Set in medieval times, Dark Knights Of Steel is proving to be a wonderful reimagining of the DC Universe. While it focuses primarily on Superman and Batman, it does include several characters lesser known by the world at large — like Black Lightning, John Constantine, and Poison Ivy. Tom Taylor and Yasmine Putri are putting together something special, not seen since the heyday of the Elseworlds imprint.
Comic fans naturally ponder if Marvel could do something similar. After all, Marvel has begun fully embracing its multiverse in line with a similar focus from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As ever with comic books, the answer is yes.
8 1602 Was Already A Reimaging In An Earlier Period
Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert’s 1602 re-envisioned the Marvel Universe at the dawn of the age of exploration. Marvel is no stranger to the age of chivalry, with the Black Knight‘s origins lying directly with his ancestor, Sir Percy of Scandia. Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #1 even established there was a medieval team of Avengers.
While a Marvel version of Dark Knights could explore the Avengers of that era, it might be better to reimagine current heroes and villains as knights, squires, lords, and ladies. Tony Stark wearing conventional armor is almost expected. Hawkeye as the Robin Hood archetype is another easy adaption. The Black Knight makes way for unexpected stories to develop.
7 Marvel Can Do Plot Twists Exceptionally Well When Freed From Continuity
Dark Knights of Steel is proving adept at including moments that defy expectations. Although the Black Knight established in regular continuity is Dane Whitman or Sir Percy, a chance exists for a twist. Imagine the Black Knight betrayed by the Iron Knight and revealed to be Steven Rogers.
There are several other heroes whose stories could be altered, astonishing fan’s expectations. Doctor Strange would be a natural wizard, but what if he was revealed to be manipulated by the Darkchilde? Such a dilemma would put his protege, the young Wanda in a difficult place, forced to confront two powerful magic-users.
6 Marvel Shouldn’t Limit Themselves To The Iconic Heroes and Villains
1602 had a weakness in limiting the cast to the Silver Age characters. When there is a character called the Moon Knight, he begs to be included in a medieval reimagining. Mentioning a savage beast in the forest could misdirect readers to suspect an appearance from Wolverine, but to the shock of the readers it could be Tigra.
The forest can provide the perfect setting for Hawkeye, his wife Mockingbird, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and possibly Squirrel Girl. While the primary setting may be England, bringing adventurers from other places would broaden the scope of the central story.
5 Use The Current X-Men World To Give The Heroes Something To Search For
Jonathan Hickman‘s world of Krakoa created a definitive shift for the mutants of the Marvel Universe. Making an “uncanny land” the focus of speculation sets up an intriguing premise about a quest for legendary riches and/or the secret of immortality. It could even set up the inevitable conflict between the Iron Knight and the Black Knight.
Does Krakoa need to be an island? Given medieval technology, there’s no reason the mutants couldn’t feel safe being secluded away in dense forest, or surrounded by mountains. The discovery of Krakoa could set the stage for the story’s real villain to be revealed.
4 Marvel’s Events Are Less About The Story And More About The Characters
Marvel’s best events can easily be adapted within a medieval setting. Thanos can be lurking in the background trying to discover a way back to the stars after being stranded on a backward world not worth conquest. Skrulls can be establishing a waystation, unaware their enemies the Kree have hidden an army of super-soldiers in the mountains.
The stories Marvel invents focus on the characters entrenched in the conflict. Rick Jones, Captain Marvel, and the Avengers were at the heart of the Kree-Skrull War. At the core of Infinity Gauntlet one found Thanos, Adam Warlock, and powerful heroes who felt useless. Meanwhile, the most recent Secret Wars had at its climax grounded in the personal animosity between Doctor Doom and Reed Richards.
3 Marvel Has Great Writers To Handle A Medieval Version Of Their Characters
Marvel has excellent writers fully capable of reworking their characters for a medieval world. Benjamin Percy, Jason Aaron, Donny Cates, and Kelly Thompson are some of the most prolific of Marvel’s current writers. Of Marvel’s many talented storytellers, three stand out as the favorites to create the hypothetical Marvel Medieval.
Kurt Busiek wrote Avengers #2-3 where Morgan Le Fay transformed the Avengers, all 39 of them, into an Arthurian army under her control. Tini Howard demonstrated her skill for drafting stories of this flavor during her work on Excalibur and the upcoming Knights of X. Jonathan Hickman has completely redefined the world of X-Men — a title that could offer a truly different world if converted to medieval form.
2 Marvel Has So Much Talent The Series Could Be An Anthology With Bookend Chapters
The expectation from blockbuster events is providing a tentpole series with various tie-ins to maximize the story and of course, sales of comic books to fans who don’t want to miss a single beat. A project like this might work best by structuring it as an anthology — freeing the primary creative team to focus on a first and last issue, with pages thrown in at the beginning or end of the other issues to progress the core story.
Keeping this as a stand-alone series allows for multiple creators to exercise creative freedom in a way that can convey excitement to the readers. Whenever a creator enjoys the project, anyone looking in from the outside can feel it. Keeping the installments short makes for a longer story that stays on schedule and gives all readers something to love.
1 Defying Expectations Is What Marvel Does Best
Whenever Marvel Comics announces a project, fans (especially longtime fans) instantly express skepticism about it. Many more fans experience cautious assumptions about what to expect. Few fans could have expected that when Civil War launched in 2006, it would begin a story that spanned multiple events for another four years.
Marvel defies fan expectations like no other company ever has. From their very genesis, they constantly surprise everyone especially when readers think the formula has been set in stone. Even if they duplicated something DC Comics has done, Marvel can demonstrate a stunning mastery over the medium that are comic books.
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