Worst "Got Better"

We're all quite familiar with the killing off of beloved characters, only to have them revived sometime later. It's something I don't think will ever go away, and quite frankly I don't totally mind it, as most characters that do die do so for short-sighted or poor reasons. I think all of us accept this particular trope as part of superhero comics whether we like it or not.

However, what I want to hear is what is the most implausible, ridiculous manner of revival that you can think of?  What explanation for a character's sudden return really mad you think, "Shyeah, right. Go pull the other one." What's the explanation that made you think "wow, the creative team must have been hitting the sauce really hard when they came up with this one."

I would say that Elseworlds, What If's and Imaginary Stories should not count.

I'm going to nominate the revival of Alfred Pennyworth aka the Outsider, for the very simple reason that his body was crushed by a very large boulder. Even if that didn't kill him, it should have left him crippled for life rather than giving him strange super powers and an evil bent. Not to mention that I sincerely doubt that Batman and Robin could have made such a mistake and believed him dead when he must have had some sort of pulse.

Let's hear your choices for the worst "Got Better".

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  • Ohhh...so many come to mind.....

    I'll go first then.

    How did Captain America get better after his 'Fighting Chance' storyline where he had to wear body armour and then died...?

    ...he just...did.

    I don't believe there ever WAS an explanation.?

  • I know most wouldn't agree, but I actually prefer when they either give one line ("I got better") or they just ignore it altogether and get on with telling the story. I don't like reading a whole explanation that is, by nature, ridiculous.

    Richard Mantle said:

    I don't believe there ever WAS an explanation.?

  • It would be hard to be a Christian in a comic-book world.

  • Norman Osborn recovering in Europe after taking the flyer to the chest?

  • The Black Widow "getting better" after Hawkeye held her dying body, then walked away convinced she was dead. Yet nothing was made of the fact that Communist scientists found a corpse and somehow brought it back to life.

    DC never officially said the Mopey story didn't happen, they just ignored it, so technically he was still responsible for Barry Allen's origin at least up to Crisis on Infinite Earths which changed all the rules.

  • This one's a no-brainer for me.  I discussed last year in my three-part Deck Log Entry on "The Short Death of Red Ryan".

    In Challengers of the Unknown # 55 (Apr.-May, 1967), editor Murray Boltinoff killed off Red Ryan, one of the Challengers.  Then, after getting cold feet about it, revived him a mere five issues later.  The problem was, in order to save half-a-country of innocent people, Red had been forced to detonate an explosive by hand.  Thus, he blowed up real good, into what should have been many, many pieces-parts.

    The explanation for Red's survival of the blast didn't come until Challs # 61 (Apr.-May, 1968), and the excuse writer Arnold Drake provided was as absurd as it comes.  Here's what I wrote about it (boldface mine):

    Still unanswered was how Red avoided being blown to bits in Turkey and how he came upon the secret of liquid light.

    The next pair of issues carried a two-part back-up tale, explaining how Red stumbled across the liquid-light formula and wound up as a native stone idol.  However, the biggest question---how did he survive blowing himself up?---was given the shortest shrift one could imagine.  The explanation was reduced to one ridiculous line of dialogue:  “Maybe it was because I was at the very eye of the explosion that I wasn’t destroyed---just blown sky-high!”


    Speaking as someone who's had an uncomfortable acquaintance with things that go boom . . . .




    People caught at ground zero don’t survive.  They vapourise.  It was such an insult to logic that it gutted any seriousness from rest of the story.  Arnold Drake might as well have written that mischievous elves turned Red Ryan into the stone god Seekeenakee.


  • I was fairly confident when I started this thread that Red Ryan would be brought up, and I'm not surprised it's by you Commander.

  • Speaking about Alfred and the Outsider, it must be noted that Bruce did NOT have Alfred embalmed but instead put him in a cryogenic tomb! Which was an extremely good thing as far as Alfred was concerned seeing as he was only mostly dead!

    Ah those sentimental millionaire playboys!

  • One of the worst returns (and deaths btw) was Sharon Carter, incinerated when she went undercover against the Grand Director AKA the 1950s Captain America. Steve watched the footage of her burning to a meaningless death in Captain America #236, I think.

    She returned decades later, with no good explanation and a major mad-on with Cap for believing her demise in the first place!

  • The mysterious "Mister" Blue turns out to be a woman, and claims to be Betty Ross, saying she had plastic surgery to change her face and got a new larynx so her voice was different. Some time later it turns out she's not Betty after all.

    Then of course there was Captain Mar-Vell turning up saying he was from the past before he died. Wasn't really him either.

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