I’ve never created superhero characters.  So I could be talking out of my ass here. But I don’t think there’s anything inherent in the form that requires new work to slavishly follow the models of previously created universes, so that even the slowest reader can point to the models and get it.
I could be wrong, as I said. It certainly looks like that is absolutely required, because it happens every damn time.
The Black Hammer universe , as created by writer Jeff Lemire and his various collaborators, has been incredibly derivative from the jump, and I have to believe this is very, very deliberate. Lemire could write about people in fanciful wedgie-inducing costumes that are not immediately reminiscent of the comics he read in the ’70s and ’80s, so he must be doing it – over and over again, relentlessly – on purpose.
The Unbelievable Unteens is the X-Men rip-off. OK, maybe there’s a bit of Teen Titans in the DNA, too, but not much. This 2022 collection gathers the four-issue series of the same name, plus the Free Comic Book Day story from 2019 “Black Hammer Presents…Horrors to Come” (co-written by Lemire with Ray Fawkes, with art by David Rubin). I think that FCBD story has already appeared in another collection, since it was very familiar.
The other big touchpoint of Black Hammer is nostalgia, as required in any derivative superhero story. So these are not stories about original heroes in a modern world, but instead stories about Not-That-Guy (for purely copyright reasons) in Almost-That-Story, from Back When You Were Young And Life Was Wonderful. Some of the stories specifically look back, and some are set in the past as a look back. But the creative eye never ever looks forward, or even to anything demonstrably modern.
So Unteens is a story set in the late ’90s, where the Unteens are a fictional superhero group, written and drawn by Jane Ito. But! They were actually real, an actual ’80s superteam, and Ito was one of them! A shocking revelation from her past will bring her face-to-face with her old teammates, and they must revisit Their Darkest Hour to save One Of Their Own from the horrible fate she’s been in for roughly a decade. (I suppose I should give Lemire half-credit for a story that obviously references The Dark Phoenix Saga but actually has a different plot.)
This story is shorter and more direct than most of the Black Hammer-verse pieces, which made the end feel rushed and perfunctory. Previously, the sidebar stories have been more complex and interesting – they were actually stories instead of exercises in keeping the core cast in pretty much exactly the same situation while giving the illusion of Massive Events Unfolding. (Wait: didn’t I already say this was a derivative superhero series? I hate repeating myself.)
As always, Black Hammer stories are professional, populated with realistic people who talk like human beings and have human concerns that sometimes even are important to the plot. The giant wodges of standard superhero furniture are dull and obvious, but they’re the point of the exercise, so I have to assume they are not dull and obvious to the target audience. Given that this one was shorter, and possibly rushed to a conclusion, I wonder if even that target audience is beginning to tire of the endless exercise.
I suppose I can live in hope, as always.
 Well, not seriously. My friend group in college made up jokey superhero versions of ourselves, and I was 5-Man, with the incredible power to control anything in a group of five, inspired by a random shirt I had with a giant athletic-jersey-style 5 on the chest. I think we made up other characters not based on ourselves, too, and maybe some villains. My other main contribution to superherodom was the previously mentioned String Boy . We were all very fond of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, at least as a model for character creation, which may explain some of it.