Captain America and Nick Fury team up to take on a terrorist cartel!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Captain America and Nick Fury might not exactly see eye-to-eye on all things when it comes to keeping the good people of the world safe, but we all know they’d both do anything to ensure peace and prosperity. In the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE #78 from 1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought the world’s number one super spy into the Sentinel of Liberty’s book to finally figure the true identity of a group previously only referred to as “Them.”

Fury came in with a unique device he wanted Cap to look at, a miniature brain that could grow into a humanoid when added to the right combination of chemicals. He knew it had belonged to “Them,” but still hadn’t IDed the group. As the two heroes pondered the mystery, an aircraft dropped off a strange new visitor outside: a robot! The automaton changed from white to orange and then melted its way right through the walls of Avengers Mansion to confront our patriotic pals.

Fury emptied his clip with no effect, but Cap knew the house’s security system better, turning on the Frigi-Defense which would drop the temperature in the room to freezing with a quickness. When even that failed to slow their pursuer down, the valiant veterans decided to take on their foe face-to-face. It easily brushed Fury’s advances off, but failed to avoid the star-spangled hero’s mighty shield. The Avenger even got the attacker on its back, but a quick dose of chemicals knocked him out.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #78

Tales of Suspense (1959) #78

  • Published: June 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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The action then cut to a mysterious super-lab filled with people wearing yellow jump suits and masks. Though readers at the time didn’t know it just yet, they’d just been introduced to those nefarious scientists in Advanced Idea Mechanics, otherwise known as A.I.M.! At the time, they remained focused on using their genius-level intellects to build an army of artificial lifeforms to do their bidding.

Back at Avengers HQ, a revived Cap rejoined Fury in battle, realizing that, with its ability to mix elements, this new foe could potentially go nuclear. With the doomsday clock potentially ticking down, Nick jammed a secret pill down the robot’s mouth and Captain America landed one more powerful blow that finally felled the beast. Before their eyes, the artificial being withered into a husk of its former self. Fury then informed Steve Rogers that the Avengers had better stay out of the “Them” hunt for now and left having given the super-soldier a S.H.I.E.L.D. Priority A-1 badge!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Matthew Rosenberg sends Hawkeye and Winter Soldier on a personal mission!

This December, Matthew Rosenberg takes over a Marvel title that hasn’t seen shelf life since the late 1960s. That would be TALES OF SUSPENSE from the writer and artist Travel Foreman. The original run of the series featured work by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee introducing characters like Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and The Mandarin—so no pressure!

Taking place after the events of Secret Empire, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 showcases a team-up of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier with the duo interested in finding the person responsible for killing the late Black Widow’s enemies. Did we mention both men used to date the Widow?

Arriving on December 20 for the first time in nearly 50 years, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 promises a triumphant return for the genre-themed Marvel title. To get a better idea of this watershed moment, we hit up Matt who told us about taking over a piece of history, the friction we can expect between Bucky Barnes and Clint Barton, and the cathartic process of rebuilding the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: Right off the bat, TALES OF SUSPENSE is pretty attention grabbing. What was the process like of writing a story to match the title?

Matthew Rosenberg: Well, first of all I had to go back to my original story idea and add more suspense! But seriously, TALES OF SUSPENSE has a rich history at Marvel. It was the place where Black Widow and Hawkeye first appeared. It’s where Iron Man first appeared. M.O.D.O.K. and The Mandarin too. And it’s the title that would later become CAPTAIN AMERICA. But more than that, it speaks to a time when Marvel had genre themed books, which is awesome. I think that is the thing we are really trying to lean on here. TALES OF SUSPENSE is a love letter to these old, thrilling super hero stories that have these wild cliffhanger endings. It’s our pulp serial story full of spies and super heroes, intrigue, and excitement.

Marvel.com: The TALES OF SUSPENSE label was originally a showcase for the talents of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. It must feel pretty cool to be getting a shot at the same title.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, it’s surreal for sure. Stan Lee. Roy Thomas, Gene Colan. One of the things I love most about working at Marvel is the legacy of it all. The idea that these are characters and stories that existed before I was born and will continue long after I am done with them. Even on a book like SECRET WARRIORS, which has a relatively short pedigree, I am still carrying on the work of so many great creators. But, for a title like this, a book that hasn’t appeared on racks since 1968, it’s really a piece of history that I am adding to. To be honest, I try not to think about it too much or it gets kind of overwhelming.

Tale of Suspense #100 cover by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: The idea of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier teaming up to track Black Widow’s “ghost” is awesome. Can we expect some friction between the two? If so, is it a machismo thing among two ex-boyfriends or something more?

Matthew Rosenberg: Friction may be putting it lightly. They don’t like each other. In a lot of ways, Hawkeye and Bucky have very similar backgrounds—bad guys turned good, they both died and came back, they have both carried multiple mantles in their time as heroes, been on multiple teams. But in the end they approach things very differently. And that is what is at odds here: How they approach a mission, what they are willing to do, that is a big thing in the book. Hawkeye’s lighthearted approach that masks his determination and intensity. Bucky’s quiet ferocity that hides his self-doubt. All of that plays out in really fun ways. They are the Odd Couple of super hero team-ups. It’s dysfunctional. It doesn’t work well. But they keep going because they both want the same thing.

And then there is the element of Natasha. They both cared about her, obviously. But this isn’t some sort of romantic competition. Not really. This is two heroes trying to defend the honor and the memory of a teammate. And obviously who they are and how they felt about her gets tangled up in that in some ways, but mostly they just want to do right by Natasha and who she was.

Marvel.com: I don’t want everything to be spoiled too early, but how much can you give away on whether or not Natasha or really dead?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, she’s dead.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to be coming off the heels of Secret Empire? What kind of vestiges from that major event—other than Natasha’s apparent death—are we looking at here? 

Matthew Rosenberg: I think Secret Empire did an amazing job of setting up the coming status quo in the Marvel Universe. We have these characters that everyone knows, that everyone loves, and what Secret Empire did is just push them. It tested each and every one of them. Probed them, tested them, looked for weaknesses. It was this tremendously dark time, this real low point for the Marvel Universe. And now we get to rebuild it. That’s what I love about these characters. They get to the edge and then they come back. They get pushed farther than they have before, and then they come back. And that is what we are doing here. This is Bucky and Hawkeye trying to get closure, trying to come back. I think that’s really important for them, for readers, and for me too. I want to see how they come out of this, how Secret Empire hurt them, and who they will be on the other side. I hope that, after all they have been through, all the trials and tests, we find that they come back stronger than ever. That’s why we all look up to them, right? Well, now we’re going to see that up close. This is the story of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier healing, or trying to. And I really hope people are as excited about that idea as I am.

Matthew Rosenberg and Travel Foreman delve into TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 this December!

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Leonardo Romero provides Kate Bishop and Clint Barton with plenty of trouble!

Reunions can be fun times to catch up with longtime friends, but they can get more complicated when someone’s trying to kill the gathered parties.

That’s the situation Kate Bishop and Clint Barton find themselves in on December 6 with HAWKEYE #13 by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero. Kate intends to ask Clint to assist in finding out about her mom, but he’s got a problem of his own—namely a huge target on his back that sends them both on the run through Los Angeles.

We talked with Romero about bringing these two allies back together, updating Eden’s look for the modern era, and working with Thompson!

Marvel.com: How would you say Kate and Clint react to seeing each other when they first meet up?

Leonardo Romero: Like they’ve never been apart. Clint and Kate are great together and even though they were not around each other this whole time, it doesn’t feel that way.

Marvel.com: The two Hawkeyes obviously use similar weapons and fighting styles, but how do they handle themselves differently, both in quieter moments and in the more action-packed ones?

Leonardo Romero: In terms of personality, Kate is very sassy and full of attitude while Clint can be really laid back. I believe that their [different] personalities is one of the reasons why it is so great to see them together.

In action, I see them both as improvisers. Kate thinks more and scans the environment for alternatives and things that can help her out. Clint kind of figures things out on the way, not planning further than the next action.

Marvel.com: Speaking of action, it sounds like this story features a lot of it as both Hawkeyes wind up under the gun and on the run. What kind of challenges does that kind of tale offer?

Leonardo Romero: Planning the action scenes is always an extra challenge. Both Hawkeyes tend to deal with these situations using everything they can. So a lot of times it’s not only about planning the action itself but also the environment, so everything that they end up using is placed there correctly.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Eden and the process that went into designing her modern look?

Leonardo Romero: Eden already appeared [in GENERATIONS: HAWKEYE & HAWKEYE]—which [took] place in the past—as a younger version of herself. Creating her look for the present timeline in HAWKEYE was basically taking the original concept of the character—blue hair, lightning powers, and all of that—and trying to imagine how it would look nowadays in a modern approach. So I looked through a lot designs for Marvel’s [heroes] and villains and tried to come up with something my own.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Kelly on the series up to this point?

Leonardo Romero: It’s been amazing! Our collaboration is one of the best parts of the book. It’s always a pleasure to work with her.

Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero stage a family reunion beginning in HAWKEYE #13 on December 6!

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The Avengers undergo a metamorphosis courtesy of Jack and Stan Lee!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Right off the bat, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby made it a point to keep AVENGERS readers on their toes by first introducing Hulk as a member of the team and then having him leave one issue later. With the fourth installment, they brought in another hero by the name of Captain America after finding him floating in a huge ice cube in the ocean. However, with 1965’s AVENGERS #16 they pulled off one of the greatest team transitions in history as all of the remaining original Earth’s Mightiest Heroes took off and the Sentinel of Liberty carried on—with a bunch of people assumed to be criminals by the general public!

The story began like many others with Thor, Iron Man, Wasp and Giant Man facing off against the Masters of Evil in the streets, weighing their options on whether they should jump immediately into the fray or hang back to keep the onlookers safe. The Melter, Enchantress, Executioner, and Black Knight cared not for the safety of others and attacked the heroes. In the process, the two Asgardians decided to cut and run, leaving Melter and Black Knight to the Avengers’ mercy.

Meanwhile, Captain America and Rick Jones cleaned up the previous issue’s adventure that led to the apparent death of Baron Zemo. Back at Avengers Mansion, Iron Man, Wasp, and Giant Man sat down to discuss the concerns of the day. Janet Van Dyne came right out and suggested that they all step back from the team and take a break. That conversation got put on hold when they saw smoke rising in their headquarters. The crew soon found its source: Hawkeye! The masked archer quickly stated his desire not to fight with the Avengers, but instead alongside them! Clint Barton got the nod after shooting off the ropes that he himself had tied Jarvis up with.

Avengers (1963) #16

Avengers (1963) #16

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The remaining Avengers did their best to catch Hawkeye up to speed while also attempting to bolster their ranks. Namor passed on the opportunity, but the publicity garnered the attention of former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants members Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver who decided to make their way to America. After publicly announcing their newest member in the now-Avenging Archer, Earth’s Mightiest met with the Maximoffs while Captain America and Rick continued their long journey home and Thor remained in Asgard. By the time Cap finally got back to the mansion, he found himself looking at a room half-filled with strangers.

Understandably surprised by all of the changes, Steve Rogers decided to stick around and lead this new group that would soon become known as Cap’s Kooky Quartet! More importantly, these three would go on to become among the most beloved and important Avengers of all time and it all came from a huge shake-up that could have been as disastrous as it was successful.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Spidey faces Kraven's last hunt, the death of a friend, and his own wedding day!

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this year, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

After a breezy jaunt to England to stop the Roxxon Corporation from selling a super-weapon to the British government in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #22, our hero returned to the States to stop Slyde in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #23, mash the Mauler in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #122, and find himself framed for murder in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #123. Of course, that’s above and beyond vying with the Vulture in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #24, attacking aliens in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #25, and granting second chances to crooks in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #26.

Dr. Octopus returned in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #124, and Spider-Woman wrangled the Wrecking Crew in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #125 to remind the Wrecker of his dying mother’s last wish in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #126.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #284

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #284

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In the absence of the Kingpin, a gang war involving the Arranger, Silvermane, the Rose, Hammerhead, and the Hobgoblin broke in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #284, all while Spidey wrestled with the question of giving up his hero career forever. He confronted the Punisher over how to deal with the gangs in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #285, and failed to stop the Rose from killing a cop in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #286. Daredevil turned up the heat for the wallcrawler and the Rose stood revealed as the Kingpin’s son Richard in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #287, while in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #288 the Kingpin regained his throne as Spidey and a few friends fought to prevent just that.

The Headhunter tried to hang Spidey out to dry in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #27 while the webslinger prevented Liberty’s torch from being stolen in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #28. During an overseas trip, Spidey clashed with Wolverine, while his Daily Bugle colleague Ned Leeds was killed in SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE #1, and Ned was posthumously revealed as the Hobgoblin – with Jack O’ Lantern becoming the new Hobgoblin — in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #289. Peter meanwhile dealt with the aftermath of Ned’s death in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #29.

Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine (1987) #1

Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine (1987) #1

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Curt Connors let loose the Lizard in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #127, J. Jonah Jameson hired Silver Sable in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #128, and the long-simmering clash between our hero and the Foreigner went down in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #129.

Following a serious of seemingly never-ending threats, Peter Parker proposed to Mary Jane Watson in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #290, but for reasons of her own, she said “no” in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #291 and left for her hometown of Pittsburgh. Peter followed her there in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #292, and after an attack by the newest Spider-Slayer and a run-in with MJ’s crooked father she finally said “yes.” The happy couple exchanged vows in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #21, and honeymooned in the south of France in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #7.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #21

Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #21

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Alas, immediate wedded bliss eluded them when Peter dealt with the death of friend Ned Leeds in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #29, the Rose’s thorns grew even deadlier in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #30, and Spidey raced against the clock in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #130 to save Harry Osborn’s life. To make matters worse for Peter and Mary Jane, Kraven the Hunter hatched a plot to utterly destroy his elusive enemy in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #31, and defeated, buried alive, and replaced him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #293.

Web of Spider-Man (1985) #31

Web of Spider-Man (1985) #31

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The new, more savage Spider-Man sought out the sewer-dwelling Vermin in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #131, while the original dug himself out of his grave in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #32 to confront Kraven in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #294. After the Hunter took his life, Spidey clashed with Vermin to end the saga in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #132.

To hide his mob connections, a man sent his wife to an asylum in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #33, so Peter posed an inmate to investigate in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #295 and led a revolt from the so-called “mad dog” ward in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #133.

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Yildiray Cinar puts Sabretooth and company up against a super-soldier!

Yildiray Cinar will join one of the most dangerous crews in comics this fall—that’s right, he’s the new artist on WEAPON X with issue #12 on December 13! In addition to working with killer writer Greg Pak, who launched the book last year, the artist will also try his hand at bringing together the likes of Sabretooth and unbalanced super-soldier Nuke.

What kind of opponent could offer a big enough threat to two of the toughest fighters in the Marvel Universe? How about an anti-mutant militia upgraded to have the same powers as Nuke himself? Yeah, that seems like a big enough challenge!

We talked with Cinar about putting Sabretooth front and center, updating Nuke, and working with Pak!

Marvel.com: How has it been jumping on this book with Greg Pak so far?

Yildiray Cinar: It was pretty fast. After my two issue run on CABLE, [editor] Darren [Shan] asked me if I’d like to join WEAPON X and I jumped on it. I [have] had a chance to collaborate with Greg before. It is fantastic to be working with him again. This story is pretty fun and crazy!

Marvel.com: For you as an artist, what sets Weapon X apart as a group when it comes to them interacting both on and off the battlefield?

Yildiray Cinar: The characters make it by themselves. Weapon X is a very fun group of mutants. The best [feral mutants] of the X-Universe. But, in the end, they’re all different from each other, which makes this easier for me.

Marvel.com: This first arc finds Sabretooth and company going up against a group of Nuke-powered, anti-mutant militiamen. How did you work to make them all look like members of the same unit?

Yildiray Cinar: Well, they all use red pills and [have] flags on their faces. All crazy-eyed soldiers! That was easy!

Marvel.com: You also get to work with the original Nuke in this story. How was it putting your spin on that classic character?

Yildiray Cinar: I am a huge fan of [Frank] Miller and [David] Mazucchelli’s DAREDEVIL [arc] “Born Again,” so when I saw that original Nuke was in the story, I got really excited and happy. For this story, I am trying to portray a crazier version of Nuke.

Greg Pak and Yildiray Cinar cut loose with WEAPON X #12, coming December 13!

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Look back on the history of Venom ahead of the new crossover event!

On December 6, Spider-Man, Eddie Brock, and Flash Thompson reunite with the one foe (or friend?) they all share in common: the Venom symbiote!

In VENOM INC. ALPHA #1, writers Dan Slott and Mike Costa join artist Ryan Stegman for a tale of multiple Venoms! The crossover event kicks off here before clinging onto AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and VENOM!

But before the symbiote dance party starts, take a retrospective look at some other stories starring the mighty ectoparasites and the hosts they bonded with.

Brand New Threads

The first—and perhaps most famous—symbiote debuted in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252, when Spider-Man came back from the first Secret Wars sporting a new black costume. And readers soon learned that the suit represented Parker’s bond with an alien creature. Their relationship turned sour as it changed Spidey’s personality and became a bit clingy, so with the help of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man managed to ditch the suit…though not for long.

Birth of Venom

Rejected by Parker, the symbiote went on to find a new host—Eddie Brock. The former journalist, who begrudged Spider-Man for debunking a story he once wrote, became corrupted by the alien being. The ill-will he felt for the Wall-Crawler combined with his newfound superhuman abilities, giving Spider-Man a major new villain—with an immunity to his spider-sense!

Carnage!

While Venom proved to be a thorn in Spidey’s side, Brock maintained some semblance of morality, unlike the second major symbiotic player: Carnage. When the symbiote asexually reproduced in Brock’s jail cell, its “child” bonded with his cellmate, Cletus Kasady, creating the remorseless villain. Unlike Brock, Carnage had zero interest in being a hero, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake and wreaking havoc on both Spider-Man and Venom.

The Life Foundation

The Life Foundation, a group that believed the Cold War would end in total mutual destruction, created a fallout shelter for the wealthy to live on in the event of nuclear war. Policing the shelter were five Venom clones: Agony, Lasher, Riot, Phage, and Scream. Venom and Spider-Man teamed-up to stop them as Brock became a “Lethal Protector” of the homeless population of San Francisco. Eventually, Scream killed the other four, whose remnants joined with a vault guard named Scott Washington to create a new symbiote hero called Hybrid.

Maximum Carnage

Venom and Spider-Man joined forces again as Kasady returned to unleash Carnage on New York City. This 14-part series featured a slew of heroes and villains, including Black Cat, Captain America, Morbius, Cloak and Dagger, Iron Fist, Firestar, Doppelganger, Carrion, and the debuting Shriek!

Agent Venom

While Brock and the symbiote’s on again, off again relationship led to further villainy and anti-hero shenanigans—and the creation of characters like She-Venom, Toxin, and Anti-Venom—a new host with a longtime connection to Peter Parker took the entity to new heights. Project Rebirth connected Flash Thompson with the symbiote after the former high school bully lost his legs while serving in Iraq. Flash went on to battle the likes of the U-Foes, Kraven, and Jack O’Lantern, and even joined the Secret Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Venom: Space Knight

During his tenure with the Guardians, Flash went into a coma, causing the symbiote to return to its home planet. Three decades after the debut of the black costume, readers finally learned of the true origin and purpose of the symbiotes—an alien race called the Klyntar sought to bond with worthy, noble warriors. Unworthy hosts, like almost everyone they ever found on Earth, have the ability to corrupt them. With this newfound knowledge, Thompson and his Klyntar partner evolved into VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT!

The Price isn’t Right

After returning to Earth, Flash and his symbiote got separated, leading the alien to bond with a new host, a member of the Scorpion’s gang, Lee Price. The new Venom continued his villainous ways when he bonded with the creature, eventually running afoul of Eddie Brock and Spider-Man, who managed to separate the two. Price got sent to jail, but quietly vowed revenge.

Bond with VENOM INC. ALPHA #1, by Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman, on December 6!

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Saladin Ahmed comments on the Inhuman monarch’s return to the throne!

The Midnight King has long ruled the Inhumans; on December 6, in the pages of BLACK BOLT #8, however, he returns to Earth, no longer a monarch in position or in self-perception. For the Inhumans left behind, he might even be viewed as a kind of absentee ruler, a man who abandoned them at a time of their greatest need.

Writer Saladin Ahmed took a break from packing up a crown and scepter to discuss the stages of Black Bolt’s rule, writing a once again voiceless protagonist, and Christian Ward’s amazing art.

Marvel.com: With Black Bolt once again voiceless, I am wondering how you and artist Christian Ward have been adapting to losing this one avenue of communication? Have you two discussed it and made a singular plan? How has it been to deal with a wordless character again?

Saladin Ahmed: We haven’t talked about it a lot so we don’t have any particular strategy for us to approach it collaboratively.

For me, from a writerly point of view, there have been a couple of points in the book where Black Bolt has had his voice and those points where he could actually speak I tend to recede the captions. Now that we are back to voiceless Black Bolt—not only one who’s restricting his speaking but physically has lost his super powered voice; something happened in that confrontation with the Jailer which we don’t quite know yet but we will be finding out more about—he really doesn’t have a voice. I’ve been leaning back on the third person captions that are sort of inside his head trying to capture the voice that I think he thinks to himself with.

Also, he’s been accompanied by Blinky. She’s—especially when he first gets back to Earth—is going to be stepping in to kind of explain to others what they’ve been through. She acts, to a degree, as his voice. In a way, similar to what Medusa did, but in a very different way; this is someone who is more like an adopted kid than a consort and she has actually psychic powers. One of the things she’s discovering is how to cultivate empathy and establish a bridge between two people and she’ll certainly be doing that in service of Black Bolt, the character, but BLACK BOLT the book as well. She’s kind of a cheat and I’m well aware of that, but you always have to find these work arounds.

Marvel.com: Obviously Christian, in handling the look of an alien prison world had some fantastic visuals to deal in and we have spoken previously about how incredible the colors have been as well. Returning to Earth, even the Earth of the Marvel Universe, would seem to be a shift towards a more mundane setting. In terms of that, how have you two discussed portraying Earth in a way that feels real but plays to his strengths and how has Christian been meeting this new challenge.

Saladin Ahmed: I’ve just been really impressed with how he has handled this transition. Again, there was no particular strategizing between us. We talk a bit, I hand him the scripts, we do talk about how the tone is shifting and therefore his color palette is shifting, but it’s not mundane. It’s astonishing.

He brings all this attention to detail and sense of panel composition, this just absolutely blazing color to the Bronx, to New Attilan on Earth, and to some familiar characters that Black Bolt will be crossing paths with as well.

I think people are only going to more impressed with the range of Christian’s art. He does [the] space thing and the psychedelic thing and the bizarre thing so well that there’s a threat of him being typecast as an artist. What people are really going to see in this second arc is that he can do a grounded Earthly super hero book just beautifully. Some of the facial expressions on the characters in this book I’m just thrilled by.

Marvel.com: What is your feeling, your interpretation, your perception of Black Bolt as King at baseline. That is, his role as status quo king during most of his existence up until the past few years of aggression and his recent absence?

Saladin Ahmed: I think he was pretty confident. I don’t think he did a lot of questioning of himself. He was an inheritor of traditions.

Of course, we aren’t just talking about a character but also how a character has been written. And a lot of writers recently like [Christopher] Priest and his [current limited series INHUMANS: THE ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS], have taken on what Black Bolt might have been thinking then because we never really got that back in the day from [Stan] Lee and [Jack] Kirby. But I think even with that kind of revisionist take on his early history, I don’t think he had any doubt he was supposed to be a monarch. I don’t think he was used to questioning himself or the kind of traditions he came from.

I think recent years have shaken that up for him though.

Marvel.com: In terms of how the Inhumans perceived him during that early period of rule, how did they feel about him, how did they experience him?

Saladin Ahmed: Pretty idyllic. He presided over a long period—now this isn’t bringing up things like the Alpha Primitives—but [for] most of Inhumans society he presided over a long period of peace and being hidden from the outside world. So I think generally his people had a sort of old school respect and awe and love but not a fuzzy soft kind of love. A kind of feudal love for him.

It is hard to know, though, is that just what Black Bolt thought people felt or if that’s what people thought. I think with any [king] that’s beloved, if you dig a little bit there are a lot of people that are not happy with him.

Black Bolt #8 cover by Christian Ward

Marvel.com: Recently, Black Bolt took a turn towards being a much more aggressive ruler with spreading the Terrigen Mist and taking on mutantkind and attacking Atlantis, and so on. How did his attitude towards himself change, in your opinion, and how did the people’s?

Saladin Ahmed: I think rather than see himself as the king of a secluded people, he began to want to carve out a place for his people in the larger world and was aggressively pre-empting how, for instance, humanity has dealt with mutants in history. I think Black Bolt was planning to put his people in a position of strength. Probably relentlessly, without much of an eye towards the consequences of that to others or his own people; [he] pursued that agenda for the past couple years.

I think that kind of—I don’t want to say imperial—but that aggressive expansionism of Inhumanity is a lot of what he is wrangling with now; how that backfired on him and his people.

Marvel.com: He certainly experienced many doubts in the prison and possible growth and change about what his role should be, but his people were unaware of that; they only perceived him as disappearing. How do those who didn’t go to space and were in the dark about Black Bolt’s imprisonment feel about what seemed like his unexplained, unreported absence?

Saladin Ahmed: This is a lot of what we are going to be contending with in the second arc, but they felt abandoned, basically. People don’t know what situation he was in, but to their mind they had this incredibly powerful ceremonial leader—even if he was not their actual acting king and a kind of progenitor—for the new Inhumans, Black Bolt brought many of them into being by releasing the Mist. Then HYDRA came after them and the Royal Family—including Black Bolt—was nowhere to be found.

There’s a lot of resentment towards that and Black Bolt is going to come face-to-face with that very soon. Like the moment he lands on Earth.

Marvel.com: What does he hope for himself in returning to the throne? Does he have a plan or a fantasy of being a new kind of king than he’s been before?

Saladin Ahmed: I think what Black Bolt—he went through a lot. In super hero comics, we often see heroes go through astonishing traumatic things and then bounce back. That’s not what’s going to happen for Black Bolt.

So rather than returning as the kind of scheming key player in events, he’s going to be coming home licking his wounds and trying to tie up loose ends of a very personal nature.

I don’t necessarily know that he is thinking of himself as a king upon his return. So considering what kind of king he will be is kind of beyond his thoughts.

Marvel.com: Emotionally speaking, when he finds out what happened when he was gone, can you give us an idea what his reaction is and what we’ll get to see of that reaction?

Saladin Ahmed: He comes back and find out and is consumed both by guilt and a sense of impotence.

What could he have done? It’s not like he chose to leave his people behind. But rather than become defensive, he’s pretty miserable.

The question for BLACK BOLT is when you are damaged and have really pressing immediate responsibilities—he has a kid in tow—how do you do your part to help fix the world?

I think that’s the question a lot of us who want to make things better have to ask ourselves.

Marvel.com: As you enter this second stage of BLACK BOLT, what has you excited, what has you anxious, what is challenging?

Saladin Ahmed: Oh, it is intensely challenging because, for one, the timeline is just tighter. You can do a lot of building for the first arc of the book because it hasn’t come out, you can do a lot more prep. Once the train is moving, you are working at a different pace. That’s been quite intense. There’s a little bit of anxiety around that.

What has been delightful has been just to bring this character back to the mainstream Marvel world. This is still going to be a book that will be off in its own corner to a degree but the first arc was very much, intentionally, isolated and self-contained. While this won’t tie heavily into Marvel continuity, with a big “C,” it has been really fun to bring this character back to Earth to interact with people from the [Inhumans’] world, from the larger Marvel Universe. Just getting to mess with that in the same way I got to mess with him individually in the first arc.

See what Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward have planned for The Midnight King in BLACK BOLT #8, headed your way December 6!

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Miller and Andrea Mutti show what happens with the Dark Lords of the Sith rule an entire planet!

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids. 

When you hear about a world with a strong, very old Sith population that essentially took over upon arrival, you might think the place filled with blood and red face paint, but that’s not the case in John Jackson Miller and Andrea Mutti’s STAR WARS: LOST TRIBE OF THE SITH: SPIRAL. Instead you get a multi-faceted tale of legend meeting reality and embracing the potential for great good or evil!

This Legacy story took place during the time of the Old Republic, placing it 25,000 to 1,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. The planet Kesh played the setting of this story. Over two thousand years prior to the beginning of SPIRAL, the Sith ship Omen crashed on the planet, leaving Sith Lord Naga Sadow’s minions to create a new society for themselves, taking advantage of the fact that the Keshiri worshiped them. 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #1

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #1

  • Published: August 08, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Back in the present of the story, the Keshiri celebrated the coming of the Sith. Well, not everyone. A rebel calling himself Death Spinner ran afoul of Officer Takara who had him arrested and sent to Grand Master Hilts.

We soon learned that, even though his family came to Kesh with the other Sith, they’d been cast out by the others and made to live with the locals who were themselves treated as slaves. Hilts wound up sending Spinner off on a ship to Alanciar. Takara – Hilts’ daughter – stowed away in a failed attempt at blazing her own trail that resulted in them both attempting a mutiny in a frigid wasteland! 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #2

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #2

  • Published: September 12, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Those plans eventually lead them to meet another group from the stars known as The Doomed. This group derived from an earlier confrontation between Light and Dark Jedi who nearly destroyed Kesh, while also establishing the myths that the later Sith used to get the Keshiri to do their bidding.

The Doomed’s leader Kaliska explained all this to Spinner and Takara, but also mentioned an ancient Dark Jedi weapon that had been buried thousands of years before. As Takara agreed to learn from Kaliska and her people, Spinner made off with the secret weapon! When the weapon turned out to be Lord Dreypa, though, everyone involved knew that trouble would befall the entire planet, if not the galaxy.  

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #3

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #3

  • Published: October 10, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Spinner allied himself with Dreypa as a way to exact revenge against the very same power structure that cast his family out while Takara now feared for the establishment. The threat level jumped up several notches, though, when the well-slept Sith Lord remembered his original mission from 4000 years prior: to awaken Dark Side-Spawn Leviathans. 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #4

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #4

  • Published: November 14, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

With the giants poised to run amok, destroying everything in their path and absorbing Force energy along the way, all of the groups joined forces to face the immediate and deadly threat. As his powers returned, he gained even more knowledge from those opposing him, including the secret fact that the Doomed hid a working Jedi starfighter under what became Takara’s home! 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #5

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #5

  • Published: December 12, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Instead of going herself to destroy the ship, though, Takara sent Spinner to handle the task, while also return her injured mother to her home. She remained on the battlefield to hold of Dreypa and his growing number of minions. Instead of blowing the vehicle up, though, Spinner used it to take out several of the Leviathans and then also trick Dreypa into exploding himself on a mountain!

From the Jedi Temple Archives

In this story that’s already set pretty far back in the past, we also got to see even older lightsabers from 4,000 years before the events of SPIRAL. One major difference you might have noticed in the hardware – one that even Dreypa pointed out – is that the older versions used to have power packs worn on the wielder’s belt running directly to the weapon itself. As you can imagine, this made actually using the sword-like implement far more difficult, but laid the ground work for the elegant weapon first seen in “A New Hope!”

Next week we return to the classic Marvel STAR WARS series with issue #50!

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Writer Robbie Thompson teases the arrival of The Chameleon!

On December 27, The Chameleon steps into the spotlight.

His chalky skin, his hollow eyes, his arrogant disposition…all of it will be familiar to Spidey fans. And he plans to take out the Wall-Crawler and the Merc with the Mouth with one big, brilliant plan in writer Robbie Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo’s SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #25!

We caught up with Robbie to get a peek inside the upcoming issue.

Marvel.com: Chameleon has been portrayed in a variety of ways over the years. What do you see as the key to Chameleon? How would you describe your “version” of Chameleon in this storyline?

Robbie Thompson: The Chameleon keeps you guessing. He constantly changes his appearance to get what he wants, but I think that deep down, he’s hiding from himself. He’s running from something and he’ll never escape it. That desire may be hidden, but it runs deep and in our story, and it’ll push him to try to pull off one of his biggest heists ever.

Chameleon sees what Deadpool sees in the absence of S.H.I.E.L.D.—an opportunity to steal weapons and sell them. But we learn pretty early on that this has been a disguise as well. He’s hunting for a much bigger payoff.

Marvel.com: What made Chameleon the perfect choice for this storyline? Creatively, how does having him in the story spark you as a writer?

Robbie Thompson: It’s made me paranoid! Chameleon could be anyone! He could be me! And all credit to editors Nick Lowe and Jordan D. White for suggesting Chameleon for our story. When we started talking about where Spider-Man and Deadpool would be at the beginning of the story, coming from their flagship books, we really wanted to have them go up against a familiar foe, as well as someone who could shine a light on our heroes and also mess with expectations.

He’s a classic, original Spider-Man villain and it feels great to play with that history. Chameleon was the perfect choice and really fueled our early conversations about how to shape the story we’re telling in the present, as well as the story we’ll be telling in the future, which starts with issue #26. That story features Old Man Parker and Old Man Wilson in a retirement home decades from now and it’s been ridiculous fun to work on with artist Scott Hepburn.

Marvel.com: How would you describe Chris Bachalo’s depiction of the super villain?

Robbie Thompson: Chris is a master storyteller and his work on this book has been incredible. I can’t say enough good things about his work. I’m an enormous fan of his and have been for years, and I feel really fortunate to be collaborating with him on this story.

With Chameleon, we have the opportunity to bring in a lot of different characters and looks—anyone could be Chameleon under that mask! Don’t trust us! Don’t trust me! Chris’s first reveal of Chameleon looks so fantastic and I can’t wait for folks to see what he does with the character moving forward.

Marvel.com: What about the combination of Deadpool and Spider-Man makes The Chameleon want to go for broke this way?

Robbie Thompson: Chameleon, a master manipulator, he sees a golden opportunity in the current landscape of the Marvel Universe—one that can really play to his strengths and one that has the potential to increase his strengths and powers tenfold. And also make him a ton of cash.

He’s messing with Deadpool for a very specific reason, which will be clear in issue #25, but because he studies human behavior, he’s going to detect conflict between Spider-Man and Deadpool and use it to his advantage as the story moves on. The more Spider-Man and Deadpool get at each other’s throats, the more it plays right into Chameleon’s plans.

Marvel.com: How does the Wall-Crawler view this new version of his old enemy?

Robbie Thompson: At first, it’s going to seem like Chameleon gets up to his old, thieving ways. Spider-Man feels like he knows this guy and his usual M.O. and that it should be easy.

It’s pretty clear from jump, though, that this is an amped up Chameleon. And as Spider-Man pieces together that Chameleon wants one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s darker secrets, he’ll have to up his game and put his feud with Deadpool aside to stop Chameleon before he goes too far.

Marvel.com: Last but not least, give the readers the elevator pitch on why #25 will be a can’t-miss installment.

Robbie Thompson: SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #25 is Part Three of “Arms Race!” Set in fabulous Tabula Rasa! Spider-Man vs. Deadpool vs. Chameleon! One of Deadpool’s crew loses their minds! Comedic dismemberment! And the next phase of Chameleon’s plan!

SPIDER-MAN VS. DEADPOOL #25, by Robbie Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo, drops on December 27!

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