worked. It all made sense. People who would have never taken Bucky's resurrection seriously believed it. When James took the next step and replaced Steve in the Cap suit, many fans bought right into that as well.
Now, he's dead again. We'll see how long that lasts.
Oh. The other two. Charles Xavier and Wonder Man. Professor X has died or left the X-Men several times but the first speaks out as the most important. When Professor X "died" in X-Men #42, he left the still young X-Men on their own for the first great length of time. It was over twenty issues later (X-Men #65) until the Professor finally returned and we learned that it was really the Changeling that had died in the guise of Charles Xavier.
Wonder Man might be an even better one because the character was created to die in his first appearance. In Avengers #9, Wonder Man was introduced to the Marvel Universe just so he could betray the team and then heroically sacrifice his life to save them. While his memory wasn't forgotten (it was just placed inside the Vision, natch), no one expected that Wonder Man would ever make a return. When Wonder Man properly returned from the grave in Avengers #151, everyone was stunned. Simon Williams has made a name for himself as an Avenger ever since.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch
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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch
As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well. You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.
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