Movie trailers from Super Bowl 50

While the actual football game was not bad, and many non-football fans will be discussing commercials, we here at ClutterStuff are talking about the new trailers that aired during Super Bowl 50.

Here are the ones that have been posted to YouTube as of this morning. When last night’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice spot appears, it will be added as well.

Deadpool (release date: 12 February 2016)

Captain America: Civil War (release date: 6 May 2016)

X-Men: Apocalypse (release date: 27 May 2016)

Independence Day: Resurgence (release date: 24 June 2016)

Jason Bourne (release date: 29 July 2016)

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Checklist of Secret Wars II (1985-86) tie-in titles

It’s hard to believe that the Secret War II crossover event began thirty years ago this month—in July 1985. This was the first big crossover event in Marvel history, with parts of the story spreading out over nearly all of Marvel’s titles. Some critics don’t review the story very positively, but as a child of the 1980s reading the story in the 1980s, I loved it. Even the Beyonder’s mullet.

Here is a checklist of all of the Secret War II tie-in issues.

Chronological:

July 1985:

New Mutants #30
Captain America #308
Uncanny X-Men #196
Iron Man #197

August 1985:

Web of Spider-Man #6
Amazing Spider-Man #268
Fantastic Four #282

September 1985:

Daredevil #223
Incredible Hulk #312
Avengers #260

October 1985:

Dazzler #40
Alpha Flight #28
Rom #72
Avengers #261

November 1985:

Thing #30
Doctor Strange #74
Fantastic Four #285

December 1985:

Cloak and Dagger #4
Power Pack #18
Micronauts #16
Thor #363
Power Man and Iron Fist #121

January 1986:

New Mutants #36
Amazing Spider-Man #273
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #111
Defenders #152
Uncanny X-Men #202

February 1986:

New Mutants #37
Amazing Spider-Man #274
Avengers #265
Uncanny X-Men #203
Fantastic Four #288

March 1986:

Avengers #266


Alphabetical:

Alpha Flight #28
Amazing Spider-Man #268
Amazing Spider-Man #273
Amazing Spider-Man #274
Avengers #260
Avengers #261
Avengers #265
Avengers #266
Captain America #308
Cloak and Dagger #4
Daredevil #223
Dazzler #40
Doctor Strange #74
Fantastic Four #282
Fantastic Four #285
Fantastic Four #288
Incredible Hulk #312
Iron Man #197
Micronauts #16
New Defenders #152
New Mutants #30
New Mutants #36
New Mutants #37
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #111
Power Man and Iron Fist #121
Power Pack #18
Rom #72
Thing #30
Thor #363
Uncanny X-Men #196
Uncanny X-Men #202
Uncanny X-Men #203
Web of Spider-Man #6

Marvel’s Film Rights conspiracy theory (All-New, All-different interlude)

There is a conspiracy afoot, some comic fans believe. The theory goes like this:

1. Marvel is rebooting the Marvel (Comics) Universe to align with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is the entire driving force behind Secret Wars and All-New, All-Different Marvel.

2. Marvel is killing off (etc.) the characters whose film rights are tied up in another studio, i.e. X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc. Marvel does not want to promote a competitor’s films.

It really is a simple conspiracy, isn’t it? Does it hold water?

I don’t think so. Let’s look at a few things.

Fantastic Four

Yes, it appears that Marvel is ending Fantastic Four, the very first heroes created by Lee & Kirby in the new “Marvel Age” debuting in 1961. This must be because Fox owns the rights, right?

Well, unless you consider the sales.

In 2012, Fantastic Four #1 sold 115,300 copies to rank 48th in total sales for the year. Unfortunately the second issue dropped to 58,400, ranking 361st for 2012. In 2013, Fantastic Four #3, the highest-selling issue of the title for that year, sold a mere 52,100 copies, coming in at number 391. In 2014, Fantastic Four #1 (number one!), the highest-selling issue for that year, sold slightly better: 68,963 copies, for a rank of 143. Seventy other single issues published by Marvel sold better than Fantastic Four #1 in 2014. [All sales statistics come from The Comics Chronicles.]

With titles like the Amazing Spider-Man regularly selling around 150,000 copies for average issues (in 2014), why would Marvel want to continue to publish a lackluster performer like the Fantastic Four?

The conspiracy also fails to recognize that though the team may be disappearing, the characters are not. Ben Grimm/The Thing appears to be joining the Guardians of the Galaxy and Johnny Storm/Human Torch will be joining the Inhumans. Both GotG and the Inhumans have movies on the horizon. (Know who else will be joining the Inhumans? X-Men’s Beast. Another character that can’t be used in the movies.)

If it was all about the film rights, why would Marvel have two characters that they cannot use in any film join super-teams with films on the way?

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver

Some conspiracy theorists have pointed to the removal of Magneto as the father of the Maximoff twins—and their removal as mutants altogether—as further evidence of trying to write 20th Century Fox’s characters out of the Marvel Universe. The conspiracy theorists also believed that they would be made into Inhumans, because Marvel Studios has those rights.

Here’s a few problems with this part of the theory:

1. Yes, Wanda and Pietro have always been mutants. But they had their origins as underlings of Magneto, not as his children. Their origin story as Magneto’s children came as a later retcon.

2. The Maximoff twins, whether mutants or not now, whether Magneto’s children or not now, can still appear in future Fox films. Their rights to use the characters can’t be taken away by a change in the comics in 2015. The rights were sold to them, including the right to use the former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants characters, sometime prior to the 2000 release of Fox’s X-Men. That original licensing contract provided specific details as to who could and couldn’t be used, and why, and that real-life deal cannot be retroactively changed as easily as a comic book origin story.

3. Clearly, judging by their appearance in both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron, neither company is hindered in the least by the appearance of the duo in the movies of the other company. Quicksilver played a major role in both films—stealing the show in X-Men and apparently dying in Avengers. (I say “apparently” because Phil Coulson.)

4. And speaking of dying … if Marvel was really trying to minimize Quicksilver’s role, why would he be at the center of one of the last pre-Secret Wars story arcs, in the just-ended Uncanny Avengers. They didn’t kill him off in the comics the way they did in the movie.

Wolverine

Many conspiracy proponents point to the recent Death of Wolverine run as proof of Marvel’s anti-X plot. Except Wolverine is back in Secret Wars. And teasers for the upcoming All-New All-Different Marvel show not one but two Wolverines (X-23 and Old Man Logan).

Could it be that Death of Wolverine was less about the film rights and more about selling comic books? Would Marvel ever exploit the popularity of its characters for sales, with controversial publicity stunts?

The Spider-Man question

Sony still owns the rights to Spider-Man. This presumably extends to his supporting cast as well—a supporting cast that is not only not being undermined but actually extended. The recent “Gwen” cover variants that ran across almost all of Marvel’s titles earlier this month did everything to promote Spider-Man and nothing to promote any Marvel movies.

Beyond that, the teaser images for All-New All-Different Marvel includes not one but two Spider-Men: presumably Peter Parker and definitely Miles Morales, who will be a member of the Avengers when the Secret Wars dust clears.

Again, why would Marvel place a character to whom it has no rights into the ranks of its most popular film property? Avengers movie fans who rush to the comic shop will see Spider-Man, promoting the Sony movie franchise.

If Marvel is really trying to undermine its rival movie studios, does that make sense? In fact, is there any real evidence to show that Marvel is actually making any moves in the comic books to do so?

What do you think?

Updated: After this post was written and scheduled to publish, details about the future of the All-New All-Different Marvel relaunch came to light. So I added the following section.

X-Men

The biggest part of the conspiracy theory is that Marvel is doing away with the X-Men titles so that they don’t help Fox’s X-Men movie franchise succeed. Another part of it is the lack of merchandising for the X-Men movies, while all of the Marvel films have tons of gear.

Well, currently, during the Secret Wars crossover event, there are seven(!) X-Men tie-in titles: E is for ExtinctionGiant-Size Little Marvel: AvXInfernoOld Man LoganX-Men ’92X-Tinction Agenda, and Years of Future Past. That is far more representation than any other Marvel creation. Could it be that they are simply doing this so that they can kill them all off?

According to the All-New All-Different Marvel Previews, no. This fall, when “AN, AD” (as I am going to start calling it) Marvel debuts, there will be at least six(!) X-Men or mutant-related titles:

Extraordinary X-Men
“Still hated. Still feared. Still standing.”
Team consists of Storm, Iceman, Colossus, Magik, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey (still young), and Old Man Logan.

Uncanny X-Men
“Bigger threats require more threatening X-Men.”
Team consists of Magneto, Psylocke, Sabretooth, Mystique, and Fatomex.

All-New X-Men
“On a mission to make their own future”
Team consists of Wolverine (X-23) and young Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, and Beast.

Old Man Logan
“Older. Wiser. Sharper.”

All-New Wolverine
“Best there is at what she does”

Deadpool
“More Deadpool than you wanted”

Even more evidence is stacked against the existence of a Marvel conspiracy. Don’t believe everything you read on the Interwebs, kids. Now, onto chem-trails.

Review: Uncanny Avengers (2015) nos. 1–5

Uncanny Avengers (2015) # 1–5
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Daniel Acuna

The High Evolutionary has always been one of my favorite and, in my humble opinion, far underused super villains. The last major storyline that he played a part in, as far as I can recall, was the “Evolutionary War” storyline that ran through the 1988 Marvel annuals.

The High Evolutionary left Earth for Counter-Earth (a duplicate planet sharing Earth’s orbit but always on the opposite side of the Sun) years ago. This five-issue mini-series follows Quicksilver on a trip to Counter-Earth in search of the true origins of his sister Scarlet Witch, and himself. A joint team of X-Men (Rogue, Sabretooth) and Avengers (Vision, Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Doctor Voodoo) pursue him to Counter-Earth.

There, the Unity Division is separated. Some are captured and others discover that the High Evolutionary has continue to develop the New Men, building and destroying entire civilizations in his quest for evolutionary perfection. The few survivors of this periodic mass extinction have set up a camp for themselves, under the leadership of one who calls himself the Low Evolutionary. The High Evolutionary has also created a super-powered woman named Luminous.

There are a number of interesting subplots among the various separated heroes as they work their way back together for the final battle with the High Evolutionary in issue 5. This review will not spoil everything, so please check out the issues on your own.

The “big reveal” of the series concerns the true origins of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. They are not the children of Magneto, though you can probably guess. Unlike some of the fan theories, they are not Inhumans either.

Another interesting aspect: there are a few interactions that may hint toward a new relationship between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch. Nothing is overt, and it might just be indicative of their friendship, but it might be indicative of something more.

I enjoyed the entire series. The story is fairly strong, though some of the subplots seem like filler material with no long-term effects. The art is very well done as well. Highly recommended.

#1 Published: January 28, 2015 Cover Artist: Daniel Acuna
#1 Published: 28 Jan. 2015
Cover Artist: Daniel Acuna
#2 Published: 25 Feb. 2015 Cover Artist: Daniel Acuna
#2 Published: 25 Feb. 2015
Cover Artist: Daniel Acuna
#3 Published: 1 Apr. 2015
Cover Artist: Daniel Acuna
#4 Published: 13 May 2015 Cover Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
#4 Published: 13 May 2015
Cover Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
#5 Published: 24 Jun. 2015 Cover Artist: Kris Anka
#5 Published: 24 Jun. 2015
Cover Artist: Kris Anka

When Marvel jumped the shark #80sComics

During the past week there has been quite a bit of controversy over Iceman’s retconned/alternate-continuity homosexuality. This reminds me of a number of other times that Marvel Comics has printed stories designed to stir up controversy.

Captain America quits!

Captain America vol. 1, no. 332 (August 1987)

Captain America 332To some degree foreshadowing parts of the “Civil War” plot, back in 1987, the Pentagon demanded that Steve Rogers (Captain America) become an official agent of the U. S. government. Rather than accept these terms, Rogers turned in his mask and shield, retiring as Captain America.

In the coming issues, another superhero called the Super-Patriot (John Walker) was appointed the new Captain America. Rogers would soon don a very cool-looking black version of the Captain America uniform and a different shield, and fight crime under the moniker of “The Captain.” Hey, the black costume worked for Spider-man (see below) so why not give it a shot with Cap?

Walker’s Captain America didn’t have the same moral code as Rogers, though, and was decidedly more violent and brutal. After killing a group of villains, Walker resigned and Rogers once again became Captain America (in issue no. 350). Walker eventually returned (to the West Coast Avengers) as “U. S. Agent,” wearing the black costume of “The Captain.” Though ultimately temporary, this change actually lasted 18 issues!

Gay Canadian super-hero?

Alpha Flight vol. 1, no. 106 (March 1992)

Alpha Flight 106The controversy over Iceman isn’t the first time that a super-hero’s sexuality was an issue. Twenty-three years ago, the first mainstream super-hero came out of the closet.

Northstar was a founding member of the Canadian super-team Alpha Flight. In this issue, he came out of the closet: quite literally announcing, “I’m gay.”

This was quite a big deal, because at that time, Marvel still adhered to the Comics Code Authority, which had only been revised to allow for the depiction of homosexuals in 1989. Neither Marvel or DC had yet taken advantage of this revision until Northstar.

On the other hand, the impact was (probably intentionally) minimal. Alpha Flight was not a terribly popular book, and the team only occasionally interacted with the other, American, super-heroes.

New looks

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars no. 8 (December 1984) & Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1, no. 252

Fantastic Four vol. 1, no. 310 (January 1988)

Amazing Spiderman 252One of the most popular gimmicks in comics has been the dramatic costume change/update. Marvel did this with quite a few characters in the mid- to late-1980s.

secret-wars-8coverThe most famous, of course, was Spider-Man. Though gaining his new black costume during the mega-crossover event Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, the costume made its first main-title appearance in issue 252 (May 1984), released a few months earlier.

Fantastic Four 310The black costume was so popular that, even after it was discovered to be a parasitic alien creature (not truly a “symbiote” as it was called), Spidey wore a cloth version for a while longer, while also occasionally also wearing his original blue and red design.

Another strange appearance change (or two) occurred in Fantastic Four. Ben Grimm’s Thing had always struggled with nature of his “power.” In 1988 he and Ms. Marvel were both zapped with cosmic rays, causing Ms. Marvel to turn into the Thing from the team’s early days, while Grimm developed sharper rocky growths on his body. Eventually they were healed and returned to normal.

Other appearance changes around this same time include Thor’s beard and the red-and-white Iron Man armor.

Mrs. Spider-Man

Amazing Spiderman Annual 21Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) Annual no. 21 (1987)

In 1987 Spidey married Mary Jane Watson. It was front-page news even in the mainstream press.

This issue also marked one of the first uses of variant cover art. One edition had Peter Parker and Mary Jane standing at the altar; the other had Spidey (in costume) and Mary Jane standing at the altar.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments what your favorite “jumping the shark” Marvel moment was, whether one of these or something else.

Comic book flashback: The Evolutionary War (1988) #TBT #80sComics

Current issues of Uncanny Avengers (#1-3, so far) have featured the team on Counter Earth fighting the High Evolutionary. This storyline reminds me of “The Evolutionary War,” a self-contained crossover event, running in all of the “annuals” for the year.

It wasn’t the first major crossover event, of course, coming after 1985-86’s “Secret Wars II.” It was a bit different, though. Annuals (at least back then) usually contained single-issue stories not tied into the main series. In 1988, however, a single storyline ran across all of the various annuals—still unconnected to the main issues, but connected to each other.

Avengers Annual

The cover above is from Avengers Annual no. 17 (1988) and features a ragtag group of reserve Avengers, including the (gray) Hulk, Hercules, the Beast, the Captain (Steve Rogers’s alter ego after he was temporarily replaced as Captain America), the Falcon, and the female Yellowjacket. They intervene in a battle between Atlanteans and Lemurians, get aboard the High Evolutionary’s vessel, and try to foil his plans.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that this was the end of the Evolutionary Wars storyline. The issue (as did all the others) also has a mini-story at the end featuring the High Evolutionary. The full story can be read in the following issues (in order):

Part 1: X-Factor Annual #3
Part 2: The Punisher Annual #1
Part 3: Silver Surfer Annual #1
Part 4: New Mutants Annual #4
Part 5: Fantastic Four Annual #21
Part 6: The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22
Part 7: X-Men Annual vol 1, #12
Part 8: Web of Spider-Man Annual #4
Part 9: West Coast Avengers Annual #3
Part 10: The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8
Part 11: Avengers Annual #17