Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Azazel? Seriously? What...the...hell?

I've seen this more than once now, but I don't know if other sources are picking it up from Bleeding Cool: actor Jason Flemyng is cast as Azazel in the X-Men: First Class movie. What...really?

Maybe someone can explain this to me, but I know some studios, like Sony for Spider-Man or Fox for the X-Men, still have movie rights despite Disney's purchase of Marvel Comics. They had them first, and I believe if they don't use them, the rights will revert to Disney/Marvel. That's why there's a bit of a rush job coming on say, Ghost Rider 2, for example.

Everything I've heard about the upcoming X-Men: First Class sounds like a bit of a disaster, though: it seems more like a reboot but still seems to be called a prequel, even though there are a ton of characters in it that were used differently in the other X-Men movies. And there are a ton of characters in it (check the wikipedia, I'm not typing all that) that weren't in the original five-man band: I would've thought it would be easy enough to get a movie's worth of material out of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast, Iceman, Professor X, and Magneto; without bringing in Darwin, Banshee, Havok and a seeming cast of thousands. I mean, Kevin Bacon's in there somewhere? Why?

So, I've been wondering...the rights to these characters is going to revert to Disney/Marvel at some point, aren't they? If so...would it behoove Sony or Fox or whoever to pursue a scorched earth policy? Eventually, Spider-Man/the X-Men/whatever character they lose the rights to, is going to be competition to those studios and whatever their current franchise schedule movies will be. For example: Fox makes an awesome X-Men: First Class. It and however many sequels they can crank out are huge hits, and then the rights go back to Marvel. The next summer, Fox puts out Movie Y, and gets crushed by Marvel's new X-Men flick.

But, what if Fox decides to burn that bridge? Make an utter tripe X-Men film, kill the franchise stone dead for a few years or more? What's stopping them? Even if they sink a bit of capital into making and marketing a bad movie, they could probably still recover a bit, while taking out some future competition. There are doubtless a bazillion things wrong with my theory...but still, it's a niggling doubt.

(This is going under the "vile speculation" tag, since that's how I think it works. Maybe if Fox keeps making X-Men movies, they get to keep the rights? I don't think that's the case, still pretty sure Marvel/Disney gets everyone back at some point.)

Back to Azazel, who I still think may be a red herring for X-Men: First Class. Or someone told them they needed more action figure ready characters; because there's little other reason to use him. He sure as hell ain't a fan-favorite or anything...

For those of you who aren't familiar with the character, or have blocked the memory out: Azazel was introduced as Nightcrawler's father in Chuck Austen's storyline, "The Draco." He first appears in a flashback in Uncanny X-Men #426, set twenty years ago...which would make Nightcrawler still a teenager, so he's aging backwards at about the same rate as Kitty Pryde.

The woman that would eventually be known as Mystique is living a good life, as the wife of a German baron. (There is virtually no technology to be seen in this issue; which doesn't date it as much as make it seem impossibly rustic.) Everything would be perfect for Raven, except for one thing: she can't get pregnant. And not for lack of trying; with her husband, with in vitro, with strangers she changes form to seduce.

Then she meets Azazel, in a human form. Devilishly handsome, they hit it off quickly, and it's implied that he gives Raven her nom de plume of Mystique. He praises her as magnificent, far beyond anything as petty as merely human, and in short order gets her to reveal her true form, before seducing her in a church.

Raven is both smitten and knocked up soon thereafter; but Azazel then rebuffs her, telling her to go back to her husband and raise his son as the Baron's. The Baron, however, is understandably dubious about his wife getting pregnant so suddenly after Azazel's arrival and sudden departure. He proposes a paternity test, and Raven answers by stabbing him to death and ditching the body.

Now completely alone, Raven gives birth, to a blue baby boy. Which would normally be a bad sign, but Kurt was obviously a mutant from birth. That's disturbing the delivery team enough, before Raven reverts to her usual blue form, and gets denounced as a demoness. Forced to flee her formerly "perfect" life, Raven curses Azazel for not loving her, for leaving her with "nothing of any value whatsoever," and she drops baby Kurt over a waterfall. (A "BAMF!" is seen, presumably Azazel saving Kurt.)
This was actually a fairly decent start of the storyline--Austen is virtually reviled now, and the rest of "The Draco" would bear that out. There's Nightcrawler's half-siblings Abyss and Kiwi Black, among others; there's Angel's healing blood that burns Azazel's spawn; there's Azazel trapped in some pocket dimension that he can occasionally get out of for booty calls...yeah, it gets terrible pretty quickly, and has been all but swept under the rug. And for some reason, despite no one wanting to bring it up, there's some question on whether Azazel is an early mutant, like Apocalypse; or an actual bona-fide demon of some sort.

Well, this post has gotten out of hand; so today's scans? From Uncanny X-Men #428, "How Did I Get Here?" (The title and title page seem very Claremont.) Written by Chuck Austen, pencils by Sean Phillips, colors by Dave McCaig. Sean Phillips carries this one a bit further than the later issues, with Philip Tan art. And tomorrow? A helluva shorter post...


Sea-of-Green said...

*Sigh.* Well, X-men has become such a trainwreck, I doubt Fox and Sony can do too much more damage. Too bad Disney is inheriting damaged goods, though.

Anonymous said...

So have you seen X-men First class now that it's out? Admit it, it was excellently executed....

Anonymous said...

X-Men First class was a piss poor, cheaply made random peice of B.S. to say it nicely. I liked the wolverine movie better, and the Wolverine movie beyond awful. They should give up. I mean all the X-men movies combined haven't made enough money to compete with Spiderman or Transformers, & definetly not batman. I'll never go to another X-men movie as long as fox has the rights. Done! #Moira McTaggert was an American CIA operative. where do they come up with this stuff! SMDH!!!

AbyssBiggestfan said...

I would like to see more of Abyss Nils Styger I wish they would bring him back and make him as cool as in the Age of Apocalypse 616 reality. he was such a cool character, demonic, twisted and FUNNY! He made me laugh with his comment about bubble gum.