Famed comic author Jeph Loeb announced Marvel Television’s upcoming slate at this year’s Comic-Con. The in-development programs include live-action series Aka Jessica Jones (the comic series Alias), The Hulk, Cloak and Dagger, Mockingbird, animated series for Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Ultimate Spider-Man and online serials adapting first 25 issues of Joss Whedon’s The Astonishing X-Men.
Not all of the programs in development will reach the airwaves, but several, including Spider-Man and X-Men have already been greenlit. All of the animated shows have networks attached, ABC family for Cloak and Dagger and Mockingbird and Disney XD for Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Ultimate Spider-Man. Astonishing X-Men will be digitally distributed through Marvel Knight’s official website. Read on for the details.
Aka Jessica Jones is the first show on the live-action side. It is based on the comic book Alias, “Which we obviously can’t call…thank you J.J.,” quipped Loeb.
“It’s about a failed superhero who is rebuilding her life as a private detective in New York City.” The show will include Carol (Ms. Marvel) Danvers and Luke Cage.
“If Jessica Jones is our small project, we couldn’t come to TV without bringing someone big back to TV,” Said Loeb, seguing into the second project, a new live-action rendition on The Hulk.
Unlike the previous iterations, this version will focus on the early life of Bruce Banner. The concept seems influenced by both Smallville and Twilight.
“Mostly what we’ll be doing is focusing on the love story between Bruce Banner and Ross and their love story and how they are brought together and continually torn apart by the monster inside of him.”
Cloak and Dagger will detail, “Two teenagers who find each other and realize that their powers both compliment and compliment their lives.” The new hook for the series is that it will be set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Upon this announcement, one fan loudly yelled, “Holy shit!”
Next on the docket is Mockingbird which details the life of, “Bobby Morse a freshman at a prestigious university in the silicon valley. She is a science major there, a Peter Parker nerd.” Her life changes when she is recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. shield and is forced to become a student by day and a super spy by night.
“We call it Alias meets Felicity…thank you J.J.”
Ultimate Spider-Man is the show furthest along in development. It already has a series order and some completed episodes. Loeb began by showing slides of character models, including one for Spider-Ham and then proceeded to show a sizzle reel and trailer.
The footage was reminiscent of Teen Titans with a heavy anime influence. The art style was frankly underwhelming with a flat, bland look and lifeless action sequences. However, given that this was a pilot, it is possible that the look will improve by the time it hits the air.
The show also features fourth-wall breaking commentary from the web-slinger, strange asides and Family Guy-style cutaways including sequences of Parker sewing his suit and turning into a giant toaster oven after being zapped by a Fu Manchu sporting Green Goblin. Apparently the Spider-Ham character model was not a joke, Parker will turn into this character in at least one episode.
In one sequence, Spider-Man rides a flying motorcycle through the subways while fighting a floating squid-creature straight out of The Matrix. Venom, members of the X-Men and Dr. Doom all made a brief appearance in other sequences. Though they were not shown, Loeb promised appearances by the other members of Marvel’s theatrical troop, Iron Man Thor, Captain America and the Hulk.
Drake Bell of Josh and Drake fame plays Parker/Spidey and while he looks the part in his video interviews, his voice seemed too effete, but given that Spider-Man has never been a Stallone type perhaps the adolescent squeak of his voice will make more sense in context.
Surrounding Bell is one hell of a voice cast. Stan Lee has a regular role on the show as Stan the Janitor, who dispenses invaluable life advice to Peter. Chi McBride plays Nick Fury. Agent Coulson, again played by Clark Gregg, is undercover as Parker’s high school principal. Also returning from the films is J. Jonah Jameson who, unlike Coulson, is will not be voiced by his movie counterpart but rather by J.K. Simmons, who does not play a role in the new film continuity. Steven Weber is Norman Osborn.
As the panel ended Paul Dini made an appearance, announcing that he is heading up Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. a testosterone fueled super-team made up of The Hulk, Red Hulk, She-Hulk, Skaar, and A-Bomb.
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