Posts Tagged ‘ Andy Lanning ’

Richard Rider Is Not Dead

Nova (comics)

Nova (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been an exciting week for fans of Marvel’s cosmic universe. First, Marvel announce a brand-new Guardians of the Galaxy film heading to cinemas in 2014, and now it looks like cosmic hero Nova will play a huge part on the comic side of things as Marvel is set to include him in their new initiative ‘Marvel Now’. Could this be the return of Richard Rider?

When Marvel announced Nova would show up in their 2011 cross-over preview book ‘Point One‘, most fans assumed it was the return of fan-favourite Richard Rider. This was not the case as the book paved way for a new Nova known as Sam Alexander. Created by Jeph Loeb, it looks as if Nova has been reverted back to a teen-hero status in order to make the character more of an underdog as well as relatable.

Before his demise, Richard Rider’s abilities as Nova had risen to a level where he could pretty much take on Silver Surfer or a whole Kree fleet and hold his own. While Rider was incredibly powerful, it was the sentimental moments between Nova and his brother/parents that defined Dan Abnett/ Andy Lanning‘s run on Nova for me. At one point, Rider was essentially the Peter Parker of the cosmic universe.

With the real integrity of Rider’s story previously covered, what else is there for a writer to cover with Richard Rider? It could be argued when Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning finished with Nova during the 2010 cosmic event  ‘The Thanos Imperative‘ they killed off Richard Rider as a testament to their own work. After all, DnA’s run on Nova had taken Richard Rider from a teen-hero with confidence issues, to one of the most popular powerhouses in the Marvel Universe. Like Ed Brubaker had done with Bucky, DnA had pretty much made Richard Rider their own.

For a new Nova to work however, Rider simply has to be either alive or resurrected. When him and Guardians of the Galaxy leader, Star-Lord made their last stand against Thanos in ‘The Thanos Imperative’ Nova was left trapped in an alternative universe with the whole Nova Force (the energy that powers the Nova Corps) inside as well. Sam Alexander has to be drawing his power from some where, so it’s likely Richard Rider escaped the Cancer Verse, and just hasn’t made his return as of yet.

To further prove Sam Alexander is the new Nova for good, the character has recently debuted in the animated Ultimate Spider-Man television show. While the show hasn’t proved popular with fans, Marvel seem intent on making the show fall inline with their comic universe as much as possible highlighting that the new Nova is here to stay. What this could also suggest is that if there are any Nova plans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I wouldn’t be surprised if they involved Sam Alexander and not Richard Rider.

With a new Nova, Loeb and Marvel have a chance to take the character back to his underdog roots, and make Nova relatable again. It also provides a welcome opportunity for Richard Rider to receive some new character development. With Sam Alexander being a teenager, Rider will probably act as a mentor for him and any other Nova corps that appear. Speaking of which, with Marvel’s new found importance on their cosmic universe, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marvel launch a Nova Corps to rival DC’s extensive Green Lantern Corps.

I feel as if Jeph Loeb is coming under unfair criticism from Nova fans. Creatively, Nova is a hot property and taking on a character that was defined by Abnett and Lanning could see his project fail before it has even started. It’s also unfair to judge Loeb on making the new Nova in memory of his late son Sam Loeb, as all writers have to draw their stories from somewhere. While risky, it might give Loeb to motivation to put his recent poor form behind him and tell a good story.

While the rest of Marvel seems to have completely ignored Abnett and Lanning’s cosmic run, I will give Loeb or whatever writer who tries to reason the resurrection of The Guardians, Nova and Thanos enormous credit. We haven’t seen the last of Richard Rider. His time as Nova may be finished but for now, lets give Sam Alexander a chance.

How Would a Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Work?

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008 team)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008 team) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With The Avengers come and gone, Marvel Studios prepare to enter ‘Phase 2’ of their cinematic universe. With Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all due sequels, it was tough to see what Marvel’s mystery project in 2014 could be. Was it Black Panther, Ant-Man? Well our questions have been answered, and Marvel’s first film away from the Avengers universe is set to be Guardians of the Galaxy!

But wait? Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy and how would a movie work? The team originally debuted in 1969, although far less familiar than the modern team seen today. Dwelling on the 31st Century, the original team focused on obscure characters like Starhawk and Major Victory. It wasn’t until 2008; when sci-fi writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (or DNA for short) took the team into new heights post Marvel’s mega-cosmic event ‘Annihilation‘.

Essentially making the team ‘Space Avengers’ DNA made GOTG one of Marvel’s best books, featuring iconic characters such as Adam Warlock, Drax the Destroyer and talking rodent Rocket Racoon. It was a high-adrenaline affair that had been missing from comics since the 90’s. The Avengers books had long focused on street heroes and New York, while Thor was in the process of being rebooted after a brief hiatus. Marvel was missing a cosmic universe, and DNA responded by creating one that easily rivalled DC’s own Green Lantern universe.

1) Control the humour.

One of the main reasons Avengers worked is because it took a tricky concept, and grounded it in reality by using humour. How else would icons such as Iron Man, Thor and Cap work together if there wasn’t some bickering involved? The problem with GOTG is that it’s a much more grand concept, and over-using the humour could almost make the film more self-parody than action-blockbuster.

That doesn’t mean limit the jokes altogether though. After all, it’s a film featuring a talking racoon.

2) Streamlined Narrative

DNA’s cosmic books tended to require full concentration from the reader in order to truly understand what was going on. They weren’t always the most accessible books for new readers, and as a result Marvel didn’t give the book the publicity it deserved. A movie can’t rick alienating (excuse the pun) audiences unfamiliar with the team by throwing alternative universes and shifting-timelines at them.

The movie’s script is rumoured to be based on DNA’s swansong event ‘The Thanos Imperative. Take this with a pinch of salt, as that book couldn’t really be streamlined at all for new audiences. For inspiration, Marvel should look at James Cameron’s sci-fi epic ‘Avatar‘. The film had quite a basic plot, but was carried by the thrill of seeing a new extraordinary universe and as a result it’s now the highest-grossing movie of all time. With the GOTG there is the potential to do what Marvel’s last fantasy film Thor failed to do by fully exploring new worlds and not just their glossy interiors. What are the moons of Titan? Are their other Titans that live there besides Thanos? Where does Rocket Raccoon come from? These are questions a GOTG movie could explore making it much more adventurous than your average comic book movie. The plot does not have to be convoluted. Even it was just Thanos showing up threatening to conquer the galaxy it would work.

3) Who are these characters?

Where The Avengers truly succeeded is that it gave every character a voice. No one felt too out of place (Hawkeye slightly) and each character got his or her chance to shine. The Guardians needs that exact treatment in order for it to feel different. For instance leader of the Guardians Star-Lord/Peter Quill is not a Steve Rogers stand-in. He’s more of a Han Solo character, with a bit of Rogers thrown in. With Robert Downey Jr. unable to play Iron Man for much longer, Star-Lord would easily fill the void into the cinematic universe.

Other characters such as Drax, Adam Warlock and Gamora can easily work on screen too. The film would need a smaller roster, so I’d hope it doesn’t feature Nova (another one of DNA’a cosmic revelations) as Richard Rider deserves his own film.

Perhaps the major trump card a Guardians of the Galaxy movie has is that it features Rocket Raccoon. Providing the film avoided making Rocket too goofy, he could potentially be a new money-making machine for Marvel. He’s the kind of character Marvel can stick on toys, clothes, lunchboxes and more.

4) Connect it to The Avengers.

A GOTG sadly won’t sell itself without some heavy marketing involved. When the mid-credit scene in Avengers arrived, fans all over the world left theatres wondering who ‘that purple guy’ is. What better way for a GOTG film to take on a pre-sold identity by offering to answer that question. Maybe make it a prequel to Avengers? How did Thanos lose the Cosmic Cube/Infinity Gauntlett in the first place? Why is it that he’s stuck in limbo needing the cube to get out? The Guardians are no strangers to time travel therefore making their film a prequel to Avengers certainly would be interesting. If that’s seen too much of a backwards step, the film could end with bookends in the present day setting up Avengers 2.

So there are my ideas for how to make a Guardians of the Galaxy film work. If enough care and marketing is put into the project, Marvel has a potential billion-dollar franchise on their hands. What do you think? Is a Guardians of the Galaxy movie possible? Would you have preferred to see Black Panther or Ant-Man debut first. As always, leave your comments below!