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The Week In Geek: Avengers VS X-Men, Sequel News Galore, and Watchmen 2?!

Friday 9th December 2011 by Eric Diaz

Avengers VS. X-Men Announced For 2012

While it was all about Marvel Studios this past year at the movies, completely trouncing DC and Warner Brother’s Green Lantern, in the comic book world it was quite the other way around. From the moment it was announced, all anyone could talk about was DC’s “New 52” relaunch, while the only time anyone was really talking about Marvel’s Fear Itself event was pretty much to make fun of it. For the first time since 1986 maybe (the year of DC’s last big relaunch, not to mention Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns)  DC pretty much owned Marvel. But next year, Marvel is looking to fire back big time. They’ve been teasing that “It’s Coming” since Comic Con in July, without really saying what “It” is. But now we know: Starting in April 2012, it’s Avengers VS. X-Men in a 12 part bi –weekly mini series from April though September.

The premise of A VS X  has the Phoenix Force returning to Earth looking for a new host in the form of red headed “Mutant Messiah” Hope Summers. (who didn’t see THAT coming since like 2007?) The X-Men, both Cyclops’ team on Utopia and Wolverine’s staff at the Jean Grey Institute, believe young Hope should be trained and prepared for her role as the Phoenix host, possibly hoping that young Miss Summers as the ultra powerful Phoenix can re-ignite the Mutant gene and save them their race from extinction. The Avengers however, see the Phoenix as a cosmic threat and therefore their problem, being saviors of the world and all. So, this being comics, the two teams will naturally come to blows about it. This of course will leave characters like Wolverine and Storm who are on both teams to make a final choice about just where their loyalties lie.

Unlike past Marvel events, this one isn’t being written and drawn by one writer artist team, but by a collection of Marvel’s biggest names, including Brian Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, and Jonathan Hickman on writing chores, and John Romita Jr., Oliver Coipel and Adam Kubert each illustrating one four-issue “act” of series. Frank Cho will be drawing a special prologue issue in March, focusing on Hope Summers and the recently returned Scarlet Witch, whom longtime fans will remember was the last ultra powerful female mutant whom the two teams once nearly came to blows over “what to do with her” back in the House of M mini series. Unlike Fear Itself or Dark Reign, this promises fans a pretty straightforward premise even a comics newbie can get behind: Marvel’s two biggest teams kicking the shit out of each other. And who doesn’t wanna see that?


Thor 2 Loses Another Director

Patty Jenkins, the latest director for the sequel to Thor, has now dropped out of the project due to creative differences with Marvel Studios. This is a mere few months after director Brian Kirk (Game of Thrones) also left the project due to “creative differences” with Marvel Studios. Marvel is really getting the reputation of being uncompromising and difficult to work with, not to mention cheap. They nearly lost Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury for being too damn cheap after the first Iron Man. They’ve only been putting out movies since 2008, and since then they’ve had very public problems with Terrance Howard, Edward Norton, and now Mickey Rourke has been bad mouthing them a lot lately too for trimming most of his performance out of Iron Man 2. Now add two high profile exits from the same movie to the list of prickly relations with talent. I dunno, where there is this much smoke there is probably fire. Having said all that, considering that four of the five Marvel Studios films have pretty much been perfect comic book films in my book, I say we give Marvel Studios creative head Kevin Feige the benefit of the doubt on what he thinks is best for the Marvel characters under his care. He hasn’t done us wrong so far. Say what you will about Iron Man 2, it’s still better than 90% of the Marvel movie output from Fox right?

Could X-Men: First Class And Planet of the Apes Be A Sign of Things Changing Over At Fox?

Speaking of Fox and Marvel, for years now Fox co-chairman and CEO Tom Rothman has been pretty much been considered the bane of geek movie lovers everywhere. Under his supervision, a ton of shitty pandering- to – the – lowest common – denominator genre movies, more interested in having a good opening weekend than having any concern at being decent films, have been unleashed upon the masses. Of course, lots of studios do this, but Fox has had the worst reputation by far. And the worst part, they own three key Marvel properties-The X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Daredevil. With the exception of the first two X-flicks, (which, it is only fair to say, ushered in the modern comic book movie era) the rest of their Marvel movies have been…wanting to say the least. 

But this past summer, the two best genre blockbusters were from Fox, X-Men First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It seems that Rothman got the hint- let filmmakers do their thing and tell stories and stop micro managing the fuck out of them, and you’ll make movies that fans will actually like. In speaking with MTV this week, Rothman seemed to admit as much, and promised that things were changing at the studio in regards to their super hero and similar genre properties, including the upcoming sequels to X-Men First Class and reboots of the FF and Daredevil: 

I think for all of us, the bar has been raised, so we’ve got to aim high now. Marvel’s done a terrific job with their films. Where our Marvel movies are concerned or other movies like that. It’s like what we had with ‘Planet of the Apes’ this summer. I think it’s important for us to really aim high and deliver an A-level experience to the audience. 

Well, better late than never I say.


Will Trek II Have Khan’s Wrath On Display Or Not?

It’s been another busy week in rumor-ville for the next installment of JJ Abram’s rebooted Star Trek universe. First, El Mayimbe from Latino Review (who has an excellent track record in breaking geek movie rumors going back years now) revealed that Benecio del Toro would be playing Khan in the sequel to Star Trek. Almost immediately, equally reliable internet source Drew Mcweeney from HitFix.com said that JJ Abrams told him “not true.”  McWeeney insisted that while Abrams loved to be vague and give non committal “No comment”  answers, he had never flat out lied to him before. So if JJ says Benicio is not playing Khan, then that’s that. No Khan. 

Except, flash forward a few days later, and it is announced that Benicio is NOT playing anything in this new Trek flick, as a financial deal could not be reached. So when Abrams informed McWeeny that Del Toro wasn’t playing Khan, he could have just been revealing early that the talks with him were officially over, not that Khan wasn’t in the movie. Add to that the two actors who are being courted to replace Benecio del Toro,  Edgar Ramirez and Jordi Molla are both Latino like Ricardo Montalban (never mind that the character of Khan was meant to be East Asian, but whatever) and it seems almost a done deal. Khan Noonian Singh is the villain in Star Trek II. Again.

I’d like to point out, I’m not a fan of this news. This movie would essentially have to be a remake of the classic original series episode Space Seed, where the Enterprise crew finds a cryogenically frozen Khan and his army of super people lost in space since the year 1996. And yes, that little anachronistic fact would have to remain, as the new Trek timeline didn’t diverge from the original one till the moment James Kirk was born. If they change Khan’s time period from the late 90’s to say, the 2040’s or something, you are already committing a huge continuity gaff. So why even go there? Isn’t the point of this new Trek timeline to be free of continuity and create whole new adventures not burdened down by the past? 

There is ONE other casting bit of info that might make me believe that Khan is not the villain here; Peter Weller has joined the cast in an undisclosed role, but one that is said to be an older mentor figure to the villain. Now, we know Khan has no mentors. Could the villain be a Klingon as I long hoped for? I mean yes, they’re looking for Latino men for the part, but back in the day all the Klingons were played by dark haired swarthier guys. Just sayin’.

*Sigh* Michael Bay Set To Return For Transformers 4.


Despite saying in interviews earlier this year that Transformers: Dark of the Moon would be his last venture into the world of Autobots and Decepticons, it seems that Michael Bay is being wooed by Paramount to come back for a fourth loud and annoying Transformers movie, at least according to the latest rumors making the internet rounds this week. Money talks after all, and it isn’t like Michael Bay is in the movie business to tell his own personal stories or something gay like that. So any hopes you had of getting a good Transformers flick that wasn’t sexist and racist just went out the window. Sorry. No release date has been set yet for a fourth Transformers movie, but whenever it is, it will be too soon. And this coming from someone who likes the first one, even if only as a guilty pleasure. 


We Seem To Be Getting A Watchmen Continuation, Like It Or Not

This week’s column started with some big comics news, and will end with big comics news. Shitty comics news, but big nevertheless.  It seems the rumors of a Watchmen continuation…are sadly true. Although not 100% confirmed, Bleedingcool.com has learned that indeed, a series of various prequels to the events of Alan Moore’s classic Watchmen are being produced by DC in 2012, with the first being a mini series about Nite Owl from New Frontier’s Darwyn Cooke. Of course, it goes without saying that Alan Moore will have ZERO ZILCH NADA to do with this, except making lots and lots of bitchy comments about it in various interviews when asked about it. And why does Watchmen even NEED a prequel? Half the book was various flashbacks to the characters previous lives already. What can these new books tell us that Watchmen already didn’t? Even if they’re good, they will only beg to be compared to the original classic. Much like having Khan in the new Trek, why invite these comparisons at all? Just to get the morbid curiousity money from the fans? Morbid curiousity money or not, I suppose it does spend the same in the end though, doesn’t it?