Tag Archive: Fantastic Four


Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe took center stage with some big reveals at a Disney investor event this week.  The biggest news is a preview of Loki, which takes fan-favorite actor Tom Hiddleston’s beloved villain into more strange places, continuing the comic villainy that keeps fans coming back for more.  Along with Loki, Disney rolled out previews of the new Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the What if…? animated series, the casting of the lead for Ms. Marvel, and details on new series from Secret Wars to Ant-Man 3 and She-Hulk Plus new target release dates?  Check those out and the trailers below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

You still have a month before visual effects artist-turned director Dave Wilson’s Bloodshot movie arrives as the next cyborg superhero from Valiant Comics to hit the big screen.  But if you want to get a jump on your friends, there’s Bloodshot: The Official Movie Novelization, just released from Titan Books, a  great read for fans of all things borg.  Readers will be pulled inside the story of Ray Garrison, a slain special ops Marine, who is resurrected thanks to Dr. Emil Harting, a (mad?) scientist who is perfecting his use of nanotechnology and cybernetics to create an unstoppable squad of super-soldiers.  Written by Gavin Smith and based on the Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer screenplay, Bloodshot creates the next step in the evolution of cybernetic technology stories that began with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, mixing the rage of The Punisher with the impact on the human psyche and dehumanization of turning from man to cyborg, as we’ve seen in stories like RoboCop (who was inspired by Judge Dredd and Marvel’s Rom).

As for the comics in film, Bloodshot is poised to stack up neatly beside the lab-created Hulk, the merger of body and “something else” of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, the mission and science of Captain America, Wolverine, and Deadpool, the determination of Cable, and it’s a fitting follow-up to the half-man/half-monster movie, Venom.  That’s a lot of Marvel characters with similar struggles, and there are certainly more, characters with the same vintage of origin story–an unlikely or involuntary super-soldier–so how do you spin this key comics trope in a fresh, new way?  As Smith, Wadlow, and Heisserer have done it, you go back to the human condition, and look to what has come before.  Bloodshot isn’t from Marvel, but indie publisher Valiant, but it’s sourced in a common creative mindset.

Bloodshot reads much like Martin Caidin’s original story of the first modern cyborg in his novel Cyborg, about Steve Austin, the Bionic Man–the Six Million Dollar Man–a military hero brought to death’s door and back via science.  In many ways Bloodshot–the program that pulls in the story’s hero and becomes the name of his new persona–is an update to Cyborg–what you could imagine the Bionic Man reboot with Mark Wahlberg to be like.  And it pulls in good mind-twisting sci-fi elements evoking Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and Duncan Jones’ Source Code.

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Writer/artist Ed Piskor broke new ground with his epic history of the Marvel universe in a tiny package, with his Grand Design and Second Genesis trilogy series (reviewed here at borg only last year).  A complete throwback in style to comics of the 1930s through the 1970s, Piskor’s series included small, tightly crammed panels allowing for only minimal detail, lots of content per page, bright classic colors, and good ol’ fashioned newsprint pages (mmm… just smell that newsprint!).  But Piskor covered only one segment of the Marvel universe in his books:  The X-Men.  This week writer/artist Tom Scioli enters the picture with his own take on Marvel’s Grand Design series, focusing on the Fantastic Four in the new series Fantastic Four: Grand Design.

In Issue #1 Scioli takes readers through an origin story of the Fantastic Four: Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm, as they become Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Human Torch, and the Thing, all in a similar style to Piskor’s series.  As expected, readers can look for a lot of history in 45 pages, including meeting one of the Watchers, Doctor Doom, Black Panther, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Mole Man, the Hulk, the Celestials, the Inhumans, Galactus, Silver Surfer, and lots of other characters tucked into the corners.  Since the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I find it difficult to separate the comics from the movies, and every comic I read pulls me into the thought of how it might be adapted for the big screen.  If you haven’t been keeping up, along with the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and Namor all moved over to Disney’s MCU, and Scioli lays out one possible way the Fantastic Four could be introduced into the reel world dominated thus far by the Avengers.  Could the first Fantastic Four movie, or a Fantastic Four sub-series of films (like the Avengers) segue moviegoers into the missing pieces never before seen on the big screen like Namor, and pull in the above heroes and villains?  We’ll know in a few years.

 

Look for two covers by Scioli for the first issue of Fantastic Four: Grand Design, and one variant, a very cool homage to Frank Miller’s second issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns featuring the Thing in place of Batman, re-created by Ed Piskor (shown above with Miller’s original).  Want to have a look inside the first issue?  Here’s a preview of #1, and a sneak peek at Issue #2:

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Instead of what has been done at past panels at San Diego Comic-Con–having a panel for each or just a few major projects–Marvel Studios exec Kevin Feige was on-hand to get several announcements out the door and as many key cast members in and out of his single panel as possible.  For the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase IV, that means tying in Disney’s (pay) streaming service with the movies.  The big takeaway?  New logos are pretty much all there is so far to share, plus key casting and timing announcements.  And although the last Phase had some changes along the way, it looks as if these ten projects will round out the entirety of Marvel over the next few years.  The biggest frustration for fans of the X-Men and Fantastic Four is why nobody at Marvel has been getting a head start on these two massively popular teams of characters–money is definitely going to be left on the table for the duration of Phase IV by pushing out these projects.  Why aren’t these Priority #1 with someone at Disney in light of the long lead-time the corporation had for the Fox acquisition?

The new time table is straightforward: Black Widow movie (May 1, 2020), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV series (Fall 2020), Eternals movie (November 6, 2020), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings movie (February 12, 2021), WandaVision TV series (Spring 2021), Loki TV series (Spring 2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness movie (May 7, 2021), What If…? animated series (Summer 2021), Hawkeye TV series (Fall 2021), and Thor: Love and Thunder movie (November 5, 2021).  The most eagerly awaited film after this year’s Avengers: Endgame was the hinted-at Guardians of the Galaxy/Thor or Asgardians of the Galaxy team-up movie, but Marvel still has not confirmed that project, unless it’s tied into the 2021 film.  Also relegated to “in development” status: Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and the next Tom Holland Spider-Man movie (Spider-Man is Iron Man’s replacement, right?).  Silence seems to confirm the death of the Marvel Netflix universe of Luke Cage, The Punisher, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, and maybe even Disney+ projects Runaways, Ghost Rider, and Helstrom.  FX’s Legion was already announced as canceled, and we lost track of how many times The New Mutants movie has been pushed back.  Even bigger unknowns are the next Ant-Man and The Wasp, which had Hank Pym actor Michael Douglas already discussing it as a prequel, and if anyone is thinking about Prince Namor the Submariner, nobody is talking.  It begs the question:  Does Disney have too much to handle now?

As a beginning Disney’s Marvel side seems to be taking a lead from its Star Wars division, with its offerings targeting a mix of fans old, new, and in-between.  For the fans of the MCU so far you have plenty, a Black Widow (presumably prequel) and Thor movie as bookends for Phase IV, and TV series to keep alive Falcon, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Loki, Doctor Strange, and Hawkeye.  For new audiences (and possibly much older comic book readers) there is Shang-Chi and the Eternals to get to know, along with the announcement that Luke Cage’s Mahershala Ali will be playing Blade in a reboot movie at the beginning of Phase V, the vampire hunter who, like Spider-Man, has already seen an entire series of movies outside of the MCU.

The details are an eclectic mix of things you might want, things you didn’t know you want, and things you won’t know what to make of:

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Today writer Dan Slott and artist Sara Pichelli are bringing back the title Fantastic Four to Marvel Comics with a re-launch beginning with part one of a new Issue #1 story, “Fourever,” arriving at comic book stores today.  Marvel Comics sidelined the team of Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm, and Johnny Storm since the end of its Secret Wars series.  Now fans of the team and “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” will find out what they’ve been doing since then.  We’ve gathered the dozens of cover options available for this issue, shown below.

As Marvel states in its marketing materials for the new series:

A void no other team can fill.  And it’s time for the world to move on.  But can it?  A life-changing decision by the Thing!  A momentous declaration by the Human Torch!  A clarion call-to-arms that summons Doctor Doom!  And a signal in the sky that heralds the return of hope to the Marvel Universe!  All this, and Alicia Masters adopts kittens!  So cute!  Plus, the Impossible Man!

Marvel has amped up its cover artists yet again for the variant covers for this latest of several recent renumberings of main titles.   So you’ll find covers from Alex Ross, Artgerm, Art Adams, Adam Hughes, Steve Epting, Sara Pichelli, Esad Ribic, George Perez, Mark Brooks, Skottie Young, Simone Bianchi, Joe Quesada, Eric Powell, Humberto Ramos, Nick Bradshaw, Mike Wieringo, Jack Kirby, John Cassaday, Emanuela Lupacchino, Walt Simonson, Rob Liefeld, Jen Bartel, Will Sliney, Mike Mayhew, Bill Sienkiewicz, and many more–more than 55 including virgin art and blank covers, most new, some pulled from archives of artists of the past, plus some homages to comic book covers from the past.

  

Bonus stories will be included in the issue by Simone Bianchi and Skottie Young.  New Fantastic Four pins and backerboards will also available at some comic book stores today.

Take a look at all these covers we spotted:

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We had a first look at Chadwick Boseman in the role of T’Challa, the ruler of the kingdom of Wakanda whose alter ego is the Black Panther, in last year’s great superhero mash-up Captain America: Civil War, and a teaser trailer back in June.  Next year Marvel Studios is giving Boseman his own solo movie in the big screen release of Black Panther, based on the comic book superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the pages of Fantastic Four.  The latest preview of the film arrived today.

T’Challa must defend his kingdom from being torn apart by enemies outside and within.  Boseman, who portrayed both Jackie Robinson in the 2013 biopic 42 (reviewed here) and Thurgood Marshall in last week’s release of Marshall (reviewed here), brings along an impressive supporting cast.  Adonis himself, Creed star Michael B. Jordan will play Erik Killmonger, Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars Lupita Nyong’o is Nakia, and Andy Serkis is Klaw, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Forest Whitaker is Zuri, The Hobbit and Sherlock’s Martin Freeman is Everett K. Ross, and Green Lantern’s Doctor Waller, Angela Bassett is Ramonda.

Creed’s Ryan Coogler directs the film with Creed’s Hannah Beachler providing some impressive production design work and Ruth E. Carter (Marshall, Selma) created some incredible new costume designs for this new Marvel world.

Here is the latest trailer for Black Panther:

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new Fantastic Four

With 20th Century Fox’s own Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse previews released this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, the studio will be hard-pressed to gin up significant support for its efforts to reboot the Fantastic Four brand with next month’s release of the third film to feature the classic Marvel team.  But the studio at least has put the final trailer for the movie into the fans of the masses with this release, after giving an early look to panel attendees at Comic-Con.

The new team of “kids” as the preview calls them also will be up against the buzz generated this weekend for other 2015 and 2016 films, including superhero flicks Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad.

Check out this new trailer for Fantastic Four:

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Batman v Superman

When it rains, it pours.

It’s was a heckuva weekend for movie fans.  First a new trailer dropped for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (we revealed it at borg.com here).  Then three more:  A second Fantastic Four trailer, the first full-length Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, and today, yet another Jurassic World trailer.

But see if you agree:  Not one of these three new previews really compares to the excitement of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, or the time-bending fun of Arnold returning in Terminator: Genisys (shown here).

Zack Snyder, who we’d had hopes for after his unusual but interesting interpretation of the Watchmen graphic novel for the big screen, is just auguring in the DC Comics cinematic universe after the dismal Men of Steel and now this preview for an equally grim Batman and Superman.  Thankfully the best superheroes can be found not on the big screen but every single week with DC Entertainment’s superb TV productions: Arrow, The Flash, and Gotham.  

Dr Doom new Fantastic Four 2015

Try on for size this first full-length trailer for Batman v Superman and see if you wouldn’t rather watch Brandon Routh as The Atom fighting some bad guys in Central City with Grant Gustin’s The Flash:

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Paul Bettany Vision

Marvel Studios must have felt like Santa Claus yesterday.

Yesterday Marvel previewed four costumes for characters being pulled from the comic book page to the TV and film: from the superhero side Fantastic Four’s Thing and Netflix’s Daredevil, and from the villainy camp Ant-Man’s Yellowjacket and The Avengers: Age of Ultron’s Vision.

Today Netflix releases its entire first season of Daredevil for convenient binge-watching.  Lawyer Matt Murdoch (played by Charlie Cox) has a new red suit.

Daredevil costume

Marvel revealed both the new Thing from Fantastic Four played by Jamie Bell and Paul Bettany’s Vision (above, top).  Of all the reveals we’re thinking the cybernetic Vision is pretty striking.

Corey Stoll will play Ant-Man’s nemesis Yellowjacket in Marvel’s Ant-Man opposite Paul Rudd.

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Fantastic Four 2015 poster

Some trailers instantly reel-in moviegoers, even if they are the shorter “teaser” versions of movie previews.  One you won’t find on the list of best trailers or teasers is the first released for the reboot of super-team Fantastic Four in The Fantastic Four, just released.  Like the not-so-amazing and unnecessary reboot of the Spider-man movie franchise, here again Marvel Studios is re-launching another one of their classic superhero titles.  As moviegoers, and fans of the superhero genre in particular, why are we supposed to care about this new version?

Clearly this next film is another origin story.  Yawn.  We already saw the origin story of the team in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie starring the superb British actor Ioan Gruffudd as a perfect Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, with Michael Chiklis as comic-book-character-come-to-life Ben Grimm/The Thing, Jessica Alba as a great Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, and Chris Evans as a brilliant Johnny Storm/Human Torch.  In fact the Human Torch and The Thing should be on everyone’s top list of comic book characters realized on the big screen.  So why do it all over again ten years later?

If you’re going to take hundreds of millions of dollars to do something again, to please fans you need to make the new entry exponentially better.  Not just a little better, and not just with bigger effects, or a younger cast.  Otherwise fans of the series aren’t going to play along, or if they do, it is with full knowledge the studio is only squeezing as much revenue out of the franchise as they can regardless of whether there is anything redeeming about the new version.  This isn’t to say the new movie might be good, a lot of fun, or even great.  But it’s the studio’s job to sell us on it.  That’s what trailers are for.  They’re like book covers.  This teaser gives us nothing to get excited about.  It might as well be the trailer for Hulk or Iron Man 2.

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