After watching Dr Strange, I am once again hyped up to own first appearances of these star characters. I am sure I am not the only one which means there will be profit making opportunities if you can spot the next set of characters who will have their sole movies. I am not interested in supporting cast or villains. Just the main stars because it is proven they still have the power to move comic book prices.
How many new characters and teams will be introduced in Marvel Phase 4
It is entirely possible that the whole Phase 4 is made up entirely of sequels but I highly doubt it since new characters represents so much monetization potential. Looking at the history of Marvel studios, we can guess how many new characters and/or teams will be introduced.
In Phase 1 and 2, it is about establishing the foundation and this is where we get classic characters like Captain America, Thor, Avengers etc. The only new faces we saw during Phase 2 was GOTG. Phase 3 is where things got interesting as we saw 4 new sole movie characters (Antman, Dr Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel), despite all the sequels.
Based on the above, and the fact that each Phase has about 9 movies, it is likely that Phase 4 will have the following structure:
- 5-6 sequels: Avengers #4, GOTG #3, Antman #3, Dr Strange #2, Antman #3, Spider-Man #2
- 1 new team: Inhumans
- 2-3 new sole movies
There is also the potential of legacy characters having the mantle transferred to other characters. I would considered these being new as well since these new Thor, Captain America or even Iron Man will mean new keys will emerge.
With this structure in mind, let’s first look at candidates who can qualify for sole movies.
New movies: How Marvel studios picks them
In looking through the past 10+ Marvel movies, it is easy to see how they pick characters for their sole movies. It is also easy to see what kind of characters tend to become supporting, rather than the main star. Below is a checklist that you can use to narrow down your personal picks:
- Own series: All the characters who have or going to have their sole movies have a long history of being published. Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Inhumans etc all had their own series since silver/bronze age and had multiple volumes throughout the years. Characters like Vision, Scarlet Witch, Mantis, Valkyrie, Falcon, Winter Soldier had no such records and became supporting characters. The reason is simple. Marvel studios like to draw on the comics for story lines, supporting cast etc. Without a long comic book series, there is no materials for the studios to work with. I don’t think Marvel studios will break this habit with Phase 4.
- Unique: With this, I meant characters who are not derivative. One example is She Hulk. She had her own series but her similarity to Hulk puts her chances of a solo to be low. So far, all the sole movies are unique properties that have very little similarity to what came before.
- No modern age: This is not a absolute criteria but so far, we have not see any modern character getting a sole movie treatment. This goes for all studios besides Marvel. Fox, Sony and even DC has not given any characters introduced after 2000 their own movies. It means in terms of betting odds, it is better to invest in pre 2000 characters, preferably in the Silver/Bronze/Copper age. In fact, if you look the pattern, it seems that Marvel Studios have finished combing through the silver age characters and are now looking at the bronze age, starting with Captain Marvel.
Where is Phase 4 going
One important clue said by Kevin Feige is that the end of Phase 3 marks the conclusion of the first part of the trilogy. Phase 4 represents the beginning of stage 2 and will be different from what we have seen.
Going from the above, one can guess where the direction can go towards. For one, we are likely to see more non Earth based stories as this will surely be very different from what we have seen. Indeed, the cosmic side has many stories that are yet to be told such as the Annihilation Conquest (might need to replace the villain) or the War of Kings etc. All these will bring in the Inhumans as well as other cosmic characters into the MCU.
Another side is of course the supernatural or inter dimensional aspect, of which Doctor Strange is just the beginning. Stories like the Midnight Sons might surface and bring us characters like Morbius, Ghost Rider and other supernatural characters. Some of which will surely star in their own sole movies.
Based on the pattern of Marvel studios and the direction of which Phase 4 is going, here are what I think are good candidate to star in their own movies. I exclude first appearance books that have already appreciated by quite a bit over the past 2 years. Examples of such characters include Moon Knight, Ghost Rider etc. (I personally think Marvel Spotlight #5 has room to grow if you compare to Werewolf by Night #32 but it is just me). Also most of the books covered here has been mentioned before but using new perspective, we can another way of understand why they might be undervalued.
|Nova||Nova #1||Nova was heavily speculated on when it was confirmed that the Nova Corps will be appearing in GOTG. As we all know, there is no Richard Rider so prices kind of level off. Although it is not longer as cheap as prior the GOTG rumors, Nova #1 is still fairly affordable and therefore worth a look.Richard Rider has a couple of series, with the first being in bronze age. However, it was his later series that propelled his popularity among fans. I personally read through this entire series and can see how important Nova is to the cosmic side of Marvel. So important that I can see a new franchise build upon this character.In terms of which grade to invest in, I want to avoid raw copies since they are very common. I recommend that you invest in 9.6-9.8 levels as they have much less copies and you will see bigger gains. FYI, Nova #1 currently less than 200 copies in 9.8. That is less number than most of the so call rare variants.|
|Ghost Rider||Marvel Spotlight #5||You can read via the link about my assessment on the value of Marvel Spotlight #5. In summary, Ghost Rider also had a fairly long publication history and there are enough materials there to form a sole movie.
While prices have increased since I wrote about it in 2015, I don’t think it has reached its peak yet.
|Moon Knight||Werewolf by Night #32||Considered THE breakout book for the Bronze age in 2015, Moon Knight appearance on screen is a matter of time. The question is whether it is big or small screen. My personal feeling is Moon Knight will probably appear on Netflix which means his chances of big screen appearance will be limited.In addition, with the book already appreciated so much recently, the room for further growth is slim.|
|Spider Woman||Marvel Spotlight #32||Another important storyline was the Skrull invasion that could possibility be used, although the Skrulls need to be replaced by another alien race. In this story, Spider Woman plays an important role so her presence might be needed for the MCU.In terms of history, Spider Woman also had quite a number of series, starting from the Bronze age. Even now, she is still being published so her appearance is likely a matter of time.One thing I need to clarify is that Spider Woman is not really a legacy character of Spider Man. Although they share the same name, their power sets and origin are pretty different, unlike say Superman and Super Girl, or Hulk and the She-Hulk.|
|Blade||Tomb of Dracula #10||Blade has been under some hush hush rumors for quite some time now. Although not all rumors pan out, the various different sources are telling me that this one might have legs.The only thing bad about Blade is the lack of a long publication. This is why between Ghost Rider and him, I will prefer the former for a solo movie outing.|
|Namor||Fantastic Four #4||Namor is like a dark horse. Currently, there is very little hints being given in MCU but the coming of Aquaman might spur Marvel into doing a similar thing.This book isn’t exactly cheap. A 2.0 will already set you back for $500 so it is going a pretty heavy investment.|
|Thunderbolts||Hulk #449||Where do Thunderbolts fit into Phase 4? Again, it is very different from what has come before and hence is a good candidate of being used. Thunderbolts have had 3 series. The first actually ran until #190, which is pretty impressive for a post 1990 title. The 2nd series features a more different team with the likes of Punisher, Red Hulk etc but the current 3rd series has returned it to its roots.I think there is a lot of potential for the team to have a silver screen appearance, especially when you think that the Winter Soldier (current Thunderbolts leader) is already on the silver screen. I actually recommended this book as a cheap comic to buy as far as Nov 2013. Prices have risen since then but is still affordable.One of the fun time I had chasing this book was to locate a newsstand copy. I finally had it so I am quite happy having it in my collection. This book shouldn’t be difficult to find so I would focus on 9.8.|
|Inhumans||Fantastic Four #36, #45 & #46||Inhumans have been talked about for a long time and it is hard to decide if they will ever appear. The good thing their prices have taken a dip in the past year or so. This means it is good time to pick up a high grade copy if you do not have them.Among the 3, Medusa’s first appearance is the most difficult in high grade due to its earlier age. With her prominence in both comics and possible big screen, she is a good character to invest long term.|
|Beyonder||Marvel Secret Wars #1||With Thanos supposedly to be defeated by the end of Phase, a new big villain is needed. While there are many candidates such as Magnus, Korvac etc, Beyonder might be an interesting possibility. This can also lead to Secret Wars which can be a great finale for end of Phase 6.|
In conclusion, there are still buying opportunities to speculate for movies. However, don’t go for the small fry. Invest in the leads and you will enjoy a much better return in the long run.