For the past several months, Marvel Comics has been defeating their Distinguished Competition on the racks with their Secret Wars titles. Each series has been set in a separate reality based on a classic story line (such as Spider-Island, Marvel Zombies or Civil War) or a completely new one (such as 1872, Weird World or Ghost Riders).
Side-note: I have been thoroughly enjoying the Secret Wars minis and highly encourage readers to dip into them.
In the aftermath of this madcap story telling, the All-New All-Different Marvel Universe will emerge. This is not a reboot or a restart, just a reshuffle of ideas. The importance of retaining continuity while invigorating the comic book universe is a delicate dance that takes some refined skill and a dedicated bullpen of creators and EDITORS. The result is something new yet familiar.
To some, this All-New All-Different approach is heresy as it threatens the towering stack of back issues which have developed an intricate mythology over the course of decades. This is something that Marvel Comics has had to reconcile with attracting new readers and keeping things fresh without compromising the core concepts. The results are admittedly mixed (Thor and Captain America have gotten so revised that they are looking decidedly different to what one would expect), but in the end you have to ask if they are good stories. And if they are, buy it. If not, there are many more comics on the shelves to occupy you.
If you are headed to the comic shop this week you will see the first in Marvel’s new line. Here are some news bites to prepare and educate you on what’s what in the MU.
In the aftermath of Secret Wars, an all-new team of Avengers will assemble for an all-different ongoing series. Writer Mark Waid joins with artists Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar to head up what promises to be a very different roster of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes from any previous line-ups.
ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS features Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Vision, Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Spider-Man. We checked in with the team of creators to get the low-down on the upside of the new Avengers.
Marvel.com: You have a hugely diverse cast; what went into deciding on these particular heroes?
Mark Waid: Honestly, the big three—Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America—were a given regardless of who was currently holding onto those identities. Vision was our fourth pick because I have a new take on the character that I’ve been thinking about for almost a year in hopes I’d be able to do something with it. We knew from there that we needed some fresh blood on the team to balance the old guard. Ms. Marvel was my first choice—what a great character—and I’ve very much enjoyed writing Nova over the past couple of years here and there. The seventh slot was Tom Brevoort’s suggestion: Miles Morales [as Spider-Man], and was a good pick because we wanted someone who’d not only never been an Avenger but hadn’t even been seen with them.
Marvel.com: Well, Adam, how’s it feel to be on the brand-newest Avengers book?
Adam Kubert: I’m elated. Not only do I have a chance to work on a new Avengers title but I get to work with Mark Waid! I mean it doesn’t get any better.
Marvel.com: Do you ever look back to past Avengers artists for inspiration? If so, who and why?
Adam Kubert: Absolutely! The Avengers have a long list of artistic inspirations that I admire: [Jack] Kirby, [John] Buscema, George Perez, [Bryan] Hitch, [John] Romita, Stuart Immonen, John Cassaday—just to name a few. These guys are larger than life talents that I’ll continually look towards for inspiration.
Marvel.com: And finally, we swing it over to Mahmud; what’s it been like being named for this book and with this creative team?
Mahmud Asrar: Whenever the project I’m working on is coming to a close one way or the other, I start wondering and to some degree worrying, what the next thing I’m going to be working on will be. Fortunately I’ve been lucky in that regard, with a climbing trend. This one will be a little hard to top though. I’m working on the main Avengers book! With Mark Waid. Hard to beat that and it feels good. I’ve had the chance to work with Mark before but it was very brief so I’m excited that this is happening now.
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Invincible Iron Man
Marvel.com: It looks like this book is positioned as the flagship book of both All-New, All-Different Marvel and the Marvel Universe moving forward. What is it about the stories you’re telling that really makes this book define that and what will be going on in the Marvel U?
Brian Michael Bendis: To be truthful, I think the audience decides what the flagship books are. I’m very happy with our pre-orders that say the audience was kind of hoping for something like this out of Tony so we’re very happy about that. There’s a surprise at the end of the first issue which will immediately answer your question, a question that I am not going to answer in this interview, but we have a hook, one of quite a few, that will debut in the first issue, but it’s that last page that people are going to start chit-chatting on the Interwebs about and people will see why we’re so excited about the possibilities of Tony’s future.
This is a perfect example: the movies are worldwide sensations, the character has completely found its place in our culture. How quickly people forget what a gamble it was to have Iron Man starring in a movie. It was not a home run. It was not a slam dunk. It was a real shot by filmmakers that really felt they had something to say with the character and now here we are today and, as far as my kids know, there’s never been a time when Iron Man hasn’t been a gold standard, top of the line, Spider-Man level character. In publishing, even though the stories have been outstanding – I’ve screamed from the rooftops how amazing that [Matt] Fraction’s run was on the book – we haven’t really been able to grab what the mainstream, non-comics audience has found in Iron Man and find a unique way to put it in the book that isn’t just repeating what was in the movie. A whole different set of adventures and motivations behind him and really take the character much further than the movies are going to in a long-form format like comics. This is very exciting and for years, Tom [Breevort] has been offering me to write this book and I always had Iron Man in a book so I never felt that that scratch wasn’t being itched, ya know?
From literally 2004 on, I’ve been writing him every month in one form or another and some of my best moments at the company have featured him, like in CIVIL WAR: CONFESSION and things like that. As people pointed out on Tumblr, the minute that Marvel let me do whatever I wanted in ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP, I wrote Iron Man.
Marvel.com: This feels like, not a reboot in any way of Iron Man, but in some ways a reinvention or a new way of seeing the character in this place…
Brian Michael Bendis: For people who are worried – and that’s always the first instinct you get online is, “Are you throwing anything out? Are you making any of my comics worthless?” Even though I’ve never ever, ever, ever done that, I will reiterate again that I would never do that.
First of all, I am a huge fan of everything that’s come with the character in the last ten years, so even if I had that horrible interest just to get rid of things, I wouldn’t because I just think that what Kieron [Gillen] did and what Tom Taylor did and what Matt [Fraction] did is just so special. What I’ve done is taken a page right out of the Joss Whedon ASTONISHING X-MEN playbook and just dove into the character as if this was the first episode of a brand-new season for these characters. Nothing gets thrown out but everything gets stripped away that isn’t about him right now. And with that you get the opportunity to bring in new villain and some classic villains, new relationships and some classic relationships, surprising new relationships with characters he’s already known in the Marvel Universe. New armor, new technology, a new mindset for a futurist who has taken it on the chin a few times and is resetting himself as far as what his agenda is as a super hero. All these things are going to come at you in the next few months.
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The brand new series, written by Jason Aaron (Thor, Weirdworld) with art by Chris Bachalo (Uncanny X-Men, Incredible Hulk), will not only serve as a reinvention of the classic character but will also explore him in a deeper way than ever before. “This is a Doctor Strange who is going to get hurt real bad, real quick. And who is also going to make you feel things,” Marvel editor Nick Lowe explained to EW. “And not just think things, but feel things… hopefully a little bit of both.”
We spoke exclusively with Aaron and Lowe about what kinds of surprises readers can expect from this new run, the experience of putting this series together, and more.
EW: Let’s talk a little bit about what makes this Doctor Strange series different.
JASON AARON: We wanted a Doctor Strange who was always having to work for what he gets, and to show that when he shows up and uses his powers, it’s not like Captain America throwing his shield or Thor throwing his hammer. Strange has to worry about repercussions that those other heroes don’t have to worry about, because he’s a Sorcerer Supreme. We’re talking about the forces of magic. So whatever he does has repressions. Any of this stuff with magic, there’s always a cost to it. I think that’s kind of the only rule of magic we ever really talk about—everything he does, there’s a price to it. So he always has to kind of balance those skills and worry, “if I save the day here, what repercussions will that have for me, or elsewhere in the world? We liked him having to deal with that, and liked him being able to get his hands a little dirty, rather than just having him stand around, waving his hands and saving the day.
Dan Slott talked to MTV about the new status quo for Peter Parker as well as how Miles Morales factors into the wall-crawler’s equation.
“Peter Parker has stepped up. He’s grown. He’s become the Peter Parker we’ve always hoped he was going to be,” Slott said. “This company, with Peter’s inventions and Peter’s gumption has gone to new heights.”
The company Slott refers to is a rejuvenated Parker Industries, which Slott introduced earlier in his run on the Spider-Man titles. MTV describes the “All-New All Different” Peter Parker as a “globe-spanning entrepreneur and inventor” heading up the tech company as a “less angsty” version of Iron Man’s Stark Industries.
“He’s operating with Parker industries in not just New York, but also Shanghai and San Francisco and London,” said Slott. “He’s going to be a far more global Spider-Man, and with that is going to come all new global threats. Things that will really test Spider-Man like never before.”
In Parker’s new status quo, he’ll have a bodyguard that also borrows from Iron Man lore: Spider-Man. Just as Tony Stark distanced himself from being Iron Man, Peter Parker will have Spider-Man as a bodyguard as a public disguise. As part of it, Parker will have an upgraded tech-heavy costume designed by Alex Ross.
“The things this suit will be able to do and the innovations that Peter Parker has put into it will be astounding,” explained the writer. “and when you want to take something to the next level, you go, and make it look real, you go, ’hey Alex Ross, take your best shot.’”
In addition to a new suit, Parker has put his mind to creating a new Spider-Mobile that series editor Nick Lowe says will be driving the streets of Shanghai in the first issue.