Superhero comics have a problem that centers around a glut of superheroes. Both DC and Marvel Comics have stables of superheroes including more colorful characters than the market can use; one could conservatively estimate that Marvel has ten superheroes for every one that it uses in print, and DC may have three (or more) times that number.
What, though, can writers do with these characters? Some of them become the supporting cast of other books - which happened to Green Lanterns Guy Gardner and John Stewart; some of them make occasional and fleeting appearances in the annual megacrossover event - which happened to Firestorm and Outsiders remnants Geo-Force and Katana - and others play the role of pawn sacrifice when a story needs a cheap way to crank up the pathos.
For some, events like the death of the Red Bee in All-Star Squadron may seem like moving moments. But in the absence of any connection to or interest in the character, such as a reader might develop through reading previous stories with the figure in them, one sees here much the same phenomenon as the death of the red-shirted crew members of the Enterprise when they unwisely joined a mission to beam to the surface. The writers took a disposable character and, needing to demonstrate something with a death, killed him. But the anonymity or obscurity of these figures stripped the event of real pathos.
That's from a page on the net called the Quarter Bin. I'm glad somone finally said it.