Ripe for Renewal?

As this week's announcement of <em>Infinity: The Hunt</em> — an updated take on 1982's <em>Contest of Champions</em>, according to writer Matt Kindt — makes clear, it's not only DC Comics that <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/18016-top-10-events-dc-could-revive-for-future-new-52-anniversaries.html>looks to its own back catalog when planning future projects</a>. <p>Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised; <em>Avengers Vs. X-Men</em>'s hero-vs-hero high concept was similar to <em>Civil War</em> in many ways, which in itself followed the Mighty Marvel Tradition of superheroes fighting because of a misunderstanding, before coming together against a common foe. The current <em>Age of Ultron</em> has its time-traveling, reality-altering roots in the similarly titled <em>Age of Apocalypse</em> in many ways. <p>Because of this, it's possible that the House of Ideas could do with some suggestions as to which of their past ideas could be explored again and mined for new material. Here are 10 possibilities that we'd happily see resurrected.

AVENGERS/DEFENDERS WAR

<em>What It Was:</em> This classic storyline from 1973 saw Steve Englehart write what must have been one of the first — if not <em>the first</em> — superhero crossovers ever, with contemporaneous issues of <em>Avengers</em> and <em>Defenders</em> telling the same story as, yes, superheroes fought before coming together against a common foe. (In this case, <em>foes</em> — Loki and Dormammu, to be specific.) <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> We've had <em>AvX</em> and <em>Civil War</em>, and both were massive hits. Clearly, the fans want to see favorite heroes face off against other favorite heroes — and now that the Defenders are made up of Valkyrie and Misty Knight's army of female heroes, there's even a gender clash angle to be mined in this particular pairing of superheroic fight club. Where's Dormammu when you need him — or perhaps we should have a new devilish bad <em>girl</em> to cause the problem? Dormamma, anyone?

DISASSEMBLED

<em>What It Was:</em> Branding that tied in with Brian Michael Bendis' first <em>Avengers</em> storyline — you remember, it was the controversial one that broke the Internet in half nine years ago — "Disassembled" logos were added to <em>Fantastic Four</em>, <em>Captain America</em>, <em>Thor</em>, <em>Iron Man</em>, <em>Captain America and The Falcon</em> and <em>Spectacular Spider-Man</em>, whether or not they actually tied in to the central storyline or not. <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> Bendis' core "Disassembled" arc was built on one simple idea: What if the Avengers had the very worst day imaginable? That's an idea that's remarkably resilient, and nowhere near fully investigated when it comes to the Marvel Universe as a whole. Most crossovers and events are based around one threat to existence: What happens if <em>everyone</em> tries to cause trouble at exactly the same time?

2099

<em>What It Was:</em> The original <em>2099</em> was an imprint launched by Marvel in 1992, taking a look at a far-future Marvel Universe where new characters took on old identities with varying motives and degrees of success. The standout hit was <em>Spider-Man 2099</em>, but who could forget such other characters as <em>Doom 2099</em> (which featured some of Warren Ellis' earliest work in U.S. comics?) and the fugitive trash man known as <em>Ravage 2099</em>, co-created by Stan Lee? <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> The basic concept of the imprint was strong, but it was hampered by the need to support multiple books, each one with a superhero central character. But what if the "Far Future of the Marvel Universe" concept was re-approached with one central writer in charge, and that writer was allowed to go wild in whatever direction they wanted, whether or not it included superheroes? The contemporary Marvel Universe is already pretty sci-fi, considering the technology that's on offer. What happens when someone tries to imagine what <em>that</em> world would really look like a century or more from now?

OVERKILL

<em>What It Was:</em> Perhaps unknown to many American Marvel fans, <em>Overkill</em> was an anthology title from Marvel U.K. in the early 1990s that featured new characters — Motormouth! Warheads! Digitek! The names just trip off the tongue — in series that expanded the genre reach of the Marvel Universe into multiple different directions, and yet continued to crossover with the core Marvel Universe as we know it. <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> The name, admittedly, needs a little work — does anyone <em>really</em> want to buy anything promising overkill these days? — but imagine resurrecting the brand as an outlet for series that take place within the Marvel Universe but purposefully try to grow it, both in terms of new characters, but also stories that reject the traditional superhero trappings in favor of something weirder? We've seen that Marvel can do "Superheroes, But Different" well in recent years — Hi, <em>Hawkeye, Young Avengers</em> and <em>X-Men Legacy</em> — so why not push that idea further forward?

FOREVER

<em>What It Was:</em> The relatively short-lived <em>Forever</em> brand was a way in which fan-favorite creators could return to fan-favorite series as if they'd never been away, with series such as <em>X-Men Forever</em>, <em>New Mutants Forever</em> and <em>X-Factor Forever</em> rewinding the clock to a place in past continuity where creators didn't have to worry about the wider Marvel Universe, and could concentrate on telling the stories they wanted. <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> Marvel isn't as big on the "stunt month" idea as DC — well, not yet, but who knows what could happen in the future — but think about the potential of a <em>Forever</em> month. For one issue, classic creators return to the titles they're most associated with, and get to do one more story with their favorite characters. It'd be worth it just for the idea of Walt Simonson doing <em>Thor Forever</em>, if nothing else.

MC2

<em>What It Was:</em> Another alternative future timeline for the Marvel Universe, MC2 was an early attempt at an idea that's since been tackled by the animated movie <em>Next Avengers</em> — As Doc Brown would put it, "It's your <em>kids</em>! Something's gotta be done about your kids!" Built around Spider-Girl, the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, the line also included the Juggernaut's so, J2, and Wild Thing, the daughter of Wolverine and Elektra. <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> For a publisher that, until the last decade, had pretty much shied away from teenage superheroes that weren't attending the Xavier School or had the last name "Power," Marvel has built up an impressive and loyal fan following for its teen heroes with books like <em>Runaways</em>, <em>Young Avengers</em>, <em>Avengers Arena</em> and the sadly departed <em>Avengers Academy</em>. Reviving MC2 offers a chance to build on that, and also to do more with the Next Avengers, who so far haven't been seen in the comics aside from one storyline in Bendis' <em>Avengers</em>. After all, aren't you in the least bit curious to see the Runaways, Young Avengers and other kid heroes in their adult prime, having to deal with a new generation of teenage rebellion in the form of their own mentors' offspring?

ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS

<em>What It Was:</em> Originally published in 1974, the first <em>Origins of Marvel Comics</em> was a mass market collection of the origin stories of some of Marvel's most popular characters at the time: Spider-Man, Thor, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk and — surprisingly enough — Doctor Strange. It was one of the first attempts to bring Marvel's comics to an audience outside of the regular monthly reader, and has become oddly iconic in and of itself. (The second sequel to this book, <em>Bring On The Bad Guys</em>, arguably even moreso.) <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> Another potential stunt month for the stunt-month-averse Marvel, an Origins month would allow today's creators to offer their spin on the first adventures of the characters whose books they're currently tackling, while also allowing today's readers to get an updated take on those early adventures without having to go for the pricier hardcover <em>Season One</em> graphic novels. A cheap, easy jumping on point for new readers: Isn't that what a stunt month <em>should</em> be?

WRAITH WAR

<em>What It Was:</em> Although the title "Wraith War" is an after-the-fact addition, the storyline of the — ahem — secret invasion of Earth by the alien Dire Wraiths that got its start in the fondly remembered <em>Rom</em> in the late 1970s managed to crossover into multiple series throughout its multiple year run, including <em>Uncanny X-Men</em>, <em>Doctor Strange</em> and <em>Power Man and Iron Fist</em>. <P><em>What It Could Be:</em> Considering how much of a threat the Wraiths were in the 1980s, it's a surprise that we've not seen that much of them since <em>Rom</em> ended. Sure, there have been hints in books like <em>Annihilators</em>, <em>Spider-Woman</em> and <em>FF</em> that they're up to something, but… Aren't we overdue for a full-on alien invasion story in the Marvel Universe again? No incursions, no skulking around in subtle shape changing nonsense. Let's see the Wraiths return, and just go all-out for chaos and destruction already.

ACTS OF VENGEANCE

<em>What It Was:</em> <em>Acts of Vengeance</em> was — in addition to being the thing that taught me how to spell the word "vengeance" — a 1989 crossover that ran through the <em>Avengers</em> books (as well as <em>Fantastic Four</em>, <em>Amazing Spider-Man</em> and even <em>Uncanny X-Men</em>) as the bad guys in the Marvel Universe decided to start strategizing and swapping nemeses with each other, just to throw the heroes off. It didn't work, unsurprisingly. <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> Call me old-fashioned, but I feel like it's been a long time since we've seen a basic superheroes versus supervillains event comic at Marvel. DC does it all the time, it seems, but Marvel? It's either heroes versus heroes, or some kind of oppressive force from outside the regular status quo that throws our heroes off their game (<em>Age of Ultron</em>'s time travel, <em>Fear Itself</em>'s Asgardian gods). Let's just see the good guys fight some bad guys again.

SECRET WARS

<em>What It Was:</em> Well, what <em>Secret Wars</em> is depends on whether you're talking the 1984 first series — officially titled <em>Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars</em> — the 1985 second (<em>Secret Wars II</em>), or the two together. The whole shebang was essentially about a godlike creator who called himself the Beyonder coming in contact with the Marvel Universe and, through interacting with it, trying to gain some sense of self and identity… But with lots of fighting whenever possible, because, you know, comics. <p><em>What It Could Be:</em> There have been attempts to write the Beyonder out of everyone's memories in a figurative if not literal way, but he was a near literal god — ff he wants to make a comeback, just who could stop him? What made the Beyonder such an interesting character (beyond his individual sense of style) was his weirdly passive aggressive behavior. What would happen if he returned to the Marvel Universe of today, and decided that he didn't like what he saw? Never mind Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet, a <em>Secret Wars III</em> — yes, I <em>know</em> there was a Fantastic Four story of that name — would offer the kind of cosmic crossover thrills that today's audience is demanding.

10 Events Marvel Could Revive, Beyond CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS

Date: 12 June 2013 Time: 07:53 PM ET