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Comic-Con: Marvel magic returns

Titles 'Thor,' 'Captain America', confirms 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Marvel had a tough act to follow Saturday night, but come on — this is Comic-Con, and we’re talking Marvel here.

After Warner Bros. blew Hall H away with Superman, some colossal monsters and a halfling in the panel before, Marvel counterpunched with much-anticipated news.

First up were sequel titles: “Thor: The Dark Worlds” will bring the God of Thunder back to the bigscreen, but it was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” that delighted fans most, as the title brings news that it will incorporate Ed Brubaker’s popular comicbook arc about Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan in the original), Cap’s sidekick-turned-communist-supersoldier.

“The Winter Soldier” is set for release on April 4, 2014. “The Dark World” is set for Nov. 15, 2013.

Marvel also confirmed a “Guardians of the Galaxy” pic, showing the four intergalactic defenders in a new, stylized rendering.

Still unclear is whether “Ant Man” is moving forward, despite that director Edgar Wright came onstage to show a test reel he did for the pic about Hank Pym, a scientist who discovers a way to diminish and increase his size in an instant. The still-unfinished clip was an action sequence, in which Ant-Man takes out a couple of security guards in micronized form.

But as he always does on Saturday night at Comic-Con, Robert Downey Jr. stole the show. Bounding in from the back of the room to some smooth Luther Vandross, dressed as Tony Stark and wearing an Iron Man armored glove, the actor was the shiniest object in the room.

“Question No. 1: How much do I love you?” he asked as he took the stage (to much cheering). “Question No. 2, ‘How much do you love me?” (louder cheering). “Question No. 3: Why haven’t we seen any footage yet? Roll it!”

Which they then did, showing a healthy sizzle reel that saw Stark back in his shop, testing a suit that flies to him in chunks that assemble around him; a helicopter attack on his Malibu manse that sends it plunging into the Pacific; and the clearest confirmation yet that Ben Kingsley will play The Mandarin, Stark’s original archenemy.

The banter was lively and witty as ever, with “Iron Man 3” director Shane Black explaining how much fun it is to work with Downey because, well, “he IS Tony Stark.”

“So I’m an asshole,” Downey quipped.

“A rich asshole,” Don Cheadle corrected.

“The Winter Soldier” is set for release on April 4, 2014. “The Dark World” is set for Nov. 15, 2013

As for how much more Marvel can milk its hugely successful playboy weapons designer, well … that’ll come down to one thing.

“Don’s and I’s contracts are up after ‘Iron Man 3,'” Downey said. After that, we have to figure out what Brinks truck we wanna back up.”

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