Tag Archives: avengers

Review: The New Avengers #1

TheNewAvengersMarvel has started rolling out their new Avengers titles following Secret Wars, Uncanny Avengers and The New Avengers being the first ones out of the gate. After reading Uncanny Avengers (which I also reviewed), I was very nervous about jumping into this book; I didn’t want to deal with disappointment twice. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about that after reading this book, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with what I had read.

I was very glad to see this title following a story thread from the previous volume, where Roberto DaCosta (Sunspot) had successfully taken over A.I.M, and is now called Avengers Idea Mechanics, working as a world-wide rescue initiative, operating off an island, away from the jurisdiction of any governments, or SHIELD. The team of Avengers brought together is, again, a very odd match up: Songbird, Hulkling, Wiccan, Power Man, White Tiger and Squirrel Girl. Going off into their mission, we get a glimpse into the team dynamic, as well as a look into the tech that AIM is now able to equip them with. It didn’t really feel much like a “team”, but more like pairs being pushed into working together. White Tiger and Power Man stick together (coming from Mighty Avengers) and Hulkling and Wiccan, of course, stick close (coming from Young Avengers). Songbird seems to be the field leader of this group, and seems comfortable in the role; and Squirrel Girl…well, the less I say now about her is better.

Sunspot is the same old Roberto we’ve seen in the last volume of this book, still as confident as ever, even as he is facing an inspection from Dum Dum Dugan and SHIELD. They’ve come to see what exactly this new AIM has to offer the world, and for the moment, is treating them like the good guys. But, SHIELD would like to have one of their own assets on the team as well, someone who can keep SHIELD in the loop on the activities of this group…and Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, is introduced as its newest member.

The villain is revealed, being the Maker, an alternate Reed Richards, who really only comes across as another mad scientist looking to take over the world, and the threat he has created for the team really feels, well, silly…crystal headed zombies gathering energy of the dead? By this point, I was asking myself if this title was aimed at Avengers fans, or something more aimed to a younger, elementary school audience.

Al Ewing brings a story that clearly lays out the reason for this new team, and introduces them to us jumping into action. The team feeling isn’t really quite there, and it feels more like a team up with various couples under the Avengers banner. And then there’s Squirrel Girl. My only reaction to her was….why?? Why isn’t she the kick ass character we saw back in New Avengers who worked as nanny for Danielle Cage (Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter)? We saw her kick Wolverine’s butt and serve as a more than capable member of the team. Now, she looks like something from a BAD children’s cartoon show, and she talks as if she really is just a child (I would guess 5 or 6). Why did they do this? I used to think Squirrel Girl was a decent character, but now just comes across as a joke.

I really enjoy Gerardo Sandoval’s art (it was the saving grace for me for Age of Apocalypse in Secret Wars). I really enjoyed it here in this book, though I found it didn’t work for all the characters. I am having problems with how Wiccan looks more buffed and like a ‘typical’ super hero as opposed to being smaller, more lanky looking. I really liked that about the character; here was this kid that could easily be overlooked, but wielded realty altering abilities. And then again, there’s Squirrel Girl…I have no words. She looks like a cartoon mascot for the team. Again I ask, why?

Overall, I did enjoy this book. A new team with a lot of characters I’m happy to see back in action (notably, Songbird, Hulkling and Wiccan). The team dynamic isn’t quite there yet, but I’m confident as the book goes on, this will get stronger. The team has a clear purpose, and I’m intrigued with this new AIM, and the support staff introduced, that could lead to many interesting stories. The villain wasn’t anything special, and the immediate threat felt a little sub par for an Avengers book, but I did enjoy the ride and I am looking forward to seeing where this book goes. And here’s hoping Squirrel Girl isn’t along for the ride much longer.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Story: 6 Art: 7: Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Review: Uncanny Avengers #1

UncannyAvengersSecret Wars is over…kinda…sorta…I’m not really sure…but, we’re starting to see Marvel release the new titles emerging from their latest event, set to re-imagine the Marvel Universe. For Uncanny Avengers, this is the second time this title has been launched this year, and I was disappointed to see this volume of the series falling as short, if not shorter, then the last.

The core reason for this Unity Squad remains intact: to show the world that mutants and non-mutant heroes can work together for a better world; but now they have expanded that to include Inhumans (Marvels latest spotlighted characters) to show a united front to the world. But, as expected, there is hardly any unity in this squad. The roster for this team seems an odd choice to me; Steven Rogers choosing Rogue, Quicksilver, Spider-Man, Brother Voodoo, the Human Torch, a new Inhuman named Synapse…and Deadpool. Yes, Deadpool is now an Avenger. The last member seems to be a point of contention within the group, leading one of them to quit a few pages into the book.  This new team definitely does not feel comfortable, or overly friendly with each other, with even one member making a pretty nasty comment during a press conference in regards to the Inhumans. The team really feels disjointed and forced together.

I’m sorry to see that a lot of the characters from the previous volumes have not made it into this book (Rogue and Brother Voodoo being the only two), and Rogue and her powers seem to have been changed, no longer dealing with the absorbed Wonder Man and the problems that came with him in her head, but rather we see a more classic Rogue with flight and super strength.  For only carrying two characters forward in this book, it would have been nice to see come of the challenges facing them carry forward as well.

Gerry Duggan does an ‘ok’ job of bringing us this new team of Avengers. There is no real reason given as to why Steve chose this new team to serve, and there is nothing really to introduce the new character Synapse to the reader. She’s just here, now an Avenger, and the reader is supposed to care about her without knowing anything about her. The interactions between the team members fall flat for me and do nothing to  reinforce the feeling of a real team. Ryan Stegman’s art feels way too cartoony for me. The over exaggerated facial expressions really ruin some panels for me and these characters look like they haven’t eaten for quite some time, looking more like stick figures. And I really don’t like some of the costume redesigns (Quicksilver has a fast forward symbol on his chest?  Really?)

Overall, I was not happy with this latest relaunch. The characters feel flat on their own, and definitely do not feel like a team; I found the art very distracting and the villain feels very lackluster after the likes of the Red Skull and the Apocalypse Twins. This issue has set the bar very low for the latest volume of Uncanny Avengers, but here’s hoping it can only go up and improve going forward.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Ryan Stegman
Story: 5 Art: 4 Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

New York Comic Con 2015 Thursday Cosplay

This year’s New York Comic Con brought in over 167,000 comic lovers, many of which were geek-ed out in some awesome cosplay. Thursday lacked some common characters such as Batman & Robin, but had pretty much every version of Harley Quinn you could want. You could build your very own Avenger team with the amount of Avengers cosplay. Anime characters also seemed to be a frequent sight this year. Check out our gallery for just a few of these cosplay pictures and don’t miss the rad Godzilla.

Avengers: Standoff! Unites Earth’s Mightiest Heroes For Epic Crossover!

The blockbuster Avengers crossover of 2016 starts here! It’ll take all of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to uncover the mysteries behind Pleasant Hill – and it’s all happening in Avengers: Standoff! this Spring! Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Captain America with a bang as heroes from across the Marvel Universe strap in for an explosive thrill ride!

From the outside it looks like any other remote small town. Only Pleasant Hill is anything but. This gated community has more than its fair share of secrets. Secrets that keep its residents locked away behind its walls. But the time has come for them to finally escape. As their revolt begins – why then are the Avengers trying to keep them inside? And what does it have to do with S.H.I.E.L.D.? What’s hidden at Pleasant Hill might be too much for even the Avengers to handle.

In an interview with Marvel.com, Nick Spencer said:

It was really about trying to craft an event that was very ground-level, very character-driven, where everybody’s in close quarters in a locked-in space. It was a perfect setting for us in the scale we wanted to give and the direction and the feel of the event.

Kicking off this March in Standoff!: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz – this blockbuster crossover event continues across various Avengers titles this Spring. All-New, All-Different Avengers, Sam Wilson Captain America, Uncanny Avengers, New Avengers, Ultimates, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and more – nobody is safe from Pleasant Hill!

Art & Cover by JESUS SAIZ
Coming March 2016!


Around the Tubes

Just one more day until New York Comic Con! Until then, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Variety – Women Quietly Become a Force in Comic Book World – Not sure I’d call it really quiet. Its kind of been a fight.


Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – All-New, All-Different Marvel Point One #1

Newsarama – All-New, All-Different Marvel Point One #1

CBR – Avengers #0

Newsarama – Doctor Strange #1

Comic Vine – Doctor Strange #1

Newsarama – Invincible Iron Man #1

Comic Vine – Invincible Iron Man #1

Newsarama – Jughead #1

CBR – Jughead #1

Nothing But Comics – The Steam Man #1

Comicsgirl – Three quick reviews of Harlequin manga titles

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

PaperGirls01_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Old Man Logan #5 (Marvel) – I loved the first Old Man Logan, it remains to this day one of the best Wolverine stories told in the last fifteen years. This sequel doesn’t quiet measure up to those lofty heights, but I never expected it too. This story is a fun exploration of a character that has been missing from our comics for a long time, and I’m enjoying every page.

Detective Comics #45 (DC Comics) – Honestly, if it wasn’t for the possibility of more Harvey Bullock, this comic wouln’t be on my list at all. Who doesn’t love Harvey Bullock?



Top Pick: Drawn Onward (Big Planet Comics/Retrofit) – I picked up a copy of this small press indie book a while ago, and seriously it’s one of the best comics I’ve read this year. A comic that looks at a relationship from two perspectives, you need to read the comic front to back, and then back to front to get the full experience. Absolutely brilliant. You can read my review here.

Captain Canuck #4 (Chapterhouse Comics) – Remember when superheroes were supposed to be fun? This comic series follows Canada’s champion and is exactly that, fun with lots of action!

Cyborg #3 (DC Comics) – A comic that has parts superhero and part reflection, Cyborg’s solo series has been a breath of fresh air in many ways, especially since its tackled so many issues such as race and disabilities head on.

Jughead #1 (Archie Comics) – Archie’s relaunch of their titles have been amazing so far. Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson are masters at what they do, and the fact they’re on this comic has me beyond excited.

Southern Bastards #11 (Image Comics) – The best ongoing comic being produced hands down, no question.



Top Pick: Paper Girls #1 (Image Comics) – The writer of Saga (aka the comic even my Dad will read) and the artist of Wonder Woman team up for some 1988 newspaper girl badassness.

Top Pick: Jughead #1 (Archie Comics) – I never read Archie till the relaunch and boy does this one look like fun. Zdarsky and Henderson are aces at comedy without being mean spirited. Both are zany and oddball talents, making them the most Jughead-worthy team ever.

8House: Yorris Part 1 (Image Comics) – 8House is always something interesting and new. I’d suggest getting all #1 of the 8House mini imprint if you’re hungry from something unique and strange. This book has a euro-comic feel shared by many of the 8House stories.

Cyborg #3 (DC Comics) – A seriously smart comic about disability and race. It’s also great as pure sci-fi. Because those are things good sci-fi is supposed to do.

Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel) – I’ve wanted a new Doctor Strange book for a long time. Jason Aaron’s pitch is a strong one: “Who do you call when things are coming out of your dreams and trying to kill you? He’s the only person standing between us and the forces of darkness, but has he been paying his tab?” –  The mildly de-aged Doctor sounds like he could be the Marvel version of John Constantine. But I’d prefer if it goes its own way since Constantine is winning at Constantine-ing (boy do I love that comic).

The Humans #8 (Image Comics) – Serious shit went down last issue in my favorite historical-fiction/funny-animal/ape-sploitation comic. Now, the biker gang’s old ladies are on the cover of this month’s issue with semi-automatic weapons pointed. That’s all I’m saying.



Top Pick: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 (IDW Publishing) – Shredder vs. the Turtles. 90% of my childhood was built around this rivalry and time has made me no less excited to see these mortal enemies go at it again.

Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel) – I have always had a special place in my heart for comic book characters that are so far on the fringe of their own universe that people with outrageous super powers rarely dare to go into their realm and Doctor Strange personifies this better than almost anyone.

The Omega Men #5 (DC Comics) – After all the push back resulting from DC attempting to end this series at issue 6 I had to check out what all the fuss was about and I have yet to be disappointed.

What If? Infinity – Thanos (Marvel) – Anyone who has ever heard a story has always wondered “What if?”. And I always get a kick out of Marvel trying to answer these questions. Especially, ones I never thought to ask like how Thanos joining the Avengers would turn out.



Top Pick: Siege #4 (Marvel) – This has been a fantastic Secret Wars tie in, and I am very excited for this issue….Thanos has arrived!  Can Abigail and the defenders of The Shield survive?  Can’t wait to find out!

Avengers #0 (Marvel) – A slew of new Avengers titles coming down the line, and this issue #0 gives us a look at the new teams.  Very excited to get inside the teams we’ve only seen teaser pics about; the rosters, their missions…and apparently someone is keeping a close eye on these Avengers.  Can’t wait!

Contest of Champions #1 (Marvel) – Heroes fighting in a cosmic game of chess, to see who can wield incredible power.  Yeah, it’s been done before, but with different versions of heroes and villains to pull from?  Ok, I’m interested.



Top Pick: Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel)Jason Aaron tackles another iconic Marvel property, and I got a feeling, he is about make this legend, even more relevant and exciting than ever!!!

Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)- any storyline that brings back Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson into the Spiderverse, is one at least finding out why, which is only part of the fun.

Batman and Robin Eternal #1 (DC Comics) – The reintroduction of Dick Grayson into Batman’s world??/ I cannot wait to read this, as Dick revisits a case when he was Robin.

Contest of Champions #1 (Marvel) – a classic showdown between Thanos, Maestro, Venom Gamora, and a host of others battle it out

Paper Girls #1 (Image) I love Brian K.Vaughn’s work , as he truly has the Midas touch when it comes to series, especially when it original series , and this one is right up his alley and he teams up Cliff Chang of Batman fame for this one.

Review: Avengers #0

Avengers 0 CoverThe kickoff to the All-New Avengers line begins here, with new stories of the All-New, All-Different Avengers, Squadron Supreme, A-Force, New Avengers, Ultimates and Uncanny Avengers! Someone is carefully studying the movements of the Avengers and those in their orbit-but do they mean to harm, or help? Find out the first clues in this special launch issue!

Avengers #0 totally caught me off guard, as the comic has much more in common with a Marvel Point One comic (one is out this week) than a “zero” issue. If anything you can call this “All-New, All-Different Avengers Point One” to get a sense of what’s inside. That’s not a bad thing in this case.

This issue lays the groundwork, so it seems, with the Squadron Supreme acting as the center of the various teases of the new Avengers teams and comics. What’s really interesting though is that the comic sets up conflict, a lot of it, as the Squadron Supreme is presented as sizing up and gathering information on the various Avengers incarnations.

This is pretty cool in that it sets the status-quo for us to quickly find out why each of these Avengers team are different, and what sets them apart from each other. It’s intelligent storytelling and also a subtle advertisement for the half-dozen series that’ll make up the core of this line of comics.

Some of it is familiar, and some of it is completely new… Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight!? But, it comes off as setting up the various new series as exciting and a grand adventure.

The comic does its job in teaching us about the other series, it sets the tone nicely. It got me excited for the new line of comics. It got me to understand the difference between the various teams. It also set up what looks like some coming conflict…. Squadron Supreme looks as awesome as I was expecting it to.

Overall, the comic is solid, and the reason I gave this a “buy” as opposed to the other Point One out this week is that this one looks like it really is the beginning of a greater story as opposed to just teasing a bunch. Not a bad start, not bad at all.

Story: James Robinson, Mark Waid, Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing, G. Willow Wilson
Art: Mahmud Asrar, Ryan Stegman, Victor Ibanez, Kenneth Rocafort, Gerardo Sandoval, Leonard Kirk
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Avengers Assemble this October with Avengers #0!

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are reforged, retooled and recharged in October for the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe! Avengers #0 kicks off the new area for Marvel, and features new stories setting the stage for six new ongoing series! Someone is watching, carefully studying the movements of the Avengers and those in their orbit. But are they friend, or foe?! Find out in this exciting launch issue featuring new stories of All-New, All-Differet Avengers, Squadron Supreme, A-Force, New Avengers, Ultimates, and Uncanny Avengers. Featuring all-star talents from across the comic industry, be there for the genesis of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for a new era.

AVENGERS #0 (AUG150696)
Wraparound Variant by ART ADAMS (AUG150697)
Kirby Monster Variant by DAVID MARQUEZ (AUG150699)
Cosplay Variant by MICHAEL COX (AUG150698)
FOC – 09/14/15, On-Sale – 10/07/15


Marvel Launches All-New, All-Different with Cosplay Variants

Marvel is making sure their All-New, All-Different launch is ordered heavily. The company has announced a third variant for the launch that will be featured on 20 different comics. The Cosplay Variants feature individuals in their homemade, hand-crafted costumes, some of which are pretty well known cosplayers.

The full list of the comics are:

  • A-Force #1 Cosplay Variant by Jay Justice
  • All-New Inhumans #1 Cosplay Variant by Yaya Han
  • Amazing Spider-Man #1 Cosplay Variant by Aaron Rivin
  • Astonishing Ant-Man #1 Cosplay Variant by SoloRoboto Industries
  • Avengers #0 Cosplay Variant by Michael Cox
  • Captain Marvel #1 Cosplay Variant by Judy Stephens
  • Daredevil #1 Cosplay Variant by Patrick ‘Rick’ Lane
  • Doctor Strange #1 Cosplay Variant by Allen Lee Hansard
  • Extraordinary X-Men #1 Cosplay Variant by Amanda Lynne Shafer
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #1 Cosplay Variant by Contagious Costuming
  • Invincible Iron Man #1 Cosplay Variant by Dale Oliver
  • Ms. Marvel #1 Cosplay Variant by Soni Balestier
  • Nova #1 Cosplay Variant by Cap Santiago
  • Sam Wilson Captain America #1 Cosplay Variant by Eddie Newsome
  • Spider-Gwen #1 Cosplay Variant by Kathrine Zan
  • Spider-Woman #1 Cosplay Variant by Yashuntafun Cosplay
  • The Mighty Thor #1 Cosplay Variant by Sarah Jean Maefs
  • The Mighty Thor #2 Cosplay Variant by Kevin Spooner
  • Uncanny Avengers #1 Cosplay Variant by Miss Kit Quinn
  • Uncanny Inhumans #1 Cosplay Variant by Kalel Sean

Check out some of the covers below!

What Could Be Expected in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

After its initial success with Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor, Marvel Studios quickly realized that it had a formula for success on its hands and seemed ready to take advantage of it.  To do so though required a plan, and studio head Kevin Feige soon had broken down the movies into various phases, with the most recent Ant-Man signaling the end of phase 2.  Aside from the developments inside the movies, there have been some developments outside the movies which have affected the universe as well, chief among those the partial reversion of the rights to Spider-Man back to Marvel, or at least the use of Spider-Man inside the shared universe in a collaboration with Sony.

At the moment, we kn ow the entire lineup for phase 3, starting with Captain America: Civil War and continuing through two new Avengers movies and the Inhumans.  What might be expected in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  The release of the newest Fantastic Four might signal some of the changes which we can anticipate ahead (there are some spoilers below).

Ant-Man and Wasp

waspMany expected Ant-Man to be one of the bigger disappointments thus far in the MCU, due to its ongoing problems with the direction, after it passed from Edgar Wright to Peyton Reed.  It seemed as though the studio was not going to take any risks with the character as they could not even confirm his role in any future movies.  This presumably will all change now that the movie has been released.  Although it can’t compare to the financial success of the year’s other Marvel movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, it also is noteworthy as being a better critical success, with a better rating at Rotten Tomatoes than Avengers.  With both financial and critical success it seems as though there will be more to come from these characters.  As was hinted at the end of the movie, there is still a lot of story left to tell as well, as the end hinted that Janet van Dyne might not be truly lost.  Furthermore Hope van Dyne was presented with a Wasp suit by her father.  There could be a lot of places to take the story of the two heroes, though one in particular might make the most sense …


micronautsThe Micronauts are a bit of an oddity in comics.  They started out as a line of toys, who were written into comics after in the 1970s after Marvel writer Bill Mantlo saw his son open a box of the toys.  The series started as somewhat of a standalone, but slowly was incorporated into the Marvel Universe, with appearances by some other mainstream characters.  While the rights for the characters do not presently rest with Marvel, there is a long publication history with the characters and as the rights rest with other smaller comic companies, it would likely not be too difficult to reacquire the rights.  Furthermore for the film studio that might try to replicate the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy, they might look smaller instead of bigger and find their next surprise hit there.  There would be some hurdles, but also there might be a few benefits, as Janet van Dyne disappeared into the smallest dimension, the Microverse.  This small universe is not in itself small, but the pathways to enter it are, and could give an explanation as to where the character disappeared.  They might find Janet in the Microverse, but they might also be able to find some other heroes there as well…

Fantastic Four

fantastic fourThe Fantastic Four is one of the best known Marvel properties that does not lie within the company’s grasp at the moment, instead being controlled by Fox.  While Fox has managed to control the X-Men franchise strongly enough with some decent movies, the Fantastic Four has mostly been a sequence of failures.  The first of the series was good enough to warrant a sequel, but this was before the wake of Marvel movies changed how fans expected superhero movies to turn out.  Marvel Studios was looking to be innovative, not just rehash generic action/sci-fi plots with superheroes thrown in.  The most recent attempt by Fox to revamp the Fantastic Four might have been an attempt to do the same, to get some new excitement into the mix, but it evidently did not turn out that way.  Critical response (and probably financial) will mean that the characters will have to be shelved for a while before the public has forgotten enough about them.  Using the Sony/Spider-Man approach, lending the characters back to Marvel Studios might be a wiser choice, one that would probably make more money for both, and one which would keep the fans happy.  By this point though, with two origin movies behind them, it might make sense to jump straight into the Fantastic Four with them already established as heroes.  They could exist in a similar sense to Hank Pym in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, unknown but still present.  More so, one of the places that is visited by the Fantastic Four is the Microverse, and if they were stuck there then it would be an easy bridge between Ant-Man and the return of Marvel’s first family.


namorIt is not entirely clear where the rights to Namor presently rest.  Kevin Feige has indicated that Marvel, if they desired, could make a Namor movie, but that there would be some “entanglements”.  Rights to the movie have rested with Universal, but seem to have at least partially lapsed.  What remains is speculated to be the same arrangement with 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, that Marvel creates but Universal distributes.  While it was not a problem when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still nascent, it seems moving forward that Marvel likes to create and distribute, and to get rewarded financially at 100% for its efforts.  It might make exceptions for Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four but maybe less so for Namor.  Another factor to consider is what DC Comics will manage to do with its own movies.  The other of the big two comic companies is playing catchup, but also has the benefit of controlling the movie rights to nearly all of its characters.  They have already greenlit an Aquaman movie, but it remains to be seen just how well it will do.  Aquaman is after all a hero that is taken not so seriously in pop culture, but if DC can make it work, maybe it will give Marvel second thoughts about its own underwater hero.


thunderboltsThe fact that DC Comics is playing catchup in the movie game can also be to the advantage of Marvel.  Marvel has already taken its gambles and seen those pay off, as with Guardians of the Galaxy.  DC Comics, who are eager to catch up, are also taking their own gambles, and chief among those is the Suicide Squad.  Featuring a group of villains forced into a heroic role, it might catch on, or it might flop.  Fans certainly will not be very familiar with the concept, and the concept in itself is strange enough that it might not work.  On the other hand, it might work, and if yes then it could serve as a gamble that Marvel gets to witness the results of without gambling anything itself.  If popular it could use its own villain-turned-heroes team the Thunderbolts and catch the wave of people wanting more Suicide Squad before a sequel to the DC movie comes out.  If played right as well it could help quieten those that think that the MCU’s villains are the weakest part of the movies.


defendersMarvel is already a long way along in its development of the Doctor Strange movie, and holds the exclusive rights to the Hulk as long as he is not the featured character in a movie.  A Namor movie could be forthcoming depending on the success of Aquaman, and if Fox sees the benefits of doing so, a collaboration might be in the works to return the Fantastic Four and associated characters to the MCU, which would include the Silver Surfer.  Those four make up the original four members of the Defenders.  For those that are getting a bit tired of seeing the Avengers over and over again on the big screen, it might be an excuse to feature this other Marvel team (although Marvel is working on a street level Defenders television show as well.)  One interesting aspect about this team is that as opposed to the Avengers that the original team is made up of all non-street level characters, meaning that the stakes could be higher and that bigger things might happen as a result, such as …

World War Hulk

wwhThis has been a long rumored development in the MCU, but also not one that has not yet come to fruition.  Marvel has been careful to include in story arcs from the comics, and it has made for some great connections for fans of both mediums.  Although World War Hulk is not necessarily the best all time Hulk story, it is up there, and would be a better vehicle for putting a new spin on the Hulk stories, more so than what we are seeing at the movies, with both Hulk movies fitting the same general pattern of the Hulk being hunted by the government after smashing up a bunch of stuff.  It would also allow the character to move beyond the Avengers, which is a connection that is not as strong in the comics.  Also if all the pieces fell into place, it would mean that a lot of the major players from the crossover might be able to make it into the movie, save for the X-Men.


kateRumors abound that another major character will die in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War (especially that there are pictures from the set of a funeral sequence), and without any other way to verify this other than by seeing a movie that will not be released until 2016, it still seems likely that one of the characters that might be easiest to kill off would be Hawkeye.  He is among the less popular of the main characters in the MCU, and has been almost a footnote to the movies series, appearing to provide fans with another superhero, but also one that doesn’t really do much.  Even if he does not die in the movie, it is also worth noting that the character is one which is on the verge of retirement, being somewhat older than the other heroes and with responsibilities to his family.  This could leave open the possibility for a Hawkeye movie except not as we might expect.  As the movies expand in popularity it makes sense to be closer to four quadrant movies, and one way to do this is to introduce more female characters.  If Clint Barton were to retire on screen, it could open the door for Kate Bishop to step up, providing the MCU with another superheroine, and one with a lot more of an edge than Clint.

She-Hulk and Spider-Woman

shehulkOn that same note, if Marvel is looking to keep its female fans happy it might look to develop these characters as well.  Most of the main Marvel superheroines would be tied up elsewhere, with most of the major heroines being members of the X-Men, and other such as Sue Storm or Medusa mostly only operating as parts of teams.  Others such as Elektra and even Hellcat are tied to the television series, which mean that only a few major female characters would be left to get the big screen treatment.  She-Hulk and Spider-Woman could both be strong contenders to hold down their own movie, especially if Marvel did something unexpected and went off the script with the Spider-Gwen version of Spider-Woman.  It would also help to fill the ranks of the Avengers, a team which needs to be mixed up a bit from time to time to keep the roster fresh and the fans intrigued.


tigraKa-Zar is one of the longest running Marvel characters, but also one that has not had a very solid fanbase in modern years, although unquestionably popular among many.  Although Marvel is keen on taking risks, could it make the Savage Land work the same as it made Guardians of the Galaxy work?  The Savage Land is the source of many stories within the Marvel Universe, though most of them with the X-Men.  Why might the MCU be interested in the Savage Land?  It is a fantasy setting, and while it does not match up with other heroes, could still serve as an explanation for the re-appearance of some characters who also happen to be Avengers – Hercules, Tigra or even the Black Knight.  It might be a stretch, but Marvel will be looking for new blood for its Avengers as it moves forward, as is evident from the new roster after Age of Ultron.  Tigra especially might be interesting, as she not only is her own character, but is also indirectly responsible for the development of Hellcat, whose non-superpowered version is already set to be introduced in the Marvel television show Jessica Jones.

Iron Man 4

iron manThis is perhaps the biggest question to solve in phase 4.  A big part of what made the MCU so popular is that it based its hopes on the initial movie, Iron Man.  If this movie had failed so too would the plans for the shared universe.  Success would probably have still come the way of the studio, but it would have been a longer road.  Part of the runaway success of the original Iron Man was that Robert Downey Jr. was perfectly cast as Tony Stark, what some might say is not even really acting as he seems to be mostly playing himself.  That having been said, superheroes never really age but actors and actresses do.  While the studio can get a few more years out of Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson (all in their early to mid 30s), and even a lot more out of Paul Bettany (whose character the Vision wears so much makeup as to be ageless) and Elizabeth Olsen (who is in her mid 20s), it can probably expect less out of Robert Downey Jr, who is now 50.  They might push him for a couple more movies, but eventually he will need to be replaced, and the biggest question would then be by who, as the character is one that is of highest importance to the MCU.  There might be no bigger question heading forward in the MCU than who will fill this role.

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