10 Comic Book Characters Who REPLACED Heroes (And Failed)

Replacing all the superheroes you know and love.

US Agent
Marvel Comics

What happens when a superhero wants to retire, becomes injured, or (god forbid) dies? Sometimes the hero's mantle is hung up for good, but in most cases there seems to be the blasé attitude of: why let a good thing go? Why not just get someone else to fill in? If done right, the result of this can be a long line of successors who are much loved both in-universe, and by readers.

The second Ant-Man was beloved enough to be the version of the character used when he was brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Similarly, the second Flash, Barry Allen, became equally adored by fans, and lasted far longer than his predecessor.

However, for every loved version of an older hero who has successfully passed on their mantle, there have been countless short-lived or failed replacement heroes.

Sometimes this is because a villain has tried to secretly take the place of a hero. Sometimes, it's because the replacement is untrained, or prone to violence.

But often it's because (try as they might) it's hard to live up to the values and legacy of an established hero.

10. Spider-Woman Replaced By Mattie

US Agent
Marvel Comics

Martha Franklin, or Mattie, is the third and most troubled of those who have worn the mantle of Spider-Woman. She was first introduced to us in The Amazing Spider-Man #5, in preparation for her own series.

Despite her young age, inability to settle on a costume, and general inexperience, Mattie seemed to be doing a decent job. Unfortunately, her series only lasted 18 issues, and things quickly went downhill.

In Alias we find out why her stint as Spider-Woman was short-lived. The young teen can't catch a break (and by can't catch a break, I mean things get down right horrific). Mattie was excited to be asked out on a date by a dreamy older guy who seemed nice – until he slipped her a roofie.

She's kept drugged up and in costume by King-pin wannabe and self-professed rapist Denny. He's making a hell of a profit off her, by cutting out chunks of her body to sell as a new street drug. Turns out, her flesh gives a temporary superpower inducing high. Who knew.

After being rescued by the original Spider-Woman and Jessica Jones, Mattie retires. She does eventually re-don her costume in Loners, but it's all about seeking out revenge, and not about representing the legacy of Spider-Woman.


West loves pop culture, movies, comics and TV-shows just as much as you do. Probably. Since you're reading this. Also, she has a cat. He's pretty awesome.