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Most Disappointing Story Lines: Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics has put out some great stories but not all of them have been winners.

Recently, I went over some of the most disappointing DC story lines I've read, and I couldn't stop there because above everything else, there is one story line that disappointed me above everything else I've ever read, and it comes from Marvel comics. No company is safe from producing less-than-stellar stories. Not every book can be a home run. Occasionally, you're going to have some major stinkers.

Last time, I had a good set of rules for this list, and this time around, I've gotten a bit more lenient. Every story arc has to come from post House of M, and on top of that, it doesn't even have to be a single story line. It can be multiple, consecutive runs of story lines. I really just made this rule so I could fit in my least favorite run in all of comics that used to be great.

Spider-Man: One More Day

What Was Going on Before this Storyline?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN took some great risks in story telling. Prior to One More Day, Spider-Man revealed his identity to the world in the Civil War story line, which surprisingly enough, was a great tie-in. Because of Peter revealing his identity, the Kingpin has a sniper to shoot Aunt May. While May is in a coma, Peter puts on the black outfit and goes on a rampage and realizes he's become a criminal in order to fight them.

What Was One More Day?

Essentially, it was a giant reset button. In order to save Aunt May's life, Peter went to everyone he could think of, and no one would help until he met Mephisto. Mephisto offered Aunt May's life in exchange for his marriage to Mary Jane: including another deal where everyone forgets he is Spider-Man. Peter would also forget about everything from his marriage.

Why Was it so Disappointing?

One of the rumors on the net was that they (the powers that be) just wanted Spider-Man to be single. If that's the case, just give him a divorce. There was tons of great character development and world development prior to this story line, and they (the powers that be) threw it all away and reset everything. It was and still is a complete bummer. Plus, why does Mephisto give a flying poop about Peter's marriage? All-in-all it's an incredibly sloppy story.

Worst Moment:

That everything cool done in the Spider-Man books has been completely undone, and on top of that how bored is Mephisto?

Oh... He's THAT bored.

Every Other Young Avengers Title

What Was Going on Before this Storyline?

The Young Avengers are awesome. I'm not going to beat around the bush here. If Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung are involved, Young Avengers are amazing. The first YOUNG AVENGERS series was awesome and nothing like anyone expected. Essentially, the team comes together, we find out that Iron Lad is actually Kang, and if he doesn't become Kang, existence goes kaput! Overall, it was one of my favorite Marvel mini-series, and this team became one of my favorites as well.

What is every other Young Avengers title?

Every other Young Avengers title is a tie-in by a random creative team. There are three mini-series to choose from: Dark Reign: Young Avengers, Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways, and Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers. All the books deal with how these heroes would react in each major event. They really don't have a major part in the overall event, so this was a "what are they up to" bunch of mini-series.

Why Was it so Disappointing?

Because it took a great team, a great story, and flushed it down the toilet by luring people in and fans realize that each mini-series was either terrible or "just ok" at best. The Dark Reign tie-in was probably my least favorite of the bunch, which is pretty weird considering that I'm a big fan of Paul Cornell, who wrote this series. The Dark Reign mini-series focused on the Young Avengers and a new group of heroish people. Frankly, it was way too many people, and like every Young Avengers tie-in, the artist and writers didn't capture these characters anywhere near the way Heinberg and Cheung did.

Worst Moment:

The team being ruined for me. When Avengers: Children's Crusade came out, I almost didn't buy it. I was so bummed about past mini-series that I felt like it just wasn't worth it. Overall, the worst moment is just the idea that Marvel used these characters just to bring in some quick cash.

I feel just as sad about these tie-ins as these characters look.

Exiles Issues 90-End

What Was Going on Before this Storyline?

EXILES was a beast. It was my favorite comic during that period and my favorite team. For those who don't know, the Exiles are a team of Marvel characters from different universes who have to come together to save other universes... It's Sliders in the Marvel Universe. Right before this disappointment happened, the Exiles went on a tour of many different and familiar Marvel universes, including New Universe and 2099. Tony Bedard's wonderful run comes to a close, and issue 89 goes back into the team's past and the reader gets to relive some past memories with Thunderbird, who died earlier in the series.

What Was the end of this series about?

It was 100% about Psylocke and Chris Claremont reshaping the team in his image. Claremont, at one time, was a go to guy for writing any X-book, so adding him to this series seemed right. During his 10 issue run, Claremont explores relationships between team mates and fights between bad guys. There's nothing within his run really worth mentioning, sadly. He feels like a fill-in writer that lasted for 10 issues.

Why Was it so Disappointing?

Out of any disappointing moment I've mentioned in either articles, this takes the cake, eats it, then poops it out of my front lawn. Claremont shifted the focus of this book and made it less about a team trying to make it home and work together, and he made it into the Psylocke show. On top of that, dialogue became rigid and over-explanatory. Overall story arcs were disappointing and pointless. The best part of his run was when it ended, even though the series ended with him.

Worst Moment:

Now, I can't say that Claremont jumping on was the worst moment, but I can say two issues in that I knew he was a terrible fit for this book. It was tough to realize that Judd Winick is never coming back to this book.

I guess the worst moment is believing that one man killed the book so hard that not even Jeff Parker's second volume could save it... If they only listened to Morph...

There you have it! My most disappointing moments in Marvel story lines. What are your most disappointing story lines or even runs of Marvel books?

Follow Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring on what the kids call the twitter: @inferiorego

144 Comments
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Posted by Trodorne

Here is a little tidbit for all of you that aired back in Jan of 2008.

Posted by mettlekm

One More Day - Just sooooooo bad. As a fan it just hurt on many levels. We invested time and money to read these comics and then they are like... ummm didn't happen. Sometimes I remember a comic i read a while back and i'll be like did that really happen or not? Just really hard to invest anymore time & money into Spidey (and to a lesser degree other characters) after they did that. Hard to trust that what you are reading isn't just going to go away with a "psyche!"

I understand why they did it, but hate that they did it. They really damaged an iconic character. I haven't bought a spidey comic since.

@Superguy0009e - ha. oh the possibilities you have just opened up!

Posted by inferiorego

@The Stegman said:

How is Siege or Ultimatum NOT on this list??

Those are cross over events. I tried to stay away from those... hint hint... I'll have more articles like this for DC and Marvel soon.

Staff
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@inferiorego: I like you, IE, you're one of the few staff members on websites I actually respect, but I have to ask, how in good conscience could you leave absolute crap like Schism, Siege and Fear Itself off this list? The above are disappointing certainly, but they weren't gigantic events that altered dozens of characters (OMD aside).
Posted by The Stegman
@inferiorego:  
 
 


@The Stegman said:

How is Siege or Ultimatum NOT on this list??

Those are cross over events. I tried to stay away from those... hint hint... I'll have more articles like this for DC and Marvel soon. 

ahhhh i gotcha, my Ultimatum rant was about to come on in full force!
Posted by inferiorego

@KainScion said:

marvel hatters and dc fanboys attack. i'm NOT going to be suprised if there isnt going to be a "Most disappointing Story Lines: DC Comics".

umm.... you may want to reread the first sentence of this article again.

Staff
Posted by AskaniSon295

You should add Schism to the list. Marvel should bring back a Title with Blink and Morph two original characters that could definately go further, Avenger's children's Crusade was better than the other young avengers titles but had very little to do with the actual young avengers. Marvel has dug their own hole in thinking the consumer isn't smarter than the execs calling the shots.

Posted by inferiorego

@FadeToBlackBolt said:

@inferiorego: I like you, IE, you're one of the few staff members on websites I actually respect, but I have to ask, how in good conscience could you leave absolute crap like Schism, Siege and Fear Itself off this list? The above are disappointing certainly, but they weren't gigantic events that altered dozens of characters (OMD aside).

I consider Siege and F.I. crossover events, and I'm not a big X-Fan anymore, so it's hard for Schism to disappoint me when I already don't care about the books.

It's like going to see a Michael Bay film. You know what you're getting into.

Staff
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@inferiorego said:

@FadeToBlackBolt said:

@inferiorego: I like you, IE, you're one of the few staff members on websites I actually respect, but I have to ask, how in good conscience could you leave absolute crap like Schism, Siege and Fear Itself off this list? The above are disappointing certainly, but they weren't gigantic events that altered dozens of characters (OMD aside).

I consider Siege and F.I. crossover events, and I'm not a big X-Fan anymore, so it's hard for Schism to disappoint me when I already don't care about the books.

It's like going to see a Michael Bay film. You know what you're getting into.

That's fair enough. And I understand completely what you mean regarding the X-Men. Things just keep getting worse.  
 
Hey, Dark of the Moon and the Rock are great fun =P
Posted by SuperShafe

I enjoyed One More Day

Posted by yteez

one more day was awful. things are picking up now in ASM in my opinion (guess Pete's got more personal problems when he is single and they can fill out more pages that way). i love aunt May and all but her dying had so much potential in how spidey would react. I also miss the Exiles like crazy it was a great book that took a wrong turn and never recovered. Morph rules, BRING HIM BACK.

Posted by Lvenger

One More Day was an abomination to everything good about comic books. I don't know why Peter and MJ didn't just get divorced. It would have provided for some great tension in their relationship in future issues as well as opeing up pathways to new characters without Mephisto having to push a giant reset button on the Marvel universe.

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

Add Schism and we've got a list.

Posted by maddkatz

What I don't understand is how OMD is universally reviled by Spidey fans, but Queseda continues to be a driving force in Marvel. But as bad as OMD was I'd say the whole "Gwen Stacey actually banged Norman Osborn and had his kids" storyline was way worse. At least something good came out of OMD, Peter was younger place and single again, but the Sins Past story line was just dreadful.

Posted by FNspiderdan

i think you need to pull OMD off the list. people needa stop hating it. it was actually an ok story. and i really cant believe the guy that wrote the article said he'd be better gettin a divorce. if you guys have your panties in a bunch over Mephisto i can only imagine what they'd say about that.. and as far as character development and story progression, there is no way spidey could survive in that world for much longer unless you want everyone in his personal life dead. OMD did Peter Parker and the MU some good. and Dan Slott has written some of the best Spider-man arcs since. so you guys there hatin needa get over it! glad to see a few people liked it and that im not just taking crazy pills

Posted by Sonata

OMD I still get angry every time I look at the covers.

Posted by Shimmy

I get that One More Day was a sloppy way to reset the Spider-Man universe, but at the very least it erased Sins Past and the whole Norman Osborn seducing Gwen Stacy business.

Posted by HexThis

You forgot the Gwen Stacy retcon where she is knocked up by Norman, has two kids and one of them had the blonde-bangs-with-headband trait, and the story just devastates who Gwen Stacy truly was to Peter. That was almost UNFORGIVABLY bad to me and the fact that they chose not to retcon it with OMD is just....inconceivably stupid.

Posted by mattydeNero

I love everything Jim Lee. That said, my favorite creator is also responsible for my LEAST favorite run in comics. Brian Azzerello and Lee's "FOR TOMORROW" was terrible. Even the art couldn't save it for me. It was the second or third Zod incarnation in the previous two years leading up to it. I remember being so stoked and then falling to pieces months later when all in all, nothing really happened. But arguably that's most Superman stories after Loeb's and Johns' respective runs before New 52.

I remember three years ago there was a video posted to where either G-Man or Babs ripped into "HUSH." I thought there would be a possibility of that explanation again. All in all I liked the story-art package as a whole, but I remember there were strong arguments made. Is that video containing that argument still up?

Posted by difficlus

@Shimmy said:

I get that One More Day was a sloppy way to reset the Spider-Man universe, but at the very least it erased Sins Past and the whole Norman Osborn seducing Gwen Stacy business.

agreed, i think as a creative decision (to make spidey single) was a good idea IMHO. But the execution was really poor.

Posted by Daveyo520

This article sucks and I didn't even read it!

Edited by Dark_Phoenix00x

I quite enjoyed OMD, got me to read Spiderman.

Yes a lot of stuff in SM history was changed but it was done through a story instead of the writers just ignoring what another writer had done

Posted by goldenkey

You forgot Fear Itself. That story was just went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on

Posted by zombietag

gosh please dont get people talking about OMD again. it just goes around and around and around...

also, i dont think pete could have gotten a divorce. its a bit too out of character for him, and certainly for them as a couple. but i agree with pretty much everything else you said

Posted by inferiorego

@Daveyo520 said:

This article sucks and I didn't even read it!

honesty is the best policy

Staff
Posted by Daveyo520

@inferiorego: ;)

Posted by Frobin

I totally agree with EXILES ... it was such an amazing book and it got totally destroyed at the end. And not even the writing got really weak, the artwork too! I loved Jim Calafiore, I hated Paul Pelletier.

Posted by Sobe Cin

@inferiorego:

Mat,

I agree for the most part about the Young Avengers tie ins. They were mostly a let down. However I did enjoy the Secret Invasion tie in- but that was really the only one.

However: Avengers: Children's Crusade has been fantastic since the first day and with Heinberg and Cheung involved has made it a better story. However I am disappointed in the fact that the story is not done. Issue 9 keeps getting delayed and delayed. Children's Crusade is the last marvel title in my pull list. I just want the last issue to come out.

But most of marvel has been a disappointment. I was dissatisfied with Wolverine and Cyclops story line- it felt like a let down of a story and caused me to drop all of the X-Men titles that I was getting. Hell I even dropped Thunderbolts because it felt stale and uneventful. I felt like all it was doing was fit into crossover after crossover. No storyline for itself. Dark Reign was really the biggest let down for that series, its where the downhill cascade started.

Posted by ppetrov83

Exiles was my favorite, in the end of the 1st run it became worse, New Exiles was ok, but the end of the 2nd run, and the series, was most disappointing.......a female Kang created the Crystal palace? serously? and by changing the fate/future of some universes, everytime they changed the past/origin of the multiverse? ah? there is a whole movie (The time machine) about that if you change the future, you can't change the past....jeez....even 10 yo can tell you that!

Posted by freezebox

i never did understand why mephisto would want their marriage as his price

Posted by Technicolorville

@freezebox: Yeah, I never understood that either.

Posted by Frobin

One of the worst story developments ever in Marvel history is and will always be the final of CIVIL WAR (though I overall think that CW is the best superhero event ever and changed the genre ... but it could have been even better!) ... the soldier Captain America, just 1 second before winning the legitimately resistance against an authoritarian law and against an Tony Stark gone totally megalomaniac and villainous ... just before he could smash Tony Stark, he instead decides to become a wimp whiner ... so out of character! He was right and he always knew it before ...

And with the characterisation of Tony Stark in Civil War and also Reed Richards (not just in the event by Mark Millar, but also in their own books) those two characters got corrupted als heroes.

Tony Stark as megalomaniac control freak who betrayed all his friends and hunted them down like villains or animals, imprisioned them in N-Zone and even cloned one of his best friends. They (Marvel) never repaired the character in my opinion ... he just apologize once, done ...

Same for Reed Richards: While CW he acted more like a mad scientist than a hero. He has been a abettor for Stark and helped him violating human and civil rights ... just because he really thought that he invented Psychohistory (nice reference to Asimov, bad story telling for the character and the Marvel universe) ... so he victimized human and civil rights in the present for a better utopia (that he assumed sure, but he even traveled time before ... and there is no future for sure, there are endless different futures ... see the EXILES, see multiverse ... just a bad idea!). Acting like this is in fact the legitimation for all totalitarian regimes.

These are the really most disappointing story lines of Marvel ever in my opinion!

Besides that: The unmasking of Spider-Man is also totally out of character ... he would never have done this ... and One More Day at least fixed it ... so, I admit it's disappointing how lame they did it, but I'm glad that they did it.

Edited by Frobin

AND for ULTIMATE MARVEL: I just say ULTIMATUM ... just a downfall in writing and ... literally ... the obliteration of a once great superhero universe.

The most annoying development for a single character is the switch of the amazing, unique character of ULTIMATE THOR (like Millar and Hitch portrayed him) back to a lame 616 thunder god version. I never again will read anything of the Ultimate line of Marvel until they bring back this amazing, young, modern THOR who has been more a spiritual leader and environmental activist, not really a god, but more an incarnation of the nordic god ... even some sort of Jesus with a mighty hammer to (in case of need) defend his followers and his mother earth ... and not just a lame, banal medieval warrior god.

Posted by inferiorego

@freezebox said:

i never did understand why mephisto would want their marriage as his price

plot induced stupidity?

no wait...

character induced stupidity?

Staff
Posted by The Impersonator

@Tauros said:

@Trodorne said:

QUEEEEEEEEEEEEESAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Allow me to 1-up you:

Posted by ReVamp

@inferiorego said:

@freezebox said:

i never did understand why mephisto would want their marriage as his price

plot induced stupidity?

no wait...

character induced stupidity?

Pretty sure it qualifies under PIS.

Posted by Miss_Garrick

Avengers Disasembled, House of M, Civil War, and every Marvel story arc made since then.

Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k

Let me write something. I may be the only one who likes the fact that Mephisto wanted Spideys and MJs marriage, since it`s so refreshing.

Posted by Bestostero

good call lol

Posted by Inverno

Most disappointing story lines

- One More Day (for obvious reasons)

- Messiah Complex (nothing happened in that whole story arc and killed the X-Men forever for me)

- Avengers Disassembled (Scarlet Witch turned out to be crazy and killed everyone. Nice one Bendis for ruining my favorite Avenger)

- Ultimatum (for killing everyone for no reason other than shock value)

Posted by Diamondblade

Exiles was soooooo disapointing :(

winnick rulz!

Posted by TheMadMonkey

I believe that why Mephisto wanted their marriage is explained in the story.

It was something to the effect that they had absolute "true love" and by taking that away from them, Mephisto could rejoice in the anguish each would feel because of the little bit inside Peter and MJ that couldn't be erased.

It truly was an act of pure evil and very subtle.

I'm not defending OMD, mind you...just trying to provide a reasonable explanation of why that happened.

Posted by thecomicscove

I won't argue that OMD was well written and had good art, but the overall concept of the storyline was a huge slap in the face to readers precisely because it was diablo ex machina, instead of an organic, cohesive plot that develops over time. It's one of the biggest examples of bad use of the reset button for that reason.

Posted by mettlekm

@thecomicscove: nice article!

Posted by Sekele

Pretty much the reasons why I gave up on Marvel FOREVER

Posted by RoninLoganX

I have to agree with everything in this article. I'm not going to to touch the ugly stepchild that is OMD, but Exiles was by far one of my favorite books, It's what got me back into comics after a few years hiatus. I have to admit that I liked the exploration of the relationship between Psylocke and Sabretooth, but I did not appreciate Claremont pretty much making it all about Psylocke. Personally, I would have preferred if the didn't even bring a 616 character onto the roster, because it would only be a matter of time before it become all about them, as it did with Psylocke. It would have been better to just keep the team consisting of members from new worlds.

Aside from that, my other biggest problem with Claremont's run on Exiles is when it was decided to end the series, his writing became very convoluted and his storytelling became rushed. I'm still not all that sure what exactly was going on in the end.

Posted by mldeezy

Having ANY spider-man as the first on this list totally made my day! lol

Posted by maddkatz

One of my main issues with OMD was that Mephisto wasn't a Spidey villian, and as much as I love Spider-Man they're way out of each other's leagues, it'd be like Galactus wanting to screw over Daredevil. If they were gonna break them up then they should have had it involve a central Spider-Man villian like Norman Osborn or Doc Ock. But I will say that as bad as OMD was a lot of good things came out of it. Peter seemed younger and more free spirited than I had read him being in years.

Posted by Billdevil

Shadowland. Talk about craping on a character.

Posted by TheWitchingHour

The concept of One More Day was really disappointing. Spider-Man had gone through so much and shown so much development to just reset that was really sad. Aunt May's death would have only added to his pathos. However I thought the actual execution of it was great. I loved the possible Peter's and the child they never had and the dynamic between MJ and Peter. It was really touching and well done. Plus Peter's reason for saving Aunt May seemed really appropriate and genuine to his character. He didn't want her death to be his fault. That idea just screams Spider-Man. And Mephisto is the lord of lies and one of the most powerful mystical entities in Marvel....he's bored all the time. So while it totally sucks that Marvel backtracked on some great story arcs and character development behind Spider-Man, they did it in the best way they could have.

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