Death Knocks Three Times for Marvel's 'Uncanny Avengers'

Three fan-favorite heroes die in today's issue of the Marvel Comics title, prompting upset online.
Steve McNiven/Marvel Entertainment
Three fan-favorite heroes die in today's issue of the Marvel Comics title, prompting upset online.

Marvel Comics' Uncanny Avengers returns to flagship status with new storyline "Ragnarok Now" in today's fourteenth issue, as the forthcoming battle between humans and mutants claims its first victim -- and its second and third, as well. Be warned: Spoilers for the three superhero deaths follow.

In the first installment of "Ragnarok Now," the Scarlet Witch -- soon to be seen on the big screen in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, played by Elizabeth Olsen -- is murdered by the X-Men's Rogue, who is then herself murdered by a super-villain. The Scarlet Witch's lover, Wonder Man, then apparently commits suicide in order to ensure the success of the Witch's final spell.

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It's a bold start to the new storyline, which sees regular writer Rick Remender joined by Civil War penciler Steve McNiven, but that very level of boldness may suggest that none of these deaths are intended to be permanent. The issue opens with the time-traveling villain known as Kang collecting a number of potential super villain allies, after all, and with any use of time-travel, the potential for undoing unpleasant plot developments exists.

That would come as a welcome development for fans who, learning of the deaths via an early leak of the issue online yesterday, have been complaining that the deaths are simply the latest incarnation of the tendency to hurt or kill female characters in superhero comics as fuel for male characters' angst. "They killed off [the Scarlet Witch] and Rogue in a completely needless super brutal way literally only to provide manpain," tweeted one fan.

Of course, should any of the characters return, it wouldn't be the greatest surprise. In recent years, Captain America, the Fantastic Four's Human Torch and DC Comics' Batman have all "died" only to return within a couple of years. This death is already Wonder Man's third to date, and given the big-screen appearances of both Rogue (in next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past) and the Scarlet Witch over the next couple of years, it's unlikely that they'll stay gone for too long. In the short term, though -- well, Uncanny Avengers has shown itself to be a title in which very important things are happening, a year after its debut.

Uncanny Avengers #14 is available in comic stores and digitally now.