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The 2005-2006 DC Comics crossover Infinite Crisis may be best remembered for Superboy-Prime’s “continuity punch,” and for a staggeringly high body count. However, it turns out that figure could’ve been a little higher, and perhaps even more controversial.
While cleaning his basement, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio uncovered the original whiteboard pages laying out the event’s timeline, as well as a “hit list’ (below), which is exactly what it sounds like — a rundown of characters marked for death.
“Always fun to see where we started now that we know where it ended up,” DiDio wrote on his Facebook page.
Nightwing’s inclusion won’t shock anyone: DiDio went on the record as early as 2006 that he had wanted Dick Grayson to be the “big death” of Infinite Crisis; however, writer Geoff Johns and editor Eddie Berganza prevailed (which may explain why Nightwing’s name is crossed out on the page and then rewritten and circled). Some of the other characters on the list — including, Doctor Fate, Fury, Shazam and Tempest — did indeed meet their ends as part of the event. However, there are some surprises involving deaths that either didn’t happen — Atom Smasher, Wildcat, Martian Manhunter — or didn’t unfold as initially planned.
For instance, the very first item appears to read “Kill Superman Marriage,” a feat that wouldn’t actually be accomplished until 2011, with the launch of DC’s linewide reboot the New 52. Wonder Woman, who infamously snapped Maxwell Lord’s neck, instead — or, hey, also! — could have killed Kal-L, the Superman of Earth-Two, but only after he’d taken out Alexander Luthor Jr. (In the actual crossover, Kal-L dies in a brutal fight with Superboy-Prime, and Alexander Luthor is dispatched by The Joker.) Interestingly enough, Kal-L’s death scene ends up underscoring the importance of the Clark/Lois relationship.
And then there’s the matter of Young Justice, a team that disbanded well before Infinite Crisis, with several of its members forming new versions of the Teen Titans and Outsiders. With the words “Kill All Non-Used Young Justice,” the few that remained could’ve shared the same fate of former Titans Pantha and Wildebeest. Yet somehow, with the exception of Conner Kent, the Young Justice alums made it through Infinite Crisis.