August 26, 2014

Marvel 75: Phoenix and Elektra Deaths Revisited

Two character deaths shaped the course of Marvel Comics in the 1980s but have no impact on today's storylines. Retcons removed any emotion and legacy from these two events in Marvel Comics. 

When I first started reading comics, Uncanny X-Men and Daredevil were some of the titles that I was fortunate enough to have in my batch of monthly titles.  Chris Claremont and John Byrne were at the peak of their successful colloborative effort while Frank Miller along with Klaus Janson and David Mazzuchelli were delivering equally engaging work on Daredevil.  These titles shared similar elements in their storylines though, with character deaths that may be considered pointless now.

 Death of Elektra and Phoenix

Jean Grey aka Phoenix or Dark Phoenix at the time of her death, and Elektra Natchios were eventually brought back from their respective graves though.  Jean would resurface in the X-Factor series, which featured the original X-Men lineup, while Elektra starred in a highly praised miniseries focusing on her past adventures.  Both Elektra and Jean were pivotal to their respective series. Jean with the Phoenix Force at her beckoning, was easily the most powerful member of the X-Men and perhaps on the entire Earth. Elektra in her civilian identity was once Matt Murdock's love interest in college and eventually becomes an assassin, later hired by the Kingpin.

Matt and Elektra share a brief tender moment

Considering that both characters remain quite active in current Marvel books, did their deaths result in any lasting impact today? Matt Murdock moved on past Elektra and that tragic time, and she is considered an afterthought in his current series. The X-Men ironically had adventures with Cyclops and Jean's daughter, Rachel, in the years to come. As tragic as these deaths were, they proved to be empty and meaningless though and sought only to capitalize on reader emotions at the time.

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