Note: We're not going to talk about Wanted because that was already made into a movie. Netflix do have the rights to expand that universe if they want, but it's already been adapted and therefore it's pretty pointless to discuss.
Nemesis is a fucked up story, now I think about it. I loved it the first time I read it and couldn't wait for it's movie adaptation, but looking back... holy shit this is fucked up. Nemesis follows an insane, rich supervillain who has set a time and date for the death of revered cop Blake Morrow. Over the course of the story, Nemesis drives a train through a skyscraper, kidnaps the president, kill almost 100 people with his bare hands and impregnates Morrow's daughter with her brothers sperm. It is wholly fucked up, but it's also kind of amazing given the excess of darkness and violence on display. Nemesis's all-white costume design is also suitably spooky and unnerving. The short series seems also made for adaptation (This will become a theme going forward, hint-idy fuckin' hint), given that the audience can stomach the depths of depravity that Nemesis plunders from moment to moment.
Best Use: This was at multiple points picked up for a feature length movie, and this would 100% be the best use of the story. However, it will be interesting to see if a Netflix movie budget would properly recreate the large scale set pieces from the comics. There's, like, a lot of explosions and gore. Like, a LOT.
Super Crooks is an interesting beast. It reads more like an Oceans Eleven send up of the superhero genre, taking a fair amount of inspiration from the X-Men if you look close enough. It has villains as your primary protagonists and you're very much meant to be on their side. And to it's credits, some of some of the characters are great in this story, particularly Johnny Fulmine, the leader of the Super Crooks. The problem is with this book is it's very much a genre piece. Which is fine, if you enjoy heist movies, as it fits very neatly into that mould and satisfies all of the tropes of that genre. It also falls down a bit with the rules of it's world. America is teeming with superheroes, but Spain is apparently so unlucky as to have zero superheroes but one of the biggest crime bosses/supervillains on the planet? There's also a SUPER uncomfortable plotpoint about the character Gladiator being blackmailed into commiting crimes in order to stop information about his secret gay lifestyle going public, which is... just, no. Still, contrivances and niggles aside, it's a breath of fresh air just to not see a Mark Millar book that isn't ALL swearing and gore. But don't worry, that's here too, because Mark Millar is Mark Millar.
Best Use: You could do this as a straight up movie, however, I think maybe a 4-8 episode mini-series with some lore expansion could be a far better use of this IP. You'd have more time to spend with each individual member of the team (And fix the Gladiator story thread in the meantime, because holy shit that's awful), you could show the planning of the heist more meticilously, plus I think an episodic format would help have more peaks and troughs, as well as some dramatic cliffhangers between episodes.
Superior is one of the better creations from Millarworld with a genuinely enjoyable story with plenty of twists and turns along the way. In it, Simon Pooni, a 12 year old child with multiple scoliosis, meets a magic monkey named Orman who is able to grant his wish of being a hero and turns him into the in-universe superhero character Superior (And excellent homage to the Christopher Reeves Superman). What follows is the kind of stuff that happens when a child plays hero in the real world. Heroism most of the time doesn't always work. Physics don't work like they do in comics and there are some proper jaw-drop moments that do not fuck about in this story. However, this story is probably my favourite because it really pulls away from the Millarworld trademark of gore and swearing. The best thing that happens in the book is Superior dealing with the world terrorist problem without a single death. Moments like that make this title so much better than most of the Millarworld roster. Simon is a great smypathetic character and the fan-casting of John Cena as Superior 100% would work and must happen, please somebody make this booking happen.
Best Use: In a perfect world where Cena plays Superior, you would probably only be able to make a movie out of this story, but I would say a series of about 10-12 episodes would be able to deal with some of the more sentimental moments of the series, as well as the harsh left turn that the ending of this story deals with. Who knows, you can always stray from the flaws of the source material and build a franchise out of this!
MPH was victim to come controversy on it's release, due to the fact that it's four black teen leads result to a life of crime immediately after getting their super speed powers, which themselves are gained through drug use. However, if there's anything that we know Netflix is capable of doing right, it's sympathetic multiracial stories set in urban superhero worlds. MPH is set in Detroit, where Roscoe, a poor kid from the slums, who turns to drugs in prison. However, the new hot drug MPH gives Roscoe the ability to run at superhuman speeds, allowing him to escape. Roscoe then brings in his girlfriend Rosa and friends Chevy and Baseball to start a superhuman gang of robbers to take the riches they think they deserve and live a life of superhuman luxury. When the police and government fail to take down the gang, they turn to using a mystery speedster captured many years ago who developed the same powers, as a fight fire with fire approach. One of the criticisms of the book is that the story is very much a movie pitch, which becomes a growing trend in Millars' later books, but the dichotomy of the under-privileged and bitter in the poorest parts of the USA stumbling on powers does have the potential to say a lot about the economics and power imbalance in the US. I mean, Millar is not the person who should be writing that, but the framing of that narrative is awesome!
Best use: Full series, easily. 10 episodes, maybe just do the initial run with some tweaks, maybe make the characters a tad more sympathetic than just street hustler. The bare bones of a great story is already here, so why not build on that?
Starlight is essentially a send up of a number of pulp sci-fi comics and novels. Our hero, Duke McQueen, once a young and handsome pilot-turned-swashbuckling space hero, goes home to Earth, starts and family and fades into obscurity. Several years later and now an old man and widower, a boy named Krish from a planet that Duke saved arrives on Earth pleading Duke to don his suit one more time to save his world once more. Essentially, it's a space pulp re-tread of Old Man Logan, but the idea of old and aged heroes is still fertile ground, rarely explored in superhero media. The story is pretty one note, but that note is a familiar, well working note so I guess it's fine. The real fun to be had will be from sympathising with Duke, seeing his mentor role to Krish and the whole concept of the hero returning that we've seen in OML and The Dark Knight Returns, only waaay more upbeat and straightforward, meaning way more fun!
Best Use: Straight up movie. There's no point in this being a series as it doesn't have many messages beyond 'Love your elders' and 'Watching old people fuck shit up is cool', but they're decent enough messages for a movie, not unlike John Wick or RED. The outer space aspect might cause a strain on the budget, but take on look at Max Landis' Bright coming out this winter and tell me that we couldn't make a convincing alien world on a Netflix budget.
Jupiter's Legacy/Jupiter's Circle
Jupiter's Legacy and it's spin-off Jupiter's Circle is probably Millarworld's most heavily lore-filled series. In it, a man who lost it all in the Stock Market Crash of 1929 journeys with his family and friends to an uncharted island, and wind up gaining superpowers. Fast forward to present day and the American Dream of a truly capitalist utopia has come true... and it sucks. The 'heroes' have a direct hand in the American government and that makes for a shitty situation where your gods are real and can and will kill you if you stray from their path. The family begins in-fighting when they each have their own wants, leading the children of the heroes to either go into hiding or form a rebellion against their parents. The book has serious Bioshock Infinite style influences and beats, which was in of itself a pretty cinematic experience to begin with, so this is a pretty fitting idea to put into production. Plus, you have the stories of the first family's superhero antics from the Circle spin-off, which shows how the heroes became corrupt and how the world steadily changed to adapt to their existence. With plenty of blood feuds and family quarrels, it has the potential to be the superhero equivalent of Game Of Thrones.
Best Use: Full series, obviously. It's got Thrones level of intrigue. It could be a better version of Inhumans. Multiple series potential already, Make it happen now, Netflix.
Huck is admittedly an overall far less gruesome and cynical story from Millar, but it's hard to escape the fact that this is just a modern day reinvention of Golden Age Superman comics. Huck is a gas station attendant with a mysterious past, who goes one good deed a day with his superhuman abilities. Other than that, he doesn't want to be a famous superhero and would rather just make things better for his community. Then, his identity gets out, there is a media storm and suddenly the evil Russians, because of course they're Russian, and the Cold War science experiments that make up Huck's backstory come into the fold, leading to a big fight with robots. There's not much to discuss, other than how genuine a person Huck is, that's really all there is to it. Huck is the same kind of unassuming and hidden as Clark Kent. Because Huck is basically Clark Kent. It's Superman. You know this story.
Best Use: Movie. It's a beginning, middle and end movie, very straightforward, one and done and that's all you need. It's fucking Superman, we've seen this shit done time and time again.
American Jesus is... unfinished. It's a cook that is as of yet not completed. In fact, this book used to be called Chosen before it became American Jesus. In it, brat kid Jodie discovers he is Jesus Christ reincarnated after a he walks unscathed out of a fatal car accident. Once the story of the second coming of Christ begins to seep out, there is silence from the media, leading to the assumption that there are powers as yet unknown to Jodie that want to quell the existence of Christ. And honestly, that's all we've got. One book of the planned three was released and the rest is presumably sitting in a drawer in Millars desk, waiting to be turned into a script.
Best Use: Series, since ultimately the series aims to deal with meddling with the rest of the stories in the Bible and their modern day interpretations and applications,as well as this conspiracy stuff. I'm not wholly convince that it was shelved in order to make it an unpredictable series that has the same week-to-week cliffhangers that shows like Westworld have.
Chrononauts is stupid. And that's awesome. It's all the best parts of Millars offhanded and cynical writing style. In it, scientists Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly invent time travel with the intention of televising historic world events. However, once they realise what they're onto, the two go AWOL and begin partying through time and generally act like complete idiot dudebros. And that's pretty much the premise; if you could fuck about in time, where would you go first with present day shit, how much money could you make and how many historical figures could you get into bed with. The series is like cake; ultimately not good for you, but so satisfying that all the doubts you have for enjoying this garbage go away as soon as you see how good it is.
Best Use: A movie could work, but given that there'd be plenty of time-hopping adventures, a miniseries of 4-6 episodes operating at a breakneck speed would add plenty of opportunity for humour.
Empress is basically a variant of Furiosa's story from Mad Max: Fury Road. Queen Emporia is married to Morax, a literal evil space dictator. It's essentially an abusive relationship that is kept in place due to Emporia fearing for her three children lives should she leave. Eventually, she decided that enough is enough and begins her escape with her bodyguard and kids in tow. Morax follows in hot pursuit, either hoping capture or kill his fleeing wife. As a derivative feminist space opera, it works in some places but falls down in other. Namely characters. Other than Morax being an unlikable asshole, we're just told to mindlessly root for Emporia and everyone else is pretty much just a vessel for some flashy set-pieces that's trying really hard to be Star Wars. It gets slightly too bogged down in the typical Millar shock staples to allow the characters to prove themselves as anything other than vehicles for action, but the intent there is pretty good and could easily be improved with an adaptation.
Best Use: Another mini-series here, given some more time to expand upon the themes of abusive relationships and female empowerment, you could have a halfway decent female led series.
Reborn is the newest Millarworld title and is ultimately a cool idea. However, if this gets the Netflix treatment, it needs a LOT of work. Bonnie Black is an 85 year old widow on deaths door. When she finally dies, she finds not Heaven or Hell, but the magical land of Adystria, and is reborn as a 25 year old warrior chick. Reunited with her childhood pet dog, she sets off on a fantasy quest to find her deceased husband and uncover the mystery of his murder, whilst becoming embroiled in a world-saving prophecy. Other than the standard He-Man style world saving fantasy, the book is full of really weird decisions, like General Frost, who turns out to be Bonnie's cat who is pissed at getting neutered and is now evil as fuck. Like... what? It's a cool concept, but it needs serious re-tooling.
Best Use: Either another mini-series or a short full series with some major expansions and revisions, adding complexity to this otherwise simplistic take on a fantasy sci-fi trope tale.
And there we have it, every titles that Netflix can turn into a series or movie detailed. Which one are you excited to see? Do you think any of them will be as good as Kick-Ass or as awful as Kick-Ass 2? Comment below, on Facebook or Twitter!
The Editor in Chief of Foul Entertainment, Mike edits most of what you see on the site. He runs the production of our podcasts, and currently pens Pop Culture Club and The Death of Video Games