Wonder Woman Revealed Why a Dead DC Hero’s Second Chance Is Horrifying

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Wonder Woman #781, on sale now from DC Comics.

Wonder Woman has returned from the various afterlives of the Godsphere to the land of the living. Though she reunited with her living friends in the last issue, being dead changes a person. Her time in the afterlife left a lasting impression, something that she herself needs to explore and come to terms with before she can fully return to her life among the living. Who better to help her then than another long-dead friend from the Godsphere - Deadman.

Diana reunited with the deceased hero on Earth in Wonder Woman #781 by Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Marcio Takara, Steve Pugh, Tamra Bonvillain, and Pat Brosseau. When she finds him, she sees firsthand how he copes with his own death. Boston Brand and his supernatural powers all stem from unfinished business in life and the way he tries to reclaim that lost time is horrifying.

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When not out being a hero for the living and the dead, Boston Brand lives in the bodies of the recently deceased. It's a good idea considering his powers. He often takes over the bodies of the living to fulfill his heroic needs. Finding out that he can take control of the bodies of the dead opens up a lot of new possibilities for the hero. One of which, as seen here, is being able to live a normal life of his own from time to time without hijacking someone else's without their consent.

That doesn't change the fact that the entire process is a horror show. A fresh corpse can pass for a normal human but not completely. In the case of the corpse in this issue, the effects of the postmortem are visible - with the chest cavity's stitches reaching above his shirt. Over time as well, the body will start to look more and more chilling. Boston Brand might be a sparkling character but that doesn't change the fact that the light has already left the eyes of the corpse he inhabits. And these bodies will keep degrading as time passes. Boston admits that his current body probably only has a week before he needs to switch to another one.

The greater logistics work out well but are still a bit creepy. He moves into the homes forgotten by the mourning. Many homes go untouched for months, even years because families don't have the time or the emotional energy to sort through the belongings of those who have passed. At least with Boston living in them, these homes get a chance to feel alive for a little longer, but even he is still dead.

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All of this ingeniously creepy thinking is indicative of Boston Brand's character. Deadman was created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino and first appeared in 1967's Strange Adventures #205. As a circus trapeze artist, he was killed unexpectedly whilst performing his act. The goddess Rama Kushna took pity on him and gave him his deathly abilities to find his killer and get justice for his own death and, ultimately, for others.

That all changed during Brightest Day. After the White Light triumphed over death in Blackest Night, many deceased heroes were brought back to life - including Deadman. No longer a supernatural specter, Boston Brand could finally enjoy everything he had missed about being alive. He lived life to the fullest and even fell in love, only to be forced to sacrifice his life to save others. That was how he went back to being Deadman once again.

Perhaps that all-too-short second chance informs how he lives now and why he's chosen to inhabit the bodies of the dead rather than stay a ghost. Maybe Boston is all the more desperate to hold onto life since he's had it ripped away from him twice now. It might also be why he was drawn to Diana in the Godsphere and helps her now - because she has the chance he doesn't.

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Andrew Herbison (197 Articles Published)

Andrew is a writer, artist and typical nerd based in Northern Ireland. With an MA in Creative Writing, they hope to one day combine these passions to form a creative endeavor that is not only enjoyable to produce but publishable too. Andrew can usually be found with a cup of Earl Grey in hand and an episode of Doctor Who on. Contact Email: [email protected]

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