"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
On his always-raucous Formspring page, Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort displays a heartening and invigorating amount of patience while responding to boatloads of questions, diatribes and thinly veiled insults. In between, there’s sometimes some interesting information shared, including this photograph of the whiteboard planning of the third act of Avengers vs. X-Men from a year before the series’ debut.
The post was in response to a question from a fan who felt that over the course of Avengers vs. X-Men there seemed to be a shifting toward a different ending than originally planned. Not so, said Brevoort, who showed the photograph as proof.
“The ending that we did was very much what had been planned at the outset,” he explained. “Some individual story details shifted as we went a little bit, but the main points were always the same. Here — attached is a photograph of the wipe board outline of Act Three that we hammered out at the very first AVX retreat, the one we did in Portland a year before AVX #1 came out — now that the series is concluded, I can show it to you. As you can see, while some details changed (Magneto’s role, for one), the broad strokes of what is there is what we ended up doing.”
In addition to clarifying that one fan’s assumption, it also gives us an alternate name for the Phoenix Five, in the “HeX-Men.” It also points to a slightly different ending where all of the mutants on Utopia are transformed into Phoenixes apparently, before failing and giving their powers to Cyclops. Also no mention of Professor X’s death, or even him at all.
Fire is terrible and beautiful. From someone deep down in our earliest roots, we as human beings know that fire can be useful and can be deadly, sometimes both at the same time. Action movies love to watch things explode, and artists can tickle our emotions with depictions and metaphors of the ever-burning flame. I certainly don’t have to be the one to tell you that fire can also slip out of control and ruin lives and forests; to burn away something you love means you’re never going to get it back.
The Phoenix myth, at heart, needs both of these qualifiers. After all, it’s a cycle of death and rebirth, not just one or the other. Death is normally the first part of the equation, as we need to lose something forever to have it be reborn, not just resurrected. It’s also kind of a fiery chicken-or-the-egg story, too, as the Phoenix myth is a cycle, but the two essential elements are clear: death and rebirth.
WARNING: We’ll be talking about the reasonably guessed ending to the recent Uncanny X-Men #17 and the Sinister Earth story line. Grab your finest ascot and a copy of the comic and read along!