Legacy Lost1 of 12This week, Marvel teased something called “Generations,” showcasing art by Alex Ross that shows Marvel’s legacy heroes alongside their predecessors. It’s unclear what the teaser is promoting, but it may signal the start of the return of a more “classic” Marvel Universe.
Whether its Jane Foster as Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America, or X-23 as Wolverine, legacy heroes are everywhere in the Marvel Universe right now. And while the jury may still be out on those, there are plenty of legacy characters who didn’t quite live up to their mentors’ names.
These are those legacy heroes who just can't fill the boots of their predecessors, who can't handle the pressure, who don't fit with the mantle, or who just plain aren't any fun. These are the ten worst replacement heroes of all time.
Ben Reilly2 of 12OK, OK, we put him on our list of the Best Legacy Heroes as well. Are we cheating a little? Sure. But can anyone really make the argument that Ben Reilly adds more than he takes away from the Spider-Man mythos?
Time and nostalgia have a way of dulling the edges when it comes to cult-favorite characters like Reilly, whose tenure as Spider-Man is widely considered to be one of the worst eras in Spider-Man's long history, and for that, we've got to acknowledge the double-edged sword that is the ill-fated clone of Peter Parker.
Ben Reilly is back now (though the exact circumstances aren't exactly clear) and starring in his own Scarlet Spider ongoing series spinning out of the recently concluded Clone Conspiracy.
Walter West3 of 12Walter West is an alternate version of Wally West from a parallel world where Linda Park died in a battle with Kobra. When Wally West was presumed dead, Walter West came over to DC's main timeline to replace him.
The real problem with Walter West is that he's everything the Flash shouldn't be: dark, dour, and brutally violent against his enemies. Fortunately, Walter West had one quality that is a hallmark of the Flash, in that he came and went with incredible speed, not lasting long in Wally's place.
Joseph4 of 12When Joseph first hit the scene, he was believed to be a de-aged, amnesiac Magneto. But the reality was far worse.
In fact, Joseph was a clone - you know, those things Marvel has such a great track record with, and everyone loves.
Joseph was seemingly killed, only to later return as a villain that even fewer people managed to care about.
Supergirl5 of 12Peter David's Supergirl may be fondly remembered by some fans and it was a generally well-received series (as most PAD series are), but let's not forget that she started out as Matrix, a blob of protoplasm inspired to take the form of Superman's deceased cousin.
David's Supergirl also later merged with an angel of fire, and went on to forge a strong relationship with Comet, a horse-like, male angel whose secret identity was female stand-up comic Andrea Martinez.
Oh, those wacky days before the "New 52"...
The Punisher6 of 12If you could imagine what would happen to Punisher after his inevitable death, your prime guess would probably not be that he'd be returned to Earth as an angelic entity committed to slaying demons.
And yet, that's exactly what happened in Punisher: Purgatory, a Marvel Knights series that saw the murderous anti-hero manifesting heavenly weapons on a holy crusade against agents of Hell.
The X-Men7 of 12All new! All different! All duds.
When the main X-Men team, comprised of the characters people actually like, were believed dead after journeying through the Siege Perilous, Marvel took the opportunity to launch a brand new team of supporting characters and also-rans.
Of course, Marvel may have never intended for these "replacement" X-Men to be long-term, but that didn't stop them from plastering "A New Legend is Born" on the cover, apparently sans irony.
Jean-Paul Valley8 of 12Is there anyone left who doesn't understand why Jean-Paul Valley was one of the worst replacement heroes of all time?
If so, here's your refresher course. Jean-Paul Valley was a brutal, murderous vigilante known as Azrael who took over as Batman when Bruce Wayne's spine was shattered by Bane. His methods didn't exactly jibe with Batman's ideology (brutal and murderous, remember?) and he was quickly forced to retire.
While his time with Batman and his crew dulled his mean streak somewhat, it was still almost the equivalent of the Punisher taking over for a guy whose driving philosophy is not to kill. And let's not even talk about that terrible eyesore of a costume.
Superman9 of 12This one's not a case so much of the man himself being replaced as it is his powers being switched around.
It's hard to think of a change that was more nobody's favorite than the electric blue Superman - a bad decision DC doubled down on when he was split into two polarized beings, Superman Red, and Superman Blue.
Thankfully, the changes only lasted long enough to creep into everyone's memory of the '90's, a time of experimentation in comic books - occasionally really dubious experimentation.
Tony Stark10 of 12Speaking of dubious experimentation, shortly before the Superman Red/Blue fiasco, Marvel decided the best person to replace Tony Stark with was... Tony Stark.
That's right. When an ailing Tony was manipulated into villainy by the Avengers' arch-enemy Kang, the Avengers ventured into an alternate reality to retrieve a younger, teenage Tony Stark.
Imagine all the worst parts of Tony Stark, but wrapped up in the package of a jerky wunderkind. Tony Stark, Mark Zuckerberg style. That's Teen Tony to a tee.
H.E.R.B.I.E.11 of 12When the Fantastic Four received their second animated series in 1978, the Human Torch was unavailable because his rights had been optioned for a solo film that never materialized.
What was Marvel to do but replace him with a bumbling, dopey, comic relief robot of the most dire quality?
We blame C-3PO.
Of course, H.E.R.B.I.E. eventually found his way into comic books, but in a far different capacity than as the FF's fourth member and obnoxious flying toaster.
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