Al Ewing tasks the Inhumans with a fight for survival!

Meeting your creator can’t be easy. And meeting your creator in space with no ship, no weapons, and no back up may be an impossible task.

Unfortunately, the Royals find themselves in that exact position. Fortunately, they thrive on long odds.

On November 8, writer Al Ewing and artist Javier Rodriguez present ROYALS #10! The team, stuck inside the endless city-mind guiding the World Farm, meet a Progenitor—one of the members of the Inhumans’ parent race.

We spoke with Ewing about the Inhumans meeting their maker, losing hope, and why things can always get worse.

Marvel.com: Where exactly do we find the Royals at the start of issue #10?

Al Ewing: Well, they no longer have a ship. At the end of issue #9, the Astarion blew up. I won’t spoil how, or if, they get out of that one—except to say that ROYALS #10 won’t be 20 pages of seven frozen corpses floating in the intergalactic void—but it does leave them marooned in a dangerous and alien environment, with impossibly powerful beings who want them dead.

And that doesn’t even touch on Flint’s condition—he contracted something from an alien Skyspear and his flesh has slowly been becoming crystalline—or the unfolding events 5,000 years in the future, where a very aged Maximus and Marvel Boy deal with the fallout of the First Progenitor War…which suggests things don’t end well in the present.

Marvel.com: This mission takes them face-to-face with a Progenitortheir creator race. Do the Progenitors have an awareness of the Inhumans’ existence? What do they think of the Royals?

Al Ewing: The Progenitors also created the Kree, so they’re aware of that. And they’ve been monitoring the Inhumans—and their equivalents on other worlds—through the Skyspears, so they’re obviously keeping an eye on how their experiment has branched out.

As for positive or negative feelings…we’ll find out a little more about the Progenitors and how they work, but one thing that’s obvious from the start will be that these are deeply alien beings…so positive and negative feelings might not apply.

When they try to wipe the Royals out at a molecular level, it’s probably not personal. Probably.

Marvel.com: Given the scale of their mission and their lack of resources, the Royals seem really up against a wall in this book. But does this team become more dangerous the more they stare down their potential destruction?

Al Ewing: The Inhumans exist outside of the human world. Sometimes that makes them morally dubious—to put it mildly—and sometimes that makes them highly adaptable. If their backs get pushed against a wall and the gods of their gods are getting ready to slaughter them like roaches, the Royals will fight back in ways even they can’t predict…yet.

Marvel.com: Medusa, in particular, serves as a source of hope and guidance for the rest of the team. What makes her the potential key to the Royals’ survival?

Al Ewing: Even without her powers—her trademark hair—Medusa’s established her command of the mission. She’s gone from being Queen to being Commander; when she gives the orders, the crew jumps. That’s going to end up forcing her into some dark decisions as the ongoing struggle against the Progenitors wraps up, but the Inhumans have never been all sweetness and light.

Marvel.com: The World Farm seems like a massive, mind-blowing kind of place. How would you attempt to describe it?

Al Ewing: I’d describe it as a machine made of worlds—each with its own separate but interlinked task. We caught a glimpse of the garden-world, where Primagen gets grown, but now we’re going to see the “brain” of the operation—the city-mind. We’ll also take a journey to the power source: the sun-engine it all revolves around.

Marvel.com: How does Javier Rodriguez bring this otherworldly place to life?

Al Ewing: Javier—along with Alvaro Lopez on inks and Jordie Bellaire on colors—has been a wonder. I can provide him with a few short sentences of description, some bare ideas, and he’ll parlay that into a gorgeous vista that’s exactly what I wanted and then some. It all flows out of his amazing designs for the Progenitors—again, a short sentence or two extrapolated into something visually dazzling—which inspired me to go bigger and further with the concept.

Marvel.com: Considering all the factors in play, what would you estimate the Royal’s prognosis of coming out of #10 in anything near good shape is?

Al Ewing: Not great. We’re going to get injuries, mysterious maladies, ongoing health problems, Maximus acting up even more than usual, and of course, by the end of issue #11, our crew of seven will be down to six. It’s a dark time to be a Royal.

Witness the impossible task ahead in ROYALS #10, by Al Ewing and artist Javier Rodriguez, on November 8!

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Writer Al Ewing leads the team on a Marvel Legacy search for a lost comrade!

Sam Guthrie died. Everyone saw it. Everyone knows it.

Except…what if he didn’t?

On October 25, A.I.M. finds itself pondering that very question at the start of U.S.AVENGERS #11! Marvel Legacy dawns as writer Al Ewing and artist Paco Diaz assemble the team to find Cannonball on the vaguely nostalgic—yet wholly original—planet on which he finds himself.

We spoke with Ewing to see where the team has been, where they go now, and why Richie Redwood should not be messed with.

Marvel.com: How do we find the U.S.Avengers in the wake of Secret Empire’s upheaval?

Al Ewing: Well, in the wake of the Hydra takeover of the country, the U.S.Avengers feel badly damaged—Red Hulk’s developed some serious health problems after being ‘hacked’ by Hydra science, Dr. Toni Ho has given up her role as The Iron Patriot, and Cannonball has gone missing…and presumed dead. Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t possess the power it once did, and that’s left A.I.M.’s status as a S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliate up in the air—which in turn led to unscrupulous government scumbag Kevin Krask making a play to become the power behind the scenes.

Roberto headed him off by giving up his Supreme Leader status—passing the leadership of A.I.M. to Toni—but that’s made him some powerful enemies and left A.I.M. and the U.S.Avengers adrift in the super spy community. And that’s when Smasher, the Shi’ar Superguardian—and Cannonball’s other half—dropped the bombshell that Sam Guthrie may not be dead after all.

Marvel.com: Issue #10 reveals that, despite everything, Cannonball remains alive. How does this affect each member of the team?

Al Ewing: This won’t be quite the last mission for the U.S.Avengers, but it does feel like it. Roberto, obviously, would travel to the ends of the universe—literally—to rescue Sam, and he won’t let anything like, say, giant 1920s gangster robots stand in his way.

But he won’t be the only one going along for this particular rescue mission; the whole team has a bond of friendship with Sam. Even the General, who reveals himself as the big softy we always suspected he was—and also reveals himself as someone who might be addicted to the power of becoming a Red Hulk, even if every transformation puts more strain on his increasingly damaged body.

Meanwhile, the search for Sam will be Toni’s first mission as head of A.I.M.—and she leads by example—but without the Iron Patriot armor, what does she bring to the table? We’ll find out.

Marvel.com: And what about Sam? How’s he doing lost out there in the big universe?

Al Ewing: Sam has no idea what’s going on, at first. Oddly, he feels fully at home in the alien worlds of outer space; it’s the strangely Earth-like atmosphere of Glenbrook that confuses him. He’s got enough of the old super hero instincts to investigate for a while. At the same time, he has a home and a family he needs to get back to; he only has so much patience for this nonsense. But when he decides to take his leave, will Glenbrook let him go?

Marvel.com: What can you tell readers about Glenbrook, U.S.A.?

Al Ewing: You’ve never seen anywhere like Glenbrook, U.S.A.! You’ve never seen any typical teenager like Ritchie Redwood, or his love interests Becky and Vanessa, or rival Gerry Mays, or his teacher Mr. Waspwind. Or Bugface Brown, who we don’t like to talk about any more, after…what happened.

Bugface Brown acted as a dangerous subversive, you see, and he had to be dealt with. All the filthy subversives must be dealt with. But let’s not talk about that, ha ha! Because talking about that would break character. And if you break character, Ritchie Redwood gets annoyed.

You don’t want that.

Marvel.com: How did Paco Diaz help to realize Glenbrook? Any further homages beyond the excellent cover by David Nakayama?

Al Ewing: Paco Diaz has a wonderfully lush line that looks great for the perfect ‘50s/’60s world of Glenbrook and for the outer-space craziness of the Shi’ar. I’m particularly fond of his command of expression—he’s got a great way with faces, and always nails the emotional beats. I’m also a big fan of his Roberto; Paco adds an extra dollop of suave sophistication to A.I.M.’s ex-leader that I always dig.

And yes, we can expect homages—and not just to classic teenage comics either. Fans of the X-Men will get some interesting surprises in these pages.

Marvel.com: What can fans expect from the team going forward? How does the team adapt to a new world after their Secret Empire experience?

Al Ewing: In some ways, we’re coming out of a rough patch into a brief burst of wild and wooly hilarity, a final fun-times adventure before…well, that would be telling.

But the Marvel Universe won’t give the U.S.Avengers much time to adjust to their new status quo. They’re going into the crucible, and they’re going to prove themselves once and for all—even if they end up with a memorial statue for their troubles. We’re coming up to the ultimate do-or-die battle, a fight for the fate of the entire world…and there’ll be no surrender.

Al Ewing and artist Paco Diaz’s U.S.AVENGERS #11 hits shelves on October 25!

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Writer Al Ewing illuminates the raccoon’s dark past!

The Marvel Universe can barely contain the story of Rocket Raccoon.

He’s done it all—from his adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, to finding love, to pulling heists with his own crew of ne’er-do-wells. And on October 11, writer Al Ewing and artist Adam Gorham present ROCKET #6, in which the smart-talkin’ hero continues his (not-so-successful) fight against rival rodent Castor Gnawbarque III!

We spoke with Al to break down Rocket’s past, present, and tenuous future in issue #6.

Marvel.com: Rocket’s changed a lot in recent times. How do you plan to reconcile his past with his current mentality?

Al Ewing: Well, I’ve hinted in interviews and in the actual text—in the “prose gutter” where we keep most of the narration—that Rocket remembers a little more of the old days than he lets on. We’ve actually seen him bump up against his past on Halfworld before, so this isn’t such a new development. But Adam and I add a little noir tinge to that—Halfworld feels explicitly like the Good Old Days in our book; the days that were lost and can never come again.

We’re leaning into the meta-knowledge that the once innocent, playful, fun character has become a hard-bitten sci-fi thief—we move forward, and that’s for the best, but at the same time Rocket’s lost something that he can’t quite define or put his finger on, and the knowledge eats at him.

Marvel.com: How much of Rocket’s old life will we witness as the series continues?

Al Ewing: We get deep into it in issue #6…I won’t get too spoiler-y about how the memories come up, but they provide quite a contrast between how Rocket used to be and how he acts now. Fans of the old Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola series will hopefully be happy with the glimpse they get of some of the old gang—and our superstar artist Adam Gorham puts his all into bringing them back to life.

Marvel.com: What made you originally decide to tell a crime noir story in this series?

Al Ewing: When I got the call to do ROCKET, I’d been reading a lot of Richard Stark and that sat heavy on my mind. I knew Rocket had become a little shadier since the early days—and obviously in the films he’s a much more criminal character—so the idea of putting this little Raccoon guy in a suit and having him pull off stylish sixties-influenced heists really tickled me. And when the initial absurdity of the situation wore off, I started thinking about how interesting it’d be to get into the deep-down melancholy of this character.

Marvel.com: What traits did you feel were integral to bringing Rocket to life in this storyline?

Al Ewing: Well, they’re more Raccoon-centric than Rocket-centric, but I found out raccoons have excellent senses of touch and hearing, which pretty much instantly made me think of safecracking. But, as we’ve seen, he also applies that to listening to people.

In terms of specifically Rocket-centric traits, he projects a lot of confidence in this two-parter. Rocket knowing how to wear a suit becomes bizarrely integral to the plot. And his ability to take a good thing and screw it up also jumps to the front and center.

Marvel.com: How does Rocket handle the difficulties of his tragic past while simultaneously dealing with the Technet?

Al Ewing: The Technet are a fun addition to the book. You can thank [Editor] Jordan White for that, since he asked me to bring them back, which I was more than happy to do…in fact, my one regret is not thinking of it myself.

We’ve set up a will-they-won’t-they, flirtatious thing between Rocket and the Technet’s leader, Gatecrasher, but whether it’s all going to end well…well, we’ll have to see. Somehow I doubt it.

Marvel.com: What inspired the “prose gutter” format of this comic?

Al Ewing: The “prose gutter” became part of the plan from pretty much the very beginning. I’d done it once before in an old issue of MIGHTY AVENGERS, but, full disclosure, it’s not a new idea—it shares some DNA with a few comics that came before. ROCKET presented me with an opportunity to use the noir voice, but I’m sure I’ll break it out of storage in the future, as well—it can be so fun to write in that sparse, gritty style.

Marvel.com: With Otta Spice now in the picture, what happened to Rocket’s romance with Lylla?

Al Ewing: We set up Otta as the rebound fling from Lylla—Rocket has a “type,” essentially, and while there may be a height difference, we made them visually very similar on purpose. How much like Lylla Otta actually acts…well, we’ll find out. But Rocket’s certainly projected an awful lot of Lylla onto Otta in a way that absolutely can’t be healthy or smart. And I doubt I’m giving out any big spoilers when I say it all comes back to bite him.

Writer Al Ewing and artist Adam Gorham’s ROCKET #6 drops on October 11!

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Writer Al Ewing sends the Royal Family on an odyssey for survival!

The Inhuman Royal Family has emerged from a bitter war against the X-Men and Thanos only to lose their powers and doom their race to extinction—but hope remains.

In ROYALS #9, legend states that seven Inhuman Royals will journey into the unknown to find the Progenitors of their race, learn a lost secret that will save them all—and that while seven leave, only six will return.

On October 4, writer Al Ewing and artist Javier Rodriguez send the Royals on a search set to test the mettle of their family and shape the fate of their people.

We spoke with Al about the challenges ahead.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the plot of issue #9?

Al Ewing: I could mention the World Farm. The moment when we finally reveal the World Farm—the Progenitor base of operations out beyond the far edge in the darkness between one galaxy and the next—will be one of the most visually spectacular moments of the year.

The Progenitors are, at the very least, a Type Two civilization on the Kardashev scale—maybe even a Type Three, as we’re only seeing an outpost of theirs. (If you’re curious about the Kardashev scale, Wikipedia is your friend!) Suffice it to say, these are big, big dudes, and that’s going to be represented visually thanks to the amazing work of Javier Rodriguez, [inker] Alvaro Lopez, and [colorist] Jordie Bellaire in ways that will blow readers’ minds out of the backs of their skulls.

And from there…I’ll just mention “Judgement Day” and leave it at that. No Inhuman deed goes unpunished.

Marvel.com: What are the family dynamics within the Royal Family like right now? 

Al Ewing: They’re all over the place! Medusa and Black Bolt are each on their own journeys—you can see Black Bolt’s over in BLACK BOLT, which everyone should be reading—and when they see each other again, they’ll have gone through some…changes.

Meanwhile, the other Royals are dealing with going further and further away from home in different ways. Some are missing the people they left behind, others are drawn to what’s waiting for them out there, and they all have their own agendas.

Marvel.com: Why are the Royals looking for the Progenitors?

Al Ewing: They’re looking for Primagen—the prima materia of Inhuman chemistry—the original philosopher’s stone from which Terrigen (the crystals that gave Inhumans their powers, until they were destroyed recently) can be derived from. This isn’t a Holy Grail type of quest, exactly; there isn’t just one piece of this stuff. The Progenitors have plenty. This feels more like the Promethean myth—or Jack stealing the giants’ gold. It’s a quest into the halls of a science-fiction Olympus to steal a handful of fire and bring it to Earth. But, just like Zeus did not intend men to have fire, the Progenitors aren’t happy with the wayward products of an old experiment (the Inhumans) stealing even a handful of their power. There will be consequences.

Marvel.com: Walk us through the process of creating the Progenitors.

Al Ewing: It started with the basic idea of a new alien mega-civilization—creatures who could be truly worthy of being the creators of one of the oldest and most advanced alien races in the Marvel Universe. I gave a couple of fairly basic design notes to Javier…I think really I just gave him the relative size and maybe one visual signifier, and he did all the rest.

He came back with all manner of different designs, and we very quickly decided that instead of choosing one, we’d just use them all and have different “classes” or “types” of Progenitor for different tasks. That inspired more of their society and how it works. We ended up with something a little different to the other Marvel aliens—creatures that fill a specific niche. I think they’re here to stay.

Marvel.com: How does Marvel Boy fare in all of this?

Al Ewing: Well, Marvel Boy’s been around since issue #1, but after events that unfold in the latest issue of ROYALS (issue #7, which drops tomorrow), he’s in a better position to understand the Progenitors and what they want. And there’s another of the Royals who’ll be affected by the Progenitors in a way that I won’t spoil, but it will leave them significantly altered now and in the future.

Marvel.com: There’s an ominous promise: one will die. What inspired that?

Al Ewing: It’s a very mythical kind of beat. One of the things I wanted to originally go for with this series was to create a kind of “myth from the future”—a science-fiction quest based on the classical Argonauts/Prometheus model.

One of the cornerstones of that was the idea that some meaningful number would venture forth and one less would come back. Someone pays the price for stealing fire from Heaven, and there’s no shortage of likely candidates…

Join the search with ROYALS #9, by Al Ewing and artist Javier Rodriguez, on October 4!

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Writer Al Ewing discusses the raucous raccoon’s newest foe!

Rocket Raccoon’s been traveling around the galaxy for decades—and he’s come up against some formidable opponents in that time. He’s battled cosmic villains, alien races, and sometimes even himself—but he’s never had to contend with an anthropomorphic beaver that’s CEO of a mega-corporation.

Introducing Castor Gnawbarque III—a walking, talking nocturnal mammal that rivals even our hero. And in ROCKET #5, out on September 13, writer Al Ewing and artist Adam Gorham bring the two face-to-face…or snout-to-snout.

What else will we learn about this villainous semiaquatic rodent? We met up with Al Ewing in a secluded beaver dam to find out.

Marvel.com: I’ve got to ask… How exactly does one get in the headspace of a sentient animal?

Al Ewing: I haven’t really thought about it in those terms. I guess I have given Rocket some animal characteristics, in that raccoons have excellent hearing and a very good sense of touch—which ended up informing the comic a lot with Rocket being good at cracking safes. But mostly, I’m just writing an alien who happens to be Raccoonoid instead of humanoid, in a universe where a lot of alien species are some form of evolved animal. In a lot of ways, ROCKET veers into being a funny animal type of book—it’s the easiest thing in the world to describe a new alien as being like a giraffe or a warthog, and our superstar artist Adam Gorham loves to play around with what that might mean.

Marvel.com: Right! Rocket is so much more complicated than he seems. Is it difficult writing him?

Al Ewing: I think the challenge was reconciling the happy-go-lucky Rocket of my childhood with the very different character he’s become—and finding a way to make those two elements work together. And that’s the joy of it, too, because as soon as I understood that the Rocket of then and the Rocket of now are the same person, a whole chunk of his personality clicked into place. He’s a character who’s fallen a long way from what he was, which makes him very suitable for the kind of absurdist noir we’re telling.

Rocket (2017) #5

Rocket (2017) #5

Marvel.com: He’s definitely grown a lot since then. What do you think of his modern pop culture presence? Did it alter how you developed him for the book?

Al Ewing: Well, I was already far along with the Rocket book when I saw “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” but one thing that struck me in the movie was that Rocket carried a lot of sadness. His arc was all about lashing out, driving people away, dealing with his pain. And, yes, the movie Rocket is a very different character to the one we’re writing, but they do share that emotional core. Rocket’s someone who carries a lot of pain around.

Marvel.com: And how does Castor Gnawbarque III fit into this story?

Al Ewing: Castor Gnawbarque is the guy behind all of Rocket’s troubles…but at the same time, as I’ve been writing him, I’ve realized that he’s not a bad guy. Or he is, but as villains go, he’s a flawed, desperate individual trying to fill a hole inside him that no amount of money can fix. Essentially, he’s quite a small, paranoid man, driven by petty little neuroses. But because he’s so rich and powerful, his desperate scrabbling around for some meaning in life affects more people than just him. Without even thinking about it, he’s causing misery for a whole planet—and Rocket can’t let that go.

Marvel.com: Sometimes villains echo experiences the heroes are going through themselves. How do you think Gnawbarque and Rocket differ—and how are they the same?

Al Ewing: Well, obviously, they’re both small furry mammals and they’re both plagued by inner pain. But where Rocket is a raccoon—a thief—Castor is a beaver—a worker. In some ways, he’s been poisoned by that; work doesn’t make him happy, his damming projects are creating an environmental disaster, but he can’t stop. He’s driven by the ghost of his father—to achieve more and more, without knowing why. In some ways, despite the fact that Rocket’s essentially a failure and a guy who lost everything that mattered to him a long time ago, he’s retained more of his soul than someone like Gnawbarque.

Marvel.com: How does this adventure influence Rocket’s difficulty grappling with his identity and past?

Al Ewing: Rocket has to deal with his identity in a lot of ways over the course of this caper. We’ll see what remains of Rocket when you take every distinguishing feature away and who he chooses to stand by when the chips are down. We’ll also get a good look at how he deals with the ghosts of his past. Frankly, I’m not sure there’ll be a dry eye in the house when this all ends.

Meet Castor Gnawbarque III in ROCKET #5, by Al Ewing and artist Adam Gorham, available on September 13!

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Writer Al Ewing spotlights the latest threat to the Inhuman crown!

The Inhuman royal family has faced its fair share of villains over the years—and soon they’ll face off against another clan of nobles eager to usurp our heroes and assert their own galactic sovereignty. On September 6, join writer Al Ewing and artist Kevin Libranda for a showdown between the Inhumans and the Snarks in ROYALS #7!

These baddies, the monarchical leaders of an alien reptile species, certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. And just what will go down when these two royal families clash? We caught up with writer Al Ewing to find out.

Marvel.com: The Snarks have a ruling royal family, but one that differs quite a bit from from the Inhumans’ royals. Do the two groups serve as foils for each other?

Al Ewing: They do! It was kind of an accident how it happened—I was casting about for warlike alien races in the Marvel Universe that hadn’t been used much for a while and the Snarks fit the bill. I didn’t realize until I was already well into writing the thing that from the Snarks’ point of view, their royals are on an adventure into space to gain power—kind of a mirror quest to the Inhuman Royals—so it’s actually pretty neat that they end up bumping into one another like this.

Marvel.com: What motivates the Snarks? It seems like they want to watch the world burn, but do they have any other goals or priorities that the Inhumans can use to their advantage?

Al Ewing: The Snarks are warlike, but they’re not just rampaging aliens—their wars are mostly civil wars, battles for succession to the Snark throne. The last time Marvel readers got a close look at one of these royal intrigues was back in the ‘80s when POWER PACK was on the shelves and Prince Jakar of the Zn’rx had the bright idea of stealing Power Pack’s powers to assist him and his mother in usurping the Emperor—well, that’s something that’s caught on. Fast forward to the present and a faction of Snark heirs are roaming the galaxy looking for “weapons”—useful powers they can steal. And they’ve targeted the Universal Inhumans in particular.

Marvel.com: Compared to, say Thanos or Ultron, we’d consider the Snarks lesser known villains, but they still pose quite a threat. What makes them formidable opponents?

Al Ewing: This particular crew have already stolen Kymellian “weapons” before we meet them, which means they have all the powers of Power Pack—essentially, a degree of control over the fundamental forces of the universe. So when they enter the story, they’re already capable of giving the Royals a serious fight… And that’s before they start taking Inhuman abilities.

Marvel.com: Does their reptilian physiology give them any unique advantages or disadvantages?

Al Ewing: Not so much—like human beings, they come in all manner of shapes and sizes, and even within Prince Hyinar’s retinue there are plenty of different personality types butting heads. That said, this particular bunch are especially cold-blooded—and not just literally.

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Al Ewing: I should thank everyone who’s buying and reading the book—it’s always very much appreciated. And to tempt in the curious, I should mention that over the course of this arc, two of the Royals are going to hook up, one of them is going to be changed forever—at least if I have anything to do with it—and we’re going to learn the secret of the Skyspears, in glorious, double-page technicolor! And with the absolutely gorgeous art of Kevin Libranda to feast your eyes on, there’s never been a better time to jump on!

Enter the fray with Al Ewing and artist Kevin Libranda in ROYALS #7 on September 6!

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Al Ewing reveals Rocket's latest partner in crime!

Rocket is back on August 9 in ROCKET #4 and per usual, the heat is on! Written by Al Ewing with art by Adam Gorham, our favorite trash panda finds himself in a pinch for some fast cash after his attempts to win back his ladylove goes horribly wrong.

So what’s a genetically-altered space rodent to do? Well, he happens to find himself in the same place as none other than the Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool. “Is that a bar? Is that a cell? All will be revealed,” teases Ewing. So when life hands you a crazed, possibly schizophrenic, semi-heroic lemon with a knack for shooting first and asking questions later, I guess you make some lemonade…and then rob the mob after you’ve quenched your thirst with said lemonade.

“Artist supreme Adam Gorham – who, as ever, knocks this issue so far out of the park it might as well be in space itself – asked me when we met in person if I was interested in doing a Space Kingpin and I’ve done my best to give Rocket that kind of adversary,” notes Ewing.

“The creep’s name is Cordyceps Jones, and he’s got a particular talent that biologists reading this may already have picked up on, that’s going to end up being quite a headache for at least one of our heroes,” says Ewing confirming that yes, he is a mushroom, because space. “One of the things I’m fairly proud of with this series is building various Swiss-watch space heists, and while the one in this issue is fairly simple, it’s probably one of the strangest. How do you steal a man’s brainwaves,” asks Ewing.

This issue also boasts a brand new omniscient narrator. “That’s right, this issue is narrated entirely by Wade Wilson himself, using the prose gutter provided, and giving it his best noir,” says Ewing. That should prove interesting considering the duo don’t really know much about each other. “All Rocket knows is that Deadpool’s an Earther, that all the other Earthers hate for some reason, and Earthers also seem to hate clean water and a livable climate, so he’s not going to care to much about that,” notes Ewing. However, Deadpool does care about Rockets lack of knowledge when it comes to hilarious pop culture references. “I mean that extended bit about the Evergreen Forest – pearls before swine, man, pearls before swine,” recalls Ewing.

The end of the issue does see our two friends – we’re using a very loose interpretation of friends here – going their separate ways. Wade back to his own story and Rocket on a quest for vengeance. “It wouldn’t be a hard-boiled noir space-heist furry mammal story without a little revenge on the big bad responsible for all the hero’s troubles…which, in this case, is Castor Gnawbarque III, a criminal CEO, and beaver, with his teeth buried in a tasty log of illegal activity that’s about to come back to bit him, like a beaver, because he’s is a beaver. I don’t know if I made that clear,” jokes Ewing. I don’t know guys, sounds like the guy pulling the strings might be a gopher or something…

Catch all the inevitable puns, guns and heroes on the run in ROCKET #4, written by Al Ewing with art by Adam Gorham, out August 9.

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Al Ewing helps to illuminate the history of The High Evolutionary!

The High Evolutionary loves change.

That’s an important factoid to know as you head into ULTIMATES 2 #9, out July 19, because when the Evolutionary teams up with The Maker, another guy who loves change, well, nothing will ever be the same again.

Now, you might be saying, “Who’s this High Evolutionary? Why’s he so big on changing everything? What’s he gonna change?” Those would be good questions, because he’s one of the universe’s most enigmatic figures, neither truly a good guy of a bad guy—although the Ultimates may disagree on the latter. They’ve got to figure out just what High Evolutionary’s up to as he puts his latest scheme to advance evolution into play.

Luckily, the team—and you!—have writer Al Ewing on their—your!—side to help everybody figure it out by offering up a few more factoids, and maybe even a few hits about the upcoming Eternity War in ULTIMATES 2.

Dude’s Name is Herbert

“Taking a look at the High Evolutionary, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was some kind of human-sized Celestial, or at the very least an alien being,” Ewing notes. “But underneath all that weird pink/purple armor is a real live actual human named Herbert Wyndham who studied genetics under Nathaniel Essex—the man who became the X-Baddie Mister Sinister—and worked extensively with Spider-Woman’s father, Jonathan Drew. In fact, his armor is purely practical—to protect against werewolf attacks.”

Army of Half-Animal Servants? Check

“Herbert knows all about werewolves, as well as other human/animal hybrids, because he makes them in his various secret laboratories and rules over them like a god,” says the writer. “The High Evolutionary’s semi-animal subjects are known as the New Men, and they’re actually super-evolved animals who once helped him battle the demonic entity Cthon, and in the process released the arcane energies that merged with psychic soldier Emmett Proudhawk to become the Psi-Force.”

Ultimates 2 #9 cover by Christian Ward

Send his Christmas Cards to Counter-Earth, a Duplicate Earth He Built Himself

“Stuff like that meant that eventually Herbert was persona non grata on ordinary Earth—so he created Counter-Earth, a second duplicate Earth orbiting on the other side of the sun, forever hidden from the ‘true’ Earth,” explains Ewing. “How did he do it? By ‘evolving’ a small chunk of terrestrial material. The High Evolutionary has some interesting ideas about what ‘evolution’ involves.”

He Has Some Very Interesting Ideas about What Evolution Involves

“As we’ve seen, he’s evolved animals into humanoid forms—usually still with the heads of the original animals,” insists the writer. “He’s evolved a bit of rock into a full-scale replica Earth. He’s even experimented on himself. Scientifically minded readers might have noticed that his idea of ‘evolution’ owes a lot to Intelligent Design—his intelligence in particular—and he doesn’t limit himself to things that are capable of evolving. So what would happen if he was convinced to ‘evolve’ an entire multiverse? And would we survive?”

Suffers from Popular Super Villain Malady

“What makes Herbert spectacularly dangerous is that he believes he’s firmly in the right,” Ewing concludes. “No matter what mad scientific scheme he’s up to his pink/purple neck in, he convinces himself it’s for the good of all. That’s bad enough when you’re playing with human or animal life—when you’re playing with the destiny of an entire cosmos, things have the potential to get very bad, very fast…”

Find out how bad how fast in ULTIMATES 2 #9, available July 19 courtesy of Al Ewing and Travel Foreman!

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Al Ewing takes us inside the confines of Colon to catch up with our hero!

After falling prey to the siren song of an old flame, Rocket starts back down the not so righteous path of stealing from the rich and, well, keeping it for himself mostly. But he gets played by a pretty face and ends up trapped deep within the bowels of the Colon where the clock winds down. Can he escape before the metaphorical—or possibly literal—crap hits the fan?

ROCKET #3 takes us inside one of the worst penitentiaries space has to offer on July 12 and we spoke with writer Al Ewing to give you all the lay of the land before setting off on this daring escape mission.

Marvel.com: Give us a quick run down of The Colon, what it’s like on the inside, how Rocket ended up there and why it’s called that?

Al Ewing: I’m so glad you asked me this question. What is it like, inside The Colon? In the hot, cramped confines of The Colon? How did Rocket end up in The Colon? Some would say that, in a real sense, Rocket entered The Colon the moment I began work on the character. Anyway, to answer your question: The Colon is a dark place, where the squeeze is on and something somewhere stinks. There’s a network of tough guys there—a ring of muscle, if you will—and Rocket has to navigate the twists and turns of The Colon in order to escape through the rear exit. It’s very much a bum note in his life.

Anyway, it’s named after the punctuation mark, clearly.

Marvel.com: Rocket’s been behind bars before; how does this joint stack up to other prisons and how is he handling life on the inside? What does he miss most?

Al Ewing: Silly name aside, this one’s pretty grim. It’s owned by a big corporation, and the shareholders like it when the prisoners are brutally and inhumanely punished; there’s a lot of “prison shouldn’t be a holiday camp” thinking in the richer parts of space. The prisoners are put to work making the space equivalent of license plates all day—and if they don’t, they go to The Hole, which is basically a pay-per-view gladiatorial arena that makes money for the prison through illegal gambling. Oh yeah, and every prisoner has a “punishment implant” attached to them that can deliver pain in various different ways for the most minor infractions. It’s a hellhole, essentially.

Marvel.com: I’m sure Rocket is already coming up with an escape plan—what can you tell us about it and how does the execution of said plan go?

Al Ewing: At first, Rocket’s keeping his head down, getting the lay of the land—but then he learns that there’s a deadline, and if he doesn’t break out immediately, he’s screwed. So the countdown is on, and it involves taking everything The Colon throws at him and turning it into an asset. We put all the puzzle pieces in place, and then we watch Rocket put them together. Not that his escape is a certainty; it’s well within my power to have him get all the way to the end, get a stroke of bad luck, and end up in an even worse situation. Maybe I’ll do that, maybe I won’t—I’m a capricious god.

Marvel.com: Does Rocket have any help/meet anyone while he’s there? Any interesting new characters to tease?

Al Ewing: Well, this might be the sensational character find of 2017: Rocket’s cellmate, Gasbag, a living sentient gas in a kind of rubber gimp suit. Also we have the usual complement of alien creatures, all with their own laws, customs, and bodily functions and all wonderfully illustrated by Adam Gorham.

Marvel.com: If Rocket taught Prison Life 101 what would be on the syllabus? What are Rocket’s three rules for surviving the slammer?

Al Ewing: As we see in the issue, Rocket’s first rule is to learn the lay of the land and find out the individual peculiarities of this particular hoosegow. Learn who his friends are, learn who his enemies are, learn the routines. Somewhere in that knowledge is the map to the exit.

The second rule is to make sure you get the top bunk. That’s the plum position in any cell. Norman Stanley Fletcher had the top bunk. Seriously, Rocket will fight you.

And the third rule is that there are no rules! Psyche!

Marvel.com: What is your favorite scene in issue #3?

Al Ewing: Well, without spoiling too much, there’s a wonderful bit that happens in the vacuum of space. Again, Adam’s work is superlative here; he really conveys the feeling of weightlessness, the terror of being in airless space with only a very fragile means of survival. Another favorite bit is when Rocket has an exchange with an old lag, a wizened inmate with vital information on the prison setup; Adam draws a wonderful rhinoceros person, which I think readers will probably end up falling it love with.

Marvel.com: Is there anything you can tease about what’s in store for our furry weapons crazed friend?

Al Ewing: Well, from here, he’s meeting up with a very special guest star—your friend and mine, Deadpool—and together, they’re going to get deep into the gangster life, with tommy guns, bursting out of cakes, and a heist aimed at a particularly vicious space mobster. Adam wanted a space Kingpin—and I put my thinking cap on and gave him one that’ll hopefully be a presence in Marvel Space for a little while to come.

Be sure to catch all the face palming, snarky remark making, prison life action in ROCKET #3 out July 12, written by Al Ewing with art by Adam Gorham!

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Cue the montage as Al Ewing’s team battles back from the brink!

In U.S.AVENGERS #6—available now—the tenuous situation of the team quickly descended into outright bad. Divided from each other, under assault, some of their own members being turned against them, this squad of heroes faces if not their darkest hour, the prelude to it, for certain.

But we know that you cannot keep a good group down. That it always seems darkest before the dawn. That rally caps really do work. So we sought out writer Al Ewing to tell us what difficulties his squad must best to cancel their personal apocalypse in U.S.AVENGERS #7, coming June 21.

“It’s very difficult to talk about the exact challenges the team will be facing over the course of the next couple of months, and how they’ll get out of them, without getting deep into spoiler territory,” Ewing admits. “But I’ll do my best to drop some hints.”

ROBERTO DA COSTA – CITIZEN V

“Roberto’s had it relatively easy lately,” argues the writer. “There’s been no challenge he hasn’t been able to overcome. But that was when he was a free agent in total command of his forces. Now A.I.M. is part of S.H.I.E.L.D., and when the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is secretly HYDRA, that’s bad news. As we saw in #6, Roberto and A.I.M. have lost big—and in the process, Roberto was shot by a treacherous subordinate. Never mind bouncing back, is he even alive?”


TONI HO – IRON PATRIOT

“As we’ve seen, Toni’s been building bigger and bigger suits of armor—from something relatively reasonable in issue #1, to the behemoth in issue #3, and in issue #6 we saw it’s gotten completely out of control,” Ewing points out. “Pretty soon, we’re going to see how useful all this big armor actually is. The question is, what happens once it’s taken away? And when she’s in a position where she’s got to rebuild from nothing, will she follow Tony Stark’s path or the road of her late father, Professor Yinsen?”


SAM GUTHRIE – CANNONBALL

“As we saw in #6, Cannonball is absolutely dead,” the writer promises. “Dead, dead, dead. We never even saw the body, so that’s how you know he’s dead. And even if, by some freak accident, he managed to survive…well, he’s probably lost in space and very likely in an extreme form of trouble that we’ll find out about over the course of months before the team has to embark on some kind of ‘Search For Sam’ that takes them into a wild adventure. But what are the chances of that? He’s dead as a doornail.”

GEN. ROBERT L. MAVERICK – RED HULK

“The General’s been chafing against his limited brand of Hulk powers for a little while now; as a government-issue Hulk,’ he’s not quite the powerhouse he thought his ‘Hulk plug-in’ genetic treatment would make him,” says Ewing. “He turns back to human at bad moments, and then has to wait over a day for his next transformation. Fortunately, science just discovered a means of making him a Hulk 24/7. Unfortunately, it’s HYDRA science. What happens when Maverick is forced to stay a Hulk for far, far longer than his body was meant to take?”

AIKKU JOKINEN – ENIGMA

“So far, Aikku’s only ever been part of a team,” the writer reminds. “In fact, as Pod, she was a team of one, bonded to an alien ‘planetary [defense] system’ that died saving her life. She’s always had the rest of the U.S.Avengers to rely on. Even her personal life revolves around the team, as she met her current girlfriend, Toni, from inside the Pod suit. So what happens when she’s torn away from the team—from all her friends, bar Doreen—and flung all the way to Europe, where the international wing of HYDRA is causing havoc on the streets of Paris? Can she go it alone?  Who can she turn to for help?”

DOREEN GREEN – SQUIRREL GIRL

“Squirrel Girl faces the challenge of fighting some bad guys,” Ewing reveals. “Will she beat the bad guys? She usually does, admittedly, but it’s always possible that this is the time she won’t. I mean, we killed off Cannonball.”

Find out who might be next to fall in U.S.AVENGERS #7, brought your way June 21 by Al Ewing and artist Paco Medina!

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