The following scans are the opening pages from Action Comics #827. This is, in my opinion, an archetypical case of the "women in refrigerators" phenomenon. After all, what we see here is a superheroine, Aura, murdered for no other reason than to demonstrate that the villainess of this story is both evil and dangerous. Moreover, Aura has been brought into this story for no other reason: she is only here to die. And as the final insult, if you will, her death, so far as I have been able to determine, goes unremarked upon; she is unmourned by any of her former teammates.
What is especially strange about this is that the author of this tale is Gail Simone. The same Gail Simone who started the WiR website in the first place, having diagnosed and named the syndrome. I don't bring this up to criticize her, I should say; I generally enjoy her work quite a lot, after all. At worst, this is a case of hypocrisy, which is after all the tribute that vice pays to virtue. I do think that this is worth discussing, however, because of what it may tell us about this issue. Perhaps whatever causes WiR syndrome in the first place is a structural factor, not the will of a particular writer, such that even a writer who decries the problem may fall prey to it. Alternatively, maybe the causes lie in the subconscious, and a writer may fridge someone without consciously realizing it. I don't know, but I do think it's worth discussing, and I haven't seen it discussed elsewhere.
So what, if anything, should we make of this? Does it tell us anything about the cause of the WiR syndrome? What would motivate someone like Simone to do this? I want to reiterate that my purpose here is not to attack Simone. I'm just genuinely mystified, and I thought I'd see what others think.