SDCC [Chapter III, Verse II.I]: Truly, A Day of Marvel-ous Mischief!

Hey, you know something, my good followers? The wonderful clergy at GodHatesGeeks could use a nice break every now and then.

Sure, the good lot of us went to San Diego just a couple weeks ago, which is just about a nice of a vacation spot you’ll get in the States. We got to do many things some people could only dream of doing (i.e. camping out 17 hours in line to see panels in Hall H; paying for overpriced exclusives we’ll never sell, or care about a year later; not getting into the major parties because our show isn’t on the CW, etc.). We got to be where every nerd in the world wishes they could have. Comic-Con was a lot of fun, a load of work, and we sure as hell can’t wait to do it all over again in about 349 days.

But, who’s counting?

All of us. Following 17 #SDCC2013-related articles and podcasts in 17 days — in addition to the fact it was your Monsignor’s birthday! (which was absurdly celebrated over 2 days and 2 nights) — it was a well-deserved break for the likes of this motley crew. Huge thanks to the newly adorned team of “Sister” Sherice’s Pieces, “The Reverend” Jose Rivera, Derek “Divine” Vigeant, “Minister” Gabe Carrasco, “Father” Tyler McPhail, Lance Paul “The Apostle”, and, our latest clergy member, Nicole “Naughty Angel” Brunner! Without you blessed peeps, GHG would’ve been no more than a chicken in a sling.

Father McPhail is reportedly camping already for Saturday evening’s Marvel panel at D23.

But, now, it’s time to declare a winner of our Geek Superbowl.

Through the countless coverage from hundreds upon hundreds of media sites in the past couple weeks, I’m sure you’ve all got your own picks from your cozy-ass couch at home. From the symbolic symbol of the World’s Finest to the sweeping deviance of Asgard’s greatest liar to the epic strength of an entirely massive mutant congregation, a Comic-Con “winner” might seem like a fairly simple discussion. Even so, there was a ton to enjoy on that fateful Hall H Movie Preview Saturday, and some shit that had geeks trucking down to the restroom faster than a speeding mullet.

Thus, I welcome you all to the first of three pieces covering just what hell happened in Hall H that day, who won the race between the Big 3 (sorry, Sony), and just what it meant for the rest of the industry.

So stand back and observe, you mewling quim!

MARVELOUS MANIPULATION

More fans at Comic-Con, including our very own congregation in a 6-1 vote, were more excited for next spring’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier than November’s Thor: The Dark World. I get it. Any kind of modern espionage tale involving a superhero (James “Bucky” Barnes) turned.. well.. turncoat (Winter Soldier) is sure to get the juices flowing more than, what one naysayer referred to as, “2-hours of ‘Hercules’ with Robots.” Nice joke, dude. But, I’m probably not alone — even though I was the lone vote — in saying I liked Thor better than any other Avengers-related movie that wasn’t The Avengers.

There’s got to be another two or three of you that agree with the Monsignor out there, right?

Right?

Even if you were more impressed by the S.H.I.E.L.D.-heavy footage of Winter Soldier over a Syfy episode of “Game of Thrones”, there’s no denying the fact that, during Marvel’s presentation of “Wave 2” at Hall H on that historical Saturday, the former was missing one thing over the latter: Loki.

If you missed Tom Hiddleston’s theatrical performance at Comic-Con, then I feel bad for you, son; the God of Thunder’s got 99 problems and the bro is (clearly) #1. Even though the God of Mischief couldn’t entirely keep a straight face during his sadistic sharade, his looming presence and perfectly manicured manipulation of 6600 dweebs — and just being plain-out “hot,” according to both of our Naughty Nuns — was enough to steal the epic 2-hours plus of Marvel movie content.

Making Thor: The Dark World even more of a must-watch is the fact Hiddleston just announced he won’t be reprising his role in the Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron.

OH, ABOUT THAT…

Age of What?!!? Witnessing all of the insane Hall H exposition that came beforehand from Disney competitors WB & FOX, there was no surprise Kevin Feige unleashed the goods on a much-anticipated sequel to The Avengers — which I think still stands as the greatest superhero movie ever.

The announcement of Avengers: Age of Ultron hasn’t come without its share of controversy, of course. The title Age of Ultron comes directly off the heels of a lukewarm-received comic event, “Age of Ultron”, written by Brian Michael Bendis. That, in addition to the news that Hank Pym a.k.a. Giant-Man a.k.a. Ant-Man would not be included in Ultron, which, to legions of True Believers worldwide, makes absolutely no fucking sense. If anything, Pym is the reason behind the creation of the adamantium-laced, world-conquering sentinel.

You! You, over there in the ape-green shallot! Quiver your lips with steed piss, for Nathan Fillion will never play Hank Pym. NEV-EH!

It does make sense, however, for director Joss Whedon to replace Pym with fellow brianiac Tony Stark, since Robert Downey Jr. is already a big star and, more importantly, just signed on for both Avengers sequels. Putting the blame on Stark for Ultron then gives Marvel reason to go forth for Civil War in Avengers 3, which could lead to an insanely compelling Iron Man vs. Captain America film! If that doesn’t already open up a big enough can of worms, the Winter Soldier himself, Sebastian Stan can then don the big red shield for Captain America 3 (with Evans’ Cap.. dead?!!).

Making even more — or even less — sense for Marvel Studios, is the fact Civil War scribe Mark Millar is now one of 20th Century Fox’s lead Marvel film consultants.

And every nerd’s dream is to eventually see the X-Men/Wolverine/X-Force clash and team-up with The Avengers (and, of course, Sony’s Spider-Man..).

I’m trying.

Seperated at Somatic cell nuclear transfer.

All wet nerdreams aside, I’d still like to see Pym included in A2, especially since Edgar Wright announced that his Ant-Man‘s protaganist will indeed be one of the Avengers forefathers. This also leads to another mind-melting argument since The World’s End director’s (apparently) more espionage-based, S.H.I.E.L.D.-focused Ant-Man would suit “Secret Avenger” Eric O’Grady far more than it would super-scientist Hank Pym.

Are you sure you’re not getting a Giant-Sized Head-Ache from taking all of this?

THE ODD COUPLE[S]

Going solely on footage alone, it’s hard to argue that the next Captain America film, The Winter Soldier, wasn’t the most impressive. The footage looked like a marriage of 70s Charles Bronson drama and modern Marvel sensibilities. Looks great, feels greater. Even more delightful is the fact both Anthony and Joe Russo know a shit-ton about Captain America comics. They were the first to welcome former Cap/Winter Soldier scribe Ed Brubaker on to the set for his input, and, through various interviews on the internet, seem like they’re about to marry the classic Captain America & The Falcon tales of old with the rivetting Brubaker material of new.

CLANG!

This should only make for a terrific transition from the historical/political/superhero drama that was The First Avenger. Even Cap himself, agrees. “[The uniform is] getting better every time I put it on,” says Evans as he contemplates the leading Avenger’s transition from “black and white” to a far more moral “gray” area.

“It’s hard to know who’s right and wrong, seeing how this [generation] is compromising civil liberties and privacy.”

Cap won’t be going at it alone either. While the original Cap flick had some of his Howling Commando buddies, and a lil’ bit of Bucky, moviegoers are bound to see a lot more teaming up in this one; some old faces, and some new.

“I’ve got wings and guns. That’s all you need, right? [Cap & I] are just handing out the business,” said an ultra-enthusiastic Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), who adorns a new high-tech uniform to play Cap’s new P.N.C., The Falcon. As you could tell by even that quote alone, the directors wanted a fresh take on Sam Wilson’s character. Mackie delivers a good mesh of the serious bad-ass-ness of old in addition to the new, perhaps even in-over-his-head, attitude (that many can even catch Sunday mornings in the new Disney XD toon “Avengers Assemble”).

Ain’t no way I’m wearin’ that red costume, Stevie!

Even more odd than that, is the teaming of Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Marvel diehards certainly know of, or at least remember, the often teneous, albeit loving relationship between Romanoff and Barnes. But not much, beyond some Secret Avengers missions, between Cap and the Widow. That was primarily Sharon Carter‘s place; or, you know, Emily VanCamp’s “Agent 13”.

Sure, Marvel. Whatever you say.

Despite not seeing much interaction between the two Avengers in Avengers, the panel promised that we’ll learn more about Ms. Romanoff in this film, which should only further break down the barriers of her spy wall. There’s no doubt this grittier espionage take the Russo’s are aiming for in Winter Soldier go picture-perfect with the Widow’s attributes. I’m just hoping it shoots off for more than a simple Russian double-cross.

While both Evans and Johansonn were explaining the dichotomy of their new team dynamic, an apparently arroused Hall H fan gave this new odd couple the whistle.

“Now, dichotomies are sexy,” goofed Evans.

You know, in case Robert signs on for a 3rd film.

MARVEL’S SPACE BALLS

When it comes to clowning around, no Marvel franchise should spew off more laughs than Guardians of the Galaxy.

Of the 3.1 Marvel Studios previews that Saturday, Feige’s latest baby came off the coolest, since this particular ragtag group of primarily alien/primarily selfish individuals — who come together for the galaxy’s greater good — feels oh so fresh and unclean.

Daring to be daring, Fiege and writer/director James Gunn (Super) went after actors who were both unconventional (former WWE champion Dave Bautista) and, thankfully, more than conventional (Zoe Saldana, Star Trek).

Drax the Destroyer and Gamora were joined at Comic-Con by “Parks & Rec’s” Chris Pratt (Peter “Starlord” Quill), “Doctor Who’s” Karen “Not to be confused with Marvel writer Keiron Gillen” Gillan (Nebula), Oscar-winner Benecio Del Toro (The Collector), The Hobbit‘s Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser), Blood Diamond‘s Djimon Hounsou (Korath), Michael “Dammit, let Merle go!” Rooker (Yondu), and, the absent from the convention, Stepbrother‘s John C. Reilly (Rhomann Dey).

Who Dey?

..that kid calls me “Dexter” one more time, I swear!

When you kick in that type of ensemble, in addition to the sadistic bridge between Guardians and The Avengers, Thanos — for whom both Pace and Hounsou will set up —  it’s not hard to see the reason for all of those Comic-Con roars.

For those who need to catch up to speed with the Guardians, suggested reading includes the most recent first 5 issues of “Guardians of the Galaxy” by Brian Michael Bendis (a far better read than “Age of Ultron”, I can promise), or, even more hardcore, the trades of Marvel sci-fi scribes Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (a.k.a. DnA): Vol. 1, Legacy; Vol. 2 & 3, War of Kings; and Vol. 4, Realm of Kings. These books are certifiable classics, shed some light on the Inhumans (who are more or less prone to make an appearance in at least Guardians 2), and are tales that began a lengthy stretch of amazing sister Sci-Fi Marvel titles, including that of Nova and The Thanos Imperitave — story elements we could see in the Marvel film, which were also written by DnA.

And, it seems entirely possible that through reading up on GOTG, gathering supreme confidence through director Gunn, or even “crying off 40 lbs.” (to get in shape for a roll that Pratt referred to as “living in space and making out with hot alien girls”), that this newly adorned franchise’s combination of rat-dry humor and intergalactic mayhem can open up the Marvel Universe to even more fans.

“If we were up against Captain America, or Thor, we’d totally kick his ass,” says fan-favorite actress Saldana who also clowned about her chameleon silver-screen experiences. “I’ve been blue once. Why not try green?”

Sinead O’Connor, looking demonstratively younger these days…

Fans might even be surprised with how much these more obscure superhero roles mean to this cast, to boot. “I just can’t friggin’ believe I got this job. [When I was cast] I broke down and cried like a little baby,” said real-life behemoth Bautista, who had to audition seven damn times for the roll — seeing how his film credits include little more than The Man with the Iron Fists and the forthcoming Riddick, with Vin Diesel.

Speaking of The Deez, maybe we’ll see the Fast & The Furious megastar as Thanos? Ultron? Even the Vision, perhaps? There was even word that a Vin Diesel to Marvel casting announcement would take place during the end of July — which never happened — but D23 is this coming weekend, after all…

On Saturday, whether it takes camping out in some horrifically hot Anaheim parking lots or not… I’ll just have to Make Mine Marvel.

Thor: The Dark World will sledge your brains November 8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier tears down theaters April 4, 2014. Guardians of the Galaxy beams us up August 1, 2014. Avengers: Age of Ultron takes over the industry May 1, 2015.

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