Mammoth spoilers for Marvel's Civil War II and comic books in general are heading your way, so read on at your own risk.
When the New York Daily News revealed one of the Avengers would meet his maker in Civil War II, the comic book world freaked out, and understandably so.
After all, characters regularly die in the line of duty, but it's not every day that an iconic figure bites the dust. It came as quite a surprise then when the previews for Civil War II #3 revealed that — well, we won't spoil too much for you, but if you want to find out who the fallen hero is, let's just say the death is a shocking one.
The repercussions of this character's death will be felt throughout the Marvel Universe for some time to come and contrary to popular belief, it looks like this one might actually be permanent.
In an interview with The Daily News, writer Brian Michael Bendis revealed that;
"Right now I can tell you this is the real deal. I can't speak for the future, I honestly can't, who knows what will happen? But I already have plans for the body (in upcoming issues)."
This isn't the first time that Marvel have bumped off a major player though. Whether the decision to kill off these beloved characters is motivated by dramatic story telling or whether it's simply designed to boost sales, it's hard to deny that these iconic deaths possess an unforgettable emotional impact, that is, unless they just come back to life a few years later.
Join us as we round up the most shocking superhero deaths ever conceived by Marvel; It's like Tales From The Crypt, only with more capes and less zombies.
1. Phoenix snuffed it
Before superheroes were picked off faster than Quicksilver on Adderall, the death of Phoenix was a landmark story that changed the landscape of the Marvel Universe forever.
As one of the original X-Men, Jean Grey was always an important player, but her limited power set at the time held her back from achieving greatness. All that changed when Jean was possessed by a cosmic force known as the Phoenix, which ultimately drove her insane and led to the destruction of a star, consequently killing billions. Way to overcompensate, Jean!
Grey's teammates tried to protect Jean through a trial by combat, but before intergalactic justice could be dealt, Phoenix nobly committed suicide in order to prevent more deaths.
The Phoenix Saga is arguably the greatest X-Men story of all time, but Marvel couldn't help themselves and decided to ruin it by resurrecting Grey just six years later, pretending that the hero who died was actually a simulacrum of Jean created by the Phoenix force. The real Jean was conveniently sleeping off a heavy night of superhero-ing in a cryogenic cocoon at the bottom of the ocean.
2. Captain America cashed in his chips
Since he first appeared in 1941, Captain America has become the poster boy for purity and all that's good within the Marvel Universe, Hydra revelations aside, so the decision to kill him off during the first run of Civil War comics was easily one of the most controversial choices that the company has ever made.
After he's taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. the Star Spangled Avenger is brutally assassinated in public by his girlfriend, Sharon Carter, while brainwashed by Cap's adversary, the Red Skull. The term 'lover's tiff' doesn't even begin to cover this one.
The death of the star Spangled Avenger was a monumental event that was even reported by ABC News, who drew parallels between Cap's demise and the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, Marvel decided once again to spoil the impact of Steve's death by bringing him back just a few years later, reclaiming the mantle from Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson who played substitute teacher in the interim.
Fans gunning for Cap's death to mean something once more might be in luck if the rumours swirling around the upcoming movie Avengers: Infinity War are to be believed.
3. Spider-Man went six feet under
Poor Spidey. He's drawn in huge sales for Marvel over the years, arguably becoming the company's most popular character, yet everyone's favorite WebHead has bit the dust not once, but twice in the last decade alone.
Peter Parker first met his untimely demise in battle with Dr Octopus, but in one of Marvel's most bizarre creative choices of late, the company decided to give the mad scientist a change of heart; to honour the memory of his fallen adversary, Dr Octopus decided to take over his body and fight on as a hero in his name.
In the alternate Ultimate Universe, death comes knocking once again for Peter after he selflessly saves his family at the cost of his own life during a dramatic confrontation with the Green Goblin. After his death, Peter is replaced by Miles Morales, a teenager of mixed racial descent who uses his own abilities to carry on Spider-Man's legacy.
4. Wolverine bought the farm
Of all the heroes on this list who seemed most likely to avoid being killed off by Marvel, Wolverine had to be right up there at the top. After all, Logan's healing factor has enabled him to survive almost anything, continuing on even after he's been reduced to nothing more than a skeleton.
Gross visuals aside, Marvel still felt it necessary to take Logan's life, stripping him of his mutant healing factor to get the job done. Wolverine's final story led him to a confrontation with Dr Cornelius, the evil scientist who first bonded the adamantium to his bones back in the day when metal bones were all the rage.
To stop Cornelius from performing the same experiment on countless innocents, Wolverine selflessly slashed the entire depository of adamantium, saving the lives of his victims before the metal hardened around him, leaving a depressing, but strangely pretty Wolverine corpse behind.
5. War Machine is worm food
The trailer for Captain America: Civil War led many to believe that War Machine would meet his maker by the time that the credits rolled round, but Marvel were having none of it, keeping him alive to fight another day/sell more toys.
However, the creators behind the comic book sequel Civil War II were less kind to James Rhodes, taking him out in the very first issue of the run during a battle with Thanos, the Mad Titan. In just one punch, War Machine's suit is destroyed, causing mortal harm to the soft, squidgy human inside. While this was an extremely shocking moment for Marvel's loyal readers, it's also a bit embarrassing that War Machine was taken out by someone once defeated by Squirrel Girl.
As Thanos is the main antagonist in Avengers: Infinity War, there's a chance that Marvel Studios may decide to kill off Rhodey in the MCU too, although it's possible that this would seem too obvious to those who are predicting that the sequel will include the death of a major hero.
Hankering for some superhero deaths? Check out this reinterpretation of Captain America: Civil War, which reveals how the film should have really ended.
Do you think Marvel should resurrect iconic heroes after they've been killed?
Source - The Daily News