Most Offensive Marvel Comics Stories

Though there are plenty of offensive and problematic comic book stories, the most offensive Marvel Comics stories leave you feeling just a bit unclean after reading.

Most Offensive Marvel Comics Stories

Comic book fans tend to get offended by a lot of things – when Spider-Man sold his marriage to Mephisto, for example – but there's a special place in the Marvel family for the most offensive Marvel Comics stories. Some stories just hit a nerve with fans or tick off a certain subset of people.

But we're not talking about these stories. No, we're talking about the ones that hit gold. The ones that make people feel uncomfortable – unclean, even – on a moral level. The most offensive Marvel Comics stories are the ones that make you stop and ask why you even read comics.

Secret Empire

Secret Empire isn't even completed yet, and already it's regarded as among the most offensive Marvel Comics stories ever written. This is primarily because the writers seem to be completely oblivious of all the horrendous implications conjured up by this storyline.

The concept is this: Captain America is an agent of HYDRA.

In case you don't see why this is horrendous, let me reiterate this once more. Steve Rogers, a man who fought the Nazis in World War II, a symbol of all that is good and just about American Freedom, a man who protested the Vietnam War by giving up his shield, a character created by a Jewish artist and a Jewish writer, is an agent of HYDRA, an organization that worked with the Nazis.

Were the writers at Marvel Comics high, or did the deliberately set out to write the most offensive Marvel Comics comic book ever written?

At first it sounded like the Red Skull, Captain American's Nazi nemesis, had merely used the Cosmic Cube to brainwash Cap. Okay, that would be okay –

Nope! Turns out Captain America, in a surprising retcon, was always a Nazi, and brainwashed himself (using the Cosmic Cube) into believing he was a good guy. The real Steve Rogers was always a HYDRA Agent. In fact, he even helped the Nazis kill American troops during WWII by leaking information to them.

But wait, no, now there's another Steve Rogers who apparently was banished from another dimension, implying that HYDRA Steve Rogers really is just an alternate universe version of Rogers sent here to –

Look, it almost doesn't matter. Ultimately, it's probable that the status quo of the Marvel Universe will return to normal after Secret Empire wraps up, and that all of this going back and forth is a publicity stunt that will ultimately affect nothing in the coming years of the Marvel Universe.

However, by exploiting Captain America in such a manner – especially in an era where real Nazis are destroying the tenants of American democracy – is irresponsible. Artist Jack Kirby, one of the most important figures in Marvel Comics history, was a Jewish man who created Captain America to beat down the oppressive anti-Semitism of the Nazis. Imagine how Kirby would feel now, seeing his creation siding with an organization that sided with Nazis.

Of all of the offensive Marvel Comics stories, this one is more than just poorly timed. It's in bad taste.

Ms. Marvel's Magical Pregnancy (and Rape)

Avengers #200 is an infamous issue for a number of reasons. Being a landmark issue for the comic, Marvel Comics tried to pull out all the stops for this issue. They wanted to make this an issue you remembered.

Oh, they succeeded, alright. Oh God, they succeeded.

Four different writers – James Shooter, George Perez, Bob Layton, and David Michelinie – worked on this issue, and this is what we got. These were some of the best comic writers at that time. None of these writers stopped this stupidity from happening.

In this landmark issue, Carol Danvers (aka Ms. Marvel) is impregnated. She has no idea how, but the child develops at an alarming rate, being born and fully grown within a few days. None of the Avengers find anything odd about this.

Nor do they find it odd when it turns out that the child Carol just birthed is actually an entity named "Marcus," who had transplanted his consciousness into Carol's fetus after – and I am not making this up – "seducing" Carol using psychic powers, and impregnating her.

In other words, Marcus date-raped Carol, and forced her to give birth to essentially a clone of himself.

And none of the other Avengers see anything wrong with this, especially when Marcus takes Ms. Marvel away with him in another dimension, where he'd keep her under mind control so he could have his way with her.

So yeah, Carol Danvers is raped, impregnated, kidnapped by her child, only to be raped God knows how many times in another dimension.

This experience was more than a little traumatic. Once Carol regained control of her mind, she left the Avengers, choosing to join the X-Men instead – where she was then physically wrecked by Rogue.

It is no surprise that Carol Danvers spent the next decade (in real time) as a serious alcoholic.

I'd like to point out that Carol Danvers has since become a feminist icon in comic books, but only after competent writers started writing her.

Spider-Man: Sins Past

While One More Day may be the most infuriating Spider-Man comic book in recent memory, Sins Past remains so wrong on every level that most comic book fans and writers try to ignore it ever happened. It is easily one of the most offensive Marvel Comics stories ever written.

The idea behind this comic storyline is that Spider-Man encounters two young Green Goblin knock-offs who claim to be Norman Osborn's children. Okay, that's weird, but it isn't an all-together bad story. After all, Harry Osborn, Norman's son, had taken up the mantle of the Green Goblin for years during the 70s and 80s, and that's regarded as a classic Spidey storyline.

But Harry was an only child. Who's the mother of these two twins?

Gwen Stacy.

Yeah, Spider-Man's old girlfriend, the pure and beloved Gwen Stacy. The character Norman Osborn personally threw off a bridge.

That Gwen Stacy.

So while Peter was away once, Gwen ended up having an affair with Norman Osborn – the father of her and Peter's mutual friend, Harry Osborn – and got pregnant. Yes, in case you were wondering, Peter and Gwen were dating at the time.

So then she got pregnant without anyone noticing, was sent to France, gave birth to twins there, and just no one noticed. She was going to tell Peter about it, of course, but Norman couldn't have any of that, so he just threw her off a bridge. So Norman, after surviving his infamous glider impaling death, just raised the twins himself.

I would say this storyline cheapened Gwen Stacy's character and death for countless fans, but, seeing as how no one has referenced back to this storyline since its publications, I'm pretty sure Marvel wants you to forget it ever happened.

But no matter how much time passes, it is impossible to forget Norman Osborn having sex with Gwen, especially when you learn the artist modeled Norman's face in this storyline after then-President George W. Bush. Sweet dreams.

X-Men: Holy War

The idea of Nightcrawler becoming a priest is not a bad idea. Not the building blocks for one of the most offensive Marvel Comics stories at all. In fact, it's kind of brilliant. Nightcrawler, the most demonic looking mutant in the X-Men, has always been Catholic. He's always been a believer even in the face of bigotry. The idea of him becoming a priest is logical, almost.

And, yes, religious bigotry toward mutants is also, in theory, a good idea. One of the most beloved X-Men comics, God Loves, Man Kills, tells the story of Reverend William Stryker, a holy man who claims that mutants are evil. It's a subdued, brilliant story that leads to a great debate between Kitty Pryde (a Jewish girl) and the fanatical Stryker. It's one of the best X-Men stories around.

However, writer Chuck Austen is not nearly a talented enough writer to pull off that sort of story. Nor, apparently, does he have any idea how the Catholic church works.

You see, Kurt had been training for many issues to be a priest, and, upon being ordained, started acting differently. However, when several X-Men end up crucified on the front lawn of the Xavier Mansion, it seems like something fishy is afoot.

Turns out, Nightcrawler was never actually training to be a priest. He was just being brainwashed by an organization called the Church of Humanity, who – and I am not kidding here – wanted to make Nightcrawler the Pope, convince Catholics that the Rapture was coming, and, because Nightcrawler looks like a demon, convince the world that the Devil had taken over the Church, forcing Catholics to renounce their faith, and join the Church of Humanity, which, somehow, would lead to the Church of Humanity taking over the world.

Where do we begin with this stupidity?

First off, newly ordained priests can't just become the Pope. It takes years and years of training to reach that level of rank. Second off, Catholics don't believe in the Rapture. The Rapture is an Evangelist concept developed in the late 1800s. Nowhere is the Rapture ever mentioned in the Bible, and never has anyone in the Catholic Church has ever endorsed the idea of the Rapture.

And, most important of all, how stupid does Chuck Austen think Catholics are if he believes all of them would just believe Nightcrawler – a mutant, yes, but someone who the rest of the church ordained as the Pope – be the Devil? Countless corrupt Popes have existed. Why would the presence of one Pope who had gone out of his way for years to help people convince every Catholic that Catholicism wasn't real?

This is not even touching upon all the points in the comics where characters are overtly dismissive of religion, with the narration presenting Nightcrawler's Catholic faith as a character flaw. Many religious comic readers found the comic offensive, and even non-religious readers thought the narrative among the most offensive Marvel Comics storylines ever put out.

Oh, and then Chuck Austen establishes that Nightcrawler really is part-demon. So that's stupid.

The Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum

Marvel Comics's Ultimate imprint was, in theory, a good idea. Marvel Comics had published so many stories and so many superheroes that new readers might be overwhelmed by all the new characters. It made sense to introduce an alternate universe of superheroes for new readers to enjoy. A sort of "training-wheels" for the main Marvel Comics universe.

What the writers didn't expect was that the Ultimate imprint would take on a life of its own. It became complicated. It developed a continuity. After awhile, it stopped being "training-wheels" for the real Marvel Comics, and became just another universe in the Marvel Comics multiverse.

And so writer Jeph Loeb (the man behind Batman: The Long Halloween) decided to simplify things with two stories: The Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum.

I'm going to put this to you lightly. Allow me to summarize both issues.

Incest, cannibalism, murder, murder, genocide, murder, rape, rape, domestic abuse, aaaaaand murder.

There really is no "plot" or "story" to either of these two arcs. There is an excuse about Magneto trying to take over the world and Ultron is involved in The Ultimates 3, but the whole thing is an excuse plot. It's intention? Kill off a ton of characters so future readers jumping on the Ultimate line won't have to worry about all the separate characters.

Marvel Comics fans were pissed off when fan favorites – including Wolverine – were killed in unceremonious scenes. But the worst had to be the Wasp, who is eaten alive by the Blob in a grotesque sequence that many readers felt was written as an afterthought.

What makes this one of the most offensive Marvel Comics stories is just the indifference Jeph Loeb had toward the characters. At no point does he show any empathy or care toward the characters in the story, and, as a result, he manages to piss off everyone reading it.

There's something truly awful about a story that has no respect toward the subject matter. This storyline proves that in spades.

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Anthony Gramuglia
Anthony Gramuglia
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Anthony Gramuglia

Obsessive writer fueled by espresso and drive. Into speculative fiction, old books, and long walks. Follow me at twitter.com/AGramuglia

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