The Unity Squad attempts to halt a rampaging Juggernaut!

The foundation underneath the Unity Squad has cracks—literally and figuratively—November 8 with the arrival of UNCANNY AVENGERS #29 in stores. The figurative comes from the continuing fallout of Secret Empire. The unstoppable Juggernaut stands responsible for the literal.

Writer Jim Zub glanced away from his seismograph to answer our questions about the chances that the Unity Squad manages to stay unified against this formidable foe.

Marvel.com: We are promised—or warned—that the Unity Team is falling apart in UNCANNY AVENGERS #29. What is happening internally that the team is losing cohesion? Externally, what are some of the pressures accelerating the separation?

Jim Zub: Ever since Captain America—the evil one who steered the world into the arms of Hydra—disbanded the Unity Squad, they’ve struggled to stay together. That lack of formal structure strengthened the emotional bonds between them and kept them moving forward when they were looking to stop The Red Skull, or Ultron, or the Hand, but now they don’t have that singular goal and they’re looking for a direction. That coupled with tension between team members is eating away at the “unity” in our “Unity Squad.”

Marvel.com: One factor we know for sure plays in is The Juggernaut. What’s going on that puts him on the team’s doorstep with a commitment to destroy them? What is motivating Cain Marko to target them?

Jim Zub: Juggernaut has recently been battered around by the X-Men Blue team and Iceman and is now lashing out, itching to get revenge on everyone and everything. The Unity Squad inadvertently gets in his way and the results are destructive and brutal.

Marvel.com: As a writer, what attracted you to Juggernaut as a villain for this moment? What makes him the uniquely right choice to threaten the team right now?

Jim Zub: I’m writing Juggernaut a bit more like a force of nature than just a villain. He’s bulldozing through everything in his path and even with the heavy-hitters we have on the Unity Squad, they’re hard pressed to handle him, especially in their currently disorganized state. His rampage forces them to pull together once again, but it also brings some other tensions to the surface as a few members of the team don’t follow orders and something terrible happens because of it.

Uncanny Avengers #29 cover by RB Silva

Marvel.com: What do you think of artist Sean Izaakse’s rendition of Juggy? Overall, how is your collaboration with him helping you to establish the tone you need for this book right now?

Jim Zub: Sean’s a superstar in the making. He started off already incredibly skilled, but every issue we work on together I can see his skills growing even stronger. He draws action and emotion well—quiet scenes and epic ones. I can throw him ridiculous blowout fights and subtle emotional beats and he handles them both with the same care and attention. I couldn’t ask for a better creative collaborator.

Marvel.com: What kind of consequences would it carry for the rest of the Marvel Universe if the experiment that is the Unity Squad were to be ripped asunder? Where might that echo and how?

Jim Zub: The Unity Squad represents the Avengers, mutantkind, the Inhumans, the Fantastic Four, and Marvel’s mystic side as well. The team acts as connective tissue to the larger Marvel Universe and that’s why I think it’s so interesting and important. Without them, the different groups tend to drift back to their own closed off communities. “Unity” is their name and their mission.

Marvel.com: Without too much by way of spoilers, what makes this issue important to the book going forward? Are we on the precipice of a turning point here?

Jim Zub: The team is going to lose someone important in this issue and longtime loyalties will be tested. It’s an important chapter as we build toward [the weekly series] AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER arriving in January.

See if the Unity Squad can stop The Juggernaut on November 8 in UNCANNY AVENGERS #29 by Jim Zub and Sean Izaakse!

Read More

Writer Ethan Sacks sends Clint Barton back to the Wastelands!

Mark Millar and Steve McNiven‘s modern day classic “Old Man Logan” storyline in the pages of WOLVERINE introduced readers to a post-apocalyptic wasteland future for the Marvel Universe, where longtime Avenger Clint Barton appeared as a bland shell of his former self in a world where everything’s gone wrong.

On January 10, writer Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto take us back to that same dark tomorrow in OLD MAN HAWKEYE #1, the first issue of a 12-part limited series! This time, however, we turn the clocks back to five years before “Old Man Logan,” so we can see how Barton lost his sight and regressed to the man he’s destined to become.

We spoke with Sacks about aging Hawkeye and crafting this harrowing vision of the future.

Marvel.com: Ethan, as someone with a background in journalism, how did you come to write this book?

Ethan Sacks: My not-so-secret origin story involves a kindly wizard! Well, that’s not far off, because it was the amazing [Marvel Chief Creative Officer] Joe Quesada, who’s been a friend for going on two decades. I had an idea for a Star Wars standalone script that was sort of clawing at the back of my head, so in the spur of the moment I asked him to look at it. While that issue didn’t ultimately get published, the behind-the-scenes reaction to it ended up being positive enough that then-Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso began talking to me about potential series and stories that I could do for Marvel. Now, here I am.

I can’t ever repay those two, plus editors Nick Lowe, Charles Beacham, and Mark Basso, for believing in me and giving me a chance to fulfill a childhood dream. And then coaching me up. Marvel has always encouraged finding new writers and artists, nurturing them and giving them a chance on their books. I’m just the latest in a long succession.

I may be a comic book writing rookie, but 20 years in journalism has helped me enormously. Reading thousands of comic scripts covering the “geek beat,” as my editor called it, I could reverse engineer what worked best. Also, reporting has given me a paranoia about missing deadlines, an ear for dialogue and some sense of story-telling, I think. Then again, my editors at the “New York Daily News” may tell you otherwise.

Most importantly, I knew “Old Man Logan,” inside and out. My trade paperback copy is well worn. So I had the confidence that if I could navigate that world.

Marvel.com: OLD MAN HAWKEYE takes place five years before the events of “Old Man Logan.” What inspired you to explore this time period? Can you tell us about the Clint Barton we’ll see when the story begins?

Ethan Sacks: When I was asked to pitch for OLD MAN HAWKEYE, it clearly had to be a prequel…or a zombie thriller, I suppose. But let’s go with prequel. So, by the time the original Mark Millar and Steve McNiven story opens, Clint is already blind and has adjusted to be a competent fighter. Moreover, he has purpose and he has a plan. But how did he get there? And why did it take him 50 years to get off his butt to attempt some avenging? From there it seemed like a good premise for a starting point would be when that onset of glaucoma would force him to try to finish some unfinished business…while he still could see well enough to shoot some arrows into the right targets. This is a revenge tale. From the beginning, I had an idea of what Hawkeye went through on that day that the super villains united to kill all the heroes. Imagine how much survivor’s guilt he carries around having been left alive. His desire for revenge is justified.

Marvel.com: How does this version of Clint differ from the one we see in “Old Man Logan”? And how far removed is he from the lovable Clint of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s HAWKEYE era?

Ethan Sacks: He’s a lot like the Clint of both those eras: Impulsive, a little scattered, immature, a danger to those closest to him. He still has that big old heart and, most of all, that frenetic sense of humor. That’s definitely a tip of the bow to Fraction’s run. In this story, he may be the same old Barton—but he’s that same old Barton under a layer of 45 years of emotional pain. There will be some Easter eggs and nods to that run in the story, too.

Marvel.com: Can you tease which other characters might show up?

Ethan Sacks: Alas, I’m keeping this close to the vest because I want to surprise people. The promo art clearly shows that Venom and Jamie Madrox will be in the story, though very different versions than the ones fans are used to seeing.

One of the joys of this series has also been giving a little more time to some of the “Old Man Logan” secondary characters—particularly Clint’s estranged daughter, Ashley, as well as Dwight and his Ant-Man helmet.

Marvel.com: What challenged you the most when writing this series?

Ethan Sacks: This is a violent story, and Hawkeye won’t be living by the good-guy code of the mainstream Marvel Universe. He’s going to shoot people with pointy arrows that go into the soft bits. No stun gun arrows. Okay, maybe one. But he’s also not Wolverine, who is ready to kill people for ripping off those tags on a mattress. It’s a tough balancing act to make Clint a vigilante while keeping him to some kind of good-guy code. So, when are we going too far? When are we breaking a beloved character, instead of just bending him in a new direction? The last thing I’d ever want to do is damage a super hero created by the great Stan Lee and Don Heck.

Marvel.com: Last question: What’s the wildest thing you’ve asked Marco Checchetto to draw so far?

Ethan Sacks: There is a scene in the beginning of issue #2 that might have been too grisly for “Silence of the Lambs,” and you’ll know it when you see it, that brings new meaning to the phrase, “splash page.” Because a lot of blood gets splashed. But it’s an important moment and not just for shock value. I don’t want to give away the context because it lands like a gut punch when you’re not expecting it. And then there’s the flashback scene…

I hope Marvel will eventually release all the character sketches that Marco has been doing. There are a lot of villains—familiar to comic readers, but previously unseen in the “Old Man Logan” universe—that required a Wastelands makeover. Which means he dips them in blood and sweat and dirt and marinated hatred. They look so damn cool and cruel in a way that would send Mad Max scurrying for cover. And I get these mind-blowing sketches in my email inbox virtually every day. I never stop geeking out.

You all better learn how to spell Marco Checchetto’s name, because the guy is going to go down as one of the best artists in comic book history.

The journey begins with OLD MAN HAWKEYE #1, by Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto, on January 10!

Read More

The King and company unleash a bevy of monsters on The Human Torch!

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.

Back in 1963, Johnny Storm felt like he just couldn’t catch a break. In STRANGE TALES #109 by Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein, and of course, Jack Kirby, the young man found himself with a day off from school and nothing to do! Even his pals in the Fantastic Four wouldn’t let him in on their upcoming mission because they scheduled it for the next day when he’d be back in class!

Looking for some action, he flew off. In quick succession, he stopped a building from burning down and saved a train from a flooded section of tracks. So, Johnny felt pretty good when he came across a weird sorcerer chasing kids off his property with a pack of leashed dogs. Torch used his powers to encircle the beasts in flame leashes to save the kids. The mage demanded privacy and for the local kids to stay off of his property, which our hot-headed hero took issue with. Storm continued making the situation worse before finally flying the kids away. Though that encounter might have come to an end, it would not be the last the youngster heard of the local mystic.

Back inside the sorcerer’s mansion, he recounted the origins of Pandora’s Box. In Ancient Greece, a woman named Pandora opened a forbidden box and unleashed evil upon the world. He continued by explaining that Circe came down to return those evils to the box which he now possessed. The spell caster only needed to find the magic words to unleash the power within. Two weeks later, he appeared at the Glenville National Bank and demanded all of the money. As the guards moved to expel him, the magician unleashed the monster of Hatred on them, causing everyone there to turn against one another. While the crowd, the criminal waltzed right in and snatched all the money he could carry. Upon leaving he regained Hatred and then released Forgetfulness to cover his tracks.

Strange Tales (1951) #109

Strange Tales (1951) #109

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The sorcerer continued his spree utilizing the likes of Sleepiness, Paralysis, and Cold to steal jewels, paintings and fur coats! Eventually, the Torch realized that all of these supernaturally tinged crimes shared his recent acquaintance and zoomed to the mansion where he found the villain examining his ill-gotten gains. In the ensuing battled, Human Torch fended off Disease with an intense heat blast, but got doused by Flood leaving him momentarily powerless. Storm thought the arrival of police officers would help the situation, but the sorcerer released both Foolishness and Laziness to hinder their efforts.

Johnny then had to rely on his wit to save his skin. He tricked his opponent into allowing him to choose Fire as his means of death. However, he’d dried off to the point where he could flame back on and absorbed the imp before snatching the box out of the bad guy’s hands. Not only did this issue give the teenage Human Torch something to do with his non-school hours, but also “The King” an excuse to draw a whole bunch of out-there monsters!

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.

Read More

Howard and Justice Wong bring a Disney Park attraction to life!

Hong Kong Disneyland’s The Iron Man Experience, the very first Marvel attraction ever at a Disney Park, just got bigger. IRON MAN: HONG KONG HEROES #1 brings all the thrills and chills of the ride itself to the comics world with a brand-new story inspired by the Experience from writer Howard Wong and artist Justice Wong.

The book’s jam-packed with multiple Avengers, two big super villains, tons of action, and an incredible locale in Hong Kong—and the creative team couldn’t be happier to present it all to you!

Marvel.com: How did you two come into this project? What were your first thoughts when it came up?

Howard Wong: Marvel [Editor-in-Chief] C.B. Cebulski asked both Justice and me if we wanted to do an Iron Man comic taking place in Hong Kong. I was thrilled not only to be asked to write a Marvel comic, but Iron Man? In Hong Kong? ‘Nuff said! I was already on the phone talking with Justice about this amazing opportunity.

Justice Wong: I still remember that it was right before the Chinese New Year when we got C.B.’s email. I was so surprised and happy to know that we had an opportunity to do work for Marvel and Disney. I was also worried and wasn’t sure if I was able to do a good job for the project. I still can’t believe it happened and we did it! It was like one big dream that came true!

Marvel.com: So, who all did you work alongside to shape the story? What was that experience like?

Howard Wong: We worked with incredible folks from Marvel and Hong Kong Disneyland, which includes C.B., [editors] Mark Paniccia [and] Mark Basso, the Hong Kong Disneyland Imagineers, their creative team, and many others. Everyone added to mix, which is reflected in the story.

The writing experience was great. You usually research things from your laptop and books, but being able to literally walk into Stark Expo Hong Kong, it was like going to a real place to do your research. I was looking at Howard and Tony Stark inventions being displayed, Iron Man suits, not to mention the amazing immersive ride and other surprises—trust me, it’s really cool so no spoilers—all of it allowed me develop a story using the fantastic things the Disney Imagineers put together. I was able to share ideas with Justice as they came to me with physical references, allowing us to bounce ideas off each other in a way that made the creative process more enriching.

Being there just inspires you to take what you see and experience, and go further with it, which we aimed to do with the story and art.

Marvel.com: What were the prime things that you felt needed to be conveyed in the story? Did you feel the focus should be on the characters? The action?

Howard Wong: We wanted to focus on the characters, where we see what drives them into running head-first into danger instead of away from it. The other focus was Hong Kong itself. We wanted to make sure that Hong Kong was seen for more than an incredible skyline, harbor, and dim sum, where people get a glimpse of its rich diverse urban and natural environments. Not to mention it’s a city of contrasts with old temples surrounded by huge residential complexes you’ll find in sci-fi films, to huge upscale malls right next to where old ladies perform villain hitting – 打小人 – under a bridge; think of it as cursing someone.

We knew we wouldn’t be able to fit it all in this story, but we wanted to have a starting point for future stories to take advantage of Hong Kong’s uniqueness. We hope that by having Stark Industries’ Asia headquarters in Hong Kong, and Stark Expo Hong Kong from Hong Kong Disneyland in this story will help encourage that.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk bad guys, then: What are the specific joys in working with a super villain confluence like Arnim Zola and Baron Mordo? And what were the challenges?

Howard Wong: I wanted something interesting to really challenge Iron Man and his friends, and ended up with either technology or the mystic arts as a seed [for the story].

Zola and Mordo popped in my head as fun villains to have to faceoff with everyone, and [I] decided to have both of them in the mix. I know I didn’t want to them to just fight alongside each other. I felt that it needed to be [in] a way where it also connected to Hong Kong’s unique blending of the old and new, and that’s when the idea of having them combine their abilities into a new magical tech threat that even Tony Stark couldn’t handle [alone] came about. Once I had that concept down, I spoke with Justice and the team about it and everyone was onboard with the idea.

The next challenge was how he would show this through Justice’s design and art. We drew upon many things from our respective childhoods and came up with something that we were excited about; Justice did an incredible job on the designs!

Justice Wong:  I had so much fun drawing their poses. It was so cool finding ways [to make] them look dynamic and show different emotions in different scenes. The biggest challenge for me is drawing Zola’s face display on his chest. It took me some time to find the best way to make it look just right with a lighting approach I figured out. Thanks to Howard and his flashlight for visual references!

Marvel.com: And the same with the mix of Avengers in here—what were those highlights and hurdles like?

Howard Wong: Marvel has an amazing library of characters. I think I read somewhere that it was 7000! Picking which ones we’d like to work with was fun. It was like making a dream team of your favorite heroes. After what we’ll call fun discussions, we picked who would work best for the story.

Justice Wong: I’m always happy to draw Marvel heroes like Iron Man and Doctor Strange. I enjoyed figuring out the layouts and cool poses for the fight scenes, and interaction scenes! Although it was challenging to draw all the heroes and villains in big scenes, I was glad that the ideas Howard and I had worked and it turned out better than I expected.

Iron Man: Hong Kong Heroes

Marvel.com: What can you say about the new armored hero we’ve heard about?

Howard Wong: We had a lot of fun creating a new local Hong Kong hero that debuts in this book. When I started to think about who the hero should be, I knew I wanted her to reflect the spirit of Hong Kong though her perseverance, intelligence, and resourcefulness, which to me are the characteristics for a hero.

In the story, she has a secret that is revealed when her drive to help others exposes it. This sets her on an entirely new path in all expects of her life, as well as those around her. She may be a new hero, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to face impossible odds; she is a Hong Konger after all—among other things.

I worked with Justice on the designs, explaining my ideas and reasoning for things, and where it will lead in the near future. He added his ideas and then came back with unbelievable designs that blew me away! I don’t know if we can say that this isn’t her final look, but I’ll just say that it “builds” up from here.

Justice Wong: She is a very interesting character to work with. I was so surprised that Howard and I were asked to co-create this character for this comic! Especially because she’s a Hong Kong local! I am from Hong Kong too, so this was very cool for me. Howard was great making sure she was like a real local Hong Kong person. When he told me about her background I thought he was talking about someone I knew.

When I was figuring out the designs for her, Howard talked to me about what we both liked watching when we were growing up, and I found ways to add some of that into her design. Even her colors are unique to Hong Kong, but you will need to get the comic to know how. It will be very interesting if other creators can create more stories with her being a hero in Hong Kong, and show other foreign comic book fans our unique local culture and features.  Also, there are a lot of potential elements for the armor we didn’t have a chance to add due to the limited storytelling [length] of this comic. Howard had so many amazing ideas that I really want to draw.

I’m looking forward [to] seeing how she can be developed in the future and hope that we get a chance to tell more stories with her too!

Marvel.com: Hey, that was sort of our last question for you! So you would you like to do more books centered on Disney attractions like this?

Howard Wong: I would love to dive back into that amazing creative whirlpool with the incredible folks from Marvel and Disney! The chance to immerse yourself in the very place you are crafting a story for is such a fun part of the creative process. Not to mention, this kind of creative challenge bringing together the best from Marvel and Disney into a compelling story is what drives and inspires me as a storyteller.

Howard Wong: Yes, I would love to if we have an opportunity to do it again in the future. Not only Disney attractions, but also with whatever opportunity there is to work with awesome people to make mind-blowing moments!

Look for IRON MAN: HONG KONG HEROES #1 from Howard and Justice Wong, coming in March 2018!

Read More

Ryan North directs Doreen to the nearest and newest Sorcerer Supreme!

When Nancy and Tippy-Toe get human—and squirrel—napped respectively by a planet of alien squirrels about to get eaten by Galactus—long story—Doreen hops on the case! Or, uh, she would be on the case if she knew what the heck was going on.

See, she’s still stuck back on Earth and barely knows what became of her friends when the frickin’ Dread Dormammu shows up and he’s all “I’m gonna destroy you!” and Squirrel Girl’s all, “Oh, haven’t you heard?” Because the name of the comic? UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #28.

On January 10, writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson present “The Forbidden Pla-Nut Part 2”! To defeat this legendary villain Doreen will seek the help of the new Sorcerer Supreme…Loki? Wait, what does Cat Thor have to say about this…

Ryan North stopped by to fill us in on Cat Thor, but also some other things not Cat Thor-related as well.

Marvel.com: Tell us all about what’s been happening in the “Forbidden Pla-Nut” arc so far!

Ryan North: Just as a warning up front; we tend to pack a lot into our issues. So far Nancy and Tippy have been kidnapped, Squirrel Girl has been trying to find them, she’s fallen in with Loki—who is Sorcerer Supreme now—he tried to help by opening a dimensional portal, but on the other side was the Dread Dormammu who is taking advantage of Earth’s weakness—because come on, Loki as Sorcerer Surpreme instead of Doctor Strange represents a clear opportunity for everyone who wants to destroy the Earth). Whew.

When we left them they were totally getting beaten up by him. And that doesn’t even cover all the things that happened in that first issue!

Marvel.com: How and why did Nancy and Tippy get kidnapped?

Ryan North: The planet that kidnapped [them] is a squirrel world, filled with sentient, technology-using squirrels. They were visited by The Silver Surfer, who told them Galactus was going to eat their world—but that if they gave him some money he’d send them somewhere else.

They didn’t have the money, but they did have teleporters—and they did see Tippy-Toe—and Doreen—defeat Galactus way back in our first issue #4. So naturally they figure Tippy is the only one in the universe that can help them!

Marvel.com: Wait, but hasn’t Galactus hung up his planet-eating bib?

Ryan North: Well, here’s the thing: if that “Silver Surfer asking for bribes” bit in my last answer made you say “that doesn’t sound like the Silver Surfer or Galactus”: you’re right! This isn’t the real Silver Surfer, but some grifters who have realized that for the price of some silver body paint, they can rip off worlds by threatening a visit from Galactus.

So on top of everything we’ve got space grifters too! Of course, seeing as people are using his good name, it makes sense that the real Silver Surfer would want to put an end to that…

Marvel.com: What’s the deal with these alien squirrels? Are they friend squirrel or foe squirrel?

Ryan North: Like all squirrels, they are friendly! You may think there are some Earth squirrels that are not friendly; perhaps they have eaten the siding on your house to break into your attic. I am here to say that among squirrels, that is considered a very high compliment.

Ubeatable Squirrel Girl #28 cover by Erica Henderson

Marvel.com: Could you refresh us again on how in Odin’s green midgard Loki became Sorcerer Supreme?

Ryan North: I believe that story is told in the DOCTOR STRANGE series! We’re just taking advantage of that because come on, that’s amazing. Loki is so pooched.

Marvel.com: Is he going to fight the big bad as Cat Thor? Because the world is ready.

Ryan North: I will say that while Cat Thor doesn’t show up, there is a new form of Loki head that is, dare I say…even better? I’m big into Loki shape-shifting his head. He doesn’t do it often in other comics but when he shows up around Doreen, for some reason, it keeps happening. Anyway, there’s really relevant plot reasons for why it happens! We don’t cotton to random head shape-shifting here.

Marvel.com: Has the fame and fabulousness of the new title changed Loki since we last encountered him in issue #8?

Ryan North: He’s big into his new title—Loki is, it’s fair to say, a guy who craves validation—so he’s excited to show off for Squirrel Girl. And when has an insecure egoist showing off ever backfired?

Marvel.com: Uh oh, that doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement…will he be able to handle the Dread Dormammu?

Ryan North: Well, [Dormammu is] a cosmic-level threat, and Doctor Strange’s most dangerous enemy, and Loki’s facing him right off the bat! Normally I’d say Loki is totally doomed, but come on: he’s got Squirrel Girl on his side.

Marvel.com: What would the super villain trading cards be for the baddies who appear in this issue?

Ryan North: There’s Dormammu, but we showed his card in the last issue. There’s the Silver Grifters, and their card would be something to see, because they’re such jerks. And finally, Squirrel Girl fights a new villain that shows up at the end that I don’t want to spoil!

Explore the Forbidden Pla-Nut once more with Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #28—blasting off on January 10!

Read More

Charles Soule on Matt's new job for New York's new mayor.

With Wilson Fisk as the new mayor of New York, Matt Murdock finds himself between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, there’s a warrant out for Daredevil’s arrest. On the other hand, he just got an offer from Fisk to become the mayor’s personal lawyer. And here’s the craziest part: He accepted the job!

Is Matt trying to advance his law career or is he playing a two-faced game like the crooked mayor he just agreed to serve? We’ll learn more about it in DAREDEVIL #597 by Charles Soule and Stefano Landini on January 10, 2018. In the meantime, Marvel.com caught up with Charles to get a better grip of what Manhattan looks like under the control of Kingpin.

Marvel.com: Can you give us a quick rundown of the dynamic between Murdock and Fisk as lawyer and mayor?

Charles Soule: I’m trying to set things up in this story as closely as I can to the way things actually work in City Hall. The truth is, there aren’t a ton of checks on the power of the mayor in New York. More or less, if the mayor wants the city to shift in a certain direction, or has policies he or she wants implemented, then the city’s various departments and agencies tend to go that way. So, Fisk has all the power, and Matt Murdock has very little – at least in a political sense. However, he’s got his mind, and of course he’s got all the abilities of Daredevil… so he’s still got a fighting chance.

Marvel.com: Where can we expect this situation to go? Is Matt going to tolerate Fisk’s control of the city for much longer?

Charles Soule: Well, that would be telling. Let’s put it this way – from the moment Matt heard that Fisk had been elected mayor, he was convinced that Fisk was putting something sinister into motion, and he was resolved to stop it any way he could. He could approach it any number of ways – but he knows the one thing he probably can’t do is just go in fists-first. You can’t just beat up the Mayor and hope to achieve anything, even if it is Wilson Fisk.

DAREDEVIL #597

Marvel.com: Is there anyone else out in Manhattan who might be a useful ally in destabilizing the Fisk regime?

Charles Soule: Well, sure. Fisk didn’t win in a landslide. He won by like a percentage point – it was super close. So, that means about half the city didn’t want him in office. Beyond that, there are all the superheroes who run around Manhattan – street-level folks like Spider-Man, Moon Knight, Echo and of course, Matt’s buddies in the Defenders. The problem is that one of the first things Wilson did when he took office was to start building up evidence against New York’s vigilantes, in a move toward making them actual criminals. He’s already got a warrant out for Daredevil’s arrest, which makes things pretty tough too. The city’s changing quickly, no doubt about it.

Marvel.com: What do you think Mayor Fisk has done that greatly benefits the city?

Charles Soule: Well, it’s early days yet. In Marvel Universe time, he’s been in office for maybe like a week. He has plans, but the first thing he needs to do is start convincing people that they should listen to him and trust him – even with all the power of the mayor’s office, tons of people still think of Wilson Fisk as the Kingpin of Crime. If he wants to change the city for the better – and believe it or not, he thinks he does – the first thing he’ll need to do is get more of its citizens on his side.

Marvel.com: In Part 3 of the story, Matt has the chance to serve at the mercy of the mayor. What kind of internal struggle is he going through?

Charles Soule: That’s a lot of the story of Part 3, actually [in DAREDEVIL #597]. At the end of the previous chapter, Wilson Fisk came to Matt Murdock with an offer to actually leave the DA’s office and help him in his work as mayor. Matt accepted – which is completely crazy. It’s throwing himself into the lion’s den. Doing high-wire work without a net. But that’s Daredevil, right? No fear.

Read More

Robbie Thompson jumps into the future with Old Man Parker and Old Man Wilson!

The future arrives on January 10, 2018.

Well, obviously, because January 10 exists in the future. But for Deadpool and Spider-Man, the far-flung future arrives on January 10!

In SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #26, writer Robbie Thompson and artist Scott Hepburn send geriatric versions of Peter Parker and Wade Wilson to a nursing home. But Old Man Pete and Old Man Wade won’t spend the issue going to pet therapy and eating soft foods, they (gingerly) jump into action like never before!

Or maybe they just go to pet therapy and eat soft foods. We asked Thompson a few questions to find out more.

Marvel.com: Besides Spider-Man and Deadpool’s ages, how have they changed in the future? How has the world changed around them?

Robbie Thompson: The biggest difference is that Spider-Man and Deadpool are super old! And totally retired! They’ve hung up their web-shooters and katanas and live in a retirement community, playing Bingo and working on their crochet skills. The world has changed because it’s seemingly moved on without these two heroes, but we’ll soon see they’re still needed in a big way!

Marvel.com: Did writing older versions of the characters surprise you in any way?

Robbie Thompson: That’s a great question. I have to admit, when I first pitched the idea, I thought the tone would be much lighter. More of a spoof, really. And there’s still plenty of the type of humor folks have come to expect from this team-up in our future story. But I was surprised to find the scripts were a lot more emotional. Getting to hear these guys talk at the end of their careers proved really fascinating. I also got really inspired by artist Scott Hepburn’s preliminary Old Man Wilson and Old Man Parker designs. They looked super fun and dynamic, but there was so much emotional weight to the faces he created. So much history. So much loss.

I just love these two old farts so much, and can’t wait for people to see them.

Marvel.com: As you mentioned, Scott Hepburn brings the story to life in issue #26. How did he help you realize your vision of the future Marvel Universe? How did his collaboration influence your approach to the story?

Robbie Thompson: Collaborating with Scott on this story has been a big bag of awesome. We’d met socially at a convention, but this is the first time I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with him. It started with the early designs I mentioned—he just clearly got the heart of the characters and the direction of the story. Then, with each issue he’s really elevated both the characters and the world-building. This future hasn’t necessarily been seen yet and Scott’s built it all from the ground up.

We hung out at NYCC this year and hashed out the details of the third chapter together—he has so many great ideas and put together some incredible character designs for some “future” Marvel characters we’ll be seeing down the road. We’re also collaborating with Ian Herring on colors—I had the great fortune to work with Ian on all of SILK, and his work here with Scott is outstanding.

Marvel.com: This story sets the table for a bigger arcperhaps the biggest arc of the book yet—which arrives in the summer of 2018. What can you tell us about that?

Robbie Thompson: Early on in pitching the book, editors Nick Lowe and Jordan D. White talked about building our first run into a larger story. I don’t know how much I can reveal, but from a plotting standpoint, we wanted to do what Gerry Duggan did in the flagship DEADPOOL book. That team flashed back and revealed untold stories of Deadpool’s past, then brought those stories to the present. In SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL, we’re flashing forward and the events of that book will tie back to our present day story. There’s a “big bad” that brings our heroes out of retirement in the future. The last page of issue #26 reveals our “big bad,” and it’s off to the races from there.

Marvel.com: From a creative standpoint, what appealed to you about the future storyline? What storytelling avenues does it open up to you?

Robbie Thompson: One of the things I found myself most drawn to in pitching on this book was trying to drill down on why Spider-Man and Deadpool are friends. I get why Deadpool loves Spidey—I mean, who doesn’t love Spidey? But Wade can be tough to love—he doesn’t make it easy. And yet, despite it all, Spider-Man does have Deadpool’s back. Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness created such an emotional story and we really wanted to build on that and test their friendship.

Then, the events of Secret Empire put Spider-Man and Deadpool into an even more emotional space. Peter down on his luck, Deadpool back to being a bad guy. So, in the present, it’s Spider-Man vs. Deadpool. But in the future story, we can see it didn’t all end in tears. And yet, they’re still up to their old bickering. Old Man Wilson and Old Man Parker started as a sillier idea, but the more we started to dig into this future dynamic, the more it felt like we could talk more about the strengths—and weaknesses—of their friendship and tie it all back to the present in an emotional way.

Marvel.com: If a fan dared to skip this issue, what will they be kicking themselves for missing out on?

Robbie Thompson: Who would dare? Who?! It’s Grumpy Old Men with Super Powers! “The Golden Girls” with boys? Uh…“Cocoon” without aliens, uh, but also there’s fighting?

It’s Old Man Wilson and Old Man Parker! ‘Nuff said! Don’t miss it, fam!

Jump through time with Robbie Thompson and artist Scott Hepburn’s SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #26 on January 10!

Read More

Spidey becomes part of a new Fantastic Four, a reserve Avenger and much more.

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!

Our webby wonder regained his powers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #343, just in time to cross swords with Simon Steele in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #72, and the Puma in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #172. Ever a glutton for punishment, he even joined with Wolverine, the Hulk, and Ghost Rider to form a new Fantastic Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #348 and #349 when the original was incapacitated.

Fantastic Four (1961) #348

Fantastic Four (1961) #348

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Spidey re-teamed with Ghost Rider to search for a child abducted by Hobgoblin in SPIDER-MAN #6, one which they rescued in SPIDER-MAN #7. Later, the wallcrawler ran across Cardiac in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #344, worked to save his life in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #345, fought Venom again in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #346, and faked his own death to get away from the sinister symbiote in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #347.

Speaking of sinister, Spidey battled the new Sinister Syndicate in DEADLY FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1, the Headmen in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #73, Spark in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #74, a blizzard in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #75, and the Avant Guard in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #76. Doctor Octopus resurfaced in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #173, and held the new Daily Bugle building and Mary Jane Parker hostage in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #174, as well as J. Jonah Jameson’s wife Marla in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #175.

Spider-Man: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man (Trade Paperback)

Spider-Man: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man (Trade Paperback)

  • Published: October 26, 2011

After finally officially becoming an Avengers reserve substitute member in AVENGERS #329, the webslinger investigated the murder of a young boy in SPIDER-MAN #8, accepted help from Wolverine to track down the suspected murderer in SPIDER-MAN #9, fought the Wendigo in SPIDER-MAN #10, held off both the press and the police in SPIDER-MAN #11, and uncovered the true killer in SPIDER-MAN #12. Our hero crossed the Sandman in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #348, tracked the Black Fox in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #349, and teamed up with none other than Doctor Doom to clash with the Arcane Order of Night in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #350.

The sewer-dwelling Morlocks and a new Firebrand crashed a charity event in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #77, prompting Spidey to descend into the underground to help the Morlocks while Cloak and Dagger confronted the villain in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #78. A new menace called Corona caused a commotion in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #176, sending the wallcrawler up a wall to ask for aid from Reed Richards in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #177. Morbius the Living Vampire put the bite on some bums in SPIDER-MAN #13, so Spidey curbed his appetite in SPIDER-MAN #14.

Infinity Gauntlet (1991) #1

Infinity Gauntlet (1991) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Nova arrived like a beam of light to help Spidey against the Life Foundation in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #351 and the Tri-Sentinel in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #352. The wily Silvermane sent android mercenaries to squash the spider-hero in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #79 so that he could use his blood to save his own life in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #80. Still filled with blood, Spidey battled Bloodshed’s thirst for revenge in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #81. In INFINITY GAUNTLET #1, our hero witnessed the death of half the life in the universe along with all the other heroes of Earth.

Vermin crawled back to make Spidey’s skin crawl in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #178 and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #179. Harry Osborn cracked under the pressure of being the Green Goblin in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #180, drugged his friend the webslinger in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #181, tagged teamed with Vermin in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #182, and entered into his final showdown with Spider-Man in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #183.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #353

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #353

  • Published: November 10, 1991
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 06, 2013
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Peter conferred with the Beast over his radioactive blood in SPIDER-MAN #15, blockaded the Juggernaut with X-Force in SPIDER-MAN #16, and died—sort of—in SPIDER-MAN #17. The wallcrawler joined with Darkhawk and the Punisher to fight the Secret Empire in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #353, as well as Nova, Night Thrasher, and Moon Knight in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #354. The Seekers slipped into the scene in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #355, and the whole mess came crumbling down in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #356.

Man-Mountain Marko resurfaced in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #82, and an out-of-work business man became Hypertron 1.0 in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #83.

Read More

Kelly Thompson studies one of Marvel’s greatest relationships!

Few comic book couples have captured readers’ hearts like Rogue and Gambit.

The two mutants might seem perfect for each other, though over the years, a range of obstacles have pulled them apart. On January 3, however, writer Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez will unite the duo once again in ROGUE & GAMBIT #1! The five issue limited series sends Anna Marie and Remy LeBeau on a top secret mission, forcing them to dig deep into their shared past like never before.

We spoke with Thompson about pitching the series, examining the relationship, and filling in a few moments we’ve never seen!

Marvel.com: What do you remember being your first exposure to Rogue and Gambit as a couple? Do you recall what you thought of them at the time?

Kelly Thompson: Like a lot of fans of a certain age, my first exposure to Rogue and Gambit—and the X-Men—was “X-Men: The Animated Series.” I was immediately smitten with them as both individuals and as a sexy, but tragic couple. I think it’s fair to say they proved to be my biggest motivator in searching out comics, and I quickly fell in love with those too.

Marvel.com: Did you look back at their relationship in preparation for this book? Did any moments surprise you?

Kelly Thompson: I did a massive read and reread as I prepared the pitch. And I’ve continued rereading as I write. Part of the concept of our limited series does delve into Rogue and Gambit’s past, but in a really accessible continuity-light way. It was fun rediscovering things I loved—and some I’d forgotten from their past.

Definitely one of the most exciting things will be getting to show a few big “between the panels” flashback moments, including the first time Rogue and Gambit ever met—which if you can believe it, has never been seen before. As a super fan—and writer—it felt pretty incredible to be given that honor (and responsibility).

I had the idea to take on such a task, so if I don’t deliver it will be a little bit like I dug my own grave. Woo!

Marvel.com: What do you think makes Rogue and Gambit one of the most interesting couples in comics?

Kelly Thompson: I think, initially, a lot of the appeal of Rogue and Gambit—for good or ill—was the “will they/won’t they” tension of their relationship. And that’s a razor’s edge to dance on; it’s almost impossible to maintain that kind of tension and, as a result, I think they’ve suffered some particularly rough roads. But no matter what they have endured, they have undeniable chemistry on the page together…it’s palpable.

And of course they’re also extremely hot. That never hurts!

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about their undercover mission? How might it help rekindle things or drive them apart?

Kelly Thompson: The very nature of their mission demands that they face a lot of their old issues head-on, which brings out both love and resentment in them. I can’t really go into detail about the plot and how it functions, but if we’re successful, I think it really clears the field for them as a couple and gives them a chance for a fresh start…but we’ll have to see if they opt to take that chance.

Marvel.com: It sounds like issue #2 will feature an in-depth look at Gambit and Rogue’s history. How did it feel to compile and compress all of that emotion?

Kelly Thompson: Our story really functions on two levels, to my mind—on one hand it’s a pretty simple action-adventure story high on fun with some romance thrown in. And it’s very accessible for new or lapsed readers, despite all that history, thanks to some of the functions of the plot. But there’s also a separate, more esoteric layer for people interested in that kind of thing that I think has more to say about who they are (and have always been) as a couple and what that means for them. For their past and their future. In this way, I hope there’s something here for everyone.

Kick off the limited series with ROGUE & GAMBIT #1, by Kelly Thompson and artist Pere Perez, on January 3!

Read More

Thor tackles two powerful foes for the very first time!

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.

Coming up with villains who could give a powerhouse like Thor a run for his money had to have been a challenge for Jack Kirby and Stan Lee as they shepherded the character along from his first appearance in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83. With 1964’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #105106, they teamed up an unlikely duo who nearly defeated the Odinson!

In that story, Mr. Hyde and Cobra—who first appeared in issues #99 and #98 of the series respectively—met only after the serpentine villain fought Thor effectively with his Serpent’s Sting and Cobra Cable equipment. Knowing he shouldn’t press his luck, though, the thief ducked into a window that belonged to none other than Dr. Calvin Zabo. Sensing an intruder, the mild-mannered scientist downed a formula and quickly turned into Mr. Hyde! During the ensuing and inevitable fight between the two rogues, they came to realize they shared an enemy in a certain Thunder God and decided to team up against him!

First, the bad guys realized they needed to find Thor, so Hyde whipped up an invention called The Time Reversal Ray. After zapping someone with it, the device projected the individual’s past up on the wall for all to see. They then staged a crime that Thor responded to and soon discovered a connection between the Avenger and Dr. Donald Blake! The depraved duo then smashed their way into Blake’s office where he stood without mighty Mjolnir disguised as his humble cane. They also grabbed Jane Foster, returning to the office after ditching her date. Blake tricked them into averting their eyes and tapping the cane, which transformed him into Thor while they weren’t looking.

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #105

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #105

  • Published: June 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 01, 2000
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Surprised by their foe’s quick appearance, the villains made a break for it, enacting a plan B that saw Cobra slither to safety while Hyde led his quarry into the Colosseum where people flooded in and out for the Heavy Machinery Show. Unable to throw his hammer for fear of hurting innocents, Thor did his best to stop the brute’s rampage. Taking advantage of the Thunderer’s divided attention and a nearby Atomic-Powered Hydraulic Hoist, Cobra snatched Mjolnir right out of the air and deposited it into the machine’s steel-lined storage compartment!

With Thor separated from his hammer, our hero only had 60 seconds before reverting to Don Blake, and found himself facing two oncoming attackers with hatred in their eyes. With less than a minute to go, the Mighty Avenger flipped the villains on their ears and took advantage of the fleeing crowd to cover his transformation back to human form. As the police arrived outside, Blake realized that he could not get into the hoister’s storage container alone, so he tricked Hyde and Cobra into liberating it for him. He then made off into the crowd to once again change into his alter ego.

Returned to his full strength and none-too-pleased at how he’d been treated previously, Thor quickly engaged in fisticuffs with his foes, knocking Cobra for a loop and then exploding a machine near Hyde. The latter took the time to turn into Zabo, thinking it would facilitate his escape while the cops seized Cobra, but he just couldn’t let his grudge go and transformed back into Hyde to attack Thor. However, without his slippery partner around to distract the Thunder God, our hero made short work of the miscreant.

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.

Read More