I'l pretty much an exclusive DC reader and have been for many, many years. Can't really explain it in a few paragraphs. Maybe it's the legacy factor, the iconic characters or perhaps the moral ground upon which the heroes stand. Not really sure, but I find most Marvel stuff unreadable. Just personal taste.
I think they could improve in a few areas that would bring in guys like me. I think they make a few mistakes that could be corrected and have some opportunity is other areas. Of course DC has just as long of an improvement list, but I'm not of the perspective to list those as I've already chugged several gallons of their Kool-Aid.
1. Eliminate company cross-overs for one year. Quit doing them. They are mostly train wrecks, DC included. I know it may generate some sales, but it will equally anger the fanbase.
2. Lighten the hell up. Have some fun with the books. Don't have all your main players going through psyche crises and drama in every single issue. Marvel had a chance to introduce something they've never had. A cape. I've always been told Mavel U cannot sustain a cape character like Supes. I see why. They have this very cool looking, iconic in appearance dude who could come in and be their company's SUperman. They ended up turning him into some babbling, multiple personality, void-fearing waterhead that's easliy controlled by Osborne. Maybe the character still has a chance, but it's slim.
3. Develop each title's background characters. Marvel is hell-bent on guest apperances for some reason. Build up each title's players and make the stories and creators involved self-sufficient.
4. Allow B-list characters to shine. Black Panther is a chick now? Seriously? T'Challa is one of the baddest dude on the planet. He's king of the most techonogilcally advanced country. He should always be a major player and total A-list hero. It's always been hinted that Falcon has a mutant power to talk to his bird. Why not take it further and have him with the ability to communicate with all wildlife? It would add a new dimension to him without changing his core being.
5. End the paranoia. Are you a Skrull? DO you support the registration act? Are you one of those stinking mutants? Make the world a brighter place, even slightly. As miserable as out real world is now, it's nothing compared to Marvel U.
Eh, just some thoughts. I really want to like Marvel again, though my bank account wants to keep us separated. I used to love Avengers and Cap. I have every issue of Power Man and Iron Fist, including solo books. I've got some history here, so this viewpoint is coming from a former fan who'd like to return.
Fire away. I hear they are having a pitchfork sale at Lowe's this weekend.