Marvel’s latest event is planning to turn things on their head. No, not the one where their greatest hero is brainwashed reality-warped into thinking he’s a super villain bent on world domination; the other one.
The one that teams up legacy heroes with their predecessors in a ten-issue jam series.
Generations was first teased with an Alex Ross splash image, depicting the various heroes and in their different iterations in the artist’s stoic style. But the implications of the image weren’t understood until this morning when Marvel unveiled the first details of their next event.
The series will be made up of individual team ups focusing on each specific legacy mantle, focusing on classic characters such as Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine.
But most curious about the announcement was that it would take place in the present day Marvel Universe, despite focusing on quite a few characters who are currently deceased in the continuity.
We’ve gathered a list of the various characters who are currently dead in the modern MU with a quick primer on how they left this mortal coil as well as possible avenues for their returns. Check out the following pages to find out more about the Generations characters set for major comebacks.
Bruce Banner recently received a fatal arrow to the dome courtesy of Hawkeye in what was a perceived mercy killing. But Hulk’s history over the last couple of years may also provide a way for the character’s return.
At the end of Mark Waid’s run with the character, Bruce Banner was shot in the head by the Ancient Order of the SHIELD, established in Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s still-unfinished series, after they predicted he’d cause an extinction event. The group consists of protectors who work behind the scenes, saving Earth from grave threats that go mostly unseen by the mainstream superheroes.
Hulk was soon revived with Tony Stark’s help after the Iron Man used the Extremis virus to help repair Banner’s damaged brain. But the effects of the Extremis triggered a new evolution in the Hulk, who became a smarter and more cunning variation the Jade Giant. He then began a violent campaign to de-power all of the radiated heroes, including his son Skaar, his on-again, off-again girlfriend Red She-Hulk, and longtime nemesis Red Hulk.
Later, the Hulk absorbed the radiation of an experimental fusion reactor gone haywire—its explosion would have resulted in millions of deaths, and so the Hulk sacrificed himself at the cost of his powers.
Amadeus Cho and Banner theorized that the new radiation would cause another detonation resulting in deaths, so Cho absorbed the Hulk into himself, freeing Banner from the burden.
But Banner knew Hulk’s return was always possible, so he gave Hawkeye a special arrow to kill him before he got the chance to transform back into the monster. After a confrontation in Civil War II, in which the Inhuman precog Ulysses saw a vision of the Hulk murdering many heroes, Hawkeye delivered the shot.
But if he was revived once before after a gunshot blow to the brain, it’s not hard to imagine Extremis working a second time.
The only problem is Tony Stark was left slightly comatose after the same event. But that, too, has happened in comics before. Perhaps Cho will do some experimenting with the Extremis virus of his own? If he could figure out how to separate Banner and Hulk, what’s going to stop him from figuring out the whole life-and-death thing?
The first hero to bear this mantle in the Marvel Universe was a Kree officer branded as a traitor after aligning with Earth against his home world. So while the Kree had nefarious intentions for the planet, Mar-Vell banded with the Avengers and helped protect the people from his former allies.
But after a run-in with the villain Nitro caused Captain Marvel to breathe in a poisonous gas, the character was subsequently diagnosed with cancer and passed away among friends and family.
After teasing that the character was replaced by a Skrull before death in the event Secret Invasion, that character was revealed to be a member of the shape-shifting alien race before sacrificing himself for the heroes.
The real Mar-Vell was revived as a part of the Chaos War event alongside other deceased heroes who all fought against the Japanese deity Amatsu-Mikaboshi, also known as the Chaos King. Captain Marvel sacrificed himself (starting to recognize a pattern here) so that Yellowjacket and Swordsman could permanently escape death’s clutches.
When the Phoenix Force reappeared and began destroying planets on a path toward earth in Avengers Vs X-Men, the Kree used the M’Kraan Crystal to resurrect Captain Marvel. They hoped he would unite and protect the Kree people, also giving his family house a chance at redemption after his traitorous turn.
The Phoenix came to Hala to reclaim the portion of its power used to resurrect Captain Marvel, as the cosmic entity is tied to the M’Kraan Crystal. But this event would also result in Hala’s destruction. Mar-Vell sacrificed himself (again) to spare his homeworld. After so many teases, it looks like the original Captain Marvel might return. Though Carol Danvers has taken up the mantle, her powers are tied to Mar-Vell’s DNA after an energy blast fused his powers to her body.
But if Mar-Vell were to return, it might belittle his original death when he succumbed to cancer, which has always been treated with a tempered respect in the Marvel Universe. They’ve already made death an impermanent factor, this step would just be bordering on disrespectful.
Maybe his energy-based powers will allow him to inhabit a new body, or even recreate a corporeal form if only temporarily.
Wolverine might be one of the easiest to explain due to Logan’s healing factor being one of the most robust powers in the Marvel Universe.
But the power was significantly neutered and nearly removed altogether after Wolverine contracted a Microverse virus.
Mister Fantastic attempted to kickstart it again but needed time, telling Logan that his body was being poisoned by the adamantium in his bones.
Wolverine then came into contact with various old foes gunning for him, who were all manipulated by Dr. Abraham Cornelius—the Weapon X researcher who made Logan into the brainless, adamantium coated killing machine.
But while Logan thought Dr. Cornelius was gathering the precious amounts of adamantium left in the world, he truly wanted the secret to the mutant’s healing factor. When Logan revealed he no longer possessed the ability, all bets were off.
Cornelius attempted to inject new test subjects with the large supply of adamantium at his disposal, but Wolverine cut off the supply and his body was subsequently coated in it.
Encased in the a large abundance of the metal, Logan suffocated and died in the hardened, indestructible material. The X-Men later made a shrine in Alberta to celebrate his remains, and there he remains. But that doesn’t mean Wolverine won’t return.
Should Mister Fantastic return from gallivanting across the multiverse with his family, he could be in possession of an agent that could reactivate Logan’s healing factor. Getting him out of the adamantium cocoon would be the least of his worries.
Contending with a parallel version of his older self from a dystopian timeline, though? That’s the true issue here.
For Jean Grey, death is an old hat she can’t seem to get rid of.
She was rid of the Phoenix Force for a majority of the 90s, but then it began to reignite within her during Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. The cosmic entity pledged that it was returning for an altruistic purpose, that its destiny was to course correct an evolutionary aberration.
But during the height of her powers, Magneto (or an imposter, depending on who you ask) had infiltrated the Xavier Institute and manipulated events to drive the X-Men away so he could enact revenge on Professor X.
Jean and Wolverine were trapped on Asteroid X as it hurtled to the sun, and Logan’s mercy killing of Jean caused the Phoenix to manifest. The two returned to Earth just in time to help save New York City’s humans being murdered by Magneto. Magneto’s powers, though, were waning and he was overdosing on the power-boosting drug called Kick, causing a kind of insanity in the Master of Magnetism. Facing defeat, Jean attempted to talk him into giving up his crusade. Magneto obliged, causing Jean to let her guard down, and then he infected her with an EMP pulse that caused her heart to explode.
Wolverine, in a fit of rage, decapitated Magneto as Jean lay in her husband Cyclops’ arms. The two were having marital problems up until that point, but Jean implored Scott to live his life free of guilt despite their circumstances.
In the far future, a Phoenix Egg hatched and Jean awoke from within. Though she didn’t have her memories at first, her connection to humanity, the X-Men, and especially to Wolverine reminded her of her identity. She used the vast power of the Phoenix Force to identify the source of many of their problems as Sublime, a rogue evolutionary entity with the sole purpose of wiping out humans and mutants alike.
Jean erased the Sublime entity, who had infected Magneto before and is the true cause of her death, from existence. She then returned to the White Hot Room, where all Phoenix hosts reside after fulfilling their cosmic duties.
Jean’s resurrection has been in the cards for quite a long time, often teased but never enacted upon. The avenues for such a return are already established—all it would take is for someone to find a giant, glowing egg in the ocean, on the moon, wherever. Returning from the dead is like Jean’s secondary power at this point.