The iFanboy Letter Column – 07/18/2008!

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s the last work day before a well deserved weekend. For others, Friday is the day you spread the joy of anarchy throughout Gotham City.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming –


I mostly read DC titles but the last couple of months I have started to read Spider-Man and Captain America and have really enjoyed them. I want to read more Marvel titles, but how far should I go back and read so that I know what is going on in Secret Invasion? And is The New Avengers similar to the JLA? What Marvel titles would you recommend I start to read?

Cory (Supermoore)

Curious about the other team, are you? Clearly it can be daunting, but more than anything, without reading from all over the available spectrum, you’re missing a lot of good comics. I would also recommend you check outside those two companies as well, but that’s for another time and place.

To be honest, getting the entire story for Secret Invasion can be pretty daunting, because Bendis has been planting seeds for the story for the last 4 years or so. But if you were to just read Secret Invasion from the beginning, as well as the issues of New and Mighty Avengers since the event started, you’d get by okay. It started in The New Avengers #40, and The Mighty Avengers #12. But really, if I were you, I’d go back and read the whole run of The New Avengers, starting with the first trade paperback, Breakout. And if you like that, go from there. You don’t need to read it all, but if you want maximum payoff, that’s the way to go. Personally, I don’t think you’ve got to read The Mighty Avengers, but a lot of people like it, so you can do that if you want as well. Also, if you can find it, look for The New Avengers: Illuminati, which was a fun 5 issue mini series with gorgeous art by Jimmy Cheung. It set up many of the events and reasons for Secret InvasionThe New Avengers is not really like JLA. It has a different tone, where the JLA is the team that belongs together, and The New Avengers is the team that shouldn’t belong together, in my opinion.

From there, what you like in Marvel depends on what you like in general. There are all different types of books from the publisher. If you want to get away from all that business, check out Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, which are fairly standalone books that have a lot do with the greater Marvel Universe, but don’t really require you to know much. In fact, you can learn a lot from them. These are just fun books about powerful characters out fighting bad guys in space.

What else? You might like Thor, or Daredevil, or The Immortal Iron Fist. You might like the Hulk. It’s impossible to tell, because you’ll have to sample some to see what you like. But don’t worry so much about picking it up and understanding it right away. That’s how we all learn about new comics and worlds, is by just jumping in. And when in doubt, go to Wikipedia. There’s a lot there, and really the only way to figure out what you like is by jumping in. We’ll try to help whenever we can by letting you know about good books and good jumping on points on the site and podcasts.

It’s what we do.

Josh Flanagan


I was just going through some of my old Superman comics to find my Superman: Godfall hard cover in light of the recent passing of Michael Turner, and I found a few single issues that were set just prior to that… or just after? Can’t remember, but one of the main characters in it was a girl with short black hair with a black version of Power Girl’s “uniform” with less cleavage showing and a massive red ‘S’, I think she was claiming to be the daughter of Superman from the future… I don’t really remember this arc and I couldn’t find the issues…

So what I was wondering was, who was she? What was her name? What happened to her? Then lastly, do you think she’ll be back in any form?

Luke B. from Whakatane, New Zealand (LukeB on iFanboy and Spock-tM on the forums)

Damn you, Luke! You know I can’t pass up a good mystery!

The character you described rang no bells in my cobwebbed memory banks so I did some research and eventually hit pay dirt! The character you are looking for is named Cir-El and even though she has only been around for five years she already has a convoluted history.

Apparently she was a human/Kryptonian hybrid created by Brainiac and sent to Earth to mess with Superman’s head (that’s what Brainiac does!) by claiming to be his and Lois’ child from the future.

Later on, Cir-El valiantly threw herself into a time portal in order to make herself never be born thus saving the future (time travel hurts my head, Doc), only to reappear sometime later thanks to a time traveling Bizarro (!).

Also at one point she was known as Supergirl.

She seems vaguely familiar to me as I was reading Superman books off and on at this point — it was the end of the Joe Casey/Jeph Loeb/Joe Kelly experiment and the beginning of the Brian Azzarello/Greg Rucka thing. But I have no memory of those stories whatsoever. ComicbookDB lists a surprising number of appearances for Cir-El. Who knew?

Conor Kilpatrick


If you had the creative power to kill one major (or minor) comic character, who would you kill and why? Imagine this character would stay down for at least as long as Jason Todd or Captain Marvel did.

If you want to make this even harder… it can’t be The Sentry or The Flash’s f’ing children.

John from NY

Usually when I look to pick and choose the kind of questions we’re asked by you, the iFanboy Faithful, I try to look for a challenging and/or thought provoking question. But every now and then it’s nice to answer a question like this, very similar to the “Who would win in a fight” type of question, although in this case, it’s a bit more morbid. Deciding what character to kill is like playing god with these people we read week in and week out. Luckily comic creators play god all the time, and we’re here to critique those gods, so I’ll play a long and give it a shot.

Aw crap! You took my go to answers off the shelf! Everyone knows my disdain for The Sentry and for The Flash’s children (although it looks like DC is doing the right thing and offing them rather quickly, so I may get my wish.). I have to admit though, that if I wanted a death that really resonated or meant something, like those classic deaths you mentioned (Captain Marvel and Jason Todd) then actually those characters you mentioned, I wouldn’t have killed. They’d purely just satisfy my own annoyance with them. It’s for that reason as well that I wouldn’t say Milla (Daredevil’s wife), although Brubaker seems ot have simply made her crazy and locked her away.

So that leaves the question of who would I kill? By my definition of a meaningful comic death, I’d have to look into my favorite collection of characters, the many hundreds of characters in the X-Men line of comics. And as much as it pains me to tell you, I’d recommend the death of Henry McCoy, also known as Beast.

I know what you’re thinking, “You can’t kill Beast! I love Beast!” But that’s precisely why you would kill him. Because the loss of one of the original X-Men would have meaning and would turn everything upside down. It would hurt, a lot, to lose Beast, but sadly after the damage done to the character in recent years I think it’s the only way to go. Say what you will about Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men (and I certainly have), Beast’s second mutation into a more feral like creature hurt the character. It made the science aspect of him that much harder to swallow, and it negated any sort of romantic angle (at least until recently). Those were my two favorite aspects of Beast. Watching him a be a genius and try and find and keep a girlfriend. Those X-Factor stories doing both were fantastic and fun to read. Now he’s an echo of his former self who complains a lot and let’s face it, as good as Cassaday is an artist, that costume sucks. So there you have it, I’d off the Beast of the X-Men.

And who would I kill in DC? Easy. Despite my enjoyment of the character previously, Kyle Rayner’s gotta go. He’s redundant and serves zero purpose and with San Diego looming, I’m trying to get on Conor’s good side.

Ron Richards


  1. I’m for offing the best as well–I agree that Lion King Beast has severely weakened the character.  I think kill him off, make hi a skrull, and then in a few years bring back good ole fashioned non-furry, big hands and feet smart beast.  He has always been my favorite incarnation of the character.

    Then kill off the Sentry–dude has to go.  And Carnage–who may have been killed by the Sentry but it was n’t clear.  And all the Loners…man this playing God thing is fun.

  2. I meant Beast there, not best.

  3. If his cat look was more consistent artist-to-artist, I’d actually prefer it.  Certainly more Beast than the big-hands-big-feet version and I thought the human-face, but covered in fur version was lame.

    But yeah, the costume sucks.

  4. @Ron-I think I would kill Steve Rogers…oh wait.

    Seriously I would kill Cyclops.  What better story would there be then the X-Men dealing with the death of their leader, a mainstay on the team and the heart of the X-Men.  I think if he was gone people would come to appreciate him.  The only death that would be more shocking for the X-Men would be Xavier.

  5. @Kory  — Xavier has fake-died too many times for it to have any impact anymore.  He will live forever, as will Aunt May.  

    The only way Cyclops will die is if his brother comes back from space, and his parents come back from the dead, and then Jean comes back from the dead, and she and Emma make up and agree they will be best friends forever and find SOME way for the whole love triangle thing to work out.  

    THEN Cyclops will die.  Or I don’t know my comics. 

  6. I agree that the death of the Beast would have a major impact, but, as the biggest Beast fan I know, I have to disagree that his character has been in any way diminished in past years.  The mutation to the cat-like form certainly hasn’t made him less smart, or less of a scientist – Endangered Species (whatever its flaws) proved that, as did his role in the Gifted arc of Astonishing X-Men and his brief appearances in other books in recent years.  What it has done, however, is provide him with a renewed fear of losing that intelligence – of becoming a brainless beast – in a way that’s much more compelling, believable, and nuanced than his loss-of-intelligence plotline in Louise Simonson’s X-Factor.  To be honest, his transformation is one of the few things I did like about Morrison’s run.  It’s new and different while remaining in keeping with his character, and I don’t think it’s harmed his usefulness in any significant way.  (I’ll definitely agree on the costume front, though.  Bianchi’s is mildly better, but only mildly.)

    As for the romance, I’ve always found Hank least believable when he’s a stud.  Of course he’s lovable and smart and funny and cultured and basically the best boyfriend anyone could conjure up, but the blue fur is going to be hard to get past, regardless of whether it covers the body of a cat or of a monkey.  I loved him in his Avengers days, but seeing him implicitly bedding a new woman every night just seemed unrealistic.  I believe Hank deserves a love life, but acknowleding the difficulty of that doesn’t hurt, either – and I really like what Whedon has done with him and Agent Brand.

    The X-Men, in my opinion, need Hank.  No other character can provide humor and intelligence in equal measure the way he can, and does.  So if you’re just killing off someone to make an impact, to rip a hole in the X-Men universe, I see the reasoning, but to me it seems a shame to waste such an awesome character for an impact death.

    Who would I kill, instead?  Warren Worthington III.  If any X-character has been consistently slighted in recent years, it’s Warren.  Between what Chuck Austen did to him and his relative absence in recent books, he was already hurting, and now it seems the only thing the writers can think to do with him is to turn his characterization back two decades (if X-Force is any indication).  Killing Warren could have significant in-story effect, since he, too, is an original X-Man, and it would remove him from play long enough for a writer to actually think of something interesting and original to do with him.

  7. DC should kill Superman…I remember hearing that they were tossing around that idea back in 1993.  They should have pulled the trigger!  I mean it would be HUGE!  You would have housewives who have never read comics buying issues because they will think they will be worth something one day and they can put their kids through college by selling them.  Storywise you could have replacement Cyborg Supermen flying around Metropolis.  Or another hero could take up the mantle of protecting Metropolis claiming to represent the spirit of Superman and they could call him Steel as in ‘Man of Steel’. Or they could have a Superman clone, and if that’s not good enough I got this idea for a character called ‘The Eradicator."  If they do this it could be the greatest selling graphic novel of all time.

  8. Kill Batman just so we can see Conor’s reaction. That would knock out a few million DC books if they didn’t have Batman.

  9. I know Geoff John’s has retconned some coolness into Hal Jordan, but I have 25+ years of memories of Hal lameness.  If you’re going to kill a GL, make it Hal (again) and keep Raynor.

  10. @Kory – You’re on to something…

  11. What about Lois Lane?.  It would be major and would shake up Superman’s world.  Being already an outsider, losing the person he is closest with would really affect the character.  And since most people don’t like Supes because he’s too ‘nice’ he could become bitter and somewhat pessimistic. 

    How great of a story would it be for Superman to reach a breaking point but in the end he rises up and refuses to quit or lose his principles and keeps the optimism that makes him who he is. I certainly would read a story like that.

  12. @Kory — if it’s all the same, I’d like a moratorium on ‘killing the character who mainly exists as a love interest so that the hero can be emo.’  Not that it should never happen, but any (major character) death story that isn’t actually about the character who dies but just a cheap, easy way to make other people sad is a problem, in my opinion. 

  13. @ohcaroline  I agree.  Women In Refrigerators.

  14. @ohcaroline. Agreed. stop killing love interests. it’s been done a million times and it’s just a move for a writer who can’t think of any story ideas for a character with a girlfriend. Invincible has shown that there are much more interesting ways to deal with love interests.

    Personally I like hank a lot in astonishing. I really want to see more stuff with him and brand. Why kill him when he’s being used really well? Same goes with Hal Jordan. He’s super great right now. I think Kyle is very killable, but I don’t think there’s any need to kill him. 

     I think I’d only be approving of a major character death if I knew I good writer was doing it. Ed Brubaker successfully killed and replaced an icon. But imagine if some less skillful writer did that? How lame would that be? So I say, let Geoff Johns kill Hal Jordan. Joss Whedon can kill beast or cyclops or both. Grant Morrison can kill Superman.

  15. Reed effing Richards. Seriously, I’d love to see how the FF, not to mention the rest of the MU (and its writers) who go to him when they have no other ideas, would soldier on after his demise. Also, he’s such a tool. I know he’s currently stretched out in a million pieces in Secret Invasion, but obviously he’ll make it out fine, boo.

  16. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    If you killed Beast I would do everything in my power to get a writing gig at Marvel and I would kill Cyclops in the most horrible means at my disposal.  

    Mark me, Richards.  

  17. @ kory – thankfully, you didn’t read the awful manchester black storyline in superman a few years back, when that guy fake killed lois lane and pushed superman to his breaking point, only to fail in pushing him over the edge. it was some of the worst superman i’ve read. but i guess it just means that you’re not the only one who thinks that story could work!

  18. It’s becoming painfully obvious that at least one member of the original X-cast is not making it out of this thread alive.  Possibly, the only one left standing will be Iceman, since nobody seems to care enough to want to knock him off.

  19. If it saves Beast, I’d knock off Iceman.  I’d totally do it.

    I also agree that heros’ girlfriends need to stop dying.  Their parents, too.  Not everybody should be an orphan.

  20. I also very much like Kyle in Green Lantern Corps right now and feel he should very much not die.

  21. Johnny Storm. He thinks he is sooo coool, pssh!

  22. @supermoore – I might also reccomend the "Avengers: Dissambled" because I think that’s where the original seeds for Secret Invasion came from and it comes directly before New Avengers Vol. 1.

    @LukeB and @Conor – I remember Cir-El from the first arc of Superman/Batman by Loeb and McGuinness, I had no idea who she was but then the very next arc was the introduction of a new supergirl so I immediately gave up on trying to find out any more about her. 

  23. Wolverine, he’s stinky.

  24. I actually enjoy the feline Beast more than the previous ones. Maybe I just support the underdogs or something? Either way, I think Beast’s second mutation actually made him more interesting. Oh, and if I could kill a character it would be…

    Superman. And he’d stay dead. Forever. (My first answer was going to be Bendis, since he popped up in Ultimate Spider-Man. I’m pretty sure it sill wouldn’t count, though.)

  25. I don’t know if she’s already dead but what about Jubilee.  Never liked her.

  26. I would kill Ghost Rider. and the Punisher. and venom. and every other lame overly-violent character who was popular in the 90s. 

  27. Some time ago I read an answer from Stan Lee’s letter column that said:

    – Dear Stan, Why do you keep killing characters so you can revive them later

    -Because It wouldn’t be fun to revive living characters, would it.

     I’d kill the joker…Just to show how batman would miss him.

  28. @Kory and @JohnVFerrigno – I don’t think the point is to kill characters you don’t like. I’ve heard Brian K. Vaughn say, and maybe he was quoting someone else, "Kill your darlings". Killing a character everyone loves has a greater emotional resonance then offing a "lame" character just to be done with them.

  29. @Haupt — ‘Kill your darlings’ is attributed to the writer Chekhov, and in a broad sense it refers to editing your own work, and the way you sometimes have to get ride of passages that you enjoyed writing, because they don’t work with the whole story.  But I also agree with it in the present context.  If you’re just killing a character because no one likes them and they’re useless, no one’s going to care.  (The redshirt syndrome on Star Trek).  I think Ron mentioned Beast in the first place because he IS a beloved character, as the passionate defense in these comments shows.   Which probably means ‘Death of Beast’ would be a GOOD storyline — which Marvel should never ever write.  Naturally.

  30. @ohcaroline – You’re right about Chekhov, but Brian K. Vaughn was using it to defend his killing of a character in Runaways, hence my calling it up now. Even though I didn’t explicitly say it, I agree with Ron’s answer or Beast, my comment was directed at people who were wanting to kill "lame" characters or characters they didn’t like.

  31. @Haupt  Yeah, I was agreeing with you on the Beast part.  Sorry that comment wasn’t laid out very well!

  32. My votes for characters to kill (if the Sentry is off limits):

     Marvel: Hank Pym – The character is too tainted for most fans to really like at this point and he’s pretty redundant since there are numerous other growing and shrinking heroes and smarter scientist types. I say give him a heroic death fighting Skrulls.

     DC: Mary Marvel – Redundant as both a hero and a villain.

  33. ahhh comic book deaths.  When we’re talking about who we wanna off from either company it seems like we also mean who do we wanna shine a spotlight on and make twice as popular so when they are eventually resurrected their new series will sell huge.  In that case for DC I say Wonder Woman.  Give her a huge heroic death let it simmer for a while then bring her back with a new outfit.  For Marvel, I was gonna say Cap but they beat me to it and Spidy is going through a buffin’ right now, so I got to agree with Ron, the Beast is marked.    

  34. @ohcaroline-Regarding my idea to kill Lois Lane. 

    As a new guy to comics I guess I have’nt been jaded by having the same story be told over and over.

    @Haupt- If I had to kill a character I care about it would be Batman and I could’nt bring myself to do that.  It would be better to kill someone in the bat family but that was done then undone (fucking Judd Winick!) with the ressurection of Jason Todd.  I would probably then kill my second favorite character The Flash, but a Flash has been killed so many times you think they would become superstitous and not put a lightning bolt on their costume.  The smart choice would be another of my favorites, The Punisher.  I always hear that his books are never consistently good so it would be nice to give him a good send-off and give his story a fitting bookend which a guy like him deserves.  I would’nt want him to go out like a pansy, I would want him to go out guns blazing Charles Bronson style like the bad-ass that he is. They could still publish books featuring him by having 4-8 issue mini-series every couple years recounting different events in his life.  And on the plus side for all you religous people he would finally have peace by being with his family again.  So I would kill Frank Castle.

  35. @Haupt


     I know from a "writing theory" stand point you are supposed to kill the characters that you love, therefore giving it emotional impact to the readers. I picked the characters I did because not only do I not like them, but they are also beloved by a lot of people, therefore killing two birds with one stone. If I were to kill characters merely because i didn’t like them, there would be other choices than Ghost Rider or Venom. I hate Typeface way more than them, but killing him would mean nothing to anybody, so what’s the point? (Wait, isn’t he already dead?) 

  36. i liked that idea of killing nightwing in infinite crisis and it was the first thing that came to me when i thought about this thread. and for some reason i was disappointed cyborg wasn’t dead in the titans east special. i’d like to kill all the guardians of the universe and see a full strength green lantern corps completely unrestrained let loose upon the galaxy and the conflict that might arise from the inevitable power corruption of some. or maybe just luthor and build him back up after a number of years into something more menacing than he is right now.

  37. I have a few ideas about who should be killed.  Some just because it would really shock everyone, and some because if it was written by the right person, it could be incredible.

    In the first category – The Thing, The Falcon, Colossus (again).

    In the second –  Galactus, Alfred, Superman (I’d be willing to let ’em try it again).

    In a third category of characters that I just find annoying and want removed from comics in general – Amadeus Cho, Franklin and Valeria Richards, Madame Web, anybody who is a clone, Wonder Girl, Rob Liefeld- wait, he’s real isn’t he? Damn. 

  38. And now I’m thinking that a major villain death, if handled properly, could make for some great storytelling.  But I think the villain would have to be one of those many "gray area" guys like Magneto, and not a totally evil douchebag like the Red Skull.  I already mentioned Galactus.  Imagine if it was written by Starlin, or Abnett and Lanning.  What about a Brubaker/Rucka collaboration on the death of Lex Luthor?

  39. Actually, scratch out the Falcon.  If Marvel lost anymore black characters, the NAACP would boycott them for sure.

  40. @iFanboy – Hey! Thanks for answering my question, kinda sucks what happened to her, she seemed like a good character from what I was able to gather from the issues I have. The Bizzaro thing makes no sense… but I guess this is one of the reasons they got rid of her…


    @Haupt – Yeh, I remember her being in that too, and then they just jumped straight into the Supergirl arc and never mentioned her again, wierd.