Beware of Dogs.
On a sweltering October weekend, the largest-ever group of Marvel superheroes and friends gathered just outside of Atlanta for a top-secret assignment. Eighty-three of the famous faces who have brought Marvel’s comic-book characters to life over the past decade mixed and mingled—Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, bonded with Vin Diesel, the voice of Groot, the monosyllabic sapling from Guardians of the Galaxy. Angela Bassett, mother to Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, flew through hurricane-like conditions to report for duty alongside Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Laurence Fishburne, and Stan Lee, the celebrated comic-book writer and co-creator of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men.
Their mission: to strike a heroic pose to commemorate 10 years of unprecedented moviemaking success. Marvel Studios, which kicked things off with Iron Man in 2008, has released 17 films that collectively have grossed more than $13 billion at the global box office; 5 more movies are due out in the next two years. The sprawling franchise has resuscitated careers (Downey), has minted new stars (Tom Hiddleston), and increasingly attracts an impressive range of A-list talent, from art-house favorites (Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange) to Hollywood icons (Anthony Hopkins and Robert Redford) to at least three handsome guys named Chris (Hemsworth, Evans, and Pratt). The wattage at the photo shoot was so high that Ant-Man star Michael Douglas—Michael Douglas!—was collecting autographs. (Photographer Jason Bell shot Vanity Fair’s own Marvel portfolio shortly afterward.)
The news keeps coming out of Millarworld. The comic company founded by prolific scribe Mark Millar was recently acquired by Netflix, and earlier this month Millar announced The Magic Order, his first new comic under the Netflix banner. But that doesn’t mean Millar is done with his older, established properties. Next year, Millar will launch a new Kick-Ass comic, 10 years after the original run first began. This one will be published by Image Comics instead of Marvel’s Icon imprint, but even more importantly, it will also feature a brand new character underneath the green-and-yellow costume.
In this new Kick-Ass, Dave Lizewski (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the two film adaptations) has given way to a new character in the title role: Patience Lee, a black military veteran with young children. “I don’t think I’ve ever created a better [character],” he says. “I love mom heroes. I did it in Empress and I’ve done it again here.”
Millar has written a lot of superhero stories over his career, and he tells EW he’s fascinated by the “legacy” characters, heroes who inherit the mantles of predecessors.
“The original four volumes of Kick-Ass, the Dave Lizewski story, got tied up a couple of years ago and this is a brand new character. I’d always wanted to do what Doctor Who or The Flash does and create a legacy character, Kick-Ass being designed for that. The idea is that he inspires other people to do what he did, just putting on a costume and cleaning up their neighborhood, and that’s what happens here,” Millar says. “I wanted to shake up the setting a little and shifted the whole thing to New Mexico. The lead is a woman this time, a mother in her early 30s with two young kids. She’s also a military vet who came home to find her life in a completely different setting from the way it was when she went to Afghanistan so the actual dynamic of the book is really different, but at the same time the flavor is identical.”
One thing the new Kick-Ass series will have in common with the previous version, however, is art by the legendary John Romita Jr. Romita most recently contributed art to DC’s blockbuster event series Dark Nights: Metal, but Millar does have a way with artists.
“We’d missed each other so much,” Millar says. “I’d honestly missed his daily insults and pages and just his little Italian face. I love him. We did Kick-Ass right after a Wolverine run back at Marvel and just love working together. Getting him back [at DC] after his big run was just the most incredible coup. We’re really proud of this book and have a lot of big plans for the launch ten years on from the very day when we released this little very simple superhero idea absolutely nobody knew what to expect of.”
The first issue of the new Kick-Ass will hit stores Feb. 14, 2018. Check out an exclusive preview of early pages below, and get your first look at Patience Lee.
Very funny version of Thor: Ragnarok
James Corden enlists the cast of “Thor: Ragnarok” to crash a screening of the film and perform a live-action rendition starring Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeff Goldblum.
Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly were seen in their superhero costumes on the set of Ant-Man and the Wasp vía justjared