There’s always been a select few comic book characters that have enjoyed immense popularity despite being as compelling as blocks of wood. These characters are often overexposed, sometimes forced into storylines that would have otherwise worked well without their presence. Fans can’t get enough of them though, and will typically sing the praises of these heroes and villains for years. Today, I present five characters who all share the dubious honor of being some of the most overrated creations in all of comics.
If Marvel during the 1990s could be summed up with a single word, that word would be “carnage.” It also happens to be the name of one of the worst Marvel villains in the history of comics. Originally starting out as a member of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery, Carnage was a product of Venom’s popularity throughout the decade. Assigned to Eddie Brock as his cellmate in prison, infamous serial killer Cletus Kassady was the sole witness to Venom’s rebirth. While Venom escaped to seek vengeance against Spider-Man, the alien symbiote left a spawn behind, which took an immediate liking to Kassady’s violent nature. The two would eventually merge to form the super-villain known as Carnage, and Marvel would be plagued for years by hyper-violent storylines that starred the red-faced monstrosity.
Looking at Carnage, it’s obvious that Marvel was trying to create their version of The Joker. However, unlike the iconic DC villain, Carnage had zero personality and seemed to compensate for that by killing as many innocent people as possible. Nothing showcases this more than the 1993 storyline “Maximum Carnage.” Want to see Carnage and his acolytes bludgeon, impale and eviscerate people for 336 pages? Well, that’s the only damn thing the book gives you.
Cable is boring. There’s really nothing interesting about him. Created by Rob Liefeld (red flag there), Cable is the future son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. After being transformed into a living weapon by the villainous Mr. Sinister, Cable has fought a never ending war against Apocalypse. Seeking aid in his battles, the hero has used time travelling technology to make contact with the X-Men.
Cable has spent nearly three decades traveling across time to warn Marvel’s heroes of some impending doom that will engulf the plant. The X-Men, who always take the time to listen to his nonsensical ramblings, inevitably do what he says only for it to not matter anyway. Yeah, it’s exciting stuff, right? To put it simply, Cable’s very existence is to explain the plot or backstory to whatever convoluted storyline he’s featured prominently in. He also seems to have a pouch fetish. At the end of the day, Cable is an over-serious bore of a character that should be left in the past to rot.
Created by Todd McFarlane (who also created Venom), Spawn was of one Image Comics’ first superheroes. Spawn, before his ghoulish makeover, was originally a CIA agent named Al Simmons. After being murdered by his boss, Simmons was brought back to Earth by the demon Malebolgia, who transformed him into the black-spiky costumed man you see above.
Looking at Spawn, he’s clearly an amalgamation of other comic book characters. He’s part Batman, Venom, Ghost Rider and Punisher. Perhaps that’s why the character enjoyed a period of popularity for years, even getting his own movie in 1997 and animated series on HBO. Like most comic books during the 90s, Spawn was well known for its blood, gore and rampant nudity. The character has since fallen into irrelevancy as of late, but McFarlane and co. are looking to reboot the character this year. I think I’ll hold my excitement in check for now.
Oh, I can feel the hate for this one. I’m sorry, but Gambit has gotten by on his hair and accent for years. Yet another product of the 1990s, Gambit fulfills everything that was wrong with comics during that decade. Incomprehensible backstory involving Mr. Sinister? Check. Terrible costume? Check. Stupid 1990s bangs reminiscent of Shawn’s from Boy Meets World? Check.
Gambit, also known as Remy Etienne LeBeau, seems to be the only Cajun accented mutant in existence. Working as a professional thief, LeBeau has been both friend and foe to the X-Men. His ability to charge inanimate objects with kinetic energy also makes him insanely powerful. Still doesn’t explain the pink armor and that weird headband-face thing he wears, but he’s always been a bit eccentric.
Gambit’s biggest flaw as a character is the thing that “defines” him the most. That particular thing is his outrageous accent. I can only read so many “dis” and “dats” and “t’ings” before losing my goddamn mind. Still, I am hopeful that Channing Tatum can make the character seem cool. He has an uphill battle though. Also, you should watch Boy Meets World. It was a damn fine television show. FEENAY!
At the end of day, it will always be you, Eddie. Yes, easily the most overrated character in all of comics is Venom. Outside of a select few, there is no single comic book villain that has amassed as many fans than Spider-Man’s alien enemy. He’s gotten so popular over the years that many fans rank him next to such Marvel villains as Doctor Octopus, Magneto and Loki. Sure, he certainly has a cool look, but what else does he have besides that?
Marvel readers know that the Spider-Man was the first to wear the strange alien-symbiote as a replacement for his classic red and blue costume. After learning the gooey little life form was actually feasting on his very essence, Spider-Man managed to remove it after much effort. It eventually found its way to Eddie Brock, who happened to be the world’s biggest Spider-Man hater at the time. What a coincidence! Brock and the symbiote eventually became the creature known as Venom, a dark-twisted mirror version of Spider-Man.
A creation of Todd McFarlane, Venom (who clearly was not in any way used in the design for Spawn), was initially going to be a one-off character to wrap up the “Symbiote” storyline. However, the overwhelming positive response to Venom from comic readers swiftly prompted Marvel to bring the character back and feature him in as many Spider-Man stories as possible. The only problem was outside of really hating Spider-Man for some reason, Venom’s character depth was nonexistent. He eventually received his own limited-series, Venom: Lethal Protector, which was quickly panned by all who read it. His over-exposure continued with the birth of his offspring, Carnage. They would later spawn even more annoying symbiote characters like Toxin, Scream and Hybrid.
Venom, like his various multi-colored offspring, has no personality or real reason to have ever existed past his first confrontation with Marvel’s wall-crawler. It doesn’t matter if it’s Mac Gargan or even Flash Thompson wearing the suit. He’s just a blight on comics. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Blight is the name of another evil symbiote.
What do you think reader? Agree with the list? Any comic book characters that you think are overrated? Let us know in the comments below!
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