It's rather ironic that Karnak possesses the ability to discern weakness, and yet Marvel themselves struggled to predict how poorly he and the rest of the Inhumans would fare in their latest TV venture.
After plans for an Inhumans movie were put on hold, Marvel decided to push the Royal Family to the fore of a new TV series that would premiere in glorious IMAX. The show held huge potential, exploring mature themes and the moral complexities of a caste-based society, all with an adorable giant dog to boot. Unfortunately, a rushed shooting schedule, sub-par acting and a lacklustre budget stranded the show's ratings on the moon, causing many fans to label Inhumans as Marvel's first real failure.
While it's easy to understand why some audiences might be frustrated by Inhumans, the reality is that Marvel has created far worse movies and TV shows in the past, some of which star your favorite superheroes in rather uncompromising positions...
'Captain America' (1990)
Following the success of Tim Burton's Batman franchise, Marvel entered the new decade with their very own adaptation of Captain America. Despite casting an All-American hero in the form of Matt Salinger — son of the author JD Salinger — Captain America's first big screen outing was delayed for a year following poor test screenings and numerous reshoots.
Director Albert Pyun mangled the Star Spangled Avenger's debut in cinemas with a laughable script and action sequences that left us wishing Cap was still trapped in the ice after all these years. On the plus side though, the rubber wings that Cap wears look remarkably like the turkey that this film was destined to be.
'Dr. Strange' (1978)
Seemingly designed to showcase Doctor Strange's moustache more than the Sorcerer Supreme himself, this '70s pilot depicted the good doctor as a playboy psychiatrist who has to stop womanising long enough to defeat a sexy sorceress called Morgan Le Fay... and yes, it really is as bad as that sounds.
On the plus side though, Morgan was played by Jessica Walter, the extraordinary actress who later took on the role of Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development. To paraphrase Lucille in our assessment of Doctor Strange, all I can say is that:
"I don't understand the film and I won't respond to it."
If only we possessed the power of the Time Stone and could rewind back to a time before this adaptation existed.
'Fantastic Four' (1994)
The Fantastic Four aren't exactly renowned for starring in fantastic movies, but none have made me want to set fire to myself quite like this one. Never released in cinemas, this adaptation was reportedly shot so that German producer Bernd Eichinge could hold onto the movie rights just a little while longer.
With the help of B-movie specialist Roger Corman, Eichinge and his team butchered Marvel's First Family beyond the point of recognition, transforming the Thing into a plastic lump and Mister Fantastic into some kind of silly string. On the plus side though, at least this version was never intended to hit cinemas from the very start. What excuse do the latest Fantastic Four movies have?
'The Amazing Spider-Man' (1977-1979)
Spider-Man does very little that a spider can, if the Wallcrawler's first live action show is anything to go by. Starring Nicholas Hammond from The Sound of Music, The Amazing Spider-Man was one of Marvel's first ventures into the realm of TV, and boy does it show.
Of course, budget restrictions would always hold the Webhead back, but everything that fans loved about Spidey was removed in this adaptation, including his villainous Rogues Gallery and the quips that made the Wallcrawler such an icon in the first place. According to The Hollywood Reporter, even Stan Lee himself hated the show, explaining that:
"The Spider-Man TV series I was very unhappy with because very often, people will take a novel, let’s say, and bring it to the screen … and they will leave out the one element, the one quality that made the novel a bestseller. With Spider-Man, I felt the people who did the live-action series left out the very elements that made the comic book popular … They left out the humor. They left out the human interest and personality and playing up characterizations and personal problems."
And this is coming from the guy who agreed to cameo in Spider-Man 3. 'Nuff said.
'Mutant X' (2001-2004)
Three seasons. Sixty-six episodes. Forty-eight hours. That's how long fans had to endure Mutant X before it was eventually cancelled on a cliffhanger that no one cared about. How did this happen, Marvel?
In the wake of X-Men's success on the big screen, Marvel realized that they had made a horrible mistake, selling the film rights to their merry mutants. To rectify this and capitalize on the formula, Marvel decided to create a show that channelled Wolverine and co in all but name. Fox ended up suing Marvel and everyone involved with Mutant X, arguing that their contract had been breached, but the suit was eventually dropped, presumably because no one was watching the show in the first place.
Marvel's Inhumans isn't the success story that fans were hoping for, but perhaps we should be more grateful for what we're given. After all, Scott Buck's take on the Inhuman Royal Family may not reign supreme, but at least the cast of Inhumans aren't all wearing shoddy costumes and fighting to the sound of techno music... Oh, wait. Never mind.
What do you think the worst Marvel adaptation is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!