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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 Refresh
Posted by Lucifer_Elohim

Good post I enjoyed reading it :) I mean other than realizing just how disappointing these are XD

Posted by CrimsonTempest

One More Day is what inspired the equally horrendous shake-up of Superman's love life. Hell, nobody cares about Jonathan Carroll anymore!

Posted by Pauldro

They should of Brought Back Ben Reilly instead of one more day, or have peter switch his identity to Ben..

Posted by Trodorne


Posted by Billy Batson

OMD is essential on this list.

Edited by Duo_forbidden

Ultimatum anyone?

Other than that, I can't decide out of OMD or OMIT to be the most disappointing.

Posted by WildValentine

Where was Fear Itself?!
Or does that count as an 'event' rather than a 'story line'?

Posted by kamionero

@Duo_forbidden said:

Ultimatum anyone?

Other than that, I can't decide out of OMD or OMIT to be the most disappointing.

Yes! What was ultimatum!? Other than just shaking crap up and randomly killing characters for the hell of it? They just got bored w the Ultimate universe.

Totally agree with Exiles... and I LOVE Psylocke! but seriously.. 616 psylocke? did u really need THAT particular one? That made everything 1000 times less believable, inorganic and forced. And lets not even mention when Claremont's newest and most obnoxious pet, Sage, showed up. I started throwing up on the comic (and it was an improvement).

Posted by pewsplosions

The DC moments sound waaay worse than these marvel moments from my point of view(somebody who hasn't really read much of any of them...but the Nightwing one sounds totally awful...) Though I guess when it comes to disappointment it matters most when there is a personal kind of attachment. I guess for me, though even this wasn't TOO bad and I still enjoyed some of it; I would say I was pretty disappointed with all the Iron Man Fear Itself tie ins not too long ago. I was really enjoying the stories with the hammer chicks and Tony starting the new company with the new direction and then BAM out of nowhere fear itself takes over and makes everything boring(at least for IIM). Thankfully it feels like things have really picked back up the past couple issues with Mandarin attacks and the other upgraded villains.

Posted by ColonelRunAway

Couldn't agree more on all fronts.

Posted by leokearon

Fear Itself, hyped as something new and exciting and would be as big as Civil War and turned out to be Event-by-numbers with nothing major happens in it.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

One More Day pretty much takes the cake for me when it comes to disappointing Marvel Storylines.

Posted by JonesDeini

HAHAHAHA!!!! Hot damn can a brother have a field day with this here!!! Personally I gotta say I love that you listed every other Avengers title. Man some were (are good) but Marvel OD'ed heavy on that pill.

Posted by Vision2.0

To be honest ive never understood all the hate one more day, i honestly thought it was one the best things that they could of done for spiderman, if you were reading the stories before OMD they were boring and i was considering dropping the series, then all of a sudden we had OMD which lead to brand new day. Since brand new day spiderman comics have never had a dull moment and i have been enjoying all the artists and new writers that stepped on to work on the title, it lead to great stories which my personal favourtite was New Ways To Die. OMD and BND was the greatest thing to happen to spidey in the last 10 years.

Posted by redhood21

oh i loved Exiles!!! was so sad when Mimic was my favorite and they kill him off. so i go looking into dark x men hoping for more of the same only to find the mimic of 616 is Ted from dark X-men is my most disappointing story line.

Posted by Grim

Civil War and everything about Cap from there to Seige was garbage to me. Other than that i try to avoid Marvel unless i KNOW im going to like the story.

Posted by KainScion

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".

Posted by Tauros

@Trodorne said:


Allow me to 1-up you:

Posted by wowylied
Most Disappointing Story Lines ?

The marvel Story line since some years. Event after event with more even inside the event to change the face of the marvel world FOR EVER ! (it mean that in 2 issues all will be back to normal)

Posted by TheWholeDamnShow

Civil War. I dont care what anyone says.

Posted by funkyfiction

What about Avengers disassembled? That is the worst that marvel had published in like the last ten years... It's just full of so many holes and contradict so many things that already been established in the marvel universe.

Posted by LordRequiem

The idea behind OMD is fine but you're right, they didn't need to reset everything, and couldn't they just let Aunt May die already? I'd tie Dark Reign and Siege in second place partly because it was nothing it could have been and towards the end we all know how it completely ruined the Sentry. I loved Deadly Genesis for the X-men and many other storylines i.e. Decimation, Messiah Complex, Second Coming etc. But Necrosha was awful. It was a poor man's Blackest Night.

Posted by Cosmic Sentinel

@pewsplosions said:

The DC moments sound waaay worse than these marvel moments from my point of view(somebody who hasn't really read much of any of them...but the Nightwing one sounds totally awful...)

If you don't allow for OMD, they probably are about as bad as each other.

Superman and Spider-man are my two favourite characters, so for me they seem like the best two to compare. I didn't like Superman: Grounded and agree that after the excellent New Krypton it was just boring, but it didn't shake things up so even if there wasn't "the new 52" it can easily be forgotten. OMD on the other hand was a major shake up, but more importantly (to me) is that it made me stop wanting to read Spider-man, which is something even the original clone saga in the 90s didn't do. I've tried a couple of times since then to get back into Amazing, but I just can't.

I never read Young Avengers, but agree about Exiles. I think Exiles was running out of steam before that point though, issue 90 is just where it started to become apparent that it wouldn't recover.

Posted by Soldier zero

@funkyfiction said:

What about Avengers disassembled? That is the worst that marvel had published in like the last ten years... It's just full of so many holes and contradict so many things that already been established in the marvel universe.

Agreed. Also I think that "The Crossing" deserve a passable mention as the bottom tier of a bottom tier decade.

Posted by Saren

@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".

There already was one before this. Before running your mouth off, maybe you should..........oh, forget it.

Posted by leokearon
@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".

Already done:
Posted by SexualLobster

What about Fear Itself?

That was literally garbage. The only thing I liked about it was Tony Stark, other than that, it should have just been a Thor Arc, not a crossover event.

But I'm surprised there's so little on this list, DC had like 10, this had 3..

Posted by samuelmcguire


Posted by azza04

I stopped reading Marvel after OMD, not solely because of the crap title but I had just gotten tired of all the events and other sub par stories. OMD was just the nail in the coffin.

Posted by doordoor123

There are tons more that are worse than some of these.

Posted by bladewolf

One More Day's first issue got me to quit reading comics for over 5 years. No joke.

Posted by Superguy0009e

You guys forgot the BIGGEST most disappointing storyline, when Gwen Stacy sleeps with Green Goblin....I HATE that story

Posted by Rasarima

@Trodorne said:



Posted by MarvelMan1985

Ride on with the Exiles....that series was simply amazing. It made Mimic my favorite mutant for some time.
I already thought it was a bummer when they killed him off, and then Claremont came on (whom I normally like) and it started to suck even more. New Exiles was even worse. Claremont took all the character he had previously written well (Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Gambit, Psylocke) and made him a new cast of Exiles. I stopped reading it with New Exiles issue 3. I did try out the newest Exiles series, witch was really good, but i think people had enough of Exiles after Clameront's run. Too bad

Posted by Eyz

Now, if Mephisto's pact would have turned Spidey into a Ghost Rider...


Posted by Joe Venom

The end of Exiles was a sad day in comics for me :( I'll never forget the issue with the death of Sunfire... I was really upset about that

Posted by PhoenixoftheTides

@funkyfiction said:

What about Avengers disassembled? That is the worst that marvel had published in like the last ten years... It's just full of so many holes and contradict so many things that already been established in the marvel universe.

I agree. Ruining one of the senior Avengers at one stroke and the X-Men with the next with the No More Mutants/Decimation storyline still causes problems for both teams in my opinion. They epitomized events done at the whim of writers who glorify in shock value.

Posted by pingclang

I never read the Brand New Day or One More Day story arcs but reading what it was about seriously turned my stomach. Im guessing Quesada wrote that steaming pile of course. That sounds so completely ignorant. How did that pass to print?

Posted by feargalr

Great post, completely agree about the Young Avengers, Im really hoping they'll have a solid ongoing series after childrens crusade...

Posted by TheOwl

I would also add the Avengers storyline "The Crossing" (which I affectionately call "The Crapping") to that list as well. So bad they had to retcon it and somehow explain away exactly how a Space Phantom disguised as Mantis had babies with Kang.

Posted by The Mast

Fall from Grace. Daredevil.

Posted by fodigg

Wow dude, I'm totally picking up what you're putting down. On the DC list and this one. 100% agreement here. Good picks.

I would, however, say that Exiles was downhill before 90, although that's when it really jumped the proverbial shark.

Posted by Thunderscream

I agree wholeheartedly that Claremont's run on Exiles was nothing but sloshy, sludgy, scummy, diarrhea poopoo. I'm a huge Psylocke fan but I couldn't justify spending a penny on such horrid, self-satisfying drek :P

Posted by moviegeek17

one more day fundamentally destroyed the idea of comic book storytelling and its main character so its great to see it on this list.

Posted by One_Eye

What's that? Claremont took over and begin his own take on an X-Book and it tanked? I'm not the least bit surprised.-_-

Posted by Kiddevil

I liked the young avengers stories

Posted by Baal Zak

@Duo_forbidden: Ohhh right, Ultimatum... I wish I could for forget I've ever read that horrible, horrible book :/

Posted by Trodorne

@Tauros said:

@Trodorne: Allow me to 1-up you:

1) im stealing this for future reference, cause that image was exactly what i was thinking when saying it.

@pingclang: OMD was the brain child of Quesada and JMS. during that time I disliked JMS run on Amazing Spider-man though that is debatable by many. the run itself was sad and sensed that there was going to be a change coming to the series. but at the time Editor in Chief, and Chief Creative Officer was Joe and decided since he had a huge pull in weight on how things should go and that they are making big changes to the marvel universe, why not make Spider-man single again.

Posted by The Stegman

How is Siege or Ultimatum NOT on this list??

Posted by Fantasgasmic

You got One More Day, but you forgot to include Brand New Day and One Moment In Time. Those were horrible stories too!