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.
My personal top 10.
I'm afraid there's nothing surprising and I'd probably rejigger the order next time I come up with the list, but here you go:
(Oddly enough 8/10 boil down to the same issue for me - trying to "fix" what wasn't broken and doing a pisspoor job to boot.)
#10 The Other
Any story involving Peter eating an enemy belongs on the list. Still, no permanent harm was done and I did like Peter David's third.
Admittedly an unpleasant time to be reading Spider-Man (Mackie's take on the Peter/MJ relationship was just no fun to read), but that's not really an issue now. It's more than I don't get the reasoning behind some of the decisions made. I'm not as down on Chapter One as others, but what was the point of it? 13 issues to introduce new fans to where Peter was decades prior? I hate it when companies restart the numbering of a long running series as a quick cash grab. They didn't have the decency to properly wrap up the stories left dangling in the pre-reboot books. Their attempt to fake a "last Spider-Man story" failed miserably. Nothing against Mackie (at the time) or Romita, but where's the sense in doing a "big relaunch" and keeping one of the creative teams from the books that prompted you to do a relaunch in the first place?
#8 Sin's Past
Wrong on sooooo many levels. Fortunately easily ignorable. Unfortunately, the current writers don't appear to have done so.
#7 Clone Saga
Anyone who thought making Peter the clone was a good idea should have their head examined. Since undone so it would be lower for the list if it wasn't for the fact that I consider the backtracking this story represented (trying to restore "single Peter") was the beginning of the end of "My Spider-Man."
#6 Sandman unreforming
Partly annoying because I liked the idea of an actual bad guy trying to change. (Previous Marvel reformations (i.e., Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, etc.) were folks who were misguided at first but quickly changed their ways.) Partly annoying in how they opted to change it. Fortunately, Tom Brevoort helped clean up the reason why a little (although I have quibbles there as well).
#5 May's resurrection
Superhero related resurrections are one thing, even in Spider-Man, but Peter Parker casualties really do need to stay dead. Would be much higher if it wasn't for JMS having May discover Peter's id. Even though that's since been undone, it helped reduce the emotional annoyance I felt at having her around.
#4 Harry's resurrection
I could have actually lived with the idea of Harry behind the Clone Saga notion as an avenue towards bringing him back. (Maybe I wouldn't have realized it at the time, but ah well.) What we got is much less interesting, particularly since we're just going through the same "escaping the shadow of his father" motions we've been reading about for almost 40 years. One of my "rules" for accepting resurrections of Really Dead characters is to only do it if you have something new to bring to the table and I'm not seeing it.
#3 Return of Norman Osborn
Ruined one my favorite hero/villain dynamics (and one of the most unique in comics) to get a generic "Lex Luthor" thing going. Plus how do you top Gwen's death? Basically, they're either milking a 37 year old story or not doing anything with him they couldn't have done with someone else. Bleh.
Really belongs after May's resurrection, but gets a bump for me not understanding the point of it and it's still fresh. I can understand why May, Norman and Harry "had to come back," even if I disagree with it, but Kraven? He was barely used even before they killed him. Another "how can you top this?" kind of situation.
Eh. Nothing you haven't heard before. It gets first place because I can occasionally ignore any of the other stories. This one informs every Spider-Man story published from now on. And by wiping it from existence, I can't even get an untold tale from time to time to revisit a favorite era. Maybe someday Marvel will do a "Forever" series or something with the married version. (It doesn't help that BND hasn't done a thing that makes me think - "okay they had a point; maybe they were limited by the marriage." The stories I liked could have been just as well or better with married Spider-Man and the stories that did need him single aren't worth the paper they're printed on.)