Ultron... Assemble?

So... lets talk about Ultron. You guys know Ultron, don't you? The mechanical terror that had terrorised the Marvel universe for many years. He started as the creation of Hank Pym aka the original Antman and progressed to being an Avengers villain to a cosmic threat. His rampage around the world culminated in Bendis's Age of Ultron storyline where he conquered the world. It was only temporal shenanigans (and I mean shenanigans) that undid this act and led to the defeat of Ultron. So, as of right now, Ultron is officially dead. But this being the world of comics, I would imagine its only a matter of time for Ultron to return to the land of the living. Its kind of easy for an artificial intelligence to accomplish this feat. But the question is, how would they accomplish that? I have a theory on how Marvel might go about such an act which ties to the Movieverse.

At the moment, Ultron looks like he will feature in Joss Whedon's Avengers sequel. I suppose that's kind of obvious when the movie is named Avengers: Age of Ultron. Rumours I have heard say that Tony Stark will somehow be responsible for the creation of the villainous artificial intelligence. This is a big change from the comics where its Hank Pym responsible for this act. Mind you, its not the first time that Stark's involvement in Ultron has happened. Somewhat recently, we had the awesome Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes where Ultron features as a villain and is said to be the creation of both Hank Pym and Tony Stark. There, its said that Pym made the artificial intelligence but Stark tried to sell the android as a weapon and attempted to kit it up for that role before Hank stopped him.

So, could we be seeing a rebirth of Ultron in Earth-616 with Stark being the one responsible for his resurrection? I could see that. It would serve as a link to the movie if that's the plotline and have Stark responsible for Ultron's rebirth. Might also allow for a tie-in for fans who go into the comics after watching the movie. I mean, we have seen the likes of Samuel Jackson Fury and Coulson introduced into the comics following the popularity in the movies so a same thing might happen. Though if they do the above, they get to copy the possible plotline of the movie yet retain Hank as being Ultron's creator. Now, I could be wrong... in fact, I am probably wrong but its something I had been thinking about now that we move closer to the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. And now I realise that I had typed the word Ultron a lot of times...

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A Descent Into the Maelstrom?

And who might you be?

Chris Yost's New Warriors is a fun book and my first exposure to the New Warriors as a team. These aren't the New Warriors of old but an entirely new team with an interesting dynamic. Each one representing a different member of Marvel Earth's many different human derived races. Humans, Inhumans, Mutants, Godlings, Atlanteans, Clones and so on. The overarching mission being whether these races will survive the coming arrival of the Celestials. All in all, quite interesting. Currently, the team are involved in a somewhat late Inhumanity cross over. For those who don't know, the Infinity event was part of a big push by Marvel at promoting the Inhumans. The Inhumans being a splinter race of humans whose ancestors were experimented on by the alien Kree to serve as living weapons. During Infinity, Black Bolt the Midnight King and leader of the Inhumans detonated the Terrigen Bomb that contains the mutagenic material that activates the genes of those with Inhuman DNA. We learn that tribes of Inhumans long ago left their city of Attilan and travelled the world where they interbred with mankind meaning that the Terrigen Bomb activated a load of Nuhumans now. This has led to the Inhumans getting their own ongoing series written by Charles Soule who is a fine writer.

On the topic at hand, I have been wondering on potential plotlines and villains we might see pop up in Inhumans. Currently, Chris Yost's New Warriors in the midst of its Inhumanity where the young New Warrior Haechi is being fought over by two Inhuman tribes. One is led by Lash who was introduced in Inhuman but three mysterious beings have arrived on Earth on behalf of their mysterious master who is returning to Earth. Who could these guys be? Well, here is my theory on the matter... I believe this mysterious could be Maelstrom. The half-Inhuman/half-Deviant son of the Inhuman renegade scientist Phaeder who died long ago. Why do I think so? Well, Maelstrom is typically served by a trio of servants known as Maelstrom's Minions. And the three beings that appeared in New Warriors look a lot like said Minions. Could this mean Maelstrom is not far behind? As I understand it, the last time he featured was in Guardians of the Galaxy as an agent of Oblivion but hasn't had a role s far. That could change considering his enmity with the Inhumans and he could very well feature in Inhuman as a big villain alongside the Lineage, Lash and the Unspoken.

Personally, I feel great potential in Maelstrom. He's got nothing but hatred for his parent species namely both the Inhumans and the Deviants for how he was treated. His father was exiled from Attilan for his use of cloning and his mother was killed by the other Deviants. As such, he hates the Inhuman Royal Family and has clashed with the Avengers in the past. He died a number of times but always came back with a vengeance. After dying at the Avengers, he managed to ascend into a powerful cosmic being and became an agent of Oblivion the very embodiment of nothing in the cosmos. At his height, he tackled with the Celestials and Thanos as well who was armed with the Infinity Gauntlet. So, I think he would offer a very dangerous and powerful foe for the Inhuman Royal Family to face. If the Unspoken was the Magneto of the Inhumans, then Maelstrom would be their Apocalypse.

So, could we be seeing Maelstrom coming back for a big role in Marvel's Inhumans? I really hope so...

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Some new titles for a New 52

What titles should DC make next?

Since the New 52 has started, there have been many titles coming in and out. Some good, others bad. During that time, we have seen cancellations with new books replacing them and some of those even ending. Some good books were lost in the process like OMAC or Vibe but what's done is done. One can only look to the future and hope those characters from a cancelled book gets a home in a new book instead of being relegated to limbo status. But, anyway, I have been thinking of possible new books for DC to make. There are loads of Superman, Batman and Green Lantern titles so really something should be taken from the Green Lantern book. Under Geoff John's, Green Lantern went from one lone book into an entire family with five titles along with a six on the way. So, expansion of some character's families. Aquaman and the Others looks to be a good move in expanding the Aquaman side of things, but what about others? What titles should DC try to introduce soon?

So, my suggestion's on what titles DC should create:

  • Shazam : Billy Batson has got the chance for a new start and Geoff John's has done some really nice work with the character. He might not be exactly as he used to be but the potential for the character and mythos building is immense. Really, he should be getting his own book soon and preferably by John's to continue with the character. My only fear is if they wait too long that the build-up they made will have lost steam with the loss in some of the readers. I hope that's an unfounded fear as I really want to see Shazam back with his expanded family plus revamped villains.
  • Cyborg : Victor's gotten some very interesting development and lore expansion. He and his father has ties with some big scientific minds like T.O. Morrow plus the Red Room full of technological wonders. On top of that, there is ties to the Fourth World thanks to the nature of his origin story. So, I could see him being the center of the technological world in his own book and also offers a new young hero since practically all the Young Justice family books have ended. Add in a supporting cast and his own villains then we could see some interesting stuff from his own book.
  • Green Arrow and the Outsiders : Similar to a number of characters, Oliver Queen has gotten some great focus made on him. Things like Lemire's run on the book and the developments on Arrow have given him a diverse world. He's now got his own mythology and supporting cast which extends globally. Now, we got a new incarnation of the Outsiders introduced which perhaps Green Arrow can start leading to become a force for good once more. You can easily add a supporting cast for his second book such as Katana, Shado, Emiko, Richard Dragon and others such as his dad who manage this secret world that operates in the shadows.
  • ARGUS : The Forever Evil tie-in has really impressed me and made me want to learn more about ARGUS which was simply just another faceless organization. This could perhaps actually expand the Wonder Woman family if they make Steve Trevor the lead character. We could see the non-myth Wonder Woman villains such as Doctor Cyber, Doctor Poison, Amoeba Man, Silver Swan and others being added as his enemies. Thus, through extension, they become Diana's enemies as well but serve as antagonists for Trevor and ARGUS. And of course I would love to learn more about the various branches of the organization and their interaction with the wider world. Maybe have Checkmate being their UN counterpart and competitor.
  • The Rogues : Just like the above, the Forever Evil tie-in Rogues Rebellion has been a fun book and perhaps it might be nice to have a book about some villains. It would not only expand the Flash family but also have something similar to Suicide Squad and Secret Six where it covers the world of villains. Only difference is that these can be semi-nice villains instead of murderers and killers. We could see how they manage in-between superheroes and supervillains since they did get targeted by the Secret Society of Super-Villains under orders from the Crime Syndicate. So, they aren't on one side or the other but are entirely their own thing.

These are the primary ones I feel should come out soon and serve as good expansions to their respective families. Beyond these, I would also like to see a new Blue and Gold series with Booster and Ted being the main leads but also Jamie and Goldstar also being there. Also, a potential Doom Patrol might be fun since we have seen them being mentioned in John's Justice League. Matt Kindt might be a good writer for such a series. These are just my views though and might not necessarily work but I feel an expansion into certain comic families might do them good and perhaps they could survive for longer if they were associated with a known superhero yet not necessarily be Bat/Sup/GL family related. But anyway, the above are what I think DC should introduce sooner rather than later.

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Could we be getting a new Power Ring?

Forever Evil - Power Ring

At the end of Trinity War, we saw the arrival of the Crime Syndicate leading to the event called Forever Evil. An alternate evil-er version of the Justice League from the other Earth in the Multiverse known as Earth-3. Among its members is the supervillain called Power Ring. In the old continuity, he used to be called Joseph Harrolds but really he was a version of Hal Jordan. Prior to the reboot, Power Ring kind of followed the way that there were many Green Lanterns in that each time we saw the Syndicate that there was a different Power Ring. But one thing that seemed to be the case was that instead of being a fearless person, the person wearing these rings was actually enslaved by the ring they were wearing. In the old continuity, this used to be a mystical monk called Volthoom, who is now re-introduced in the New 52 in the pages of Green Lantern by Geoff Johns. So, presumably, the First Lantern who appeared in the Wrath of the First Lantern is within the Crime Syndicate Power Ring's... uh ... ring. The New 52 Power Ring seems to be a stuttering fearful person who is constantly under the watchful eye of Deathstorm - the Earth-3 version of Firestorm.

But something in Forever Evil #2 made me think about the future of the character. He was shown feeling some pain and his ring's power dropped in energy. In fact, his arm seems to be wasting away and he said this has happened before. Could we be seeing the first hints of an end to Power Ring? And if so, has Geoff John's already hinted on his successor?

Jessica Cruz - The Female Green Lantern?

Jessica Cruz is a character we get hinted on seeing in the future at the end of Geoff John's Green Lantern run. In his final issue, John painted a picture of the future and the fate of the various characters. One of them concerned the adventures of new ring wielder Simon Baz. In the story, Baz is shown in the future being what appears to be possibly Earth where he is battling a woman. A woman called Jessica Cruz who is wearing the uniform of a Green Lantern. Its said she got her ring in the wake of the Justice League's "death" and that she was a controversial figure. Its interesting to note that its said that he is responsible for training the first female RING BEARER. Not necessarily a Green Lantern.

Now, its entirely possible that she gets the ring simply because Simon Baz might be registered dead. But it seems kind of soon and quick to be adding yet another Earth Lantern. And, an interesting thing to note in the preview of the character at the end of Green Lantern is that Baz is trying to reason with her. Telling her that he knows what it is like to be labelled a villain. And certainly she seems to have ties to Forever Evil as there is a poster of her linked to the event. So, that's my theory... I could be wrong but its something that got into my head after reading Forever Evil #2.

So, could Jessica Cruz become the new wielder of Power Ring's ring? I guess only time will tell.

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