RIPE FOR RENEWAL?1 of 12It’s official - Civil War is coming back.
Marvel confirmed Monday that Civil War II will hit shelves in 2016, courtesy of Invincible Iron Man creative team Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. While we don’t yet know much about what to expect, a promotional image shows Iron Man (presumably Tony Stark) squaring off with Sam Wilson, the current Captain America.
And, with Captain America: Civil War hitting theaters on May 5, 2016 – right around the original story’s tenth anniversary - is it really a surprise that Marvel would capitalize on the title?
Of course, Marvel billed Secret Wars as the “event to end all events” – but with Civil War II following hot on its heels, it’s clear Marvel isn’t concerned about event fatigue. So, with that in mind, here are ten classic stories Marvel can resurrect to keep the train rolling.
AVENGERS/DEFENDERS WAR2 of 12What It Was: This classic storyline from 1973 saw Steve Englehart write what must have been one of the first — if not the first — superhero crossovers ever, with contemporaneous issues of Avengers and Defenders telling the same story as, yes, superheroes fought before coming together against a common foe. (In this case, foes — Loki and Dormammu, to be specific.)
What It Could Be: We've had AvX and Civil War, and both were massive hits. Clearly, the fans want to see favorite heroes face off against other favorite heroes – and with Marvel and Netflix setting up a new, down to Earth Defenders team in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the time is just about right to revive the name. And even though tone of the directors of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War said bringing the two teams together onscreen would be "tricky," they're still easily mashed up in the pages of comic books. This time, maybe we’ll see Marvel’s big guns given a run for their money by their more street level counterparts.
20993 of 12What It Was: The original 2099 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 Spider-Man 2099, but who could forget such other books as Doom 2099 (which featured some of Warren Ellis' earliest work in U.S. comic books?) and the fugitive trash man known as Ravage 2099, co-created by Stan Lee?
What It Could Be: 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 that world would really look like a century or more from now?
Sure, there's currently a Spider-Man 2099 ongoing series, but it barely deals with the year 2099, focusing on its time-displaced hero operating in the present.
OVERKILL4 of 12What It Was: Perhaps unknown to many American Marvel fans, Overkill 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.
What It Could Be: The name, admittedly, needs a little work — does anyone really 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 — Hawkeye being a good example — so why not push that idea further forward?
FOREVER5 of 12What It Was: The relatively short-lived Forever 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 X-Men Forever, New Mutants Forever and X-Factor Forever 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.
What It Could Be: 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 Forever 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 Thor Forever, if nothing else.
MC26 of 12What It Was: 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 Next Avengers — As Doc Brown would put it, "It's your kids! 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 son, J2, and Wild Thing, the daughter of Wolverine and Elektra.
What It Could Be: 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 in it's library a significant number of teen heroes with passionate of relatively small fanbases (think Runaways, Young Avengers, and Avengers Academy just to name a few).
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' Avengers. After all, aren't you in the least bit curious to see some of Marvel's 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 COMICS7 of 12What It Was: Originally published in 1974, the first Origins of Marvel Comics 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, Bring On The Bad Guys, arguably even moreso.)
What It Could Be: 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 Season One graphic novels. A cheap, easy jumping on point for new readers: Isn't that what a stunt month should be?
WRAITH WAR8 of 12What It Was: 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 Rom: Space Knight in the late 1970s managed to crossover into multiple series throughout its multiple year run, including Uncanny X-Men, Doctor Strange and Power Man and Iron Fist.
What It Could Be: 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 Rom ended. Sure, there have been hints in books like Annihilators, Spider-Woman and FF 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.
Rom may no longer be available to Marvel, having been licensed by IDW, but there's a new Space Knight in the Marvel Universe - Flash Thompson, A.K.A. Venom.
DISASSEMBLED9 of 12What It Was: Branding that tied in with Brian Michael Bendis' first Avengers storyline — you remember, it was the controversial one that broke the Internet in half 11 years ago — "Disassembled" logos were added to Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and The Falcon and Spectacular Spider-Man, whether or not they actually tied in to the central storyline or not.
What It Could Be: 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 everyone tries to cause trouble at exactly the same time?
ACTS OF VENGEANCE10 of 12What It Was:Acts of Vengeance was — in addition to being the thing that taught us how to spell the word "vengeance" — a 1989 crossover that ran through the Avengers books (as well as Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man and even Uncanny X-Men) 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.
What It Could Be: Call us old-fashioned, but we feel like it's been a long time since we've seen a basic superheroes versus supervillains event comic book 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 (Age of Ultron's time travel, Fear Itself's Asgardian gods). Let's just see the good guys fight some bad guys again.
THE INFINITY GAUNTLET11 of 12What It Was: The mad Titan Thanos’s quest to court the physical embodiment of Death lead him to capture the fabled Infinity Gems, which allowed him to kill half the denizens of the Marvel Universe – including many heroes – with just a snap of his fingers. Eventually, the remaining heroes, lead by Adam Warlock, banded together to fight Thanos, who was eventually undone by his own daughter, Nebula, who reversed all the damage he caused. The event, which many readers consider to be one of the greatest Marvel stories of all time, will form the rough basis for Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 &2, the culminating films of the current version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What It Could be: What better way to celebrate the birth of an All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe that with a villain who threatens the entire thing? Thanos has been back in business in the Marvel Universe since Infinity, but he hasn’t risen to the same heights he once occupied as Marvel’s primary threat. It’s basically inevitable that he’ll return when Infinity War hits, so why not with fabled gauntlet on his mighty fist?
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