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10 Marvel Comics That Got Worse Once The Original Writer Left – CBR – Comic Book Resources

There have been many times over the years when a writer leaves a book they launched and everything falls apart.
Marvel has been the sales leader in the comic industry for a long time. Some of the greatest writers and artists of all time have worked for Marvel, turning in fan-favorite runs that have made the publisher’s heroes, villains, and teams some of the most legendary in the comic industry. However, that doesn’t mean that Marvel has always had impeccable creative runs.
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Over the years, there have been many times when a writer leaves a book they launched, and everything falls apart. Other times, the books are still pretty good but not as amazing as they used to be.
After Secret Wars, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino launched Old Man Logan, a solo series starring the alternate universe Wolverine come to the 616 universe. Lemire stayed on the book for twenty-four issues and turned in one of the finest Wolverine stories in years, one that saw Logan come to grips with the tragedies of his past in the Wastelands.
Writer Ed Brisson took over after Lemire left and did a pretty job with the book most of the time. Lemire’s run was better, and Brisson’s did represent a fall in quality. The book went from constantly phenomenal to merely great.
Mark Waid wasn’t the original writer of Captain America, but he was the best of the ’90s. Taking over after a period of diminishing sales from longtime Cap scribe Mark Gruenwald, he made the title a contender again while working with artist Ron Garney. Unbeknownst to the new team, Marvel had already made a deal to farm Captain America out to Rob Liefeld along with Avengers for Heroes Reborn.
Liefeld was joined by co-writer Jeph Loeb on the relaunched Captain America, but the book couldn’t compete with the quality of the Waid/Garney run. Waid and Garney were both put on the book the minute Heroes Reborn was over.
Iron Man has always been a character with situational popularity in the comics. One of the character’s most popular solo books of the 21st century was The Invincible Iron Man relaunch by writer Warren Ellis and artist Adi Granov. Positioning Stark as a futurist and setting up a conflict over the Extremis virus, it was an Iron Man highlight.
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Even years later, Ellis’s six issues are one of the best Iron Man stories ever. He only stayed on the book for six issues and was replaced by writers Charles and Daniel Knauf. The book took an immediate dip in quality and never recovered until it was canceled and relaunched by Matt Fraction.
Jonathan Hickman is one of the best writers working in the modern comic industry. In 2012, he relaunched Avengers and New Avengers, starting a three-year epic that would end in 2015’s Secret Wars. It was a big idea superhero/sci-fi epic like only Hickman could deliver. After it ended, the book was relaunched as All-New All-Different Avengers with writer Mark Waid.
It was immediately apparent that the book was nowhere as good as it was when Hickman was writing it. Ever since, Avengers has been nowhere near as good, no matter who was writing it or how many relaunches there have been.
Wolverine has long been one of the most important X-Men, but he hadn’t led the team until after Schism. Wolverine And The X-Men was written by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Bachalo, starring the feral mutant and the X-Men who had left Utopia with him. Aaron stayed on the book until the end of the first volume, leaving to start The Amazing X-Men.
Wolverine And The X-Men was relaunched with writer Jason Latour, but the book only lasted over a year before Wolverine died, and it became a book that guest-starred different heroes subbing for the dead Wolverine. The book’s quality died as well during Latour’s run, and it was canceled.
Excalibur has long been the home of some of Marvel’s most powerful mutants. However, calling the book good has often been a road too far. Launched by writer Chris Claremont and artist Alan Davis in a one-shot before it became an ongoing in 1988, it was a different kind of X-Men book. Claremont and Davis were a great team, and the book prospered.
Claremont and Davis both left the book with issue 34, but Davis returned as a writer/artist on issue 41 in 1991 for a celebrated stint. After he left with issue #53, Scott Lobdell took over as writer, and the book never really recovered. Ever since then, it’s been a pretty lackluster book regardless of who relaunched it, with not even Claremont’s return for a new volume in 2001 helping any.
Chris Claremont is Marvel’s longest-tenured writer, writing Uncanny X-Men for seventeen years and leaving after launching X-Men. Claremont basically created everything great about the X-Men, so it was definitely tough to follow him. Uncanny X-Men saw Jim Lee, John Byrne, and Whilce Potracio took over as writers for a time before Scott Lobdell came on, and Lee and Byrne were on X-Men until Fabian Nicieza became writer.
Lobdell and Nicieza were pretty good, but no one could compare to Claremont. Joe Kelly, Steve Seagle, and Alan Davis all took over at various times in the ’90s with varying degrees of quality. Even Claremont’s return in 2000 couldn’t compare to his earlier run.
After Heroes Reborn, writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez relaunched Avengers with a brand new first issue and brought the book back to the top of the comic industry in 1998. It was one of the premier superhero team books, especially once Grant Morrison left DC’s JLA. Perez left the book after issue 34, but Busiek stayed on until issue 57.
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Busiek’s run made him one of modern Marvel’s most influential writers, but things weren’t the same after he left the book. Before signing his DC exclusive contract, Geoff Johns took over, and the book was still good but not great. After Johns left, Chuck Austen took over as writer, and the book’s quality sank like a stone before Brian Michael Bendis came on and disassembled the team, making them new.
Jonathan Hickman returned to Marvel in 2019, revitalizing the X-Men franchise with House Of X/Powers Of X before launching X-Men as the line’s new flagship book. Hickman ended up leaving X-Men with issue 21, and the book was relaunched by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Pepe Larraz. Right off the bat, the book was entertaining with great art but felt soulless.
Every issue got worse. The book had no overall story, the characters were badly written, and it was a massive step back from Hickman, who wrote a book that had feeling even when he was just spinning his wheels. Duggan’s X-Men is nowhere near what it once was and is one of the worst X-Men runs in recent memory.
Grant Morrison’s New X-Men was a revolutionary take on the X-Men after the safe ’90s. Morrison made the X-Men feel like the future in their forty-issue run by working with artists like Frank Quitely, Phil Jimenez, John Paul Leon, Chris Bachalo, and more. After editorial disputes, Morrison left Marvel, and Chuck Austen took over with issue 155.
The book remained New X-Men through issue 156 before it was rechristened X-Men. Austen stayed on and continued a run of mediocrity that had started on Uncanny X-Men. Morrison’s New X-Men is still one of the best team books of all time, but Austen’s time on the book is one of the worst.
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David Harth has been reading comics for close to 30 years. He writes for several websites, makes killer pizza, goes to Disney World more than his budget allows, and has the cutest daughter in the world. He can prove it. Follow him on Twitter-


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