Dark Marvel

Welcome back Gobs! It's getting late but I wanted to make sure you all had some good material to enjoy for your weekly trip to Diesel City. I'm not really sure what triggered me to write this article, but after I thought about it, I really dig the idea.

There's something about emotion and death in comic books that can at times be brutal or at times be extremely emotional and iconic. In some cases death and sorrow in superhero comics can be transcendent. Sometimes these incredible twists and shocks are what comic books need to keep their characters grounded and keep the readers informed that although a comic is fictitious…tragedy is real. There are a bunch of lists on the internet that pick their most “shocking” panels in books, but this is my rendition. These books contain pages and moments that really stuck with me. Some of these are obvious choices and some not so much, but I hope you enjoy. Please feel free in the comments section to list some books that stuck with you in a dark way. I'm talking, after you put down the book, you couldn't help but feel a breeze of melancholy.

The Amazing Spider-Man #121 (The Death of Gwen Stacy) – This may be the most obvious choice there is. The iconic and tragic death of Gwen Stacy. There's nothing that I can say about this book that hasn't been said thousands of times. I'd go as far as saying that this is the most iconic (Superman fans will disagree I'm sure) death in a comic book. Let's face it, when Spider-Man realizes that his web broke her neck? It doesn't get more tragic. What's the better alternative? Let her fall? Or fail trying to save her? You did your best Spidey.

Web of Spider-Man #31 (Spider-Man buried…ALIVE) – Though this isn't a death, it has to be one of the scariest moments in comic books. The six part series, Kravens Last Hunt, is full of excellent writing and a dark ambiance, but when Kraven buries Spider-Man alive…WICKED. Although Kraven believed him to be dead, it's still pretty frightening. One of the worlds most beloved characters forced to dig his way out of his own grave. It sends chills down my spine just thinking about it. And by the way, don't sleep on Kraven…we will get to him later.

Wolverine #70

Wolverine vol.3 #70 (Wolverine kills the X-Men) – Easily the most shocking moment in the Old Man Logan storyline, Wolverine brutally kills the X-Men after Mysterio tricks him by creating the illusion that they're all villains. Just imagine fighting for your life, and after you win the battle, it was actually your friends fighting for theirs. These few pages cemented this as one of the most shocking and greatest Wolverine storylines ever.

Civil War #1 (Nitro kills kids…and the New Warriors) – Anytime children are killed in comics, it's controversial and groundbreaking. The mega-crossover for the decade, Civil War, didn't disappoint in controversy and tragedy. When Nitro goes boom and kills not only the New Warriors but a large number of children in Stamford Connecticut, it almost didn't seem real. That's when the harsh reality kicks in and you realize that everything isn't rainbows and unicorns. Something like this was bound to happen in comics when you're dealing with celestials and beings with nuclear power. The biggest shock is that a second rate villain like Nitro committed the crime. Although it may have been a smart move for Marvel to have a B villain do it…easy for us all to enjoy Wolverine hunt him down and the Namor imprison him. It's also awesome seeing Wolverine chop peoples arms off.

The Death of Captain Marvel

Marvel Graphic Novel #1 (Captain Marvel Dies of Cancer) – This book was one of the originators of realism and tragedy in comics. The awareness it brought to its reader was authentic. A man as storied and powerful as Captain Marvel succumbs to cancer. A disease that effects almost all of us, can even take down the mightiest of beings. It's a beautiful read, and the page where Spider-Man can't hold himself together and has to walk out of the hospital room is just tragically real.

Siege #2 (the Sentry rips Ares in half) – I'll spare you all my typical diatribe over how great the Sentry is and just allow you to see the brutality of the panel he where he kills Ares. I'm pretty sure this is where we all stopped and said “$&@?…Sentry is a BAD MAN”

Mys-Tech Wars (The “death” of all kinds of characters) – If you haven't read this four part series, give it a shot! It's a lot of fun. It's extremely obscure and screams 1990s! It takes place in an alternate reality where some type of demonic and alien invasion transpires and pretty much causes complete chaos. The four main characters are Wolverine (shocker there), Captain America, and two Marvel U.K. A-listers in Deaths Head II and Dark Angel, but that's not why it's listed here. In this four part mini series, a plethora of marvel characters are killed (only to be later brought back…some Dr. Strange gypsy type stuff if I remember correctly). Ghost Rider gets blown up, Nick Fury gets burned/skinned, and Cyclops gets a hole blown through him. But the one that takes the cake… Spider-Man gets his heart ripped out! With Mary Jane watching him be mauled, Peter reaches out to her and yells. He only gets “I lo…” before a green Reptar looking beast rips his heart from his chest. Just gnarly.

A book to watch

Amazing Spider-Man #15

The first appearance of Kraven. I realize a lot of people are going to be banking on other characters popping up in the Spider-Man movies due to the Easter eggs but I think Kraven is the dark horse. My brother just recently got me buying into Kraven, but I've seen the light. He's an excellent villain. His storyline is practically the Most Dangerous Game. He doesn't have all the bells and whistles the other villains do, but he's much more real and grounded. If he doesn't appear in Spider-Man, he'll appear in Venom…mark my words!

That's all today…feel free to stay as long as you'd like, because when the suns goes down the freaks roam the scene.


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    Great article. I really enjoy reading your thoughts each week.

  • morellotunes

    No death of elektra, huh? That sai poking through her back will never leave my mind.

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    Another great article. I would not mind seeing Kraven’s Last Hunt done in a Spidey film.

  • zraximus rouge

    That wolverine #70 is the single greatest modern comic I have ever read!

    Great article, I have to read more of these.

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    Enjoy your posts. Love the deep dives into some of less obvious picks for comic speculation. Here is a thought for something in the future. Seen rumors that Eitri will be in Infinity War (possibly Peter Dinklage). Any thoughts on key issues for Eitri. I have seen virtually nothing about key issues for this character.

    • A. J. Diesel

      Excellent question. I’m not overly familiar with the character but I’m fairly certain he first appears in Thor Annual #11. Extremely cheap at the moment, and has no history of being a prime time book. I certainly encourage you to pick a few up. I certainly will now, it’s worth a shot. Thanks for the tip @Hulk70!

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        No problem. The consensus on the internet seems to Annual 11. A few websites say Annual 5 but I looked at it and at the time the comic had a different a character making Thor’s hammer. Thor 11 definitely has Eitri. I have a few copies and all were around $6 or less.

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    The entire Kraven’s Last Hunt storyline that ran through all the Spidey titles (Amazing, Spectacular and Web of) is amazing. Great story and some truly spectacular work by Mike Zeck on pencils. For those who haven’t read it, you need to track it down. The individual issues are criminally undervalued.

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    Yeah, I’m surprised Amazing Spider-Man 294 wasn’t focused on, kinda dark.

    • A. J. Diesel

      Very fair suggestion and point. I wanted to pick something from that storyline and felt the hero being buried alive was more shocking than the villain getting killed. Nevertheless, we all have our preferences! Thanks for being a consistent reader! @vicdoommd

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    Great list! Thanks for sharing.

    Not a death, and not positive about what issue, but when Carl gets his eye shot out in The Walking Dead it kind of hit me. Mostly due to having boys Carl’s age.

    • A. J. Diesel

      I was mainly focusing on Marvel, but I also vividly remember that moment in the Walking Dead. It truly was a shocking panel wasn’t it! Thanks for the input. The Walking Dead certainly knows how to continually shock its readers!

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