Published May 30, 2019

10 Marvel Heroes Who Quit and Returned

Daredevil isn’t the only hero to contemplate retiring, and Marvel history suggests he won’t be the last!

Daredevil #6
DAREDEVIL (2019) #6

Since relaunching DAREDEVIL, Matt Murdock has been through the ringer. As Daredevil, Matt was accidentally responsible for a man’s death, and that has weighed on him physically and mentally. When confronted by Spider-Man in DAREDEVIL #5, Matt realized that he was done. He quit being Daredevil on the spot and seemingly vowed never to don his costume again.

Where have we heard that one before?

It’s become a rite of passage for some Marvel heroes to quit before ultimately embracing their costumed personas as an essential part of their identity. We fully expect the same thing for Daredevil at some point. After all, Zdarsky’s run is just getting started!

DAREDEVIL #6, on sale now, explores Matt’s post-DD life as things get dicey in Hell’s Kitchen. Here are 10 other heroes who quit and returned.

Reed and Susan Richards

Fantastic Four in the suburbs
FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #276

Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman are part of the First Family of Super Heroes... but even heroes need make time for family! The Richards have stepped away from the Fantastic Four before to focus on raising their son in FANTASTIC FOUR #276, only to be accused of witchcraft when they tried to blend into the suburbs.

In FANTASTIC FOUR #307, the Richards left with the intention of never coming back to the FF. Naturally, they ended up joining the Avengers during INFERNO before eventually rejoining their old team.

Hank Pym

Hank Pym quits
AVENGERS (1963) #229

Few heroes have fallen as hard from grace as Hank Pym. One of the founding Avengers was forced out of the team for his erratic behavior, striking his wife, and endangering his friends with a fake threat that only he could defeat. When Hank hit rock bottom, he eventually took responsibility for his actions and retired from being a Super Hero.

But even a repentant Hank couldn’t keep out of the game for long. Hank hung around for a while before officially rejoining the team in WEST COAST AVENGERS #21. Instead of adopting a new persona, Hank simply went into action as himself. It took a few more years before he became Giant-Man or Yellowjacket again.

Jessica Drew

Jessica Drew investigates
WOLVERINE (1988) #4

The original Spider-Woman didn’t initially have any say in her retirement. SPIDER-WOMAN #50 left Jessica for dead and seemingly erased from the world. When she resurfaced in AVENGERS #240-241, Jessica’s friends revived her. However, her Spider-Woman powers were largely gone.

Jessica resurfaced in San Francisco and later Madripoor where she worked alongside Logan AKA Patch in WOLVERINE. Jessica eventually regained her powers and became a full-time hero again in NEW AVENGERS.

Jamie Madrox

Jamie Madrox quits
X-FACTOR (2005) #262

Thanks to his powers, Multiple Man can lead any life he chooses through his various duplicates. But in X-FACTOR #262, Jamie Madrox finally had enough of the hero business. He had just recently been transformed into a demon, and he was only saved by the divine intervention of his ex-lover, Theresa Cassidy AKA Siryn.

When given the option to reform X-Factor and start again, Jamie and his new wife Layla Miller decided to stay retired and focus on their unborn child. Jamie happily said “We’re done.” But no one is ever truly done as a hero, and Jamie is currently among the UNCANNY X-MEN.


Cyclops quits
UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #138

In UNCANNY X-MEN #138, Cyclops famously left the team in the aftermath of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Although Scott Summers mourned Jean Grey’s demise, he couldn’t escape the shadow of the X-Men forever. He even married Madelyne Pryor, a woman who was so much like Jean that she turned out to be her evil clone!

But the only time that Cyclops was forced into retirement came in UNCANNY X-MEN #201, when a powerless Storm defeated Scott in a duel to determine who would lead the team. There was some hint that Madelyne may have inadvertently tipped the scales in Storm’s favor. Regardless, Scott’s retirement only lasted until he learned that the real Jean was alive.


Shang-Chi quits
MASTER OF KUNG FU (1974) #125

For years, Shang-Chi struggled against his evil father and the organization he controlled. But after finally emerging victorious, Shang-Chi had no direction in life. In MASTER OF KUNG FU #125, Shang-Chi came to terms with the choices he made and retired to live a quiet life as a fisherman.

It didn’t last. Shang-Chi not only returned to action, he took on a more prominent role in the Marvel Universe as a member of the Secret Avengers and the main Avengers team!


Imagine a whole team of ex-Super Heroes – except the Loners wouldn’t exactly call themselves a team. Instead, they were more like a support group that tried to keep each other from falling back into old problems. Turbo, Darkhawk, Lightspeed, Phil Urich, Ricochet, Mattie Franklin, Namie, and Hollow all had problems that being a hero couldn’t solve.

Unfortunately for them, most of the Loners eventually fell back into the hero life. But at least they headlined their own LONERS miniseries!

Tony Stark

Tony Stark quits
IRON MAN (1968) #170

In 1983’s IRON MAN #169, Tony Stark spiraled into a self-destructive phase that forced Tony to relinquish his role as Iron Man, allowing James Rhodes to become the new armored Avenger.

James kept the legacy of Iron Man alive until he was too injured to continue. With no other option to protect or avenge his friends, Tony forged the Silver Centurion armor and reclaimed his role in IRON MAN #200.

Captain America

Captain America quits

Steve Rogers was badly disillusioned in CAPTAIN AMERICA #175 by the reveal that the real leader of the Secret Empire was a high ranking U.S. government official. It may have even been the President! Steve’s depression was so severe that he actually gave up the Captain America identity.

But quitting just isn’t in Steve’s nature. By CAPTAIN AMERICA #180, Steve assumed a new heroic identity: Nomad. Eventually, he even became Cap again. However, that’s a story for another time.


Spider-Man no more

No list of heroes that quit would be complete without the classic “Spider-Man No More” story from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50. In this largely self-contained tale, Peter Parker finally let the troubles of his life overwhelm him. He gave up and left his Spider-Man costume in the trash, as captured in an unforgettable splash page by John Romita Sr.

But Peter couldn’t run from himself forever. After saving a man’s life, Peter realized that he had to resume his life as Spider-Man to live up to his famous mantra: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Peter’s own history makes Matt Murdock’s decision to step aside even more poignant – and, most likely, temporary. This string of tragedy is hardly DD’s first rodeo, but what would it take for Matt Murdock to reconsider?

DAREDEVIL #6, written by Chip Zdarsky with art by Lalit Kumar Sharma, is on sale now online and at your local comic shop.

Daredevil #6


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