Marvel is the number one superhero comic publisher, having reached whole new levels of popularity because of the MCU. However, even before that, they were the industry’s sales leader and created the most popular stories in the history of the medium. Since the Silver Age, many Marvel characters have risen to stardom but not all of them benefited from it.
Popularity has taken some Marvel characters to places they never needed to go. The limelight isn’t always a good thing, as it’s overexposed some flaws in the characters or taken them in directions they were never meant to go in.
10/10 Loki Is A Joke But Not A Very Funny One
Loki gained popularity as Thor’s greatest foe. His threat brought the Avengers together, and he’s battled nearly every major hero out there. And then the MCU happened. Tom Hiddleston’s popularity in the role saw the publisher start to focus on him more and more, giving Loki a patented Marvel face turn in order to focus on him. It’s all been downhill from there.
While Marvel’s telling good stories with Loki, it’s basically impossible to take him seriously as a villain anymore. The humorous side of the character has been pushed too far for him to be a credible threat. Marvel has made him into less of a villain and more of a clown.
9/10 Captain Marvel Got Popular And Character Development Went Out The Window
Carol Danvers has been through a lot in her heroic career, and her promotion to Captain Marvel was supposed to be the best thing that ever happened to her. In some ways, it was. She’s consistently had a book, made the jump to the MCU, and joined the ranks of Marvel’s A-list. However, there’s been a problem with that.
The problem with a lot of Marvel’s A-list characters is that character development is non-existent. They become archetypes that are easily recognizable by audiences, not multi-faceted characters. This has happened to CM. She’s done a lot over the years, but it’s hard to point to any major character moments for her that aren’t terrible, like Civil War II.
8/10 Spider-Man’s Iconic Status Helped Marvel Ruin The Character In Recent Years
Spider-Man is Marvel’s most popular character. For years, the character grew and changed with the audience. After his marriage to Mary Jane, his status quo was the same for decades. And then Joe Quesada happened. After the success of Ultimate Spider-Man, and because of Quesada’s preference for the Spider-Man of his childhood, he did away with the marriage and any mature character development.
Quesada’s argument was that a young-ish irresponsible Spider-Man is more popular. Popularity has been the excuse that Marvel has used to keep Spider-Man in storytelling stasis since 2007. It’s a shallow reason that prevents sorely needed character development.
7/10 Venom Is A Boring Hero
Venom jumped into the ranks of Marvel’s most popular villains almost immediately. He had everything; an amazing look, a built-in grudge with Spider-Man, and an entertaining personality. Marvel decided to capitalize on that and made him into an anti-hero, which didn’t fit the massive guy who wanted to eat Spider-Man’s brain.
Hero Venom is okay, but Eddie Brock was never meant to be selfless and noble. He was created as a slightly sympathetic bad guy, bonded to a monster who wanted to eat flesh. Spider-Man lost his best new villain of the last forty years just so Marvel could make some money off a character they still could have made boatloads of money off of if they let him be a villain.
6/10 Daredevil Has Had Long Stretches Of Sub-Par Writing Since Becoming Mega-Popular
Marvel has some powerful lawyers, with Daredevil standing above the rest as the company’s most popular legal eagle. A B-list Spider-Man clone for years, readers would see the character in a whole new light after Frank Miller took over. Gone was the funny acrobat of the past. The new Daredevil was a grim and gritty ninja, dealing with grim and gritty problems.
Daredevil got pigeonholed into dark, street-level stories. He used to be a fun character, but all of that went out the window. His comics focused on misery, which only certain writers could make work. Daredevil has been extremely hit or miss for this reason, as it’s easy to get lazy when portraying a one-note character.
5/10 Punisher Got Ridiculously OP Over The Years
Many Marvel heroes are killers and it’s mostly because of the Punisher’s popularity. Introduced as an enemy of Spider-Man’s who believed the Wall-Crawler was a criminal, he struck a chord with readers. By the ’80s, he was more popular than many Marvel A-listers of old, which brought a whole new set of problems.
Marvel team-ups all started with fights. It’s their formula. So, suddenly, the Punisher had to somehow be good enough to hold his own against heroes who beat henchmen like him easily. The character became ridiculously OP and it hurt him on a core level. His hyper-competence made his adventures lose their stakes. Who wants to see an “ordinary guy” who can’t lose?
4/10 Wolverine Was Almost Killed By Overexposure
Wolverine is a Marvel legend, his rise to prominence making him the only character who could possibly rival Spider-Man as Marvel’s mascot. Wolverine’s meteoric rise made him a hot ticket to Marvel, so they started to slowly but surely put out more Wolverine appearances. Wolverine was everywhere after a while, and his fans loved it.
Unfortunately, the readers who didn’t like Wolverine or were on the fence about him weren’t nearly as happy. Wolverine’s overexposure made lots of people hate him, as he hogged the spotlight, keeping characters with huge potential in the shadows. This turned off many fans, and they came to hate him.
3/10 Scarlet Witch’s Fans Make Sure She Never Faces Any Consequences For Her Actions
Scarlet Witch has long been a very popular character, which has posed a problem for Marvel. The company likes to do stories with Scarlet Witch where she eventually does something horrible. Her tales are all about the consequences of power, but they completely lack teeth because of her legions of fans.
Scarlet Witch’s fans don’t want to see Wanda punished when she does something truly terrible. She’s committed more reprehensible acts than almost any villain, killing multiple Avengers in one fell swoop and nearly destroying the mutant race with a few words, yet she gets defended not just by fans, but the Avengers. It’s a huge problem for the character, as these kinds of stories need some kind of consequences to make them work. Otherwise, Marvel ends up making excuses for a monster.
2/10 The Winter Soldier Plateaued Quickly
Some Marvel heroes won’t reach their full potential, forever stuck in a limbo created by their most popular conception. That’s the unfortunate case for Bucky Barnes. His return as the Winter Soldier made him huge, and he became the new Captain America after Steve Rogers was “assassinated.” This was Bucky’s high point and his plateau.
Bucky made a good Cap, but ever since then, he’s been aimless. He couldn’t stay in the role, so he was downgraded back into the Winter Soldier’s persona. He reached his peak ages ago, and now he’s in a state of limbo, with no growth to be seen.
1/10 Iron Man’s Flaws Get Put Under The Microscope
Iron Man is an amazing hero. He’s a founding Avenger and has saved the world multiple times, with the team and on his own. He’s also jeopardized all life on Earth. Iron Man’s flaws are what make him interesting. The problem with his overwhelming popularity is that these flaws get overblown and become the focus of stories.
This makes readers who aren’t already Iron Man’s fans reject him. Stories from the end of Civil War through 2015’s Secret Wars basically shined a light on the worst aspects of the character, and many fans hated him. Marvel has tried to rehabilitate his image since but it’s never worked.
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