Marvel Comics Vs the MCU: How Your Favorite Characters Are Totally Different –

Funny I only ever see the two of you. It’s like the studio can’t afford another X-Man.
While both Marvel Studios and 21st Century Fox (for the most part) have done a bang-up job bringing a plethora of Marvel heroes and villains from the comics to the big and small screens, changes have been made. Whether the characters were altered for story purposes, to keep the cinematic universes more coherent, or just to further popularize them with modern audiences, liberties have been taken with our favorite supes. So if you’re curious just what differences exist between the protagonists and antagonists you’ve grown to love watching in theaters and at home, and their true, original versions, created long ago for the pages of funny books, please, read on.
Let’s get started with the best at what he does, even though what he does isn’t very nice. I’ll make this short, but sweet. Wolverine is very short (but not sweet). Hugh Jackman, who has portrayed Wolverine in every on-screen appearance the character has ever made, is 6’3”. That’s exactly one foot taller than the comic book interpretation of the mutant. Yes, Wolverine is a mere 5’3” on paper. That’s why he’s called Wolverine: he’s small, but deadly. If you have a problem with his height, by all means, take it up with him.
Where to begin… First off, in the comics, Peter Quill never lost his mother to cancer. She was killed by aliens. His father was not the Celestial known as Ego, but the space pirate, J’son, heir to the throne of the planet Spartax. But this would have made for a poor Guardians of the Galaxy movie, as, without any Celestial blood, Quill would have disintegrated upon touching the power stone. Also, the comic book version of Star-Lord was never abducted by Yondu. He was an adult and a NASA trainee before he left Earth via a Kree ship that he stole. Yep, still sounds like Peter Quill to me.
The Thanos of film fare may have been a self-righteous a-hole that justified his genocidal actions through some ridiculous, heartfelt belief in balancing the universe. But the Thanos of Marvel comics made no such excuses. Like so many bad decisions in life, the Mad Titan did what he did out of love. Love for Lady Death, that is. Yes, the comic book version of Thanos is in love with the grim reaper, who happens to be a comely female in Marvel comics. To prove his feelings, he used the Infinity Gauntlet to kill half of all life in the universe. What has your significant other done for you lately?
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There are quite a few small differences between the MCU’s interpretation of Hawkeye and his humble comic book beginnings, but one thing stands out amongst the rest. Hawkeye was deaf for most of his career. Way back in 1982, Clint Barton stuck a sonic arrowhead in his mouth to prevent himself from being brainwashed. Unfortunately, it demolished his eardrums and made him deaf. His hearing was later restored, only to be taken from him once more, when The Clown stabbed him in both ears with his own arrows. It seems the MCU will be adapting some part of his hearing loss for his solo Disney program, as a teaser has displayed him using hearing aids.
This one’s simple, but huge. In the comics, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were (at least until 2014), considered mutants and the children of Magneto. They were not the results of experiments by Hydra, as portrayed in the movies. However, due to rights issues with Fox, who owned the X-Men franchise at the time, the twins couldn’t be labeled as mutants in the MCU, and Magneto certainly couldn’t be mentioned at all. Sadly, to make the print and cinematic versions more in sync, Marvel pulled the old switch-a-roo in their 2014 comics and not only reversed Magneto’s parentage of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, but recanted their status as mutants, claiming it was the High Evolutionary that gave them their powers. Not only that, but Wanda is currently dead in the comics. Maybe this is one of those rare cases where the movies should take precedent over the comic book proceedings.
This one’s huge, and not simple at all. In fact, Mantis is probably the most changed of all the Marvel characters to be displayed on screen. The Mantis we know and love from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies is a sweet, kind alien being. The Mantis from the funny pages was born right here on Earth to a German fellow and a Vietnamese woman. Unfortunately, they didn’t qualify as parents of the year, having given her to the Kree for evaluation. The Kree concluded she was integral to the fate of the universe, perhaps based on her inborn telepathic powers. Her memory was erased and she was sent out into the clear, blue yonder to earn her stripes. Here’s where things really got weird. As the Kree’s ‘Celestial Madonna,’ Mantis was fated to breed with a perfect specimen of the Cotati race, which happen to be trees (but no, not Groots). She did so and gave birth to her daughter, Sequoia. But her lot in life is a whole different story for a whole different movie, if Marvel Studios should see fit to tell it.
Long story short, Mantis did eventually join the Guardians of the Galaxy. But in the comics, aside from her empathic abilities, she has the powers of telepathy and precognition. She’s also an extremely skilled martial artist with a side of super strength, and can perform astral projection. Maybe we’ll see some of these traits develop in further films.
Well, I’ll bet you’re busting to know how this bad boy is different in the comics from his beloved big screen counterpart. The truth is he’s not that much different at all. Now. But when Deadpool was conceived, it wasn’t as the snarky, slightly insane anti-hero we all know and love from the cinema. He actually started his fictional life as a villain: specifically, competition against DC’s very popular Deathstroke. The creators of Deadpool, Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, didn’t even attempt to hide the obvious copycat nature of the character. Deathstroke, created ten years earlier, is a mercenary who uses swords and guns, and whose name is Slade Wilson. Deadpool is a mercenary who uses swords and guns, and whose name is Wade Wilson. The prosecution rests.
While X-Men: The Last Stand had plenty of bigger problems, one should be aware that its portrayal of the Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) is pretty inaccurate. First, they portray him as a mutant, found on the ever-moving bus/prison for criminal mutants by Magneto when he jailbreaks Mystique. Juggernaut is not, in fact, a mutant at all. He gained his powers when he unearthed the Gem of Cyttorak, a deity that imbued him with the unstoppable force of a juggernaut. Another pretty major element of this character’s backstory is that he is actually Charles Xavier’s step-brother. And an abusive one at that. This was completely ignored in The Last Stand, but Deadpool 2 gets points for at least making note of the relationship during a talk he has with Firefist.
Like Deadpool, Rogue started her comic book career as a villain. The X-Men movies portrayed her as a sweet, innocent teenager with uncontrollable powers in desperate need of Charles Xavier’s tutelage. That couldn’t be farther from her print-form beginnings. While her power-sucking abilities are the same in the comics, she’s first recruited by Mystique to do her dirty work for her. This led to an eventual fight with Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, in which Rogue absorbed her super-strength, flight, extreme durability, and ranged power attacks. But instead of retaining those abilities for a short time, as is nearly always the case with her power, they didn’t go away for decades. This made Rogue one of the most powerful members of the X-Men when she eventually went legit. This is a far cry from the timid, nearly useless Rogue of Fox’s cinematic universe. But the rumor mill has been buzzing with whispers that the Danvers/Rogue fight could take place in Captain Marvel 2, as an introduction to the MCU’s X-Men.
With the possible exception of Mantis, no character in the Marvel films could be farther from their comic book counterpart than Drax the Destroyer. In the MCU, Drax is an alien hell-bent on avenging the killing of his wife and daughter by Thanos. All of this is true in the comics, save for Drax being an alien and his daughter being killed! In Marvel comics lore, Drax started life as Arthur Douglas, a real estate agent and a talented saxophone player. Whilst driving through the Mojave Desert with family in tow, Thanos was scouting Earth overhead, and decided to wipe out any witnesses. Arthur and his wife were killed, but their daughter, Heather survived, and was taken up and raised by Thanos’s dad, Mentor, to become the superhero known as Moondragon. But we’re getting off-course. As for Arthur, an Eternal named Kronos just happened to be in the market for someone to kill Thanos, and so resurrected Arthur as Drax, a being strong enough to challenge the Mad Titan himself. In fact, the comic book version of Drax is far more powerful than his on-screen portrayal, and is actually a match for Thanos all by himself. But that would have made for a much shorter movie.
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I was a computer scientist who became a lawyer, who became an amateur novelist/screenwriter, who became a pop culture content writer and never looked back. Currently I write movie/tv/video game features for Collider.


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