This is a kind of “Wish-List” post, not about HeroClix but for a sci-fi/superhero movie.
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about diversity in movies, roles for black actors, and so forth. There was also a flap a few months ago — around the time of the release of the latest James Bond film, “SPECTRE” — about the possibility of Idris Elba as the next Bond. I didn’t think much of it; I think Idris Elba would make a great Bond. He can and has morphed into very different characters. He’s got the chops. I do think he’s maybe to “old” for the role.
Started thinking: “Idris Elba as Blue Marvel.” Blue Marvel is one of Marvel Comics better “riffs” on competitor DC Comics’ Superman. “Wouldn’t Elba still be too old? ” you may ask. I say, “Depends on how the story is told.”
Let’s start with Captain America — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America
Captain America Comics #1, hit the news stands in December of 1940 with a cover date of March 1941. Whether they knew it back then or not, the company that would become Marvel was dabbling in a sci-fi concept of “super-soldiers”. Since then, plenty of fodder for storylines has bern made of trying to either re-create or improve on the process that took frail, sickly Steve Rogers from “zero to hero” as a “peak human”. I like the fact that the first issue hit the stands so long before the U.S. finally entered the war. Makes me think there was a significant portion of the American people that knew we’d have to join in to help our allies fight against the aggressions of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.
Let’s now consider another angle: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth:_Red,_White_%26_Black and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Airmen
TRUTH: Red, White, & Black. A series that has gone through some “retroactive continuity revisions” to make it fit into Marvel’s narrative universe. The version that makes the most sense to me puts these experiment on African-Americans during WWII, but after Steve Rogers’ transformation, as part of a “mad dash” to rediscover the knowledge about the super-soldier process that Dr. Erskine took to the grave with him. Give Marvel a way of getting Isaiah Bradley into the MCU [if he isn’t alread; I’ve missed every episode of this year’s “Agent Carter”, hoping to catch up soon].
Now consider: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/forgotten-genius.html and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Lavon_Julian. So, Adam “Blue Marvel” Brashear as a forgotten genius.
Splice in: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Atom Captain Atom, a DC Comics-nee-Charlton Comics character. Thumbnail: Military experiments with an alien alloy result in an accident that sheathes Cap in an energy-absorbing/projecting metallic skin. If he absorbs too much energy, he ends up “time-shifting”; instead of exploding, he expends the energy reflexively rupturing and repairing the space-time continuum on a one-way trip forward in time, re-appearing hours, days, weeks, years, even decades later in the same geographical location. [Sidenote: Love contemplating all the things that could go wrong with sci-fi concepts like time travel or teleportation. I mean, what with the Earth spinning on its axis, orbiting the Sun, and the solar system moving through the Galaxy… must be some sort of “gravity anchoring” involved to keep the intrepid travelers for ending up in the void of outer space or the heart of a star… but, I digress.]
Next consider: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan_(comics) The Samaritan, one of the better “riffs” on or “homages” to Superman. Someone born on Earth, in a far-future time period. That far-future near-Utopia is in jeopardy, though, and Asa volunteers to be sent back in time to prevent the disaster centuries before it appears. Gains Superman-like powers in the process. Stops the disaster, but also changes the timeline: his future no longer exists.
“What’s that got to do with Idris Elba playing Blue Marvel?!”
Well, seems like a good baseline for a Marvel superhero origin movie. Adam Brashear, Korean War vet and under-appreciated genius scientist, working on a Cold War project connected to using some alien mineral or other material (maybe Cavourite Crystals?) in experiments to recreate Erskine’s super-soldier process. Shows potential, but he’s being under-funded thanks to feuds in Congress over other military spending, other political pressures (have him as a yankee African-American scientist from Montana working his project in a late-1950’s South that’s benefiting from Cold War military spending).
Unexpected, incredible success on the eve of being shut down. He’s given himself superpowers. Keeps his success hush-hush. Adopts the fully-helmeted Blue Marvel identity. Does some great deeds of daring-do at home and abroad. Says some things that are anti-war, anti-Communism, but also pro-civil rights here at home.
So, he gets the Soviets and the Americans pissed at him. Eventually he’s doing such a good job, “certain ‘rogue’ elements” within the Russian and American administrations conspire an ambush, involving an atomic weapon. They try to blow him up.
Given his energy-absorbing powers, he pulls a Captain Atom-style time-displacement. Ends up in the far future. Let’s say, 30th century. Paradise on Earth. Starts to live a goid life.
War comes to paradise. “Barbarians at the Gates.” In this timeline, the Earth had gone on to colonize part of the galaxy. Certain things were done, as a conquering species tends to do. Peak expansion around the 28th century. Now, after a period of peace and a slide into complacency, the Earth is invaded by a coalition of human and aliens and robots, headed by a self-styled “Conqueror” named Kang, who’s commiting acts every bit as brutal as what the Terrans are accused of committing in the past.
A cross-time battle to save the earth ensues. Blue Marvel ends up victorious, having saved the Earth, but is stranded back in the 21st century, not knowing if his 30th century future — where he’d had 20 yearrs of paradise, building a family and new life of scientific and spiritual exploration where he didn’t have to hide, and is lauded as a hero from a halcyon time (even though he knows better) — will now come to be.
Edit: Hmm. Maybe he could eventually end up further back in time? To become Heimdall??
Edit II: You know, there’s a chance to incorporate some of Busiek and Pacheco’s Avengers Forever beats as well.