Here’s a superpowered miracle: The news out of Comic-Con 2013 was about actual comic-book characters. Not that the vampires, tributes, and meth dealers didn’t get our hearts racing again (they did!), but it was the comic-based projects — complete with spandex, capes, and cowls — that dominated this year’s nerdfest in San Diego. The biggest headline? DC’s movie starring Batman and Superman (BAM!). The best reward for standing in line? A surprise pilot screening so major it needs two apostrophes to describe: ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (SMACK!). Even the official Comic-Con backpacks came with capes. Of course, some noncomic titles popped too. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer featuring Quarter Quell footage was must-see video, and fast-ascending geek royalty Benedict Cumberbatch made a ruckus by not appearing at the Sherlock panel and instead sending a video involving stuffed animals that went insta-viral on EW.com. Impressing the Comic-Con crowd without even going? Now, that’s a superpower. Here are some more of the Con’s headlines.
Gods and Mutants Dropped By
Humanity, look how far you’ve fallen. Lining up in the sweltering heat for hours. Huddling together in the dark, like beasts!” Only the dastardly Loki, a.k.a. The Avengers actor Tom Hiddleston, could so eloquently insult the 6,500 seated attendees in Hall H — and be met with such rapturous applause. But he wasn’t the only surprise guest. Tom Cruise made his Comic-Con debut at Warner Bros.’ panel to promote his 2014 sci-fi film Edge of Tomorrow, exuberantly singing ’80s ballads with moderator Chris Hardwick and quoting Weird Science with costar Bill Paxton. And Fox’s upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past managed to overwhelm through sheer quantity of star power, marching out a squadron of famous mutants including Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and Patrick Stewart, among others, to sit at one very long table. —Keith Staskiewicz
Marvel and DC Squared Off
Marvel Studios usually dominates Saturday, the biggest day at Comic-Con, with a showstopping presentation. But the studio had supersize competition this year from Warner Bros., which had director Zack Snyder announce he was working on another Superman movie…which will also be a Batman movie. Uniting DC’s two most iconic heroes for one megamovie? That was a broadside fired directly at Marvel’s Avenger-verse. Marvel put on quite a show of its own at Comic-Con. It had not just Loki live, but also sneak peeks at the Captain America sequel (which looked amazing), Guardians of the Galaxy (which looked like a hilariously eccentric mash-up of Spaceballs and The Dirty Dozen), and the next Thor (which looked like an episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys). Finally, director and Comic-Con god Joss Whedon announced that The Avengers 2 will have the dizzyingly nerdy subtitle Age of Ultron. By the way, Ultron is an indestructible robot determined to take down the whole human race. And you thought Loki was a badass? —Darren Franich