Notepad, do you mind if I ask how old you are? I'm just trying to figure out your perspective, and when you became a fan.
I can tell you that I was a huge Helloween fan by the time Pink Bubbles came out. If you asked me in 1988 what my favorite album was, I might've said Keepers Pt.2. I had the same feeling about Pink Bubbles as I did about Metallica's Black album, which ironically, I bought both together on the same day. Both were such huge let downs. That's probably hard to understand, but that's how it was. I know some Metallica fans who came into the band in the 90's cannot understand how TBA could be considered a disappointment, but to me, it was, and the same goes for a lot of old school metallers.
Now both have aged extremely well and both are excellent albums.
Metallica and Maiden are both on different planes completely. I'm not sure Helloween was ever going to reach that status, no matter what. I do agree with you that they had an excellent band, but there were too many issues in keeping the lineup consistent. Losing Hansen, and then Kiske, and obviously with what happened with Ingo, the band just imploded.
But interestingly enough, Weikath found a great partner in Deris. They have made tremendous music over the years and have built a solid reputation for the Helloween brand, and that it is no longer dependant on the Kiske era as it's identity. In fact, the Kiske era is secondary.
Now I'm a Kiske fan and those albums are my favorites, but Helloween really emerged from the ashes as a more serious, consistent, and focused band.