Monday, November 11, 2013

Update: The Marvel Universe after THOR: THE DARK WORLD…

Saw it again tonight. =)

I've got some SPOILER additional comments and corrections to my previous post… If you haven't seen THOR 2 yet, turn back now, for here there be SPOILERS!~

When Odin fills Thor and Jane in on the Aether, he mentions that there are relics that survived from before the creation of this universe, and the Aether is one of them. He mentions that the other relics all took the form of stone, but the Aether is fluid. He's flipping thru the Asgardian storybook while explaining, and the imagery might actually describe the stones. There is a rainbow of columns on one left-hand page, with items or runes maybe at the top of them. I'm sure someone must've gotten a screenshot out of a screening by now, but I'm guessing that they don't give anything significant up, or the Asgardians would already know it. Maybe a puzzle of some kind that reveals the locations of the stones? MAYbe? But I didn't notice anything that would obviously be that.

Would've been sweet to see a gilded animated GIF of the gauntlet on one of those Asgardian webpages. =)

Yeah, so I was wrong about the first epilogue. Maybe I was too distracted by the notion of The Collector that I didn't properly hear/listen to Volstagg's dialogue. He definitely says that Odin thinks it's too dangerous to keep TWO of the INFINITY STONES so close to each other and when he says that, he is referring to the Aether and the Tesseract. Cool, but also, Blerg.

This seems to mean that the gauntlet that we saw in the first THOR does not have anything to do with the Infinity Stones/Gems (seems like the movie universe may be calling them stones). Which is not to say that it isn't immensely powerful, cuz it *is* kept in Odin's weapons vault after all, but it probably doesn't give its wearer complete control over the existence the way the Infinity Gauntlet does.

Altho, I suppose at some point predating Bor's rule of Asgard, and the rebellion of the Dark Elves, someone might have possessed the Aether, the Tesseract, and the four other pre-existence relics/stones and fashioned the gauntlet to channel and combine their powers. Some great ancient powers must have defeated him and separated the actual relics from the gauntlet and gems (the gauntlet in the first THOR movies has gems embedded in it).

It really *shouldn't* be the Infinity Gauntlet in the vault. It *is* too dangerous to have two gems in close proximity, much less all six together in the gauntlet, so really, that thing we saw in the vault can't be the Infinity Gauntlet as we know it, because that would be just too plain irresponsible, right? But… Maybe the gems can't be removed from the Gauntlet?

Maybe it fell into this universe from a parallel one. Heh. The SPIDER-MAN, FF, and/or X-MEN movie universe! =)

Or, maybe it's a paradox and is never created or destroyed, but exists in a closed loop in time. Sometime in the future, someone—probably Thanos, perhaps Nebula? let's say Thanos—will don the gauntlet and it will draw the six relics (and/or their power) into its gems and make its wielder all-powerful. When he decides to remake the universe to his own liking, he goes back to the beginning, before the Big Bang, but is pursued by the universe's champions (or they are kept alive by him/his ego, to witness his righteous triumph and creation), and they defeat/outsmart him and remove the gauntlet. One of the champions (I'd say Cap, if we're looking for will and purity of heart) uses the power of the gauntlet to trigger the Big Bang as it was meant to occur, return the champions from whence they came, and then scatter the six relics across existence. depowering it in the process. And thusly do we learn that the Gauntlet (and Thanos) will be, and always will have been, instrumental in the creation of the universe in the first place! Done and done! =)

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Marvel Universe after THOR: THE DARK WORLD…

Saw THOR: THE DARK WORLD yesterday and enjoyed it mucho. A good story, a new/original (as far as my Marvel comics memory can recall) threat, and some great interaction between Thor and Loki. A very cool-looking and interesting movie-realization of the dark elves, particularly Malekith (a clever way to re-create the comic's version's harlequin appearance) and Kurse/Algrim, whom I first met under Simonson's watch. Better, funner writing than the first movie, and some great fun with wormholes. =)

That's as much as I'm gonna jot right now in the way of a "review." What I really want to get to before I forget anything are the epilogues…

Beware. What follows is a SPOILER-ful rambling on the epilogues of the second THOR film…

I was *really* hoping to get a tease of Coulson sucking down some mead and exchanging headbutts with Viking heroes in Valhalla, or haunting the wastes of Niffelheim, perhaps trying to get a message to one of the Asgardian warriors. Alas, no. But then, any Asgardian time of Coulson's should've been spent in the past compared to the timeline of this movie anyway. O well.


We see Volstagg and Sif meet The Collector, played by Benicio Del Toro (! =), to deliver to him one of the Infinity Gems. Apparently Odin has decided that it is too dangerous to keep the gems of the Infinity Gauntlet in the same vault as the Tesseract. On the surface, good thinking, as Asgard and Odin's weapons vault have been compromised or nearly so twice within two years.

The Collector is an Elder of the Universe, one of the I-can't-remember-how-many longest lived beings in the cosmos, each of whom in their old age has become unofficial patron alien of some aspect of existence or another. The Collector collects. He prizes endangered and one-of-a-kind items or beings of the cosmos. In the comic book universe he maintains a world of various artificial environments that are homes to samples or the last of thousands of species. In the comic book universe, the Elders for a time were the keepers of the Infinity Gems and the Collector possessed the yellow Reality gem.

In the THOR epilogue, the case that contains the gem glows red from the inside. The red stone was identified in the comics as the Power gem. The Collector accepts the gem and remarks on the wise decision to separate the gems, from each other and the Tesseract, apparently. Once his guests have gone, the Collector says to himself, "One down… Five to go."

The container for the gem is a little confusing to me. If I didn't know about the Infinity Gems and Gauntlet, the case for the gem would appear to be a miniature version of the containment device that once held the Aether (two black stones/boxes, with the red glowing Aether permitted to radiate from a tight space between them). In the movie universe, is the an Infinity Gem meant to be made of Aether? Since we've already seen the Gauntlet in the vault in the first THOR movie, that really doesn't work for me. I'm pretty certain that Sif or Volstagg called it an "Infinity Gem" ("Infinity Stone?"), too, and referred to there being more than one. So, I think the visual, for the un-Marvel-initiated, might be confusing.

It *would* be kind of interesting to have the gems created or materialize over the course of several Marvel movies, tho, but that would require making them separate and distinct from the Infinity Gauntlet that cameo'd in the first THOR. Why bother, right?

And… The Collector knows there are five more. So yeah. Screw the Aether-as-gem notion. Just a not-very-well-thought-out (or maybe too-overthought on my part) visual design coincidence, right?

Kind of a reach, tacking this on to the end of this movie. I mean, there's no real plot connection between what happens in the film and the events of this epilogue. That's kinda disappointing, but maybe I guess it's just practical, and good use of a now-established channel for tipping fans off about activities that happen behind the scenes, y'know?

Bringing the Collector in sets off my GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY alarm. And for me, it also puts some more movie-time/distance between the present and an ultimate confrontation with Thanos and that is a Good Thing as far as I'm concerned. Thanos is one of The Biggest Bads, and throwing the Avengers and Guardians at him will be awesome, but best done after they've gone a few rounds with other bads (Ultron and the Elders).


Thor beams in from Asgard to Jane Foster's apartment in London and they immediately smooch it up. Sorry, Sif.

Then, a cut to the abandoned shipping warehouse where the first Nine-Worlds-Conjunction wormholes appeared, shipping containers now stacked normally. A small flock of pigeons zips across the scene, followed by a bounding Asgardian beastie (I thought it came from Loki's homeland, the realm of the frost giants, Jotunheim, but not certain) chasing after them and trying to snap a few up in its jaw.

I suspect that the AGENTS OF SHIELD will end up being assigned clean-up on this little fella. Might be an opportunity to get more of the Coulson backstory if it is in fact entangled with an afterlife stay in Asgard.

Hrm… Another way to get the AGENTS more tightly woven to movie events would be to have them stumble upon one of the other Gems. Ohhh… The Soul Gem! That might be a final piece to a Coulson puzzle… OR a VISION puzzle! Wack!

How would they end up working a Gem case? An Asgardian delegation to one of the other Elders/Gem trustee might be intercepted or randomly attacked by enemies of Asgard, or perhaps the Centipede guys, or AIM or HYDRA. If they're capable of hacking SHIELD they might get some up-to-date intel that with some ESPer and Extremis help could give them the advantage of surprise in an attack on a couple of Asgardians in Midgard airspace, right? Anyhow, the Asgardians would smite them, but perhaps not without losing their package.

But to whom on Earth would Odin entrust such an object of power?

How about Doctor Strange? =)

Keep on keepin on~

* November 10, 2013. After a second screening, I found that I missed or misunderstood some of the dialogue in the first epilogue. For updated crazy talk based on a better understanding check out this post. The main of the error is that Volstagg (and the Marvel movie universe) take both the Aether and the Tesseract to be Infinity Stones. Note that it does not undo a lot of my more fun speculation here. =)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Son of Coul

Just want to get my meandering thoughts on a Coulson-Asgard connection down in one place before I see THOR 2 sometime this weekend, especially in light of the latest AGENTS OF SHIELD episode. And now… some crazy talk =)

In THE AVENGERS Coulson was speared by Loki, an Asgardian god. He died heroically. In Norse tradition, what happens to a hero when he dies? He is taken to Valhalla! Otherwise, if a Norseman dies an unremarkable death, he might end up in Niflheim (I'm not certain if that's the same as Hel?) he becomes the subject of Hela, Norse goddess of the dead and daughter, somehow, of Loki.

I (want to) believe the Coulson did in fact die from Loki's attack, but because he was killed by an Asgardian, Asgardian death/afterlife protocols rule, and he—or perhaps his soul—is sent to Valhalla or Hel. As Asgardians are not meant to be worshipped as gods anymore by humans, this is something of an unnatural happening, an automatic exploitation of a kind of death loophole, an error that needs to be corrected. And it wouldn't be just Coulson, but any human whose life was taken by Loki (collateral damage in Germany and NYC, along w some SHIELD and Project Pegasus agents).

On Asgard, Odin would be the first to detect this. Actually, he might not need to notice a disturbance in the Asgardian force to know that this has occurred. Remember, Odin's ravens were on Midgard watching everything during THE AVENGERS.

Of course, Hela would no doubt hide/not mention it to any of the other Asgardians, as Coulson would be the first new humans she's welcomed in a long time. On their natural deaths, these humans should be consigned to the afterlives of their belief systems, and not pressed into Hela's service by circumstance beyond their control.

On Earth, Coulson might appear to those he was closest to, as a waking vision *ominous music*, or in dreams. Who that would be that we've already met… Fury? Hill? Pepper? The cellist? May from AGENTS? Or maybe Thor, as the Asgardian with the most quality time w the man.

Perhaps Odin has a way by which these human souls can be returned to Earth, alive (meaning that when they're back on earth, they'd be able to visit their own graves with their actual dead bodies). So, Odin would dispatch Thor to confront Hela and seek their return.

If she is not cooperative, Thor would storm Hel—I'd love to see Cap and Iron Man join him, maybe Loki would be pressed into service as well—and rescue Coulson, along with all of the other humans wrongly killed by Loki in his attacks upon Midgard. Odin should probably wave his hands and close the loophole that allowed for this misfiling of deceased humans, too.

An adjustment to my original thinking, which had Coulson trapped in Hel, providing us with a reason/excuse to have Avengers and SHIELD storm Hela's domain and battle all manner of undead beasties… Now, I think that Odin detects humans in Hel and Thor and the Avengers assume that Coulson must be among them. Once they kick Hel's ass and collect all the human souls there, they find that he's not among them. It's then that Odin talks them thru the rules of the Norse afterlife, specifically, the death of a hero. And then Odin summons a valkyrie (What's Valkyrie's name?) to bring Coulson to them. He offers him the choice of staying or returning to Earth. Coulson explains, "I'm no hero. I'm just a man with a job to do. I'd like to get back to it."

And so, Thor and company and the rescued humans return to Midgard. The humans' memory of their time in Asgard quickly fades, perhaps as a result of Odin's magicks, perhaps in obedience to Asgardian law or the self-preservation of human sanity. Y'know, the usual convenient reasons. Coulson remembers his time as "magical" and is hypnotically or psychically made to believe that it was spent in Tahiti. To shore that up with actual memory, perhaps part of his recuperation time was actually spent there.

I think that the first season of AGENTS OF SHIELD is going to revisit Coulson's post-death time in Asgard. Maybe someone/something hitched a ride back with him—maybe something bad, the Red Skull, maybe something good, Captain Marvel? Perhaps he unwittingly did something that ties him to Asgard, a la Persephone and the pomegranate seeds, requiring him to return so many days each year. Or maybe it was part of the spell or bargain that had to be struck to allow him to return to Midgard as a human, putting him in service of Odin, or Karnilla, or even Hela herself.

Anyhow, they'll encounter some Asgard-related threat that will bring Coulson's after-life misadventure in "Tahiti" to the forefront.

What does Coulson know? He knows that he's different. He's had a medical workup done to see if he's physiologically different. However, nothing seems inconsistent with his expectations. But what would those expectations be? Proper diagnostics for an enhanced LMD (based on Phineas Horton's Human Torch android tech), or the healthy test results of a human being? 

What does everyone else think? May, Fury, and the SHIELD doc all seem to believe that Coulson is somehow not-Coulson. Little jokey remarks from Coulson himself seem to worry May that he may be aware that he's not fully human. The thing is (and the great thing for writing it is) that we don't know if Coulson is consciously teasing his colleagues (and us) or not.

The Coulson-in-Valhalla/Hel scenario can allow for him to return to Earth in his body, cuz hey! Asgardian superscience! However, I'd really really like for that to have been impossible, and that his soul could only return to Earth in a vessel of some sort. I'm thinking an LMD modified with Coulson's DNA for the organic bits. How much would Coulson love taking up residence in the original Human Torch's body, right? =)

Oh, wait. Okay.

Coulson is speared on the helicarrier. He dies.

Fury has his body taken to a secret lab on the carrier where his brain/memories/engrams/whatnot are recorded and saved and saved.

SHIELD docs then use his DNA to create an LMD clone of Coulson at the age of his death (reproducing all of his scars along the way). They then program the LMD's brain with Coulson's recording, adding the magical Tahiti placeholder after his spearing and death.

This is who's running the Agents of SHIELD team. A copy of Coulson. Which is kind of amazing, considering how human, humanely, and compassionately he's been behaving. It is NOT Coulson.

However, a trip to Asgard might allow for this LMD to become the *complete* Coulson, by superscientifically adding the fallen Coulson's ghost to the machinery.

And this artificial LMD body could be capable of harnessing tech and powers and abilities that a normal human body could not, like, let's say, producing and storing energy from solar radiation, the control of the density of its molecules, which would allow for flight, enhanced strength, and intangibility. Doubt it? Hey, did you see this week's ep of AGENTS? Hel-LO! The Chitauri virus does exactly that! Sure in a HUMAN body it ends up killing the host, but how about an LMD and/or the Torch's body? They're giving us the pieces to this puzzle. Coulson would then be The Vision.

Or, wait. No.

Coulson does make it back from Asgard/Valhalla/Hel, in an Odin Force-restored human body. LMD Coulson becomes The Vision. LMD Coulson joins the Avengers roster and human Coulson takes his place as leader of the Agents.

Kinda weird for the Agents, I know, but I like that we get to have both Coulson and Vision at the end of this. Which probably means it's too good to be true/happen.


I hope you enjoyed my crazy talk. =)

If you're interested, check out some earlier, related crazy talk…

Post-AVENGERS crazy talk

Post-AVENGERS crazy talk 2

Setting up for the next AVENGERS…

Keep on keepin on~