Although they aren't always necessary, most great stories thrive with the introduction of a head-turning, jaw-dropping plot twist. These twists can shift the entire narrative of the story or, in most cases, a specific character. So, these types of twists are always a welcome sight in a complex comic book storyline.
Marvel comics is no stranger to great plot twists, whether that be some unexpected reveal or the occasional untimely death. Looking through the vast history of stories and characters within the Marvel arsenal, we find plenty of examples in which the writers completely flip the script on the readers. Here's just ten of the many massive and shocking twisted moments in Marvel's history.
10 Superior Spider-Man
In one of the more bizarre hero-villain dynamics, the 2013 to 2014 run of The Superior Spider-Man from Dan Slott was something readers would never forget. Doctor Otto Octavius is a longtime favorite villain of Spider-Man fans and we typically see him terrorizing the web-slinger with his mechanical arms.
However, The Superior Spider-Man put an extremely odd twist on the rivalry between Spider-Man and Doc Ock. In an unorthodox turn of events, it's actually learned that Octavius has taken over Peter's body, leaving Spider-Man to die in his own body. Although the damage is ultimately reversed, it's hard to believe anybody wasn't shocked to learn that Spider-Man wasn't actually himself at all.
9 Captain America's Death
The nature of death's in Marvel comics is always shocking and gut-wrenching but at the end of the day, it's learned that whatever character has perished isn't completely dead. That same nature follows the time we saw Captain America killed by his girlfriend Sharon Carter.
Even though she's brainwashed, seeing her shoot Cap point-blank was something nobody saw coming. The Death of Captain America obviously gave away the fact that we'd see the star-spangled man taken down, but it's safe to say it coming at the hands of Sharon Carter took everyone by surprise.
8 Ultimatum Storyline
It's a well-known fact that Jeph Loeb has the tendency to shock his readers. There are countless examples of this in both his print and television work, but one of the less talked about series in which he exercises that shock-value is the Ultimatum storyline.
The entire story presents one twist after another. In typical Loeb fashion, those twists usually come in the form of a character death. So, as you just start to get connected to one of your favorite superheroes there's always that possible Loeb curveball that could kill them off.
7 Zemo Is Citizen V
Believe it or not, at one point, Helmut Zemo was leading the Thunderbolts. Masquerading as Citizen V, Zemo paraded his Masters of Evil crew around as heroes earning the trust of both the world and its governments. The unmasking of Zemo is easily one of the most unpredictable twists we've seen in Marvel comics and one that completely flipped a fan favorite team completely on its head.
6 Secret Invasion
The whole concept of Secret Invasion is one giant plot twist. The alien Skrull race was essentially designed to make readers believe one thing only to be revealed to be another. With one insane reveal after another, we learn that some of our favorite superheroes are actually Skrull.
Although the Skrull invasion was something that could've been predicted by the readers, it was the idea that no one knew which hero was actually a Skrull undercover that makes this story one of the most shocking. Without spoiling which characters are revealed to be Skrull, just know that reading Secret Invasion will take you on a wild ride of deception and twists.
5 Gwen Stacy's Death
At this point, the death of Peter Parker's longtime love Gwen Stacy is one of the more well-known character demises across Marvel comics. Now that we've seen Gwen fall to her death on both page and screen, you might be asking why this made a list of shocking twists in Marvel's history.
Well, at the time of Amazing Spider-Man #121-122, it actually was one of the more shocking moments in Peter Parker's history. Back in 1973, Spider-Man readers were shocked to their core to see Stacy dropped by Green Goblin. Even though she isn't a superhero, her death definitely rocked fans just as much as any hero's death.
4 Green Goblin's Identity
Again, you're probably wondering why this made the list. Everyone knows that the Green Goblin's true identity is actually Norman Osborn. Again, however, it's all about the time it was revealed.
The Amazing Spider-Man #39 is one of the most historically famous issues in Marvel comics history and completely twisted the entire Spider-Man storyline. Way back in 1966, no one had any idea who Green Goblin was or if he was even someone behind a mask at all. Finding out the Goblin was the father of Peter's best friends is without a doubt one of the most insane twists in the history of Marvel.
3 Xorn's True Identity
Xorn is one of the more complicated characters in the history of the X-Men. Initially introduced in New X-Men, Xorn carried with him a sense of mystery and intimidation. The character really took an unexpected turn when he finally revealed who he truly was.
The revelation that Xorn was actually just Magneto was one that some have claimed is hinted at throughout the earlier issues. However, regardless of those hints, the reveal was an absolutely mind-blowing moment for any fan. Here comes this character that no one knows much about, only to reveal that he's one of the most hated villains in Marvel history.
2 The Snap
On both the page and big screen, Thanos' snap sent shockwaves through the reader or watcher upon first glance. The comic book iteration of "The Snap" was just as shocking to readers as it was to viewers in Avengers: Infinity War. The shock that comes from that moment is the fact that Thanos actually does it, with literally no regard for human life. Although it loses some of its flair after your first interaction with it, there's no replacing the initial shock and gut-wrenching feeling that comes with seeing Thanos snap his fingers for the first time.
1 Hail Hydra
This is definitely one of the Marvel twists that almost any fan knows about. Whether it be from the actual Captain America: Steve Rogers No. 1 or the hilarious reference in Avengers: Endgame, there's no hiding from the surprise of hearing Cap maliciously utter those two words.
Flipping to the page for the first time and seeing the most honest, wholesome and patriotic leader in the history of superheroes say, "Hail Hydra", sends a violent shiver up your spine. Everything we'd come to know about Captain America was completely pushed out the window and we were left with nothing but shock and bewilderment running through us. Although it wasn't entirely well-received by the comic book community, Cap's turn to the dark side undoubtedly stands atop some of the most shocking moments in Marvel comic's history.