15 Most Notoriously Controversial Storylines In Comic Book History

Prepare for some head shaking and surprises...

Comic books are certainly no strangers to controversy, with a long string of writers taking over storylines and sometimes going off the deep end with them. Sometimes these drastic departures in the story work out great for the character and the comic, but often the storyline can take a dark turn that leaves readers and other comic creators shaking their heads and wondering WTF is going on. Obviously we have seen controversial storylines that outrage fans, like Spider-Man's Clone Saga fiasco or Spider-Man's One More Day or Spider-Man's - well, Spidey clearly has a few issues over the years with his creators. But while those moments may leave a bad taste in the mouths of some fans, they don't shock and offend like some of these following plots that have left stains on the history of comics. Prepare for some head shaking and surprises as we take a look at some of the most notoriously controversial storylines in comic history.

15. Cyclops Abandons His Wife And Newborn Son

Following the Dark Phoenix storyline and the loss of Jean Grey, Chris Claremont wrote in the character of Madelyne Pryor, an airline pilot working for Scott Summers' grandparents. Pryor and Scott fell in love, got married, and had a baby, Nathan, who would grow up to be the mutant known as Cable. Cyclops would decide to leave the X-Men after losing a battle against a powerless Storm for leadership of the team, retiring to Alaska with his wife and newborn son. There he was supposed to have a happy ending and usher in the idea that it was okay for the X-Men to grow and move on, which would then allow new characters to come onto the team with the old guard settling down, according to X-writer Chris Claremont. Then Jean Grey reappeared in the pages of Fantastic Four, which led to the debut of X-Factor #1, starring the original team of X-Men, including Cyclops. But wait, didn't he just retire to spend his life with his loving family? Turns out that in a monumental shift of character that completely invalidated his role as a hero/decent human being, Scott Summers abandoned his new family to return to the side of Jean Grey. This blatant disregard of not only the character's own values, but the happy ending set up by Claremont resulted in Madelyne Pryor turning evil and attempting to sacrifice her son to open the gates of hell during the Inferno storyline, where she was then killed off, with the majority of the blame resting on Scott's uncharacteristic actions. This storyline caused a huge outrage among fans and creators alike, who were disgusted at the ease with which Cyclops abandoned all of his personal morals and family simply to help sell a new X-book. While Cyclops has definitely stayed at the forefront of the x-line of comics, this change in his character has been tackled a number of times in other storylines, but none as controversial as the desertion of his family.
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Sent to Earth from a dying planet, young Scott Fraser grew to adulthood in Alberta, Canada with a love for comics, film, games, and all things deep fried. He has dedicated his life to pedantic ramblings about continuity, superhero superiority, and Han shooting first. He also writes for Geek Magazine.