5 times Retcons saved a character (and 5 times he ruined him)

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For more than 80 years, Marvel Comics has been telling stories featuring some of pop culture’s most iconic heroes and villains. From the Fantastic Four to Spider-Man, from the X-Men to the Incredible Hulk, these characters have lasted for decades for good reason.

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Naturally, after so many years of new stories, Marvel’s creative teams sometimes want to shake things up a bit and reveal to readers something that was previously unknown. Sometimes these changes add new depth to a famous character and are accepted into the status quo, and other times the new concept drops like a lead ball.


ten Ruined: Iron Man revealed to be an evil spy

teenage iron man

So one of Marvel’s flagship heroes and leader of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man, actually worked for Kang the Conquerer from the start and ended up murdering a few people. It turns out that fans didn’t like this new development.

To defeat the original Iron Man, the Avengers travel through time and recruit a teenage Tony Stark who had not yet been brainwashed by Kang, and they bring him to the present to fight his elder brother. Villainous Stark eventually dies, and the teenage version lives in the present to become the new Iron Man. Not surprisingly, this story has long been forgotten.

9 Saved: Wolverine’s claws were part of his mutation

Wolverine bone claws

Everyone now knows that Wolverine’s claws originally appeared when his mutation kicked in, along with his animal abilities and healing. For a time, however, it was believed that the claws were part of his gloves or were implanted when the adamantium was bonded to his skeleton.

When the indestructible metal was ripped from his body by Magneto, Wolverine’s readers and X-Men were stunned to discover that the claws had remained, now in their original bony form. This change made perfect sense and added a new layer to her mutation and possible storyline, which was further explored in the excellent “Origin” storyline.

8 Ruined: the Maximoff twins are no longer Magneto’s children

For years Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have been known as Magneto’s mutant children. They were even members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants before they turned to the heroic side and worked with the X-Men and the Avengers. For some reason Marvel decided to shake things up.

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It was ultimately revealed that the two characters weren’t the descendants of the Master of Magnetism after all, and in fact, weren’t even mutants themselves. They were experienced by a cosmic being named High Evolutionary as children, an origin that more closely matches the Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of the two.

7 Saved: Updating The Punisher’s Origins Over Time

When it was originally featured in 1974, Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, was a Vietnam War veteran, which made perfect sense given the time he made his debut. However, linking characters to real-world events can quickly cause problems over time. on.

In order not to date the character and keep fans wondering how Frank is still the same age despite serving in Vietnam, Marvel is simply updating the conflict he fought in over time. The modern version of Frank served in the Gulf War and that might change in the future as well to keep him relevant. In the comic book world, it’s a little suspension of disbelief and fans are happy to run with it.

6 Ruined: Peter Parker turned out to be a clone

Spider-Man Scarlet Spider Clone Saga

Things got weird in the 90s. For Peter Parker, however, it got a lot worse than weird. The highly controversial Clone Saga began in 1994 and brought in many Parker clones to muddy the waters and cast doubt on who was the real deal.

Fans weren’t too happy when it was revealed that the Peter Parker they had been reading for so long was, in fact, a clone the entire time and that Ben Reilly, aka the Scarlet Spider, was the original. . This led to a massive change in the status quo where Reilly became the new web-slinger until another retcon of course rolled back and Peter was reinstated.

5 Saved: Bucky Barnes returned from the dead

Red Guardian Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes was originally Captain America’s young sidekick during WWII. However, he didn’t last long and was killed in a heroic sacrifice. For many years that was the end of Bucky’s story. At least until 2005, when the mysterious Winter Soldier arrived at the scene.

Bucky is revealed to be still alive and acting as the brainwashed deadly assassin until his memories and personality are restored. He now operates as an antihero, although for a brief period he actually took on the role of Captain America and more than proved himself to be a good man and a huge fan favorite character.

4 Ruined: Gwen Stacy’s affair with Norman Osborn was completely wrong

Gwen Stacy, an iconic sweetheart of Peter Parker, was presented as a very genuine and down to earth girl. She loved Peter with all her heart and she was loved just as much in return. Their story turned tragic when she was murdered by the Green Goblin, but a comeback years later ruined her legacy for dozens of fans.

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Before her violent end, Gwen engaged in an affair with Norman Osborn, who is of course the Green Goblin himself. This relationship allowed her to have twins that Osborn had raised overseas in secret, while her goblin formula made them age quickly. The whole storyline and its ending is hated by fans and has been totally forgotten ever since.

3 Saved: Symbiote species have a much stronger origin

During the 90s, it was difficult to choose a Marvel book without a symbiote being involved somewhere in the story. Venom and Carnage were extremely popular, and naturally many imitations have appeared over time, even an entire symbiote planet that was meant to be the species’ homeworld. Despite their overexposure, little was known about their origins.

In recent years, fans have been treated to not one, but two takes of the early days of the symbiote race that work well together, although the second attempt is a clear comeback. At first, fans were told that the Symbiotes were actually a peaceful race named the Klyntar, until recent events such as Absolute carnage and King in black revealed the dark and epic creation of the Klyntars by the god Knull. This revelation revealed that their claims for peace were a lie and that something far more sinister was lurking behind them.

2 Ruined: “Hail Hydra” … or not

Captain America, a symbol of truth, justice and American style. A selfless hero who will always defend the underdog. An Avenger and an Agent Hydra. This particular revelation has become a hit online for the wrong reasons.

The series Secret Empire told fans that Steve Rogers had in fact always been a Hydra sleeper agent and is now making himself known. Marvel himself doubled down on the idea and claimed it really was. Of course, it wasn’t, and the Hydra Cap was an alternate version of the real Rogers and was quickly crushed by the real deal. Although not a real retcon, it really annoyed the fans and we still laugh at it today.

1 Saved: Weapon X meant a lot more than fans realized

The Weapon X program was the very thing that gifted (or cursed?) Wolverine with his adamantium skeleton before he went wild and unleashed inside. Most fans just assumed that the “X” was an unimaginative letter attributed due to the hero’s connection to the X-Men, and that was probably the reason at first.

Eventually, it was revealed that the “X” was actually the Roman numeral for 10, and therefore Wolverine was actually weapon 10 and one of the many other experiments. An impressive addition to this twist was the reveal of who Weapon 1 was; a certain star-studded man with a plan.

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Captain America and Iron Man fighting and the cover of X-Men # 2 2021


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