With Great Power Come Great Cringe
You should know by now that comic book fans are a passionate bunch who don’t take too kindly when characters they have come to adore are presented in a radically different light. Of course, considering just how weird and unbecoming these narrative decisions were, we don’t blame them for losing their heads.
The Ultimate Universe was honestly a much bigger success than most people would have or could have predicted. During its heyday, it gave us the excellent Ultimate Spider-Man series, which genuinely attracted a whole new generation of readers to the medium. Sadly, not everything was so well-executed. We get that this universe was envisioned as a safe space for writers to take risks with iconic characters, but we’re not sure if incest is what the people were clamoring for. Remember, this was before Game of Thrones. A weirdly intimate relationship was established between twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in this universe, and in Ultimates 3 all subtlety was thrown out the window. Yuck.
#4: Captain America: Agent of Hydra
Honestly, this reveal makes the whole “Wolverine is a dog-man” retcon look like a crowd pleaser. What in the history of comic books made anyone think that this was a good idea? If there’s one hero that people hold sacred, it’s Captain America. He doesn’t go bad. He doesn’t betray people. Even when given a hard choice, he remains a pillar of morality. We get the need to generate headlines and counteract dwindling sales with must-read events, but this was seen as insulting to Cap’s legacy – a clear exercise in shock value. In these modern times, seeing the sentinel of liberty turned into a terrorist was a step too far, and the community was vocal in their disapproval.
#3: The Norman Osborn/ Gwen Stacy Affair
The majority of modern day comic book readers are teens and adults, meaning that some sexual content is totally acceptable – but keep it in good taste. Much like the twincest depicted in Ultimates 3, the revelation of an affair between Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy was met with revulsion. The age gap was bad enough, but this revelation tainted a beloved character. Stacy’s relationship with Peter is one of the most important in comic books, and her tragic death plays a major role in shaping Spider-Man. By revisiting one of Spidey’s most pivotal moments, Sins Past established itself as one of Marvel’s worst. The fact that affair resulted in children only added insult to injury.
#2: Ultimatum Deaths
Remember when we were talking about the missteps of the Ultimate Marvel line? This one of the major ones. Or rather a collection of them. As discussed, part of the fun with this separate Marvel universe was that it allowed the writers to craft stories with real stakes and consequences. A death, if well-executed like that of Peter Parker, can make for a moving moment that goes down in comic book history. Massacring a laundry list of characters in cruel, grotesque and unusual fashion, self-sabotaging your successful universe? Not so much. Dozens of characters were killed, including MAJOR players like Cyclops, Thor, Magneto, Daredevil, Wolverine, Hank Pym and more. That’s how you ruin a good thing.
#1: Spidey’s Deal with the Devil
You knew this was coming. Honestly, if you told us in 2005 after the conclusion of Sins Past that something worse awaited Spider-Man, we likely would respond with the word “impossible”. But we’d be wrong. You’d think that writer J. Michael Straczynski would have been banned from all things Spidey, but instead, he followed up Sins Past by co-writing this widely despised 2007 story, which will forever live on in infamy. Going against character, Peter makes a deal with Mephisto – a literal devil – in order to save Aunt May and hide his secret identity anew. The cost? His marriage with Mary Jane, their future child and the immeasurable other changes that surely result from altering history. Yeah… fans raged, alright.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Comic Book Events Fans Immediately Hated.