Well, kids, 2014 sure was a year. Let’s take a look back at the Marvel news that made this year exciting/bearable/confusing, shall we?
I mean, obviously, 2014 is going to be remembered as the year that Guardians of the Galaxy destroyed the universe and changed nerd life as we know it. 2014 began with the first trailer, which suddenly breathed new relevancy into Hooked On A Feeling (when we all know THIS version is vastly superior). From then on, it was a non-stop barrage of sneak peeks, viral marketing, a new Rocket Raccoon comic book, and the sudden, skyrocketed launch of Chris Pratt from pudgy Parks & Rec co-star to abs-tastic action beefcake. Thanks to GotG, we’ll all be forced to listen to early-80’s dad rock for the next few years whether we want to or not — but we will also live in a world where you can talk about Rocket Raccoon in mixed company with nary a sideways glance.
Marvel’s other big movie success this year was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which gave us a better S.H.I.E.L.D/Secret Avengers film than a Cap story, with its dark, serious message about surveillance and amazing fight scene choreography (Industrial Light & Magic just posted a video of their work on the film, which added to so many of the best scenes). Also, the internet was blessed with a whole new era of Bucky/Cap (and by that, I mean Chris Evans/Sebastian Stan) sexy fan-art to look at and think about and…I am done writing about this now.
A whole lot of buzz about the Ant-Man movie happened, too — mostly just a bunch of hypothesizing about whether or not Marvel was trying to execute a sick-ass burn on DC with the film’s release date and general dismay and disappointment when Edgar Wright suddenly quit the project. We also got to see some very edgy looking photos of Paul Rudd looking like a grumpy grumpster.
Of course, the biggest movie announcement of the year was the Phase 3 press conference, which just exploded the minds of every Marvel nerd in the world and made me cry at work. Captain Marvel, Black Panther, the Inhumans, and now-confirmed CumberStrange are on their way to us. All is well, though a Black Widow solo film is still conspicuously missing.
As an aside: the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer leaked early, but didn’t seem to cause nearly as much of a fuss as the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. Maybe it needed more Blue Swede?
This was a good year for lady characters in the Marvel U as well. Storm got her own ongoing (though it might be on the chopping block), Ms. Marvel brought joy to the hearts of millions, Brian Wood got booted from the all-lady X-Men book (and G. Willow Wilson is slated to take it over), Thor became a lady, Squirrel Girl got her own upcoming series from Ryan Q. North and Erica Henderson, Spider-Gwen was created and then, through sustained internet yelling, given her own ongoing series, Gamora is getting her own solo title from GotG screenwriter Nicole Perlman, and Spider-Woman managed to finally get rid of the crotch arrow, thanks to Kris Anka. Good times.
Steve Rogers got old suddenly and Falcon replaced him as Captain America, which lead to some really racist things being shouted on the internet! Hooray, humans!
There were also some bad moves on behalf of comic content: Axis was generally strange and ended up deleting the familial connection between Magneto, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, in what was a very obvious brand-synergizing move with the MCU (where Wanda and Pietro are Inhumans, not mutants). That Manara cover.
Tony Stark became the Superior Iron Man, where I guess he acts like more of a dick than usual. She-Hulk was cancelled. Marvel announced a Civil War movie, for some reason. Fraction & Aja’s Hawkeye slowed to a weird, delayed end (but will be picked up again soon by a new creative team). Quicksilver’s costume and accompanying Carl’s Jr. ad happened, but then Evan Peters turned about to be a rather delightful part of that film. In things that are neither good nor bad, Fantastic Four was cancelled.
This was a year of mostly highlights for the house of ideas, and 2015 is shaping up nicely already. Let’s get some more diversity in the creative teams and we’re definitely headed on the right track, Marvel. Let us hope that your recent decision to bring back Howard the Duck was a wise one.
Oh yeah, and Wolverine died.