Marvel recently announced the cancellation of several core titles, including solo comics featuring Iceman, She-Hulk, Luke Cage, as well team books like The Defenders and the revamped Generation X. The continuous cycling through of titles has been problematic for fans, as the books are sometimes cancelled right when they’re getting good or changing course all of a sudden due to the latest superhero project. No doubt that this latest move is due partially to Disney purchasing the movie and television rights to several superheroes including the X-Men and Fantastic Four.
While cancelling comic book titles due to poor sales is nothing new, this latest round feels a bit premature for titles that have barely been running for a year. It’s understandable that Marvel would want to capitalize on whatever blockbuster they’re planning next, but where does that leave the fans who were Team Marvel long before Iron Man came out in 2008? Old and new fans should both be able to enjoy the further adventures of on-screen superheroes in print, without it feeling like it’s being forced down their throat. CBR takes a look at some of the characters Marvel should bring back to help bridge this gap, and a few that aren’t worth resuscitating.
The Canada-based superhero team Alpha Flight debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men in 1979 and quickly became an integral part of the Marvel Universe. Their own title would run from 1983 to 1994, with a revolving roster of (mostly) mutant heroes including Puck, Guardian and Snowbird. The team would go on to take part in several classic crossover storylines including Secret Wars and the Infinity War before the series’ end.
While Northstar has been seen as a member of the X-Men as recently as a few years ago, and a few former members have had cameos in Captain Marvel, the time seems right to bring these guys back together. It would help in establishing a more international universe for Marvel, not to mention the blink and miss it cameo in last year’s Deadpool that hints the team may appear in the cinematic universe down the road.
Deathlok is a Marvel superhero, originally appearing in 1974. He first appeared in Astonishing Tales, but subsequently joined a few teams including S.H.I.E.L.D., Secret Defenders and X-Force. At least three individual Marvel characters have used the “Deathlok” identity since then with all having the recurring theme that a dead human has been brought back to life with enhanced cybernetic technology.
While he has bounced around the Marvel Universe for decades, he’s never really fit in anywhere. Although (spoiler alert) the most recent Deathlok is Jemma Simmons, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., although she has yet to assume the title. The Deathlok technology was used to save her from an infection that was causing her DNA to decay. Ironically, a live action version of Deathlok appeared in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s inaugural season.
Professor Charles Xavier is founder and leader of the X-Men who has been part of the Marvel Universe for decades. He’s been portrayed in every medium the X-Men have ever touched and is basically considered the world’s leading expert on mutants. In addition to his telepathic powers, his leadership has gotten our favorite band of mutants through every apocalypse imaginable, both literally and figuratively.
Following his death at the hands of a Phoenix Force-possessed Cyclops a few years ago, the astral body of Professor X has recently popped up in the body of Fantomex in the pages of Astonishing X-Men, which isn’t exactly the same thing. We want the professor back in his body, back as the leader of the X-Men and getting back to being a beacon of hope and inspiration for all mutantkind (which has seriously been missing from the books for quite some time).
A spin-off of the original Avengers team, Avengers West Coast ran from 1989-1993. The original roster consisted of B-list characters like Wonder Man, Tigra and Mockingbird, but the team would eventually go on to include Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) and Iron Man before being disbanded for good. Some of the former members would come together yet again under the team name Force Works, who’s title ran for two more years.
This is simply a case of too much of a good thing can spoil it all. Avengers are at peak popularity right now between the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie and several existing solo titles. Bringing back this team would border on over-saturation at this point and probably wouldn’t be anymore successful this time around.
Introduced in 1961, Fantastic Four centered around four astronauts who get bombarded with cosmic rays while on a mission that then grants them superpowers. Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and the Thing form a dysfunctional, if not loyal, super team who earns the title of Marvel’s First Family. Fantastic Four would go on to have several animated and live-action iterations throughout the years, but their title was cancelled in 2015 after almost 60 years of publication.
Now that their copyrights have reverted back to Marvel, we fully expect the Fantastic Four to return at some point. Human Torch and Thing have been regularly seen working with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Inhumans, but it’s not the same without Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman. We’re hoping news of the Fantastic Four being reconstituted as the family super team we love in 2018.
Morbius, the Living Vampire, was originally envisioned as a dark antagonist of Spider-Man’s back in the early ’70s. However, he was later retconned to be a tragically flawed hero in his own series and other titles. He is a man suffering from vampiric abilities and physical traits resulting from a biochemical experiment, as opposed to gaining them via supernatural means.
Morbius frequently teamed up with Spider-Man and Ghost Rider in their adventures and is spontaneously seen throughout the Marvel Universe. He’s also popped up in several animated series and video games, but he hasn’t reached the levels of popularity to earn him a revival. Although bringing him back a few years earlier while the Twilight vampire craze was still going on, bringing him back now wouldn’t make any sense.
Originally perennial supporting characters who rarely starred in stories of their own, Colleen Wing and Misty Knight first appeared together in the pages of Iron Fist in the late ’70s. They were typically depicted as minor characters in the adventures of Iron Fist and Luke Cage, but gained popularity throughout the years. The two would go on to star in their own limited series in 2005/2006 and would later become part of the reformed Heroes for Hire team that came together after the first Civil War.
After spending decades of playing second fiddles, it’s time for these girls to have their turn in the spotlight. Fans and critics alike have raved about the characters’ depictions in Marvel’s Netflix shows, in some cases overshadowing the main character’s popularity (looking at you, Danny Rand). Now is the perfect time to bring back the Daughters of the Dragon.
One of the oldest Marvel heroes in history, with his first appearance way back in 1939 for Timely Comics, the predecessor to what we know and love now as Marvel Comics. Best known as the defender of the prehistoric-esque Savage Land, Ka-Zar frequently teamed up with the X-Men and Avengers, but never quite found an audience to keep a solo title going for long.
Essentially a Tarzan knock-off, Marvel can do so much better than this guy. There is a plethora of original characters that are ten times more interesting than Ka-Zar, although Marvel likes to root for an underdog. However, with a changing of the guard behind the scenes at Marvel, now probably isn’t the best time to place bets on such an old, lame and stale character.
The Young Avengers first appeared in a limited series format back in 2005, ending after 12 issues. However, the characters had become so popular, they were integrated into several major Marvel crossovers including “Civil War” and their own story, “The Children’s Crusade”. The title was relaunched in 2013 as part of the Marvel NOW! re-branding, but ended yet again after 12 issues.
Miss America and Kate Bishop have remained key players in the Marvel Universe since the end of the second run, however it’s time to bring everyone back together as the team of next generation heroes. The original runs won two GLAAD Media Awards and a Harvey Award for Best New Series, and Marvel could use that kind of clout right about now. This is one title we would be okay with bringing back in preparation for the team appearing in a soon-to-be live action format.
A genius idea at the time, Thunderbolts featured former members of the Masters of Evil assuming heroic personas in order to win over people’s trust, all the while plotting the demise of the human race. The roster would change throughout the years, with some characters choosing to be on the side of good for real and some reverting to their former villainous identities.
Although a great concept back in the late ’90s, bringing this team back would just feel like a cheap gimmick to capitalize on the recent controversy of Captain America turning out to be a sleeper agent of HYDRA. The Thunderbolts were never really a part of any major crossover in the Marvel Universe, although Songbird would eventually become a member of the Avengers and also appeared as a member in one the recent animated series. Keep the rest, but we wouldn’t mind seeing more of Songbird again.
Most moviegoers had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy before 2014 when Chris Pratt and company brought the modern team to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hardcore fans, though, know that this would be the second iteration of the Guardians, with the original team consisting of Vance Astro, Martinex, Yondu, Starhawk, Nikki, Aleta and Charlie-27; the title ran for five years starting in 1990.
Bringing back this title at a time when the movie version is doing so well would not only provide readers with a sense of nostalgia but will expand the universe in ways that haven’t been done for quite some time. One of the best parts of the original run was having the Guardians interact with individuals who had appeared and events that had happened in the present and seeing those ramifications down the road.
Remember in the good ‘ol days when most of the Inhumans stayed on the moon, except for Medusa and Crystal when they were members of the Fantastic Four or Avengers? Good times. Following the dismantling of most of the X-Men titles in retaliation of Fox having the film rights, Marvel proceeded to force the Inhumans down our throats as the new superhuman race that we needed to fall in love with. This completely backfired.
Let’s not even get started on the horrendous live action television show, but we will say Marvel should be ashamed of themselves for expecting people to pay money to see that pilot in IMAX theaters. If the Inhuman characters were that great to begin with, they would’ve become a lot more popular way before now.
Cloak and Dagger have been a part of the Marvel Universe since the early ’80s and have been a member of various groups including the X-Men and New Warriors. With Cloak’s ability to manipulate the Darkforce and Dagger’s ability to generate daggers of light, these two are the perfect blend of literal light and dark. Their origin story has been changed a few times, but one thing is for sure: these two heroes deserve to be back in the spotlight.
Cloak and Dagger have appeared as supporting characters in various crossover stories throughout the years. We all know Marvel has a diversity issue that they’ve been trying to work on, with varying degrees of success, so bringing this dynamic duo back now makes total sense. Plus, they’re getting their own live action television show on the Freeform network in 2018, so people will be wanting to know more about them.
The X-Men’s most classic arch-nemesis, Magneto has become an integral part of the Marvel Universe tapestry. At times playing hero (like now), but always reverting back to his villainous ways, we agree that Magneto is a serious threat. Let’s not forget his familial ties with some of our favorite heroes like Polaris, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
However, between the decades of having the character featured in pretty much every X-Men title, plus having the character consistently featured center stage in every X-Men movie since 2000, the character is way over-saturated. He will always be the X-Men’s #1 villain, but fans could use a break. Perhaps something similar to Jean Grey’s most recent death, and then waiting long enough so that their reappearance/resurrection feels more important and not just a cheap plot twist.
A-Force debuted in 2015 as part of the “Secret Wars” crossover storyline and featured pretty much every female Marvel superhero ever. Originally taking place in an alternate reality, a team consisting of She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Dazzler, Medusa and Nico Minoru reemerged in Marvel’s primary continuity. Despite high praise from critics and fans, the title was cancelled in late 2016 due to “poor sales.”
With the recent call for an all-female superhero team-up movie in the cinematic universe by actresses like Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie, Thor: Ragnarok) and Karen Gillan (Nebula, Guardians of the Galaxy) and backed by a legion of fans, now is the perfect time to bring this team back. This title would bring inspiration to female fans, just like Wonder Woman did, by showcasing some of the best superheroines Marvel has to offer in one book.