The One Right Way to Kill a Woman
Yeah, I know the title sounds creepy, but it has a point! Often, some folks will make the argument, “You can’t kill ANY woman without people complaining!” This came up a few times during the discussion about New Avengers #35. I have always said this was untrue, but it is probably fair to actually point out an example, and, luckily enough, a good example was presented in a recent issue of Nova.
Please note that I am not saying that the issue was GOOD (I think it was, but just noting that “Doing ___ well” does not equal “good”). Heck, I think that the death of the character was actually a bit of a waste, as she was too good of a character to kill off so quickly.
I just think that, if you are going to kill off a female character, the way Ko-Rel died in Nova is the way to handle it.
The concept of the storyline in Nova is that a Kree captain, Ko-Rel, shipwrecked with her crew on a planet way back during the first Annihilation storyline. She’s been keeping her people alive since then. During this Annihilation: Conquest story, Nova (Richard Rider) was infected by the Phalanx, a robotic alien race that takes over people’s minds (like the Borg from Star Trek). Nova, by the by, is currently the repository for the “Worldmind,” the global computer that is “the regulator of the Nova Force and caretaker of the entire collective database of Xandarian civilization.” The Worldmind is fighting off the Phalanx infestation, but feels it will eventually lose, and at that point, it has a lot of information that it would not want getting into enemy hands.
Therefore, the Worldmind transfers a fraction of its power to Ko-Rel, making her the new Nova – with one task – to kill Richard Rider so as to keep the Worldmind from getting into Phalanx control.
Ko-Rel is a huge underdog here, as Rider has the Worldmind in him, so he has practically the entire Nova Force at his control, and all Ko-Rel has is that the Worldmind is feeding her strategic information (there’s a great bit where Rider asks for help, and Worldmind informs him, “Sorry, Richard, I’m on her side”).
Ultimately, while she takes quite a licking, Ko-Rel eventually manages to get the drop on Rider. She is poised to kill him, but sees that Rider is just a pawn in this game, not an evil person, and she can’t bring herself to murder him. It’s at this point that Rider’s companion (Gamorra, the deadliest woman in the universe) catches up to them, and murders Ko-Rel.
As she lays there dying, in her last breathes, she tries to free Rider from Phalanx control, and ultimately, she transfers her power back to him – and the next issue, we learn that it transferred a little bit of her, as well, and that purity is working against the Phalanx infestation, and ultimately, next issue, Rider is able to break free of the Phalanx control, thereby saving the Worldmind from becoming Phalanx-controlled.
So, again, while I did not like the fact that they killed an interesting character off so quickly, if you are going to kill a female character, this is the type of story you should do it in. Ko-Rel was a huge underdog, but she managed to defeat a much stronger opponent, and was done in only by her decency. She didn’t beg or anything like that, she died as a soldier – a hero. And her death was not even in vain, as she managed to rescue the Worldmind from Phalanx control, which was her mission to begin with – she knew all along that her mission was likely a suicide one, but she also knew that if the Phalanx got control of the Nova Force, the universe would be a lot worse off (and she had a son back home, so if not for her, then at least for her son) – so she was willing to sacrifice herself for the universe.
A fine way to kill off a female character by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.