For generations, comic books have been entertaining fans with their superpowered heroes, character driven plots, and some truly great story arcs that span the multiverse. Marvel have become experts in crossing their own multiverse and cleverly interweaving characters and stories into their ever expanding world. Away from the pages of the comic books, Marvel have also used this tool on the screen as the MCU has taken over both the big and small screen, with each movie and TV show adding more depth to the Marvel mythos.
However, with the vast back catalogue that Marvel has, it can sometimes find itself getting a bit lost. With many years of storytelling and several rewrites and reboots of popular characters, Marvel have been guilty of giving us less than par comic books. Whether that’s due to falling sales or new employees, Marvel often try to do something shocking or surprising in order to grab the audience’s attention. Sometimes it works and sometimes it goes so badly wrong that we’re left gobsmacked at what we just read.
Here are 15 times that Marvel left us saying WTF!
15. Ironman’s Suit Falls In Love With Tony Stark
The first entry on our list involves Tony Stark and his favorite piece of technology. There have been many women that Stark has been involved with over the years, Pepper Potts probably being the most famous, but we all know that deep down the person that Stark loves the most is himself.
So when one of Stark’s suits comes to life, the suit instantly falls in love with it’s creator and demands that Stark loves it back. When Stark doesn’t return his suits affections, the suit kidnaps Stark and abuses him until he confesses his love for the suit. Stark doesn’t, of course, so the suit continues to beat down on Stark until he has a heart attack. The suit suddenly realizes it’s true love for Stark and decides to rip out it’s own heart and put it inside Stark to save his life. This five issue run of Iron Man is just bizarre and the quicker it’s forgotten the better.
14. Captain Werewolf
When you have a character who has been popular for so many years, we are bound to get many strange and silly stories. That’s the case with Captain America. Having been protecting the world from Nazi’s, Hydra, and other invaders for years, Cap found himself a bit lost in the 90s as the writers didn’t seem to know what to do with him, so they came up with this silly storyline that involved Captain America becoming a werewolf.
After dead bodies start to pile up, Steve Rogers’ attentions are soon turned to werewolves being responsible. Not only that, but with the help of some “werewolf serum” Rogers himself gets transformed into a werewolf and starts to track them down. This entry is more of a “what were the writers thinking?” rather than a WTF moment but it still deserves a mention on our list.
13. Thanos Gets Defeated By Squirrel Girl
Squirrel Girl has had an interesting time with fans; some see her as a joke and others see her as a powerful and vital superhero. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, it’s fair to say that Squirrel Girl stopping Thanos is a big WTF moment.
The overpowered mad Titan known as Thanos started life out as a typical villain. However, over the years, Thanos has become bigger and badder and now stands as one of the most powerful and dangerous villains in the whole Marvel universe. After all, together with the Infinity Gauntlet he did wipe out half the universe with a click of his fingers. So with that in mind and the fact that The Avengers have faced off against Thanos several times and only just come out on top, it’s even more shocking to see that Squirrel Girl did it with ease. Not only that, but Squirrel Girl has taken down Doctor Doom, Mandarin, and M.O.D.O.K to name a few. WTF!
12. Daredevil Kills Bullseye
There are many heroes within the comic book world that walk a fine line between the dark and the light. These heroes live in the shadows and choose to enforce their brand of vigilante justice outside of the law. The only rule that these type of heroes have is that they don’t kill. With this rule in place, it means they can torment and capture the criminals without out every crossing the line and becoming criminals themselves.
While DC have Batman, Marvel have Daredevil. The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen keeps the streets safe from the bad guys while at the same time striking fear into the criminals and acting as a deterrent. So it’s even more shocking when Daredevil kills Bullseye. After Bullseye kills Elektra, Daredevil is understandably angry and chases the assassin. He finds him on a rooftop, tangled in cables. Instead of Daredevil pulling Bullseye up and making sure he pays for his crimes in the legal way, which is what he and even Batman would normally do, Daredevil decides to drop Bullseye from the rooftop and to his death.
11. The Punisher Becomes Black
Over the years, comic books have had a few issues with equality. The portrayal of women over the years has always been a hot topic and even today many people argue about the female characters that are in the comic books and how they are portrayed. However, an even bigger issue that comic books have tried, and often failed, to tackle is race.
In the early days of comic books, a lot of the racial tones were offensive and blatantly ignorant. But what makes this entry so shocking and a huge WTF moment is the fact that this story was published in the 1990s. After The Punisher is incarcerated and beaten to a pulp by the inmates, he finally escapes and wants to change his appearance so he wouldn’t be recognized. So he goes to a dodgy plastic surgeon who decides to make him a black man. What follows is series of uncomfortable racial jibs which the writers try to excuse by calling it “social commentary.” Luckily this story arc only got a three issue run and Marvel have hopefully learnt their lesson.
10. The Death of Captain America
More specifically, the way in which Captain America came back to life. After the events of the first Civil War, Captain America can’t stand what the heroes are doing to each other and therefore hands himself in to stop any more fighting and bloodshed. However, as Steve Rogers does this, he is assassinated and seemingly dead. This moment was a powerful event in the Civil War run.
Obviously we all know that when superheroes die they don’t stay dead for long but how Captain America came back was a big WTF moment, as it undermined everything that had happened during Civil War. As it turns out, Steve Rogers wasn’t shot, no, he was actually shot with a weapon that froze him in time and space and kept him in a pocket universe. So not only was he not dead but everything that Captain America stood for and his actions that stopped the Civil War were all meaningless.
9. Spider-Man’s Killer Swimmers
As you will see from this list, poor Spider-Man gets his fair share of bad moments and crap storylines. Everyone’s favorite neighborhood superhero is no stranger to making tough decisions for the good of his loved ones. As Marvel’s poster boy for the pure and good superhero, hr never falters from the line of good even when he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Which is why this entry is even more surprising and shocking.
We all know that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson have been together for many years and in many different forms, so it’s not surprising that they enjoy a healthy sex life. But when it’s revealed that years of unprotected sex between the two caused Mary Jane to get cancer and die, because of Parker’s radioactive sperm, it was a big WTF moment. In the storyline Spider-Man: Reign, which sees an older Peter Parker who comes out of retirement to clean up the streets. Very much in the same vein as DC’s Dark Knight Returns. This revelation comes out in flashbacks and Parker struggles with the guilt of causing Mary Jane’s death.
8. Hank Pym Beats His Wife
With the recent inclusion of Ant-Man within the MCU, a few of us wondered why they decided to start the timeline after Hank Pym? Opting instead to use Scott Lang, we feel that Marvel missed a trick as the character of Hank Pym is far more interesting and even realistic.
Over the years Pym has been involved in some of the biggest storylines involving The Avengers. Not only this, but Pym has always struggled with his role as a superhero. The brilliant scientist who invented the Pym particle has never really embraced the hero lifestyle and is often caught between his mild-mannered, pacifist personality and the harsh reality of what needs to be done as a hero. Pym’s mental state has often been the focal point for many stories and none more shocking than when he hit his wife The Wasp. Although this particular moment was important to the story, as it showed just how far Pym had sunk, it was still none the less shocking and a big WTF moment for the character.
7. Ms. Marvel Became Pregnant By Her Own Son
DC has Wonder Woman as a female icon in a male dominated world, a superhero that can match and even beat any of her male counterparts. For years, Marvel have tried to have a character with the same impact as Wonder Woman, and although they have had several female superheroes, it’s probably Carol Danvers aka Ms. Marvel that does it for Marvel, especially since the Ms. Marvel movie will be coming out soon and it’ll be Marvel’s first female lead film.
With that in mind it’s even more difficult and unnerving to know just how badly Marvel treated her character. Not only was Danvers raped, which didn’t seem to be a big deal to any of the characters, but she was also raped and impregnated by her own son. Not only that but instead of being angry with it all, the writers decided to make Danvers enjoy the whole experience and full in love with her now grown up son and start a relationship with him. Needless to say, Marvel did realize their mistake with this storyline eventually. Not only did they stop it but they also “rested” Carol Danvers for a while in the hope that people would forget this low point for an otherwise excellent character and superhero.
6. Gwen Stacy Has Twins
There have been three women in Peter Parker’s life that have shaped his very character and turned him into the superhero that we all love. Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, and Gwen Stacy. Arguably, Mary Jane is the most famous out of Spider-Man’s girlfriends, but many fans will say that Gwen Stacy was the most important relationship as her death shaped Spider-Man and it was also one of the most devastating deaths in comic book history.
So when you have a truly memorable and emotional death that resonates with fans and also shapes Spider-Man for the future, surely that is storytelling gold? Obviously the Marvel writers had other ideas as they revisited Gwen’s death in Sins Past. In this story arc, Gwen had an affair with Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin. Not only did she cheat on Parker but she also had twins by Osborn. Gwen felt guilty and wanted to tell Parker, so the Green Goblin killed her, raised the children into Spider-Man-hating assassins and pretty much ruined what was one of the best Spider-Man storylines. A massive WTF moment here!
Over the years, Marvel have created many different timelines and alternate worlds in which different versions of our favorite heroes can exist. Some of them work and add depth and a new dimension to the multiverse, and some of them are best left forgotten as truly low points in Marvel’s comic book history. Ultimatum is a definite low point.
Trying to reset and reboot The Ultimates universe, the writers decided to completely destroy everything and everyone they had created. The pages of this comic book is filled with pointless violence and destruction that don’t serve anything other than for shock value. The biggest WTF moment comes in the form of The Blob, a giant, fat man that’s only purpose, and power, is to be fat. After The Wasp is killed in a tsunami, The Blob finds her body and then decides to eat her. If that graphic moment isn’t bad enough, along comes Hank Pym who bites off The Blobs head.
4. Spider-Man: One More Day
For many years, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson have been the ultimate couple in the comic book world, maybe with the exception of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Together, Parker and Watson have been through everything and their relationship, and marriage, has become stronger and stronger. But if you were thinking that their love was unbreakable then we would have agreed with you. Until, that is, the ridiculous and pointless One More Day storyline came along.
This instantly forgettable storyline saw Spider-Man making a deal with the Devil himself. After the events of the Civil War, Aunt May was shot dead so Spider-Man came across the path of Mephisto. Parker decides to strike a deal in which Aunt May comes back to life and his secret identity, in which he revealed to the world during Civil War, would be a secret again. The price for this deal would be that his marriage to the pregnant Mary Jane would be erased. In a truly selfish act that is very un-Spider-Man, he chooses the deal. Fans of the web-slinger were not happy about this and the backlash from One More Day was that we all lost a lot of respect for the morally strong Spider-Man.
3. Captain America is Hydra
For those who haven’t been keeping up with current events within the Marvel comic books, in particular with the events of Civil War II, then this entry will cause a big shock. It also contains massive spoilers, so skip to the next entry if you don’t want to know.
What makes this entry truly surprising and a big WTF moment is that it turns out the always good and faithful Captain America isn’t any of those things and is in fact a liar and a master manipulator — not to mention a secret member of Hydra! As the events of Civil War II come out in the comic book Captain America: Steve Rogers, it turns out that Hydra were more involved in the downfall of our favorite heroes and Captain America was right at the centre of it all. Not only that but it was Rogers that caused the death of Bruce Banner by playing both Banner and Hawkeye. The fact that Rogers has been a double agent for all these years is a big slap in the fan’s face.
2. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
Everyone’s favorite brother and sister mutants have always had a bit of a troubled life within the comic books. Flicking between good and evil while at the same time trying to figure out who and what they are. The two of them have been involved in some major Marvel storylines over the years, which has resulted in some major changes in the Marvel multiverse, including a time when Scarlet Witch wiped out everyone!
Through all of this madness, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have always had each other to lean on. It’s been joked about over the years at just how close they are, but during The Ultimates 3, it wasn’t just hinted to us, it was pushed right in our faces. The writers left out the subtlety and went straight for the obvious: Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver loved each other more than just brother and sister and they had sex… a lot!
The number one entry on our list is possibly one of the worst and most hated storylines that Marvel have ever produced. As with previous entries, Spider-Man has had a tough life within the comic books, but none so tough, stupid, and crazy as The Clone Saga. Originally The Clone Saga was only meant as a short miniseries but unfortunately for us fans, this “saga” ended up lasting two years! Starting off with one clone of Peter Parker, this clone, named Ben Reilly, took over the mantle of Spider-Man so that Peter Parker could retire and be with his pregnant wife Mary Jane Watson.
However, the fans didn’t like the new Spider-Man and wanted Peter Parker back. So the writers revisited The Clone Saga and continued to add more clones and even more ridiculous storylines to this already stupid series. The clones got confusing and the “real” Peter Parker was lost in the mix and the real WTF moment is the writer’s ruining what made Spider-Man so great in the first place.