The Death Knell Rings Often

<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>If the last several months' worth of DC Comics are anything to go by, the death of a superhero's loved ones may be the new death of a superhero, in terms of somewhat odd and worrying trends in storytelling. <p>In the past few months alone, we've seen (<b>SPOILERS</b>, everyone) both Damian Wayne and Cliff Baker die, and a month earlier, Lois Lane and her unborn child were sacrificed to ensure that <em>Injustice: Gods Among Us</em> got off to a suitably daunting start. <b>Trinity War</b> likewise started with a death this month, though this supporting character was of the superpowered variety, as Dr. Light met a gruesome and mysterious end at the hands (er... eyes) of none other than Superman. <p>With this in mind, who could be the next DC supporting character to face off against the Grim Reaper? Here are ten suggestions. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i>

<strong>Maggie Sawyer</strong>

To be blunt, it feels as if Maggie's days have been numbered since she became romantically involved with Kate (Batwoman) Kane. But now that Kate has proposed to the Gotham City cop, it feels as if we're heading closer to some horrible fate for Maggie. <p>It's not just the specter of <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/alan-scott-is-gay-plus-more-gender-race-changes.html">what happened to the couple at the heart of DC's last gay marriage proposal</a>, but also the fact that the Batman family - and especially Batwoman - is a series based around tragedy more than happy endings. <p>Maggie - We're preemptively sorry!

<strong>Jimmy Olsen</strong>

If we're honest, it's really only a matter of time before Jimmy's misadventures brought him to a grisly demise. You can't keep relying on your Pal of Steel to show up at the last minute and save the day, especially when he's already dealing with three solo series, membership in the Justice League <em>and</em> a relationship with Wonder Woman on a regular basis. <p>More to the point, the death of Jimmy would bring Superman face-to-face with mortality in a way that the character hasn't been since the death of his adoptive parents. And imagine the commemorative covers that DC could release to mark his death! <p>Close your eyes and imagine a poly-bagged comic with a completely black cover and one small image of a signal watch, its cracked face splattered with blood. <p>Zee... Zee... Zee...

<strong>Mera</strong>

Since the New 52's <em>Aquaman</em> debuted - and even before then, in the <em>Brightest Day</em> mini-series - Mera has been the rock that has kept Aquaman grounded and prevented him from making all manner of bad decisions... Somewhat impressive, really, when you factor in Mera's own tendency towards impulsive, angry and bad decisions. <p>So what happens if you remove the character from Aquaman's life? Not only does it offer up an arc in which Aquaman has to learn to take responsibility for his own actions, but it also allows the already-existing (post-<em>Throne of Atlantis</em>) cracks between the character and the Justice League to get even deeper. This way lies drama.

<strong>Orion</strong>

Firstly, yes; technically, Orion isn't a supporting character as such. And yet, in New 52 terms, he pretty much belongs to the <em>Wonder Woman</em> supporting cast, and is (currently) divorced from the larger Darkseid/Fourth World mythology. <p>With that in mind, what would happen if a (new) god were to die, exactly...? Would it bring down the wrath of gods and mythical figures on the world responsible - And if it did, would Diana find herself having to defend her adopted world from her father and the rest of her family? <p>Sounds like a multi-issue epic (or potential crossover) to us.

<strong>Carol Ferris</strong>

Is Carol really a supporting character, considering her status as Star Sapphire...? Arguably so, and it's this involvement in the more fantastic, cosmic elements of the DC Universe that could ultimately lead to her demise - A death that, depending on the circumstance, could upset the political balance of the <em>Green Lantern</em> franchise's spectrum of Lanterns as much as it would break Hal Jordan's heart. <p>That's presuming, of course, that Hal would be able to accept her death in the first place, considering that he's made a part-time career of coming back from the afterlife. <p>Would Hal risk everything to bring Carol back to the land of the living? Would the Star Sapphires go to war with whoever or whatever was responsible for her death? <p>Either way, there really is some grand-scale story potential in a cruel fate for Ms. Ferris.

<strong>Steve Trevor</strong>

Formerly Wonder Woman's longtime abandoned love interest, Trevor has gained new importance and notoriety in the New 52 DCU, first as Justice League liaison and now as leader of the Justice League of America. <p>We know that he's a mover and shaker both politically and in the field, and that he's also got a tangled relationship with Wonder Woman and the rest of DC's major players, all of which adds up to a character whose absence would leave a void if someone was likely to find a way of dealing with him permanently. <p>The second arc of <em>Justice League</em> has even gone so far as to play with this concept, even if it chickened out right at the end, but it raised the question: Just how dangerous would someone have to be to kill Steve Trevor - and how badly would DC's premiere heroes react if such a person existed?

<strong>Lois Lane (For Real, This Time)</strong>

Admittedly, the relationship between Clark and Lois in the New 52 so far has been more one of antagonism and implied affection more than any genuine love - <p><em>Action</em> has taken place before their inevitable affair, and <em>Superman</em> suggests that Clark never quite got over his fear of rejection in order to confess his feelings - but nonetheless, there's no way that the death of Lois wouldn't impact Superman's outlook on the world in a way that almost nothing else could compare with. <p>Worryingly enough, the lack of "canonical" love affair between the two in the New 52 makes the character just that little bit more expendable than she would otherwise be, as well. <p>Killing Lois <em>now</em> would make the character "the love that never was" instead of the far-more-depressing "Superman's dead wife." <p>Here's hoping that Lex Luthor doesn't wake up to his fictional existence and realize that for himself.

<strong>Amanda Waller</strong>

Famously the puppet master behind the Suicide Squad, Justice League of America, A.R.G.U.S. and countless other things that we don't even know about just yet, Waller is the kind of character who you just <em>know</em> has made a lot of very powerful enemies in her pursuit of what she believed was necessary. <p>That also makes her the kind of character who's ripe for potential assassination - and, as incoming <em>Suicide Squad</em> writer Ales Kot has already teased, you wouldn't expect everyone in a book called <em>Suicide Squad</em> to make it out alive, would you? <p>As great as Waller is as a character, she might be even more fun as an absent threat whose many schemes, plans and ploys come back to haunt everyone else after her death.

<strong>Alfred Pennyworth</strong>

If you want to take out a character like Batman, you have to destroy his support structure first. The Joker had the right idea in the just-completed <em>Death of the Family</em>, but he took that idea in the wrong direction; making Nightwing, Batgirl et al mad at Batman may hurt Batman's feelings, but the truest way to take away his support structure is to remove the one man who embodies that structure more than anyone else: Alfred, the loyal butler. <p>Without Alfred, Batman would be robbed of his common sense and his truest confidant, and left to his own devices - Something that, as has been demonstrated before, isn't necessarily a good thing at all.

<strong>Commissioner Gordon</strong>

It's difficult to imagine that the idea of killing Jim Gordon hasn't really been looked into countless times over the years (There was, of course, the <a href="http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Batman: _Officer_Down"><em>Officer Down</em></a> storyline in 2001), not only because a Gotham without Gordon would be significantly different city for Batman to operate within - especially if Gordon's replacement was less friendly to the idea of vigilantes helping out behind the scenes - but also because Batgirl would be devastated if anything bad happened to her father, fueling, again, the idea that the Batman titles are ones fueled by misery and tragedy more than anything else. <p>Killing Gordon wouldn't just impact franchise, it would significantly change two characters for a long, long time afterwards.

The Countdown in Which We Help DC Decide Who To KILL Next

Date: 26 July 2013 Time: 06:00 PM ET