BY MATT TUCK
Indiana Jones 5 has gotten the green light, but is it too late for the franchise? Also, Batman gets a new villain, and an 8.5 Action Comics #1 breaks its own record. It’s time for Frankie’s Newsbreak.
It looks like we will be getting at least one more Indiana Jones installment tentatively scheduled for July, 2022.
Friday afternoon, Disney made the announcement that Harrison Ford would once again dust off his whip and don the leather jacket and fedora. He will be getting a familiar face for a co-star as the star of the streaming hit Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, has officially joined the cast. Logan director James Mangold will steer the ship, taking over for famed director Steven Spielberg, who helmed the first four movies.
I am not sure what to make of this news. As a kid of the 1980s and ‘90s, I grew up in the age of Indiana Jones. Then I saw 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it was apparent that the franchise needed to come to an end. Here we are with a fifth movie in the works, and Indiana Jones deserves a better send off than Crystal Skull, but is this it? Ford is 78 years old, and these have all been action movies. It will be hard to believe that a man who is nearly 80 can still swing from a whip and take down bad guys. Then again Mangold is known for bringing larger-than-life characters down to a human level, as he did with Wolverine.
The bigger picture here is whether or not Indy 5 will see Dr. Jones hand the franchise reins to a new character, possibly Waller-Bridge? If you recall, that was suggested by the ending to Crystal Skull as the implication was that Indiana Jones’s son, Mutt, played by Shia LaBeouf, would take up the mantle. Thankfully, that did not happen, but I am not sure this sounds any better. Maybe it is time to give the franchise its final sundown and let us remember the good times.
DC Comics is banking on its new line of Batman supporting characters. Following the warmly received Punchline, Batman has gotten plenty more new faces in Gotham City. Last year, we were introduced to Clown Killer and Ghost-Maker, and this year has already seen the premieres of Flatline and Miracle Molly.
The newest villain on the path to a showdown with the Caped Crusader is Bane’s daughter, Vengeance. She will make her first appearance in Joker #2, which should usher that comic to the top of the sale’s charts and create an instant sell-out. When it comes to those new characters, it is a case of FOMO or “fear of missing out.” With the huge jump in values for Hell Arisen #3 that resulted from Punchline’s first appearance, no one wants to be left in the cold when it comes to those Batman villains.
As I routinely say, it all is in the hands of the DC editorial team. Those values are directly impacted by a character’s positioning in the overall DC Universe. Since there are so many new characters being added every month, only a select few can truly reach that next level. Keep that in mind before you dump too much money on Joker #2 ratio variants.
ECHO’S RISING STOCK
After months of waiting, Marvel has revealed its new host of the Phoenix Force: Echo.
This wraps up the finale of the Avengers’ own personal Secret Wars as the Phoenix Force had abducted several heroes and demanded they fight to prove who is worthy of its power, which was first seen in X-Men #101. Jason Aaron did a decent job of salvaging a story that was more or less providing a video game set up or perhaps the next wave of Contest of Champions DLC. In the end, it is a means to elevate Echo.
Having Echo imbued with the Phoenix Force gives her a power boost and will likely move her up the rankings in the Marvel Universe. This is no coincidence since Echo is poised to make a sizable splash in the MCU. She will be making her live-action debut in Hawkeye on Disney+, and will star in her own series after that. There is even a chance that we could see her take up the Ronin moniker left behind by Clint Barton after Endgame.
Having her win the title of “Phoenix” upgrades her power set in the comics and puts her on par with the heavy hitters, like Thor and Captain Marvel, and that is clearly meant to help readers accept her as a budding star. While I don’t imagine she will be Phoenix in the MCU, it puts eyes on her as Marvel prepares to make her a mainstream star.
One of the big stories of the week was courtesy of a multi-million dollar comic. USA Today broke the story on April 6, reporting that an Action Comics #1 sold for a record-breaking $3.25 million to a private collector facilitated by ComicConnect.com. The copy was graded at an 8.5, which is rare in itself for a comic that is approaching 100 years old.
Multi-million dollar comic deals are not new to the collecting world. Three years ago, another CGC-graded 8.5 Action Comics #1 got the world’s attention when it sold for over $2 million. Back in January, a copy of Batman #1 was auctioned off for $2 million as well.
The Justice Society of America is incoming as Black Adam has begun filming.
Considering the cast of characters, including Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Cyclone, Atom Smasher, and that’s not to mention the upcoming Hourman movie, Warner Brothers is going full steam ahead with the JSA. In a way, Black Adam signals a new beginning for the DCEU despite fan outcry for the return of the Snyderverse.
While Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movie gets underway, the superstar actor has been supporting #RestoretheSnyderverse. There are even reports that he has been pushing behind the scenes for WB executives to allow Zack Snyder to finish his vision after the success of the Justice League Snyder Cut.
As I have written before, I do not believe that WB will restore the Snyderverse. The new direction of the films is clear, and that extends to the cancellation of New Gods and The Trench. WB is putting its full stock into the JSA, and they will eventually have their massive team-up movie in a few years. If Johnson can sway the WB executives to resurrect Snyder’s franchise, it will be a testament to the actor’s Hollywood influence.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.