When Our Marvel Heroes Die
How Do We Mourn
By now, I’m sure that many of you have seen the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers: Endgame and for those who haven’t, you may have heard that couple of the Avengers did not make it out okay. Tony Stark aka Iron-Man and Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow died in this spectacular penultimate event. How surprised were you depends on how much you loved these characters and couldn’t imagine that this was a possibility? But in this battle against Thanos and a war for survival from extinction, there is a strong indicator that the escaping of death was a 50–50 proposition.
In Avengers: Infinity War, we witnessed the ‘snap’ of Thanos glove that left many of our heroes dusted along with half of the population. As much of a major blow to our collective consciousness, there was a measure of hope because the story wasn’t complete. As conditioned as we are to happy endings, perhaps this was an early warning of things to come in a partially written chapter? Maybe we had become complacent with our heroes because we knew that, for whatever reason, they will always be there to satisfy this inner feeling of contentment and this sense of relief. Maybe we felt a little of the loss when Spider-man faded away while saying his last words to Tony. We knew that the remaining heroes from Infinity War would find a solution to the problem and restore the population and their friends.
And while a solution to the problem was achieved, it came at a price. We lost Tony and Natasha from the MCU. But they weren’t the first high profile casualties that we were to lose. While there have been deaths of superheroes in the past, none have had a major punch to the gut than the loss of Professor X, Charles Xavier and Logan aka Wolverine. Much like in Endgame with Tony’s passing, Logan’s death comes after a major fight that saw him being impaled by a tree branch by his doppelganger before the doppelganger is shot in the head by Laura, Logan’s daughter. And while we knew this would be the last Wolverine that we would see, seeing him in this state was a moment to behold.
We watched Logan say the thing he needed to say to his daughter. We needed to see the realization of his final moments where he would come to see his life and all of its chaos disappear when looking at the face of his child. He now knows that all of these years of life experience that the few seconds that he has left, he must pour into Laura and hoped that she will learn from a life of pain. We feel this in his watering eyes. We feel this in his shallow breathing. We’re torn when we here Laura calling him ‘Daddy’ for the first and last time and he gets the chance to hear it.
With Tony, he lays there dying. Those connected to him come running to his side but it is Pepper, Tony’s now wife, who fought alongside him said what he needed to hear as the light in his chest dims away. We get to see the aftermath of Natasha’s death on Bruce/Hulk, Steve Rogers, and Hawkeye. She sacrificed herself in order to get one of the stones. I don’t think she or Hawkeye knew the price they needed to pay in order to get the soul stone. For Hawkeye and Steve, she was more of a sister to them. For Bruce/Hulk she was more than just a colleague. The pain that you feel for Bruce/Hulk and Steve is perhaps of the fact that they didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to her. For Hawkeye, she gave him a sense of redemption knowing that one day he will get the chance to see his family once again. For her, the chance of her having a family was taken away from her by the Soviet order. And while we got to say goodbye to Tony at his funeral, Natasha’s body was left on the alien planet left to rot on the ground. She deserves better.
Charles Xavier became a casualty two-fold. The first being that he was suffering from age-related dementia/Alzheimer. He had slowly started to lose his memory and at the same time access the psychic parts of his brain that caused havoc on both mutants and non-mutants. He lost the ability to control his mind. The inevitable was a certainty but he lost his life to violence. Logan’s doppelganger murdered him with a set of claws to his chest. His death was particularly brutal in that he had no idea it was a doppelganger and that his trust was betrayed in a way that paid a disservice to the elderly.
There have been other deaths of MCU characters but they didn’t carry the emotional wallop like Tony, Logan, or Black Widow. Jean Grey, the X-Men soldier, died at the hands of Wolverine when she became Phoenix. Quicksilver lost his life in the Age of Ultron. Their deaths are important to the narrative but we saw them as plot devices to move the story along. Quicksilver was a device to move the Scarlet Witch narrative along. Jean’s death added to the Wolverine troubled narrative of never finding any happiness in his life.
But what is the takeaway with this? What are we to conclude with the deaths of Tony and Natasha of Logan and Professor X? It does close a chapter with them and signals that this is the end of a journey that took all of us on a ride we will never forget. They became these friends from afar but close enough to say that we knew them well. They made us laugh, they made us cry and that, my friend, is the magic of life. As I wander around love doesn’t last too long but true love last 75 years.