"Comics aren't just for kids." That's been a sales pitch for comics for decades, but some writers take the idea a lot further than others. Marvel Comics tends to be a family-friendly company, but some titles push the envelope. At times this happens in ways designed to act as guidance for young readers, but many examples are just button-pushing exercises to goose sales.
Below are seven Marvel Comics moments featuring murder, incest, and even rape that we probably won't ever see in the MCU. That's good, because we don't want to.
1. The Quicksilver And Scarlet Witch "Relationship"
- Issue: The Ultimates 3 #1, #3
- Year: 2008
- Writer: Jeph Loeb
- Artist: Joe Madureira
Many people enjoyed the characters of Pietro and Wanda Maximoff in Age of Ultron, and part of their appeal is the sibling relationship between the two. In Ultimate Marvel, however, things are a bit different. (The Ultimates stories are notably darker and more "edgy" than core Marvel titles.)
The first couple Ultimates series, written by Mark Millar, openly hinted at Pietro and Wanda being... unusually close. Then, in Ultimates 3, writer Jeph Loeb just goes for it. After Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch escape from their father's Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy the two start to feel something different. Soon, they begin an incestuous relationship. This was not met with critical praise, or even critical nods. Oh, and in Ultimates 3 #3, there's an actual panel where the two have sex while Wolverine watches. Fans collectively said "WTF" to this relationship... maybe at least in part because the same storyline suggests that Wolverine might actually be the father of the twins.
2. The Hulk's Cannibalistic Rampage
- Issue: Ultimates v1 #5
- Year: 2002
- Writer: Mark Millar
- Artists: Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie
The Hulk losing control and going on a simple destructive rampage is one thing... Hulk losing control and going on a murderous rampage where he eats people might be a bit too far for the character. In The Ultimates, Bruce Banner injects himself with the Super Soldier serum, which creates a very angry, dangerous Hulk. He finds that Betty is on a date with actor Freddie Prinze Jr. and goes on a rampage that kills hundreds of innocent New Yorkers. During this, he even eats a few of them. Superheroes, including Thor, come in to save the day but the damage was already done. I think the MCU should just stay away from any of the Ultimates comics.
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3. Captain America Kills Villain The Colonel
- Issue: The Ultimates 2 #12
- Year: 2006
- Writer: Mark Millar
- Artists: Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary
Captain America has been portrayed in the movies as an "always do right" boy scout who you can never see take another man's life. Captain America constantly boasts about the fact that "Avenger's don't kill" and would fight hard for that rule. However, during a fight against the Colonel; Captain America subdues him, takes his own laser sword and stabs him through the chest. Captain America soon showed remorse for the brutal act but nobody wanted to see the Walking American Dream commit murder.
4. The Rape Of Ms. Marvel
- Issue: The Avengers #200
- Year: 1980
- Writers: Jim Shooter, George Pérez, Bob Layton, David Michelinie
- Artists: George Pérez, Dan Green
Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, is one of the most powerful and awesome female characters in comic book history. The last way fans want to see her is as a rape victim. Marcus, the son of Avengers villain Immortus, wanted to create a human form he could assume to escape from Limbo. So he brainwashed Ms. Marvel with one of Immortus's machines so that he could... "impregnate" her. Marcus succeeded, but the machine was destroyed and Marcus was forced back into Limbo. Ms. Marvel, still brainwashed, willingly went back with him. So not only was one of the first female superheroes a rape victim but was also manipulated into loving her abuser.
Good god, hopefully we'll never see any variation of this story-line in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie.
5. Hank Pym, Husband of the Year
- Issues: The Avengers #213, The Ultimates v.1 #6
- Year: 1981, 2002
- Writers: Jim Shooter (Avengers); Mark Millar (Ultimates)
- Artists: George Pérez, Dan Green (Avengers); Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie (Ultimates)
Hank Pym has recently been portrayed as a peace-loving pacifist who wants to council bad guys in order to rehabilitate them. There was a time, however, when Hank Pym was considered a joke among Marvel readers because he constantly boasted about his intelligence that did even compare to other geniuses like Reed Richards and Tony Stark.
Then an unstable Pym hit his wife and fellow Avenger Janet Van Dyne, known as the Wasp, in a 1981 issue of The Avengers. That ultimately led to, well, the Ultimates stories, in which Pym's abuse of Van Dyne goes over the top. Writer Jim Shooter later blamed artist Bob Hall for the first instance of Hank hitting Janet, saying he turned "a sort of 'get away from me' gesture... into a right cross." There's no doubt, however, about the actions of the Ultimates version of Pym, who brutally attacks Janet.
We're not seeing a Mrs. Pym in the upcoming Ant-Man film and we hope this isn't the reason she's not around anymore.
6. Sam Wilson "Seemingly" Sleeps With A Minor
- Issue: Captain America #22
- Year: 2014
- Writer: Rick Remender
- Artist: Carlos Pacheco
There was a point in Captain America #22 where Sam Wilson takes new superhero Jet Zola back to his place. However, Jet had recently spent 12 years in Dimension Z, and when she entered that dimension she was described as being only an infant. We did the math and immediately wanted to take a shower afterwards.
It's complicated, though. Being in Dimension Z, Jet apparently aged more rapidly then a normal person – in another flashback, seen above, Jet says she's at least 23 – but it's difficult to get over the idea that Jet was still chronologically (and emotionally?) barely a teen.
Somebody tell Anthony Mackie to be careful who he picks up at a bar in the upcoming Civil War.
7. Spider-Man Realizes He Was Molested
- Issue: Spider-Man and Power Pack
- Year: 1984
- Writers: Nancy Allen, Jim Salicrup
- Artist: Jim Mooney, Mike Esposito
In a special free comic, created to raise kids' awareness about sexual abuse, one story centers on Spider-Man trying to help a sexually abused child by persuading him to go to the police. Spidey's pep talk, however, reveals a previously unknown story about Peter. As he recounts, an elderly friend of his named Skip had molested the future superhero. Skip, the story says, showed the young Pete a porn magazine, then suggested that he and Peter should to touch each other, just like in the magazine. Peter resisted, but wasn't able to get away. Oh good, another comic book moment that made readers want to shower. The story ends with Peter telling his Aunt and everything working out in the end.
Hopefully the upcoming Spider-Man movie will just tackle crime instead of any similar lessons.