Comic book writer extraordinaire Mark Millar has practically become an industry in of himself. He is credited with breathing new life into comic franchises like Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four and also wrote the game-changing Marvel's Civil War series. No wonder Fox tapped him to shepherd their own inter-connected Marvel universe.
Millar's original titles have seen some popular, successful big-screen adaptations with Wanted and the first Kick-Ass, and there's plenty more on the way, including The Secret Service, Nemesis, Superior and the upcoming Starlight. Now, THR reports that Transformers: Age of Extinction, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Red 2 producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has optioned another soon-to-be released Millarworld title, MPH.
Here's a synopsis of the comic book:
MPH centers on four 19-year olds who get their hands on a street drug that gives them the ability to move at light-speed for seven days.
The first issue will be released on May 21 of this year and - according to Millar - will evidently be the final "Millarworld" title available for option until 2015. He has said he's "going to chill" with his family at least until next year.
Millar's comments on di Bonaventura speak to the anticipated scale of MPH. According to the writer:
“(Lorenzo's) one of the few real moguls in the industry, having hired Chris Nolan for Batman and bought the rights to the Harry Potter books when he was head of Warner Bros. and then of course he's the guy behind the Transformers movies. So he's a guy who really knows how to make huge pictures and he's somebody I've always wanted to work with on one of the bigger Millarworld adaptations.”
While Millar himself can be something of a divisive figure - from bashing a potential - and, let's face it, inevitable - Justice League movie to saying that comic books "aren't for girls" to the over-the-top violence and often resolutely unsympathetic characters in his comics - his original work has found a degree of success and critical appreciation for taking well-worn comic book superhero tropes and spinning them into something new... and usually very violent.
Nemesis, for example, starts with the concept of "What if Batman was the Joker," making its protagonist an wealthy and insane supervillain. Superior follows a 12-year-old boy with multiple sclerosis who is granted the wish to become a superhero (shades of Shazam's Captain Marvel). MPH sounds like it will be a spin on The Flash, and fans can probably expect something very different from the usual depiction of characters with super-speed abilities.
The involvement of di Bonaventura points toward a much larger-scale canvas than some of the previous Millar adaptations. Wanted had that grand, big-budget blockbuster cinematic scope, but was not exactly beloved by critics, and a promised sequel has yet to materialize. Our next Millar film is X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn's The Secret Service, which despite a promising cast and premise, keeps changing release dates, and will now premiere this October.
Are we Millar'd out? Kick-Ass 2 barely broke even here in the U.S., with a final global take of $60 million, and was not the massive hit many were expecting. It's uncertain just how better or worse The Secret Service will fare, but it's box office performance could affect the fate of the various other Millar titles still in development.
The MPH movie is in development. The comic book will be released on May 21, 2014.