Thursday, May 15, 2014

What If You Could Write Any Comic You Wanted (for Marvel)?

How I feel about sticky keys.
So, on Sunday, when I was sick, I accidentally spilled some orange juice all over my bed, and while the main upshot of that was that I had to wash my sheets for the second day in a row (grargh), some of the juice also got on my computer. It's not broken or anything, but now a bunch of keys on the keyboard are sticking and I hate it. I'm just whining. But seriously it's super annoying.


This isn't going to be an article actually reviewing anything, even though there are things I probably ought to review so that I don't end up super behind again. No, this is just a plain old, "What if?" post. The hypothetical we're exploring here is pretty neat: What if Marvel gave me a pile of money and said, "Write whatever comics you want and we will publish them."

I am aware that this is pretty high up there on the will-stay-hypothetical scale, but let's imagine for a moment, shall we? Because I happen to know off the top of my head exactly what those comics would be. They would be awesome. Also, incidentally, they wouldn't be original characters, but reimaginings of existing members of the Marvel-verse. 

And they would be very specific reimaginings. What I mean here is that, given the chance, I would so totally write a series of Marvel one-shot arcs exploring the "reverse-verse". I would write a whole bunch of stories about what would happen if MaryJane Watson got bitten by a radioactive spider, or Peggy Carter got the supersoldier serum. 

Other people have done this before, I know, but these are my particular fantasies of how those stories would go. And if anyone from Marvel is reading right now, please be aware that I will totally write all of these for you. You don't even have to give me money. (But it would be very nice if you did.)

1. MJ Watson as Spiderman

MJ goes to visit her friend Gwen one day at Gwen's internship at Oscorp. Gwen is super excited to see MJ (especially since MJ thoughtfully brought her a sandwich), but she's less amused when MJ suggests they try to sneak past that locked door at the end of the hall. It's locked for a reason, MJ, okay?

Obviously MJ goes in anyways, and finds a giant room full of spiders - blegh. She leaves immediately, but not in time to avoid ending up with a couple spiders down her shirt and a bite in a highly inappropriate place (I'm just saying, it would totally happen like that if you went in with anything but high collar on). She says goodbye to Gwen and goes home, where she feels like crap and falls asleep to the sound of traffic and her dad's snores.

In the morning, MJ is shocked to find that she has superstrength, super sticky hands, and that she kind of maybe accidentally destroyed every beauty product she owns. Balls. The day just gets weirder and weirder, until she's home that night, arguing with her dad and he tries to take a swing at her (nothing new). The new part is where she snatched his hand out of mid-air and crushed his hand. Her dad flees the house in terror, and MJ is...happy? Confused? Powerful.

She decides to find out exactly how far her new powers extend, and if she happens to use those powers to spy on cute boys or see what Gwen really does on her days off (almost get mugged while walking to the library - boring!) then that's her business. Along the way she ends up fighting crime because it's not like she can let Gwen be mugged, and, well, it feels good to help people. She knows what it's like to feel powerless. And now she can do something about it.

MJ uses her theater contacts to help make the costume, and figures pretending to be a dude is the best disguise she can think of. She gets Peter's help to make the webshooters - he's a genius after all - and she eventually comes out to Gwen about her extracurricular activities when Gwen's dad tries to arrest her. MJ may be a little flamboyant, a leftover of her acting ambitions, but she loves being a superhero. She loves helping people. It's the role she was born to play.

2. Pepper Potts as Iron Man (Iron Maiden)

Virginia "Pepper" Potts is the wealthy scion of the Potts family, CEO and chief inventor at Potts Industries. She is very good at her job, and she loves it very much. Maybe more than she loves most people. Just saying. When her demonstration of new weapon technology in Afghanistan is interrupted by the use of said technology, Pepper finds herself kidnapped by terrorists who want to make a point about women's roles in world affairs by killing the "infidel whore" on live television. But Pepper's way too invested in living to let go that easily. She jury rigs an exo-skeleton out of spare parts and uses it to break free.

She's barely back in the US a day before Tony, her incredibly competent and highly irreverent assistant (he makes her laugh and he cuts through the bullshit - so what if he's unprofessional?), gives in and shows Pepper the reports saying that she must have slept her way to freedom. With Potts Industries turning away from weapons manufacture, Pepper has a lot of free time on her hands - free time that she uses to finetune the suit she made. 

And then she hears that the same terrorists who kidnapped her have taken hostages at a girl's school near the Pakistan border. Pepper knows exactly what she's going to do.

Tony thinks it's awesome that his boss (and total crush) is a superhero. Rhodey just wants his own suit please. And Obadiah is pretty miffed that Potts Industries isn't making anymore weapons, but he'll find some way to occupy his time. Pepper? Well she's going to do what she does best. Run a respected multi-national corporation, invent awesome world changing things, and save the world for little girls going to school everywhere.

3. Dr. Betty Ross as The Hulk

Noted genetic researcher Dr. Betty Ross is shocked but thrilled to be tapped for a special research project with government funding - looking into the roots of the supersoldier serum. She's very close to unlocking its potential when an earthquake disrupts her experiments and causes a massive lab catastrophe. She's not sure what happened, but she does know that that much radiation should have killed her.

It's not until a conversation with her father, Colonel Thaddeus Ross, turns heated that Betty learns exactly what did happen to her - she Hulks out on her father, who sees the results of the serum and proceeds to hunt his daughter down. (Because, let's be real, he totally would.)

Betty turns to her longtime boyfriend Bruce for help, and Bruce, the cutie-patootie, helps her hide and also helps her try to figure out what's happening to her. But when her father uses Bruce to try to make the Hulk appear, Betty knows she needs to run to keep the people she loves safe. She takes a job offer with Doctors Without Borders in Africa, and begs Bruce not to follow her. As she's going to the airport, her father attacks one last time, and Betty Hulks out. Bruce talks her down, and she manages to make her flight and escape, but now she will have to live on the run while she figures out how to control her new powers!

4. Peggy Carter as Captain America

Peggy Carter is completely invested in the supersoldier program and has loved working with Dr. Erskine and Howard Stark. So when they run into a small snag in the program, she's devastated. They can't go into human testing on the project because the procedure will hurt. Not just a little, but Erskine determines that it will hurt enough to shut down the pain centers of the brain, and could cause brain death. 

She's not about to let that stop them.

Banking on the idea that women have higher pain tolerances than men anyway, Peggy convinces Howard and Erskine to test the formula on her, in secret, just to see if it really works. It's a risk she's willing to take if it will win them the damn war. And it does work. Mostly. The equipment blows up and Erskine is killed in the explosion, but not before Peggy is transformed into a pinnacle of physical perfection. And her compassion and intellect seem to have been heightened too.

The government won't acknowledge her, since the experiment never officially existed, but Peggy isn't going to let that stop her from turning the tide of the war. With a little help from her friend Steve in the SSR, Peggy uses her new powers to hunt down POWs and fight through enemy lines, taking care not to get caught. It's not until she manages to rescue 200 POWs trapped in a HYDRA facility, including Steve's best friend Bucky, that the top brass catch on, and by then it's too late. Captain "America" is a hit.

If only they can make sure she never talks on camera and people realize she's British...

Peggy and Bucky and the other Howling Commandos go after HYDRA with everything they have, considering it a pretty fun snub to the HYDRA Nazis that their best fighter is a woman. They face losses, sure, and Peggy is devastated by the loss of Bucky who had become her closest friend, but she powers on. Finally it comes time for Peggy to face down Red Skull himself, and even though it pains her to do it, Peggy gives up her future with Steve to save the world.

Then she wakes up in the twenty-first century, and everything changes.

5. Lady Sif as Thor (or the heir of Asgard)

Sif has always known that her brother Loki was a little different, but that's no matter to her. She's different as well! While Loki fought for the right to study magic and the secret arts, Sif fought for the right to, well, fight. They are as close as siblings can be, until the day that Father announces his heir: Sif.

Loki is shocked and hurt to see that he's been passed over for his sister, and reacts horribly. He tricks Sif into acting rashly, and then tricks their father into marooning her on Earth while he assumes the throne. Sif is hurt by his actions, and even more by his rage that she, "a mere female", would be granted the throne. But she is bolstered by her new companions. The clever and kind Dr. Foster, the wise Dr. Selvig, and the most entertaining Lady Darcy. Sif might not be at home on Midgard with these mortals, but she is happy. Until she learns of her brother's actions and that she must save Asgard from his rage.

6. Mystique and Emma Frost as Magneto and Professor X (or rather, their roles in the X-Men)

Emma Frost grew up in luxury in the Americas, while Raven Darkholme was captured by Nazis when they raided her family's camp. As a Romani child, Raven is slated to be gassed, but when she tries to escape by shifting to look like a guard, they catch her and decide studying her would be much more interesting. Dr. Shaw spends years with her, trying to mold Raven into the perfect weapon. When she finally manages to escape, she vows revenge.

Meanwhile, Emma Frost has taken up the gauntlet of Mutant Rights in New York. Discretely, of course. She hosts parties, uses her telepathy to charm the right people, and generally pushes the agenda in her own direction. Eventually, though, she pushes too far and reaches the attention of the good people at the FBI - Moira MacTaggert, particularly. They need Emma's help. And then Emma meets Raven, and the rest, as you would, is history.

So those are mine. That's what I would write if given the chance. What would you do if Marvel gave you a pile of money and said to write anything you want?

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