The Marvel-ous New Generation: 3 Marvel Legacy Heroes I Want To See In The MCU

So, If you’ve been following movie trailers for some time, you may have noticed that the previews for Logan have teased a young girl with Wolverine’s power set. Fans will recognize her as Laura Kinney; aka. X-23 – an attempt by the Weapon-X program that gave Wolvie’s skeleton its adamantium chrome job to genetically re-engineer him through cloning (they couldn’t salvage the y-chromosome from his samples; hence why she’s a girl).

Now, I’ve expressed my love of legacy heroes in the past, but I feel that most don’t get why Marvel is keen on gender and/or race swapping their classic roster. The answer is shockingly simple; they’re in the movie business now.

Actors rarely want to spend their lives in the same roles forever and those who do reasonably can’t; they grow too old for the part or pass away and have to leave the role to another – essentially creating a legacy of their own.

By test running huge shifts in appearance and perspective in comics (an industry that is much smaller and less risky than film), Marvel is testing the waters beforehand and prepping for when an actor may leave the studio. We’re already starting to see hints of this in the MCU films with Iron Man 3 setting up Pepper Potts as the new heroine Rescue.

So, while we’re refreshing the roster, I thought I’d discuss some legacy heroes in the Marvel canon that I’d like to see in the movies.

Kamala Khan; Ms. Marvel

Getting her in the roster wouldn’t be too much of a STRETCH.
Source: JamieFayX on DeviantArt

Well, now that we have Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel taking up the mantle of her less memorable male counterpart, we have an empty space to fill.

I’ve said that the problem with the old superheroes is that they represent a mode of thinking from a by-gone age. So, it’s refreshing to see a young face providing a new perspective of the world, especially one from a more ethnic point of view.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, comics have always a diversity problem and I applaud Marvel for being the front-runners in trying to set that issue straight. And with all of the anti-Muslim sentiment we’ve been exposed to lately, someone like Kamala – who is just a fun character to work with in her own right – could help to lighten up people’s attitudes.

And on the subject of Muslim heroes…

Josiah X; Justice

American pride status: restored via badassery. Source: Marvel Database

American pride status: restored via badassery.
Source: Marvel Database

Most stories involving Captian America seem to come off as cynical lately. That’s because most of us aren’t happy with how our country is turning out and he comes off as an anachronism.

What we need is a Cap that is less a product of the past than they are someone reacting to the past and wanting to improve the future. Fortunately for us, there’s a cornucopia of star-spangled soldiers out there to chose from.

Josiah X (born Josiah al hajj Saddiq) is the son of Isaiah Bradley; most famously known as “The Black Captain America.” Josiah has seen America from multiple angles; as a soldier in Vietnam, as a former Black Panther (the society, not the African superhero), and as a vigilante breaking up gangs and drug dealers in the city.

Josiah could bring a new globally-minded perspective that could benefit the story and the teams he works with. Sure, Falcon is being set up as the next Cap, but there’s nothing saying Josiah couldn’t play Bucky Barnes to his Steve Rogers.

Of course, there are OTHER replacements for the Captain proper…

Danielle Cage

This is the last thing you'll see before becoming a greasy smear on the wall behind you. Source: World of Black Heroes

This is the last thing you’ll see before becoming a greasy smear on the wall behind you.
Source: World of Black Heroes

I won’t lie, this is less about cultural significance than it is that I just f***ing love Danielle.

For the record, Danielle is probably one of the least likely people to be introduced into the MCU due to the fact that she is a product of writers playing with alternate timelines (and look at how well that played out for Fox), but I adore her as an absolute badass character born from two equally badass parents; Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

Who knows? Maybe after they wrap up this universe-spanning series of films, they’ll start a new series with Danielle and her future Avengers.

The MCU Just Got Darker: First Impressions of Jessica Jones and Hints of What To Expect From Marvel

Damn you, David Tennant! The Time Lord Victorious is wrong!

Okay, I’m going to keep this quick as my day job schedule is a bit hectic; i.e. someone put in for vacation time and I’m too nice to deny a break to someone who works two jobs.

So, I just got to watch the first episode of Jessica Jones last night and I’m kind of shocked at the turn Marvel decided to take with their cinematic universe. Given how even the heavy stuff in their movies has been treated with some levity, I never expected them to take on some of the darker elements of their comics.

Let me sum up the first episode for those who have yet to see it. The story follows the titular Jessica Jones, a metahuman that fans of the comics will recognize (get used to that phrase whenever I talk about the MCU) as the superheroine Jewel. In the story, Jones has abandoned her vigilante life to become a private investigator (yes, comic fans. WE know why she left, but the others don’t. Don’t ruin it for everyone else).

As she works on a missing persons case, she discovers that the kidnapper is recreating moments from her past using the girl he took. We see brief flashes of this creep that fans of the comics will recognize (see what I mean?) as Zebediah Kilgrave; a.k.a., The Purple Man, who has the power to emit a mind-altering pheromone that makes others easily manipulable. Think rule 63 Poison Ivy with WAY more sleaze.

And by more sleaze, I mean that it’s heavily implied – in comics and the show – that Kilgrave has used these powers for everything up to and including rape.

It’s a good thing that this is a Netflix original series, because no cable station or movie studio would sign off on a story like this. And that’s actually unfortunate because, as painful and disturbing of a topic as rape is, it’s one that doesn’t get talked about enough in media. I applaud Marvel for taking this bold step and look forward to seeing how they handle it later on.

So, what does this mean for the MCU? Well, in terms of universe building, Jessica Jones follows the tone set by Daredevil as setting the stage for the ‘street level’ heroes like the title characters and Jessica’s love interest, Luke Cage.

Speaking of Cage, this means we may be getting a new Captain America sooner than expected. Currently, in the comic universe, the mantle of the first Avenger was passed down to the hero formerly known as The Falcon. However, the series Avengers: Ultron Forever, which takes place in the distant future, reveals that Luke and Jessica’s daughter, Danielle Cage, takes the title of Captain America.

But, more importantly, this show serves as way of toeing the waters of more serious subject matter. Should Jessica Jones be successful, it may not be long before we see stories like Tony Stark’s struggle with alcoholism.

It’s starting to get creepy how Marvel seems incapable of not making me interested in what they’ll do next.

New Old Glory: The Agent on The New Captain America

A new America for a new age.

Recently, Marvel Comics announced news that would change the dynamic of their universe forever (or at least until they retcon it); Sam Wilson, the bird themed superhero formerly known as The Falcon would replace a de-powered Steve Rogers as Captain America.

This news was met with all of the rational logic that is to be expected of any die hard fan of anything – that is to say, crap hit the fan immediately and people started to panic asking if the change was for the best or not.

Well, for all of you Captain America purists, this should make your heads explode; I support this.

First of all, It’s not like Sam Wilson is a nobody in the Marvel Universe. He’s a long time friend and ally to The Avengers – especially to Steve Rogers. As a character, he has paid his dues and is probably the best person to stand in for Steve in a pinch.

Secondly, Steve as the Captain is a rather unfortunate anachronism. To the reading audience, He represented the United States’ values during World War II and the Cold War. While this serves the purpose of a time capsule of American history, from a story telling standpoint, our values have changed with our understanding of the world. We need a new hero to serve as our collective voice and desire.

Thirdly, for those ‘delightful’ people that are going to bring up changing the Captain’s race as an issue, the comic book industry – even after turning Nick Fury into Samuel L. Jackson, replacing the old Blue Beetle with a Hispanic teen, and making the golden age Green Lantern gay – is still HORRIBLY diversity deprived. As clunky as it may be to do it this way, I have no problems with writers wanting to insert a little variety in perspective via race, creed, gender, sexuality, or otherwise.

Besides, it’s not like there haven’t been black Captain Americas in the past. Josiah X and his father Isaiah Bradley‘s turns as the Captain allowed a great story to be told about internal government corruption as well as a stunning critique of the people responsible for the heinous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. Meanwhile, Isaiah’s grandson Elijah still serves as The Patriot; a young Captain America fighting for The Young Avengers

Lastly, this has the effect of making the Captain a legacy hero – one who passes his title down to one deemed worthy when he or she is know longer capable of or willing to continue their work (think The Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride). I love legacy heroes, because they allow writers to tell new stories by reflecting on or reacting to previous mantle holders. Other great legacy heroes you may be familiar with include Robin, Green Lantern, The Flash, and – yes – even Batman.

So yes, I’m looking forward to seeing what Sam Wilson – one of the first African American heroes in comics and the only person in the Marvel Universe truly worthy to inherit the title of Captain America – does with his new responsibility to the people and his country. Be a good one, soldier.

What The Heck Was That In ‘Thor: The Dark World’?

“I’m-a just stand here all sexy for the ladies in the audience and beat the crap out of giants, ‘kay?”
Source: Paste Magazine

So, over the weekend, me and a dear friend saw Thor: The Dark World and it’s every bit as good as the previous installment (meaning as good as the original Thor; there’s no way it could compare to The Avengers).

However, there were several nods to various things that my friend needed explained. Then I realized that others may need a primer as well. As such, here is my SPOILER FILLED explanation of some of the events in Thor: The Dark World.

Why Aren’t The Dark Elves Dark Skinned?

“We were going to be the Immortals in ‘300’, but Frank Miller was being a dork.”
Source: Marvel Movies Wiki

This is a sad result of us – the audience – suffering from cultural colonization and misinterpretation of lore.

When most of those of a geeky persuasion hear the term ‘dark elf,’ we tend to think of the drow; a race of dark-skinned, subterranean elves made popular by Dungeons & Dragons. However, these dark elves have no connection to Norse mythology or even elves in general.

The drow we know, originally called trow, are actually hideous and mischievous fairy folk from Celtic folklore that have no connection to Norse mythology other than that they bear a strong resemblance to the trolls of Scandinavian legend.

Nordic dark elves, more accurately known as Dökkálfar, are the diametric opposites of the light elves or Ljósálfar. Because Celtic and Old Nordic cultures drew from one another, it’s likely the two stories were combined over generations.

Granted many Norse legends describe the Dökkálfar as “blacker than pitch,” but here, I feel they went with a more traditional elf appearance to draw greater attention to the primordial darkness that was their world before the universe as we know it manifested rather than a physically dark appearance.

Also, our big bad of the film Malekith does begin to look more like a traditional Dökkálfar later in the film as he draws closer to his evil goal (I won’t say how; have to keep the spoilers to a minimum) and making them pale white sets up our next topic.

What’s The Significance Of Thor Scorching Melekith’s Face?

“I’m gonna Harvey Dent the hell out of this film!”

In a display of the utter badassery that he’s known for, one scene has Thor blasting a fleeing Melekith in the face with the lightning of Mjölnir permanently burning half of his face. Why is this a big deal?

Well, it draws a parallel with Hel, the Goddess of Death. In the original myth, Hel was the child of Loki who presided over Niflheim, the World of Darkness. Did you see what they did there?

There are many depictions of Hel’s appearance including half-human/half-blank or half-alive/half-dead, but most art depicts her as half-pale white/half-pitch black. So going with the most recognizable depiction makes the most sense from a storytelling standpoint.

Who Was That Weirdo In The Ending Stinger and What Is An ‘Infinity Stone’?

Surprisingly, this is NOT the illegitimate child of David Bowie.
Source: 10 Minutes from Hell

I’ll be honest; the man who inspired me to do this blog, MovieBob, did a whole episode of The Big Picture all about this particular weirdness and I encourage you all to watch it on the grounds that he explains it better than I ever could hope to. That said, I can help to try and fill in a few of the smaller gaps.

So, as he was introduced, the very eccentric acting fellow in the obligatory Marvel end credit stinger is Taneleer Tivan, The Collector. He is a member of a pantheon of characters known as the Elders of the Universe who comprise the oldest sentient beings in the universe and are essentially the Marvel Universe equivalent of gods. In Collector’s case, his life goal is to preserve the universe by collecting specimens of it.

So, what about these Infinity Stones that they mentioned? It’s almost certain that they meant the Infinity Gems, six powerful stones that grant different powers on their own, but when combined into the settings of the Infinity Gauntlet can make their wielder nigh unstoppable.

Only one villain in the Marvel Universe has completed the Infinity Gauntlet: Thanos, The Mad Titan. Who is he? Well, you met him in the stinger from The Avengers. He’s the big, purple guy with the evil smile. He wants to destroy most of the known universe as a tribute to the love of his life, the physical embodiment of Death. This makes that whole, “To challenge them is to court Death” line both amusing and terrifying.

So, judging from the events of the films and comics, it seems the Tesseract will serve as the blue Mind Gem granting access to the minds of others and enhancing mental powers and our new maguffin, the Aether, will stand in for the red Power Gem accessing all energy that has, does, and will ever exist. What’s more, The Collector seems to be helping Thanos gather the stones on the grounds that, with most of the universe gone, his specimens will become that much more valuable.

So, What About The Movie?

It’s great. I won’t say it was better than the first Thor like most critics, but it was certainly on par and made me care to see what else Marvel has in store for its cinematic universe. And don’t worry; even with the spoilers I mentioned, there are plenty of twists to shock you. Go see it now.