Malekith & Winter Soldier Comic Book Reading Guide
If you've seen Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, and are ready for their sequels. This small guide to the comic book reading material will point you to the right comics to learn more about the characters being headlined in these upcoming sequels of the MCU.
Marvel has been painting an amazing picture for their cinematic universe, so well, that the other studios are starting to do the same with THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2-4, and the expanding X-MEN and WOLVERINE franchises. If you saw any of the Comic-Con panels (or happened to be attending), most of them only had a few moments of awe-struck fandom, but they all had wonderful announcements toward the future of the MCU.
With every new announcement comes a new character, a new film, a reference to a continuation, or a series adjustment. While a good few will know who the general characters are, at least, from the mainstream context given in some of the films we've seen. A large amount of you probably have no clue as to who some of these characters are, from what comics, and where they come from.
Funny enough, some of the actors (shamingly, and frustratingly) have no clue about their characters, which gives us no help if they portray them straight off a page of script without any flair. We get it masked in "we're not supposed to talk about the film" rhetoric. However, we can tell when an actor has no idea who their characters are in the comics. Of all the people we've seen at Comic-Con this year, I'd say Omar Sy, and Halle Berry demonstrated the most general clueless behavior when speaking about their characters. Berry at one point had no idea if Storm was "Asexual" while audience and panel members yelled out "Black Panther!" in response, slightly shocked at her comment. Sy, I'll give some benefit of the doubt, he seemed like he had a language barrier. Someone recently reminded me about Evan Peters, who is portraying Quicksilver, how he was completely clueless, constantly making the "he's fast" jokes.
While the actors may not (depending on your opinion) need to know who our beloved characters (really) are to play them (I think they do, but that's personal opinion). We, the audience, sometimes need a little help understanding some of the more elaborate characters on the screen, especially when based on epic comic book characters and their universes. So let’s take a deeper look at these characters and get some guidance to comic material that we can read to learn more about new characters and storylines coming into the next set of films.
We've all seen THOR (by now) and while I loved the film with, everyone's favorite Asgardian. I wanted more time in Asgard and much more super-villainy. I was slightly dissappointed at the short length of the film. However, while we were starved for (more) Asgard in the first film, the sequel, THOR: THE DARK WORLD, will see us well fed with the addition of Thor's old enemy, Malekith.
The First appearance of the Dark Elf, is in 1984, Thor #344, and you can get this issue and others that follow on Marvel's website, digitally. You don't have to (but it's nice to) scour a comic-shop for older print versions (running my fingers through long boxes is like cat-nip to me).
But here is a solid listing of the comics you will want to read through to give you a ton of insight without having to start from square one with our favorite thunder god.
Thor #344-349: Algrim is introduced, and subsequently killed in #347
Secret War II #4 & 6: Algrim is revealed to still be alive, and transformed into Kurse by the Beyonder.
Thor #485-487, 489
Thor Volume 2 #29-32
Balder the Brave #1-4
Incredible Hercules #134, 136
A large portion of these issues are in one compendium release from 2011, simply titled THOR, by Walter Simonson, in an awesome hardcover edition. However, this edition does not start from Malekith's first appearance, and includes many of Thor's enemies that are all of great import, and may possibly have any number of connections to future MCU films.
NOTE: In case you may be among a small minority of people making a simple mistake, Algrim, the dark elf in the animated film THOR: TALES OF ASGARD, is not Malekith in the upcoming live action film. However, he will be in, The Dark World, and is being played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the credits listing him online are (also) showing him as Kurse. I expect an epic battle between both, whether it will be climactic, at the end, or throughout the film, who knows! Adewale, alone, playing this character should bring an intensity we will all be thrilled to see.
Captain America, Winter Solider
I love Cappy, he's one of my favorite characters in all of Marvel, because he is actually inspired from a real person. No, I'm not saying we had a super-serum enhanced soldier in WWII. I'm saying we had the U.S. War Bond selling “Captain” (The Star Spangled Man) in WWI-II. We got to see a lot of what Comic fans already understood as his origin in the first film - grant it, variations of it, but the essence is there.
The film also properly setup the origin spark for Bucky Barnes, which is who we are getting in the 2nd film as it’s antagonist. In terms of what I (I’m being specific) understand of Cappy, you'll want to read up on Winter Soldier carefully. This character is (more than likely) going to be pivotal in some of the story telling moving forward, at least with just Cappy in mind, not just the overall MCU. Much of Bucky’s description as a character may spoil a lot of what (potentially) is to come. So check out the comic series listed below carefully. Why is it critical? Joss Whedon recently talked about the potential to kill off characters from the Avengers. Which means any number of comic book deaths may be in store in any multitude of possible interpretations.
Captain America Volume 5 #1 "Out of Time" Series I-VI
Captain America #34 (2008) -- This comic might be potentially nerve wracking in terms of what is a possibility toward future storylines. I doubt it though...but again, reference Joss Whedon Interviews..
Captain America Comics #1 (1941) We already know the generic origins of Bucky, and there are a few animated interpretations of the same origins. All of which are mostly different from the live action films re-interpretations. This comic would be extremely difficult to find, and expensive, unless there is a digital version to download somewhere, but you can read about Bucky's 1941 origins here
There is a lot more I can point out for Captain America, I can go in depth on Red Skull, or point you in the direction of the Civil War series (among my favorites) but we have a perfect example of who he is from the 1st film, which did his character nearly to perfection. Now, perfect in my mind, is a mid 1980's Chuck Norris with no beard, but hey Chris Evans is pretty damn great in the role! He conveys the stubborn, struggling, trying to understand our world hero. We saw the man who has an enormous need to do good for his fellow brothers in arms, and all that jazz, portrayed exceptionally well. We got him in a nutshell, but damn that was an awesome nutshell.
There will be more Comic Reading Guides for all the new additions to the MCU, keep a look out for them. This was originally the introduction to the "GOTG Guide For Noobs"
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