Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Time to Kill

I have a confession to make. I don't like it when characters die. It doesn't bother me as much in books or movies, but in serial stories (like TV or Comic Books) I'm not keen on it. I understand the necessity to do it on occasion, of course. You can't have an action show with real stakes unless characters die on occasion. But I'm not keen on it.

I also don't understand why TV Shows and Comic Books seem to think killing off a character is a selling point. Take Runaways, one of my favorite comic books over the last couple of years. For those who don't know, it's a story about super powered teenagers (well some of them, anyway) who find out that their parents are super villains. It's set in the Marvel Universe and writer Brian K. Vaughn filsl the issue with old school fun mixed with really interesting characters.

And in issue 18 he's apparently going to kill one of those characters off.

Now that's his right, but why on earth is that a selling point? Why does that make people want to read Runaways more diligently? "Gosh I really like these characters, and I sure enjoy reading their adventures. Won't it be neat when one of them dies a few issues down the road?"

Again I understand there may very well be good dramatic reasons to kill one of them off, but why try to sell your comic book on that basis? Because of the collectors I suppose; an issue with death in it might end up being very valuable down the road.

As for who I think it is, let me give you the odds (this will be meaningless if you don't read the comic. If you don't read the comic go get Runaways Vol. 1 or Vo. 4 and check it out - you can get it for around $10.00).

Molly - 1 in 20. She's the cutest and the most fun and the comic book would tank if they killed her off. And Vaughn isn't an idiot.

Gertrude - 1 in 10. She's the team leader and we've already seen a future version of the character (from when she leads the Avengers). On the other hand she's not as photogenic as some of the other characters, and it's possible they've already averted the future in which she becomes the leader of the Avengers.

Carolina - 1 in 10. I don't know if she's coming back to participate in the current arc (currently she is in outer space with her Skrull "partner"). If she does, one could argue that Vaughn already considers her expendable.

Nico - 1 in 5. She has real powers, and has been one of the core characters in a number of recent stories. On the other hand the fact that she can't repeat spells limits how far she can go, and we recently saw Chase use her staff.

Chase - 1 in 5. Currently powerless (although he pilots the Leap Frog), he is probably expendable. On the other hand, killing Nico and giving him the staff of one would presumably solve both problems (and really mess Chase up, which is always good for drama).

Victor - 1 in 3. They are probably going to have to kill him off at some point anyway, given his back story, this is as good at time as any - but that obviousness makes it less likely.

Old Lace - 1 in 3. This is the easiest and least painful way to kill off one of the Runaways, and it would propel Gertrude into developing the other skills she is going to need to lead the Avengers.

Anyway go check out Runaways if you haven't already.

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