Since the late ’80s, comic book crossover events have become as sure a thing as death and taxes. At their best, they offer a way for fans to see all their favorite comic book characters team up to defeat the impossible. At their worst, they drag all your favorite books into the abyss of tie-ins, leaving readers forced to either read about an event they don’t care about or drop their favorite book. Marvel has proven itself capable of soaring to those lofty heights and sinking to those lows, and as Secret Empire heads towards its conclusion, we’re looking back at the most important events Marvel has had in the last decade.
For this list, we’ll be looking at events that affected the entire Marvel Universe, but we’ll also include some of the relevant events that affected Marvel’s biggest characters, like Spider-Man or the X-Men. Now, this list only counts series that started in 2007 or ended by 2017, so the original Civil War wouldn’t make the cut, nor would Secret Empire. What constitutes “important” includes both the scale/scope of the story as well as the after-effects it left upon the universe, whether it was able to wrap up a major, long-running story in the MU, and of course quality.
20. AGE OF ULTRON
Age of Ultron was the story in which Ultron finally achieved his goal, defeating the Avengers and wiping out most of humanity, while the rest hid in fear from his powerful Ultron Sentinels. But even though it was meant to show off just how dangerous the long-time Avengers villain was, the story barely featured Ultron at all, instead spending most of its time wallowing in the imagery of our favorite heroes immersed in a dystopian landscape.
Half of it even veers off into a completely alternate timeline that has nothing to do with Ultron at all, who wouldn’t even appear until the very end of the eight issue mini-series. Failing to deliver on the promise of being the ultimate story featuring the deranged AI, the series also didn’t have very much of an impact afterwards — spawning the excellent but quickly forgotten Avengers A.I. comic and not much else.
19. ORIGINAL SIN
Marvel’s big summer event for 2014 was intended to be a murder mystery, where the heroes solved an impossible crime: who killed The Watcher? After Uatu’s body is discovered on the moon, some of the biggest heroes in the Marvel Universe gather to track down whomever was responsible for killing him.
This whodunit probably could have used a lot more sleuthing and a lot less punching, as the book felt more like every other run-of-the-mill event instead of a superhero mystery, and ultimately wound up making The Watcher’s murder take a backseat to some of the other revelations in the comic. From a quality standpoint, the book left much to be desired, but it did give us Cindy Moon/Silk, and successfully tied Angela’s world into the Marvel Universe.