Monday, June 1, 2015

Ten Iconic Marvel Comics Stories That Will Never Be Movies

1.  X-Men / Alpha Flight
Loki kidnaps Storm to piss off his brother by making her the new goddess of thunder.  The X-Men pursue while Alpha Flight gets caught up via plane crash, and they team up.  This makes sense because Wolverine is Canadian and knows Alpha Flight from his time wandering through the Canadian outback.
X-Men and Alpha Flight #1
Interestingly, because Asgard is part of Norse myth, so it exists in the public domain.  It’s not the film rights to Loki that are the problem.  Instead, this one is a non-starter because 20th Century Fox doesn’t have the film rights to Alpha Flight.

2.  The New Mutants in Asgard
At the same time the X-Men and Alpha Flight are taking on Loki, the New Mutants get into a tussle with the Enchantress.  The result is my favorite one-shot comic of all time, the 64-page New Mutants Special Edition.  Illyana Rasputin (Magick) is captured and tortured while the rest of the team is scattered across the Nine Realms by the Enchantress’s magic.  It’s gloriously mad and beautifully illustrated!  
This one’s not technically impossible, it’s just highly unlikely.  Supposedly, 20th Century Fox is making a New Mutants movie after Hugh Jackman’s contract is up, so we could potentially get a New Mutants-in-Asgard movie.  However, they’d have to invent a character to replace the Enchantress, which would be weird.  It would be interesting, however, to see what Marvel would do if Fox hired Tom Hiddleston to play Loki in a film version of this story.
3.  Secret Wars
I talked about this a few days ago.  The Beyonder kidnaps Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men (including Magneto) to fight Dr. Doom, Kang, Ultron, the Wrecking Crew, the Enchantress, Dr. Octopus, the Lizard, Molecule Man, and Galactus.  Not only are the rights for all these characters scattered across three separate studios, the movie itself would have to be six hours long and would cost a bazillion dollars to make.  
Hell, even in comic version of the story, Marvel’s ace Spider-Man barely gets to do anything.  It’s hard to believe that wouldn’t be an even bigger problem in the movie.
The success of the movie version of the
Scarlet Witch hopefully means the end
of this look and costuming.
4.  House of M
In the comics, the Scarlet Witch is an extremely powerful, emotionally unstable mutant.  When she finally loses it, she utters the words, “No more mutants,” and suddenly we go from having millions of mutants scattered across the world to having exactly two hundred.
I didn’t like House of M at all, but it had some interesting ideas.  Perhaps the best of these was that they used it to finally turn Scott Summers (Cyclops) from a mere asshat into an actual supervillain.  With the mutant race seemingly destroyed, Summers begins to see his life’s work very much from the point of view of his old nemesis Magneto.  To Summers, the events of House of M are mutant genocide.  He is there willing to do pretty much anything to protect his people.  This point of view leads to a schism amongst the X-Men, which I found annoying, but it laid the groundwork for both the AvX event and the New Avengers.  New Avengers was fun.
5.  Avengers vs. X-Men
They’ve actually done this done twice.  The first time is in the mid-80s, shortly after the original Secret Wars.  Secret Wars serves as the source of rapprochement between Magneto and the Xavier.  Basically, all the mutants make common cause when the X-Men and the Avengers have a difference of opinion over how to fight the villains.  Magneto leaves first, and the X-Men follow shortly thereafter, and they then stick together for most of the rest of Marvel’s comics’ continuity.  In the comics, Charles Xavier is wounded and taken by the Shi’ar shortly after the team returns to Earth, and to fill the gap, he leaves Magneto in charge of his school because… well, who else is there?  He needs someone who can teach and protect his students, lead credibly, ride herd on Wolverine, and interact with the government from a position of strength when necessary.  Magneto is the only logical choice.  However, Magneto is still an international fugitive, and so when the Avengers try to take him in, the two teams clash.  You can tell it’s 80s-era book because the X-Men win this one pretty handily.
The second AvX happened much more recently.  Following the events of House of M, Scott Summers and some of his followers try to use the Phoenix Force to recreate mutant-kind and to eventually take over the world.  They succeed, but this being a 21st century story, the Avengers still somehow triumph, pushing Summers even further into the superhero hinterlands.  This actually carries all the way into the current Secret Wars, when it turns out that Summers has somehow been sitting on a Phoenix Egg this whole time…
6.  The New Avengers
Following House of M (again), Marvel ran another, similar event called Avengers: Disassembled, which was very similar.  Scarlet Witch freaks out, Hawkeye is killed, the Avengers’ mansion gets blown up, and the team eventually disbands in disgrace.  It was not my favorite story, but the thing with Hawkeye eventually becomes pretty interesting.
Anyway, Electro breaks a bunch of super-criminals out of SHIELD’s secret NYC prison, The Raft, a few months later.  A bunch of NYC heroes respond individually, including Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Captain America, and this launches the New Avengers, a book which makes the Avengers into Marvel’s version of the Justice League of America, i.e. a team made up of the company’s core heroes.
This one is maybe possible as a movie, but it’s hard to see what the impetus would be.  In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Spider-Man is supposed to be a teenager.  Meanwhile, Wolverine’s rights are tied up at Fox, and Luke Cage is already supposed to be part of the Defenders on Netflix.  Plus, Vision and Scarlet Witch are now actively on the team in the MCU, and they’d have to be removed to run this story.  Why bother?  There’s lots and lots of other Avengers material out there.
7.  Dark Avengers
Secret Invasion is the story of that time the Skrulls infiltrated all of Earth’s governments as the prelude to a large-scale planetary takeover.  I’ve been wondering for some time if we’re maybe going to see some variation of it as part of the Infinity War movies.  I think it could happen.  The storyline is terrific, they ran a version of it on the show Earth’s Mightest Heroes, and it would certainly play well on the big screen.
This book was terrific.
Regardless, Dark Avengers occurs in the aftermath of Avengers: DisassembledCivil War, and Secret Invasion.  Bottom line, the heroes are all disgraced because their pointless infighting very nearly allowed the Skrulls to take over the world.  So the government turns its disillusioned eyes towards the villains, especially Norman Osborn, who looks like a potentially more reliable solution to the problem of global security, albeit one that will require a steady paycheck and a firm hand at times.  Osborn creates HAMMER to take the place of SHIELD and assembles a team of “dark” Avengers to replace the regular Avengers.  These include Bullseye as the new Hawkeye, himself as the Iron Patriot, Ares in lieu of Thor, Venom in lieu of Spider-Man, etc.  He gets bonus points for finding legitimate sluts Moonstone and/or Superia to play Ms. Marvel wearing her really old, ridiculously hyper-sexualized costume.
Anyway, this is a tough one to put in the MCU for a few reasons.  First, we don’t have nearly enough super-villains with established reputations.  Second, Ms. Marvel (or Captain Marvel) hasn’t even been established yet, much less her evil doppelganger.  Third, the rights are all over the place.  Fourth, okay, maybe we’ve seen the Norse mythos, but can you imagine trying to add the Greeks on top of that?
8.  X-Men / Micronaughts
One of my favorite mini-series from the 80s.  It’s impossible as a film because Hasbro holds the rights to the Micronaughts while Fox has the X-Men.  There’s talk that maybe Hasbro will do something with the Micronaughts on their own (JJ Abrams was attached as of 2009), but I don’t see any way it can go further than that.
A Micronaughts / Transformers crossover is maybe not totally out of the realm of possibility…
9.  The New Defenders
Classically, the Defenders is the team that’s not a team.  The original members were Dr. Strange, the Hulk, and Namor, with others coming in and out as necessary, the weirder the better.  However with issue 125, the team was reorganized to give three of the founding X-Men a home after Giant-Sized X-Men #1 replaced most of the original X-lineup with the group that has since become iconic.  Thus, the New Defenders were initially Angel, Beast, Iceman, Moondragon, Gargoyle, and Valkyrie.
I may be the only man in America who remembers
this book with fondness.
I liked this group because they tended to get into wacky mystical/cosmic stuff, but alas, half the team is at Fox while the other half is still theoretically at Marvel Studios.  The same is true of the original lineup as well since Namor is tied into the rights to the Fantastic Four.
10.  Spider-Man vs. Wolverine
Another classic 80s one-shot, and it takes place in East Berlin!
In East Berlin!
Sony has recently made nice with Marvel Studios, but I highly doubt that Fox and Sony will ever make nice in the same way.  Also, given the state of the X-Men movie universe, throwing Spider-Man in there would be weird as all get-out.  Still, this would be a badass Marvel crossover that wouldn’t involve Marvel at all!
*Bonus Round*
The X-Men vs. the Fantastic Four
After a fight with the Marauders in the subterranean home of the Morlocks, Kitty Pride is wounded and very nearly killed!  She phases just as Harpoon hits her with one of his energy spears, and suddenly she can’t unphase!  As her corporeal form slowly begins to dissipate, the X-Men become increasingly desperate, turning first to Reed Richards for help and then to Dr. Doom.  A fight ensues, and… well, I don’t really remember how it ends.  But we know that Kitty doesn’t die because she’s engaged to Star Lord even now!
This one could totally happen!  20th Century Fox holds all the rights!  
But it probably won’t because it requires a working Fantastic Four film franchise, and that seems increasingly unlikely as the days go by.
Kitty Pride and Peter Quill, intergalactic super-couple
This one is groan-worthy.  Brian Michael Bendis writes both the All New X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy, so of course, he smashed them together.  First, he had a crossover storyarc that spanned both titles, then he had an all-Bendis event called The Black Vortex.  At the end, the unlikeliest couple in the universe is getting married, Peter Quill, Starlord of the Spartax Empire, and Kitty Pride, current headmistress of the Xavier School.
First off, movie or no, I still can't believe Star Lord has
his own title.  And then they put Kitty Pryde in it?
That's just weird.
I like a lot of what Bendis has done, but not this.  Thank God, this movie is totally impossible because Marvel would never fuck up its budding Guardians empire with this crap.

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