Comic Fodder

The Five Worst Story Arcs of All Time...

What makes a story bad? Is it shaking up the status quo for no reason other than to sell more comics? Is it trite and cliché plot devices? Is it when a character is written into a corner escapable only by deus ex machina? Is it a lack of respect for the audience shown by the use of poorly researched pseudo-science to explain impossible story devices?

I think it is a combination of all of the above. A bad story can come from any writer and at any time. Some stories start out good and make a slow descent into badness. Other stories start out terrible and plunge into new depth of awful with the turn of every page. Some stories are so bad they shouldn’t have been written at all. Below is a quick list of the five worst stories I can recall. I’m sure there are tons more but these five stick out in my mind as the worst of the worst.

200609AS430.jpg 5) Amazing Spiderman #430-431, written by: Tom DeFalco - This is a terrible concept that was horribly executed, resulting in two of the silliest issues of Spiderman that I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. So get this…some scientist, who happens to be in charge of keeping Carnage incarcerated decides to cut costs by powering Carnages containment field at only 50%, allowing Carnage to escape. - Eventually the Silver Surfer, who is in town visiting the Fantastic Four, decides to check out the commotion across town and gets involved with Spiderman and Carnage. - By the end of issue, one the Carnage symbiote has bonded with the Silver Surfer. It only gets worse from there.


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4) Fantastic Four #509-511, written by: Mark Waid
- Waid follows a pretty decent story arc with a story about Reed, Sue and Johnny traveling to Heaven to rescue the Thing. A pointless death reversed in three issues. It makes you ask, what’s the point of it all?
- Did I mention that this arc ended with the Fantastic Four meeting their creator, Jack Kirby, in Heaven? I'm all for strange stories set in weird locations but this is just too silly. I mean...if they can pull Ben out of Heaven why not go back and pull out anyone who has died?


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3) The Incredible Hulk Vol 2. #34-66, written by: Bruce Jones
- What started as a pretty strong take on the character devolves into a twisted, maligned, conspiracy happy, X-Files rip-off. There are more decompressed, drawn out, red-herring filled stories in this arc than the worst seasons of Chris Carter’s sci-fi cock-tease. All for an end result that is lost in the commotion of the company-wide “House of M” event.


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2) Superman #123 and Superman Red/Superman Blue # 1, written by various writers
- First they kill Superman, then they bring him back with four imposters running around, and finally they give him “cool” new “electrical” powers which malfunction just enough for him to need a new costume.
- To top it all off “electric” Superman is split into a Red and Blue Superman for several issues before someone realizes there’s carbon monoxide being pumped into DC editorial offices and get the DC writing staff some treatment for their brain damage… brain damage being the only plausible explanation for something so stupid as a red and blue Superman.


And the NUMBER ONE worst story arc of all time is…..


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1)The Punisher: Purgatory #1-4, written by: Christopher Golden
- Angels resurrect Frank Castle, AKA the Punisher, to be their Avenging Angel. They give him a glowing symbol on his head and guns from Heaven. Then they ask him to…oh…fuck this shit. It’s a stupid idea and everyone involved should be shot in the face on live television while the judges from American Idol watch on in horror. Except for Simon Cowell…Simon laughs. Simon Cowell is one sick fuck.

no Clone Saga!? How about Cap Wolf?

-- Posted by: David Clone at September 21, 2006 1:43 PM

I actually enjoyed the Bruce Jones Hulk run. The "Hide in Plain Sight" arc was most likely a tie-in to the film, and not part of Jones' original plan. The end isn't as satisfactory as it could have been, but overall I think it holds up pretty well.

The Fantastic Four going to heaven was pretty weak, but as an homage to Jack Kirby it worked for me. With all the crap out there it hardly deserves to be on this list. I would have put Infinite Crisis way ahead of it. If for no other reason than for wasted potential. Hmmm.....maybe that should be your next list. Wasted potential arcs. Wait until after Civil War to do it though. Issue four may have been a major turning point in the quality of that story.

-- Posted by: Gavin at September 21, 2006 2:48 PM

How could you forget anything involving an evil version of Charles Xavier? (Onslaught, Cassandra Nova)

-- Posted by: PiecesofArzt at October 5, 2006 8:48 AM