Every Marvel Character Who Returned To Comics in 2021

The Marvel Comics Universe has plenty of superheroes who have died in the name of fighting evil and saving lives - but just as many have returned from said death to fight another day. Comics book heroes are almost universally awful at remaining dead for a variety of reasons, and most of them invariably return. But some resurrections are more worthy of discourse than others, and reverberate in the minds of readers for months if not years after the fact. These are the biggest Marvel Comics resurrection moments of 2021 - and these moment are not simply limited to superheroes.

Note that the following list covers only the resurrections between January 1st and December 31st 2021. In addition, the list covers only the comic book-based resurrections of Marvel characters. The many heroes and villains who return from the dead in the films and television shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are not included.

Beginning in December 2020, the King in Black event rocked the Marvel Universe, sending citizens running from Knull and his army of symbiotes. In the chaos, the Marvel Universe saw its first resurrection of 2021: none other than Flash Thompson, Peter Parker's old high school bully. Flash was one of the first characters to appear in the Spider-Man franchise (oddly enough, sporting a "T" sweater).

Flash Thompson would eventually cease his bullying, joining the Army. This eventually led to him becoming a host for the Venom symbiote. Killed in Amazing Spider-Man #800, Flash was finally revived in the King in Black series - but he's far from the only one.

Related: Marvel Just Spent An Entire Issue Making Fun of Comic Book "Deaths"

The superhero Sentry is one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe; he's a clear analogue to Superman, with the power of over "one million exploding suns". As part of a Superman deconstruction, his severe mental health issues are his greatest weaknesses - but nevertheless, he was also killed in the King in Black event, having been memorably torn in half by Kull himself.

In Heroes Reborn #7, the Sentry was revived thanks to the Machiavellian machinations of Mephisto, who reshaped the entire world after striking a deal with Agent Coulson (now the President of the United States in the new reality). Sentry was placed on the Dark Squadron, and while the hellish reality was eventually fixed, the Squardon Supreme survived the transition...so there's a possibility that the Sentry has as well.

Related: Mephisto Just Resurrected Marvel's Most Powerful Hero

Ever since 2018's X-Men soft reboot created by Jonathan Hickman, the X-Men have perfected the art of coming back from the dead, thanks to multiple powerful mutants, the machine Cerebro, and the island of Krakoa itself. But some heroes couldn't be saved thanks to the resurrection protocols...until Trial of Magneto #5, which ended with the revival of Thunderbird, one of the most beloved of mutants.

The superstrong John Proudstar made his debut in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 in 1975, and became one of the first Native American X-Men...and the first X-Men to die in the line of duty after punching a villain's plane; the aircraft exploded and took Proudstar with it (and unfortunately, the villain inside the plane lived). But thanks to the powers of the Scarlet Witch in Trial of Magneto #5, John Proudstar emerged from a cocoon on the island of Krakoa, ready to fight again. Proudstar has stayed dead for over 40 years, and has quite a lot of catching up to do.

The death of the Scarlet Witch kicked off a massive event that ultimately led to the X-Men and the Avengers nearly coming to blows. At the end of the Hellfire Gala, Wanda Maximoff was found dead, and the mutants surmised that anyone who could murder an ultra-powerful magician like the Scarlet Witch would either have to be powerful themselves, be someone known to Maximoff enough for her to let her guard down...or both. All fingers pointed to Magneto, and X-Men: The Trial of Magneto began.

But Magneto was innocent, and so was everyone else. The entire affair was a ploy to make the X-Men's resurrection power stronger than ever; now thanks to Wanda, even mutants who died long before the Krakoa era could return from the dead (including the aforementioned Thunderbird). This effectively redeemed the Scarlet Witch for her actions during House of M. While Wanda technically did die, she came back to life quite easily, and the entire affair was her plan. The same could not be said for the next superhero to die in 2021.

 

While the Scarlet Witch was able to return from the void as her complete self, Doctor Strange was not so lucky. Marvel's The Death of Doctor Strange event saw the Sorcerer Supreme murdered on his doorstep by an unknown assailant. The death of the Sorcerer Supreme sent a message through the cosmos, letting every magical villain know that Earth was now vulnerable and ripe for the taking. Dozens of entities made haste for Earth, which was entirely undefended (at least in a magical sense).

Thankfully, Doctor Strange had prepared for this eventuality. Exactly one issue after his death, Doctor Strange emerged before his stunned friends...but something was odd about this good doctor. He's the Doctor Strange from the 60s and 70s, and as such is much younger, has little to no memories about fighting alongside the Avengers, and still speaks with a sesquipedalian loquaciousness reminiscent of his early, Stan Lee-penned days. This Strange has indeed returned from the dead, but he's a Strange from the Sorcerer Supreme's distant past...and as a consequence, he's not the Sorcerer Supreme.

This year, Marvel has perhaps realized that fans know comic book "death" rarely sticks, and thus took measures to at least make comic book death interesting, if not entirely permanent. The resurrections of Thunderbird and Flash suggests that Marvel wants to tell new stories with characters that haven't had their day in the sun. The Marvel Comics resurrections of 2021 will undoubtedly pave the way for even better stories in 2022 and beyond.

 

Next: The Best New Marvel Comic Costumes of 2021



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