HEAT VISION

The Comic Book Reveals From Comic-Con You May Have Missed

Marvel's and DC's biggest announcements could have implications for their cinematic universes.

Although movies and television garnered the most online interest and enthusiasm at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, it shouldn’t go without saying that major developments were happening in another medium, too, the one that the convention was founded on: comic books.

Every major publisher and the indie presses had at least one panel at this year’s Comic-Con, where creators came to talk about favorite characters, relaunches, and new titles. At the forefront of the conversation between most comic book fans was the big two, Marvel and DC. With the cinematic universes of both publishing giants only growing bigger, Heat Vision takes a look at the biggest developments from Marvel and DC and how they may shape their film endeavors going forward.

Green Lantern

One of the most exciting creative team announcements from Comic-Con was the news that famed comic scribe Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman), and superstar artist Liam Sharp (Wonder Woman) will be taking over Green Lantern in November. While Green Lantern books for the past decade has focused largely on universe-shattering ramifications, various color corps, and crossovers that have made it one of DC’s most consistently epic titles, Green Lantern will scale down. Morrison's and Sharp’s Green Lantern will focus on Hal Jordan, and emphasize the space cop aspect of his role, with Morrison describing the title to IGN as a police procedural about a man who longs for the stars while frequently being stuck on Earth. Morrison is known for digging inside the psychologies of comic book characters, often with mind-bending results, and Green Lantern seems like it will follow suit, while Sharp’s art broaches strange new corners of the galaxy. Green Lantern’s relaunch follows news of a Green Lantern Corps movie, written and produced by Geoff Johns, who revitalized the character during a decade-long run on the title. Rumored to be a buddy cop movie featuring an experienced Hal Jordan and rookie, John Stewart, vastly different from the 2011 Ryan Reynolds flop, Green Lantern Corps may end up owing its identity to equal parts Johns and Morrison.

Spider-Force

It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of anyone else other than Peter Parker taking up the mantle of Spider-Man was considered heresy. But here we are, with Miles Morales and Gwen Stacey appearing as popular Spider-people in their own right and set to make their cinematic debut in this December’s animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Marvel is further popularizing on the appeal of multiple Spider-Men and Spider-Women, by launching a series of interrelated events this fall. The previously announced Spider-Geddon sees the arachnid-inspired heroes from different realities reunite after 2014’s Spider-Verse. Spider-Geddon will launch a new miniseries by Christopher Priest, who revolutionized Black Panther for the 21st century. Spider-Force sounds like a Suicide Squad equivalent of heroes from alternate realities, and will introduce a few new characters and concepts to Spider-Man’s world. Along with Spider-Force, came the announcements of Christos Gage's and Mike Hawthorne’s The Superior Octopus, featuring Otto Octavius who previous acted as Spider-Man in the aftermath of Peter Parker’s death; Seanan McGuire and Rosi Kampe’s Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider, which will focus on the popular superpowered version; Gwen Stacey's, Jody Houser's and Andres Genolet’s miniseries Spider-Girls, which will see the three generations of Spider-Girls team up; and a Spider-Man anthology series Vault of Spiders from various artists and writers. While live-action depictions of Spider-Man are still focused on Peter Parker, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Marvel Studios or Sony introduces some of the numerous characters to wear the spider insignia.

Aquaman

The most buzzed about trailer of Comic-Con was for James Wan’s Aquaman, and the publishing side of DC isn’t going to waste capitalizing on that excitement. While Aquaman’s sales and reviews have largely been consistent and positive for some years now, largely thanks to writers Geoff Johns, Jeff Parker and Dan Abnett, the character’s solo series will receive a new creative team later this year, just in time for the movie. Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Robson Rocha will take over the title and reintroduce Aquaman by deconstructing the character in a way that DC COO and co-publisher Jim Lee has described as being in the vein of Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again. DeConnick, who famously revitalized Captain Marvel and won the Eisner in 2014 for her creator-owned series Pretty Deadly, will be the first female writer to helm Aquaman’s solo series. A self-proclaimed feminist, DeConnick will offer a new and necessary perspective to Aquaman, and her first arc will deal with Aquaman’s mother, Atlanna, who will be portrayed by Nicole Kidman in the upcoming film. 

Uncanny X-Men

Sadly, 20th Century Fox did not bring a look at the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix or The New Mutants, both set for release in 2019, but Comic-Con wasn’t short on major X-Men news. While a creative team has yet to be announced, Marvel did reveal that Uncanny X-Men will return in November. Once the golden goose of Marvel’s publications, and the central X-Men title, Uncanny became something of a secondary X-title and its last run concluded in May 2017 and gave way to various color-coded X-Men books. Marvel’s X-Men books find themselves in the midst of a recalibration as they try to highlight specific characters and tones for each book. A common complaint among comic readers is that Marvel publishes too many X-books, dependent on crossovers, for readers to keep track of where to start or jump on. Hopefully Uncanny will allow Marvel to further streamline their X-line. While there’s been rumors for years that Marvel purposefully put less focus on the X-Men, and limited merchandise, because it lacked the film rights, the relaunch of Uncanny X-Men and Fantastic Four this fall may point to a new invested interest in those properties, especially since Comcast has now dropped out of the purchase of Fox’s assets and it appears Disney will indeed get the rights to those properties.

Three Jokers

Of course no DC presentation would be complete without the sound of laughter in the background. The previously announced Three Jokers from Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok will debut this winter as part of DC’s new prestige, Black Label. The story, which was teased during the last arc of Johns’ Justice League in 2016, finds Batman coming to terms and digging into the knowledge that his archenemy isn’t one man, but three. Johns has said the in-continuity story is not linked to DC’s multiverse, and that three Jokers are very much grounded to one Earth. The series will consist of three prestige format issues, and deal with mature subject matter distinct to DC’s Black Label. While multiple possibilities for the Joker’s origins have been teased over the years, with Scott Snyder promising similar revelations in an upcoming Justice League issue, the character is one of the few comic characters whose identity has remained a mystery. With Warner Bros. exploring the character’s origins in the Joaquin Phoenix vehicle Joker, and Jared Leto still said to reprise his version of the character in future movies, DC seems keen on making room for more than one Joker. 

Look for further coverage on these titles as they’re released.

  • Richard Newby
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