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Random Most Hated DC Comic Arcs

  • Batman Gets The 'Extreme' '90s Treatment In 'Knightquest' on Random Most Hated DC Comic Arcs

    (#13) Batman Gets The 'Extreme' '90s Treatment In 'Knightquest'

    The wildly popular Knightfall storyline that kicked off in Batman (Vol. 1) #492 (May 1993) would grow to become one of the biggest and most elaborate event storylines in the Dark Knight's publishing history up until that point. The three-act story - Knightfall, Knightquest, and KnightsEnd - was told over 38 issues of seven different titles and completely altered the status quo in Gotham City, with lasting ramifications for Batman and DC continuity for years to follow. Elements of the story, including Bane and "the breaking of the Bat" have even seeped into wider popular culture, including celebrated filmmaker Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Saga of films.

    The series is only marred by its terrible second act: Knightquest. After Batman is worn down and crippled by Bane in Knightfall, Bruce Wayne decides in Knightquest to appoint a replacement to protect Gotham City. Rather than choose Dick Grayson, his longtime ward and the original Robin who has become the badass adult hero Nightwing, Bruce chooses... Jean-Paul Valley, who had only debuted as the flame-wielding holy warrior Azrael a year prior.

    Valley decides Bruce's Batman has been too warm and fuzzy and outfits his Bat-suit with armor, razor-sharp Batarangs, lasers, and a flamethrower, among other weapons. The increasingly unstable new Batman dispenses "justice" with extreme prejudice, often injuring, crippling, or, in the case of the serial slayer Abattoir, ending them, while simultaneously tarnishing Batman's reputation and straining his relationship with law enforcement. Meanwhile, Bruce falls in love with his metahuman physiotherapist Shondra Kinsolving and attempts to rescue her from her adoptive brother Benjamin Asplin, AKA Asp. In the end, Asp is slain and Bruce's back is healed, but poor Shondra ends up with the mind of a child and has to be institutionalized.

    Knightquest and Valley's "extreme" Batman were so disliked by fans that DC basically attempted to ignore it by omission. The publisher waited 18 years to collect the first part, "The Search," and another five before collecting the second part, "The Crusade," while the rest of the series had been available as reprints or in trade paperback collections for years.

  • Justice League: Cry for Justice on Random Most Hated DC Comic Arcs

    (#9) Justice League: Cry for Justice

    • Comic Book Series

    After the slaying of Martian Manhunter and the apparent demise of Batman during Darkseid's bid to recreate reality in Final Crisis, Green Lantern Hal Jordan decides that the Justice League needs to be more proactive. With a cobbled-together team of B- and C-list heroes that includes Green Arrow, Atom (Ray Palmer), Starman (Mikaal Tomas), Congorilla, Freddy Freeman, and Supergirl, the new, "extreme" Justice League team abandons "justice" in favor of "revenge," and ditches some of their morals along the way. But even the team's more aggressive approach to crime-fighting - including using torture to extract information - can't stop millions of casualties, including the demise of cute, little grade-school-age Lian Harper, daughter of Roy Harper, AKA Speedy (later Arsenal and Red Arrow).

    Though writer James Robinson previously wrote such acclaimed works as The Golden Age and the series Starman, and was even nominated for an Eisner Award for his work on Justice League: Cry for Justice, the series was simply too dark and too wordy. Rather than rely on the beautiful art of Mauro Cascioli - also nominated for an Eisner for his work on the series - Robinson attempted to drive the plot with pithy dialogue, stale speeches about "justice," and countless yawn-inducing "thought" captions.

  • The Man of Steel Gets Weird Powers And Two Terrible Costumes In 'Superman Red/Superman Blue' on Random Most Hated DC Comic Arcs

    (#10) The Man of Steel Gets Weird Powers And Two Terrible Costumes In 'Superman Red/Superman Blue'

    After years of declining sales, DC decided to wake up comic book fans - and wider popular culture - to the importance of Superman by offing him in the much-publicized "The Death of Superman" storyline that ran from December 1992 to October 1993. The gimmick worked and Superman #75 (January 1993), in which the Last Son of Krypton succumbs to his injuries after finally defeating Doomsday, raked in $30 million in its first day of sales. After a three-month hiatus, the Superman books returned with four Superman pretenders to the throne - Eradicator, Superboy, Steel, and Cyborg Superman - and fans ate them up, making them the best-selling comics of 1993.

    Of course, the real Superman was never really "dead" and eventually returned, albeit with a mullet and a red-and-blue suit of a darker tint. After a few years, Superman settled back into his old role as the stodgy "Big Blue Boy Scout" of comics and sales began to flag again. Rather than making more compelling stories for their flagship character, DC decided to continue the gimmick of messing with Superman's classic formula and took away his iconic costume, his powers, and even his skin tone in "Superman...Reborn!" in Superman #123 (May 1997). The "reborn" Superman had blue skin and painful electricity-based powers that required a blue-and-white "containment suit" that apparently didn't need to cover his face or the top of his head.

    A year later, DC doubled down on the terrible new Superman by borrowing an idea from a weird 1960s story in Superman Red/Superman Blue #1 (February 1998). Though initially of the same mind, the two Supermen eventually grow independent of one another, with Superman Blue being cooler and more intellectual (because he's, you know, blue), and Superman Red being more hot-tempered and impulsive (because he's red, obviously). Neither of them appealed to Lois Lane, or to fans, and Superman's "electric boogaloo" phase has been a running joke ever since. Time has apparently given DC some perspective, because even the publisher pokes fun at the storyline now. In Superman #154 (March 2000), Brainiac slays a copy of Superman Blue and muses, "He's not Superman... and never will be," while in Dark Knights: Metal #4 (February 2018) Superman Blue is explained away as one of Clark Kent's "nightmares."

  • 'Batman: Odyssey' Is Neal Adams's Bizarre And Incomprehensible Swan Song on Random Most Hated DC Comic Arcs

    (#12) 'Batman: Odyssey' Is Neal Adams's Bizarre And Incomprehensible Swan Song

    Neal Adams is one of the most celebrated comic book creators of all time and one of the last living titans of the industry still actively involved in comics. His dramatic, realistic art style helped revitalize the look of DC characters in the late-'60s and early-'70s with seminal runs on Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow. He later left contract work for DC and Marvel and founded his own company, Continuity Comics, to launch series starring his own characters, most notably Megalith. For his many contributions to comic books and to creator rights over his 60 years in the industry, Adams has been honored with inductions into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (1998), the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame (1999), and the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame (2019).

    Because of his legendary status, DC gave Adams wide latitude to tell whatever kind of story he wanted when he deigned to return to write and draw a new Batman story in 2010 after a decades-long hiatus. The result was the six-issue Batman: Odyssey (Vol. 1) miniseries (2010-2011), a rambling, bizarre story so confusing and challenging to get through, let alone understand, that it almost defies description. Adams puts Batman through the wringer, launching just about every major villain he has ever had at him in rapid-fire succession, all the while challenging the Dark Knight's - and Robin's - views on guns and lethal force. 

    The series was highly anticipated and enthusiastically received at first, but proved too bizarre and "insane" for even ardent fans. Adams called it his best work, defending it as only one chapter in a much larger "book" about Batman, but DC only published seven more issues of Volume 2 before deciding to close the book on Odyssey for good.

  • Batman: The Widening Gyre on Random Most Hated DC Comic Arcs

    (#1) Batman: The Widening Gyre

    Whether you love his sense of humor and irreverent movies or you hate them, there's no question that Kevin Smith is a true comic book fan. References to comic books and comic book characters are ladled over everything he does, from his movies, to his SModcasts, to the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. Smith has even owned multiple comic book shops for decades, including Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, which serves as the setting for many of his productions. But being a movie writer and lover of comic books isn't enough to guarantee a successful series, and Batman: The Widening Gyre (2009-2010) is an excellent case in point.

    The story, written by Smith and illustrated by longtime friend Walt Flanagan, finds Batman embroiled in a conflict between Poison Ivy and Etrigan the Demon. Distracted by the reappearance of old flame Silver St. Cloud and the arrival of a violent new "hero" named Baphomet in Gotham, Batman blunders through just about every mission he embarks upon, requiring aid at every turn. His judgment apparently clouded by St. Cloud, the "world's greatest detective" drops his guard and reveals his identity to the clearly unstable Baphomet, who reveals himself to be the villain Onomatopoeia and promptly slits the throat of Batman's paramour.

    Thankfully, only the first six issues of the intended 12-issue series were ever published. Not only is Smith's Batman a clumsy fool who overestimates his abilities and soils himself when things go wrong, but he so disbelieves that he is worthy of love that he drags St. Cloud out of the car by her hair and roughs her up to make sure she is not a robot. Sex and controlled substance references unnecessarily pervade The Widening Gyre, with Poison Ivy incapacitating Batman with synthesized weed and St. Cloud referring to Batman as "Deedee" because their first night of intimacy went into double-digit orgasms. The series has been called "the worst Batman comics," and DC has been bashed for Smith's hiring and called "so insecure that they beg for the table scraps of other media."

  • Amazons Attack on Random Most Hated DC Comic Arcs

    (#2) Amazons Attack

    Comic book fans are pretty vocal about their disappointment with a series, story arc, or the characterizations of their favorite heroes, but they usually reserve their vitriol for the aisles of comic book shops or spread it anonymously online. Rarely has a title been so bad that a fan actually packed up the books they purchased and shipped them back to DC in protest, as at least one fan did with Amazons Attack! by Will Pfeifer and Pete Woods.

    Launched as a six-issue limited series in April 2007, with seven tie-in issues across four other titles including Wonder Woman, Amazons Attack! finds the full fury of the all-female warrior society descending upon Washington, DC, in retaliation for Wonder Woman's illegal detention and torture by the Department of Metahuman Affairs. Accompanied by chimeras, hydras, cyclopes, "Stygian Killer Wasps," and other mystical creatures, the Amazons take out centuries of frustration with "Man's World" by mercilessly slaughtering any males they come across, including unarmed men and children. After decapitating the head of the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, the Amazons then attempt to assassinate the president of the United States, first on land, and then in the air, aboard Air Force One.

    The series was supposed to define Wonder Woman and her purpose, both as an Amazon and as a superhero in Man's World, but she barely impacts the events of the story, relying on Supergirl, Nemesis, Batman - with a last-minute magic spell courtesy of Zatanna - and others to save the day, appearing in fewer than 30 pages of the entire 160-page story. Meanwhile, her entire race of Amazons are painted as morally bankrupt, bloodthirsty drones in service to uncaring "gods." Reviews of the series eviscerated the storyline, with one reviewer summing it up as an "unnecessary, unwanted, sexist, and kinda racist story that leads us all wonder, what the hell DC was thinking!"

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About This Tool

DC Comics created great and popular characters such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, who worked hard to fight for justice and defend the innocent. On the other hand, some little-known and embarrassing DC comic arcs characters have also sparked discussion. Over time, it is easy to tell who is popular, acceptable, and who is ignored. 

A large number of DC movies were released to show their most popular characters and stories, and the distributors are doing everything they can to make sure that fans forget some annoying DC comic arcs. The random tool lists 14 of the most hated DC comic arcs for fans. 

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