Comics entertain us, make us laugh, tug at our heartstrings and more. But sometimes they surprise the heck out of us.
An unexpected betrayal, sudden death or the shocking reveal of a secret identity represent some of the benchmarks of classic Marvel storytelling. Who wants to know how things will end, right?
Believe it or not, comic pros can be surprised just as easily as fans. We asked some Marvel editors and creators to weigh in with the moments that made them spit out their beverage of choice in startled amazement.
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
REILLY BROWN (artist of NEW WARRIORS):
I think the best surprise plot twist in a Marvel story that I ever read was at the beginning
of the "Onslaught" storyline, when Phoenix and Juggernaut learn that Onslaught is actually Professor X. When I read that as a kid it completely blew me away! And then the next issue started off with Jean making that call for help that we'd previously seen in Bishop's future, but with all the static blanks filled in. I remember pulling out the original Bishop story and reading the two issues side by side to see how they lined up.
That was pretty awesome.
WELLINTON ALVES (artist of NOVA):
I loved the "Guardian Devil" arc on DAREDEVIL that Joe Quesada drew so beautifully. That scene where Bullseye killed Karen Page was awesome.
KARL KESEL (writer of MARVEL APES):
Two events spring to mind, one classic, one very recent, both X-Men stories...
1. The death of Phoenix—like I'm the only one who mentioned this, right? When Jean Grey died I was genuinely shocked and deeply moved. I didn't think any major company would ever really kill off a major character, especially during the character's "prime," as all the X-Men were in those [Chris] Claremont/[John] Byrne days, but it was just such a true and powerful moment. Have to say, I was always disappointed they brought her back—but it doesn't lessen the impact of that death.
2. Kitty Pryde saves the Earth. I missed [Joss] Whedon and [John] Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men when it was coming out, and just finished reading all of the trade paperbacks— and I mean, like, a few days ago— and I have to say, when I reached the climax to the last volume, when Kitty's on the 10-mile-long bullet that's heading straight at Earth, and I turned the page saw that double-page spread...I actually gasped out loud! I don't remember the last time a comic surprised me like that! And it was all so perfectly set up, in such a way that your thoughts went in one wrong direction—until that final moment, when you saw how the pieces really fit together. Truly amazing storytelling. I think this Whedon guy just might be able to make a career of this writing thing.
MIKE PERKINS (artist of THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS):
Not exactly a twist but one of the most shocking stories in the Marvel Universe has to be "Born Again," from DAREDEVIL. The shocks piling on one after the other; from "flick" star Karen Page selling Matt Murdock's crime fighting identity for a quick fix, through the systematic breakdown of Matt's life—orchestrated by the Kingpin—and on to the brutality of Ben Urich's attack on his captors and the "reveal" of Matt's mother. Beautifully constructed shock after shock in one of the best stories Marvel has ever published.
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Senior Editor):
One real "Wow" moment in Marvel history for me was in a [Stan] Lee/[Jack] Kirby issue of X-MEN back in the 1960's, issue #17. Someone in shadow is taking down the X-Men one by one in the X-Mansion. We don't know who it is, but he's not having much trouble with downing them. And then, at the end of the issue, we see Warren Worthington's parents driving up to the X-Mansion to drop by for a visit or something. They knock on the door and the shocker in a full page splash is Magneto himself answering it extending his hand to Mr. Worthington to shake it and saying: "Men call me Magneto."
Wow! That was the grabber of grabbers! No way was I not coming back to see where that little sequence was going to lead.
It was decades ago, but it's an ending so shocking I'll never forget it.
RAFA SANDOVAL (artist of INCREDIBLE HERCULES):
One moment I remember was in THE ULTIMATES by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch when Hulk eats Kleiser, the leader of the alien Chitauri. That's impact!
PETER DAVID (writer of X-FACTOR):
I remember being stunned when Spider-Man sprouted four extra arms in AMAZING SPIDER0MAN #100. I've often used that instance as an example of the problem with the Internet today. If Marvel were doing that now, and I were a kid reading comics, I would be reading on the Internet for three months that Marvel had this development coming up and for three months older fans would be talking about what a monumentally stupid idea it was. Which, let's face it, it was. And they'd be saying that it would never last. Which it didn't. But having no notice ahead of time, all I knew when I got to the last page was, "Holy cow, he has four extra arms! How is he ever
going to hide this
from Aunt May?! Wow!"
I miss those days.