Friday Five: Marvel Characters With the Biggest Falls from Grace

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A traditional plot device in all forms of writing is the character who is at the heights of his/her profession/field/country/whatever, and then falls from grace through their own faults or hubris or through outside forces. Since Marvel Comics has been publishing tons of stuff since the early 1960s, they have a lot of storylines that follow this arc. Here are the five of these arcs that are the best-written and the biggest, in my opinion, of course…

5. Daredevil: At one point, Daredevil was the most pure Marvel character, never giving in to temptation or crossing over to the dark side. Then came Shadowland and all that changed. Daredevil became evil and eventually fell off the radar. If Shadowland weren’t such a mediocre story, this might rank higher.

4. Dr. Strange: Dr. Strange was the sorcerer supreme and one of the most powerful and important characters in Marvel comics. I haven’t read the story of his fall, but his fall was far and significant in terms of the stories that followed. .

3. Tony Stark: Secretary of Defense and head of SHIELD who fell far enough to become the county’s most wanted criminal and then decided to erase his own brain rather than let Norman Osborn get ahold of it. He’d be higher if it weren’t for the fact that later comics are redeeming him. .

2. Norman Osborn: His rise to the top of America’s defense forces was obviously a set-up that had him destined to fall, but that doesn’t change the fact that he went from the most important person in American government to America’s Most Wanted and a prisoner in a short period of time. .

1. Professor X: From the 1960s to the 1990s, Charles Xavier was Marvel Comics’ ultimate leader, teacher and humanitarian. Turns out the whole thing was a lie as Professor X was actually comics’ biggest manipulator and mind-f**ker, much worse than what we learned about in DC’s Crises, as Xavier committed his crimes against his friends, allies and the children he mentored. There’s no bigger sign of his fall from grace than the fact that during the X-men’s toughest times in recent years, Xavier has been nigh-invisible.