Tag Archives: Tigra

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 …

Micronauts

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.

Namor

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.

Thunderbolts

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.

Defenders

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.

Hawkeye

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.

Ka-Zar

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.

Review: Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1

Age of Ultron vsTo say that this is a story about killer robots and superpowered zombies is only partially true.  Granted that there a lot of both of those categories running around in this book, but there is also a bit more going on as an alternate version of Ham Pym is introduced and might be another part of the clue as to what will happen to Battleworld.  This series is born from the same inspiration as most other Secret Wars tie-ins.  Without a multiverse anymore, all worlds and all realities are thrown together on Battlworld, and in this case it includes the Age of Ultron timeline as well as the Marvel Zombies timeline.  They are both harder timelines to incorporate so their inclusion here together might raise even more eyebrows.

The implementation of this idea is simple but also effective.  Battleworld is built off a number of locales, all of them somehow held together by Victor Von Doom.  To violate the borders of the locales means that Doom will not be happy and that someone must be punished for it (including as has been seen to thrown someone out of the locale.)  What happens in the outside area has not really been covered yet, except to know that it is patrolled by various others.  In this case though it is revealed that in addition to any other threats, that the Ultrons and the zombies roam the wilds looking to prey upon those unfortunate souls that have found themselves there.  With this as the setting this story is broken into two side arcs.  The first features Tigra as she explains the nature of the zone as she tries to escape from the zombies.  The second features an alternate reality Hank Pym who must choose where his exile will be to, either to the zombie area or the robot area.  Although seemingly unrelated, it seems like the two will join each other soon enough as Hank Pym might hold some information to make Battleworld go away.

This would seem to be an unlikely pairing of different sources, but it works pretty effectively here.  While the setting might be a bit bland on the surface or a giant robot vs/ zombies battle (which sounds fun in its own way) it is amplified here by the inclusion of two other characters that make this work well.  It seems unlikely, but two characters were chosen to focus around to make this series work, and the right two were chosen as they give something that zombies and robots lack, a soul to build around.

Story: James Robinson Art: Steve Pugh
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe After Avengers: Age of Ultron – The Fantasy Characters

black knightAvengers of Ultron hits the screen today and millions of fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe get the next big step forward since last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  One of the notable elements in the new film is the organic nature in which traditional Avengers are introduced to the overall story line.  The Vision and Scarlet Witch finally get introduced on the main screen, but their introduction probably fulfilled the desires of many fans.  After all many fans have tired of the superhero films which repeatedly give the origin of a new character, and the characters here were introduced without overwhelming the script with their background story.  With the confirmed addition of Captain Marvel and Black Panther to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in years to come the roster of the Avengers can be expected to keep expanding, and will probably expand once again this summer with the addition of Ant-Man and hopefully the Wasp.

tigraIn terms of the iconic character for the Avengers, there are going to be very few spots left to fill from what can be considered to be the usual roster, but there are still a few outliers that they could tie into the overall picture.  The Avengers from the 1960s contained among its other members Hercules and the Black Knight, and the 1980s saw the introduction of Tigra.  What do all of these characters have in common?  A tie to the fantasy genre.  Although more based in myth than pure fantasy, Hercules still belongs to the latter.  The Black Knight is also obviously tied into the genre, the more so that he has led the Knights of Wundagore.  Tigra is a member of the Cat People who are tied into the stories of the Higher Evolutionary as well, and thus also serve as a tie to fantasy.

The link between the three characters is tenuous enough, but Marvel is successful at making unconventional pairings work.  In Guardians of the Galaxy they introduced what was essentially a talking tree and fans loved it.  What is more interesting about the HerculesGuardians of the Galaxy was the mixing of genres, as some said it was essentially a mixture of Star Wars and super heroes.  The same could be asked equally though why Marvel could not attempt the same with other genres.  Marvel also recently released season 1 of Daredevil on Netflix, which the creator stated as saying that he wanted to make a superhero film as close as possible to the Wire, and so therefore why could not Marvel introduce a television series that was as close as they could take superheroes to Game of Thrones, especially while mixing in the three previously named characters and somehow spinning them into the mainstream Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It would fit with the same Netflix concept as well, especially to introduce some characters that are not so well in pop culture, thus not taking as much of a gamble.

If there is one thing that is certain it is that movie and television fans can’t get enough of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and despite having been around for a while, the euphoria does not seem yet ready to pass.  The above could be a great way in which to incorporate harder to implement characters while also giving fans something new to see.

Catching Up on Reviews, Part 5 — Avengers Academy and Captain America

Avengers Academy #9 (Marvel) – I love the storyline here where Finesse might turn out to be the daughter of the Taskmaster, one of my favorite Marvel anti-heroes these days. Less well-done are the parts of the issue dealing with Tigra expelling Academy members for assaulting the Hood. The art isn’t particularly great, either.

Story: 7 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75

Avengers Academy #10 (Marvel) – Sean Chen’s art is a step up from the previous issue and the storyline where Leech comes to give Hazmat a day as a normal kid is great. The best part of the issue is Speedball’s growth as a character and the burying of some of his Stamford demons, which is a long time coming.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

Avengers Academy #11 (Marvel) – Christos Gage writes a good connection to Avengers past by bringing back Korvac for this story arc. I’m a little annoyed at the flood of Thor movie tie-ins, though this one takes a different route than most. Tom Raney’s art is good, but not spectacular.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Avengers Academy #12 (Marvel) – There are moments of very strong writing here. The concept of bringing the future selves of the Academy students back to inhabit their present bodies so they can beat Korvac is an awesome device. The story is also fleshed out by one character showing a glaring weakness and two others showing a surprising vulnerability.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8

Avengers Academy #13 (Marvel) – I guess I get what they were going after with the idea of the “Superhero Prom” for the students, having an issue that focuses more on the characters and the lighter side of their lives instead of action, I’m just not sure how well it works in this case.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Avengers Academy #14 (Marvel) – I love the way the new incarnation of the Sinister Six is being used and this is another good appearance for them. It’s good to learn more about Dr. Octopus’s character than we have learned in the past, he’s on the verge of being a little over-exposed lately, but certainly not in Deadpool, Spidey or Wolverine territory.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

Avengers Academy #14.1 (Marvel) – Ruby is one of the dumbest characters in Marvel history and her presence here detracts from what is otherwise a really good story, focusing on one of the characters who didn’t join the Academy and his tempting offer to the would-be heroes.

Story: 8.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.75

Avengers Academy #15 (Marvel) – This is Tom Raney’s best art yet and the Fear Itself tie-in works better than most of the others. This story also does a good job of tying in recent themes from the Academy books to Fear Itself, something a lot of the other tie-ins have failed to do.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25

Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1 (Marvel) – Cartoonish art (which isn’t my taste at all) and a retread Arcade storyline with only a few interesting elements makes this issue a waste.

Story: 6.5 Art: 6 Overall: 6.25

Captain America #615.1 (Marvel) – Mitch Breitweiser’s art isn’t my favorite, it seems he has a real problem making people’s faces look realistic (even comic realistic). Other than that, Ed Brubaker’s tale is action-packed and compelling, even if, once again, it relies a bit much on World War II elements in telling the tale of Steve Rogers.

Story: 9 Art: 7 Overall: 8

Captain America #616 (Marvel) – This massive 70th anniversary issue is packed with stories, most of the well-told. The best is probably Brubaker and Mike Deodato’s Winter Soldier gulag tale, the worst is the Mike Benson and Paul Grist Baron Blood/Captain Ameica used to be a vampire story.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Captain America #617 (Marvel) – The continuation of the story of Bucky being put into a Russian gulag is entertaining and action-packed, but I read it after I knew Bucky’s eventual fate already, so I wonder how effective it is considering that context.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Captain America #618 (Marvel) – The different artists used here vary greatly in quality, but the overall ongoing story is still a compelling one that has an impact on the future of Marvel comics, so it’s well worth the read.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Captain America #619 (Marvel) – The art from the gulag section is still the best in the issue, and it takes chances and mostly succeeds. The overall storyline comes to what appears to be a satisfying end.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Captain America #1 (Marvel) – Ah, the good-old Marvel pointless renumbering trick. The worst part about that for this issue is that this really isn’t good enough to be a first issue. It doesn’t break any new ground with the character and simply rehashes things we already know while mixing in a few newly-retconned storylines that don’t let us know anything new about Cap. It is good, I guess, to see Steve Rogers fully as Cap again, but you’d think that for a first issue, they would’ve had more of a point than what this issue has.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5