The current superhero movie renaissance didn’t start with a bang. It wasn’t some major character’s movie that made it happen. In fact, Batman and Robin almost killed the superhero movie. The first sign of life for the genre in recent years came by way of a very little known Marvel Comics character: Blade. He’d never really led his own book, and he was ridiculously obscure. Nonetheless, Blade turned out to be a classic and Blade II still ranks as one of the greatest comic book movies ever made. Now, Marvel’s starting to deep into their bench again, this time with Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright attached to Ant-Man.
Rumor has it that he’s even filming a post-credits sequence featuring Hank Pym for Iron Man 3. Still, for dedicated Marvel geeks, that’s not enough. We want even more. Here are a few more lesser-known heroes we want to see jump from the pages to the big screen.
The Pym Family
This isn’t their name in the comics, but these are all the characters that call Hank a husband or a father. This includes Janet van Dyne, The Wasp. She’s an original Avenger in the comics, and her celebrity hero status would make for a great plotline in a movie. Beyond that, Hank’s evil robot Ultron is one of the greatest Avengers villains ever, and Ultron’s “son,” The Vision, is one of the team’s greatest heroes. Hopefully this seed will be planted very early in Ant-Man. It’s almost impossible to think of Hank without his wife or Ultron.
No characters have ever needed a movie more than the Runaways. Even in the comics, the Runaways are mostly disconnected from the main Marvel Universe because they’re based in southern California. Brian K. Vaughan’s original run showed how much heart and humor you could inject into a superhero movie. The characters aren’t smart like Tony Stark or gods like Thor. They’re young outcasts whose parents were supervillains. And they have a hyper-intelligent deinonychus.
Heroes for Hire
Heroics have their place on both a large and small scale. Folks like Thor and Iron Man tend to get bigger, destroying entire cities. The Heroes for Hire are street level. Instead of going out and finding threats, they’re paid to deal with problems. Even better, the central duo of Power Man and Iron Fist have some of the best chemistry of anybody in the Marvel Universe. Power Man, aka Luke Cage, comes from the mean streets of Harlem, and Iron Fist is a multimillionaire philanthropist that is the latest in a line of mystical kung fu masters. How would this not make a billion dollars?
Stephen Strange has been plying his trade in the Marvel Universe for decades, but he hasn’t had much to do over the last thirty years. He’s mostly popped in and done some magic duty for teams like the New Avengers and the Defenders. Strange is a purely fantastical hero, and could serve as a great counterpoint to the science-based powers of the Avengers. A minor issue could be that he’s almost always depicted as middle-aged in the comics. Middle-aged heroes usually don’t do so well on the screen (unless they have Robert Downey’s charisma).
Agents of Atlas
One of the best parts of Captain America was its World War II period setting. The Agents of Atlas have been based in both the late 1950s and the present. They feature an FBI Agent, Jimmy Woo, and his team of pulp serial characters like Gorilla Man (a gorilla who was a man, duh), M-11 the Living Robot, Venus (the goddess of love), and Marvel Boy, an Eternal with energy band bracelets. This could be a great throwback in tone in the way X-Men: First Class was.
What underrated comics do you think deserve some time on the big screen?