Who's Next?

This week in the pages of <b>Amazing X-Men #1</b> Nightcrawler becomes the latest character who’s getting his ticket punched for Marvel Comics alive/dead/alive merry-go-round, and right on cue Marvel released a brand new All-New Marvel NOW! teaser promising <i>another</i> “resurrection” in February. <p>While this one appears to be coming from the X-verse as well, it got us thinking about our countdown of the “dead” (wink-wink) Marvel characters most ripe to make a return to the land of the living. <p>If you’ve been following this list since its original incarnation in September 2011, you know over half the entries from that countdown have in fact, already made the journey, and even subsequent new entries from updated versions have also booked the return trip. <p>So here’s out latest take on the 10 most likely Marvel returns, with at least one new entry we think you’ll find interesting (i.e. you’ll hate us for). <p><i>Michael Doran and Lucas Siegel contributed to an updated version of this feature.</i>

BEN REILLY

As far as comic book deaths go, Ben Reilly's seemed pretty definitive: He was impaled by a Goblin Glider, fell off a building, and disintegrated into dust. <p>Yet that hasn't stopped the faithful followers of Peter Parker's bottle-blond clone from hoping that he might come back some day. And it's not like Marvel hasn't played on those expectations a bit — another Spidey clone, Kaine, is now using Ben Reilly's old identity in the ongoing series <i>Scarlet Spider</i>, and is soon to join the New Warriors. <p>And speaking of that series, Ben Reilly's return <i>was</i> recently teased there, though it turned out to be a trick. <p>But we've seen that before - the Distinguished Competition teased the return of a character by saying it was a "trick" but retroactively making it a trick played by the character himself (we are of course talking about Jason Todd), so anything's possible.

GWEN STACY

Recent Spidey developments in <i>Superior Spider-Man</i> have shown that nearly nothing is sacred. We're in a world where Spider-Man isn't even Peter Parker right now, even if he is using his body (it's complicated). <p>Like Uncle Ben and the pre-Ed Brubaker Bucky, Gwen Stacy has for decades been one of those characters that are just "supposed" to stay dead. But given the risk Marvel has shown they're willing to take with the Spider-Man mythos, and the fact that Gwen has now been seen by millions of people on the big screen via <i>Amazing Spider-Man</i> — with a sequel coming in May 2014 — might Marvel be considering bringing her back in the comic books? <p>Probably not. <p>But maybe... <p>(But probably not.)

CAPTAIN MAR-VELL

Marvel has a new Captain Marvel, and it's Carol Danvers, the former Ms. Marvel. She's been successful in her new role, but the original has been gone for so long, it seems that he's almost due for a comeback under <i>some</i> identity, if not his previous one. <p>Kree soldier Mar-Vell has been dead since the descriptively titled 1982 graphic novel <i>The Death of Captain Marvel</i>. Despite all odds, he's managed to remain dead, though a now-deceased Skrull impersonated him for a period during <i>Secret Invasion</i>. <p>Given how much fans have taken to Carol Danvers in the role of Captain Marvel, bringing back Mar-Vell to take back that mantle would seem to be a rather unwise move — but him trying to reintegrate into the current Marvel Universe after all of these years (he died pre-<i>Secret Wars</i>, after all) is a potentially intriguing story, no matter what name he uses while doing it.

NOVA (RICHARD RIDER)

There's a new Nova, and it's Sam Alexander, the star of his own recently launched ongoing title and one of the main players of the <i>Ultimate Spider-Man</i> animated series on Disney XD. <p> Given the push Marvel has given the character (He's now going to be headlining a new <b>New Warriors</b> team book, as well), it's clear that he's not going anywhere. But the Marvel Universe is already a crowded place, and seeing Richard Rider — Marvel's first Nova — help mentor the still-fledgling Sam could be neat. <p> Nova was presumed dead in the same incident that appeared to claim the life of Star-Lord (and Thanos), who has already returned. Though the exact details haven't been spelled out yet, that would seem to at least open up the possibility of him returning. <p>Not for nothing, there is an entire <i>corps</i> of Novas showing up in the <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i> film next Summer, so if ever there were a time for more than one to merchandise, it's now.

CASSIE LANG

Marvel doesn't seem to be able to support two superheroic members of the Lang family at a time. After Cassie's father, Scott "Ant-Man" Lang died, she took up the identity of Stature as part of the Young Avengers. <p>In <i>Avengers: The Children's Crusade</i>, Scott Lang came back, but Cassie died shortly after. And it's that incident that is Ant-Man's No. 1 motivation as the lead character of <i>FF</i> — yet how would that be changed if it was found that his daughter also cheated death? Just as there's a new <i>Young Avengers</i> series for her to potentially show up in? Perhaps worth thinking about.

ARES

Ares actually came very close to not making this list, as <i>Uncanny Avengers</i> writer Rick Remender <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/17851-rick-remender-revives-sentry-daken-in-uncanny-avengers.html>recently told us</a> that he considered bringing the character back as part of the Horsemen in that series — which ended up as Daken, Grim Reaper, Sentry and Banshee. <p>So clearly, influential people at Marvel have had Ares on their mind in the not-too-distant past. It could either stop there, sure, but there's at least some interest out there in the former Avenger/God of War, so don't be totally shocked if he shows up some time in the near-ish future.

Ben Parker

Okay, okay, hear us out on this one. Yes, we understand Uncle Ben leads the shortlist along with Thomas and Martha Wayne of characters you <i>never</i> bring back (though we’ll remind you Barry Allen and Bucky Barnes used to be charter members of this shortlist as well). But that’s because like Batman/the Waynes, Uncle Ben's death served as <i>the</i> catalyst for the very existence of Spider-Man. Death was the reason Uncle Ben existed. <p>But <i>that</i> Spider-Man is no longer alive, either. <p>The reason he shouldn’t come back isn’t a factor at <i>this</i> moment in time. <p>Yes, Spidey-Ock shares and is influenced by Peter Parker’s memories (well, the ones he accessed before wiping them out), but writer Dan Slott has a golden and ironic opportunity to explore how the <i>life</i>, not <i>death</i> of Ben Parker could influence Spider-Man… a Spider-Man arguably in need of the positive role model Peter once had. <p>Slott can for the first time flesh out perhaps the most famous comic book character that fans really no <i>nothing</i> about and show for the first time <i>why</i> his death has such a profound effect on Peter, rather than us all having to take it by faith through exposition. <p>As for if and when Peter eventually returns (more on that in a minute)? We didn’t say Uncle Ben has to come back for long…

PROFESSOR X

Professor Charles Xavier was the big casualty of <i>Avengers vs. X-Men</i>, struck down by a Dark Phoenix-ized Cyclops in the heat of battle. <p>His death has led to significant drama in the pages of several titles, notably <i>Uncanny Avengers</i>, where Red Skull has managed to use his brain — and by extension, his ultra-powerful telepathy — to unkind ends. (This type of corpse abuse could make a resurrection more or less likely, depending on your perspective.) <p>Time travel often leads to characters' returns, but surprisingly there were none during the "Battle of the Atom" crossover, though <i>a</i> Charles Xavier showed up from the future, this one the grandson of the man who founded the X-Men. <p>While many key Marvel creators <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/10210-was-the-avengers-vs-x-men-death-a-mercy-killing.html>stated that a dead Professor X creates more story possibilities</a> than a live one, a character this important likely won't stay dead forever. But staying dead for a long time? We've seen that with key X-Men characters before. (More on that soon.)

SPIDER-MAN

It looked like Spider-Man was down for the count at the end of <i>Amazing Spider-Man #700</i>, where, following a body switch machinated by Doctor Octopus, Peter Parker's mind died with Doc Ock's rapidly failing body. Or did it? <P>It didn't. At least, not completely. At the end of <i>Superior Spider-Man #1</i>, it was shown that a shred of Peter Parker's consciousness was still left inside of his body, and fighting for control. Good news all around. <p>Except for <i>Superior Spider-Man #9</I>, which showed a mental battle between Peter and Ock for control of their shared body — one that resulted in Otto Octavius winning, and seemingly deleting Peter Parker's mind forever, free to roam the New York City streets as an unencumbered Superior Spider-Man. <P>Except probably not forever. Because it's Peter Parker. But as of right now, even if his body is still alive and well, Spider-Man at least technically counts in the "dead" category at Marvel.

JEAN GREY

Ah, Jean Grey. The great white whale of comic book resurrections. <p>Jean Grey has been dead (well, this time around) since December 2003's <i>New X-Men #150</i>, meaning that, as unlikely as it may seem, this death has actually lasted longer than the span between her (well, what was thought to be her at the time) committing suicide on the moon at the end of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and returning in <i> Fantastic Four #286</i>. (That was a mere six years.) Jean Grey has now been dead for nearly a decade, meaning that there is a generation of comic book readers out there who haven't read a current, mainstream Marvel Universe comic book where she was alive. <p>While many expected her return at the end of <i>Avengers vs. X-Men</i>, it didn't happen — though something along the lines did take place shortly after, with Beast bringing the original five X-Men (including a teenage Jean Grey) into the present. <p>Likewise, the "Battle of the Atom" did bring an adult Jean back into the Marvel Universe - but it was (somehow) the young Jean who had been brought forward, all grown up and having never returned to the past (yes, the paradoxes there are numerous and problematic). Still, at the end, no real resurrection of Jean. The older one apparently died, and the younger one stuck around. <p>So while the contemporary Marvel Universe does have <i>a</i> Jean Grey — a younger version of the original — the adult version has continued to remain dead, longer than many fans expected.

Which Dead MARVEL Characters Might Be Next To Return?

Date: 04 November 2013 Time: 06:00 PM ET