Let me start by saying, “I was wrong.” I didn’t think Marvel could or would do it, but Avengers 3 has become ‘Avengers: Infinity War Part I’ in May 4th, 2018 with ‘Part II’ following on May 3, 2019.
I (we as the internet) was also right… Steve Rogers’ next adventure, shared with Tony Stark, will be titled ‘Captain America: Civil War.’
That’s just the tip of the iceberg as we now have titles for all those dates Marvel blocked off at Comic Con this year, including ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Dr. Strange,’ ‘Captain Marvel,’ and ‘The Inhumans,’ as well as ‘Thor 3’s telling subtitle. Official logos too!
Without further ado, here’s Marvel’s ‘Phase 3’ slate; all the titles we will see before ‘The Avengers: Infinity War Part II’ in 2019.
Though slated after ‘Age of Ultron,’ Marvel Studios is calling ‘Ant-Man’ the last film in their ‘Phase 2.’
Perhaps this is because it all ties back to ‘Age of Ultron’ and the planned TV show ‘Agent Carter;’ the latter about the adventures of Steve Rogers’ 40’s fling, Agent Peggy Carter. You know, his lady to whom he promised that dance before nosediving into the arctic.
Ant-Man has John Slattery back as as older Howard Stark, reprising his role as Tony’s father from the archive footage in ‘Iron Man 2.’
So, ‘Ant-Man’ does seem to have ties to the past involving a still living Howard Stark with a younger Hank Pym, creator of Ant-Man (and Ultron in the comics…)
‘Ant-Man’ stars Michael Douglas as inventor Hank Pym with Paul Rudd playing his protege Scott Lang. Evangeline Lilly plays eventual ‘Wasp’ Hop Van Dyne, while Corey Stoll plays the antagonist, Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket.
Official synopsis from IMDB:
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
With Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark joining Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers for ‘Civil War’ has the makings of the biggest non-‘Avengers’ titles, seeing as how it features Marvel’s two most popular characters this side of the galaxy.
We don’t know all the other players, but the film will be used to introduce…
Like ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’ is a given for Marvel Studios, not a newbie with risks like ‘Ant-Man,’ Dr. Strange,’ and ‘Black Panther.’ If Marvel has it’s way, they will somehow spin these lesser-known characters into the cinematic gold they mined out of the completely unheard of Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax, and Gamora.
No way this film continues ‘Civil War.’ No way the Guardians defeat Thanos (though he may make his first major appearance in ‘Guardians 2’ or ‘Captain Marvel;’ the 2nd film we will discuss in a bit). The Guardians have other shit to deal with, like who is Peter Quill’s father? (Darth Vader?)
‘Infinity War’ will finally have Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet at the center of the Avengers 3rd adventure.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ – July 28th, 2017
Loki returns! After all, eventually Thor needs to pull Loki off the throne of Asgard to set things right on his home-world.
Though there is a character in the Marvel Universe named ‘Ragnarok,’ the title likely refers to Norse Mythology
Ragnarökis a series of future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures including Odin, Thor, and Loki. ‘Thor 3’ will likely be a giant battle between the two brothers resulting in near-apocalypse at Asgard and perhaps around the nine-realms.
Black Panther – November 3rd 2017
Though he will be introduced in ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ Marvel is giving the Prince of Wakanda his own solo feature. Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in ’42’ and James Brown in ‘Get On Up,’ stars as the title character, who rules a fictional African nation rich in Vibranium, the invincible metal that makes up Captain America’s shield.
The final battle begins! Thanos will have his Infinity Gauntlet, made up of the four Infinity Gems we’ve seen thus far (Loki’s mind gem, the aether, the tesseract, and “The Orb” from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’) and the two that Mavel Studios needs to introduce in Phase 3.
How it all plays out is a mystery, but once the Mad Titan Thanos gets his hands on all 6 Infinity Gems, it’s going to take more than the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy to defeat him.
Finally, that mid-credit sequence introducing Thanos at the end of ‘The Avengers’will be paid off! In full!
‘Captain Marvel’ – July 6th 2018
Carol Danvers is set to be our version of Captain Marvel (there have been male versions as well, but Danvers is the most recent Captain Marvel in the comics), the only female Marvel character to lead her own movie.
DC will beat Marvel to the punch by a year with their ‘Wonder Woman’ movie in 2017.
Captain Marvel is space-bound; a closer part of the larger Galaxy-spanning Marvel Universe to The Guardians and Thanos, than the Avengers. Between ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘The Inhumans’ who are next up, it looks like Marvel Studios is building a bigger team than just the Guardians of the Galaxy from across the universe that will help the Avengers in their fight after their assumed failure in Part 1 of ‘Infinity Wars.’
Inhumans – November 2nd, 2018
Like the Guardians, Avengers, and The Defenders (who are getting their solo-series on Netflix followed by a ‘Defenders’ show, also on Netflix), the Inhumans are another fascinating group of heroes. They have ties to alien mythology and the part of the universe that is home to the Guardians and Captain Marvel.
It looks like Marvel is building a team of non-Earthlings between their ‘Infinity War’ movies to provide back-up to the Avengers who know little of Thanos compared to the Guardians, Captain Marvel, and the Inhumans.
These two films following ‘Infinity Wars, Part I’ set a new precedent for Marvel, three movies in one year (2018) as opposed to the usual two!
‘Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2’ – May 3rd, 2019
Everything comes to a head. Technically, you can trace this storyline back to the discovery of the Tesseract, but really, we’ve all been waiting for the arrivial of Thanos since we saw his smirking face at the end of ‘Avengers.’
It’s the payoff of 2o movies and 10 years. A final, climatic film with all players fighting the most powerful enemy introduced in the MCU (the comics have greater threats than Thanos; threats he has had to step in and help stop himself).
Rest assured, Disney & Marvel won’t let the MCU die there, but this round of Avengers movies will be over, with newer characters like Dr. Strange and Black Panther carrying the weight once actors like RDJ, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans are done with the super-franchise.
What About Hulk, Black Widow, and Loki?
All three characters have become fan favorites as a result of ‘The Avengers,’ yet none will see their own film in Phase 3.
Though Hulk really shined in ‘Avengers,’ he’s had two flop solo-pictures between Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’ and the MCU’s ‘Incredible Hulk.’ But we’ll still see him, not only in ‘Avengers’ movies but also some solo movies as well. ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ perhaps?
Said Marvel Movie Mastermind Paul Feige:
“I wouldn’t say Hulk is absent from the timeline. I would say that Hulk is going to appear in many of those movies – particularly all of those Avengersmovies leading up to 2019. And Infinity War, Mark Ruffalo is on board for all those films, and we’re excited to bring him to all those films.”
As for Loki, it sounds like he’ll have his biggest role yet in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ which should please fans to end.
And for Black Widow… apparently Marvel Studios is more concerned with introducing new characters played by new actors who will work for cheap. It’s a lot cheaper to hire an actor to play ‘Captain Marvel’ than to pay Scarlett Johansson to continue her popular established Avenger into a solo move.
So, that’s Marvel’s plan for the next five years. I will be in my thirties by the time I see the end of Phase 3.
So, I’ve decided to write a (perhaps) weekly column on all the Marvel NOW! comics I read each week because…
a) A second opinion never hurts.
b) I subscribe to a great deal of the Marvel NOW! titles, with some exceptions including X-MEN titles and FANTASTIC FOUR.
c) Did I mention I’m really into Marvel NOW!?
d) I’m not caught up on my IDW, DC, and non-Marvel NOW! Marvel titles.
While Media Monster simply picks his favorite titles each month, I’ll give you a run down of what happens each issue, following it up with a mini-review of my own. Like with my previous Marvel NOW! post, I will only be discussing titles that got rebooted along with Marvel NOW! Anything started prior to that, like AVENGING SPIDER-MAN, HAWKEYE, or AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, or any books in the Ultimate Universe like SPIDER-MAN starring Miles Morales, will not be discussed.
AVENGERS #5: SUPERGUARDIAN
Previously: AVENGERS is really confusing right NOW! (See what I did there?)
Following the first three-issue arc involving a creative/destructive force on Mars, Issue #4 focused a little on the aftermath; both villains and heroes racing to either quarantine or benefit from sectors of Earth hit with the evolution spawning virus from Mars. Hyperion was introduced, yet this week’s issue seems to relate little to the four that came before.
Synopsis: Like Issue #4, this issue focuses on the origin of a hero. Izzy finds a pair of glasses in a corn field in Iowa. Putting them on, she becomes a Smasher, the first human Subguardian in the history of the planet Chandilar. The story jumps around from Izzy’s first journey to Chandilar to the present where she has rallied the Avengers to help defend the planet.
Of course, the Avengers are successful and the planet is saved. Afterward, we learn (via flashback) that after she received her gift, Izzy was given an Avengers card by her grandfather who served with Captain America in his youth. Izzy is promoted to Superguardian, again, the first Earthling to ever achieve this rank. Meanwhile, the other Superguardians have come to a startling conclusion; the force they fought back was not attacking their planet, rather it was fleeing something far more terrifying and powerful.
Judgement: While AVENGERS issues 1-3 were fairly straightforward in their storytelling, issues 4 & 5 seem unnecessarily complex, almost like the writer is simply trying to imitate unconventional storytellers like Christopher Nolan or Quentin Tarantino. I don’t like how the previous storyline was all but dropped for the issue, with the exception of a nearly pointless page on which Tony Stark interacts with Blackveil, the next evolution of man whom was a result of the incident on Mars.
AVENGERS seems to be building up to something much bigger, setting up characters like Hyperion and Superguardian Smasher Izzy, but until the fruits of Marvel NOW!’s labor are evident, I label this book my least favorite out of the titles I currently read from Marvel NOW!
Rating – DON’T READ.
THE FEARLESS DEFENDERS #1
Synopsis: The era of a brand new Defenders team has begun. Though recently rebooted in 2012 with Dr. Strange, Red She-Hulk, Namor, Silver Surfer, and Iron Fist, NOW! brings a brand new version with completely different characters, starting with Valkyrie and Misty Knight.
The action starts with Misty Knight rescuing relics that belong in a museum, Indiana Jones style (her employer Dr. Annabelle Riggs “grew up watching a lot of Indiana Jones”) from a heavily guarded ship. She’s not the only one after ancient treasures, as the ship is destroyed by an attack helicopter, but not before she escapes with a miniature statue. The helicopter baddies are able to salvage an ancient skeleton, one which will somehow bring about a massacre.
Back at the White Mountain National Forest, Annabelle Riggs (she watches Indiana Jones and shares a last name with my favorite buddy cop, I may be in love…) examines the statue at an Asgardian burial site, accidentally activating a song that awakens all the dead vikings. Misty Knight does her best to fight off the hoard but is only successful once Valkyrie arrives to help. Following their battle, Valkyrie leaves to consult the all-mother, with Misty Knight and Riggs tagging along.
Judgement: I’ve never heard of any of these characters, but so far I dig the book. Valkyrie is basically a female version of Thor; officially a Shieldmaiden, “gatherer of fallen warriors.” Misty Knight is a ninja with a bionic arm called Satan Claw, a “Stark Industries Cybernetic Replica.” And Dr. Annabelle Riggs is a lesbian, making out with Valkyrie after she is saved… so maybe she is not the girl for me after all. 😦
The action is solid, the characters interesting, and a threat looms large as the corpse secured by the villains is causing the Doommaidens to rise, which Valkyrie admits is her fault.
We’ll see where the book goes in coming months, who else joins the team, but for now my curiosity is peaked, even if I’m not one with a history for “girl power.”
Rating – MAYBE READ…
IRON MAN # 6 : THE GODKILLER 1 of 3
Previously: Iron Man retrieved all five missing Extremis kits, creating new foes along the way. Seeing what types of enhancements the kits resulted in, Tony Stark decided to push himself farther, designing a suit for deep space travel. So Stark set out on his intergalactic adventure, all set with a new A.I. called P.E.P.P.E.R., with all the personality traits of Stark Industries CEO Pepper Potts.
Synopsis: After defending the Voldi Tear in deep space from a “predatory mechanoid pirate fleet” Tony flirts with a purple-skinned alien at the Voldi Citadel of Rapture. The two decide to retreat to her room, as it is Tony’s birthday, after all. Upon removing his armor, miss Purple-Skin vomits; facial hair is apparently a disgusting taboo in this sector.
Booted out before he even has a chance to shave, Stark is quickly arrested by the authorities for Deicide. Labeled the Godkiller, Stark is being held for killing the Void Falcon… or as we know it on Earth… The Phoenix (Iron Man had to slay the nearly unstoppable force to save the Earth in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN).
Judgement: Not a lot happens this issue. Considering this is part one of a three issue arc, I expected more to happen to Stark than a three page space fight (two of which were a splash page), some flirting, and then arrest. In fact, this issue was mostly flirting.
While it’s the 3rd worst title of the week (which also makes it the 4th best, I guess…), I still like the direction IRON MAN has taken with Marvel NOW! While still bogged down in AvX aftermath, it is interesting to see the great threat that was the Phoenix from an alien perspective. And there are some real fun moments including Tony’s STAR TREK reference where he exclaims that “the purple space girl thing has its appeal too.”