ROCKETSHIP OF IDEAS1 of 12
"Frank Castle... in outer space."
Sounds like an odd pairing, but its happened before - and its happening again. The Cosmic Ghost Rider in the current Thanos series was recently revealed to be Frank Castle after making a deal with Mephisto. It's proven so popular that Marvel is already spinning it off into a solo Cosmic Ghost Rider series later this year.
But space is an open place, and there's more than enough room for other stereotypically "grounded" Marvel heroes to make the transition to the wild blue yonder and beyond. Here are some suggestions for future astronauts from the Rocketship of Ideas.
DEVIL DINOSAUR2 of 12
Firstly: Devil Dinosaur, the pre-historic character created by Jack Kirby in the 1970s during his troubled second tour of duty with Marvel, doesn't get anything close to the amount of respect he deserves.... not even in the current Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur series.
Secondly: If you can't grasp the potential awesomeness of a dinosaur in space, I don't know what to tell you. Just think of the possibilities: A time-lost dinosaur loose in the far future! Prehistory meets the Futurehistory! Dinosaur Rampage In Orbit Above The Earth! This is the kind of crazy high concept that blockbuster movies are made of, we promise you.
HERCULES3 of 12
Sure, Thor's been in space on several occasions - but Marvel's other demi-god is in many ways a better fit.
The hirsute hero has never really found a true place for himself on this Earth - he's been a player, but he's yet to match his legendary labours of Greek mythology. He's like the high school jock, all grown up but still living in the shadows of his younger days. When most people think of Thor they think, rightly or wrongly, more of Marvel's Thor than the Norse god. But Hercules -- well, he's yet to live up to his youth.
So why not go for a change of scenery and into the great darkness - he's had some dalliances before, so why not turn it into a full-time gig?
I'm sure there's space mead somewhere.
NIGHT NURSE4 of 12
What Marvel character is least-suited to outer space, on first glance? If it's not the Punisher himself, then possibly it's Linda Carter, the heroine of the 1972 Night Nurse series which mixed Marvel soap opera with... well, more soap opera, really, describing itself as "true-to-life adventures" of a regular nurse.
None of that seems particularly well-suited for science fiction, which suggests that it'd make the perfect follow-up to Cosmic Ghost Rider. After all, it'll up the "What, seriously?" reaction, and also insert a science fiction aspect into Linda Carter's life that could possibly make her series a little more interesting to genre-centric comic book fandom than it was originally.
HELLCAT5 of 12
Along similar lines, who wouldn't want to see Patsy Walker get some science fiction in her life? More than anything else on this list, a Cosmic Hellcat series would benefit from ensuring that Kathryn Immonen, the writer who's had most influence/impact on the character in recent years, remains in charge of this particular reincarnation.
By placing Immonen's Patsy in space, no matter what the set-up, readers are guaranteed a fast-paced, smart, snarky and more than likely beautifully illustrated (look at Immonen's past collaborators on the character: David Lafuente, Stuart Immonen, Tonci Zonjic...) story that'll excite and amuse in equal amounts. An ideal science fiction story, in other words.
DAREDEVIL6 of 12
Ignoring the appeal of the "in space, no-one can see you scream" tagline - I'm sorry - there's a definite appeal in transferring one part of Matt Murdock's double life into space and seeing what it's like, and it's not the part that requires him to look good in tights.
There's a lot of potential in outer-space law, and the legal practices required to keep the system working, even before you get into the twist of Murdock having the work outside the system in order to support it (one of the simplest, and greatest, twists in superhero comics). Placing Matt Murdock into space could take full advantage of that tension without the need for any superheroing or even any super villains... just one man, a corrupt system and lots and lots of ray guns. That could work, right?
Who wouldn't want to see Matt Murdock in the courtroom of the Living Tribunal?
X-MEN7 of 12
If one Marvel series has always demanded a science fiction element, it's X-Men, and what better place to explore ideas about the future evolution of humanity (as well as xenophobia and a fear of the unknown) than outer space? The history of the series is filled with concepts and characters that require no translation to fit into a space version of the series: The Shi'Ar, the Phoenix, the giant robot Sentinels and so on.
The question shouldn't be "Why would X-Men make a good science fiction space opera?" but, instead, "Why isn't X-Men already a good science fiction space opera?" In a way, the Starjammers were the MCU Guardians of the Galaxy before the Marvel Comics' GotG were.
HULK8 of 12
Yes, there may be a lot of potential for stories about one man being hunted by authorities all across the universe as he searches for the cure for his tendency to become a mindless, destructive monster (actually, now that I type it out, there's a lot of potential there...), but I have another idea for you: What about intergalactic space battles where one side uses Gamma Bombs and creates an entire planet of Hulks? They could even have gamma ray guns for more close-quarters combat.
Just imagine Thunderbolt Ross as Darth Vader (with Betty, of course, as a Princess Leia stand-in), and tell us that you wouldn't read this comic.
SPIDER-MAN9 of 12
Another series that could be launched into orbit by focusing on the thematic story instead of the details: Focus on the great power/great responsibility (and, for that matter, great destiny coming from great tragedy) parts, and you can plug the story into any surroundings.
Peter Parker works best as an everyman who finds himself in circumstances beyond our imaginings, and yet dealing with it surprisingly well... so who's to say that that wouldn't work out perfectly for a story set in space? If nothing else, any excuse to imagine J. Jonah Jameson with a goldfish bowl-like space helmet, ranting away until someone decides to turn his intercom off is a good thing.
IRON MAN10 of 12
Iron Man is probably the Marvel hero most easily translated into a space setting of all of the ones who don't already spend most of their time there (let's be honest, Space: Nova wouldn't really be much of a stretch), because it only makes sense that genius, inventor and thrill seeker Tony Stark would find himself looking to the stars for his next venture like the comic book Richard Branson that he is.
Iron Man had a brief tenure as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but it was during a time where they were primarily-Earthbound.
There's still stories to be told! Prepare yourself for the ultimate Iron Man armor, which will end up being an entire spaceship controlled by nothing except the brainwaves of Tony's own mind.
CAPTAIN AMERICA11 of 12
The reason the world needs a Cosmic Captain America series isn't because there's a story to be told about America seeking to continue its exploratory spirit to other worlds, Star Trek-style (although, yes, that would be wonderful), nor because there's an allegorical tale to be told about space exploration that parallels the European discovery and evolution of America (although, that too could be very good).
No, the reason that the world needs a Cosmic Captain America is so that we can finally see a story featuring the "Astro-Hero" Cap from Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, way back in 1976. The world may finally be ready for the hero Kirby described as someone who'd take "a leisurely walk on an airless moonscape"! Don't ask - just buy it!
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