Hated & Feared: An X-Men Fan-Cast (pt. 2)

Be sure to read the first part to get acquainted with our team of heroes!

THE BROTHERHOOD

Same as the Silver Age comics, Magneto’s Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants will provide the primary mutant antagonists of the first season. Though our fledgling superhero team will definitely square off against their less-virtuous counterparts before the season is through, I see the Brotherhood less as a direct presence and more as an ever-present threat – headlines and news stories. This iteration of Magneto is as much a boogeyman as Osama Bin Laden used to be, or how ISIL is today, fueling a paranoia and fear toward mutants that Xavier hopes to counter with his own team. This dynamic would allow this take on the X-Men to be much more overtly superheroic than previous cinematic versions (who aren’t really acting as heroes so much as they are acting out of their own self-interest).

Til Schweiger as Magneto.

Schweiger is best known to North American audiences as Hugo Stiglitz in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, as well as a few non-descript roles as stock German villains in action movies. In his home country of Germany, however, Schweiger is as famous as Brad Pitt, recognized as an actor-director-producer with an incredible range. The first season would cast Magneto as very much the terrorist, and Schweiger has the hard edges and intensity to sell it, but as the series progresses, of course, Magneto is revealed to be a much more complicated, morally ambiguous character with plenty of pathos, giving Schweiger the opportunity to show North American audiences why he’s such a big deal in Germany.

Frederik Johansen as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver.

I think it’s really telling that the Brotherhood is mostly comprised of immigrants while the X-Men are All-American. I would like to play with that notion, showing mutants as refugees, perhaps persecuted in their own countries, but left marginalized all the same in the US. Quicksilver, I think, is a classic radical – young and undoubtedly wronged, he is angry and leaps too quickly to the worst conclusions about mankind. Danish actor Frederik Johansen (A Royal Affair) could convey this marvelously, and has the lean build to make a convincing speedster. Continue reading

After the Apocalypse: An X-Men Fan-Cast (pt. 1)

X-Men: Apocalypse releases in North American theaters in mere days. One might think since I profess the X-Men to be some of my favorite characters in comics, that I would be pretty excited about this. While I will almost definitely go see it, this latest X-movie is failing to inspire the same eager anticipation as Captain America: Civil War, but neither does it provoke the same horrified curiosity as Batman v. Superman. All the X-films are satisfying enough, delivering big superhero action, the requisite angst, and plenty philosophical posturing. When the first film arrived in 2000, it had novelty on its side – superheroes were not yet crowding movie screens, and as a comics fan, it was exciting to see these characters realized in live-action, even if the film was decidedly workmanlike. Subsequent installments variously improved upon the first and bafflingly mishandled the source material, and now, sixteen years since the franchise launched, a new X-Men movie is pretty much routine.

As someone who loves the X-Men comics, no matter how effective a blockbuster the new movie might be, I always feel a twinge of sadness with the release of each film, as every new entry takes the story and the characters further away from their comic book counterparts. The problem, really, is that this franchise is built upon a sorely dated sixteen-year-old movie that wanted to be taken seriously as an action film, and took pains to shed most of its comic book-ish trappings to achieve that. There is something decidedly old-fashioned about Bryan Singer’s filmmaking and storytelling, prompting Jay Edidin (of the Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men podcast) to observe in their review of the new movie, “in 2016, [Bryan Singer]’s still making the best superhero movies of 2002.”

At this point, the franchise really deserves a complete overhaul, starting again from scratch. The mere thought of a brand new cinematic interpretation of the X-Men ignites greater enthusiasm than any trailer for Apocalypse could muster. What, though, would I like this all new, all different X-Men franchise to look like? Thus, not content to let Elle Collins at Comics Alliance have all the fun, I thought I would throw a Cast Party of my own. Continue reading

Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 3)

Be sure to read parts one and two of my Rebirth Fantasy Draft picks!

HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS

Written by Ray Fawkes, with art by Sebastian Fiumara & Kristian Donaldson, and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr.

The title of this book makes me think that, of the two Green Lantern series, this one will lean more heavily into the “police-procedural-in-space” premise. Ray Fawkes has some experience putting a weird twist upon the police procedural in his sadly short-lived run on Gotham By Midnight, and I think blasting Mr. Fawkes up into space would give him a great opportunity to show his DC readers what fans of his independent work have known for awhile: the mind of Ray Fawkes is a big, strange and (at times) scary place. Thus, I can think of no one better to steer a cosmic police force whose powers are fueled by their imaginations. To visualize this, I have chosen two experienced purveyors of the strange: Sebastian Fiumara (Abe Sapien) and Kristian Donaldson (The Massive), both of whom excel at making the otherworldly convincing.

BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY

Written by Becky Cloonan, with art by Claire Roe and colors by Jordie Bellaire.

tumblr_o2k6cmu7Yh1rh1x59o1_1280

Art by Claire Roe.

DC readers only familiar with Becky Cloonan as Gotham Academy’s co-writer might be surprised to learn that few comics creators are quite as metal as she is. Her stunning self-published comics, her Image series Southern Cross (with Andy Belanger), and her extensive list of art credits on books like Conan the Barbarian and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys paint a picture of Cloonan as one of comics best badasses. Heck, she practically deserves to be one of the Birds of Prey herself, but instead, I’d just be happy to see her write the comic. The task of providing the stylish visuals to this girl gang comic falls to Claire Roe, whose work is comparably badass. Plus, few artists are as skilled in drawing a variety of body types, a skill which is an absolute must when drawing an all-ladies team (sorry, fanboys, the whole team can’t be built like supermodels). Seriously, though: Claire Roe is great. Continue reading

Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 2)

Be sure to read part one of my Rebirth Fantasy Draft picks!

GREEN LANTERNS

Written by Tom King, with art by Barnaby Bagenda & Bernard Chang and color by Romulo Fajardo Jr.

I love The Omega Men. It is the closest thing to a Green Lantern title that I’ve found interesting, and I really think DC would be wise to entrust The Omega Men team of Tom King, Barnaby Bagenda and Romulo Fajardo Jr. (with an able assist from current Batman Beyond artist Bernard Chang to keep up with the double-shipping) to tackle a book featuring a diverse team of lesser-known Green Lanterns. Guaranteed, it would be the most interesting, most visually spectacular, and most thought-provoking Green Lantern book that DC has ever published.

BATGIRL

Written by Noelle Stevenson, with art by Irene Koh and colors by Serge Lapointe.

08

Art by Irene Koh

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s take on Batgirl was a runaway success, well-loved by many, and provided much of the impetus for the DC You initiative. While Rebirth does mark a bit of a backtrack from DC You, I still think they’d be silly to take Batgirl herself in a decidedly different direction. Irene Koh is no stranger to Batgirl, having provided the art to the Secret Origins issue about her, and her anime-tinged artwork is a little more grounded than Babs Tarr’s more overtly cartoonish stylings, but it would nevertheless be an easy transition. Noelle Stevenson, on the other hand, is new to the character, but she has demonstrated both in Nimona and in Lumberjanes that she can write stories which comfortably juggle smarts and sass with kicking ass. Continue reading

Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 1)

This coming weekend is a big one for DC Comics: not only does Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice pummel its way into movie theatres this Friday, but the same day will see the publisher unveil the creative teams which will be steering their Rebirth titles. Despite my severe reservations regarding Rebirth, I am an optimist by nature. There is a lot of information still forthcoming regarding the shape of DC’s universe this June, but the key piece of information which will determine my pull list going forward will be what creative teams are working on which books. To counter the pessimism of my previous Rebirth editorial, I thought I would indulge in some sheer geekery and select my fantasy draft picks, so to speak, and assign my choices of writers and artists to the announced Rebirth books. This is a wish list; it has little to no basis in fact, other than I’ve largely confined myself to writers and artists who have a working relationship with DC Comics. As well, because of the twice monthly shipping schedule on most of these titles, I’ve chosen two artists for each book, because it’s inevitable that these books will require a couple of artists to stay on top of the deadlines. Neither are these predictions; it would be really damn cool if Rebirth ends up looking anything like this, but I really don’t expect that it will.

AQUAMAN

Written and pencilled by Gail Simone, with art by Lee Garbett & Stephanie Hans and color by Serge Lapointe.

I would love to see a take on the King of Atlantis which plays up his “epic fantasy” aspects, and I can think of few better qualified for the job than Red Sonja writer Gail Simone. On art, I’m pillaging DC’s Vertigo roster, pulling Lee Garbett and Stephanie Hans from their current work on Lucifer. Both are superb artists, and as their work on some of Marvel’s Asgard-centric titles demonstrates, they are adept at strikingly realizing a fantasy setting. Continue reading