According to this Newsarama report from about 2 weeks ago, it’s suggested DC, now facing a potential collapse, may bring back a number of characters who were shoveled into death limbo for horrible reasons, following their latest event, Dark Nights: Death Metal. However, it’s the kind of tale that can’t seem to go without doing something very ill-advised:
January 5 marked the release of Dark Nights: Death Metal #7, and with the conclusion of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s sprawling event comes the birth of a somewhat new DC concept: the Omniverse.
Comprised of multiple multiverses (like the versions of the Multiverse we’ve seen in previous eras of DC continuity as well as the Dark Multiverse), it incorporates a version of DC continuity in which all stories told in the past may be considered canon. The now main Multiverses of Omniverse orbit a place called ‘The Elseworld,’ which invokes the name of DC’s currently dormant alt-universe imprint.
(More on how it all works right here – it’s a lot to take in.)
Whenever the writing staff decides to create a situation wherein everything and anything could be canonized, no matter how poorly written and offensive it could be, that’s a serious mistake, because it obscures the importance of judgement on merit.
But that’s not all that may have seen a kind of rebirth (that DC word we all know and love) – at the issue’s conclusion. Wally West and Hawkwoman, two people who have themselves died and come back to life, discover that many dead people from around the Multiverse have returned thanks to the heroes’ victory.
The scene doesn’t get specific about who’s back, but it does say that not only those who died in the course of Dark Nights: Death Metal have been revived, but “people who died before recent events.”
That seems like a pretty strong clue that we’ll see the return of some dearly departed DC characters readers likely know and love.
But who will return?
Though there are too many dozens (if not hundreds) of characters who could qualify for the honor of resurrection to list them all, Newsarama is prepared to channel our knowledge of current DC continuity and the publisher’s legacy to make some educated speculation about who might come back from the dead after Death Metal.
Well that sure is pretty audacious of them to do this, now that they’re on the brink of closure. One has to wonder if this also includes characters who, even if their fate was reversed following Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis, were put into limbo in the past few years simply because they were white? For now, here’s what they tell about characters who may be returning, and the first is Alfred Pennyworth, but based on elements they’re using, there’s a problem:
Batman’s longtime ally and confidant Alfred Pennyworth died all the way back in Batman #77 during writer Tom King’s ‘City of Bane’ arc, his neck snapped by the eponymous villain. Naturally, Alfred’s death has had massive ramifications on James Tynion IV’s subsequent Batman run as well as other adjacent titles such as Teen Titans, which showed Damian Wayne’s mourning process following the death of this father figure – a death he actually witnessed himself, in person.
Technically, Alfred has already returned as of Death Metal #7 – sort of. Using the power of the Black Lantern ring, Bruce Wayne summons a ‘Bat’ army of fallen allies, including the rotten, reanimated corpse of Alfred Pennyworth. But Alfred’s corpse-ness doesn’t stop him from teaming up with Batman to take on the vicious Robin King.
If the Black Lantern ring can bring Alfred back for Death Metal, could Alfred’s return get more permanent over in Tynion’s Batman run? In the aftermath of 2009’s Blackest Night event, in which all of the dead people in the DC Universe returned as bloodthirsty corpses through the power of the Black Lantern, several long-dead heroes including Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and Deadman, and more were fully resurrected, so there’s some precedent for such a story twist.
Oh, so what’s happening now not only occurs in a crossover event, they even blatantly make use of one of the most disgusting excuses for a previous crossover Blackest Night, by far one of the worst examples of concocting a story for the sake of turning as many characters as possible into undead zombies. Now that’s tasteless. If Alfred hadn’t been zombified before, they’ve spared no expense doing it now. And this is apparently how they’re handling Roy Harper to boot:
Speaking of the Black Lantern, Alfred wasn’t the only character to return through its unsavory power in the course of Death Metal.
In Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last Stories of the DC Universe, Roy Harper (the former Speedy, Arsenal, and Red Arrow) made his return using the Black Lantern, following his death two years ago in Heroes in Crisis.
Well that’s awfully cheap too. To bring him back along with Alfred would have to be the real deal, and not something relying on a pathetic gimmick from a Geoff Johns-penned insult coming a dozen years earlier. If they think fans will really be taken in by this shoddy excuse, they’re mistaken. Wally West is also brought up here:
Starting with the death of his mentor Barry Allen in Crisis on Infinite Earths (the story that ended the original version of DC’s Multiverse way back in the ’80s), Wally’s life has been marked by tragedy and loss, right up to the loss of his wife Linda Park and their twin children Jae and Iris.
Unlike most of the characters on this list, Wally’s family weren’t technically killed – like Wally (for a time), their existence was seemingly erased by Flashpoint, the story that kicked off the reality-redefining ‘New 52’ years. When Wally returned in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, his wife and kids didn’t make the home trip with him. […]
Now that Death Metal has built an Omniverse that incorporates most aspects of the publisher’s storied past, it seems like the perfect time to restore Wally West and his family to the fan-favorite characters they were prior to their erasure from continuity.
Here’s a better question: would they be restored to their status as the main stars of Flash titles? Would the in-story retcon to Barry Allen’s background be jettisoned? If not, then there’s no use even bringing this up. Wally wasn’t restored to normal status in Flash Forward, and audiences have understandably lost trust in DC’s management, so it’d be understandable if few care to read what’s coming up to see if he actually will finally have the injustice reversed.
Alfred Pennyworth’s possible resurrection was spoken of here too:
One of those fan-favorite characters who may be on the receiving end of resurrection is Bruce Wayne/Batman’s longtime ally, confidant, and ersatz father figure Alfred Pennyworth.
[…] Now, it seems the door is open for Alfred to return to the land of the living for current Batman writer James Tynion IV’s run. Asked if his undead cameo and the reveal of the Infinite Frontier DC Universe status quo was setting the stage for the return of Alfred, Death Metal writer Scott Synder seemed to cue it up for Tynion.
“I don’t want to spoil it for James. I feel like James is playing around with the repercussions of that beat,” Snyder tells Newsarama, who went on to explain his own motivation for bringing Alfred back into the story.
“All I’d say is that, it was important for me personally, at least, to see Alfred on my way out for a moment and have the Bat-Family complete,” he continues. “If you were going to raise the dead and have everyone in it together, there was no one who would put a small brat in his place the way Alfred would talk to the Robin King. It was a beat that I really wanted.”
Interesting Snyder would speak about his departure, because practically all of DC could soon be following, business-wise. No thanks to him either, as he did little to improve their artistic quality over the years. Certainly, if he’s mending a bad direction by Tom King, that’s welcome. But it’s coming awfully late.
Screen Rant’s take on the possibilities, however, is pretty laughable:
The issue here is weighing the pros and cons of Alfred’s potential resurrection. He is one of Batman’s oldest and most beloved characters, as a version of Alfred has been alongside almost every incarnation of Batman in comics, film, and television. His return could be a much needed pillar of stability during a time when Batman and his allies are having difficulty operating in a city that is becoming less and less tolerant of such activities. On the other hand, bringing Alfred back could negate all the character development and impact his death had, continuing to lessen the impact of death in comics even further. Despite his demise, Alfred Pennyworth continues to motivate and inspire those who knew and loved him, so time will tell if Alfred’s return is part of DC’s grand plans for Batman’s future.
As expected, they don’t approach this from a merit-based perspective. It was all done for shock value, one of the worst things about King’s writing. The part about motivation fails to impress either, because that’s also become meaningless in an era where death by violent murder has been worn out as a premise. And if they really believe a sci-fi world should censor resurrection, they’re insulting many famous authors who made use of it in their writings.
As much those who admire Mark Gruenwald’s viewpoint – that every character is someone else’s favorite and you shouldn’t kill them lightly or ruin their appearances retroactively – would like to think DC’s making a last ditch attempt to apologize after years of stupefying abuse of their cast library at the hands of bad writers, don’t be shocked if even this, in the end, is just another example of dangling a carrot to entice buyers into something that’ll turn out to be worthless in the end. They did this before under DiDio, and they could still do it even now under Javins. To be sure, plenty realize this, and if most people don’t shell out their money for what’s in store, they won’t be wrong. It pays to be wary of ruses.
Originally published here.