The 5 Worst Comic Book Series Ever: Terrible Comic Books
Normally, I'll spend hours waxing poetic about how great comic books can be. But some comics are terrible. Really terrible. Not only do they bring the genre as a whole down, often times they're so bad they actually prevent better, future stories from ever taking off.
Here is a list of some of the worst comic books of all time.
5. Youngblood (Image, et al.)
Written and drawn by infamous 90s superstar Rob Liefeld, Youngblood was a superhero book devoid of joy, excitement, and talent. A product of the creators penchant for extreme, amoral butt-kicking, gun wielding bad asses with giant, deformed muscles, Youngblood may well be our ultimate punishment for buying X-Force when we were 8.
One of the most immature comics in a medium full of immature train wrecks, Youngblood is like a twelve year old boys idea of what being "cool" is. All of the members are stone cold killers, and why not? Exploding chests are awesome. That's almost par for the course these days, but... then there's the sex.
Oh, yes, there's sex. Lots of sex.
Oh, yeah. This is awesome. That's totally not Wolverine and Cyclops dressed up like Jean Grey (?), totally doin' each other. Beautiful. Wonderful. Great. Kill me now.
There's plenty more where this came from. Youngblood recently made a come back, because God is dead and we're living in hell now. One of the recent issues guest starred President Barack Obama. I don't care what your political ideology is, no political figure deserves that kind of punishment.
4. Chris Claremont's New Excalibur (Marvel)
Anyone who has followed comic books knows that Chris Claremont is an almost mythic figure in the canon of superhero comics. The man is responsible for nearly twenty years of Uncanny X-Men's best stories. His contribution to the world of modern comic storytelling is unparralleled.
That was then, and this is now. Today, the man can't stop turning out dreck to save his own life. The very low point of his career was when he revived the classic Excalibur title in 2005. The concept, vaguely, is that Excalibur is Britain's premier super hero team. Okay. Great. A whole 40% of the team is even British, so you beat out the revival of Canada's resident team, Alpha Flight.
The entire thing was just a disaster though. The lowest point was when fans clamored to the book to see The Exiles fan-favorite character Nocturne join the team. With new readers ready and excited to see what this fun loving lady is going to do on a new team, what's the first thing Chris Claremont has happen?
She has a stroke.
She isn't shot, she isn't beaten up, she just has a stroke. This is followed by months of physical therapy. Gosh. Good story. Lots of fun. Glad we moved that character over to a new book.
The series was quickly canceled and Claremont immediately took over Exiles himself. Before he was removed from that too. I can only assume that Claremont has some type of contract with Marvel stating they can't use his characters if he isn't allowed to write some X-Men related book whenever he wants. Marvel seems to be figuring out how to deal with it, though. All of his stories are being moved further and further out of continuity. Just look, here's his progression since early 2000.
- X-Treme X-Men - One of the flagship X-Titles
- Excalibur- The important story of Professor X and Magneto on Genosha, dealing regularly with the other teams.
- New Excalibur- On another continent, he only gets to use his pet characters (Psyloke, Sage, etc)
- Exiles - Now his stories take place entirely in another dimension. Even there, he still manages to ruin stories and continuity.
- X-Men Forever - Marvel says, "Screw it." This takes place completely out of continuity and lets him pretend he never stopped writing Uncanny in the 90s in the first place.
3. Ultimatum (Marvel)
Jeph Loeb used to be a good writer. I think. Looking back, I think I might have just been duped by his collaboration with top notch artists. But today? The man is a walking disaster. The worst offender from his huge crop of stinkers (which include The Ultimates vol. 3, The Incredible Hulk, and Ultimate X) was the mega-crossover event Ultimatum.
The entire thing is a childish foray into superhero murder and torture porn. The book opens with most of New York City being murdered by Magneto, including large portions of the X-Men, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and other popular characters.
I can handle character death, and maybe this all would have been okay except for what comes next. As the villains begin to cut a path of destruction across the world, they begin to violently and graphically murder the other heroes. The Wasp is eaten alive by The Blob. Its okay, though. Her (abusive) husband, Giant Man will get his revenge by returning the favor and ALSO eating The Blob alive. Comics are all grown up now.
The entire thing is juvenile. I don't know who this was marketed too. It is too violent for children and too stupid for adults. God only knows.
The entire thing ends with Magneto killing Wolverine, Cyclops killing Magneto, and an assassin killing Cyclops, and The Thing killing Doctor Doom. Hope you didn't like any characters too much, because it looks like the only people who survived were some random X-Men, Spider-man, and The Fantastic Four. Good times. This was the end result of four years of some of the worst writing in decades and it shows.
2. Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose (Broadsword)
Until this last few months, I would say this is the worst comic ever created. Holy God. I don't even know what to say. I'll let this image speak for me.
Work it out.
"You have to get out of here!"
Okay, that's reasonable. This superhero is warning someone off.
"Your VAGINA is HAUNTED"
How does that work? If her vagina is haunted, where can she go so that it won't be haunted? The story behind this is that the girl had a vagina transplant and the previous owner (1/5th of a team of sexy undead nurses) is out to reclaim it. I don't know if the writer understands science, but vagina transplants are generally not things that happen.
This is an actual storyline. This happened. Everything about this comic is gross and ugly and unpleasant. The oversexualized main character makes Witchblade look a Puritan novel. The storylines are... well, once again, look above. Just awful all around.
What really makes Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose one of the worst comic books ever, however, is the utter lack of thought put into the most basic plot points. You'll rarely see a comic so lazily constructed in your life. The protagonists are incompetent, the villains are dull, and everyone seems to live in a sexy fugue state bumbling into one another and occasionally doing sex magic.
1. The Rise of Arsenal (DC)
Congratulations: an ongoing series actually won. The Rise of Arsenal, a 4-issue mini-series written by J. T. Krul managed to become the worst comic book ever written before it even ended. Spawning out of the already monumentally terrible Cry for Justice event, The Rise of Arsenal follows Roy Harper, the Green Arrow's former side kick, as he recovers from the events that destroyed his life.
His arm has been severed in a terrible battle and his daughter Lian killed when super-terrorist Prometheus blew up his hometown of Star City. Now, the Green Arrow would go on to track down and kill Prometheus and for some reason, people have a problem with this. If I tracked down and shot Osama Bin Laden in the head, I'd have a parade, but whatever. Cry For Justice is only in the top twenty worst comic books of all time, and we're talking about number one here.
After coming out of a medically induced coma and finding himself mangled and his daughter dead, Roy lashes out at everyone around him as cruelly as possible. Black Canary, Batman, his successor as Green Arrow's side kick Mia, the former Wonder Girl Donna Troi, and just about anyone he can get his mitts on. Okay. Great. He's traumatized, people get mean when they're dealing with loss.
Then he starts doing heroin again. Okay. Then he physically attacks someone at his daughters funeral. Right. This is already the most miserable comic book experience I've ever seen.
Then his daughter's super-villain mother shows up for a fight. She attacks him and while the two fight, Roy's inner-monologue states that she was the best lay of his life. As he beats the ever living shit out of her, he glibly states that it is okay, because she "likes it rough."
Take that, bereaved mother.
He ties her up and attempts to have hate sex. The key word here is attempts, because... hm. It seems he's lost more than his arm. This is a great story line that can only be told in comics. Dude loses everything he loves and, now the real tragedy, his web shooter is out of fluid.
Naturally, he proves he's still a man by heading out on the street and brutalizes some petty criminals. Awesome. I never thought I'd miss the Comics Code. To make everything better, he trips balls on heroin and imagines a dead and rotting stray cat is actually his still-living daughter.
This entire thing is a travesty. No one acts like a real human being, heroin doesn't work that way, every superhero is portrayed as a miserable, awful person and it manages to be grossly offensive in just about every way possible. How could anyone write this? Why did I read it? I feel like we're both stupid.
Anyway, Batman shows up and gives the old "I'm your friend, trust me, I'll help you get past this." Unlike most instances of this jolly old plot chestnut, Batman starts kicking the piss out of Arsenal during the middle of it. Good shows, Bats. I think you won him over.
Could issue 4 get any worse? There's only one issue left. Let's hope to hell it doesn't. It just might create a black hole and suck all the other comics on the shelf into a point of infinite literary denseness.
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- Grant Morrison's Five Best Comics
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Read Good Comics
Don't let the entire affair sour you too much on comic books, though. Although these are some of the worst comicbooks ever created, the medium on the whole has had some really high points. If you're interested in reading more about quality books, check out the links to your right.
If you have any particular "favorite" awful comic books, be sure to share them in the comments section!