Comic book characters have never been more popular. A decade ago, the average Joe never heard of Groot, Cyborg, or Black Panther. Nowadays, we have superhero movies routinely making a billion dollars at the box office. However, not every comic book character has been so lucky. Some heroes and villains have been revised time and time again and yet, have never taken centerstage.
I'm not just talking about obscure characters. Sometimes, writers don't have a clue how to write about the most iconic superheroes. (Let us never forget the time when the writers gave Superman electric powers... actually, it's better to forget that.) Did you know there have been three new Iron Men in the last two years? Did you know Captain Marvel comics keep getting relaunched because they aren't selling? What are the writers doing wrong?
Well, when a series isn't doing well, writers try all sorts of tricks; give the character new powers, a different costume, deal with a controversial topic, oversexualise the character, change the hero's origin, etc. More often that not, these tactics don't work since they come across as desperate or gimmicky.
Here is a list of comic book characters that aren't working, no matter what the writers have tried.
10. Martian Manhunter
If you ask any DC fan to summarise J'onn J'onzz AKA Martian Manhunter in one sentence, most people say, "He's the soul of the Justice League". Manhunter has this reputation due to his child-like innocence, his unwavering loyalty, and his devout love for his family.
But in recent years, the character has been revised so he appears more aggressive, apathetic, and ruthless. When DC was rebooted in 2011, J'onn was turned into a tool of the government to take down Superman. He was described by the writers as the most dangerous character in the DC Universe. How do you go from "the soul of the Justice League" to "most dangerous being in existence?"
But it doesn't stop there. Originally, J'onn was depicted as a devoted police officer when he resided on Mars. In his 2019 origin, he was turned into a dirty cop who took bribes from gangsters. I understand this story was written to show how J'onn was a flawed person who learn from his mistakes, which is what turned him into the sympathetic superhero we know today. However, such a story could have been told without contradicting every principle J'onn has stood for since his debut.