Anti-Black Johnny Storm Arguments Are Not All Racist

(PCM) May 23, 2015 Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot scheduled for release in the summer of 2015 is trying hard to build hype.

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Amidst the Fantastic Four hype, a brewing argument against its cast by purist comic book readers is gaining attention beyond pulp circles. It’s a retread of an old debate comic book enthusiasts had in 2013. It was rumored a Fantastic Four reboot may have a black actor (Michael B. Jordan) portraying Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch. The debate re-ignited in 2014 when it was confirmed. Now once again in 2015 it’s back. This past week Michael B. Jordan responded through social media to criticisms a black man shouldn’t be playing a character that has has only been portrayed as white. He has a right to stand his ground. Let his performance speak and then judge.

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Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? But extreme critics on each side of the issue along with thought police won’t let it go. Let’s look at this situation with an attempt to explain how we got here.

How do you describe Johnny Storm? You know, one fourth of the Fantastic Four. The comic book super hero. Johnny’s cocky. He considers himself a ladies man. He’s athletic. He’s loyal while being a bit of rebel team player. He’s Sue Storm’s brother. Oh and he’s pyrokenetic.

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Johnny Storm’s  skin color is hardly important to his character. So why is his skin color making news? First it’s good for hyping the film and second it gives the Social Justice Warriors (SJW) a platform in which to preach. There we are done. You can stop reading now.

Still here? Oh, that’s right, a pointing fingers back at the SJW requires a proper explanation otherwise you are labeled a racist. Let’s begin.

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First, understand that comic book readers are the base audience. Without them, any movie is a non-starter. Comic book readers are vital to the process. They are like any other reader. They long to see on the big screen what they’ve experienced from source material.

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The comic book purist argument has been over more than Johnny Storm’s skin in the Fantastic Four. Purist argue the entire team of Fantastic Four members have been adulterated. They’ve been altered in the upcoming 2015 reboot in ways that drift far from canon. It’s happened before with The Punisher (2008). The Fantastic Four reboot changes don’t beg criticism, the changes demand criticism — even if The Fantastic Four are no longer A-list superheroes.

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Changes to The Fantastic Four in the 2015 reboot are numerous.  The first concern isn’t so much a change but the reason for the changes. Director Josh Trank. His vision is to make a Christopher Nolan type Fantastic Four. The 2015 Fantastic Four reboot won’t be a lighthearted Marvel affair.

Trank told the actors not to read any Fantastic Four comics. The film wouldn’t follow them. Trank himself is also in an interracial relationship. So in the end, the director has decided his vision of what he wants the Fantastic Four to be is beyond the original source material. Josh Trank’s goal to make the Fantastic Four film he wants the world to experience has come at a price. Signs of dissatisfaction hit Fox studio executives too.

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The signs of poor story telling are so bad studio executives have insisted and gotten their way with a list of re-shoots. These warning signs are where this film began to make the discussion rounds with comic book readers in 2014. Talk of how the re-shoots involved mistreatment of film crew built up even more animosity towards the film. Where was the Social Justice Warriors on this issue? Yet racism is now center stage in the talking points against comic book fandom’s criticisms.

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The most dramatic change to the Fantastic Four are the origin powers. Diversifying the race of the members isn’t even a comparison concern. Social Justice Warriors (SJW) love it when comic book purists rail against changes because historically most popular comic book super heroes are male and/or white. So if a change hits that category, racism becomes the only point in the argument to matter. It isn’t just raised to the top of the list, nothing else can be debated. Kind of like now — with actor Michael B. Jordan tweeting his feelings regarding the anti-black Johnny Storm concern. YES, Jordan has a legit gripe but for him to debate only that concern is unfair to the larger argument — Many changes have potentially ruined the Fantastic Four reboot.

To those that argue his character shouldn’t be black and direct their outrage at him, the question is “Why”? He’s performing a role. He has zero to do with the character change you don’t agree with. Many don’t like that Ben Affleck will portray Batman. Until he’s on screen and you see the performance don’t judge the actor.

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Purist note that Johnny Storm is changed from white to black in their criticism of the up-coming film, but they are more concerned with other damning changes to the Fantastic Four. Johnny Storm’s skin color doesn’t impact anything and most – let’s repeat it – MOST purist don’t care if Johnny Story is black. His skin color is not tied to his history in the comics at all.

Take a character like Black Panther and change him to white, and a purist will argue that change should never be made because Black Panther’s skin color is tied to his culture and heritage. The argument holds up better if you ask if Wonder Woman can be a man.

Returning to the point of why no one cares if you change Johnny Storm to black is The Fantastic Four is hardly a popular title in the modern era. This argument of skin color is over almost nothing.
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Yet, anything that involves the male/white argument in comics is a trap the SJW’s won’t allow anyone out of. Mention skin color or race and it’s ‘gotcha’ social politics. The problem is when you start an argument with a true geek who has little to know social skills and you’ll find some extremely inarticulate words being spewed.  SJW’s jump to point to these few as an example of all who appose the current politically correct point of view.

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So we have twits on twitter making racist stances on Johnny Storm being black and on the other hand we have bloggers and well known publication staff writers writing “in your face” articles that Johnny Storm is black and if you have a problem with it you need to check your racism meter.

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The race argument by itself is obviously worth everyone defending their point of view over, but the fact is with super hero films getting their spotlight in recent years, the changes to characters race show a pattern of treatment towards source material that does has over time raised eyebrows with purist comic book readers.

The Fantastic Four movie is a perfect example of why any argument against a black Johnny Storm is considered harassment or an attack on civilized society. While purist comic book readers on a whole are discounting the film because it drifts so far off cannon and lost relevance in the comic book reading community, social justice warriors are standing on soap boxes scanning the crowd looking for dissension ready to scream racism.

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Is it wrong to oppose a change to a character that has existed for a long time? No. It happens all the time. Characters that jump from print to the big screen are criticized all the time for not being enough like the character readers first became familiar with. Hunger Games character Katniss Everdeen is a petite spry thin girl. We got an athletic build in Jennifer Lawrence. Why did it matter to readers? It mattered because in print Katniss took to fighting high tree tops. Her size made her ability plausible. But no matter the argument, people that knew the character wanted ‘the character’ to come to life. Not be re-interpreted.

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Tom Bombadil was completely dropped from the film adaptation Lord of the Rings.  Peeves the Poltergeist – same in Harry Potter films. Speaking of Harry Potter, changes to his eye color? What true believer didn’t take issue with that? It was a fair argument, (btw the eye color change was due to Daniel Radcliffe being unable to wear colored contact lenses).

The issue of character changes seems to only become ugly when it is about changing a white character to a black character. The race card enters the argument and all other points are cast out. This article is meant to make the case that race isn’t the issue among comic book readers. Comic book readers have the same concerns any book to film critic has.

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Does race of a character matter when re-telling a book in celluloid? The change to visual media is meant to take over where words do not. Being faithful to print seem only to important to those that want to experience on film what the experienced in print.  Red in Shawshank Redemption is named Red because he is Irish with red hair. On film Morgan Freeman filled in not just nicely but gave the film more meaning as Freeman the actor is an ideal every-man.

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In the first Daredevil film with Michael Duncan Clarke as Kingpin, the performance was uninspiring. No one in the comic book community readership complained Kingpin was changed from white to black, and the SJW’s where nowhere in sight as the thought police. Why? Because it’s only in recent history has social media empowered so many people that normally have no voice.

To borrow some wisdom from Spider-Man’s uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility“. It’s clear a lot of irresponsibly people have a loud voice on the Internet in this modern day.

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It happens all the time. Directors change characters hair color, eye color, skin color, race, etc… and it always gets criticized.  Yet when the comic book community gets critical of changes to characters in print as they move to film, the call to action for the world at large to do soul searching is a loud and obnoxious drum.

Comic book purists can just about care less that the director of the film has taken the rightful liberty of bringing in a modern culture issue of diversity in current comic books and altering the race of well known characters Sue and Johnny Storm.

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At this time in print Captain America is black. There is not an ounce of backlash in the comic book community about this fact. It’s accepted without question. Why? Because the Captain America helm is being taken up by a long standing character that has been a part of the Captain America circle for decades. That black character is a superhero too. Sam Wilson, aka Falcon. The argument is and has been for some time, source material.

With all these points, comic book purists are not against changes in color. Samuel Jackson is now Nick Fury and again no one is complaining. Make any change it is bound to draw criticism. Make a change and it’s good and you get credit. But make a change no one likes, don’t find a reason to call someone a bigot or racist.

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Race is a discussion racists enjoy arguing over. Those begging for more black super heroes only need to walk into any comic book store and choose from: Luke Cage, Captain America, War Machine, Bishop, Black Panther, Spider-Man (Miles Morales is half black half Hispanic), Batwing, Spectre, Cyborg, Blade, Spawn and many many others.

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Spider-Man / Miles Morales – Cap America / Sam Wilson – Batwing / Luke Fox – Spawn / Al Simmons

Fantastic Four is scheduled for reboot release on August 7, 2015.

Suicide Squad Set Photos Reveal Jared Leto’s Tattoos

(PCM) The big news out of the Suicide Squad set has been the reveal of Jared Leto’s tattoos as The Joker, but the real news should be just how bad the joker design is. It’s clear each director has their own vision of Joker. Tim Burton’s Joker was a gangster. Christopher Nolan’s Joker — an anarchist. Ayer’s Joker… psychopath? Is that the reason for stating the obvious on Joker’s head?

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The well groomed fresh out of the salon green hair, unblemished white skin, red lips and dark shadowed eyes are meant to be a new take on the joker, pushing the artistic boundaries. Is the goal to modernize the Joker? One that can take the streets and turn heads fashionably?

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Jokers’s look is uninspiring at best. From the day Leto posted a selfie paying homage to The Killing Joke Batman cover, he seems to be trying very hard at something he isn’t good at.

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We have not heard an ounce of dialogue so Leto may still impress the world with his interpretation of The Joker but visually the tattoos only convey white trash, when the Joker should inspire fear through lunacy. The video below is from the set and give us a small indication of the type of Joker, Leto is delivering.

The new Joker look isn’t getting a lot of love from the Internet. It is getting it’s fair share of memes.

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Set photos from Suicide Squad in a scene with Joker and Harley Quinn:

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Marvel Netflix aka Jessica Jones Will Be A Huge Superhero For Women


(PCM) Prediction. The Marvel Netflix aka Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) will be a huge superhero for Women. For some time female comic book enthusiasts have been demanding a female super hero in cinematic form. What is Jessica Jones’ super hero power? It should be super human strength, but her story of recovery is what will make her a major hit. Her story unfolds as she is a retired super hero working as a private investigator.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10:  Krysten Ritter filming "Jessica Jones" on March 10, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Steve Sands/GC Images)

NEW YORK, NY — MARCH 10: Krysten Ritter filming “A.K.A. Jessica Jones” on March 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/GC Images)

To understand why Marvel Netflix A.K.A. Jessica Jones will be a hit for women, it is best to explain the changed climate in super hero needs spawned by the recent past super hero films and current shows that have set the table for A.K.A. Jessica Jones.

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Hollywood is reticent to deliver a major super hero film with a female lead as decision makers consider them high risk films. Sure Catwoman (2004) and Elektra (2005) bombed, but so had Green Lantern (2011), and many other male oriented super hero films.

The secret to any franchise character’s success is simple, follow canon.  Iron Man (2008) was the first to latch on to this concept. Batman added the layer of realism and super hero films became blockbusters.

In the past ten years a new market segment of comic book reader has emerged as a force to be respected — females.  Females have been loud in their demands, “Give us females in the lead”.

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The “Big Two” (DC and Marvel) have responded poorly at times by re-appropriating male characters in their print universes.  That in turn set off unnecessary battles between the sexes where feminist hijacked the conversations and became social justice warriors derailing the original and legitimate call for female super heroes.

A few movies are on the horizon with female super heroes that women can call their own. DC’s Justice League will have Wonder Woman, and Marvel will feature Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel in 2018. But these movies are years away.

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Enter Netflix and Daredevil released May of 2015. It’s been a giant success with both viewers and critics.

Netflix’s Daredevil has set the path for the Defenders team up and Jessica Jones is next in line for a series. With it, women will get a break from the girl in the refrigerator trope. Female fans will also get more than just a strong female character. Jones comes with a story of a super hero in recovery.

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Women will find Jessica Jones a complex character. Jessica has suffered at the hands of an evil man and is fighting a complex past while she champions causes of common people.

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What is most important about Jessica Jones is that she is more than a super heroin, she has super internal fortitude as she battles demons. Her journey of recovery is what women will identify with. Hope is a powerful weapon and Jessica’s journey of recovery over her past pain should strike a nerve among women.

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The reason behind this theory is if the producers of the Netflix Daredevil series depict Jessica’s story with as much raw truth as they had in Matt Murdoch’s, then A.K.A. Jessica Jones will make a huge impact with the female audience. If her journey of recovery in cinema walks in step with her print character’s experience then Jessica Jones status as a Marvel super hero will ultimately make Jessica Jones a huge hit for women. Calls for a feature film would surely follow.

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What is fair to all is Marvel won’t need to re-appropriate a male character to give women what they want in a female super hero. Jessica Jones has always been there in print waiting for a spotlight.

alias-hardcoverJessica Jones has enjoyed both a lighter escapism portrayal for readers of all ages in traditional Marvel comic books and a more mature treatment in Marvel MAX an adult content comic book.

It’s in MAX where mainstream characters like Spider-Man and Captain America could make cameos but never be in scenes that depicted sex or other adult oriented situations.

If you want to get in early on the Jessica Jones bandwagon to say you know the real character’s background, search out the 28 issue Marvel MAX series Alias which can be purchased as a full graphic novel. The ‘MAX’ indicates this a mature readers title, not for children.

Jessica Jones will air on Netflix in the fall of 2015. What is known of the plot seems to follow the experience Jessica Jones endured in Alias.

The graphic novel Alias is written by Michael Bendis which stands on it’s own and not dependent on traditional Marvel Universe of characters. This plays well for the Netflix show A.K.A. Jessica Jones as it acknowledges the Marvel Universe’s super heroes but doesn’t require them to be in the show.

It would be nice to see if the show stays true to a few incidents in Alias where Jessica visits the Avengers which is held great importance in her story.

 Amazon is releasing a book based on the show in the fall of 2015 before the show airs. It seems to be a traditional non-illustrated telling Alias, but does not yet list an author.  Here’s the synopsis:

Ever since her short-lived stint as a Super Hero ended in tragedy, Jessica Jones has been rebuilding her personal life and career as a hot-tempered, sardonic, badass private detective in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Plagued by self-loathing, and a wicked case of PTSD, Jessica battles demons from within and without, using her extraordinary abilities as an unlikely champion for those in need… especially if they’re willing to cut her a check.

Even if A.K.A. Jessica Jones doesn’t become a huge super hero women identify with and get behind, her story of the Purple Man’s evil subjugation while moving on with her life as a private investigator in the MCU will be a great series to experience. It is great to see Marvel allowing great stories and great under-utilized characters a chance to take center stage.

david-tennant-purple-man-at-marvelDavid Tennant will portray her nemisis Zebediah Killgrave — The Purple Man.

Marvel Netflix aka Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), David Tennant (Kilgrave), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Rachael Taylor (Patricia “Trish” Walker), and Carrie-Anne Moss also star in the Netflix original series. “Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones” was developed by Executive Producer/Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg. Eka Darville, Erin Moriarty, and Wil Traval have also joined “Marvel Netflix aka Jessica Jones,” an all-new 13-episode series premiering on Netflix in 2015.

 

 

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Captain America: Civil War Set Photos

falcon-captain-america-civil-war(PCM) Check out some Captain America: Civil War set photos from the Atlanta Georgia set which stands in for an overseas marketplace. Could be an African nation?

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Marvel Studios has commenced principal photography at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on “Captain America: Civil War,” the third installment of its Super Hero franchise. The production will shoot on location in Atlanta, Georgia, which serves as the base for the film’s production, as well as locations in Germany, Puerto Rico and Iceland.

Here are additional photos from Atlanta, standing in for an African nation. Most of Anthony Mackie as Falcon. Great new suit but unlike Captain America’s suit with the Avenger’s logo, Falcon has yet to get one.

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Frank Grillo as Crossbones is also on set. Frank has an athletic build. This suit does nothing for him. Could it be a stunt double in the following two Civil War set photos?

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Set for release in the United States on May 6, 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Community”) from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The Winter Solider,” Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”).

The film returns Chris Evans (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America along with Robert Downey Jr. (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel’s “Iron Man 3”) as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Paul Bettany (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Iron Man 3”) as The Vision, Jeremy Renner (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel’s “The Avengers”) as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Don Cheadle (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Iron Man 3”) as Jim Rhodes/War Machine and Elizabeth Olsen (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Godzilla”) as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch.

The film also includes outstanding additional cast, including Chadwick Boseman (“42,” “Get on Up”) as T’Challa/Black Panther, Emily VanCamp (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Revenge”) as Sharon Carter/Agent 13, Daniel Brühl (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Bourne Ultimatum”), Frank Grillo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Warrior”) as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones, William Hurt (“A History of Violence,” Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk”) as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and Martin Freeman (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”).

After his debut in Marvel’s “Ant-Man” on July 17, 2015, Paul Rudd (“Ant-Man,” ”Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”) will make his first appearance alongside the Avengers as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in “Captain America: Civil War.”

“Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” is produced by Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige, with Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.

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Marvel Spider-Man Is… Cast!

(PCM) The Marvel Spider-Man is… Cast! That’s right the news is the role is cast but the actual announcement of who it is has yet to be revealed. Equally as odd is that Spider-Man won’t enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe first with his own film, it will be in Captain America: Civil War.

Below is a set photo shot at the Norfolk Southern Building in Atlanta. Principal photography began May 7th 2015.

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You can be sure Marvel will make a big press day of it as Civil War is currently being shot in Atlanta Georgia and if the character Spider-Man is to be on set anytime soon, then negotiations are bound to close fast.

If Spidey doesn’t catch up in Georgia with the rest of the crew he’ll also have Germany, Puerto Rico and Iceland to attempt to make filming.


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Early word is the role will goto Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game).  The film will not be the expected, “Amazing Spider-Man” or “Spectacular Spider-Man”, instead it will be The Spider-Man set for release July 28, 2017.spider-man-logo-early-reveal

While The Spider-Man is questionable in regards to the film’s name and logo, there is no doubt Spider-Man will first be on screen in Civil War. Set for release in the United States on May 6, 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.

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Civil War Crossbones Revealed

(PCM) Frank Grillo has resurfaced again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His character Brock Rumlow will evolve into Crossbones. One time teammate of Captain America, Crossbones is a clear cut bad guy by trade. However in Civil War he could end up serving the morally good side.

If Crossbones has any super powers pulled from canon his abilities would be to create fiery power beams that penetrate targets similar but not like Cyclops. Crossbones energy creates a glow about his head as he takes aim at a target.

Grillo himself posted a photo that is presumed to be a set photo of him in his Civil War Crossbones costume.

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Captain America: Civil War picks up where  Avengers: Age of Ultron left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

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If you don’t recall, Grillo’s character Brock Rumlow was burned up badly in Winter Soldier.  Perhaps that is how the MCU will justify putting a mask on his character. In canon his face is scared by his first use of his super powers.

Captain America: Civil War is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Captain America: Civil War is set for release in theaters May 6, 2016.

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