The long-running nature of comic books means that, after a while, some of the ongoing storylines may lose some of their lustre and even relevance. Repeating tired tropes, bringing back dead characters and/or returning the world(s) to their original status quos can push away readers and risk having the stories cancelled.
This is why, every now and then a publishing company will announce a comic and tout it as "the next big thing" and use ominous taglines such as 'everything will change" to describe the upcoming cataclysmic events. Some of these stories (such as Secret Invasion or Final Crisis) will live up to their lofty expectations and significantly alter their respective universes, but others simply end up being duds.
The reasons behind their failures vary, but there is no denying that the reputations of the characters involved and their stories are tarnished with little chance of recovery. These comics feel like unwilling components in a cynical hype machine to justify the relevance of the publishing companies but end up sinking the companies even further down into oblivion.
From wide-scale murder mysteries to company reboots and alternative future tales, these comics showed that flashy advertising and tie-ins do not make up for a weak story and baffling characterization.
10. Identity Crisis
In the last 2 years alone, DC has gone through two different crises and is about to go through a third one. Despite this overreliance on crossover stories, their crisis events have been well-crafted and entertaining for the most part.
Unfortunately, this cannot be said for 2004's Identity Crisis, a widespread murder mystery that was unbelievably tone deaf and left a bad taste in most readers' mouths after they finished it. Following the death of the Elongated Man's wife, Sue Dibny, the Justice League sets out to find the killer (heavily suspected to be supervillain Dr. Light) before they can strike again.
In the process, the team learns uncomfortable truths about how far its members would go to protect themselves and their loved ones. The story is rife with inconsistencies in the characterization of various heroes and paints the normally united team in a disturbing and disjointed light.
In addition to the above, the story's core component and its resolution were both underwhelming and sexist, showing that the creative team were unable of crafting a murder mystery that respected the characters involved.