1. Doc Ock takes over Peter Parker's body and becomes The Superior Spider-Man


When you think about Peter Parker -- the amazing, the spectacular, and the sensational Spider-Man -- there's probably one villain who comes to mind: Norman Osborn. He's the father of Pete's best friend. He managed to replace, and outlaw the Avengers. He donned a rubber suit as the Green Goblin, tossed Gwen Stacy off a bridge, and changed the tone of the comic book industry for decades to come.

If you're really into Tobey Maguire movies you might think of Otto "Doctor Octopus" Octavius second, and not... Maybe the Kingpin, or somebody. Doc Ock is certainly a recognizable villain the Petey Parker pantheon, but he's still a far cry from the hero's mortal nemesis.

Yet that's basically the assumption 2013's The Superior Spider-Man operates under. In that series, which even rebooted the Spider-Man number scheme after a climactic showdown in Amazing Spider-Man #700,  Otto literally trades lives with his enemy. Peter gets body-swapped into Ock's failing husk of a torso, while his life, identity, and vitality are assumed by the second-string baddie. Then Peter Parker dies.


If you walked into a comic book shop around the time of this premiere, you were met with a lot of confused, and often angry people. Some hated the idea of losing Peter, even for the inevitably limited amount of time The Superior Spider-Man was set to run. Some thought the idea was sound, but that it would make more sense for someone like Norman -- who had a much longer, stronger history with the character -- to steal the Spider-Mantle.

Then things... Quieted down. Long-time Spider-Man author Dan Slott, who can be hit-or-miss among fans and critics, struck home more often than he whiffed it. The series saw Doc Ock genuinely trying fill Spider-Man's tight, red socks after getting hit with a dose of Parker memories -- and the lessons they imbued. Although Otto-Pete had his own way of dishing out justice. One that often ended with brutality, unchecked surveillance, and outright murder.


Even so, the series improved obvious parts of the Spider-Man identity in ways you can still feel today. Upon realizing that Pete didn't have a doctorate, despite his apparently  genius intellect, Doc Ock earned him one. Upon realizing that Pete was a broke-ass laboratory assistant, instead of a millionaire with his own patents, he fixed that, too. He even eventually gave the body -- and therefore his life -- back to Peter in a last-ditch effort to save the day from none other than Norman Osborn. So the "superior" Spider-Man really was decided in nice, symmetrical fashion.

2. The Black Avengers


This one really depends on your point of view. Someone certainly thought a mostly black cast of Avengers was a bad idea before it happened. That someone was, in fact, Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing of Marvel Comics, Tom Brevoort.

A couple of years before author Al Ewing, and artist Greg Land got the series up and running Brevoort went on record as not liking the idea. He called creating a team of mostly-not-white Avengers "contrived" because, as he himself said, "99% of all super heroes are white." He worried that cherry-picking from the one percent that weren't, and putting them on their own team together, would be "ghettoizing."

Brevoort's probably meant well, even if he was a little short-sighted. His contrivance argument missed the fact that heroes of color -- like Luke Cage, Monica Rambeau, and Blue Marvel -- with similar jobs, motivations, and social circles living in the same city might just gravitate to one another. Almost as importantly, Brevoort's logic would have also robbed us all of Blade the Daywalker decapitating were-roosters in a Best Buy.


That's the sort of thing that happened in The Mighty Avengers. Ewing's killer, and frenetic energy made the series pop. Even Greg Land, who has some difficulties drawing character expression (if by "difficulties" you mean he basically traces over porn actresses' faces), fired on all cylinders during the series' many fight scenes. Although it wasn't until Luke Ross took over art for the series, when it was renamed to Captain America & The Mighty Avengers, that the book really found its true personality.

 Said personality has extended long past the series' entirely too short run, too. It tooks Adam "Blue Marvel" Brashear out of side story territory, and made him sa permanent fixture in Marvel's cosmic hero pantheon. The book also resurrected former Avengers, former Photon, and former Captain Marvel Monica Rambeau as Spectrum, giving the character some much-needed stability after a long absence.


Both Spectrum and Blue Marvel are now founding members of Earth-616's Ultimates, putting them alongside the Avengers at the center stage of Marvel crossovers. All of which is a good way to prove that giving "minority" characters a platform might be a small gesture, but it has big ripples. Especially in a business as fluid as making funny books.