Marvel Television has had a bit of a troubled year. Iron Fist proved deeply divisive, The Defenders didn't get the reaction Marvel expected, and Inhumans has been heavily criticized by fans and critics alike. But now, Marvel hopes their fortunes are about to turn. This month will see Jon Bernthal take a starring role in The Punisher, while over on Hulu we're about to meet the stars of Runaways. Based on Brian K. Vaughan's beloved series, Runaways promises to be an absolute hit.
Marvel just released a swathe of images supporting the show. First up is a stunning banner, showing the kids with their cultish parents standing behind them:
It's a brilliant banner, dropping so many tantalizing teases. From left to right, you'll notice Old Lace's tail wafting in front of Gert. Marvel seems to be well aware that Gert's pet dinosaur is a real draw for fans, and are keeping glimpses of Old Lace to a minimum in the marketing. Next is Molly, the youngest of the group, this time with eerie glowing eyes. That character is going to have to be rewritten slightly, not least because in the comics she's a mutant and Marvel doesn't have the rights to use mutants.
Alex is the non-powered team leader, but will he betray the group as he did in the comics? Then you have sorceress Nico Minoru, holding the Staff of One. Again, we're expecting some subtle rewrites for Nico, given in the comics she summons the Staff by an act of self-harm. That particular plot thread is unlikely to be a comfortable one for a teen-focused TV series.
The final two are Chase and Karolina. We have our first glimpse of Chase's Fistigons, the high-tech gauntlet he takes from his parents. And you can easily see Karolina's glowing bracelet, which in the comics restrained her alien powers.
Marvel then followed this up with a swathe of character-focused posters, much to the delight of fans.
The Character Posters
First up is this beautifully atmospheric image showing Gert's hand, with Old Lace's tail wrapped around her arm. It repeats the same kind of idea as the banner, teasing Old Lace's presence without explicitly displaying it, but it does so in far more artistic form. The design also strongly hints at the psychic bond between Gert and Old Lace, with the two's psyches tightly woven together. It's a breathtaking design.
Next up, we have Nico, wielding the Staff of One. Curiously enough, this is actually the second time we've seen the Staff of One in Marvel. Linda Louise Duan played the part of Nico's mother, Tina, in Doctor Strange. Those scenes wound up mostly cut though, and Marvel Television has recast the role. It's possible that, in the wider #MCU, there are simply two Staffs of One.
This powerful mystic artifact can be used to perform any spell, albeit only once.
Now let's focus in on Chase, a brash teenager who's the son of two geniuses. This gives us our first close-up of Chase's trademark Fistigons, gauntlets he stole from his parents. The scarlet background teases at the Fistigons' powers, which among other things allow Chase to shoot streams of flames.
The artistic design of the Karolina poster is absolutely breathtaking. You can see her bracelet, but crucially it's shattering, teasing the revelation of her true identity and powerset. The visual effects look awesome, teasing those created by colorist Christina Strain back when she worked on the Runaways comic.
Don't mess with Molly! She may be the youngest, but Molly packs a punch, as this image demonstrates. Her powers are displayed by showing her breaking concrete as she thumps the ground, and this particular poster is full of power and not a little anger. It's going to be interesting to see if the Molly of Marvel's Runaways is the naive, innocent kid of the comics.
And finally, we have Alex. On the face of it, Alex has no powers. In spite of that, this poster reveals just why he's so important to the team. Alex is the unifier, the one who draws the group together. Trailers have suggested that role will be even more important in the Hulu series, as it seems these kids stopped getting together long ago. Now, feeling lonely, Alex tries to bring the gang back together — just in time for a shocking revelation, as they learn that their parents are super-villains!
We're only days away from the series premiere of Marvel's Runaways, set to launch on November 21st on Hulu. This is perhaps the most exciting Marvel series of the year, based on some of the most remarkable and beloved comics of the 21st century so far. Excitement is high, but with such a popular series, the pressure's on Marvel to get it right.
Which upcoming Marvel series are you most excited about, Punisher or Runaways? Let me know in the comments!