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I'm going to try and reimagine the Marvel Universe as a dark fantasy.
In ages past, the gods forged a world. Odin, king of all gods, then decreed that no deity would interact with this world except for the Great Weaver, whose work is necessary for it to even keep existing. Loki, the trickster god, defied this order, and was cast out. The world was sealed from the rest of the cosmos, where it would know not the light of divinity, and Loki was imprisoned within, the only god of this world an incorrugible knave.
Still, the lock was not completely impossible to open, and the gods decided to use this world as a place to dump devils. Three demon lords Apocalypse, Dormammu, and Mephisto went on to make a deal with an evil sorceror in the land of Preussen. As his heart and mind were filled with unspeakable dark magicks, he became demonic himself, and was known only as the Red Skull. The Red Skull assassinated the king of Pruessen and seized the throne by force, subjugating the country and raising an army dedicated to unholy perfection in body and mind, obsessed with purging the weak, in the hope they might follow the Red Skull in becoming demons.
Under threat of Preussian expansion, and without sufficient time to fully rally their own forces, the kingdoms of Amric and Latveria assembled a small team of their greatest champions in the hope of killing the Red Skull before he could launch a full-scale invasion. From Amric came Sir Stephen, the Knight of Stars, wielder of the Shining Shield; and Logan, a wild man and the best hunter and scout in the kingdom. From Latveria came the wizards Szakértő Magnus, Master of Metal, and Szakértő Xavier, Master of the Mind. Joined by Prince Namor of Atlantis, the comrades penetrated deep into the heart of Preussen, overcoming many hardships and slaying demons and devils, until finally reaching the citadel where the Red Skull waited.
The Red Skull was more powerful than any of them imagined. He slew Sir Stephen, taking his shield for himself, and the other members of the fellowship were scattered. Without time to properly rally their forces, Amric and Latveria eventually fell to Preussen's relentless assaults. Atlantis survived, for demons have trouble attacking underwater dwellings, but Namor knew that a counterattack was pointless; as time passed and the Red Skull's grip on power did not loosen, his despair turned to disgust at how to surface dwellers meekly accepted their fates, and ultimately Atlantis turned its back on the surface altogether.
Logan retreated to his home in Hyborea, where the king's fleshcrafters abducted him and several of his tribe to try and subjected them to horriffic experiments to create the ultimate fighter who would be able to resist the imminent Preussian invasion. Though the project met with some success, the invasion came sooner than expected, and Logan escaped into the woods, now completely feral and a mere wild animal, albeit one with a metal skeleton who cannot die. Preussian forces slaughtered the rest of the test subjects and dumped them in a mass grave, but from the pool of the dead emerged a nameless, bloodthirsty immortal who performs violence for whoever can pay the most - and he accepts victims as part of the payment.
A century has passed since then. The Red Skull still sits atop his throne, having expanded his kingdom, now an empire, into numerous neighbouring lands, and the expansion shows no sign of stopping. His fanatical zealots maintain order over a cowed populace, who just try to survive for a few extra months, hoping they do not get chosen as test subjects for some twisted magickal experiment. The people are divided, class fighting class, and all seeking to burn the 'witches' and banish the 'angels' who have recently begun to appear; this suits the Red Skull just fine, as a divided people are no threat.
The best the people can hope for is to become part of the oppression and gain better food and bedding, but even that is a harsh life, as the Skull Knights must constantly struggle, fight, and resort to ever-deeper acts of cruelty to be noticed; this is deliberate, so as to maintain the strength and viciousness that that the oppression requires. At the top of the hierarchy is the Iron Man, an alchemist who, after suffering a chest injury, devised an enchanted breastplate for himself which keeps his body together, but which he cannot remove. Worse, the Iron Man's armour has a bloodthirsty demon living inside it which can only be calmed by killing; if the Iron Man goes more than a day without killing somebody, the demon will start whispering in his mind, with increasing strength over time, until it finally takes full control and goes on a rampage.
Those Skull Knights that excel in violence and sadism have their wish granted by the Red Skull and become demons - but these are not intelligent, cunning demons like the Red Skull himself. No, these demons are mindless beasts, all teeth and claws with the occasional tentacle, good only for fighting and killing. Why does this keep happening? Well, obviously nobody has yet mastered the strength of mind and body, nor the loyalty, necessary.
The truth, however, is that the Red Skull just doesn't want anybody to be able to challenge him. He learned that lesson before he himself ever granted a boon with Bruce, an alchemist in his slave lab who was researching more powerful weapons. The orichalcum core ruptured, unleashing a horde of fleshless demons in the lab. The rest of the workers were killed, but Bruce survived due to bonding with two of the demons that were unleashed, who can manifest in the physical world through Bruce's body. J'Fek of Darkness awakens whenever Bruce falls asleep; he is a ruthless but pragmatic criminal, using his impressive strength and cunning to lead a violent but comfortable life. Hulk of Rage awakens whenever Bruce gets angry; stupid, brutal, and very very very strong, Hulk very nearly defeated the Red Skull the first time he manifested, spurred by Bruce's rage at the treatment of himself and others by the régime. The Red Skull only survived because of of his guards managed to teleport Hulk to somewhere far away... but Hulk is not dead, and he is now angrier than ever, having been denied his vengeance.
But despite his absolute power, there are others who oppose the Red Skull. Magnus and Xavier hid out on an island and began gathering the witches and angels to them. In truth, the witches are just humans born with special abilities, while the angels are those with strange, misshapen forms (so they're all mutants). The Red Skull has called for their extermination as evidence of impurity, and while this is mostly to keep his subjects divided, he himself is so full of hatred that he probably believes his own hype. Magnus believes that the time has come for the gifted, as they call themselves, to rise up and either exterminate the mundanes or dominate them; Xavier attempts to keep Magnus from going too far, acting as a reasoned confidant who believes in co-existence of the gifted and the mundanes, but if they have to trample a few mundanes to defeat the Red Skull, then so be it.
Within the ashes of Old Latveria some stories of a throneless king, a man in a suit of enchanted armour who at all times wears a metal mask and claims the crown of the country. Victor von Doom has recently raised a small force of homunculi and automatons, powered by the souls of those who have failed him, and driven back the demons from his base of operations. Within New Latveria, as he has proclaimed it, peace and order reigns, and those who would disturb it are, ahem, compelled to leave. Unbeknownst to most, he wears his metal mask to conceal horrific burns that he suffered from a botched experiment for which he blames his former friend, Reed, even though Reed tried to warn him the experiment was unsafe. As punishment, Reed was ordered to leave New Latveria to seek out the elemental lords alongside his wife, Susan; his son-in-law, Jonathan; and his best friend, Benjamin. They eventually did find the elemental lords, who each granted one of them a boon in exchange for a curse. Benjamin wished for strength; his skin became living rock at the cost of his senses of touch and taste. Jonathan wished to be able to fight from on high; he gained power over fire, but from that day forth was always on fire himself. Susan wished for stealth; she was granted invisibility, becoming as clear as air, at the cost of never being able to become visible. Reed wished for intelligence; he was granted the greatest mind in the world, at the cost of a body made of rubber. The four returned to New Latveria to assist Doom with his restoration of order.
And in the capital itself, whispers circulate in the slums of the Knight of Spiders. Perhaps he is even a real knight, as in the days of Sir Stephen. What is known is that he robs the rich to feed the poor, and those who claim to have seen him swear he has the courage to mock the Skull Knights, and even the Red Skull himself; and, moreover, he absolutely refuses to take a life, no matter how evil. Nobody thinks he has a chance to make a real difference - but then again, when you can't think of a way out, hope may be all you have.
Hire critics to write comics...
...however comics and critique are completely different mediums. An analyst does not make a good writer, they might know what they're doing but their execution can still be poor.
edited 11th Apr '18 5:20:30 PM by ParaChomp
I would love to read a comic about this! It's a really cool and interesting idea. Your take on the Fantastic Four is very reminiscent of Marvel 1602, is this intentional?
And I think adapting Spider-Man into a Robin Hood-like figure is very inspired. It fits his character really well.
Reminds me of something I was thinking- There's a lot of interesting things that can be done with Doom being constantly masked, especially when coupled with Actually a Doombot. Like I could see an imagining where Doom or the equivalent had only one power- which was duplication with some psychic connection between copies, or better yet for a Medievalesque setting, just using doubles. Thinking about The Man in the Iron Mask as well as The Prestige, you could even have it that "Doom" is two people- the prince and his loyal brother, who is either a twin or an illegitimate sibling that nonetheless looks almost identical.
Also, I had this idea of exploring some of those Doom things with a Distaff Counterpart maybe called Lady D'eath or something like that, who was also somewhat reminiscent of Madame Masque. Whether via duplication powers or doubles, part of the reveal would be to explore some stereotypes about female characters/female villains, with their being the typical rumors of her being ugly under the mask, gorgeous, or gorgeous but vain and unable to deal with a slight imperfection. But the actual person would be plain and The Nondescript, and I thought of doing a Two Aliases, One Character thing where people made connection between the Lady of War conqueror and this other person who was believed to be some minor lady in waiting or castle servant.
I've been thinking that we don't get much focus on sisterly relationships in superhero comics. The most we got was Wonder Woman and Donna Troy and even that doesn't get much focus.
I liked the idea of Jade Nguyen having a sister in Young Justice so I'd integrate some of that backstory into the comics. I don't know how I feel about Artemis' name so maybe I'd change that to something Bridget or Ingrid. Also maybe make them the children of different dads to make Artemis less similar to Cass Cain and Rose Wilson.
My idea was both Jade and Artemis were raised by a single mom. Jade in an attempt to support her family got involved in the wrong crowd and ended up an assassin. Artemis and Paula moved to the states and Artemis took up with the Arrow clan gaining the name Tigress in contrast with her sister's Cheshire cat name.
edited 13th Apr '18 5:31:21 AM by windleopard
I haven't read 1602, but I know the general details. I wasn't originally going for an allusion, but that version just fit so well I couldn't think of anything better.
Here's my idea for the Phantom Lady character:
So, as I posted in the Atop the Fourth Wall thread, I had an idea related to the villain of the ill-received Punisher revamp, Olivier.
Namely, it is a Spider-Man story wherein we see Olivier was reconstituted and made a servant of Mephisto...and now wants to work toward being a free demon, and corrupt Peter's soul using memories of the One More Day deal, distorted and manipulated. This comes with a new design for this villain, a grey and black bat-like demon with four eyes, fangs, and a freaky half BDSM half straight jacket ensemble reflecting his forced servitude to Mephisto.
The Stalkers also return - but likewise have a big redesign, their looks as demonic creatures reflecting how they died. For example, a Stalker killed by a bullet to the head has an additional mouth where the bullet went through, and in general have longer arms and legs that a normal human should.
Olivier's plan is to make Peter kill people, both to corrupt his soul, and to swell the ranks of the Stalkers, who can then participate in further darkening Peter's soul.
iirc the Joe Kelly run of Spider-Man/Deadpool had Mephisto try to corrupt Peter's soul. Granted your scenario is different but the broad strokes (demon lord attempts to corrupt Peter's soul) have been done before.
I know about that.
However the exact execution instead focuses on the increasing temptation to use lethal violence on an escalatingly violent batch of mundane crooks at the same time as distorted memories of the One More Day deal start to surface - this serves Olivier's ends two ways. Corrupting Peter's soul, and giving him more Stalkers, who are played more like Cenobites than standard goons - ergo, they partake in the former goal as well.
They appear to Peter in hazy circumstances, intending to leave it ambiguous to him if they were real or not - urging him to further dash down the slippery slope.
I was thinking of re-working the Enchantress back to her Magical Girl Warrior roots. I took some inspiration from Lyrical Nanoha, WITCH and Dr Strange.
Jun Moon (who I've rewritten to be of mixed Korean and Japanese heritage) to be an art student who discovers her teacher Piers Dzamor is a being from a dimension of mages who has come to Earth to evade a ruthless tyrant of the planet Rackor. When Dzamor is discovered, he leaves for Jun behind a mysterious grimoire to protect and clues to seek out a magical instructor. Jun finds herself becoming a protector of Earth from mystical forces as she learns magic from Dzamor's friends.
The Enchantress character would be a separate being like her movie counterpart that, a goddess of Rackor that the villain is trying to revive.
Rosabelle Mendes reimagined as a Mayan Jaguar demigod.
Had an idea for an Elsewords of sorts revolving around Roy Harper, Jade Nguyen and Artemis Crock with the latter two taking inspiration from their YJ counterparts.
The premise is basically having the three as a “Heroes for Hire” of sorts team which involves them taking on missions like rescuing kidnapped children, victims of human trafficking and impoverished areas were drugs are being dumped.
Roy Harper/Arsenal - For the most part I would have Roy be the same as his comic counterpart but with some changes. Firstly, he’s Navajo not white and his parents are alive. Also, he has a little sister because I like when adaptations give characters siblings and make it work :). Roy would get involved in the superhero business via his uncle Jim the retired superhero Guardian who also introduces him to Green Arrow. After that, Roy becomes founding member of the Teen Titans as a teenager before growing up and graduating to become the superhero Arsenal. Roy’s drug addiction will of course be included and be used but not exploited as certain stories that will not be named have.
Artemis Crock/Tigress - Daughter of ex-supervillain Lawrence Crock (Sportsmaster) and Paula Nguyen. Like with her YJ counterpart, Artemis gets involved in superheroes via a connection to Green Arrow. Unlike YJ, Artemis uses the Tigress persona from the get go. Paula was never Tigress, Huntress or a costumed villain or nay sort. Artemis is also friends with Rose Wilson. Artemis’ episodes would usually revolve around her trying to piece her family back together. Which leads to….
Jade Nguyen/Cheshire - This version borrows elements from her comic and YJ animated incarnations. While Jade is half-Vietnamese, she is full blooded Vietnamese here and the daughter of a Vietnamese who married Paula but died later on. This makes Jade and Artemis half-siblings. As a child, Jade was kidnapped and sold into slavery. After being “rescued” by Weng Chan she is forced into becoming an assassin. But when she is hired to kill her sister Artemis, she is unable to go through with it and is arrested. Through some help, Artemis and Roy have her released and join their team as a sort of “community service”.
I made Jade heroic here for a number of reasons.
1) I liked her YJ counterpart a lot more than the Dragon Lady stereotype the comic version devolved into under certain writers.
2) There’s something rather troubling about how often superhero comics make villains out of characters from traumatic and poor backgrounds and I thought the idea of a former slave turning her life around and being returned to her family would be much better.
3) I feel the direction I picked for Jade opens up some interesting stories about how woc are treated, dealing with PTSD and how difficult it can be to be part of society after being taken from it at such a young age. Jade and Roy’s romance will happen but later down the road and her stories would mostly be about her and Artemis’ relationship.
What about Peter Parker in a world without any superpowers? No Spider-Man, just Peter Parker and his amazing friends. High school, families, hanging out... and there are some crimes, that Peter and his friends deal with as meddling kids.
Just watch Riverdale, and change Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead for Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane and Harry Osbourne, and Norman Osbourne instead of Hiram Lodge, and it would work.
Can we...not do that?
That's the worst idea you've ever had. And you've had some doozies.
It's not as if Marvel had someone reading us, anyway. This idea belongs in the "it'll never happen" realm, alongside the solo film starring armor. If any of this ever actually gets done, it will be just as a fanfic or an amateur youtube video.
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