Daredevil/Luke Cage/ Iron Fist/ The Defenders
The Netflix entries are going to be the kind of show everyone wanted out of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that’s a very good thing. Luke Cage and Iron Fist both featured a renaissance of sorts at the hands of Ed Brubaker and Brian Michael Bendis, going from jokey 70s parodies of kung fu and exploitation films to characters that can hold a scene with The Avengers without a second thought.
But the main attraction here is Daredevil, a character basically begging for a chance to truly shine. Ben Affleck did his best to destroy those chances near the end of the last big comics boon in film, when anything and everything was being made. Luckily Marvel got the rights back and they are including him in their cinematic plans.
If I look at my collection, Daredevil is only rivaled by Batman for classic stories. There is a wealth and it’s a crime that so many were cannibalized for the terrible film adaptation from before. Frank Miller’s work on the series is legendary and took it from a silly crime fighting tale to a gritty noir. Kevin Smith of all people reinvigorated that feeling into the character in the late-90s and it has been a must read series ever since via the work of Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker and Mark Waid.
If this set of series screws the pooch, I’m calling them un-filmable. There’s no way. I almost feel like Alec Baldwin in Glengary GlenRoss, yelling about the leads being good. The stories are good, dammit!
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
If we were going with surefire greats that we knew were coming to the screen, this is a winner no matter how you look at it. The success of The Avengers really sells the success of this one outright, but when coupled with the source material, you get the possibility of something legendary. If you don’t believe me, listen to Robert Downey. From Slashfilm:
This one is a very ambitious sequel. If you read it, it’s dense, it’s smart. Joss [Whedon] is a really smart guy. My 2-year-old is crazy about Hawkeye, and I think Jeremy [Renner] has a lot to do with the plot. There’s always so many plates to spin to get these things half-right, and I’m really excited about this one.
Now of course he’s paid to say those things, but he’s not blowing smoke either. And to prove it, look no further than the source material.
And when I say source material, forget the Age of Ultron event-series we were just graced with because it has little to do with Ultron and Avengers 2 past the title. Instead, go back to 1998 and Ultron Unlimited. It’s a fantastic story where Ultron returns to slaughter an entire nation, kidnap key members of The Avengers and pretty much raise holy hell until finally being stopped after one of the toughest battles the team ever faces.
I doubt you’d find a better duo than Kurt Buseik and George Perez during this run and it shows with this short four issue storyline. The team is pushed to its limits and it carries the kind of feel you’d expect to see on the big screen. Throw the other classic Ultron stories into the mix and you’ve got the recipe for greatness. But not the greatest upcoming adaptation.
This would be the crowning achievement for Marvel in my opinion. It would allow two things to happen: first, we’d finally have a great Hulk movie to watch in theaters and second, it would bring the best superhero story I’ve read to life. There’s a wealth of great Hulk stories, probably more than any other Marvel hero. This one stands above the rest though.
Getting to Planet Hulk is uncertain at this point, but it is certainly possible. Rumors are always floating around with how the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to get together in time for the end of phase three. And we know that Planet Hulk was kicked around as possible adaptation a while back.
I think the main problem here is that no one really ever knows what to do with the Hulk as a character. Even Joss Whedon is on record calling it “the toughest property to film.” If this story provides anything, it is hope. A direct adaptation makes little sense, but throwing Hulk on another planet where he’s less monster and more survivalist is a winning combo. And heck, if it’s the Avengers actually exiling the green goliath like in the source material, you have a whole redemption element to use for the third Avengers film.
Make this happen. If anything, so we can finally wash the taste of Ang Lee’s Hulk out our mouths.