Well, last week was kind of a bust, what with the holidays and all. Still, I’m determined to finish out these Unrealistic Pitch ideas, though several of the Cosmic title ideas I feel could be incorporated into the current continuity of the Marvel Universe – they wouldn’t need a total reboot to work. I framed them from the point of view of a total reboot, however… In any case, here’s part two of what I would do with a total rebook of the Marvel Universe’s Cosmic titles:
The Special would be based around the idea of the butterfly effect, where the events of one group have long lasting effects elsewhere. The comic would open with the Shi’ar Emperor, D’ken, looking at screens filled with videos and data of the Kree-Skrull War and deciding its time for the Shi’ar to step in and mediate a peace – by annexing both into the Shi’ar Republic. Emissaries are sent to the Kree and Skrull. The Supreme Intelligence simply laughs at the Emissary to the Kree and ignores the Shi’ar. The Prophets, however, are outraged, and begin a campaign of destabilizing the planets on their border, so the Shi’ar will be too busy to involve themselves further. Of course, when the Shi’ar capture one of the head dissidents, and learn it’s a Skrull, they send a battle fleet on a direct course for the Skrulls’ homeworld of Skrullos. The Skrulls, of course, sent a fleet of their own to intercept (as well as placing operatives in key positions inside the Shi’ar’s fleet). The two fleets meet around a lifeless planet called Xandar. (Scans reveal it once contained life, but is a desolate rock now.) Unbeknownst to either group, this was the homeworld of the Nova Corps, a galactic police force from a time before there either empire existed.
Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four are testing Reed’s newest gadget: an FTL (Faster Than Light) Drive. Richard Rider, a high school student, is in the crowd viewing the historic event. (At the start of the story, the Fantastic Four are a famous group of adventurers and scientists who continue to break new scientific ground daily – they’ve been adventuring together for a while, but haven’t gained their super powers yet. The FTL Drive is a success, but when they appear at the far side, a pitched battle is occurring between the Skrull and the Shi’ar, and the Fantastic Four’s vessel is damaged when it collides with a Shi’ar vessel (it came out of hyperspace inside the ship’s shields). With starships battling it out all around them, the Fantastic Four knows their own ship is far outclassed, and quickly set a course to return home. Damaged as the ship is, however, they crash land, and the energy released as the engine explodes causes them to develop the powers the Fantastic Four is known to have.
Meanwhile, back at the battle, the ship the Fantastic Four crashed into plummets to the planet below. This awakens the Worldmind – a sentient computer that governed the Nova Corps before its tragic end – and seeing the devastation above, sets about to recreate the Nova Corps. Of course, by the time it’s systems are fully awakened, both sides are nothing but derelicts, so it sets off to follow the trail of the one ship to leave the battle – the Fantastic Four’s vessel. (The Starjammers see it go, as they arrive to salvage what they can from the remains of the battle.) As the Worldmind passes Jupiter, the story focuses in on the Eternals, who are amazed that the humans have developed FTL capabilities (they watched the Fantastic Four leave and return). Seeing something follow them, but not aware that it’s the Worldmind, the Eternals fear it’s the Skrull. In the ensuing chaos, mad Thanos, an Eternal who was jailed for attempting to murder every Eternal, makes his escape. He has the ability to see the abstract entity Death whenever someone is dying, and has fallen in love with her. As such, he causes several deaths to the Eternals in his escape, and promises Death more as he flees to the core worlds of the galaxy. She does not seem particularly happy about this.
The last scene in the comic will be the Worldmind arriving on Earth, at the crash site of the Fantastic Four’s vessel. Richard Rider has stuck around since the crash landing, and now that it’s night, he’s sneaking into the cordoned off area to see about snatching a souvenir. The Worldmind chooses him to be the first Nova Prime in the new Nova Corps, and the Special ends with Richard accepting and becoming Nova.
The Nova title would be the main gateway for the reader to the Galactic scene, as Richard Rider knows nothing of what’s going on out there. As the Worldmind explains the situation to him, it is likewise explained to the reader. Rich will attempt to split his time between Earth and the galactic problems, though each time he focuses on one, the other has something happen that required his presence (ie. galactic problems he could’ve prevented break out when he’s dealing with his personal life, but personal problems develop when he’s out saving the galaxy). The Worldmind is especially interested in first training Richard to be a Nova Prime, and then in reforming the Corps. It gives him “vacation time” that he can use on Earth, but requires him to be on call during such times.
The Fantastic Four title will focus on scientific adventure, and will be a part of any major galactic event. It will also feature exploration of other dimensions, and testing out new and innovative technological advances, created mainly by Reed. Unbeknownst to anyone, including herself, Sue (who is married to Reed from the beginning) was pregnant with Franklin, their first child, and this will become a major theme – that of family – in the title. The first storyarc would pick up where the Special left off, with the Fantastic Four adjusting to their new powers, and trying to figure out what’s going on out in space (deciding they need to know, as if there’s a war, it could spread to Earth, and they need to be prepared if it does.) One storyline I would want to tell (maybe a year and a half to two years into the series) would be a dimensional war, between the Fantastic Fours across the dimensions are at war with the Doctor Dooms (some of who are allied in odd ways). The end result would be the death of most of the Fantastic Four characters across those dimensions, including the Human Torch from this dimension. He is replaced by a Human Torch from another dimension (whose world is now destroyed). This Human Torch is a homosexual who was married to Reed Richards in his world. To find himself in a world where Reed is straight, and married to his sister, is taking him some getting used to. (I see in my head a scene where he bellows out his usual battle cry of “Flame on!” before pausing to ask what THEIR Human Torch used to say, since theirs was a heterosexual – only to find it amusing that a straight Human Torch had the same battle cry.)
Thanos will focus on his attempts to woo Death, though he rarely succeeds in pleasing her. This is because he doesn’t understand the situation: Death is dying, and has chosen Thanos to be her replacement. As such, she doesn’t want him to simply kill people for her, she wants him to understand that death comes when it is time, not before and not after. She doesn’t want to simply tell him this, though, as she wants him to learn this for himself. Of course, as things progress, she will increasingly amp up the lessons, as her time draws short. One of the first of these lessons will be Gamora, the equivalent of a teenager of her species, found in a battlefield (as Thanos tends to go from warzone to warzone in his attempt to continue seeing Death). Death will turn her back when Thanos moves to kill her, and figures out Death wants her alive. He will raise her (and acquire other companions along the way, as well). This will eventually result in the resurrection of one of his chief rivals (I would use Captain Marvel, if he’s dead by that point) to be Death’s messenger to teach Thanos… Meanwhile, the Eternals, fearing Thanos will lead the Skrulls back to them, create Drax the Destroyer to deal with him. (Drax is a being with no genetic similarities to the Eternals, and thus, they hope he will not lead the Skrull back to them, if he’s discovered.) Each time Drax is slain by Thanos, he resurrects with a new powerset that makes him more deadly to the mad Eternal.
The Starjammers title would be patterned after the TV show Firefly (the situation, that is – not the characters themselves). The Starjammers are good people, angry at a corrupt government, who live in the grey areas of morality as pirates and smugglers. The title will start off with their origin story (we see them in the Special, but we don’t see much beyond their hatred of the Shi’ar), which starts approximately 10 years ago, when the Shi’ar learn of the existence of Earth. Earth has sent out signals into space for decades prior to that, but the Shi’ar mostly ignored them. When one high ranking official considers the planet for potential inclusion in the Shi’ar Republic, stealth ships are sent to abduct a hundred humans. Christopher “Corsair” Summers, a military fighter pilot, and his wife are two of those abducted. (His sons, who will grow up to be Cyclops and Havok, are rescued from this fate by the quick thinking of their father.) Set through a series of tests designed to determine humankind’s outer limits, all but Corsair and his wife are slain (he due to his ingenuity and quick thinking, and her because she’s the only mutant in the hundred). Outraged at their treatment, when D’ken shows up to review the results, Corsair attempts to assassinate the Emperor. His wife is slain in front of him for his efforts, and he is sent to a prison mining camp. (The assessment was that, with only two humans surviving at such a low spectrum of the tests, and with their low technological level, Earth isn’t worth contacting further.) In the mining camp, life was brutal and everyone saw to their own selfish needs. It was into this that Corsair changed things – first he saved Hepzibah from being raped by the guards (which earned him a brutal beating and time in solitary), then he rescues Raza when black marketers target him with an EMP that shuts down his cybernetics (which they planned to rip out of him and sell). Meanwhile, he constantly tests the bounds in repeated escape attempts – he’s never serious about the attempts, only in gaining knowledge from them. Finally, he has a crew loyal to him, and has worked out a means of escape (that involves releasing a unique sentient warship that decided killing was wrong, and thus dishonored its design and insured no other fully sentient starships were ever made). The crew will eventually gain knowledge that will destroy the Shi’ar’s defenses, only to learn that there are greater threats out there, beyond the galaxy, that the Shi’ar were keeping at bay (such as the Phalanx and the Universal Church of Truth.)
Lastly, the Cosmic Anthology would feature three different stories in each issue. Each story would focus on another aspect of the galaxy (including the Kree, Skrull, Shi’ar, Eternals, Deviants, Inhumans, etc.) These stories will often crossover with the main titles (Nova, Fantastic Four, Thanos, and Starjammers), but no more than one story at a time (though major, cosmic events might see all of them showing the event from different perspectives). Stories of Ronan the Accuser, Captain Mar-Vell, the Super-Skrull, the Inhumans would be found here, as well as solo stories involving supporting cast or members of a team in one of the core cosmic books. It would also be a good place to resolve dangling plots, should a title get cancelled.
Anyway, that’s what I’d do with the Cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. Next up, I’ll focus on the opposite: the street level heroes (specifically Spider-man, DareDevil, and the Heroes for Hire, among others.)