Comics: Black Widow, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision and More – The Graphic Novels to Prep You For MCU Phase 4 Part 1

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San Diego Comic Con has once more come and gone but Marvel Studios has gotten fans stoked with their announcement of their upcoming plate of Phase 4 movies. A mix of new movies, spin-offs, and sequels designed to maintain MCU’s momentum even after the mega climax that was Avengers: Endgame. Not much was revealed other than the titles and the cast of each film but that was enough information for long-time fans to speculate what possible storylines Marvel Studios could be drawing from. Check them out here (with more to come in Part 2!):

Black Widow – Black Widow: Itsy-Bitsy Spider by Devin Grayson, Greg Rucka, JG Jones, and Scott Hamptom: It was announced in SDCC that the new Black Widow movie will introduce Yelena Boleva, another Black Widow and flesh out Natasha’s back story further. The movie is rumored to be set in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The Marvel Knights series is about Yelena’s attempts to eliminate Natasha and prove that she is the better agent to wear the code name of Black Widow. The story also explores further Natasha’s backstory as a KGB agent and her time in the Red Room. The second half of Itsy-Bitsy Spider is all about Natasha trying to redeem Yelena from falling into darkness.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier – All-New Captain America Vol.1: Hydra Ascendant by Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen: The first Marvel streaming series will supposedly center on the US government being against Sam Wilson becoming the next Captain America. Baron Zemo from Civil War will return to cause trouble.  Hydra Ascendant chronicles Sam’s first adventure as Cap. It’s a non-stop roller coaster ride where he goes up against Zemo and a murderer’s row of Steve Rogers’ worst adversaries to stop a deadly virus from being released. In the midst of the adventure, he questions if he is truly worthy to be Steve’s successor. While Bucky doesn’t appear in this book, in the show he can easily assume the role of Nomad (Steve Roger’s adopted son, that’s another story in itself) who helps Sam battle Hydra.

The Eternals – Eternals by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr.: This group of super-powered immortals is virtually unknown to the mainstream. Older Marvels fans may have a passing familiarity with these Jack Kirby creations from the seventies. The 2007 mini-series serves as a reboot of sorts, introducing heroic Ikaris, woman warrior Thena, speedster Makkari, and a host of other immortals. In the series, all the Eternals have been given false memories and now live in the human world. When Ikaris starts to remember who he is, he sets about finding the other Eternals to awaken them before their enemies, the monstrous Deviant destroy them. They must also figure out who gave them false memories.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Secret Avengers: Eyes of the Dragon by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato Jr.: To those new to the character, Shang-Chi is a master of kung fu who debuted in the seventies when martial arts movies were really popular. He was mostly involved in the espionage corner of the Marvel Universe. Right off the bat, Marvel Studios is making him relevant in the MCU by making him the son of the Mandarin, the leader of the terrorist organization, the Ten Rings. As MCU fans will recall, the Ten Rings kidnapped Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie. And while the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 was a fake, the Marvel short film All Hail The King revealed that the Mandarin actually exists. In the Eyes of the Dragon story Shang-Chi joins Steve Rogers, and a black-ops Avengers team to stop his evil father bent on taking over the world (originally, Shang Chi’s father in the comics was Chinese criminal mastermind Fu Manchu but after Marvel lost the copyright to the character, they kept his identity mysterious). It is a great showcase that spotlights how resourceful Shang-Chi is in a world filled with super powered beings.

WandaVision – Avengers: Vision Quest by John Byrne: Not much is known about this new series other than the focus will be on Avengers couple Wanda and Vision. It has yet to be disclosed how the Vision will return after Thanos destroyed him in Avengers: Infinity War. All we know is that at the end of Avengers: Endgame, she was still mourning the loss of the Vision. Marvel could possibly draw on the Vision Quest storyline where the Vision has been dismantled. Wanda (with help from the Avengers) tries to put him back together but encounters hurdles trying to bring back Vision’s humanity. As Wanda struggles with her grief, she discovers new things about her powers that could have terrible ramifications for the world.

 

About the author:

JV Tanjuatco, comic book writer/editor/publisher, founded Comic Book Lab that publishes the comic book titles Mythopolis and War of Whispers (co-created and co-written by him). Comic Book Lab’s most recent project was the graphic novel anthology Stay: 21 Comic Stories authored by Palanca Award winner Angelo R. Lacuesta and illustrated by a stellar line-up of artists including Trese’s Kajo Baldisimo. He has also written articles/reviews for Spot.ph and Ain’t It Cool.

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