In September, the Heroes in Crisis mini-series by Tom King and Clay Mann promises to feature a mass killing that takes the lives of several DC characters.
According to a just-released cover to the DC Nation promotional magazine, the characters who are killed in the mini-series will include at least one of the following: Arsenal, Booster Gold, Cyborg, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Harley Quinn or Red Robin.
The cover, which will hit stores on September 5, says, "In 21 days, one of these characters dies!"
The plot of Heroes in Crisis centers around a place called Sanctuary, where DC characters receive psychological help for trauma that results from the violence they encounter while fighting (and committing) crime.
According to DC's announcements thus far, the story of Heroes in Crisis kicks off with a mass murder being committed at Sanctuary, and the investigation into the killings is what drives the series forward.
So, which of these six characters are most likely to die in the culling? Newsarama takes a look at the odds facing each of the six characters when Heroes in Crisis begins next month:
The Pros to killing Harley:
Harley Quinn is a villain, and a sometimes annoying one at that. And she was originally just a sidekick to the much better-known villain, the Joker. Villains get killed off all the time. Right? And wouldn't the Joker find a way to resurrect his Harley?
The Cons to Killing Harley:
Even after a recent creative change that could have sunk the title, the Harley Quinn solo comic book is still selling pretty well and shipping twice a month. She's got a #50 "anniversary issue" coming up in September, and there are already issues solicited for October (well after this mystery characters is supposed to die).
Harley is also one of the regular characters in DC's Suicide Squad title, and the character is featured on the cover of the October's issue #47.
DC has already revealed that, in the Heroes in Crisis mini-series (which is where the death is expected to take place), Harley Quinn is one of the suspects for the killing that takes place at Sanctuary. If she's one of the suspects, then it's improbable that she will be one of the victims.
Besides, Harley's going to be featured in film soon, with actress Margot Robbie reprising the role from the successful Warner Bros film Suicide Squad for a "girl gang" movie tentatively titled Birds of Prey.
The "cons" seem to outweigh the "pros" on this one. So, our odds of Harley Quinn dying in September?
The Pros to Killing Tim:
Tim Drake's death would be impactful. And there's an argument to be made that he doesn't have a significant role in the DCU anymore, at least not compared to other former Robins. Damian Wayne is in the Teen Titans, Dick Grayson has his own Nightwing book and stars in Titans, and Jason Todd stars in Red Hood and the Outlaws.
Tim? Well, he was recently part of a team in Detective Comics, but he's not part of the title's official line-up anymore.
The Cons to Killing Tim:
Tim Drake just returned from the dead less than a year ago, having been "killed" a year earlier (although he was actually secretly transported away seconds before his death).
Another death for Tim Drake would just feel like overkill. No, literally — overkill.
Would Batman even mourn? He already did!
Red Robin also just got his weird New 52 origin straightened out, so it would be pretty rotten for DC to make things right with Tim Drake fans only to kill him off for some mini-series.
With the character's recent "death" so fresh in readers' minds, we're going to rank the odds of Tim Drake being killed:
The Pros to Killing Vic:
Despite a few recent tries, DC hasn't been able to make a Cyborg ongoing stick. Although he's part of the Justice League and was previously part of the beloved Teen Titans, he's one of those characters whose popularity on the team doesn't translate as well to his solo series.
It can also be argued that he doesn't exactly fit with the god-like adults on the Justice League, but he also no longer fits with the kids on the Teen Titans. DC has approached this by just making him one of the youngest people on the League, but there's always a possibility that someone at DC doesn't like his not-old-enough-for-the-League vibe.
The Cons to Killing Vic:
His death would hurt. Victor Stone is not only still young, but he has so much potential as a leader on the Justice League. His story in the "Rebirth" universe has barely begun, and Scott Snyder just got his hands on the character.
And let's be honest: Vic is one of only a couple people of color on this list. With DC advertising this list of six people facing death, it probably wouldn't look so good for the bullseye to drop on the one black guy on the list.
Cyborg is also a character featured in the Warner Bros/DC movie franchise, including plans for a solo Cyborg film – though right now, they remain just that: plans. After being announced in 2014 for a 2020 release date, no more news of work on the film has surfaced.
However, Cyborg did appear in last year’s Justice League, and just recently, actor Joe Morton, who played Cyborg’s father Silas Stone in Justice League, asserted that some of unused footage from Justice League could end up in the Cyborg movie - meaning a Cyborg movie may still be part of DC's grand cinematic plan.
Would DC kill a character who has a solo film in development? It’s hard to say, but it’s also worth noting that Cyborg was just cast for a live-action TV role on the DC Universe streaming service’s Doom Patrol show.
We're going to rank the odds of Vic Stone being killed:
The Pros to Killing Michael:
Booster Gold is a well-known time traveler, which means his death might not be quite as permanent as someone else dying. After all, the death of this version of Booster could always lead to another version of Booster later replacing him (from another time period or even an alternate timeline).
And while there has been talk of a Booster Gold film script out there for years, Booster also hasn't played a major role in DC comic books for a while. He isn't featured in any ongoing comic books, and his TV roles have been limited to cartoons and Smallville, with rumors of an appearance in DC's Legends of Tomorrow not panning out.
And last but not least, Booster was specifically set up by Heroes in Crisis writer Tom King (during his Batman run) to be part of the mini-series. So, his role must be important, so much so that King wanted to write the lead-in himself. Perhaps that important role is actually as murder victim?
The Cons to Killing Michael:
Well, there's one problem to Michael being a murder victim. DC has already revealed that he's a suspect in the murder. He and Harley Quinn are said to be fighting to demonstrate their innocence, so it's not likely either are going to die.
There's also the Geoff Johns connection. The DC executive has been lobbying for years for a live action showcase for Booster Gold (remember that script?), and he helped launch Booster's last solo series. If Johns has any influence on what happens in Heroes in Crisis (and as an architect of "Rebirth," we've got to think he does), then Booster might be off limits for destruction.
Still, the thought of Booster simply being replaced by another version of the same character seems possible. So, our odds of Michael getting killed in Heroes in Crisis:
Possible, but unlikely.
The Pros to Killing Roy:
OK, let's be honest. This kid is often DC's go-to whipping boy. He's been through hell and back, even having his arm ripped off a few years ago, so it would be par for the course if DC just got rid of him in one of their "crises."
He's also just been through a pretty moving personal storyline in Titans. And you know what happens when a character experiences a bit of redemption from some of his mistakes of the past – they quite often get killed off.
So, from a "story arc" perspective, he's primed for sacrifice to the DCU.
And now that he's no longer starring in the Titans title, he doesn't have a permanent comic book home. Maybe DC had this planned for Roy all along.
The Cons to Killing Roy:
Roy Harper just showed up in the final pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws, helping Jason just as his situation went through a major shift. DC has already announced (and already set up) some big changes for the Red Hood title, including Jason being kicked out of Gotham (by Batman) and becoming more of a rogue anti-hero.
With Roy showing up just as the series makes a major shift (including Jason's entire supporting cast disappearing), it's likely that Roy will become a part of the Red Hood series again. And if that's the case, he's going to be a pretty important cast member for Jason. (That requires him to, you know, be alive.)
Roy Harper is also an ongoing character in the WB series Arrow, which has a TV universe built around it that makes him pretty well known to a mainstream audience.
But is he really so beloved in the TV show that his comic book killing would be a problem? Ehhhh…not really. So, we're going to rank the probability of Roy getting killed as:
The Pros to Killing Kyle:
First off, how many Green Lanterns does the Corps need on Earth? The Green Lantern Corps was previously a galactic police force with one Green Lantern per space sector. Yet right now, Earth has six Corpsmen.
While recent stories have explained each Earth Lantern's importance, it wouldn't take much to explain why Earth can get by with just five Corps members.
That's even more likely now that writer Grant Morrison is launching a new title in November with artist Liam Sharp called The Green Lantern. Morrison has made it clear that his run on The Green Lantern will focus almost exclusively on Hal Jordan and will be approached as a "police procedural." Although the title will incorporate the concept of the Corps, there's been no mention of familiar faces like Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner or John Stewart helping Hal police his sector.
While Dan Jurgens is incorporating all the Corps in his current Green Lanterns storyline, the book is technically home to Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. And John Stewart is one of the key members on the current Justice League.
But Kyle Rayner doesn't star in a current comic book.
There's also a sense in current storylines that Kyle doesn't have a good role to play in a crowded field of other Lanterns. Up until recently, Kyle's role the Green Lantern Corps was tied to his ability to be a "White Lantern." But the GL office has backed away from that concept in more recent issues, and Morrison's made it clear that he's also not utilizing the multi-colored Corps.
And last … there's Kyle's current lack of potential in other media. Popular TV shows and upcoming film adaptations sometimes (but not always) sort of protect comic book characters from death or destruction.
Well…that's not good news for Kyle. The Green Lantern Corps movie (for which Geoff Johns is reportedly writing a new script that reboots the movie franchise) will focus on Hal Jordan and John Stewart.
So, no Kyle Rayner in the films either.
The Cons to Killing Kyle:
Kyle Rayner is the favorite Green Lantern for thousands of readers who started on DC comic books in the '90s, back when Kyle was the only Green Lantern.
This character single-handedly carried the Green Lantern franchise on his back for years, and he's got a really creative and sensitive soul that should fit better with today's younger generation than the other, more brash GLs.
Plus, even though Morrison's new The Green Lantern series will focus on Hal Jordan, Morrison has worked well with Kyle Rayner in the past — specifically in his acclaimed JLA run. So, if Morrison wants Kyle Rayner, who's seemingly one of his favorite characters in past stories, surely, he will get the chance to write him. Right?
And let's not forget that Kyle is Hispanic, making him one of only two "people of color" on this "someone will die" list. Although skin color doesn't necessarily mean you're off limits for a comic book death, it does hold some weight in an entertainment climate where perceived racial diversity is on the forefront.
Are there other "cons" to killing Kyle? Maybe there are some we've missed. But on our list, the "pros" do seem to outweigh the "cons."
So, our odds of Kyle Rayner being dead in September?