Well, folks...With Marvel's new all-encompassing comic event Secret Wars on the horizon, a lot of things are about to be changed. The event is being heralded as the end of the current Marvel status quo, and it's certainly going to be the crux of the impending end of a lot of things, most notably the Ultimate Universe.
But whereas DC comics likes to reboot continuity a fair bit (most recently with the Convergence event), Marvel hasn't done so since its conception. As a result, some pretty dumb story lines have made it from the shelves of comic book stores into the hands of soon-to-be-disappointed fans. What I'm aiming to do here is recount 5 of the most insane and ill-conceived story arcs to ever come out under the Marvel Comics brand.
Let's get started.
#5. Spider-Man: Reign
If you enjoy Spider-Man in any capacity, you're probably aware that he is one of Marvel's most popular characters. Since his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) the popularity of [The Amazing Spider-Man](movie:45497) has been...Well...Amazing. But not everything that ever carried the Spider-Man name has been a hit.
I went a small comic shop a few years ago and was looking at Spider-Man collections, since he's my favorite hero. I scanned the shelf and eventually came to rest of a trade paperback of a series called Spider-Man: Reign. I'd never heard of it, but the cover looked promising.
You can bet that was the last time I judged a book by its cover.
What ensued was a 4-issue run of comics about an older, more defeated Peter Parker who had given up being Spider-Man many years ago. He's called into action again, and eventually comes across the dug of corpse of his wife, Mary Jane Watson. Peter then has a page dedicated to him explaining how she died, and...Well...Why don't you all just have a look.
For those of you still confused as to the meaning behind Peter's not-so-cryptic words, allow me to explain: Peter killed Mary Jane because his semen was radioactive.
I don't think there needs to be any further explanation as to why this occupies a spot on the list.
Is it any surprise that I'd include one of the most hated series' ever to "grace" the industry in this list? For the uninitiated, here's the breakdown:
In 2002, comic book creators Bill Jemas, Peter David, Ron Zimmerman (and later, Editor-in-Chief of the time Joe Quesada) had a bet to see which series was more popular at the time: Peter David's [Captain Marvel](movie:949779), or two new series' that had yet to be released. Marvel launched a U-Decide campaign for readers to vote for which series would survive, and out of that campaign came Ron Zimmerman's Ultimate Adventures and Bill Jemas' Marville.
Trying to summarize the 7 issue run of Marville is as difficult as trying to play darts with spaghetti. It's pointless, tries too hard to make a point, and is laced so heavily with Jemas' own world views that it's a wonder this didn't come out as an autobiography instead.
Oh, and the covers are tasteless cheesecake covers.
#3. Captain America: Reborn
So, back in 2006 the Marvel Universe had a bit of an explosive event called Civil War, in which the superhero community was given a choice: register with the government and reveal your secret identity so you can be regulated, or be imprisoned. Iron Man led the charge of the Super Human Registration Act, becoming its lead supporter, while Captain America didn't believe it was right and fought against it. Both sides had super heroes backing them, so friends quickly became enemies as society began to show an unprecedented amount of animosity toward the people who had fought for them.
At the end of the event, Captain America realized that the situation was a pointless conflict. There would never be a real winner when you're fighting to defeat your allies. So he surrendered. On his way to be sentenced, he was shot and killed, which led to Bucky Barnes taking up the mantle of Captain America. All of this too place during the story line called The Death of Captain America.
But since these are comics, and no hero can stay dead for an extended period of time...Steve Rogers was back in action before long. How did he manage to come back from the dead?
Let's just say "ice" isn't the only thing Cap has been frozen in.
Apparently the bullet that Cap was shot with was a piece of technology made by Doctor Doom. Cap wasn't actually dead, he was just frozen in time and space.
I wonder how long it took to thaw him out of THAT.
#2. Spider-Man: One More Day
Ask any Spider-Man fan what they're least favorite storyline is, and they'll probably spout out the name of this arc without hesitation.
In this storyline, Aunt May is shot. Driven by grief, Peter makes a deal with Mephisto (Marvel's equivalent of the Devil) that Aunt May will live...If Peter gives Mephisto his marriage with MJ. The pair agrees, and the marriage between Peter and Mary Jane is wiped from their lives, effectively erasing it from history. It also wiped the knowledge that Peter Parker is Spider-Man from the world's memory after he revealed it on television during the events of [Marvel: Civil War](tag:2346746) .
The storyline is criticized by fans far and wide as the worst storyline to ever bear relation to the wall crawler, and it's easy to see why.
In 2000, Marvel launched the Ultimate line of comics. Set in the Ultimate Universe, the heroes we all know were reintroduced in different and exciting ways, and were able to flourish by being free from all the years of continuity that had been building in 616 (the main Marvel universe). While not every title carrying the Ultimate name was a success, there was enough to keep Marvel publishing under the imprint.
And then came Jeph Loeb.
Jeph Loeb penned a story line that encompassed all of the Ultimate Universe called Ultimatum that quickly became one of the most hated events in comic book history. In it, there was gore, many characters were needlessly killed, gore ran rampant, and events took place that never really had any point, and copious amounts of gore were displayed.
Did I mention the gore?
That's The Blob eating The Wasp while her husband Ant Man looks on. He later becomes Giant Man and bites off The Blob's head, but at this point, I think I've demonstrated the reason why this is at the number one spot quite clearly.
Marvel is a huge company with a lot of great stories, so this list isn't meant as a jab at them. It's simply pointing out that no company is exempt from total failure. Leave a comment below with your thoughts! I'd love to hear them.