If you have been reading comic books for more than a few years, you’ll notice that one of the most fleeting concepts in comics is death. Characters come back from the dead so frequently that there is even a catch phrase in “X-Men” comic books about it (“You’re dead!” “I got better.”). It has gotten to the point where it is very difficult to get people to take any death in comics seriously. Really, the only way that you can get people to take deaths seriously is if the company commits to the death. For instance, if Wolverine actually stays dead, then “The Death of Wolverine” will be retroactively viewed a lot more seriously than how it was originally received.
This is not to say that comic book deaths should be final, as of course they shouldn’t be. The concept of bringing characters back from the dead long predates comic books (Sherlock Holmes famously died and then returned). Comics just take it to the extreme. This is especially true when characters return to life very quickly. Here, we’re taking a look at some of the fastest character resurrections in history.
15. THANOS (18 MONTHS)
Thanos has always had an interesting relationship with Death, so it is not surprising to see him come back from the dead so many times. However, over time, his deaths have lasted shorter and shorter time periods. After his initial death in the late 1970s, it took over a decade before he returned at the hand of his creator, Jim Starlin (who had killed him off in the first place). When he died during the “Annihilation” crossover, it took a few years before he returned to life for the crossover event, “The Thanos Imperative,” which was Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s swan song on their run on Marvel’s cosmic line of comics.
Being their final work in this line, they felt the freedom to kill off their characters. Therefore, during “The Thanos Imperative” miniseries, they killed off Drax the Destroyer, Thanos, Nova and Star-Lord, with the last three all dying in the final issue, which came in November 2010. Three of those four characters returned in the initial story arc in Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s “Avengers Assemble” series. Thanos, though, returned one issue before Star-Lord (May 2012’s #3 versus #4), so he makes the list while Star-Lord falls just shy (Drax was killed in “The Thanos Imperative” #3, so he stayed dead even longer).