I think much of that early success was down to the creative team that came from Marvel comics. I wouldn’t undersell Joe Q’s role in the success, what he did for Ultimates is what he did for MCU. And he and Feige came to loggerheads to the extent that Feige forced him out (now Joe is back in comics licking his wounds - it was all about credit and egos). There were a group of movies that I didn’t find very good - Ultron, Ant Man, Civil War, Dr Strange, that I think missed the magic of the creative team. I think the turnaround has been due to the directors, following from seeing what Gunn did with Guardians. And if you don’t think Feige is all about stealing credit, ask yourself why Millar, Bendis and Hitch got so little recognition for a series of movies that stole so much from their work.
I know quite a bit of the behind the scenes and politics of this that I can’t really talk too much about. I just know Feige is old to Disney but not so much at Marvel.
Hickman’s interpretation, another bad move. Millar had Reed pegged right (Millar knows these characters better than anyone). Reed should be a superstar. An Elon Musk, except better. Someone who’s utterly optimistic about the future, working as hard as he can for humanity. He’s Bill Gates, he’s an unselfish Tony Stark. He’s a superhero Stephen Hawking. Modern Carl Sagan. And on top of all that he can be an awesome Dad too. But Reed and Sue glorify education, science and exploring the unknown.