Going along with my previous rant about how Captain Marvel and Black Panther need to be Marvel’s new showcase heroes in the comics and the big screen, I wanted to highlight two more characters that have a great amount of potential and may be in need of some update magic. One has always been there but just hasn’t been enough and the other was hardly used in the comics to begin with. We probably won’t see these characters in a Marvel film for at least 5 to 10 years… or ever, but boy would it be fun to!
#1 Hercules. Everyone knows Hercules! Even though Hercules is the Roman spelling of the Greek “Heracles” he’s often associated with Greek Mythology in many forms of popular culture and it’s no different in Marvel comics. Like Thor, Hercules is an immensely strong, immortal, super tough god/demi-god-like character hailing from a pantheon of “gods” from another realm or dimension. He’s as strong as Thor, he has a Odin-like father in the form of Zeus, he’s a long-time Avenger, he’s often portrayed as a belligerent drunk who delights in the majesty of battle, and Marvel is often showing him clash with today’s “mortal” culture as opposed to his own. So.. he.. is.. Thor..?? But why isn’t he as popular as Thor?
Well obviously he is a Thor “clone” in many aspects, so I would suggest separating him from that. How do you do that? Well, Marvel’s Hercules has a very vivid lack of depth to his character which needs some re imagining. I don’t even believe he was given an origin story beyond how he was born, that he had performed the “twelve labors” in the past, and was cursed by Hera in that harm would come to any woman that he came to love. This developed a “womanizing” trait which is used in a comedic way but could have some real depth to it given the right writing. Does anyone know why he had to perform twelve labors? To redeem himself after killing his own wife and children when Hera had driven him mad! Hera is the wife of Zeus (Hercules’ father) who scorned his children that he had with other women. What’s that? An original concept for a female villain? A hero with step-mommy issues? Marvel: stop making Loki a woman every once and a while and make Hera some sort of banished Olympian goddess out for revenge. Even that TV show with Kevin Sorbo depicted Hera out to be the main villain and she was a stone cold bitch! …In a good way. Sheesh… at this point I’d rather see Hercules as a female character than Thor or Loki (while we’re on the subject).
Wouldn’t killing your wife and kids be a horrific thing to bear? Especially if the wife was a romanticized soul mate that Hercules wanted to be with forever? Instead of banging any chick he feels like “just so long as he doesn’t love them,” let’s have his dilemma be that he’s this super hunky guy that all the ladies want but lets his guilt over the past scar him for an immortal lifetime. He could act like a womanizer but it could internally eat him up inside. Then all you would have to worry about is making him appeal to people. Change his design up. His costume hasn’t been updated since day one! Give that man a shirt! He looks like a douchebag!!
#2 Lionheart. This character is actually badass. Kelsey Leigh was once a happily married British schoolteacher and mom until her home was broken into by robbers who gang raped her. While her husband proved to be a coward, she fought back so hard that one of her attackers slashed her face with a broken beer bottle in retaliation. While the brutality of this scenario could probably be toned down for wider audiences it still establishes her as a fighter in the face of adversity. Weeks or even years later, her family was caught in the middle of a brawl between the Avengers and the Wrecking Crew. As Thunderball had the upper hand on Captain America, Kelsey instinctively grabbed Cap’s shield and protected him ultimately at the cost of her own life.
This brave act caught the attention of the current Captain Britain, Brian Braddock, who was also the current ruler of “Otherworld,” a kind of nexus point between Marvel’s many alternate realities. Through his magical craziness he offered her the role of the new Captain Britain as well as a choice between the Sword of Might and the Amulet of Right as a basis for her new powers. Thinking she could do more good against evil with a sword than a necklace, Kelsey chose the sword unknowingly choosing the path of violence. According to this detail her “wrongful” decision cursed her into not being able to see her children anymore without it killing them. She then acted as a tortured, reckless, and vengeful Avenger for a short time while the Avengers took care of her kids for her at their mansion base. Eventually she was manipulated into being a bad guy and took her frustrations out on Braddock and his New Excalibur team but the situation was absolved by Braddock lifting the curse and allowing her to reunite with her children. I don’t know why it was necessary to take her kids away from her in the first place… I mean she was already a rape victim, why make her life any harder? Way to go, Captain Britain, ya dick!
I would like to ask why this character slipped through the cracks of the Marvel spotlight. A lot of it had to do with Chuck Austen writing the Avengers and handing it over to Brian Michael Bendis shortly after her creation only to see the cancellation of the title as a result of Bendis’ “Disassembled” storyline. She may have been conceived so close to the end of the series that she was simply forgotten about. But, come on! She hasn’t been anywhere near an Avengers book since 2005! I thought she had a really slick design; like a union jack ninja with a big honkin’ broadsword. I especially like her with the name “Lionheart,” it seems much more iconic and far less corny than Captain Britain. Potentially I think this character could grow to be a strong mom version of Batman for the Marvel Universe. By that, I mean Batman witnessed a terrible event as a child while Lionheart… well… witnessed a terrible event happen TO HERSELF as a mother. She has A LOT of willpower and an unhinged motivation for righting wrongs. You take her kids out of the equation and she’d be going full blown Bruce Wayne on everyone’s asses.