Titles Ripe for Marvel Now
What is Marvel Now? It’s a good question. In lieu of DC’s New 52 re-formatting, Marvel Now is a near company wide re-branding that doesn’t actually set out to erase history. Rather than a reboot, it is a relaunch. Titles are starting from #1. New titles and new creative teams are debuting. All of this done in a combined effort to attract new readers while placating the old ones. I don’t know what the numbers look like, but conceptually, I think it is working. As a current reader, there hasn’t been many tonal shifts or jumping off points that have felt distracting. Everything seems very different yet still in character, which is nice. And their newer, re-numbered titles have been their best. For me, personally, I have always been a big fan of the characters that end up on the B- and C-list. The creative opportunites seem much less rigid, and they go in new and exciting directions more often than say a Spider-Man (I can’t tell you how surprised I am that Ock-Spidey hasn’t been retconned yet). My point being, I hope Marvel can look deep in their roster and pull out some cool non-A-listers for Marvel Now.
Blade has been in and out of comics lately. The last time I saw him, he was teaming up with the X-Men to take down Dracula. Before that, he was a team member in Captain Britain and MI-13 trying to stop a “vampire nation.” And before that he had a short-lived solo which was honestly not very good. Blade’s comic career has been stops and starts, and I think because he’s not that interesting. But he is cool and badass, which means he’s great in an ensemble. I think that’s what he’s missing: a team! Bring back the Nightstalkers. You got the sarcastic vampire private eye, Hannibal King, and the always wise Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange. You can always throw in a few others like Jack Russel, the Werewolf by Night, who recently partnered with Blade in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. Or the centuries old zombie mercenary, Terror. Or Moon Knight, who started out as a Werewolf by Night frenemy tailor made for hunting werewolves.
I have talked about Songbird before in an article about Marvel characters who should be Avengers. She is the perfect example of how a character can kind of take on a life of their own and spark interest in readership. She was a villain, turned fake hero, who liked it so much she became a real hero. She lives with the burden of her past and her less heroic behavior that she still exhibits. She went from a “Most Wanted” supervillain to a prison warden taking over the Thunderbolts team working out of The Raft, in a very organic and spontaneous way. From what I have seen on forums, commentors are constantly bringing up the fact that she has definitely earned herself a spot on the Avengers. And with Hickman bringing together a very non-traditional team, I’m surprised she hasn’t already made it. Maybe her own solo book is just what she needs.
Damage Control is just a cool concept. It is a construction company that specializes in cleaning up after a big superhero battle. And we all know how big of a mess those guys can make. The last time I saw them, they were in Irredeemable Ant-Man, where they were employing actual superhumans who didn’t want to fight crime. They wanted to put their powers to use elsewhere. So, there was a telepath who was finding victims trapped under rubble, and a strong man to get them out. I just find that interesting. The idea that some of these superhumans would rather do something else than wear costumes and fight crime seemed interesting. Look at people like Forge or Dr. Nemesis, who basically have superhuman focus allowing them to learn and solve problems fast. They essentially manipulate science. They should be in labs somewhere making scientific discoveries, not on the run with Cable and his band of misfits. You could also add in FEMA or National Guard duties.
Machine Man has an interesting origin. He was created by the great Jack Kirby for a comic adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He is the only surviving member of a line of robots who was raised as the son of the inventor. So, Machine Man, given the name Aaron Stack, was raised with a level of sentience and human empathy that made him want to be human. That is until the title, Nextwave: Agents of HATE, a superhero satire of sorts where Aaron has taken a liking to his robotic parts and calling humans unaffectionately “fleshy ones.” It is a characteristic that has stuck with following appearances notably as an agent of ARMOR, a branch of SHIELD specifically for inter-dimensional rifts, where he fought the Marvel Zombies with his parnter, Howard the Duck. It was so much more awesome than it sounds. He was very Bruce Campbell-ish. Some of his die-hard fans don’t like the human hating version, but I kind of dig it.
I only knew of the Ultraverse from the Saturday morning cartoon, Ultraforce. Honestly, I thought it was a cartoon original, but, apparently, it is actually from Malibu comics, a now defunct comic company that was acquired by Marvel in 1994. They have been cancelled for quite a while, but I think they should be brought into the fold just like the Fawcett and Charlton comic characters have been over at DC. They have tried in the past, but there is apparently contract issues making it a nightmare to publish them again. A rumor floating around says it is due to a negotiated 5% of the profits that must go to the original creators, but Marvel denies that as the reason. Although, no other reason has been disclosed either.
Word is Blade is the new Ronin over in Mighty Avengers. Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be any plans with any of these characters. Songbird should definitely be used, but there’s no word about her. Machine Man was in Hulk and Red She-Hulk, but with Red She-Hulk’s cancellation, he’s slipped into limbo.
Yea, I read that about Blade after I wrote the article. The thing is I am totally cool with Blade being an Avenger. I just hate he doesn’t get to be Blade while he does it.
dude if they brought back the Ultraverse…damn lol
Wow. Flashbacks. I loved Nightstalkers when I was a kid–always hated the stupid movie version of Hannibal King (you took Philip Marlowe with fangs and you made THAT?!). It would be a fun concept now, especially if there were a way to backdoor MI:13 and/or Paul Cornell into it. He writes a pretty good Blade, and I’m sure his Hannibal King would kick darkly sarcastic ass.
And while I could take or leave most of the Ultraverse, it was wonderfully nostalgic to see Solitaire there in the front! I used to hunt his comics in the 25-cent bins–at first because they were cheap, then later because they were awesome. An overarching storyline ripped right out of Greek tragedy and the scariest plot twist–not to mention spookiest use of nanotech as a plot device–I had encountered up to that point. Granted, I was maybe 14, but I was a 14-year-old who cursed in Latin and read Shakespeare for fun. Some of those panels still haunt me. Would love to see that revisited now that there’s more tolerance for complex plots, twisted family relationships, and overall weirdness. What WOULD we do with Nick’s mysterious headaches 20 years on …?
Thanks for this. 🙂
I would love a Hannibal King led Nightstalkers that was more noirish. Think Peter David’s Madrox mini-series and X-Factor run. But with magic and slayers