The Red Bee, He Keeps a-Dying!

After showcasing Golden Age Obscura Icon the Red Bee's death scenes yesterday, readers saw fit to school me on what was missing. Well, fine. I can dig deeper, and I can provide even more mortal moments for poor old Rick Raleigh. You ready for this, Red Bee fans? YOU ASKED FOR IT. I don't know if you're sadists or masochists.

Frequent Flyer American Hawkman pointed out that Crisis on Earth-X featured the Red Bee's first death, chronologically by publishing date, but it's more of an inference.
1973's Justice League of America #107 has Uncle Sam say they lost a lot of friends since the Nazis stepped up their game, but only Plastic Man and the Blackhawks are shown in the flashback. Since Red Bee was from Earth-X, and he's not a Freedom Fighter, you could say he's one of the fallen and - it's terrible I know - Sam doesn't even spare him a thought. It's also possible Roy Thomas was trying to explain Len Wein's oversight away with that back-breaking sequence in All-Star Squadron.

Speaking of Roy Thomas, he also brings up the Red Bee's death in America vs. the Justice Society of America #3 (1985):
That sounds different from what happened in All-Star though. The Red Bee "disappeared" in 1942, presumably his move to Earth-X. Testifying JSA members would have known he died at Baron Blitzkrieg's hands, no? Why not mention it? Did Hourman never file a report? He was present. IT'S BECAUSE THE RED BEE CAN'T GET NO RESPECT!

In 1999, a couple of important mentions, including Plastic Man's famous contention that he shared his Prozac with the Red Bee in Grant Morrison's JLA #38:
Read that carefully. Plastic Man talks of his LATE friend, which means the Red Bee is indeed dead in this version of continuity. And if you need more evidence, Robinson's JSA #1 came out that same year and look who's buried in superhero cemetery:
That's right, the Red Bee.

Is there a fate worse than death? Yes. Being exiled to comic book limbo, a sort of continuity erasure, though TECHNICALLY, you might be both dead AND in limbo.
That's from Animal Man #25 (1990). When we catch up with limbo again in Gail Simone's All-New Atom #14 17 years later, our boy's still there.
This time, it's full of people who ARE technically dead (note the wings), which our only evidence that the post-Infinite Crisis Red Bee is just as dead as the others. Does anyone have (merciful) confirmation on a New52 iteration yet? We're waiting.

10 comments:

American Hawkman said...

I'd forgotten that Plas mentioned that the Bee was dead. Interesting... It's still a much later date than any of the others.

JohnF said...

I love that panel with "The man called Fate" dying of a knife to the back. Guh, the '90s.

American Hawkman said...

I actually don't hate the Jared Stevens Fate... if he isn't replacing Dr. Fate. He'd be fun as a supporting cast member in a REAL Dr. Fate series.

Siskoid said...

I could get behind that.

Are you all about Kent Nelson, or does it not matter who wears the helmet of Nabu?

I first fell in love with the character in all-Star, during the half-mask era, though the full helmet Fate is my favorite Super Powers figure.

And yet I'm partial to the female Fates we've had, whether Linda Strauss (I loved the Strauss era generally) and Inza Kent.

American Hawkman said...

I prefer Kent Nelson to be Dr. Fate, but I liked both Kent V. Nelson and Hector Hall in the core role. I did enjoy the Strausses but feel like they got the ending that they deserved. As for Inza, I see her as Clea to Kent's Steven Strange ideally, and would use her in that role EXACTLY as she was written when she was the core Fate, which was a great run.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Siskoid: this is the most Red Bee coverage ever! Thank you for taking the time to scan all the panels. Now, can you ask Dan DiDio if he can write a new series for DC or put him in Futures End?

Rockett Davey said...

Ha! Ha!
Why doesn't RED BEE sting someone and just end this?
Too Funny.
Best,
-Sam

Michael Hoskin said...

Johns didn't write JSA#1, but he did co-write #10, wherein Wildcat kicked Geomancer into the JSA's live bee hive, kept as a museum display in honour of the Red Bee.

Siskoid said...

You're right, it was Robinson again!

Martin Gray said...

I'm a fan of the original Dr Fate, but the Strausses were great, and Inza was gold, I'd buy a trade in an instant.

 

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