Maybe because the creative teams want to keep their readers genuinely surprised, Marvel Comics has straight out lied to their fans with their teasing comic book covers. In order to keep their repeat customers, are readers supposed to be misdirected with what's actually going on with the latest story arc? Should Marvel aim towards growing readership with newcomers though? Or should they keep continue to surprise their longtime customers with their twists? These deceptive hooks don't advance the plot though. These surprises just make the reader feel ripped-off in the end because they're not getting what they really want.
Honestly, how many times have you bought a comic book based on the cover? Do you remember what was the catchy hook that made you want to buy it? Was it the guest appearance of your favorite superhero? Perhaps, the super-villain appeared to be triumphant on the issue's cover against the adversary? What if the cover promised a fan-favorite character was going to meet their end? Imagine if you did buy the issue, and the exact opposite happened. The guest star didn't show up, the bad guy didn't win, and that character didn't die.
On the action-packed cover of X-Factor #87, the mutant superhero team, led by Cyclops' brother, have teamed up together to tackle a mysterious shadowy figure. Well, that highly anticipated fight didn't happen inside the issue. The story dealt with the entire team individually attending their own therapy session.
From Alex Summers, also known as Havok, to Jamie Maddrox, aka Multiple Man, they were dealing with their own mental problems after witnessing Professor Charles Xavier getting shot. The mystery man they weren't going to fight was their therapist, psychiatrist Doc Samson.
9 Marc Spector: Moon Knight #52
Remy Labeau, aka the X-Men superhero known as Gambit, was heavily featured on the cover of Marc Spector: Moon Knight #52. Based on the cover, you're expecting these two to team-up like the cover was teasing. Unfortunately, the two anti-heroes didn't even meet until the very last page.
For half of the narrative, Gambit is dealing with his own fight against Jack Russell, Werewolf by Night. Gambit was blasting away at the werewolf, throwing his explosive poker cards. Moon Knight didn't know these two were fighting against each other until they crashed through his window.
8 Spider-Man #32
The awesome cover had it all, teasing an exciting team-up between Spider-Man and Frank Castle, also known as the vengeance-seeking The Punisher. Unfortunately, these two weren't working together, nor were they on the same side. In the story, a super-powered criminal had dressed himself up as Spider-Man and pretended to be the amazing wall-crawler.
The fake Spider-Man blasted away at the Punisher, who already doesn't like the real one. Spider-Man didn't even know Castle was involved. The Punisher then shows up at the very last page, holding a bazooka aimed at Spider-Man's face.
7 Ghost Rider #27
The superhero team guest-starred on with the Spirit of Vengeance in Ghost Rider #27. On the cover, Ghost Rider had defeated the parasitic extraterrestrial race known as The Brood with his burning hand.
This single image did not reflect an event from within the pages. Johnny Blaze showed up at the end of the page to help out during the final confrontation between Ghost Rider and the Brood Queen. Ghost Rider had wrapped his chains around the Brood Queen's neck, holding her down while Blaze blasted her away with his hellfire shotgun.
6 X-Men Gold #30
A major wedding was supposed to take place on the cover of X-Men: Gold #30. Piotr Rasputin, known as Colossus, had an on-and-off again relationship with Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat. Even though there were tough times between them, their love pulled through until halfway through their wedding day.
All of a sudden, Kitty chickened out during the ceremony and phased through when Colossus was about to give her the wedding ring. Though these two weren't going to get married, Rogue and Gambit decided to steal the spotlight and walk down the aisle instead.
5 Marvel Comics Presents
The Spirit of Vengeance teamed up with the no-nonsense leader of the mutant superhero team known as X-Force in Marvel Comics Presents: Ghost Rider And Cable #91.
The cover teased these two anti-heroes wouldn't really get along together. There might even be a battle between the supernatural and mutant powers. Cable and Ghost Rider didn't even have time to get into a fight against each other. While rescuing an innocent girl, the duo was being chased through the streets of New York by the evil cult calling themselves, Servants of the Dead.
4 X-Force #3
X-Force #3 teased an epic team-up between the mutant superhero team and the amazing Spider-Man. Everyone was working together to take down the super-villain, The Juggernaut. Interestingly enough, Cable isn't involved in the big battle because he was inside the World Trade Center with Black Tom. In the last pages, Spider-Man finally showed up when the rest of X-Force was fighting Juggernaut.
Knowing he was outmatched by the seemingly unbeatable villain, Spider-Man really didn't want to get involved. He kept thinking Warpath was better off on his own fighting against Juggernaut.
3 Silver Surfer #11
If you're looking for a comic book that was all gimmick and spectacle, then look no further than Silver Surfer #11. The cover teased Silver Surfer racing against his clones on a circular ramp. The cover doesn't even hint that the story is actually about time-travel, as Silver Surfer finds himself repeating the same event until he gets it right. the narrative takes place inside a flying spaceship, not in outer-space.
You actually need some instruction manual with this issue because you have to read the comic upside down, sideways, and backwards.
2 Astonishing X-Men #7
Joss Whedon knows a lot about cliffhangers and misdirection especially from his television shows, such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. In Astonishing X-Men #7, the cover makes it appear the mutant superhero team is huddled together against a common enemy. Except in the story, the team is being kept separated on purpose.
While the Danger Room itself has turned into a killing machine, Kitty Pryde is trying to save the rest of her mutant students from death. Outside of Xavier's mansion, Wolverine and Cyclops are fighting against a resurrected Sentinel.
1 All-New Ultimate Spider-Man #1
From the Ultimate Universe, young Peter Parker has died at the bloody hands of the monstrous Green Goblin. New York is left in mourning as the entire city has to be prepared for a world without Spider-Man. The cover for All-New Ultimate Spider-Man #1 makes it look like Miles Morales was ready to put on his black costume right from the start.
You have to remember that this is an origin story and Miles is just discovering his newfound abilities. Miles puts on Parker's red outfit but everybody in the Big Apple gets upset with him for dishonoring a hero.