And, we have a winner and I have to say that it is an upset in my eyes. The Avengers beat The Dark Knight, 147-126. I think in all the Knockouts we have done in Alternate Takes, this is the first time a Batman property lost in the finals.
With that in mind, this week's Alternate Takes will look at The Avengers.
And from here out, we are just going with the straight classic Alternate Takes format, going back to basics – the way it all began. Here are five Alternate Takes for fans who loved The Avengers.
5. Iron Man
The Avengers would not be possible of not for Iron Man. The first movie made under the Marvel movies banner could have crippled the entire franchise if it failed. Luckily, not only did it not fail but it was one of the best superhero comic book movies ever made. As a matter of fact, it was just as great as The Dark Knight, which came out the same year, although they were different kinds of movies.
Robert Downey Jr. was so great as Tony Stark that he helped lay the foundation for the great casting to come and was instrumental in much of the success that followed.
While Iron Man was a great movie, the idea that a team movie could work was still unknown at the time. Yes, X-Men was a good movie, but then there was The Fantastic Four, so things looked 50/50 when it came to a film with a lot of different heroes working. That is why X2 was so important.
There are more heroes in X2 than almost any superhero movie. It seemed hard to believe that characters like Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America could all co-exist in the same movie together, but X2 proved that not only was it possible, but it could result in one of the best comic book movies of all time. With Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Iceman, Professor X and more involved, this movie proved that more characters could still result in an amazing movie.
But, the question of who would direct this was still important. Bryan Singer did great with the X-Men franchise, and Marvel needed to find someone who could just as easily juggle various characters and storylines without cheating anyone. No one is better at ensemble casts in storytelling than Joss Whedon.
On TV, Buffy, Angel and Firefly proved that Joss knew how to make every character in his universe seem important, but those were long form TV shows. Well, when Joss brought Firefly to the big screen with Serenity, he proved that he could juggle the large cast on the big screen as well. Marvel couldn't have made a better choice than Joss Whedon for both geek culture and his deft touch with large casts. Joss Whedon made The Avengers the success that it was.
2. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
I missed out on a lot of awesome cartoons, like Young Justice, because I was an "adult" and only kids watch cartoons – right? Well, with a 4-year-old, I pretty much have to watch cartoons, but my son watches the cartoons I want him to watch. That is when I discovered The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes on Netflix. Damn, I can't think of any comic book fan who wouldn't love this show – I don't care how old you are or your opinions about cartoons. The show lasted from 2010-2012 and was full of familiar stories from my 30 plus years of reading comics.
What I loved about the show was that it started out with individual episodes. Iron Man fighting Hyrda in the first episode, The Hulk battling The Absorbing Man in the second, Ant-Man battling The Claw in the third, and Thor fighting The Wrecking Crew in the fifth before they ever teamed up as The Avengers. The show also took us back to World War II to introduce Captain America. It was a fantastic origin television show and is right up there with Spectacular Spider-Man as one of the best comic book cartoons on TV.
1. The Avengers: Under Siege (Avengers 273-277)
While much of The Avengers movie was based on The Ultimates, from an African American Nick Fury to the origins of some of the characters, I really feel like the better stories in comic book history comes from the past, and the best of the best is Under Siege. Sure, this has nothing to do with the movie, but if you loved The Avengers movie, and want to read more, you would be remiss not to pick up Under Siege, which originally printed in Avengers 273-277 and can also be found in graphic novel format.
Roger Stern penned the story with John Buscema drawing it, as Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil lay out an attack on Avengers Mansion and do the unthinkable – they physically brutalize Jarvis. Then, one by one, they beat each member of The Avengers until they are all fallen around them. It was a fantastic story and proof that The Avengers work best as a team and the only way they could fall is to be broken down and separated.