For geeks everywhere, we live in something of a Golden Age. Never have we had so much media designed specifically for us, be it blockbuster movies, Triple A games or major comic book events. There have never been so much superhero coming our way as there is right now, and all of this exciting content is coming out thick and fast over the next 12 months. There are seven superhero movies alone coming out before this time next year, and that’s not even counting the rest of 2018.
Let’s not forget the small screen though. As shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead have proven, there’s a huge market out there for genres previously considered nerdy and niche. You don’t need to love Zombies or “adult” Dungeons and Dragons to find something to love on television though, there are plenty of superhero shows coming out in the next year that threaten to steal the thunder of even the biggest blockbuster movies. Not to be outdone, the source of all of this media is upping its game. Both DC and Marvel are pushing their next big comic book initiatives, so we at CBR are listing 15 Superhero Things to get PUMPED about in the Next Year!
15. THOR: RAGNAROK
All things considered, it’s pretty unbelievable that a film like Thor: Ragnarok is being made. With its bold, retro aesthetic, obvious Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson influences and an entire subplot surrounding Hulk as a gladiator, ala “Planet Hulk,” this film feels less like reality and more like a superfan’s wish list. When you step outside of what we now accept as fact, and acknowledge the fact that the aesthetic of this movie is a direct result of the overwhelming success of a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, it’s even more amazing; comic readers from ten years ago would never believe you.
Thor: Ragnarok is indeed a reality and it’s a lot closer than you think. In just a few short months, we’ll be treated to a short-haired Odinson, a crazy-haired Jeff Goldblum and a glorious Cate Blanchett providing one of the most exciting MCU villain performances since, well, ever.
14. JUSTICE LEAGUE
If you thought that 2012’s Avengers movie was a long time coming, DC fans have had an even longer wait for Justice League. Granted, there haven’t been as many movies in the lead-up to this Superhero team-up spectacular, but with false starts going all the way back to 2011’s Green Lantern — not to mention the less than stellar reviews of both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — it felt at times that this day would never come.
Yet Justice League is nearly here, and despite reshoots under a different director (Zack Snyder had to step aside for personal reasons and Joss Whedon’s stepped in) and a decidedly lighter tone in later trailers (indicating a shift in approach later into the process than most movies), this still promises to be a major blockbuster event.
13. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
The culmination of 18 movies, 10 years and far too many heroes to count, Avengers: Infinity War feels like the ultimate comic book movie. What started life as the first of an epic two-part movie event, A: IW is being pushed as its own thing, albeit with close ties to its as-yet-untitled sequel. Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and more will be joining forces to save the universe against the seemingly insurmountable threat of Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.
Those lucky enough to see the early footage at San Diego Comic Con have praised the epic scope of the movie. Of course, with this many characters against this great of a threat, are you surprised? The hype is real, and it’s been building since at least Thanos’ cheeky smirk at the end of Avengers. There’s a lot this movie has to live up to.
12. MARVEL VS CAPCOM: INFINITE
If you’ve ever set foot in an arcade, chances are there was a cabinet with Marvel Vs Capcom there, probably surrounded by players and bystanders. It’s a fantastic, fast-paced, one of a kind franchise, and now that there’s a new entry in the series, people are getting nostalgic waves of excitement for the beloved beat-em-up.
There are at least 30 known playable characters in the game, with promise of more to come. Joining returning favorites like Hulk, Spider-Man, Firebrand and Ryu, will be characters all new to the franchise, like Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Mega Man X. In recent years, Marvel Versus Capcom has been a strong contender in the superhero beat-em-up subgenre, with NetherRealm and Warner Bros.’ Injustice series. Its fast-paced action and engaging story-line is definitely a strong contender for the crown, but time will tell if MvC:I can reign supreme.
11. DOOMSDAY CLOCK
When DC Comics relaunched its entire line in 2016, most fans were sceptical. After the comics publisher’s previous relaunch in 2011 was less than stellar, readers were doubtful that another full reboot was wise or necessary. All those doubts were seemingly laid to rest however, with the release of DC Universe Rebirth #1, an oversized issue that laid the groundwork for what was to come and made sure that fans would love it.
With a firm eye toward returning what was lost in the DCU, writer Geoff Johns forged ahead with his plans to recreate the shared comics landscape that everyone loved. There was one major twist however: the final page revealed the introduction of the Watchmen into modern continuity. Unexpected and frankly unbelievable, Doomsday Clock is the upcoming 12-issue series that sees Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach and more joining Batman and Superman on the page.
10. BLACK PANTHER
Most people thought that a Black Panther movie would never happen, not to mention that it would be treated with as much respect as the upcoming feature film seems to be getting. When we live in a world where Groot, Baron Zemo and The Vision have made it to the big screen, however, it shouldn’t be surprising that the King of Wakanda gets his moment to shine.
Introduced in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman wowed audiences with his bold and faithful interpretation, and King T’Challa’s upcoming solo venture looks to show us the world of Wakanda in a way it’s never been seen before. With a truly impressive line-up of stars that include Forest Whitaker, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett, Black Panther could be Marvel’s biggest movie so far, and it’s got a lot of fans very excited.
For the uninitiated, Runaways was a concept that started life in 2003 as an all-ages series created by Brian K Vaughan (of Saga and Y: The Last Man fame) and Adrian Alphona (Ms. Marvel). It centered around a group of kids who find out their parents are all part of a supervillain group called The Pride. The series became wildly popular in trade collections, sparking a new comic book starting in 2017, and now a TV show thanks to Marvel and Hulu.
The plot centers around the group of kids — all of whom have inherited their villainous parents’ superpowers — deciding to strike out on their own (hence the title) and become heroes. The series is the hotly anticipated rival for Netflix’s Marvel shows, but aimed at an audience more similar to the CW’s lineup of DC superhero shows. Any way you slice it, this is an exciting addition to Marvel’s TV slate.
8. NEW MUTANTS
A similar concept to Marvel’s Runaways, New Mutants is also about a group of superhero teens who form a team to try and make the world a better place. As the name suggests, however, these New Mutants are part of the X-Men movie universe, and thanks to 20th Century Fox, their story is coming to the big screen.
Created back in 1982 by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, the New Mutants were the younger generation of students at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Characters like Cannonball, Dani Moonstar, Wolfsbane and Sunspot aimed to join their elders, The X-Men, in the fight for mutant and human rights. The movie, directed by Josh Boone, will star Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) and Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams.
7. DEADPOOL 2
Has there been a funnier superhero movie than 2016’s Deadpool? Ryan Reynolds brought one of the most faithful and hilarious renditions of an X-Men character to the big screen and did it to spectacular acclaim, so it was only right that a sequel be green-lit. It was even teased in a post credits stinger of the first film, as Deadpool tantalized viewers with one promise: Cable.
Yes, Deadpool’s longtime mutant time-travelling companion will be joining the Merc With a Mouth when he returns to movie theaters in 2018, and fans could not be more excited. Cable will be played by Josh Brolin, who Marvel fans will recognize as the actor behind Thanos, the huge villain of Avengers: Infinity War. Domino is also in the mix (played by Zazie Beetz) as well as the return of Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).
6. SPIDER-MAN GAME
The web-swinging antics of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man have always suited the open-world aspect of modern gaming. The movie tie-in game Spider-Man 2 released back in 2004 is still highly regarded and considered one of the best superhero games ever made. Developer Insomniac therefore has some big shoes to fill with the release of its 2018 game, simply titled Spider-Man.
The 2017 E3 Games Expo showed off the first footage of the game and it looks very impressive. Rather than tie in directly to any of the current comics or films, the upcoming open-world game looks to be drawing its inspiration from the ones that came before it, but adding in more impressive acrobatic maneuvers and greater fighting styles. It centers around a more mature Peter Parker fresh out of college, and his villains look to include the sinister Mister Negative.
5. MARVEL: LEGACY #1
While they seem to be arguing that it’s anything but, Marvel’s upcoming “soft-relaunch” feels very much like their version of DC’s Rebirth initiative that started in 2016. Marvel is going in the opposite direction with its renumbering, however. The Mighty Thor, for example, goes from issue #22 in August, to issue #700 in September, rather than issue #1. Like DC Rebirth, however, Legacy all starts with a single, oversized issue.
Marvel: Legacy #1 reportedly begins at the dawn of the human race, and ends with a child’s prayer. Who that child is, or what they’re praying for, remains to be seen, but Marvel is hanging a lot on this issue. The initiative is definitely looking to regain the sense of fun and adventure that has been lost in all the superhero in-fighting of recent years, and with the promise of a “dramatic return,” there’s a lot to get pumped about.
4. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
A surprise hit upon its release in 2015, Marvel’s Ant-Man saw the loveable thief Scott Lang (played by the equally loveable Paul Rudd) don the incredible shrinking suit of his mentor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and fight against the misguided machinations of Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll).
Its inevitable sequel, entitled Ant-Man and The Wasp, sees Evangeline Lilly reprise her role as Hope Pym, but stepping up to be a shrinking superhero alongside Ant-Man as — you guessed it — The Wasp. Long-standing Marvel hero and founding Avenger Wasp has been missed from the cinematic universe, and it’ll be great to finally see her portrayed on the big screen. Joining the returning cast is Michelle Pfeiffer as original Wasp Janet Van Dyne, Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster (who comics fans may know as Black Goliath) and Randall Park as Jimmy Woo.
3. THE GIFTED
If you ask many X-Men fans, Marvel’s premier mutant superhero team has always been a concept better suited to television rather than movies. It could be due to the overwhelming cast of characters, which would get more space for growth in a serialized format, or it could be due to the long-running, interweaving soap opera nature of the most popular X-Men writer Chris Claremont that fans are familiar with. Either way, the announcement of The Gifted is music to our ears.
Created for Fox by Matt Nix, the mutant-centric series will be tangentially linked with the X-Men movies, which is good news for fans of shared universes, but does mean we’re unlikely to see the more famous mutants make their way onto the show. However, its grounded approach depicting characters trapped in a world that hates and fears mutants sounds fascinating and extremely promising.
2. THE PUNISHER
Let’s be honest: Frank Castle has had a rough time being translated into live action. Dolph Lundgren captured the late ‘80s Mike Baron Punisher comics pretty well, but the movie itself wasn’t great. Similarly, the 2004 Punisher and 2008 Punisher: War Zone were poorly received. It wasn’t until 2015 that the best live-action rendition of the character would enter our lives, and it came in the unlikeliest of places: season two of Netflix’s Daredevil show.
Already a far more faithful adaptation than anything of its kind that came before, the Daredevil show introduced John Bernthal as the war-weary Frank Castle, and his fantastic, moving performance all but guaranteed that Punisher would get his own show. The upcoming series promises to be just as dark, brutal, violent and complex as the character deserves, and it’s coming not a moment too soon.
1. CLOAK AND DAGGER
Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen, aka Cloak and Dagger, may seem like an unlikely choice for a television show. Created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan in 1982, the pair of street-level protagonists shared their appearances with Spider-Man or the New Mutants, before getting their own series a year later. Dagger has the power to harness light as a weapon, and Cloak has a link to the Darkforce Dimension, providing teleportation and intangibility among other things.
They’ve not had their own ongoing comic book series since the ‘80s, and their appearances since have been sporadic, but there’s no denying their almost cult fandom. You’ll always find a Cloak and Dagger cosplay at conventions, and their story — battling against street crime and organized gangs — would suit the small screen. Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph will be the stars, and Cloak and Dagger could be the surprising TV hit of the next year.
Which other superhero properties are you looking forward to in the coming year? Let us know in the comments!
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