Marvel is the biggest force in pop culture right now. At times, it seems like the company can do no wrong. However, for anyone who has followed Marvel’s comic output, they know that’s not the case. Often, a Marvel book can start out very well, wowing fans and critics alike, but this doesn’t last forever. These beloved comics wear out their welcome and eventually die.
There are a variety of reasons for this. Sometimes, it’s because of a creative team change. Other times, fans dislike developments with the main character or characters if it’s a team book. Sometimes, it’s just because fans have gotten tired of a concept.
10/10 X-Men (Vol. 6) Is A Shallow Waste Of Time
Some Marvel books suffer when a writer leaves, which definitely happened with X-Men (Vol. 6). Writer Jonathan Hickman had taken over X-Men (Vol. 5) after the wildly successful House Of X/Powers Of X, but behind-the-scenes decisions saw him start to step back until he left the X-Men books with 2021’s Inferno. X-Men was relaunched with writer Gerry Duggan at the helm.
Hickman told one-off stories that built plot lines for the future. Duggan writes short action stories that barely matter to the future. The book is remarkably shallow, to the extent that many X-Men fans no longer enjoy it at all, mostly buying it for the art or just to keep their collection going.
9/10 Secret Wars II Turned Fans Off Quickly
1985’s Secret Wars was a smash hit. The 12-issue event book saw Marvel’s greatest heroes battle against the most nefarious villains at the behest of the One From The Beyond, offering them a prize beyond their wildest dreams. Event books were barely a thing in the mid-’80s, and Secret Wars delivered for fans.
A sequel was greenlit, and Secret Wars II, by writer Jim Shooter and artist Al Milgrom, dropped. The book focused on the One From Beyond, now called the Beyonder, taking human form. Fans just didn’t connect with the book at all. Secret Wars II was a failure, killing any hope for a Secret Wars trilogy.
8/10 Secret Empire Turned Fans Off Long Before It Ended
Secret Empire, by writer Nick Spencer and artist Steve McNiven, Andrea Sorrentino, and Leinil Yu, already had a strike against it. Many fans were not happy about Steve Rogers as a Hydra agent, so this event book had to wow fans like no other. Unfortunately, it couldn’t do that.
To begin with, the book was going to be nine issues, starting with a zero issue and ending with eight. However, that number was changed to eleven double-sized issues, which didn’t count the epilogue issue. That’s a lot of content for a book that fans were having doubts about. Secret Empire is considered by many to be the worst event book of the ’10s, so it wasn’t able to put out of its tailspin.
7/10 Hulk (Vol. 5) Was A Failure With Readers
The Hulk is the strongest hero there is, but his most recent series doesn’t take after him. After the massive success of The Immortal Hulk, writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Ottley were put on Hulk (Vol. 5). Cates has been Marvel’s wunderkind for the last few years, and Ottley has shown how great he was on Invincible, so fans were really excited for the book.
However, right off the bat, the book’s lighter tone and the mystery of the new status quo didn’t really impress readers. Many wanted something more like The Immortal Hulk, so when the book wasn’t that, they revolted. Cates has since taken a hiatus from writing, with Ottley finishing things out as a writer/artist.
6/10 New Avengers Was Eventually Surplus To Requirements
The Avengers are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but by the mid-’00s their sales didn’t match their reputation. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Finch were brought in for Avengers Disassembled, ending Avengers, and launching New Avengers. This series saw Captain America and Iron Man joined by all-new Avengers like Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, and the Sentry.
It was a smash hit of a book, and it went through several permutations over the years. The final volume of the book starred the members of the Illuminati as they tried to stop the Incursions. After this, New Avengers ended and hasn’t come back, as it’s just not needed anymore.
5/10 The Final Installment Of The Infinity Trilogy Didn’t Take Off Like Its Predecessors
Infinity Gauntlet is a legendary Marvel event. Pitting the universe against Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, it was a hit and spawned a sequel, Infinity War, which saw the return of Adam Warlock’s evil side, the Magus. While it’s not as well regarded as its predecessor, it’s better in a lot of ways, full of action, twists, and turns.
And then came Infinity Crusade. Written by Jim Starlin with art by Ron Lim, who worked together on the first two installments, it saw the Marvel Universe enthralled by the Goddess, Adam Warlock’s good side. Unfortunately, the premise didn’t grab readers, and it’s a failure compared to its predecessors.
4/10 X-Corp’s Sales Dropped Like A Stone
X-Men history is full of success, but the recent Krakoa Era has shown Marvel how much readers truly loved the mutants. It seemed like the X-Men office could do no wrong, and new books were announced, everyone assuming they would be smash hits. X-Corp, by writer Tini Howard and artist Alberto Foche Duarte, was meant to show off the corporate side of the new nation.
The sales of the first issue were pretty good, but dropped precipitously in the second. Then, even more for the third. The book was supposed to be ongoing, but the creative reshuffling of the X-Office at the time and the abysmal sales killed the book, as fans lost interest in the book almost immediately.
3/10 Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier’s Failure Was Predictable
The Winter Soldier has been a popular character since Bucky Barnes was reintroduced. He was made into Captain America within a few years, but after he left the mantle, he was adrift for a time. Original Sin ended with him taking the role of the Man On The Wall, meant to stop threats from outer space and beyond before they reached Earth.
Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, by writer Ales Kot and artist Marco Rudy, was meant to follow these adventures. The book never really found an audience, but this made a lot of sense. Original Sin wasn’t a beloved event and not the best lead-in for Bucky’s new solo outing. The book didn’t even last a year.
2/10 Uncanny Avengers Slowly Ran Out Of Steam
Not every Avengers story needs context, like the first volume of Uncanny Avengers. Written by Rick Remender with artists John Cassaday, Daniel Acuña, Adam Kubert, and Steve McNiven, the book focused on the Avengers Unity Squad. This version of the team combined Avengers and X-Men, something made all the more interesting because it began after Avengers Vs. X-Men.
The first volume of the book was its height, pitting the team against Red Skull, the Apocalypse Twins, and Kang. It led to AXIS, a widely panned event that launched the second volume by Remender and Acuña. This one wasn’t as beloved, and the third volume, written by Gerry Duggan and Jim Zub with multiple artists, failed miserably.
1/10 The Inhumans Line Died A Quick Death
The Inhumans are important to Marvel history, but they’ve never been successful. The mid-’10s saw Marvel try to make them a thing as a way to overshadow mutants because 20th Century Fox owned the X-Men film rights. Multiple Inhumans books were launched between 2013 and 2015, including Uncanny Inhumans, Inhuman, All-New Inhumans, and more.
However, the books failed to catch on with the majority of fans. The Inhumans push failed rather quickly, eventually retracting to one book, Royals, which also failed. Black Bolt was critically acclaimed, but not a massive sales success, and was followed by Death Of The Inhumans, ending the line completely.
NEXT: 10 Marvel Comic Events Ruined By Their Popularity