Lots of breaking news about Iron Man 3, the new 616 Black Nick Fury, and DC’s Second Wave.
Hit the break.

THE “REGULAR” MARVEL UNIVERSE GETS “ULTIMATED.” Marvel’s Ultimates line takes familiar mainstream Marvel characters (the “616 universe”) and spins them off in different ways. Now, the 616 is spinning off an Ultimate character: Black Nick Fury. It happens in the last issue of Battle Scars. Not only that, but the 616 also formally adopts Agent Coulson from the Marvel Studios universe. Of course, all of this is generated by a desire to sell comic books to a movie audience watching films generated from comic books. Somewhere, Uatu’s head is exploding.

IRON MAN 3 NEWS. Looks like it will definitely be based on Warren Ellis’ “Extremis” story, possibly the best (and most important) Iron Man story of the 21st Century. Guy Pearce has been cast as Dr. Aldrich Killian and Jessica Chastain is may be playing the Pearce’s hot scientist partner, Maya Hansen (who gets to sleep with Tony Stark). Together, the duo invented Extremis, the bioarmor that allows Tony Stark to control his suit with his mind. Ben Kingsley is cast to play the villain. There’s rumors, though, that Kingsley will play the leader of a collective that calls itself “The Mandarin.” In other words, we won’t be seeing the dude with ten magic rings, we’ll be seeing some corporate version of it. Oh, well. And Black Widow will not be in the threequel. I’ve seen some pretty snide comments from Scarlett Johansson suggesting she doesn’t dig being an Avenger. Whatever. I never thought she had the character down,
anyway—the Widow is supposed to be a tough, mysterious, menacing lady—like a female James Bond. Scarlett never rose above eye candy.

LOBO THE MOVIE. No, not the Sheriff who kept harassing that nice young trucker and his monkey, DC’s insane space bounty hunter created as a satire of Wolverine and all the other “big” 1990s heroes. Looks like Brad “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” Peyton will direct a script geared for a PG-13 rating. The character is a fan favorite, but not an Ekko favorite. We’ll see.

AXE COP: THE CARTOON. If you’ve never read “Axe Cop,” you’ve been missing a fun, silly adventure written by an 8-year old and drawn by his older brother, comic book artist Ethan Nicolle. It’s way better than you’d expect, and it’s fresh and innovative to boot. So stop being jealous of the little kid, and just enjoy his work! Anyway, it’s been optioned by Fox for their “Animation Domination” adult-oriented cartoon block. Nice to see cartoons getting a new renaissance, what with this, DC Nation, the Marvel block…

THE NEW 52 CONTINUITY. Here’s a cool article about how the Batman and Green Lantern histories factor into the new 52. I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but it seems damn thorough.

DC’S SECOND WAVE. Basically, after launching 52 “new” (which means mostly old comics that were retooled) projects, DC’s planning what it calls a “Second Wave.” Advance pages were leaked on the internet when someone took pictures of a binder that was by accident (on purpose?) left open at a recent event. Many of the titles, which begin to hit stores in May, have already been announced, but the full lineup follows:

  • World’s Finest by Paul Levitz and art by George Perez and Mateus Santolouco
  • The War That Time Forgot by J.T. Krul
  • GI Combat featuring Unknown Solider by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Dan Panosian
  • Batman, Incorporated by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham
  • Dial H by China Mieville
  • The Ravagers by Howard Mackie and Ian Churchill
  • Earth 2 ‘s by James Robinson and Nicola Scott

I plan to tune in for Earth 2, and none of the others. I might check out GI Combat in trade, if it survives, based on the strength of the recent Vertigo Unknown Soldier title and the fact that Palmiotti and Gray have done some strong work for DC and elsewhere.

COMIC BOOK COMICS. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’S 6-issue mini on the history of the comic book industry will be bound and offered in paperback on May 9th. Along with Gerard Jones’, “Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book,” these are two indispensible, ostensibly true works about the creation of my favorite art form. The main difference being that Van Lente’s “book” is a comic book, and it focuses more on the development of properties, creative styles (like pop-art and realism, e.g.) and characters than on the personalities (i.e., thugs and hoods) who saw comic book creators as potential golden geese. The full title of the trade will be: The Comic Book History of Comics: The Inspiring, Infuriating, and Utterly Insane Story of the American Comic Book History.

JUDGE DREDD NEWS. First, the MPAA slapped an R rating on the movie because it’s (duh!) violent! If it weren’t, I’d be worried. And the comic book version, which appears in the British anthology 2000 AD, will soon be brining back the Dark Judges (Fear, Fire, and Mortis)—a crew collectively destroyed by Dredd quite some time ago—in a storyline beginning on May 2 titled “Day of Chaos.”

FRANK FRAZETTA’S FIRE AND ICE: THE MOVIE. You remember Frazetta, right? From the days of Dungeons and Dragons and Heavy Metal magazine? Robert Rodriguez will be doing an animated film based on his work—after he is done with “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”

BOOSTER GOLD: THE TV SHOW. SyFy is developing it. Well, they managed to pick a comic to adapt that’s even more baffling than Marvel’s decision to make a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. (If it can be done worse than Marvel, DC will do it!) I’ve never been a big fan of BG, and the only thing I ever liked on SyFy is Battlestar Galactica. So I’m not sure I care. In fact, it’s getting to be too much with the superheroes. I never thought I’d say that, but as the genre gets watered down with junk, it’ll be harder for quality items to stand out. It will be written by a guy who wrote for Fringe—that might save it. SyFy is also developing an indie comic The Grey Legion.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PART 2. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote the pretty-darn-good Star Trek movie and the first Transformers film, and also helped create Fringe, have been hired to write a sequel to “Amazing Spider-Man,” which isn’t even scheduled for release until July.