Killing Mattie Franklin.
These are the ones that I feel have seriously damaged Spidey, the mythology, and the books. It's a top 10 list. Maybe one or two more will do. And unfortunately, this isn't one of my comedy posts (I'll do one of those next time.).
#10. The Sandman- Maybe this is me, but I kind of liked him better as more of a semi-hero and "gray" character. I don't really care for him as a villian except for his early appearances.
#9. They ruined the Jackal- I think that the second Clone Saga ruined him, and he's one of my all-time favorite Spidey characters. But when they had him out to kill everybody and replace them with clones, I think that it pretty much doomed the character. I did like his return though. The only way they can salvage him and bring him back is if they retcon the Jackal in the Clone Saga to being a renegade clone.Also, how many clones did he create anyway? And Spider-Cide. Yuck.
#8. Bringing back Eddie Brock- Ever since that first story in the Jenkins arc, he died at the end. But then in that very arc, he was brought back at the end. And then in the Millar run, they had him attempt suicide. And then in that Sensational Spider-Man arc, he- JUMPED OUT OF A WINDOW. Of course, only to be saved at the end. This guy has had his story closed off three times, and he always gets brought back. I feel that they should retire him for a while.
#7. Bringing back Aunt May- In my opinion, this never should have happened. I could see why they brought her back of course, but really, as Peter grew up, she wasn't really needed anymore. Her being alive sort of sends Peter into a state of less maturity, because he doesn't really need and her role has expired. Although there have been a lot of good stories with her since, I really feel that bringing her back was a huge backstep for the Spidey mythos.
#6. The Goblin legacy/history is a mess- We had Norman, then he died. Then we had Harry and Bart Hamilton. Then we had two Hobgoblins, then a retcon that one wasn't really the Hobgoblin. Along the way we got Demogoblin, Phil Urich, and worst of all, the totally unnecessary Grey Goblin. All and all, the Goblin Legacy has gotten way out of hand. We've had about ten or eleven Goblins total. That's too many, and has convoluted the Osborn legacy. Also, bring back either Kingsley or Macendale.
#5. Bringing Harry back AFTER they Brought Back Norman- When one or the other was dead, the Goblin/Spidey fights and dynamic were much better. Especially when Norman was blaming Peter for Harry's death. It brought a different side to Norman and Norman and Peter's relationship. It's cool that we got to see a few confrontations between Norman and Harry now that both of them are back from the great beyond, but still, I think these characters worked better when ONE of the two were dead.
#4. Norman sleeping with Gwen and impregnating her- This was totally unnecessary. It pretty much diluted the motive behind a classic and pivotal moment in Spider-Man history. We didn't need a "new" reason for Norman kidnapping Gwen and knocking her off of a bridge. Also, as stated above, how many Osborn kids do we need? And this absolutely does not in any way make any sense with Amazing #121. And it also can't work if we take into account the Gwen clone, because the GC would have been pregnant as well. And it gave us yet ANOTHER Goblin. It figures that the one story of his that JMS wanted to retcon/erase, Marvel wouldn't let him. Sigh!
#3. Bringing back Kraven the Hunter and expanding the family- Really, bringing Kraven back is horrible. There was absolutely no reason for this guy to come back. And he blew his head off. His death was as close to a "There's no way that he's going to come back after this" as can get. And when a character commits suicide, there's pretty much no new direction that you can take them in. And really, how many kids does Kraven have no anyway? The only really interesting one is Aloysha or whatever his name is. The Spidey titles, unlike the X-titles where everybody and their mother (In some cases literally.) comes back from the dead, are usually pretty good in that they respect a lot of deaths.And really, Kraven already won. He beat Spider-Man. Any story where he either wins or loses will be totally redundant. Okay? This had better be Mendell Strong after a month long coke bender, because I'm going to pretend that the writers and editors were smarter then this.
#2. Spidey making a deal with Mephisto and them retconning the marriage- Really, I've never heard of this. Them retconning out an entire marriage. I don't have a problem with Peter and Mj not being married or not dating anymore. But really, THIS is the best that they can come up with? This sounds like something that DC would do. Really, they could have left the marriage intact and found a way to make a brand new, clean start. And Spidey making a deal with Mephisto is just too absurb and taints the character. But Spidey has done worse, as we're about to see with number 1.
#1.Having Spidey become a killer/blackmailer/criminal- During JMS's run, Spidey has either killed a few people (Like Morlun. Yes I know that Morlun wasn't exactly a person, but still.), or let people die. Remember that Spider-lady? Spidey just let her die. Remember during Millar's run when Spidey tried to extort Jonah with pictures of John's son as Spider-Man. And Jonah buying it sucked too. Remember when Spidey was doing stuff like stealing ambulances during the Back in Black stories? But really, the killing thing will forever taint him.
Honorable mention goes to:
#Keeping Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man for so long- I used to LOVE this title. But somewhere along the line I lost interest. I would follow it again if another writer takes over, because Bendis has been aboard for too long, and the title has long run out of steam.
#Norman ripping off the Jackal during the Final Chapter and trying to kill the world.
#The secret identity being erased from everybody named Daredevil, Osborn and Venom.
She's had it rough since debuting during one of ASM's worst runs, and her character has been treated poorly ever since. And after all that, she's used as fodder in an attempt to put some gravitas into a story that was already being over-hyped. And does she get to at least go out in a heroic saving-the-day way?
Gwen's children not being Peter's.
I ain't fussed about Gwen and Norman hooking up, I just think it would have been a lot more interesting if they had been Pete's kids.
An exercise in pouring salt into a wound.
And a return to Secret Invasion (the only rational explanation for MJ's reasoning/decisions).
He was created to bring people like me in (people who weren't buying any Spidey book at the time). So he was as important to us as Pete was to his fans. But they wanted to shove the "one True Spider-Man" line down everyone's throat, so Ben got melted.
101 ways to end the Clone Saga.
Ok, not technically a story but another slap in the face to those fans that had actually bought into said story, and the characters in had created. It was pinnacle of "Hey, look we wrote this story that we believed in but then people complained about it and sales dropped so now we're gonna laugh at ourselves to try and win everybody back."
It was all kind of... weasily.
Aunt May coming back from the dead.
A beautiful story ruined, and for what? A new haircut and nothing to speak of until JMS came along...
Aunt May forgetting Pete's secret.
Don't worry, she'll still be relevant and interesting. Maybe she'll get another haircut.
Splitting up Pete and MJ.
Self indulgent. Wholly unneccesary in terms of story-telling. And a massive step backwards for any character development.
I know I've covered aspects of these above, but the whole sorry mess has to be on this list too. I mean, the idea that it wasn't enough to just split Pete and MJ up but Quesada felt he had to create some ridiculous, continuity stretching, convoluted story(s!) so that they never actually were married - Overkill, much!?
Replacing Ben with Pete after the Clone Saga
I've already said that killing Ben was wrong, and that's something I've believed since it happened. However, at the time, I could understand why Marvel wanted Pete back as Spidey. Until OMD.
Cos the clone saga gave us the single Spidey they wanted, and still gave Pete and MJ a happy ending. OMD/BND got us to the same place, but in a much less enjoyable way.
But the end result is still the same. We still have what is essentially a 'fake' Spidey in ASM - And even if Ben had been a clone, I still consider him more real than the alterna-Spidey that's been in ASM since BND.