Top 10 Worst Marvel Reboots



Top 10 Worst Marvel Reboots

VOICE OVER: Noah Baum WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
Sometimes, it is best to leave well enough alone. For this list, we'll be taking a look at some of the worst reboots in the Marvel comic franchise such as Teen Tony Stark, Spider-Man: One More Day and the Clone Saga! Did you actually enjoy any of these reboots? Let us know in the comments!

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Top 10 Worst Marvel Reboots

Sometimes, it is best to leave well enough alone. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Marvel Reboots.

For this list, we’re looking at Marvel's questionable attempts at rebooting individual characters or resetting the entire universe. Please be warned, spoilers will be included for the named comics.

#10: MAX Comics

Injecting a touch of realism to otherwise fantastical properties sounds like an awesome idea, but darker does not automatically equal better. A Marvel subsidiary created to target a more adult audience, MAX published explicit content deemed too shocking for the mainline entries. While series like "The Punisher" and "Alias" benefited from the bleaker tone, most comics tried way too hard to come across as edgy or raunchy, oftentimes prioritizing grotesque violence over character depth. Complete creative freedom seems ideal on paper, but some restraint can help a story bypass any excessive distractions. MAX is just one big distraction.

#9: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2013-15)

Coinciding with the release of James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel reframed the comic series to complement the theatrical movie. Penned by Brian Michael Bendis, 2013's reboot grounds the space travelers on Earth for the majority of the comic's run and the plot is sorely lacking in drive or depth of character. While the artwork deserves praise, Bendis' naturalistic dialogue proves to be a rather poor fit for the Guardians. A couple of high points notwithstanding, this "Guardians of the Galaxy" reboot lacks the trademark charm typically associated with the comic license.

#8: “The Punisher” (1998-99)

Frank Castle has been subjected to a lot of crap over the years, and that has nothing to do with the vigilante's bloody heroics! "The Punisher's" concept is straightforward; wife and kid are killed, Frank goes mad and launches a thriving career in murdering gangsters and villains. 1998's "Purgatory" converts one of Marvel's most mortal protagonists into an angel. Along with introducing bright neon guns to Frank's arsenal, "Purgatory" retcons the character's entire backstory while neutering the Punisher's personality, turning the ordinarily resolute anti-hero into a more conventional, and dull, force of good.

#7: “Clone Saga” (1994-96)

The '90s were not a great time for Marvel. With sales in the toilet, the publisher opted to revisit a well-regarded "Spider-Man" storyline from the '70s. "The Clone Saga" introduces Ben Reilly's Scarlet Spider as the web crawler's artificial duplicate, with Marvel plotting to pull the rug out from under readers by implying that Peter Parker may not actually be the real deal. So, what happened? "The Clone Saga" was a commercial success and Marvel needed more of that. Lasting for around two years, "The Clone Saga" deteriorated into a series of contrivances, character breaking moments, and twists seemingly devised only to stretch the event's length.

#6: Wasp Becomes a Bug

During “The Crossing” event, Marvel randomly mutated the Wasp into a half-bug/half-Avenger monstrosity. Nobody cared, including the other in-universe characters. Mortally wounded following a fierce battle against a gone rogue Iron Man, Janet van Dyne's death is temporarily postponed after Giant-Man places the hero into a cocoon. Soon after, The Wasp is reborn with an extreme new look capable of triggering second-hand embarrassment in anyone unfortunate enough to read this issue. No explanation is truly given for Janet's mutated appearance, and Marvel smartly decided to pretend this moment never happened. Probably for the best.

#5: Eric Masterson Replaces Thor

Want a foolproof way to improve an iconic comic book character? Have a dull architect with marital issues replace them for a year or two! Prior to launching a solo career as the ponytail wearing Thunderstrike, Eric Masterson temporarily usurped Thor as Earth's hammer-wielding superhero. Replacing the title character in any comic is always going to be a risky move, but Marvel seemed to purposefully zap any potential charm out of Thor's successor. Masterson is impressively generic and forgettable. By the end, fans could not wait for the real God of Thunder to stage a comeback.

#4: Teen Tony in “The Crossing” (1995)

"The Crossing" is such a notoriously terrible storyline, Wasp mutating into a giant bug is only a footnote. The event revolves around Tony Stark being outed as Kang's double agent and a murderer. Seeking to fight fire with fire, the Avengers travel through time to retrieve a teenage version of Tony, who proceeds to be beaten half-to-death by the older model. Once "The Crossing" was finally put out of its misery, Teen Tony temporarily picked up the mantle as Iron Man, but the younger character's personality highlighted Stark's obnoxiousness without any of the complexity that made the hero so fascinating to watch.

#3: “FrankenCastle” (2010)

Reading like a "What If..." scenario that somehow got taken seriously, "FrankenCastle" delivers exactly what is promised on the tin. After being chopped to pieces by Daken, the Punisher was brought back to life as a zombiesque abomination by Morbius, who naively hoped the vigilante might be able to protect the Legion of Monsters. Slapped with a puntastic name, "FrankenCastle" wastes an absurd premise on run-of-the-mill storylines that see the Punisher quickly revert back to fighting regular criminals. Rather than wholeheartedly embracing the concept's horror potential, "FrankenCastle" just came across as a silly and pointless diversion.

#2: “Heroes Reborn” (1996-97)

Following "The Clone Saga" and "The Crossing," Marvel's slump worsened to the point that the publisher filed for bankruptcy. Desperate for any sort of revival, Marvel killed off the Avengers and Fantastic Four, before outsourcing the reboots to other companies. Set in an alternate reality created by Franklin Richards, each character received a modern makeover in an attempt to impress a younger audience. None of the characters survived this period unscathed, but Steve Rogers fared the worst. Unlike Iron Man or the Fantastic Four, Captain America's star was on the rise prior to Marvel hitting the panic button and resetting the character.

#1: “Spider-Man: One More Day” (2007-08)

In the span of four issues, Marvel erased two decades of goodwill. After Spider-Man's true identity is revealed during "Civil War," Peter Parker's family becomes a target for revenge-fueled villains. In order to save the life of a mortally wounded Aunt May, Peter agrees to sacrifice his long-standing marriage with Mary Jane, producing a huge retcon that deletes about twenty years of character development. Along with turning Peter into a coward who refuses to accept responsibility for inadvertently causing May's death, "One More Day" is a blatantly cynical attempt to revert Spider-Man back to square one.