The Grateful Dead

Now that <i>Secret Wars</i> has wrapped, it’s time to start looking ahead to Marvel’s next major event, <i>Civil War II</i>. This week, Marvel <a href=" http://www.newsarama.com/27466-major-hero-to-die-in-civil-war-ii.html">announced</a> that <i>Civil War II</i> would kick off with the death of a major character, an event that would be the inciting incident for the new superhero conflict. <p>So who would that be? We started thinking about possible candidates for characters Marvel could off that would be big enough for such an event – and we didn’t stop there. We went a step further, thinking of the biggest heroes that could kick the bucket inside or outside of an event. <p>Some of these are characters who have come close – or who have even been presumed dead before. But nonetheless, they’re all still kicking in the Marvel Universe at the moment, and their deaths could prove to be major turning points. Here’s our list of ten characters Marvel could kill next. <p>Don’t blame us when they start dropping like flies.

Mary Jane

Ouch. <p>Marvel's reasons for dissolving the marriage of Peter and MJ are in our opinions, debatable, but also somewhat understandable. But that well-worn issue aside, the unfortunate byproduct of the publisher's chosen method of separation continues to leave something of a tragic pall over their entire relationship. <p>The former spouses (who may or may not remember their past life?) really can't appear in a scene together without the ever-present reminder to fans of what once was and what they lost. Are we the only ones who find extended Marvel version of "The Hangover" a tad ... depressing? <p>And there are only two possible solutions to this problem: <p>1.) Get them back together. Restore their marriage or at the very least, their memories. Undo the undo. We got a glimpse of what that might look like in the <i>Secret Wars</i> tie-in <i>Renew Your Vows</i>. <p>Or... <p>2.) Well, you know. And now that MJ is apparently teaming up with Tony Stark over in <i>Invincible Iron Man</i>, option 2 could have even more impact... especially to draw some battle lines for <I>Civil War 2</I>. <p>Or maybe there is a 3rd solution. Hmmm...

Luke Cage

Marvel has done major work bringing Luke Cage into the A-List (with Brian Michael Bendis doing much of that during his <I>Avengers</I> run). What's the next step in raising his profile but to kill him off? <p>Think about it. He's one of the last major Avengers of the past decade not to have kicked the bucket, and he's got a Netflix series coming out before long. <p>Doesn't it make sense that Marvel would off Cage only to bring him back just in time for his Netflix series to debut?

Angel

Warren Worthington III has been through more than his share of transformations in his time with the X-Men, mostly owing to his association with Apocalypse, and the villain's penchant for genetic manipulation. He's gone from Angel to Archangel and back again on a couple occasions... <p>...but what if he went through one final metamorphosis, dying and becoming a real, honest-to-God angel? <p>As goofy as that sounds, way crazier stuff happens to X-Men all the time -- especially if you're dating Wolverine.

Hope

The X-Men have always been the most metaphorical of all the iconic superhero franchises, and these days who's more metaphorical than "Hope" the first mutant born after the Scarlet Witch put the whammy on the whole motherluvin' species in <I>House of M</I>? <p>So what's a more natural (though admittedly obvious) metaphor than "The Death of Hope"? And has there ever been a better story arc title? (don't answer that) <p>The Marvel mutant-verse has always been more about pathos than perhaps any other franchise in comics - those crazy kids never seem to get a break or get a chance to catch their breath; it's one bad turn after another for them. <p>Throwing a curveball like killing off the one-time key to the X-Men's future is utterly rich with storytelling possibilities unique to the family - especially since Hope hasn't been particularly important to the team since <i>AvX</i>.

Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier

Yeah, yeah, we know, they faked his death at the end of <I>Fear Itself</I>, but he never really kicked the bucket - not even way back when Captain America thought he was dead the first time. <p>What better way is there to bring Bucky's story full circle than to kill him off in a heroic blaze of glory, finally sending him into the afterlife after years of hoaxes, retcons, and teases?

Storm

Speaking of X-Men who have seen and done it all, there are only a few who have been through more than Storm, the mutant mistress of the weather. <p>She's been de-powered, de-aged, married, divorced and dismissed, but she's never been dead. <p>With Storm as the de facto leader of the X-Men, it seems unlikely she'd be slain so close to her predecessor and confidante Wolverine, but as we said, when it comes to the X-Men, anything is possible.

Bruce Banner

We all know how hard it is to kill a Hulk. In fact, it's practically impossible. But what would happen if you managed to succeed? <p>There's a good reason we chose Bruce Banner for this entry rather than his giant, jade alter-ego – and it’s not just because Banner has seemingly been divested of ol’ Jade Jaws now that Amadeus Cho has taken over as the <i>Totally Awesome Hulk</i>. <p>What if Banner actually managed to kill himself in his human form? We humbly suggest that the gamma radiation inherent in his body would not lie dormant, but would in fact reanimate his corpse, transforming it into his more monstrous form in the process. <p>Can you say Zombie Hulk?

Aunt May

You've been waiting for this one, haven't you? <p>Well, yeah, we're going there. <p>We touched on the Peter-MJ marriage earlier. Remember Marvel's rational for erasing it? It "aged" Peter Parker, and having him be a divorced guy, Marvel argued, would have only compounded the problem. <p>But here's an alterative view. The marriage didn't so much age Spider-Man, as it domesticated him. Made him seem like a guy who had to be home at 6:30 for dinner, and spend weekends picking out tile and grout colors at the Home Depot with the ol' ball and chain (being married to a redheaded supermodel sounds like a tough life). <p>Mind you, there is nothing wrong with that, but it apparently just wasn't what Marvel wanted out of their flagship, youthful, solo superhero. <p>Now taking that further, there is absolutely <I>nothing</I> wrong with being a loyal, dutiful nephew to the elderly aunt that raised you. It's an unassailable admirable quality. And certainly May will always have some aged wisdom to pass along to Peter. But doesn't the Peter-Aunt May dynamic domesticate Spidey more than MJ ever did? Make him something of a suburban homebody? <p>Isn't it time to cut the apron strings and let Peter get on with life (on the permanent, this time) without always having to look over his shoulder towards Queens, particularly now that she's married again and has someone else to look out for her? <p>For those without the taste for it, we're fine if moving on means maybe moving May down to Boca Raton for a much-deserved, peaceful retirement. <p>We just don't think Marvel will get much mileage polybagging that issue.

Magneto

Believe it or not, as many times as he's been off the grid or presumed dead, Magneto has never actually been dead. Maybe it's about time to remedy that situation. <p>Given that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have been stripped not just of Magneto's parentage, but also of their mutant status, why not go the extra mile and give them a clean slate for 2016? After all, the relaunch has Magneto leading a team of reformed mutant villains in <i>Uncanny X-Men</I> doing the X-Men’s dirty work – not a particularly safe occupation. <p>Magneto's death might also mimic that of his longtime enemy and occasional ally Professor X, a man who, we might add, is still six feet under -- except for his brain.

Tony Stark

Tony Stark may seem like an odd choice, given how prominent Iron Man’s role In <i>Civil War II</i> looks to be – but have you noticed that it’s “Iron Man” and not “Tony Stark” that’s taking up arms in the new superhero conflict? <P>Given that <i>Civil War II</I> will reportedly kick off with a major death, is there any more major a character to bump off than the guy they’re billing as their new flagship hero? Of course it wouldn’t last, but if they stuck Rhodey in the suit for <I>Civil War II</I>, that could make for some interesting bumps in sales, and create an interesting parallel with the original <i>Civil War</i>.

The Hit List: 10 Suggestions for MARVEL's Next Big Kill

Date: 14 January 2016 Time: 12:00 AM ET