Marvel extinguish Johnny Storm’s flame – Top 5 comic book deaths

Posted on 31 January 2011
By Matt Barden
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This month sees death knock on Marvel’s most beloved Fantastic family’s door. Never shy to bump off established heroes (although most seem to Resurrect more times than the big JC), Marvel have taken the dramatic step of cutting their first superhero team from four to three.

Fantastic Four #587, published this month, saw Johnny Storm utter his last “Flame On”, sacrificing his own life, in true superhero fashion, to save his niece and nephew.

Issue 588 of the long running series will be the last Fantastic Four comic before the title re-launches in March simply titled FF.

Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoot said in a press release that, “The death of the Human Torch is the first major move in this incredibly exciting evolution of the legendary Fantastic Four franchise and a necessary part of the larger story we will be telling featuring the beloved characters moving on.”

So is three really the magic number? Or will the Torch be lighting up comic book pages again in the near future?

With a long line of established heroes having been laid to rest over the years, the geeks at Purple Revolver have taken a look back through the strips and devised a list of the five greatest comic book deaths:

5. Jason Todd, Aka Robin
Batman #428 (1994)

After taking up the mantle of Batman’s equally famous sidekick Robin, Jason Todd met his demise in the pages at the hands of Bruce Wayne’s arch nemesis the Joker, or so it seemed.

The real culprit was the voting public. DC set up a hotline for fans to vote whether the young protégé lived or died and the public spoke, leaving us with one of the most iconic deaths in Gotham’s history.

4. Jean Grey, Aka the Phoenix.
Uncanny X-Men #137 (1986)

One of the original X-Men, Jean Grey gradually transformed from telepath to telekinetic, until eventually crashing to earth in a spacecraft and emerging as the uber powerful Phoenix.

Over time Jean lost control of her alter ego and the Dark Phoenix took flight, devouring a distant sun and killing billions of people.

With the alien race known as the Shi’ar threatening to destroy the entire solar system in order to destroy the Dark Phoenix, Jean briefly regained enough control to end her own life, bringing to an end one of Marvel’s most accomplished storylines.

3. Hal Jordan, Aka the Green Lantern.
The Final Night #4 (1996)

Possibly the most popular character to don the mantle of the Green Lantern, Hal Jordan began to lose the plot after the destruction of Coast City, killing most of the Green lanterns and then leaving earth.

Hal returned in the form of Parrallax, hell bent on reforming the universe in his own vision, before being thwarted by an array of other DC heroes.

Hal made one last attempt at redemption by sacrificing his own life to stop a space creature from destroying the sun, thus ending his reign as the Lantern.

2. Superman.
Adventures of Superman #504 (1993)

If the Man of Steel can die then surely no one is safe. Superman finally fell on the streets of Metropolis after a colossus battle with Doomsday, both perishing from their wounds in the aftermath.

This death shook the world and DC took a massive gamble by killing off the most iconic superhero of all time. The following tie in Funeral for a Friend allowed the DC universe and the fans to pay their respects to our fallen friend, with even then President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary making an appearance on the hallowed pages.

1. Steve Rogers, Aka Captain America
Captain America V.5 #25 (2007)

Marvel went all out with their Civil War storyline. With the US Government forcing superheroes across the world to reveal their secret identities in the name of national security, the Star Spangled Avenger opposes the Act and turns renegade, hunted by Iron Man and a special task force who have taken the side of the government.

Realising that by running he will never win, the Cap finally hands himself over to the authorities he had spent years serving. While in custody The First Avenger was assassinated by a brain washed Sharon Carter (his occasional girlfriend) and dies in cold blood.

The death sent echoes across the world, not only for the loss of one of Marvel’s most beloved characters but because of the manner of his death. After spending his entire life defeating super villains Captain America was gunned down from behind on the steps of the federal court where he was due to stand trial.

Steve earns pole position on our list for showing us that no matter how ‘super’ our heroes seem they are never immortal.