23 Jun 2013

My "Man of Steel" Overview

 First off, I'll just say this isn't an in-depth review of the the movie but rather an overview of how I felt about DC & Warner Bro's new take on Superman. I watched it last night on my birthday as sort of a grand finale for my special day. I'll just go out and say that I didn't really enjoy the movie unfortunately, I was waiting for something that never happened. Perhaps I elevated my expectations a bit too much. *Cough* Nolan! *Cough Cough*
Even in watching it as a popcorn movie devoid of a serious plot, I was taken out of the movie by a few things which I thought were unnecessary. If you haven't watched the movie yet, you don't need to watch it in 3D because it does nothing for the movie. There was also a lot of shakey-cam which was probably what they were going for but it didn't lend well to 3D conversion. Also, I should say, I loved Henry Cavill as Superman. How can you not love Henry?
Now anything beyond this point will count as a spoiler so you may leave and return after watching the flick.

Weeks back I read a blog that said according to reliable sources, "Man of Steel" isn't going to be a good movie but I brushed it aside because I thought "What does he know? He hasn't even seen the movie."
The movie was released and there was so much hype on my friends' Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages as they anticipated its awesomeness. After they all watched the movie there was dead silence and this is usually the worst sign. A friend of mine only commented about how he was going to the gym for the rest of his life, but that was about it. When people give opinions about a movie after watching it, you can weigh the merits and demerits but the overall silence was a sign of collective disappointment. Needless to say, I was now skeptical of the flick. A week ago I then had a conversation with a friend of mine who said that audiences were put-off by the excessive amount of action in the film. That didn't make sense to me so I pointed out that the "Avengers" movie had an insane amount of action. He then told me that Avengers had a humour balance that "Man of Steel" completely lacked. Now that I have watched the film, I can say that wasn't it. It wasn't so much the humour as it was a lack of humanity in the film.

Aliens are hotter than humans.
As the movie began, I got the impression that the pacing of the movie was off somewhat. I knew it was going to be lengthy but it eventually felt like a short film, which was strange. I realized that I was waiting for a really long time for character development to take place but it didn't happen, hence affecting my perception of the movie length. The overall problem with "Man of Steel" was overcompensation for the faults of Brandon Routh's "Superman Returns." Everyone and their cousin complained that "Superman Returns" was long, boring and devoid of any action whatsoever so this version flipped the script entirely and went ballistic with the action. The problem with this is they completely ignored even what went right in "Superman Returns." If you ask me, I'd say "Man of Steel" could have used some "Superman Returns." The two movies illustrated the problem of excess as they both took their strengths to the extreme thereby creating several faults. "Superman Returns" invested a lot in the way of the plot and character which eventually harmed the fun factor while "Man of Steel" went all out with the visual entertainment.

Loki Anyone?
I'll do a quick paragraph about the "petty" issues I had then get into the major ones. Clark Kent had made himself a vigilante of sorts rescuing people from all sorts of disasters. He did this with beard, clean shaven, with hat, without hat, with long hair, short hair, every possible way you could see him basically. This then gave me a problem accepting the end of the movie where he begins a career at The Daily Planet and only Lois Lane could recognize that he was Superman. Another minor issue was that the military couldn't find him despite the fact that he discloses to them that he grew up in Kansas and is as American as it gets. With the ease it took Lois Lane to track down Superman from the heroics of his youth, how was the military and anyone else for that matter unable to find out who he was? Leave alone the fact that General Zod and his cronies landed a ship at the Kent Farm and tore it apart looking for Clark's ship. All Clark's childhood friends also decided to keep his freakish acts a secret, even after the "aliens" showed up to claim Kal-El who has been hiding on Earth, else they would destroy everything.

Beyond that, a friend of mine pointed out on the ride back from the cinema that Jor-El really kicked General Zod's ass back in Krypton despite the fact that they were all bred with pre-determined purpose. It was therefore interesting that a man bred for science was able to THOROUGHLY BEAT DOWN a man bred for combat. This is in respect to the movie's logic, because sci-fi operates outside the realm of reality so it should abide by its own rules. That scene was really funny though watching Zod's ass get handed to him.

Hmmmm...
The thing that really took me out of the film was the play on words and scenes depicting Superman as a sci-fi Jesus. I know, if you didn't notice this, you're probably wondering what I'm talking about.
This is really what completely took me out of it and I was struggling to get back in afterwards. The religious undertones weren't that subtle and quite frankly offended me while in the cinema. Later on I decided to give it some thought and gauge their intentions which I am yet to figure out. I can only speculate. I'm not sure what the intention was but Superman, a fictional character being portrayed with Messianic undertones felt like a mockery of Christianity, though they may have been exploring a different interpretation. Jor-El was basically playing God who would send his only son Kal-El to save the world. It was chock-full of "You can save them all" statements that became a bit too much. The point that really caught my attention initially was when Superman was "captured" by the military and he said that he meant them no harm as he's been on earth for 33 years. That number was waaay too specific as it was the number of years Jesus spent on Earth with his disciples. I started wondering whether all his actions were the miracles of Jesus on Earth. Jonathan Kent would then fit the description of Joseph the carpenter who was Jesus Earthly father. If that was the original concept of Superman, I probably didn't want to see it before.
 In another scene as Kal-El was dropping from space to rescue Lois and "everyone" as he was told to do by his father, he fell back with his arms stretched out as if to portray crucifixion then flew down to Earth. Before Superman decided to engage Zod (Which was like his crucifiction?) He went to a church to seek counsel on what to do about his situation. The choice to save humanity at whatever cost was weighing down on him just as it did Jesus who sought God's counsel before his impending arrest. My other problem with this scene was that the pastor just believed him at his word. He could have been a crazy/delusional person but the pastor took him at his word. This bothered me as to whether the same situation would play out in reality.
Later on he and Faora (Who was well cast and really attractive and more bad-ass than Zod himself. On the subject, I was really disappointed in Lois Lane. They blundered with her casting once again) were engaged in battle and Faora decided to point out to Superman that evolution would always triumph in reference to their conflicting points of view. Another religion versus evolution debate? You be the judge. Either way, whether the intention was innocent or not, I was forced into a mental debate on what these subtle themes meant and this took me out of it. I mean, I'm not against portraying religion in film but this really took me out of the Superman movie I was expecting to see. My favorite Marvel movies all have moral themes because, what's a movie without a lesson? We're all supposed to learn something at the end of it all aren't we? I just didn't expect to draw parallels between Superman and Jesus.

As far as the ending is concerned, I know Superman isn't supposed to kill but I'm not a Superman fan so I don't really care about those liberties as opposed to when they are taken on Spider-Man. What I will say about that though is that the circumstances surrounding the murder were suspect. The battle through the city felt like a deliberate attempt to destroy everything like they are accustomed to doing in the cartoon. Superman could have moved the battle out of the city to minimize casualties but chose to do it there. I don't see how he could have avoided killing civilians unintentionally while smashing into buildings and throwing Zod all over the place. It was then strange that he took interest in saving the family that Zod was about to murder even though he must have killed a few in battle.

Kneel Before Zod!
That battle also showed that humanity was of no consequence, it didn't matter how many people died. The most developed character was probably Martha Kent. Everybody else was expendable. When Perry White and his staff-mates were about to die towards the end of the movie, I was least concerned because nobody had really struck an emotional bond with me. All in all, I'll say that DC are trying to play catch-up to Marvel and failing. Marvel Studio movies (And the Batman trilogy) have all succeeded because of the humanity of their characters. Anyone can wear an Iron Man suit but why do we love Tony Stark so much? Thor's journey to humility, Captain America's transformation, The Hulk battle with his inner beast, the allure of these heroes is found in characterization and development of not only them but their supporting cast. Let's be honest, Superman is a very boring character on his own, Clark Kent provides the balance that makes him interesting in trying to protect his identity and his loved ones. Without Clark, you can't really identify with Superman because he's about as human as Mariah Carey is the girl next door. This is not to say, however, that Henry Cavill failed as Superman. He did an awesome job and is probably my favorite Superman yet. He embodies the hero perfectly and was able to do his job and carry the film. I just found the timing of the back and forth in respect to his origin slightly off. I blame the direction and editing.

I know there are other themes that they sought to explore with this movie such as a man on a quest to greatness but being held back by his foster father who is afraid of how the world will perceive him and such. I'm sure there is a lot more to be said for Superman's confusion on the path to his destiny and his choice to sacrifice his morals for the sake of saving humanity and all that, but what I've discussed was what stood-out as I was watching. I think the execution could have been better.
 Let me know what you thought of the movie though and we can chat about it in the comments section below.

8 Jul 2012

NOT SO "AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" RANT


WARNING! HARSH LANGUAGE, PARENTAL GUIDANCE IS ADVISED.

I don't usually do this but the circumstances demand it. I have a lot of frustration bottled in from watching the "Amazing Spider-Man" movie. Actually, my frustrations are not entirely from the movie as much as they were triggered by the responses of other watchers.

He was DEFINITELY at the theater.
When the movie was FINALLY done, and I do mean FINALLY because I restrained myself from walking out severally, I heard people a few seats to my right  in the theatre clapping. I was taken aback. Who are these film-goers who clap after such a movie? It later dawned on me that there were hoards of them with positive Internet buzz surrounding the movie. Those that loved it really did while those that despised it... Well... Let's just say they are blogging about it at odd hours of the night...


I will just say, from the onset this movie is riddled with failure and disappointment at every turn so much that I feel the weight of typing all the misfires already. It failed to make sense even within its own flawed logic. Visiting its memory is a journey to a place that I am only taking for the benefit of others. I will now get into it with a plot dissection. My memory may be scanty at some bits as I occasionally closed my eyes in disbelief or turned to discuss the horror on screen with my brother who was equally disgusted. 
Let us begin.

PLOT

A young Peter Parker is abandoned by his parents who were working on a secret formula for Oscorp but have their house ravaged by (who knows) and decide to escape leaving young Peter with his aunt and Uncle Ben. It is very unclear where Peter's parents are from this point on until some point in the movie when a newspaper clipping (which if you aren't keen you might miss) shows their plane crashed somewhere and they presumably died. That newspaper clipping also signals lip service later on pointing to the fact that Dr. Connors (the eventual villain) must comply with a certain Oscorp project (that involves human experimentation with animal DNA to save Norman Osborn from who-knows-what disease) or he will suffer the fate of Peter's parents. Hmmm... Ok, whatevs...

Uncle Ben is cheating on Aunt May with the
nutty lady from "Brothers & Sisters."
So Peter is now grown and is a photographer at school. Flash Thompson, being the usual jock equipped  with an audience is picking on some kid. He asks Peter to take a picture of the incident and Peter refuses to. So from the onset, Peter is already a hero, this incident earns him a beating and Gwen Stacy's seemingly instantaneous affection. She did not know Peter before this incident. What would follow is proof that "With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility" as this was one of his last truly genuine acts of heroism. It also earns him a beating with scars that really worry an Aunt May who never really looked the part of Aunt May. These were the first of several scars he would eventually go home with night after night during the movie to which Aunt May would just hug him and cry or yell at him for not buying the eggs he was sent for and cry or just cry. Way-to-go Aunt May. No wonder you have no kids of your own.

So the family has had a bag belonging to Peter's father which they all thought to be empty with a secret compartment containing files. Peter of course discovers the secret compartment, blaaady bla bla, and finds a picture that turns out to be his father & Dr Connors and a secret formula written on paper.
The brains behind Oscorp.
He then goes to Oscorp to investigate the link between Dr. Connors and his parents who he never really knew. Surprise surprise, Gwen Stacy works there, a high-school girl with an unbelievable access level to the building. This high-school girl is running the show at Oscorp. Peter steals some random kid's badge for an internship tour and as he is inside, the owner of the badge is seen to be forcefully evicted from the building by security. Score one for cunning young Peter. Gwen notices Peter the impostor and covers for him when he catches the eye of Dr. Connors with that Peter Parker genius that we all know and love; reminiscent of his interaction with Dr Octavius in Raimi's Spider-Man 2.  (That genius also NEVER appeared again during the entire movie) They discuss cross-species experiments, blaaaady bla bla and Connors dream of a world without weakness. So yeah, he will eventually experiment with lizard DNA on himself to grow back his missing arm and unfortunately turn into The Lizard.

So Peter escapes from the Oscorp tour following a man who had documents of interest to him and sneaks into a room full of glowing spiders and I do mean FULL of glowing spiders. He plays with one of their webs and they all come crumbling down on him. As he escapes the room, one conveniently remains in the back of his jacket. So at this point I am wondering, room FULL of spiders, one bites him, turns him into Spider-Man, what do all the rest of the spiders do and what happened to them after that scene and just why... Why did they have a room containing hundreds of glowing spiders? Even when he did become Spider-Man, these Oscorp scientists had a room FULL of spiders. Why did nobody say, "Hey, there's a kid with spider powers running around. Why don't we go to our spider room because we have loads of spiders at Oscorp and we could create another?" How is it that Peter was the only victim of a spider bite that turned into a super powered hero while EVERY OTHER CROSS-SPECIES EXPERIMENT, LIZARD, SPIDER OR RAT ENDED IN DEATH OR HORRID MUTATION? The tale of that room full of spiders was just supposed to fade from memory as we accept that Peter was the only mutation gone right and the scientists didn't think to find out why.

Fellow New Yorkers, please don't remember my
appearance.
He discovers his powers on a subway train, gets into a fight with all the commuters who see his face as he sticks to the roof of the train, comes home late with scars on his face, angers Uncle Ben, they argue, Peter gives that whole "YOU'RE NOT MY FATHER" speech and storms out. Uncle Ben follows him into the dark dangerous night as he hides above some structure with his spider powers. I should point out that during this scene I said a silent prayer that whatever I was expecting to happen doesn't, but well, not all prayers are answered in the way that we want.

Peter enters a store to buy milk (because that's just what he does when he's upset. Teenagers...) and the store owner refuses to sell him milk because he is a couple pennies short or something. A guy who is clearly a mugger behind him holds up the store, gives Peter the milk he was unable to pay for and escapes. So Peter, the accessory to store robbery is asked to help catch the guy by the store owner to which he says something to the effect of, "Not my concern." Hmmm... Where have I seen this scene before... Meanwhile, Uncle Ben is walking the same street looking for Peter the Douche. What he finds is a mugger fleeing and conveniently falling in front of him with gun. Heroic Uncle Ben wrestles for the gun and gets shot in the process. Peter subsequently does the whole teary "WHYYY!!!" bit. Hmmm, where have I seen ALL THESE SCENES BEFORE??? I found this writing so incredibly lazy and an insult to ticket-buyers everywhere. Yes, as expected, Peter got a police sketch and chose to use his powers to hunt down Uncle Ben's killers... What is going on here??? Reboot you say? Maybe you need to look up the word Marc Webb. What was even sadder was the police officer's comment to Peter as he walked out. "Oh, remember he has a tattoo on his wrist." How this piece of information would be useful to this teenager, I don't know, unless of course the writers thought it would help explain Peter's nightly rampages through the streets beating up strangers and checking for a tattoo on their wrists...
Why they even did an origin is beyond me after Sam Raimi left no doubt that there is no better way to possibly envision an origin story of Spider-Man. After a while, I guess Peter just lost interest in finding Uncle Ben's killer or weightier matters took precedence.

I thought I was good but my face is turning scaly so I must 
be evil...
What follows this absurd re-introduction of Spider-Man to the audience is a confused cluster**k of a plot with Dr Connors character changing whenever it suited the writers and Peter Parker mastering his powers waaaay too quickly all the while being an absolute douchebag on an incomprehensible level. Lets just face it, Peter was a total asshole throughout the movie giving no reason for us to either sympathise, empathise, identify with or understand his situation. The only lesson on the cards was, with great power comes great douchebaggary. He went on a rampage attacking people, beating down Flash Thompson, dressing down anyone who thought Spider-Man was a menace, fighting with cops, yelling at Aunt May and storming out on her, insulting Gwen Stacy's father who was the captain of the police force IN HIS OWN HOUSE during a dinner he was invited to, running his mouth in a snide and offencive manner and just being a dick. There was no ounce of self sacrifice or any notion of it from the genius who never was. His whole interaction with Dr. Connors was based on a lie as he stole his father's formula and gave it to Connors claiming it was his own genius... Yeah, that sounds like something the Peter Parker we all know and love would do...

Step aside Edward & Bella, 
there's a new power couple
in town.
Later he saved a kid from falling into a river (A scene with its own multitude of flaws) which was meant to be his epiphany to change and put others before himself but he just went on being an nuisance to the bitter end. His motivation for fighting The Lizard wasn't even clear because there was nothing in him to show why he was doing it. He was an empty character. The writing in this movie was terrible and they only succeeded in character regression. Peter came from the kid who sticks-up for kids being bullied in school to a bully himself.

Peter's big reveal to Gwen about his identity was appalling, an unbelievable mess of a scene and only the fact that I was treated to the movie prevented me from storming out at that point. It was like witnessing a raping of a character you know and love. Gwen chose to say "Oh my god you're Spider-Man" even before it was established who this vigilante running around the city was. There was no J. Jonah Jameson to create the name on the front page of the Daily Bugle, it just popped up from goodness knows where. It wasn't once mentioned in the media or anywhere else in the movie. Later Peter came out to boldly claim "I am Spider-Man." No you're not, you're the product of a director who didn't know what the hell he was doing.

As far as Dr. Connors is concerned I don't know what the hell was going on with him. Norman Osborn is dying and Connors must find a cure or he will be killed like Peter Parker's parents. Connors injects lizard DNA into his arm which grows back then an instant mutation turns him into The Lizard at the back of a New York taxi. From this point on, the Dr. who has since been level headed goes on a rampage with an unclear motive (presumably to stop some guy from going somewhere to do something that may get him in trouble) smashing everything in sight. He gets into a fight with Spider-Man and escapes to a hole. In this sewer (which suddenly has a fully equipped laboratory) he decides that humans are foolish and must all be turned into lizard people. He cooks up a formula and heads for Oscorp to poison the city and turn everyone into Lizard people. Yes, it really happened.
My hand is growing back! Too bad the urge to destroy the
city will soon follow. It is what it is...
Now here is where it really gets good. The formula that had been worked on forever and even Dr. Connors couldn't figure out how to whip-up needed an antidote to save the city. Gwen Stacy, the high-school classmate of Peter Parker whipped it up in a matter of minutes at Oscorp using her genius and high level of security clearance. What did I tell you, this schoolgirl was the boss all along.

As Gwen Stacy uses her superior intellect to whip-up the antidote, it becomes clear to Spider-Man that she is in danger. He must find his way to Oscorp to save the city from the threat of the lizard-people virus. Oh how we love that iconic doom-the-city-from-a-tall-building (Transformer/Avengers) scene. Unfortunately for Spider-Man, he is viewed as a menace so he gets shot in the thigh by New York's finest and Captain Stacy is on hand to take-off his mask. "Gasp! Its the teenager who be dating my daughter..." (How many people will this kid expose his secret identity to?) Peter is able to "reason" with the Captain who spares him and sets him free to rescue his daughter and the city. It is interesting that in this scene, there are hundreds of witnesses on that street but only the Captain really sees Spider-Man's identity without the mask. The police all stand slack-jaw staring as they place the fate of the city in the hands of a teenager who they just shot and wounded. Spider-Man is now limping and running out of time. Fortunately for him, several building cranes are stationed between his exact location and Oscorp. What are the odds of that? 
News channels suddenly turn into narrators explaining how Spider-Man needs to make his way to Oscorp but is wounded and may not make it in time. It was as if he was texting them with his immediate thoughts for them to report to the public. After that absurd news broadcast, the crane operators get inspired by the situation to station their cranes in a way that would allow a few Tarzan swings to Oscorp. Beyond this unbelievable coincidence, it was also very fortunate that Spider-Man was armed with the power of forgetfulness. He webbed-up his thigh and pretty much forgot that he got shot as he swung into action and arrived at Oscorp.
OK, OK, very funny, who switched the movie to Twilight? My ticket says Spider-Man.

Captain Stacy eventually dies in a scene reminiscent of Harry Osborn's death in Spider-Man 3 (actually identical to Harry Osborn's death) as he was helping Spider-Man fight the Lizard but unfortunately got clawed through the stomach and out the back. Peter wrapped up the Lizard battle just in time to rush to Captain Stacy's side on that roof top for the final reconciliation. They just managed to duplicate Sam Raimi's portrayal of Harry's death so yaaay to the reboot. Well, at least the secret of Spider-Man's identity died with the captain. Thank goodness all New Yorkers have terrible memory and the police have poor vision except Captain Stacy whose death would conveniently sort out the little matter of the knowledge he had acquired.
The Iguana... err... Lizard interrupts Gwen Stacy's
synthesis of the lizard-people antidote...
As we return to the good doctor, he suddenly realised that maybe he's doing a bad thing, "let me help Spider-Man up this building ledge in a dramatic show of repentance as my lizard DNA withers away," even though Spider-Man can stick to walls and probably didn't need to be pulled up. It was good P.R. for Dr. Connors who's character shifted whenever the writers saw it fit.

If you know anything about Spider-Man you will be wondering, where was Norman Osborn through all this? I mean, I have seen Oscorp mentioned tonnes of times and Osborn orchestrating the deaths of Peter's parents so where was he? Unfortunately even I can't tell you because I didn't see him. He didn't once make an appearance during the entire duration of the film. Yaaay for us however, they had a post-credits scene with a voice speaking incomprehensibly from the shadows and a figure who was impossible to identify. Thanks Marc Webb. That was bloody helpful.

I won't even get into the eventual and unnatural bromance between Flash (another victim of bipolar characterization) and Peter, one which I have never seen or read about before. Neither will I address the super powered displays by Peter suddenly having the ability to bend a football post by tossing a ball at it or flying higher than the basketball rim and smashing it to pieces and not arousing any suspicion from his clearly less-than-intelligent schoolmates. Even when The Lizard rampaged through the school and fought Spider-Man, nobody was able to make the connection between him and Peter. I also don't think I should discuss Peter Parker's skateboard which was broken severally but thankfully, being a magic skateboard, like his magical Spider-Man suit that just appeared when he became Spider-Man, it always returned to normal whenever he needed it. 
Oh no, Peter's secret is out!
What Ill absolutely not discuss is Peter's fight in the waters of the sewer; I have no clue why, but he had a camera in the sewer taking pictures of his fight with the Lizard. Look, don't ask me why, I have no idea what greatness bubbles within the director's mind. So Peter escapes leaving behind his camera with bold inscription saying "Property of Peter Parker." Congratulations script writer sir, that was the best possible way for the Lizard to realise Parker is Spider-Man. And how about his visit to Gwen after the fight when she either had a terribly blocked nose or just didn't notice the stench while making-out with sewer boy or letting him lie down in her room while she tends to his wounds. 

Quite frankly, it speaks for itself. This was a BAD! movie and with each new sentence I type I discover a new flaw. I will watch Green Lantern ten times before I revisit that horror of a character's butchering.

14 Jan 2012

DEATH AND RESSURRECTION

In July last year, I hollered at Mike Deodato complaining about the death of Johnny Storm of The Fantastic Four. This death came approximately four years after that of Captain America at the end of Marvel's Civil War event. Mike jokingly replied "You know how comics go, they never really stay dead." and I thought, "yeah whatever, I don't like it but they better bring Johnny Storm back. "The Internet was buzzing towards the end of 2011 with news that the Torch was set to return in issue #600 of The Fantastic four.
The Torch stares "death" in the face
The Human Torch, minus his family, is one of my favourite comic book heroes. The news of his return is all I've been waiting for and when it finally came, I realised that comic book heroes never really die. Its now confirmed conclusively. I then went on twitter to discuss this with two of my friends and we had a very lengthy discussion that brought out some good arguments on the subject.
Let's go back in time to 1992 when Superman died. I won't even bother posting a link to that. Eventually, after the Reign of the Supermen passed and with it, all the shock-value and improved sales, Superman had to come back to the land of the living. Read up on the "Kryptonian Rejuvenation Chamber" if you don't already know about it and please have a barf-bag with you. You may need it.
Captain America's "assasination"
My question is this, why kill the characters in the first place? The obvious answers are "to create a buzz" or "to rescue dwindling sales" but for how long can this work when all the readers are on to you? Shock value is only shocking when it isn't expected, hence the word "shock." When the same thing is done over and over it falls into a category called "routine." Read up on the word my dear comic book creators, the dictionary definition may surprise you.
If you kill Superman, you are effectively saying that everyone who will be born in the future will not read Superman comics. (Well, he exists in multiple universes but you get my point) What will you do to entertain fans of the book until the end of time? That's right, you will have to bring him back. The superheroes we read about have been in existence longer than many of us have. This means that they have too much history for any currently living writer to kill-off. Writers of independent books have the liberty to kill off any character they please because they lack something that the big two's flagship characters have. Indie books have no history. Lack of history has its advantages as I am sure Mr Mark Millar can testify to. He has the express right and privilege to kill anyone in his MillarWorld Universe and keep them dead while he's at it. This right will only be taken from him if his characters continue to live for another sixty or so years.
Superman's "death"
It gets embarrassing when you "off" one of your flagship characters then later bring him back because the book is staring cancellation in the face.
What I'm basically saying is, death in comic books may have been a cool/hip stunt back in the day but now, we are on to you. Increase your creativity and stop cheating for sales. If your book is getting poor reviews you are probably not doing a good job and it probably deserves to be cancelled. Let the book die or pass it on to a better writer.