Overly the long, storied history of Timely/Marvel there have been many, many retcons (a changing of established facts to suit a writer’s story). Some have been good, but most have been terrible. We at Last Movie Outpost thought it would be fun to talk about some of the most notable or flat out bizarre.
Human Torch Isn’t The Vision
Way back in the classic tale from Avengers (vol 1) #133-135, it was revealed that the Vision was actually built from the android body of the original Human Torch by Phineas Horton, the Torch’s creator under duress from the evil robot Ultron.
Years later, in 1989, John Byrne (whose name will appear many times in this article) decided to change the Vision’s origin during his widely reviled “Vision Quest” storyline in his generally despised West Coast Avengers (sorry “Avengers West Coast”) run.
If you aren’t familiar with that storyline, its where Byrne decided to have the Vision taken apart, lose his personality completely (thus becoming a non-character) and have his body turned white. The only story that was worse during this run involved the Scarlet Witch’s kids being parts of Master Pandemonium’s soul instead of, you know…children. But I digress.
Anyway, during this storyline it was revealed the original Human Torch was buried in some coffin for decades.
Thor’s Alter Ego
Way back in Journey Into Mystery #83 (Thor’s 1st appearance), Dr. Don Blake found a magical cane that turned into Thor’s Hammer and gave him the power of Thor as long as he touched the hammer once a minute. If he didn’t he would revert back to the powerless Blake.
It didn’t take too many issues before Lee and Kirby changed it to Blake actually becoming Thor. This wasn’t really explained at the time, but Odin and Sif and other Norse mythological characters became part of the supporting cast.
Finally, in The Mighty Thor #158-159, his origin was retconned to be that of Don Blake was never real, he was always Thor and was punished by Odin to live in that mortal form until he found the magic cane.
Jean Grey Was Never Phoenix
John Byrne again.
In All New, All Different X-Men #100-101 Jean Grey aka Marvel Girl was irritated with space rays that amplified her powers. She adopted the moniker Phoenix and a new outfit.
When the Dark Phoenix storyline was being finalized back in 1980, Jean Grey aka Dark Phoenix (who was evil at the time hence the word “Dark”) was originally supposed to survive the storyline. Jim Shooter demanded that she be tortured for eternity instead. Byrne and Claremont decided to kill her instead.
6 years later, Marvel decides to bring Grey back to life so Byrne ginned up a story where Jean Grey never became Phoenix, but instead was sleeping in a cocoon under the ocean while some alien doppelgänger impersonated her.
Not only did this story make a great story (Dark Phoenix) worse, it also didn’t make any sense in the context of the original story.
Green Goblin And Sandman Are Relatives
John Byrne again.
So in Amazing Spider-Man #4, the Sandman was introduced with a certain hairstyle.
Later in Amazing Spider-Man #39, it was revealed that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin. Osborn also had this same hairstyle.
So Byrne took it upon himself in Spider-Man: Chapter One (the origin story nobody wanted retold) to put 2 and 2 together and make these guys relatives since there is no other reason these villains could have the same hairstyle.
I was actually going to continue with some more examples, but this last one is so dumb I just can’t take it anymore. It’s too painful.