Will SILVER AND BLACK Give Us An All-Female Super Team?

Are you interested in rumors about Silver and Black? Well, “Colonel George Dillon” certainly is! He the guy who leaked the dubious plot synopsis we covered here on Tuesday and he is back, giving Splash Report another exclusive on where Sony plans to go after the film. Hint: It’s very familiar territory.

“With Wonder Woman opening this week, it’s a pretty good bet Sony is taking universe building tips from Warner/DC. Why?

Silver and Black is the setup for an all female Spidey-verse team movie. It ends with Silver Sable (a la Nick Fury) rounding up a team of The Black Cat, Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), Charlotte Witter (Stunner), Sarah Ehret (Jackpot) and Cassie St. Commons (Dusk).”

Technically, that looks like they are taking universe building tips from both DC and Marvel, but who’s counting.

On the surface this sounds logical. It fits in with information we have already heard down the pipeline and Sony appears to have the rights to all these characters as per the Sony leak of 2015. But there are still several red flags.

Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman’s inclusion in Spider-Man’s rights is surprising because the character, other than being a  female version of Spider-Man created by Marvel during a time when they were doing that sort of thing (further examples are Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk), had nothing to do with Spider-Man. She was given her powers through genetic engineering by an evil criminal organization and for the most part appeared in books other than the Spider-Man line. Also, the thing is, that evil criminal organization was Hydra. You know, the bad guys getting a lot of play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially their television arena. Keeping Hydra part of Jessica Drew’s would create another, interesting link with the MCU.

However, rumor has it that these spin-offs will not even directly tie-in with the MCU Spider-Man films, let alone the main Marvel Studios ones. Now, the character is an obvious choice for a film adaptation, there was a Jessica Drew Spider-Woman cartoon in the late-70s, the character represented the company in a number of live-action appearance, and has had numerous comic book series to her name. And that’s the point. She is a somewhat known quantity that could probably support her own stand-alone film right now instead of needing to play the part of an ensemble beforehand. Now, there were three other people with the name of Spider-Woman in Marvel’s history. If the rumor mentioned one of them as part of the team, it would make more sense.

Speaking of which, they did mention another Spider-Woman in the rumor–Charlotte Witter. Here is another red flag. Charlotte Witter was not Stunner. She was the fourth person to take the name Spider-Woman. She was a fashion executive brainwashed and genetically altered by Doctor Octopus to become a human spider/vampire hybrid. As you can see to the right, she had four, spider-like arms. She also feasted on human blood and was able to steal the spider powers of the other spider-women. Octopus created her with the idea that she would eventually become powerful enough to kill Spider-Man. She was created by Howard Mackie and John Byrne in Amazing Spider-Man (2nd Series) #5 in 1999, but made only a handful or appearances before disappearing in 2000.

Stunner was in fact a woman named Angelina Brancale. She was created by J.M. DeMatteis and Mark Bagley in Amazing Spider-Man (1st Series) #397. She predated Witter by four years. She was a frumpy and lonely video store clerk who crossed paths with Doctor Octopus. Octopus used a “virtual reality” machine to create a new, Amazonian body for her (seen on the left), which she promptly used to attack Spider-Man for her patron. Along the way, she fell in love with Octavius which fueled her passion to kill Spider-Man for him. She mainly appeared in the “Spider-Clone” storyline that ran through the Spider-Man titles in 1995, but she was brought back twice, once for a three-issue arc in 1997, and most recently in 2014.

If we are being generous, we say either the person who gave the rumor to “Colonel Dillon” was confused or “The Colonel” was. Both are women with long blonde hair and both had Doctor Octopus play a role in their origins. But you’d think the fact that one of them had four extra arms might have made it easier for them to be told apart. Regardless, the mistake calls the veracity of the rumor in question, as does the fact that a character who has not yet been introduced into the films plays such a big part in their origin and personalities.

The next two are problematic for a similar reason: the comic book versions of the characters have a direct tie with Spider-Man.

Dusk got her start in a storyline where Spider-Man was accused of murder and was forced to create four different costumed identities in order to fight crime. One was a completely black outfit he created for an identity he called Dusk. When he was cleared of the murder charge, the alternate costumes were passed on to a group of young heroes called The Slingers. The woman who received the Dusk costume, college student Cassie St. Commons, died during her initiation to the group, but magically came back to life with the power over shadows, the ability to teleport and the ability to project darkforce energy. It durned out that the costume was cursed, hence the reason why she was brought back to life.

Jackpot is an interesting case because most of her appeal was due to Marvel playing fast and loose with who she really was for months after her debut. With her flaming red hair, habit of saying “Tiger,” and calling herself Jackpot, people were led to believe that she might have been Spider-Man’s girlfriend Mary Jane Watson under the mask. It wasn’t. It was a woman named Sara Ehret who gained superstrength through a lab accident and became a reluctant superhero. When a more dedicated woman named Alana Jobson came along asking to buy the Jackpot identity from her, Ehret agreed. Jobson gained superpowers through a mutagenic hormone that also increased her speed, endurance and durability. Jobson was killed after being dosed by a villain with a drug that had a toxic reaction with the drugs she had in her system. Ehret retook the identity soon after Jobson’s death, after being chastised by Spider-Man for giving it up in the first place.

Both Dusk and Jackpot have convoluted origins where the one of the most interesting parts of said origins are the connections to Spider-Man. In addition, the second Jackpot got her powers through the Mutant Growth Hormone, a plotline that spun off from the X-Men titles which are off limits to the people at Sony. Both characters would need to be seriously tweaked to fit in to the film shared universe, so much so that it would take a lot of what made them interesting away.

And if the idea was to use Silver and Black to spin these characters eventually off into their own films, well, I don’t think Jackpot, Dusk or Stunner have what it takes to carry a movie. These aren’t B-level characters like Iron Man was. None of the three headlined their own titles for very long (or if at all) and all of them only appeared over a short period of time before disappearing. You aren’t going to generate good word of mouth from a great number of comic book fans who are all excited that Stunner is finally getting her own movie.

This is a lot of words trying to prove a rumor false. But if it is true, it appears Sony has learn nothing from Disney/Marvel’s success or Warner/DC’s failure. It will be a shared universe that many people would find easy to say “no thanks” to.

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About William Gatevackes 1937 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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