The comic book-to-television pipeline is in full flow these days and it doesn’t like the pressure it going to let up anytime soon. <p>DC is approaching double digits in the amount of their properties being developed for the little screen, and <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/20996-syfy-adapting-3-comic-book-properties-to-tv-including-another-dc-comic.html>Wednesday Syfy announced four comic book properties headed to their schedule</a> in the fall. While ABC ponder renewing <i>Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.</i> for a second season and secretly develops its <i>Agent Carter</i> series, it’s almost easy to forget that last Marvel and Netflix announced a groundbreaking deal to produce four limited series and then event series in for debut in 2015 and 2016 teaming Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil and Jessica Jones as the Defenders, all set in New York City, and of course, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. <p>Check out the <a href=href=http://www.newsarama.com/19503-daredevil-iron-fist-luke-cage-defenders-headed-to-tv-in-disney-marvel-netflix-deal.html>original announcement for a refresher course on the details</a>. <p>Information on the Netflix project has been pretty sparse of late, so we thought it was time to revisit our wish list for ten things we’d like to see when things get off the ground next year.
Great heroes need great villains, and while Loki, Ultron and Thanos are just the right levels of menace for the likes of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers, just because the new series are taking place on the street level, that doesn’t mean there aren't any threats. One of the most significant is the deadly assassin known as Bullseye. <p>A consistent thorn in Daredevil's (and the other heroes’) side, Bullseye is able to kill at range using any item he can get his hands on. Not just traditionally deadly items like knives, but even simple objects like paperclips, as seen in the original Daredevil movie, and in a memorable moment, his own teeth pulled from his mouth. <p>Matched well against Daredevil's enhanced senses and reflexes or Luke Cage's unbreakable skin, Bullseye would make a great crossover threat for the heroes.
The breakout character from both the original and new <b>Young Avengers</b> comic series is Kate Bishop, aka the other Hawkeye. Described by Clint Barton as an archer with more natural talent at the craft than anyone he's seen, Kate transformed a personal trauma in her past into a self-started superheroic career that has taken her from coast to coast, into space and across dimensions. <p>There is no reason that the events of what is referred to in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as The Battle of New York can't influence impressionable minds, after all it was a similar event in the comics (<i>Avengers: Disassembled</i>) that lead to Kate taking up the mask, bow and arrow in the first place. <p>Kate’s youthful heroics were frowned on in the kid-sidekick unfriendly Marvel Universe and lead to a memorable confrontation between Kate and none other than Jessica Jones, whose own past contained a personal trauma. There is no reason a similar circumstance can't be replicated in Jessica's mini-series and as <i>Arrow</i> has shown, superhero archery is big on TV right now.
At first it's hard to tell which is more ridiculous, this villain’s colorful and quite descriptive working name: The Purple Man or his real one: Zebediah Killgrave, but his power is no joke. A chemical accident gave this former spy the power to control people's minds with the sound of his voice. A relatively minor villain throughout his fifty years in comics; the implications of his power took a dark turn that changed the life of Jessica Jones forever. <p>Zebediah would present a different kind of menace from traditional villains like the aforementioned Bullseye, a manipulative cerebral threat that could turn heroes against each other or the city against all of them. A man with that power in politics or the media could be the kind of threat that's not easily punched out and thrown in jail. <p>Purple Man's manipulations could not only affect Jessica Jones individually, but will no doubt upset the development of the Cage/Jones romantic relationship and the Iron Fist/Cage friendship.
All cities have character, but few have it in such abundance as New York City. The Big Apple was not just the home of Marvel Comics and its creative talent, but its heroes as well. From the then working class neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens where Peter Parker grew up, to the ‘seedy’ streets of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood on Manhattan (you're more likely to get an expensive brunch than run into a thug there now) to Captain America’s beloved Brooklyn, Marvel creators infused their comics with the look and feel of the area around them often going as far as to make them fans of local sports teams or celebrities. <p>Today Marvel would be doing their history and fandom a disservice not only if they did not film the series on the streets that inspired them, but didn’t infuse them with the ‘feeling’ of the city as it is today. From the ‘Disney-fied’ Times Square, to the struggling professional sports teams and the kind of local events that always become national news. <p>There is no better way to sell a fantasy than to ground it in reality; how cool would it be not just for the heroes to duke it out on the field of Yankee Stadium but to be seen running down Broadway, eating French fries at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on Coney Island or taking the Staten Island Ferry? <p>As it turns out, the whole series of series <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/20425-report-major-marvel-studios-netflix-news-expected-wednesday.html><i>will</i> film in New York</a>, so let's hope they production uses liberal doses of exterior locations.
Although its recent series-changing tie-in to <i>Captain America: The Winter Soldier</i> proved <i>Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. </i> <i>is</i> smack-dab in the middle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, let's acknowledge the “crossover” was <i>mainly</i> achieved through exposition. <p>Marvel loves ‘em their crossover events, however, so here’s hoping the sub TV corner of MCU can work out a full-on, face-to-face meeting between the now free Agents and one of Marvel’s new heroes on the block. <p>Or better yet a team-to-team face-off when the Defenders eventually unite. <p>Maybe at first a misunderstanding can lead to the teams to initially being in conflict with one another, until eventually they realize a villain is manipulating them and they put their differences aside to team-up and take down their common foe. <p>We just made the up. Marvel, feel free to use this wholly original idea.
You’d have to be a little crazy to dress up (or down) and hit the streets to fight crime as a vigilante, and that’s when you call in the Marvel Universe’s premier superhero psychiatrist, Doc Samson. A hero in his own right in the comics thanks to his gamma-powered strength, Doc Samson exists already in a more ‘normal’ form from his brief appearance in the 2008 <i>Incredible Hulk</i> film. <p>Portrayed there by Ty Burrell (TV's Phil Dunphy), who can currently be seen on the (synergy friendly) ABC network comedy <i>Modern Family</i>, Samson could have a new practice open in New York and be booked solid within hours dealing with just the issues that Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil and Jessica Jones could bring to the couch individually. <p>Whether it’s Cage’s problems with authority, Iron Fist’s strange family dynamic, how Matt “Daredevil” Murdock manages working on both sides of the law or Jessica Jones’ past traumas, Burrell's Samson can help them all work though it and provide a great excuse for adding a little more detail for each character’s backstory. Not to mention the endless possibilities for scenes of super-group therapy.
One of the great things about all these characters is that they have direct associations with a whole lot of other heroes. From characters like Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, who should be naturals for TV (and are also Heroes for Hire alongside two of the stars), to other street level characters like The Punisher, Moon Knight, and even other martial artists like Shang Chi. <p>Oh, and if Jessica and Luke get together, can that <i>please</i> mean we'll get to see their nanny, Squirrel Girl, too?
The aim of the mini-series is clearly to tell the stories of four street-level heroes, but there has to be a little touch of the fantastic. After all Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil and Jessica Jones have each been empowered in one way or the other, so why couldn’t the street-level bad guys be as well? <p>The Wrecker, armed with an enchanted crowbar and a bad attitude, would be perfect for a good old fashioned, street clearing dust-up, not to mention a great test for each hero’s individual skill set. His weapon’s original Asgardan origins could also allow for a brief cameo by the Marvel Cinematic Universe breakout character Loki. <p>Finally as every comic fan knows, The Wrecker is only the forerunner to The Wrecking Crew, a whole team of demolition themed villains that could make for a great match up against this new iteration of The Defenders, especially considering that they made their first appearance in <i>Defenders #17</i> (1974).
“Who is going to clean this mess up?” Is a question rarely asked in the moments after a climatic cinematic clash, but whether it’s the aftermath of The Battle of New York (after S.H.E.I.L.D. clears most of the alien tech away) or in the ruins of Metropolis after Superman and Zod wreck the joint at the end of <i>Man of Steel</i>, someone has to. In the Marvel comic book universe, the answer to the question is Damage Control. <p>A New York based construction firm, Damage Control specializes in rebuilding after superhero battles, restoring buildings and neighborhoods to their original looks very quickly, sometimes comically fast, no matter the level of destruction. <p>Existing already in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to a small cameo in the first Iron Man movie, Damage Control could make a great source of employment for any of the characters, though likely just for the villains, or a great running background gag.
There is one man at the top of the criminal pyramid in the Marvel Universe, and that is Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin. Ruling through strength, wile and fear, Fisk is the ultimate street-level villain and the obvious choice for the Defenders miniseries’ “Big Bad.” <p>A hulk of a man in his own right, Fisk’s massive size is pure muscle, not fat, and he can use it to great effectiveness in personal combat, but rarely does it ever get to that. Fisk has a criminal empire to protect him: corrupt public officials, business leaders and international assassins are all at his beck and call. <p>Daredevil has crossed batons with him several memorable times, his effects on the neighborhood that Luke Cage and his partner Iron Fist call home is significant, and there is no reason that Jessica Jones couldn’t cross his path at any time in her career as a hero or a PI, he’s perfectly situated to be the best possible foil for the heroes and a memorable character in the vein of modern criminal ‘kingpins’ like Tony Soprano or Walter White for the legions watching at home to both love and hate.