The 11 Biggest Disappointments About Comics in 2007

As we roll into 2008, its always good to look back and think about how we got here and where we’re going. While many people are interested in “top” lists and the sort, I think it’s a good thing to look back and revisit those comics that frustrated, annoyed and ultimately disappointed us in 2007.

So, in no particular order I present to you The 11 Biggest Disappointments About Comics in 2007!
1. The Flash – The rise of Bart Allen as the next person to hold the mantle of The Flash should have been an easy win, but it was fumbled, ultimately leading to Bart’s death. As a Wally West fan, I was pleased to see him return though, only to have my hopes of some more Flash goodness destroyed with the nonsense that Mark Waid has written since returning to a title that he once totally owned. I find it hard to believe that I could dislike the story and characters introduced by Waid, with the focus on Wally’s children, but it turns out I do.

2. Captain Marvel’s “Return” – To this day, I still don’t understand the motivation of Marvel bringing back Captain Marvel towards the end of Civil War. His actual return seemed tacked on, rushed and not really thought out. Then it didn’t really have any impact or importance to the Civil War storyline in anyway. It has only recently been slightly redeemed with the Captain Marvel mini series currently underway, but the fact that it took 10 months for that series to be released, greatly diminished the impact and importance of his return.

3. World War Hulk – Okay, I’ll admit it, I was rooting for World War Hulk. I wanted it to be the fun, action-packed big summer movie event of 2007. So many good things were said of Planet Hulk and what Greg Pak was doing on the title, so I figured this event must be good. The combination of shoe-horning into the post Civil War events in the Marvel Universe and the lack of stakes in the story made this be a huge balloon full of air, that once deflated, left a story that really didn’t matter. Sure the art was pretty, but that doesn’t make up for more bad Sentry-based stories.

4. Countdown Didn’t Take – Like World War Hulk, I was (and still am) rooting for Countdown to be great. Coming off the heels of the ultra successful 52, Countdown had all the makings of a winner. I’m a huge Paul Dini fan, and the other writers involved were an interesting mix of up and comers. Unfortunately, the series seems to have wavered, going down avenues of stories that, while laying the backbone for the events of the DC universe, were both confusing and not very compelling. But, the series isn’t over yet and with a few months left, I’m hopeful that it ends in a meaningful way.

5. Criminal Trade Dress – It’s hard to criticize anything related to Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ excellent work on the noir crime comic Criminal. The book has been amazing. One of the best out there. But when it came time to collect the issues into the lucrative trade paperback format, I just had to shake my head in disappointment. By focusing on the storyline (i.e. Coward), and not the book’s actual title (Criminal), the book seemed disjointed and wasn’t able to build off the success of the comic. You may call me crazy, but ask any retailer if this hurt the sales of the book. I bet more will say “yes”, because instead of seeing a book with a big CRIMINAL across the top, you saw COWARD and I’m guessing many just moved on. This is more of a branding complaint and less of the quality of the book, but I found it disappointing that they would fumble the production of a book that I would love to see as a success.

6. The Return of Spider-Man’s Black Costume – They told us it had nothing to do with Spider-Man 3. They told us that it would bring about meaningful stories. They lied. Ultimately it was a story that solved a marketing request and was shoehorned into the ongoing Spider-Man story.

7. Wonder Woman – Disclosure: I’m not a Wonder Woman fan, nor do I read this title, which is almost a relief when you look at the way its been mishandled. From the delays and lateness of Allan Heinberg’s run, to the questionable Amazons Attack event, DC’s premiere heroine had a miserable year. If only they let Greg Rucka finish what he started on the book. Hopefully Gail Simone will be able to turn the tide.

8. WildC.A.T.s #2 – Just in case you thought you missed it, I double checked, it’s still not out and I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day. I’ve ranted about WildStorm already this year, but if any one book represents the problems there, it’s the lack of WildC.A.T.S. #2.

9. 52 Aftermath52 was an exciting, kickass event that ended with a ton of momentum. While it led into Countdown, there were opportunities to capitalize on the success. Sadly, with the exception of the Booster Gold series, everything was a miss. And it’s not even because they were bad comics, because I’ve heard good things and have enjoyed books like Countdown to Adventure, Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood and 52 Aftermath: the Four Horsemen, but the the delay in releasing the books made the 52 connection weak along with the 52 Aftermath cover dress which I think caused many people to just skip the book without looking at it. I mean, c’mon, just title the book The Question, and you’ve got a hit!

10. X-Men Endangered Species – When I first heard about this event, of course I had high hopes. As it is my comic line of choice, I will read any X-Men event, and with the focus finally pointing to the ramifications of the House of M/Decimation events, I was excited to see how this would progress. The approach of spreading out the story into 8 page chunks across the line was innovative and different. Unfortunately, it meandered, got boring, and ultimately had no real lasting affect. It’s easily one of the worst things I read this year. Luckily, I can read Messiah Complex and forget all about it

11. One More Day – This may be premature, because it just wrapped up, but I’m still in disbelief by the entire One More Day debacle. And in case you weren’t sure, it is indeed a debacle. After several years hearing Joe Quesada rail against the idea of Spider-Man being married, he finally did something about it… and then took his super sweet time doing it. The more I think about it, I’m not really upset about the idea of undoing the marriage. What disappointed me was the way it was done. The story felt contrived from start to finish, and to make such a big deal about the comic and how great its going to be, and then get delayed like it did, and ultimately crippling one of the most important lines of comics out there, is just inexcusable. Not that Joe is making any excuses or saying much of anything really. That said, I’ll continue reading Amazing Spider-Man because of the talent now on the book, the fact that J. Michael Straczynski’s reign of terror is finally over and the assumption that nothing is permanent and as far as I can tell, there are at least 3 different back doors to be used. But the biggest disappointment is the fact that things like the unmasking of Spider-Man, the entire organic web shooter thing, and pretty much what has been modern Spider-Man has been rendered meaningless and ultimately a waste of our time.


  1. I definitely agree with you on most of the stuff here. WWHulk started out strong and ended on a whimper. I still can’t believe I wasted my money on One More Day. I think the biggest disappointment of 2007 was lateness of books. Lines such as Wonder Woman and Superman were ruined for me because “superstar” creators couldn’t get the job done. I pretty much dropped those titles because I felt like I had to fish to find when they were going to come out next. And finally, the next big disappointment for me, and it seems for a lot of others, is going to be Ultimates 3. It looks like it’s going to ruin everything Millar and Hitch built.

  2. I have to disagree a lot here.

    First, I’m really enjoying Waid’s return run on the Flash. The relaunch with Bart Allen as the next Flash was potentially really cool, but the writing was atrocious. But I’m really digging Waid’s run on Flash, focusing on his new family, and the alien aquatic race bent on destroying Flash’s city is cool pulp-inspired fiction which, I find, is a breath of new air for a superhero franchise looking to re-establish itself. Too bad Waid is leaving pretty soon.

    Second, for the Criminal trade dress, Bru made it a point (i read in some interview with him somewhere) to make each Criminal trade be about the story, instead of being some number in a series of graphic novels of a series. So, concerning the Criminal trade dress, Ron is just plain wrong in his assumptions and ramifications of why they choose what they did — they deliberately choose to focus on storylines so that new readers can pick up any (eventual) trade paperbacks and not feel as if they have to read everything that has come before to enjoy the story that they have picked up.

    Third, Messiah Complex is the most compelling X-Men crossover I have read since I first started collecting in the mid-90’s. I can not wait for each new chapter to come out each week and see what happens. Most of why I like this crossover is that it is about the X-Men. The writers have gone to great lengths to incorporate a lot of X-Men continuity into this tale to make readers really feel that it is about the X-Men, and I love it. For example, the last chapter’s cliffhanger of Bishop shooting Cable to steal the new mutant baby left me gasping.

    Almost every other grievance of Ron’s I share (except the bit about JMS’s reign of terror on ASM), especially the delays on Wonder Women and the Wildstorm Universe.

  3. Sorry, I went off on a rant about Messiah Complex instead of Endangered Species, but I quite liked Endangered Species too.

  4. Did they undo the organic webshooters too? That was the one new change that made sense in the last 6 years. OMD was bad and contrived and stupid on so many levels it isn’t worth getting into.

  5. Steve M.: yep, it looks like they undid organic webshooters too– if you go back and look at the last panel of the comic, where they have their hands raised making toasts, you can make out the mechanical webshooter on Peter’s wrist…

  6. This is a bit of a departure, is it not? I think of iFanboy as the Pick of the Week, accentuate-the-positive site, not the list-of-gripes site. Are you guys getting edgy on me?

  7. 2008 is all about edgy. We’re re-tooling entirely.

  8. I have sensed a bit more of an edgy vibe here the last few days… I just chalked it up to general crankiness due to One More Day…

  9. Don’t go too hardcore; I think of the iFanboys’ emphasis on what they like as opposed to what sucks as one of things that sets the site apart. I mean, no kid gloves, of course….

  10. Call me crazy, but I enjoyed WWH and Amazons Attack. Maybe not as much as I had hoped (I had huge hopes for WWH), but they were still well done. I think the ramifications of WWH are still to come – although that’s a whole other problem with events not being all-encompassing, but only leading to other stories.

    Captain Mar-vell – ehh, whatever. The mini has been good, so at least take comfort in that.

    Can’t argue with lateness killing a lot of momentum this year. Superman, Action Comics, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man – all suffered this year due to lateness and, in many cases, completely unrelated fill-ins. It looks like this problem has been fixed for a lot of books, but there’s still a lot bad feelings.

    Flash – not the best it has been, but it’s not awful. I think they should have given Bart more time as the Flash, although the final storyline on that book was amazing.

    52 Aftermath – Yeah, should have had these books ready to go as soon as 52 wrapped. Seems like they’re trying to bank on the 52 name, which at this point, probably doesn’t carry much weight.

  11. I just hope they get Spidey back on track. Things appear to be going the right way. I just hope the execution is good.

  12. Don’t go too hardcore; I think of the iFanboys’ emphasis on what they like as opposed to what sucks as one of things that sets the site apart. I mean, no kid gloves, of course….

    I thought my sarcasm was obvious. Don’t worry, except for the all-leather outfits, iFanboy will be largely the same in 2008.

  13. The One More Day finale was a giant turd. I’ve been reading Spidey forever and I felt no emotion at all. The two of them opting to save Aunt May was way too ridiculous and unbelievable. I keep getting Amazing Spiderman out of habit and hope that it will get good again, but this last issue might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
    This is coming from the guy who likes damn near everything I read.

  14. I agree with most of the disappointments that you mentioned and I even managed to avoid a few of them (thankfully WWH). However, calling JMS’s run on AMS a “reign of terror” seems a bit much. I agree that not all of it was good but rhetoric of that nature is usually reserved for dictators. I understand exaggeration to make a point but come on? Also, if you look at most of the stuff up to the Gwen Stacy baby it was all really good plus you got JRJR pencils which were incredible.

  15. Jimski – as Josh said, don’t worry 2008 will be much of the same, we love to accentuate the positive that exists within comics, but sometimes, you gotta point out the things that were rough. I want to stress the difference between “this sucks” and “this is a disappointment” It’s easy to dismiss something as sucking without any backing to it – but not everything always works, so I think we owe it to the publishers to point them out as well from time to time.

    But ultimately, don’t worry about us – we’re still a positive safe haven, as you’ll see later on this week 🙂

  16. You know, I didn’t even really think about the Criminal trade dress, but I’ll be damned if that complaint doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I think they were going with a style choice because that’s the way a lot of noir books have their covers, but yeah, terrible marketing design.

    The rest of these I couldn’t agree with more. I too felt the woes that these titles/events laid upon us all.

    I’m looking forward to the new Spider-Man stuff, and I can’t wait to get the black costume and OMD behind us.

    Despite these negative things, I look back on this year thinking of billions of positives, and my only hope is that ’08 keeps that going.

    Last thought: I would add the Resurrection of Ras to this list as well. I found that storyline to be very disappointing.

  17. Most of this I agree with.

    I am a big Hulk fan. And after a long, cool run on Planet Hulk… WW Hulk just sucked.

    I didn’t like the Marvel resurrection. They should focus on making their current Marvel more interesting.

    Finally, Wonder WOman. Sigh. I don’t care for this character as a whole, but I tried the book. I liked the first few issues and then… PLTTTTT. Too bad.

  18. I thought the last issue of World War Hulk would be the worst book I would read all year… until I made the mistake of reading Ultimates 3 #1. Yeesh.

  19. Ok, you know why I’m here.

    The Criminal trade dress thing is…frustrating at most. But #5 on the biggest disappoints of the year list? In a year when the worst single issue of a comic was released (Tad Williams’ Aquaman)?

  20. I agree with all the choices on your list, and I’d like to add one more. Superman/Batman.

    Now, while S/B problems started a while ago, it really hit a low point this year, and it’s biggest problem was a mirror for the problem with all the Superman books.

    To illustrate, let’s take a look at S/B story arcs for the year…

    First story arc, Superman gets mind controlled. Second story arc, Superman gets mind controlled. Third story arc, Superman catches fire, falls over, then gets mind controlled…

    ENOUGH ALREADY!!! We get it, it’s easy to control Superman’s mind! In fact, I recall flipping through one of Superman’s books a few months back and discovering that the Metroplis PD have created a special unit that does nothing else but sit around in power armor waiting for Superman to be mind controlled.

  21. @paper – these weren’t in any particular order.

  22. I don’t think I have a problem with the majority of the stories that were “rendered useless” by OMD being done so. Not to point out any particularly bad work, but…Yeesh, it wasn’t all memorable.

    That said, I don’t think those stories are obliterated. It’s just like pre-Crisis stories after Crisis on Infinite Earths. I didn’t toss out all my old Titans because Wonder Girl suddenly wasn’t remotely possible. You can just, for the most part, enjoy the read and imagine they happened somewhat differently (just because they weren’t “married” doesn’t mean they couldn’t have been in a relationship that caused many of the stories to proceed nearly as they did before).

    I agree OMD had issues, but I think it cleans up a few things that absolutely had to be cleaned up one way or another. I, for one, can’t wait to see how Brand New Day unfolds.

    I can sort’ve handle the continuity grousing, but am really tired of the married fanboys who feel like because Pete isn’t married that they somehow don’t love their wives anymore.

    My biggest disappointment would definitely be Countdown. Obviously rushed and disorganized from the start, DC used up a lot of my good will by following up 52 with such a poorly executed book. Probably doesn’t matter much given whatever hell Grant is going to unleash on the DCU. Should be fun.

    I’m also not thrilled that Queen and Country got put to bed, but I don’t begrudge Rucka the break.

  23. Young Avengers sucked! And hopefully it will fade away into oblivion once this Initiative drivel is done. It is nothing like Teen Titans, it feels rushed and contrived and since they did the big reveal of Hulking and Wiccan being lovers, the book has done nothing other than show Patriot is a drug riddled fraud, and diminish the real Hawkeye by showing that any teenaged girl can use his bow just as good as he does. Back in the Hawkeye mini way back when it was determined that his bow is a 250 pound pull and that some burly guard had a hard time pulling it but we are supposed to believe that this teen can with no problem? Utter crap.

    The Straczynski “Reign of Terror”. Thankfully that is over, from the organic webshooters, the Gwen Stacy/Norman Osborn tryst, the unmasking before the world, the sudden hero worship of Tony Stark, to Mephisto causing the events in One More Day. Since when was Mephisto a player in the Spidey universe? Clearly JMS doesn’t know the character at all, and this new creative team can only do better since the bar was lowered quite a bit with this run.

    Wildcats. When I read that Jim Lee was taking control of Wildcats again I knew this would happen. Once the book was turned into a great read by Joe Casey, Lee decided to scrap that story early and restart the title, again, and for what? One issue? Lee has always done that when Wildstorm title not named Wildcats, he feels a need to get involved instead of allowing the talent on the book to continue on uninterrupted. Is his ego that fragile?

    DC punking out and dropping “The Boys”. They knew what they had when they hired Ennis, to act offended after the fact is plain bull.

    Wizard going from a “comic” magazine to a “pop culture” magazine, are they trying to become a fifth rate Maxim?

    The return of Captain Marvel? Pointless.

  24. Nice list, one I aggree with (mostly).
    I think the Criminal design was definately a mis-step, but it’s a bit harsh to lump it with the likes of time-wasters like OMD and ridiculously late books like Wildcats. At least Criminal was a brilliant story and didn’t ship that late (if at all).

    I’m also REALLY dissapointed with the Flash debacle. I was sad that they didn’t give Bart the chance he needed (actually, he should’ve stayed as Kid Flash for a couple more years, I say) but I too was happy that Waid and Wally were back. Hopefully Waid will eventually hit his stride and bring the book back to where it should be.