Posts Tagged ‘ Marvel Universe ’

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.

What’s In Store For Avengers 2?

Thanos

Will Thanos return to court death?

(warning: if you haven’t seen The Avengers, this article may contain some spoilers)

With The Avengers on its way to reaching the $1 billion mark, Disney have moved quickly to announce a sequel to Joss Whedon‘s superhero epic is already in development. Assuming an Avengers sequel will take place after Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and a Captain America sequel, there is plenty of time for a new threat to emerge that forces the team together. What could it be? Here are my theories?

1) Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet

As awesome as the Thanos end-credit sequence was at the end of The Avengers, I just don’t believe we will see the mad titan take on the team just yet. Why? It was an enormous achievement for Marvel and Joss Whedon to be able to just fit all their iconic characters into one film without anyone getting the short-stick (maybe Hawkeye), and that came at the expense of developing the Chitauri army into an enemy that felt like a serious threat.

Thanos is a character that definitely will not work f he’s even slightly underdeveloped on screen. From his love with the embodiment of death, to wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, which is perhaps the most powerful weapon in the Marvel Universe, Thanos would need developing elsewhere before going head-to-head with The Avengers.

Marvel would perhaps find it easier to establish Thanos in a movie such as Guardians of the Galaxy (who seems to be getting a lot of attention in comics and television right now) that way it’s a great way to introduce the cosmic side to their universe with a villain that’s hugely important going forward.

2) Kree-Skrull War

With the focus on developing a cosmic universe going forward, it would seem logical for Marvel to look for inspiration from one of their biggest comic book events of all time. In case you’re unfamiliar, the Kree-Skrull war was a comic book storyline that ran from 1971-1972 depicting two of Marvel’s famous intergalactic species locked in a war with Earth used as a battleground. The Kree-Skrull war divides a lot of opinion amongst fans. Some see it as master class of how to do a comic book event right, while others blame it for starting the trend of yearly comic book events that have plagued Marvel for some time.

Will it happen? Probably not. While it wouldn’t be impossible for Joss Whedon (assuming he’s the director) to fit in two alien races into one film, like many, I feel the alien enemy has already warned a little thin.

3) Ultron

While it may be a little too soon for Ultron, (seeing as the Ant-Man film hasn’t even been announced yet) he would make for a worthy villain that gives viewers a break from the classic alien villain syndrome. One of the best parts of The Avengers for me was seeing the heroes argue, as it really characterised their flaws.

Ultron is an embodiment of Ant-Man’s flaws. Wanting to build a robot that would be boosted by artificial intelligence, Henry Pym built Ultron by using his own brain patterns for the robot. As with all super intelligent robots, Ultron decided in order to serve his purpose, he had to destroy humanity.

What better then than to introduce a villainous robot villain that was created by an actual Avenger? Assuming the Ant-Man film takes off soon, I would like to imagine it serves as a sort of prequel to Avengers which would give enough time for Hank Pym to get working on his artificially intelligence boosted robot.

Will the storyline to The Avengers sequel definitely be one of the storyline listed above? Probably not. With the mountain of actually getting an Avengers movie out their in the first place achieved, Marvel now have more freedom when deciding where their characters should head next. As long as the villains are better developed next time, I can’t wait to see the Avengers fighting against robots, aliens or a civil war against each other?

But that’s a post for next time…

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 2 Thoughts

Screen capture from The Avengers: Earth's Migh...

Screen capture from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode, "Breakout". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a while, but The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has finally returned to our TV screens, debuting its second season with an impressive episode, bringing classic characters such as Dr Doom and The Fantastic Four into the animated universe. With an impressive season behind it already, I believe Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is well on its way to becoming one of the best-animated superhero shows of all time!

What separates EMH from other animated comic book shows, is that is has the potential to benefit the comic book industry in a huge way. Several legendary story arcs from the comic books such as ‘Ultron Unlimited’ and ‘The Kang Dynasty‘ have already been spectacularly featured in season one, which is great for introducing some of the older Avengers stories that modern fans may not have seen before.

For example, after viewing the fantastic ‘Kang Dynasty’ arc in season one, I went out and purchased the book that influenced the show, The Kang Dynasty’ by long-term Avengers writer Kurt Busiek. While for new readers, the book may be a bit long, I found it to be an example of how to do a comic book event right, with effective characterisation, and a fantastic level of unpredictability. Hopefully the show can influence more viewers to pick up the comic books, which would be a huge bonus for the comic book industry, as well as perhaps leading to some of the classic storylines receiving re-prints, which is a benefit for long-term Avengers readers.

One of the strongest features of the show in no doubt is its ability to build up future storylines. In season one, we received hints at The Kree-Srull War, Secret Invasion, and The Ultron War. While this doesn’t some please some fans (particularly those who didn’t like Brian Bendis’s New Avengers series), I find it captivating to watch future storylines unravel. Especially now Spider-Man and The X-Men are set to feature. For comic book adaptations, the difference between an animated television show and a blockbuster movie, is that a television show has the time and the audience to develop more intricate storylines, and introduce far more characters. For instance, a Marvel Civil War movie would never work as a feature film, but it fits perfectly for an animated television show with the rights to a whole host of characters and the time to build it conflict. Judging by a season 2 preview, the show is set to feature the Civil War storyline sometime in the future!

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a comic book fan’s dream. Unlike many animated comic book television shows, it takes itself and the source material extremely seriously. With a full second season to look forward to, I can’t wait to see where the show is heading. I just hope it doesn’t reach the same fate as Spectacular: Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men.

 

 

Why Nova Is The Best Character Marvel Have Right Now

Why sometimes taking a chance on an unknown character can do wonders for the comic book fan…

Nova (comics)

Image via Wikipedia

I really didn’t know much about Nova until late last year. To me, he just seemed like a Marvel rip-off of Green Lantern. Cocky superhero, check. Intergalactic police force. Check. There comes a time though when it gets boring seeing characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man dominating the market. A change was needed, and for me it was Richard Rider.

Nova (Richard Rider) is a superhero in the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. Upon becoming a member of the galaxy’s Nova Corps (an intergalactic police force), Rider gained enhanced strength, flight, injury resistance, energy projection and a specialized uniform with life support.

I decided to take a gamble and bought a Nova trade (Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning) as it had received some rave reviews on Amazon. Taking it with an open mind however, I still didn’t know if it was going to be for me. To my delight, Nova instantly struck me as a fantastic hero. What I liked was that he was just an ordinary guy thrust into the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. The character had some amazing powers and lot of weight and responsibility on his shoulders. Not to mention his fantastic dynamic with his inbuilt super-intelligent Worldmind computer. His first arc, post Marvel’s Annihilation event stands as the best comic book I’ve read in over a year. Better yet, Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso promises we will see more of Nova in 2012 as Avengers Vs X-Men heats up. Whether or not it’s Richard Rider remains to be seen

What originally inspired me to do this post is how Sony are willing to give Ghost Rider a mediocre sequel, yet no studio has yet to capitalise on giving Nova a feature film. The character rights for Nova are owned by Marvel Studio, so using him would be a great way to development their cosmic universe for future movies. With Green Lantern failing to impress, now is a great opportunity to stake a claim in cosmic superheroes. Providing the casting was solid, Richard Rider would be a more relatable character for viewers. He’s more of a likeable character than Hal Jordan, but still maintains a charismatic edge. The dynamic between him and his computer Worldmind would provide humour with a great dynamic, similar to what was done with JARVIS and Tony Stark in the Iron Man films. If there were any doubts over whether or not Nova would be a viable movie franchise, Marvel still has the opinion of incorporating him into a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

He’s not having the best of luck in comics right now, but I urge any comic book readers to pick up the Nova trades. They have everything you could want in a comic book, space battles, high-octane action, comedy and even a lot of drama. I would love to see Marvel create a movie for Nova. It can’t be any worse than Green Lantern…

Why Marvel Should Give The Sentry A Movie

 

The Sentry rips Carnage in half. Interior pane...

Image via Wikipedia

The Sentry has to be one of the most controversial comic book characters of this millennium. It was writer Brian Michael Bendis who brought Robert Reynolds back into the centre of the Marvel Universe by including him in The New Avengers. Since then, fans have ruthlessly criticised the character so often, Marvel had no choice but to respond and they decided to kill the Sentry off in 2010, and the character has not been seen since.

That’s quite a lot of hate. First and foremost, why do people hate the Sentry? Was it because he created continuity problems? Is it his overpowered skills set? Or is it his constant crying and running from battles? More often than not, people seem to dislike the Sentry because he was constantly used as a plot device for high-octane battles, as seen in World War Hulk, New Avengers and Siege. His split personality of Robert Reynolds and the destructive Void persona seemed like an interesting idea. After all, the Sentry is the deconstruction of the Superman archetype. A man with such an extreme set of powers, but burdened by his dark side. If he was handled better, the Sentry could have been Marvel’s answer to Superman and then some. But I guess they figured that’s what Thor is for.

Is Sentry just a Superman rip-off? No, but Marvel have hung the Sentry very close to that label in previous years. His dark side was never truly explored, and more often than not if he wasn’t used as a plot device for action sequences, he would simply run away from a battle in fear. If you need an example, look no further than Secret Invasion. He had potential for some great stories, but he spent too much time lost amongst various Avengers teams.

So what am I doing here wishing for a Sentry movie? We are arguably at an age where Superman is becoming obsolete. People no longer care for immortal characters. When a character is incredibly powerful there’s only so far you can go with them. The Sentry is the ultimate deconstruction of the Superman image. The Sentry is a character so powerful, yet ultimately flawed. If Marvel decided to release a movie on the character surely they would attract a Superman audience, but unlike the DC superhero, the Sentry could offer more providing his flaws were developed on screen. Rob Reynolds would be a more relatable figure than Clark Kent, but would still offer the same amount of thrills.

If X-Men: First Class proved anything last year, it was that you shouldn’t judge a movie before it’s released. Fox’s latest mutant adventure faced worldwide threats of boycott, all because it didn’t stick true enough to the source material. Yet, nearly a year later, and I would say X-Men: First Class was the best comic book movie of 2011 (it’s a pity it didn’t box-office records, but that’s a marketing issue). If a Sentry movie headed into production it would generate quite a media storm. Some people would love the idea of a Sentry movie, and others would ultimately hate it. There’s noting worse than no one caring about the movie (I’m looking at you Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance).

For it to work, I think a Sentry movie would need to exist outside the Marvel cinematic universe, meaning under studio such as Fox or Sony. I feel this would be best, in order for the character’s darker psychological problems to be explored. It’s no secret Marvel Studios aim their movies at a young audience, one I don’t think would appreciate a super powered being ripping his enemies apart.

For all my wishing, I don’t think we’ll ever see a Sentry movie. I think Marvel just lost their way with the character at a crucial time, so I’m not even sure if we’ll see him in the pages of the Marvel universe in the near future. I’ve said time and time again however, there comes a time when Batman and X-Men get boring and it’s time for something new once in a while. Iron Man proved that. If a former b-list hero played by a washed out actor looking for a comeback can hit big, there’s no reason why there couldn’t one day be a Sentry movie.

 

 

Should Marvel Reboot?

Various characters of the Marvel Universe. Pro...

Image via Wikipedia

DC’s New 52 reboot is one of the most significant things to happen to comics in decades. There’s no doubt that DC has done well to make their comics reader-friendly by wiping away most of their continuity. It was a risky move, but the result has put DC back on top over Marvel with sales figures. With Marvel falling behind for the first time in years, it raises the question whether it’s time for them to initiate a total reboot, in attempt to wipe their increasing convoluted continuity clean and become more accessible for new readers?

Yes Marvel Need To Reboot

1) Their Continuity Is Too Messy

One of the biggest challenges for new readers of Marvel comics is to try and come to terms with the X-Men continuity. Spanning for over fifty years, the X-Men books are almost unrecognisable to new readers. Gone is the Professor X and his X-Men vs. Magneto and his Brotherhood of mutants, replaced by a universe where former villains are now allies. Continuity isn’t just messy when it comes to the X-Men though. Spider-Man suffered a continuity crisis when an editorial decision decided to have the devil, Mephisto erase Peter’s marriage, and make everyone forget that Paeter Parker is Spider-Man. These are the kind of examples where it’s easy to justify a Marvel reboot.

2) They Need More Characters From Diverse Backgrounds

Where Marvel has become seriously outdated is that they lack some diversity. Sure enough, Brian Michael Bendis is doing superb work on making Miles Morales an engaging, fresh character in Ultimate Spider-Man, while Ed Brubaker maintains the Falcon as one of my favourite characters, but Ultimate Marvel aside, they are still lacking. How would a reboot help introduce characters from different minorities? Characters such as The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine and Iron Man remain incredibly popular because they’re over fifty-years-old. Resetting the clock would allow Marvel to give new characters from diverse backgrounds more extensive back stories and make them a core part of the Marvel Universe, rather than side characters. Marvel could incorporate Ultimate Nick Fury into the mainstream universe, or even create some new characters, as seen with Marcus Johnson from the recent Battle Scars series. It’s time now for characters from diverse backgrounds to simply be more than just side characters.

No To A Reboot

1)Continuity Can Be Restored Easier

It was easier to see why DC chose the reboot The Justice League. The team had become outdated, irrelevant and aside from X-Men, had the most confusing continuity in comics. They needed a new slate. Marvel is lucky not to be in that position just yet. While they’ve been going on a little over-board on events lately, it’s becoming clearer that they know what’s working and what’s not. With financial struggles, Marvel was forced to cancel titles such as Alpha Flight, Dark Wolverine, X-23 and Iron Man 2.0. With the excess weight taken off, Marvel should have time to focus on making their existing lines better. An example should be the work of Dan Slott on The Amazing Spider-Man series. When Slott took charge, he had the duty of recovering the series from the One More Day mess left behind by JMS and Joe Quesada. Now, Spidey is one of the most fun comics around. More writers need to focus on wiping away what didn’t work before, and bringing back the characteristics that made the superheroes so engaging in the first place.

2) Their Characters have Come Too Far

Another problem with a company ride reboot would be that it would undermine the journeys that Marvel’s characters have taken over the past years. Writers such as Grant Morrison, Joss Whedon and Jason Aaron have worked hard to strongly develop characters like Cyclops and Wolverine. Would all that be diminished if the X-Men line rebooted?

The same applies to characters like Bucky Barnes and The Scarlett Witch. Both characters have had writers spend years developing them, so it’s difficult to imagine a reboot wiping their continuity clean.  DC showed how ruthless they can be when Wally West was cut from the New 52 relaunch. I would hate to see that happen to any of my favourite Marvel characters.

Conclusion

Will Marvel reboot? In my opinion, Marvel is likely going to judge the future of their comic line by how well their event Avengers vs. X-Men is received. If the event reaches mainstream publicity and sales are good, I can imagine Marvel will hold off a reboot and spin great stories off AVX, similar to what happened with Civil War. If AVX fails to impress, I feel as if maybe Marvel will probably initiate a reboot. After all, if the top two teams Marvel has battling each other can’t succeed, then it’s definitely time to go back to the drawing board. There seems to be a trend with comics lately, as if they’re aspiring to be like the 90’s again, with over the top art, page after page of heroes fighting and little substance. Marvel also really need to turn this around if they want to keep on top of DC in the future.

Avengers vs X-Men: Marvel’s Best Event In Years?

If you’re a comic book reader who has been suffering from event fatigue, don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon, especially if you’re a Marvel fan. The House of Ideas has recently announced its 2012 mega event, ‘Avengers vs. X-Men’. Unlike ‘Fear Itself’, details about AVX have been spreading constantly online. What we know is that it will focus on the return of the Phoenix force, and how that causes both teams to clash. The event officially kicked off last week with the return of Cable in ‘Avengers: X-Sanction’ (Jeph Loeb), and will begin to unravel in 2012. With the potential for an event the scale of Civil War, it’s time Marvel delivered in bringing us a comic book event that can match the hype.

1) Story First, Action Later

With a story like AVX, there is guaranteed to be pages and pages of heroes duking it out against each other. While that’s fine considering action sells, there still needs to be substance to the story. If you look at past events like Secret Invasion, Siege and Fear Itself, they were essentially events full of long boring fights. AVX has the potential to deliver effective characterization, and with five writers at the helm, every character should get a significant amount of screen time.

1) Team Loyalties

Wolverine has been an Avenger for years, but he’s been a member of the X-Men for much longer. Usually it would be easy to see Logan siding with Cyclops, but considering their fallout in ‘X-Men: Schism’, there’s huge potential to explore Logan’s loyalties. Will he side with The Avengers and come to blows with former friend and teammate Cyclops? Or will the events of ‘X-Men: Regenesis’ be undone less than a year later? The same goes for Storm, who has only recently joined the Avengers, but her past issues with Wolverine leading the mutant black-ops team X-Force may force her to come to blows with her former teammate.

2) The Answer To Hope?

Ever since Hope debuted as an infant in ‘X-Men: Messiah Complex’, readers have been speculating over her true nature. How is she the savour of mutant kind? Is she a reincarnated Jean Grey? With the phoenix Force heading towards Earth, one can assume Hope will probably play host at some point. Similar to what happened with The Scarlett Witch in ‘House of M’, The Avengers and The X-Men will likely be brought to blows over how to deal with Hope. Presumably, with Cable soon to be out of the way, perhaps Cyclops will act as the new ‘father’ role to Hope, akin to what Magneto is with the Scarlett Witch? I’m not a fan of Cyclops having so many links in the X-Men universe but it could make for some compelling storytelling.

3) Which Characters Will Face-Off?

With AVX, there will evidently be some key battles. As the image on the side suggests, Captain America vs. Cyclops will be a key battle, with Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man) writing the issue. It will be great to see how a rather comfortable soldier like Captain America fares against a leader like Cyclops who has been forced to lead his species to survival for several years.

Magneto vs. Iron Man is another battle that is likely to be heavily featured. Matt Fraction teased a new armour for Tony Stark during a recent conference, so it’s fairly obvious it’s going to be magnetic proof suit. Both characters have big flaws so it’s going to be really interesting to see how the battle pans out.

4) Hawkeye Needs Attention

With actor Jeremy Renner playing a live-action Clint Barton in the upcoming Avengers movie, now is the time to bring Hawkeye into the spotlight of the Marvel Universe. Since the 2005 crossover ‘House of M’ Hawkeye has been more of a background character. Now with a new look, and a story that ties with his past relationship with Wanda Maximoff, Hawkeye can once again take centre stage. With tons of storyline potential in AVX for Clint Barton, Hawkeye is certainly a character to watch in 2012.

5) Explain The Event Overload

For long-term Avengers readers, you may remember this time-line of events that the future Tony Stark had made. With Marvel producing more and more comic book events than ever before, could there be a logical way to explain the event overload? For many, 2012 is the year where several ‘doomsday’ prophecies will occur. Perhaps Marvel could incorporate this into AVX to show how these occurring events are the sign of the world’s end in 2012?

So there are my suggestions for Avengers vs. X-Men. Despite the let downs that were ‘Siege’ and ‘Fear Itself’, I can’t help but get excited for AVX. It’s a storyline years in the making and it may be the first event to alter the Marvel Universe for the long-term. I’m disappointed The Defenders and Winter Soldier won’t play a part, but with new characters like Hope and Nova taking centre stage, 2012 will be a fantastic year for Marvel fans!