Nick Spencer wraps up an epic event with SECRET EMPIRE OMEGA.

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

Nick Spencer kickstarted an epic tale starting with CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1 last year and this week, he wrapped it all up with SECRET EMPIRE: OMEGA #1 along with artists Andrea Sorrentino and Joe Bennett. 

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Before getting to the main event, let’s look at a few of the side stories that found their completion in this issue. First, as Clint Barton wept over Black Widow’s casket, Bucky Barnes found himself in Madripoor looking into the upcoming assassination of a general who aligned himself with Hydra. When the guy gets shot, Barnes thinks that the killer had to be Black Widow.

At the same time, Emma Frost and Hank McCoy talked about the dissolution of the mutant nation New Tian. While McCoy said that the efforts to put forth a solid mutant society would mean a lot to younger generations, Frost regretted that they would never know who their actual queen was.

Meanwhile, we also caught up with one of the more surprising members of HydraCap’s crew: The Punisher. Feeling betrayed and used, Frank Castle decided to make it his mission to burn Hydra to the ground. As Punisher continued his crusade, Nick Fury looked on and said to Control, “He’s ready.”

With those mysterious set-ups out of the way, it’s time to talk about the main confrontation in this issue which came between Steve Rogers and his Cosmic Cube-created copy with the octopus tattoo across his chest. To do so, Cap broke into a jail holding just the one captive.

Inside, he faced the man with his face. HydraCap, still convinced that the reality he understood thanks to Red Skull’s essential brainwashing of Kobik, was the correct one and one still worth fighting for. He also brought to Steve’s attention how quickly people seemed to turn on one another and reach for the power he offered them.

Rogers, while concerned with the damage HydraCap did to his image and reputation, still saw some good in the whole situation, hoping that this whole nasty endeavor would stop some people from blindly following anyone, even himself.

Ultimately, though, the true Captain America believes in the goodness of people and the resilience of his homeland. We’ll see him trying to make up for the mistakes a man with his face made over in MARVEL LEGACY #1 and CAPTAIN AMERICA #695.

The Empire Strikes Back

Upon leaving HydraCap’s cell, Steve Rogers warned his double not to leave his cell, letting him know that he’d be able to spot him no matter the face he wore. As the guards rushed in at the very end, though, one of them whispered something in his ear: “Hail Hydra.” So, while the threat of HydraCap seems low at this point, don’t be surprised if we see him again!

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Cullen Bunn details Beast’s bewitching future!

On September 13, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Douglas Franchin bring a magic wand to X-MEN: BLUE #11 as Hank McCoy (A.K.A. Beast) finds himself dealing with a sudden case of sorcery.

But how does he get these powers? How will he use them? And most of all, why does a brilliant scientist need to rely on the supernatural?

The answers to these questions—and more—come to light soon, but in the meantime, we decided to ask Cullen about what these new abilities could mean for the mutant Mr. McCoy.

Marvel.com: Beast has always been known for fighting with his claws and animalistic instincts—how might magic change his reliance on those abilities?

Cullen Bunn: Magic could change everything for Beast. Since coming to this time, he feels like he’s always running to catch uptechnology and science have left him in the dust, and it feels frustrating to no end. Beast has always relied on his scientific know-how and gadgeteering more than his muscles and agility, but now he feels as if he’s lost quite a few steps. Magic seems like a way for him to find a new groove.

Marvel.com: Like you mentioned, Hank McCoy is a gifted scientist and scholar. What does this newfound talent do for his outlook on the natural world?

Cullen Bunn: Hank approaches magic as a new science. Not that different, to his way of thinking, than chemistry or biology. He’s learning the “rules” of this science so he can master it. But magic is much more mercurial than any natural science—it has a way of slipping out of control no matter what you do…

Marvel.com: What kinds of challenges and dangers come along with these new powersespecially when bestowed upon an X-Man?

Cullen Bunn: Magic has been a part of the X-World for a long time—and it always seems to cause trouble for the mutants. When you get greedy for magical knowledge, you run the risk of making mistakes or drawing the attention of dark powers. That’s really the problem that Beast starts dealing with. He has called up a power that he cannot easily put down.

Marvel.com: What else can we expect to see in issue #11?

Cullen Bunn: There will be a few new characters popping up. And we’ll be seeing some magic-influenced versions of X-Men (who are being dubbed the Hex-Men) that I’m very excited about.

X-MEN: BLUE #11, by Cullen Bunn and artist Giovanni Valletta’s, drops on September 13!

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The furry former Avenger and current X-Men bounces into Battlerealm!

One of the X-Men’s founding members, the blue bibliophile known as the Beast, has made his way to “Marvel Contest of Champions.” Kabam Champion Designer Piero Herrera and Lead Character Artist Gene Campbell dropped by to chat about Hank McCoy and how he’ll make his mark in the Contest.

Marvel.com: Last week we had another blue-furred battler enter the Contest. We haven’t really talked about the Collector’s collecting habits. What’s going on here? Why Beast?

Gene Campbell: As always, the Contest is growing and evolving with new and mysterious events unfolding. There is an ominous yet familiar green cloud on the horizon moving towards the Battlerealm. To make it worse, it’s having a very unusual and unstable reaction with all the ISO-8 being used by the Champions, especially towards the Mutants. So, who would be the foremost expert on these elements? Maybe someone who’s studied the mutant genome more than any other? The Collector knows of only one that would fill these requirements.

Marvel.com: It looks like the Collector’s pulled this Hank from the current Marvel Universe. How much did you want his cat look to make it into the game?

Gene Campbell: The great thing about Beast is all the amazing ways he has been drawn over the years and to see all these different interpretations and incarnations of this great character. We did draw some of our inspiration from the cat-like version, but we also wanted to mix in a bit more of the other variations to try to find a distinct and recognizable version of the one and only Beast that we’re all such big fans of.

Marvel.com: As a fan of traditional console fighting games his Chain Combo ability piqued my interest. Can you explain what’s going on there?

Piero Herrera:
While having a mechanic that is traditional in console fighting games, Beast’s “Chain Combos” are easy to remember and meant to also teach the player how to optimally play with other Champions as well. For example, the first combo is a combination of Medium, Light, Light, Light and Medium Attack, in this order. Successfully completing this combo will not only give players a reward, but will also teach them that doing this combo often delivers the highest damage output.

Marvel.com:  Are Freestyle and Acrobatic his combat stances? Any different bonuses while in either stance?

Piero Herrera: For sure. Freestyle is an offensive stance that gives Beast a chance to deal Bleed on Critical hits. Additionally, the reward for his Chain Combo signature ability is increased Critical Rate, meaning even more Bleed effects! Meanwhile, Acrobatic is a defensive stance that players can enter by activating a Special 2 or by having less than 50% health at the start of the fight. In this stance, opponents deal less Critical hits and get less Power when getting hit by Beast. And of course, this stance also rewards the player by Regenerating Beast for a small but powerful amount when executing the Chain Combo in the Acrobatic stance. Be sure to check out his Champion Spotlight on playcontestofchampions.com for more details about his Chain Combo, Freestyle and Acrobatic abilities!

Marvel.com: Beast seems slightly more complex than your average brawler. What does he excel at, and who does he match up well against?

Piero Herrera:
Against Champions that depend on their Critical Hits to deal lots of damage such as Guillotine, Scarlet Witch, and others, Beast is a total beast! He is able to be a really good defender while in his Acrobatic stance. Meanwhile, as an attacker, Beast has one of the best Bleed effects in the game, combined with his Chain Combo signature ability—that’s a lot of damage output right there!

Marvel.com: When do we get to start combo-ing our enemies into oblivion?

Piero Herrera:
Hank just finished off one more research on mutations and is ready to join the Summoner’s team as Beast right now! Check out in-game messaging and arena announcements so you can know how to get your hands on this awesome Champion!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!

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Charles Soule and Steve McNiven continue the saga of Medusa and company with All-New All-Different additions!

Writer Charles Soule and artist Steve McNiven add a new chapter to the saga of Marvel’s most unique heroes in the upcoming UNCANNY INHUMANS ongoing series, rolling out of the events of Secret Wars.

The creative team promises an all-new look at the Inhumans, their royal family, and their place in the world—one they share with a certain merry band of mutants.

Marvel.com: Charles, in what ways will UNCANNY INHUMANS turn the story upside down? What’s going to surprise readers the most?

Charles Soule: I’m not going to give away all the many twists and turns in the story, [but] I will say that we’re designing this as the next huge chapter in the new Inhumans story. It picks up many threads that were laid down in what I consider “Season One,” issues #1-14 plus the Annual of the INHUMAN series I did over the past year or so with Ryan Stegman, Joe Madureira, Pepe Larraz, and Andre Lima Araujo, as well as the rest of the amazing talent I worked with on that series. INHUMAN was a big, swirling story with a bunch of characters, some new, some old. It had a pretty specific ending, but many plot points were purposely left open.

UNCANNY INHUMANS will let us pick up on a bunch of those, as well as introduce new ideas. It’s huge-scale super hero storytelling at its most epic. New super-powered people with Inhuman DNA are still popping up all over the world, and the whole Marvel Universe continues to evolve in the face of that and other challenges. It’s a great time to be reading the stories.

Marvel.com: There’s romance in the air: what do Medusa and Johnny Storm see in each other? Is this a love that can last?

Charles Soule: We’ll have to wait and see; and the specifics of Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans, and Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, longtime member of the Fantastic Four, getting together will be teased out for a bit. All we really know is that they fulfill an emotional need for each other they weren’t getting anywhere else. They’re a pretty fun couple to write, honestly. Johnny’s a smooth talker; funny, lots of laughs, that sort of thing. Medusa’s a monarch: regal, and while I wouldn’t call her reserved, she definitely isn’t someone I’d call a party girl, either. They have more in common than you might think, though. Like I said, they’re a fun couple.

Marvel.com: Which leads us to the current rift between Medusa and Black Bolt. What caused it?

Charles Soule: A lot of this was covered in the INHUMAN series, particularly issues #9-12. Honestly, though, it’s been a long time coming. If you look back through Inhuman-related stories over the last five to 10 years, Black Bolt’s been one hell of a king, but sort of a crappy husband to Medusa. He married a ton of other ladies—which were all marriages of convenience, and Inhumans don’t run their society along the same lines we do, but you know that had to sting—he seemingly abandoned Medusa at her time of greatest need after the fall of the Inhuman city of Attilan during the big Infinity event a few years back, and left her to try to preserve its people and Inhuman culture, as well as dealing with all the new members of the Inhuman race popping up all over the planet.

So, a little while ago, when Black Bolt rolled into New Attilan—the new city founded by Medusa to serve as sanctuary for new and old Inhumans alike—and tried to take his throne back…it didn’t go well. Medusa and Black Bolt are currently very much estranged. We’ll see if they ever get back together, but right now they are, as they say, “on a break.”

Marvel.com: UNCANNY INHUMANS has an X-element to it; up until this point, what’s the relationship been like between mutants and the Inhumans?

Charles Soule: I would say it’s been fairly cordial, with the occasional hot spot, just the way most super hero relationships tend to work in the Marvel Universe. Inhumans and mutants have gotten along, more or less, but part of that has been due to the fact that until very recently, Inhumans were completely isolationist. They stayed up in their hidden city of Attilan, interacting with the “regular” world only rarely. That’s all been blown to hell recently, with Inhumans popping up over the globe. Their territory is expanding, so to speak, and it’s inevitable that they’re going to rub up against other heroes and villains, including the mutants.

When we pick up the story with UNCANNY INHUMANS, however, it seems like things have gone very wrong somehow. The specifics are yet to be revealed, but I would characterize it as sort of a cold war that occasionally goes hot. Medusa’s not thrilled about the situation—honestly, would you want the mutants mad at you? She’s trying to put her nation back together, and the idea of having this very powerful group mad at her is not ideal. We’ll just have to see how it all goes.

Marvel.com: What’s Hank McCoy’s role in the book?

Charles Soule: Hank McCoy, aka Beast, is living with the Inhumans on New Attilan when we pick up in issue #1. He’s sort of a liaison between mutantkind and the Inhumans, working towards mutual understanding. Of course, it’s more complex and awesome than that, but let’s just say that Beast has a very particular reason for “breaking” with the rest of the mutants and hanging out with Medusa and crew, and we’ll find out pretty early what that is—although as I said, it’s more complex than perhaps it seems at first glance.

Marvel.com: And what kind of new Inhumans will we see take lead roles?

Charles Soule: Reader—blind guy who makes anything he reads via Braille tabs on his belt real, with a cool seeing-eye dog named Forey—has a huge part in the first arc, and Iso is very vital as well. I have big plans for a new Inhuman character I introduced in the Free Comic Book Day story named Grid, a guy from India who can see and manipulate electromagnetic fields. They’re all part of the ongoing story, though: Inferno, Flint, Naja and of course, good old Frank McGee.

Marvel. Com: How does Kang fit into the saga?

Charles Soule: As we saw in the UNCANNY INHUMANS #0 issue, Black Bolt gave his son Ahura to Kang the Conqueror for safekeeping when he realized that the Secret Wars Incursions would destroy the world. It was a desperate move; Kang is clearly a bad, bad guy, but his time-travel abilities would allow him to take Ahura back to the past, thus keeping him alive even as the rest of the Marvel Universe was destroyed. Black Bolt was trying to be a good father, but as tends to happen in comics, things got complicated. As far as we know, Kang still has Ahura when we open in issue #1, and Black Bolt’s not the kind of guy who would let his son be raised by a time-traveling despot if he has anything to say about it.

And he does. He does have something to say about it. Which, considering the fact that Black Bolt creates something like a nuclear blast every time he speaks, might not be all that great for Kang. On the other hand, Kang’s weapon is time itself. I think it’s fair to say that literally everything is at stake for the Inhumans in the first arc of UNCANNY INHUMANS.

Marvel.com: Lastly, why is Steve McNiven, in your opinion, the perfect artist for this book?

Charles Soule: Steve is the perfect artist for every book. He excels at giving a sense of reality to even the most exotic super hero action, and I think a lot of that is in the faces. It’s very clear in every panel what each character is thinking and feeling; Steve is an excellent “actor,” so to speak. In a title like UNCANNY INHUMANS, where we have family drama and royal intrigue mixed up with characters from vastly different backgrounds working and fighting together, alongside massive super hero action, I suspect it could all easily go off the rails. Steve never lets things teeter, though; it’s all locked down and incredible, and I hope I get to keep working with him forever.

Marvel.com: Steve, your turn: What’s it like working with Charles as a collaborator? What does he do that as an artist you love?

Steve McNiven: Working with Charles? In a word: fantastic! The guy is the real deal, a writer who can do it all, and loves to collaborate. His scripts are pitch-perfect, and allow you to really exploit his storytelling, making you look much better than you actually are. What more could you ask for? How about speed? I have never waited for a script from him, and often get two or three ahead of time. If you are an artist and you get a chance to work with him I guarantee you’ll agree with everything I’m saying here.

Marvel.com: So far, which of the series cast members might present the greatest artistic challenge for you? And which are just joys to draw? 

Steve McNiven: I’d probably say Black Bolt presents the greatest artistic challenge for me as he can’t talk. Or rather he could talk but it would vaporize everything around him. So it’s all physical acting with him and that’s a bit of a challenge, but one that’s so much fun to attack. But Medusa’s the one character I love to draw because I just have such a good time drawing her hair!

Marvel.com: And what do you like drawing better, human-looking humans, or the monsters and creatures?

Steve McNiven: I have been known to love drawing old people, as it is so much easier to exaggerate their expressions than it is with the stereotypically good looking superheroes. Same goes for the creatures and monsters. You can get across a wide range of emotions when you get to exaggerate expressions, something that is a bit more difficult to do when you are known as a “realistic” artist.

UNCANNY INHUMANS by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven sets Medusa, Black Bolt, Kang, and more on a collision course later this year! Look for the latest All-New All-Different Marvel news here on Marvel.com and via our social channels!

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The minds behind MPQ talk about the latest X-Man joining the game and how he factors in with the ongoing adventure!

It seems like we just got off the horn with D3Publisher’s Producer Joe Fletcher and Michael Cerven, Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications, talking about all the big changes rocking “Marvel Puzzle Quest” post-Comic-Con. Now they’re back to clue us in on an all-new character coming to the “Puzzle Quest” roster: Beast!

We talked about the unique abilities this original X-Man brings to the table, plus how he’ll tie in with the ongoing adventure and more!

Marvel.com: With the Deadpool-y focus of this latest “Puzzle Quest” adventure the question becomes: Why Beast and why now?

Joe Fletcher: Obviously, he’s a big character in the Marvel Universe and big in the X-Men overall. He’s also a fan requested character too, so it was a question of, “Hey who else do we want to stick in the game? Who’s popular? Who makes sense character ability-wise?” When you think about a character and what they would do in the Puzzle Quest world, who immediately springs to mind as a good fit for that? Beast, with how he acts in the game, worked out pretty perfectly.

Marvel.com: Would you mind putting Beast on the operating table for a second and dissect his play style and abilities for us?

Joe Fletcher: So Beast overall is a Blue, Green, Yellow color strength character which is actually pretty new. He’s a three star, rare character, so even with Storm Classic being a Blue, Green, Yellow, he’s a three star with a three star color strength. So you can get a little bit higher level.

All of his attacks are based around change because, well, that’s kind of the thing behind Beast in the first place. He’s a scientist; he knows what he’s doing. He’s always doing experiments, very controlled and then at times he goes around and beats stuff up and uses brute strength to solve his problems. He’s not mindless like Hulk is, but he’s a little bit similar in how he approaches things when he’s in his blue furry form.

So how that manifests in the game is that he has his first ability, Mutagenic Breakthrough, where he creates Countdown Tiles that then create special Protect, Strike Tiles, or Attack Tiles. Once he has those Blue Countdown Tiles on the board, his other abilities can do extra stuff. When they aren’t on the field his other abilities still do things, but when the Blue Tiles are out he’s actually able to bring out more damaging or more effective attacks and help for his team.

His next ability, Animal Inside, is based around Green Tiles. It’s normally an area of effect attack so he attacks the entire enemy team, but if there are Blue Tiles on the board then he also blows up random tiles along with that and then deals damage for each of those other attacks. So he shakes up the board, destroys tiles, and deals more damage with his attacks.

And then his final ability is more supportive. It’s called Medical Marvel because, obviously, he’s Beast and he’s kind of the X-Men’s medic as well as everything else. Normally he’ll heal the player’s team and then if there’s Blue Tiles on the board he also drops a gadget on the board that creates a special Protect Tile, so he protects the team along with his healing.

Marvel.com: Beast seems like a very well rounded, versatile kind of character. He can provide support and duke it out on the front lines, just like his comic book counterpart.

Joe Fletcher: Definitely. He’s based around getting those Blue Tiles out on the board but we wanted to make sure that he was balanced in that he could still do things even if you didn’t have his Breakthrough out or anything like that. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that, “Oh crap, I can’t get any Blue AP so therefore I can’t do anything.” We wanted to make sure that he’s still effective. He just might not get that extra little bit of oomph.

Beast in Marvel Puzzle Quest

Beast in Marvel Puzzle Quest

Marvel: Does Beast have anything to do with the new Deadpool/Iso-8/Chimichanga storyline coming up?

Joe Fletcher: Beast and Colossus—who is going to be coming a little bit later—both of those guys are non-story-related. Kind of like when Captain Marvel came out. She just came out and was a reward for one of the PvP events; so both of these characters are going to be the same. Beast is going to be a reward for the upcoming Chapter Three Heroic Mode that’s going to be coming out a little bit later this week. The winners will get Beast in their group.

So you have the prologue chapters and we periodically run through those and make them a little bit more difficult and set your team so that it has a specific set of characters that you can use. Then you run through that prologue mission with that set of characters and Beast is going to be the reward for that. As soon as that ends, the next PvP that’s coming up after that is actually going to feature Beast as a character to use so the players that have just gotten him or players that haven’t used him yet can check out his powers and see how he acts in combat and everything.

Marvel.com: Players will get a shot at Beast even if they didn’t manage to complete Chapter 3’s Heroic Mode?

Joe Fletcher: He joins your forces as a set character if you don’t have him. And if you do have him, you can actually use your own copy, which tends to be more powerful than the one that we give away as a trial freebie.

Marvel.com: Well guys, everyone’s favorite blue-furred scientist/lyricist/pugilist sounds like a blast to play. Is there anything else we need to know?

Joe Fletcher:  One of the prime things to remember is that even when we release a character that doesn’t have a story based around them in particular, we’re still introducing a character to the game and we’re introducing that character for their possibilities in stories. Without Beast in the game that means that storylines that comics have done or storylines that revolve around the X-Men team that would involve him, couldn’t really be told as well if the character didn’t exist. So just because we don’t do a specific event based around that character doesn’t mean that they won’t be included in some of the story coming up.

Michael Cerven: In addition, we’ve kind of broken free from the Dark Reign storyline. The introduction of new characters will definitely allow us to get further along in the storyline to what our future goals are to share with the players. And Beast isn’t quite part of this storyline directly but we have some exciting new characters coming down the pipeline that we’re excited to share. This kind of leads us to New York Comic-Con which will be happening in October and we’ll hopefully have more information on this to share at the show and also on Marvel.com. So Beast is kind of one step, one of many steps, as we’ve been moving on from the Dark Reign storyline.

Beast bounces his way into “Marvel Puzzle Quest” this Friday, August 29, with Chapter 3’s Heroic Mode. Keep your eyes glued to Marvel.com and Marvel’s social channels for more “Puzzle Quest” news!

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Meet the writer of the upcoming Amazing X-Men Annual and see exclusive preview art by Salvador Larroca!

Sometimes dreams come true.

Writer and artist Monty Nero has conquered many creative fields, including game design and his own award-winning indie comics, but the chance to tumble a few building blocks with the X-Men in the Marvel Universe means the world to him. AMAZING X-MEN ANNUAL #1, out June 4, teams Nero with artist Salvador Larroca for a look at what makes the X-Men’s Storm tick—and what ticks her off.

We bagged a few answers to our questions with the writer, about how he looks at the dream job and what he’s bringing to it.

Marvel.com: Monty, what first interested you about comics to get into the field? What did you want to most accomplish in it?

Monty Nero: Just the magic of comics, the simplicity of the line work and text conveying such complex emotions and ideas. A few quick lines on a piece of paper and bam! It’s in someone else’s head. It’s intoxicating. It’s irresistible! I just wanted to make my own stories! There’s no logic to it. I was seduced by the medium. I had no plan other than make comics and starve.

Marvel.com: What are some of your fondest memories as an early Marvel fan? What series did you like best and why?

Monty Nero: As a kid it was Spider-Man. They were reprinting the original 1960’s stuff, and there were also the new issues, side by side on the racks. They were both great, but the 60’s stuff was the best. I remember being blown away by Kyle Baker’s inks, and John Romita’s incredible cityscapes. I loved Peter’s powers, sticking to walls, swinging on a web. Not overly muscled, just lithe and super agile. And funny, good natured, kind—I like that in a hero. I could relate. I used to imagine myself leaping from streetlight to streetlight, building to building, catching thieves and impressing girls. But the town I was in was small, so it would’ve been a little different. No skyscrapers. Try swinging off a two-story rooftop and you just graze your knees along the tarmac.

Marvel.com: What does it mean to you to be able to work on a Marvel project?

Amazing X-Men Annual #1 preview art by Salvador Larroca

Amazing X-Men Annual #1 preview art by Salvador Larroca

Monty Nero: Awesome. Totally unexpected and a dream come true. If you’d told me when I was a kid copying Spider-Man pictures with felt pens, I’d have passed out. I damn near fell off my chair the first time someone from Marvel got in touch with me.

Marvel.com: How did you get involved with AMAZING X-MEN ANNUAL #1? 

Monty Nero: [Editor] Nick Lowe got in touch after reading a comic I wrote called Death Sentence, and then I pitched a couple of ideas on the phone, and he chose one. 
 
Marvel.com: Why Storm as the focus of the story? What is it about her that makes her a compelling character?

Monty Nero: She’s been so popular for so long because her powers are just great. She’s timeless. I just felt I had a good angle on her personality, her history and her way of thinking, that would be really exciting. As it was, in 20 pages, you can only do so much and tell a satisfying story too. So I’d love to write some more Storm and bring it all to the fore. I barely scratched the surface of her potential. 
 
Marvel.com: What’s the genesis of your story? What did you set out to do with it?

Monty Nero: I read about some cool heavy metal fans in Africa that inspired the villain, and got away from the standard clichés you sometimes see. And then I got obsessed with how Storm’s powers would actually develop, in her mind and in her body, why she’s so hard to read and all the interesting stuff you can do with different weather patterns and how it would feel to control that; how it would affect her emotions.

Amazing X-Men Annual #1 preview art by Salvador Larroca

Amazing X-Men Annual #1 preview art by Salvador Larroca

Marvel.com: Which other X-Men do we see in the story?

Monty Nero: Mainly Wolverine, Beast, Nightcrawler, and Firestar as it turned out. You see the whole team at some point though. Wolverine and Nightcrawler I wanted because this goes back into Storm’s past and they were with her at the start. You need that resonance, that understanding. Beast is important for storytelling purposes, he’s got a more refined approach and he’s very well connected; a formidable warrior too. And Firestar because she’s fresh to this team, and I wanted her perspective on Storm in contrast to the others. A good story’s all about conflict, and there’s plenty of that. 
 
Marvel.com: What’s it like working with Salvador? What about his work inspires you the most?

Monty Nero: The dude’s a Marvel legend. He really knows his onions from an art perspective. I used to study his art to educate myself and I was very lucky to work with him on my first story. I can’t thank him enough for drawing it.  

Marvel.com: Overall, what has the experience been like working in the X-Men Universe?

Monty Nero: Literally, like a dream. I still wander around pinching myself. And when I was looking at the final art and tweaking the lettering I was just bubbling with happiness. Here were Wolverine and Storm doing things that I asked them to do, and looking damn cool in the process. I am not worthy, basically.

Amazing X-Men Annual #1 preview art by Salvador Larroca

Amazing X-Men Annual #1 preview art by Salvador Larroca

Read AMAZING X-MEN ANNUAL #1 by Monty Nero and Salvador Larroca on June 4!

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Apocalypse rides into town with his Four Horsemen, and only your agent and their team can stop him!

The Apocalypse has begun in “Marvel: Avengers Alliance”!

The hit Facebook game launched its newest Spec Op, with Apocalypse crashing into town. But he didn’t come alone, as he’s transformed four of your favorite X-Men into his Horsemen–Iceman (Death), Beast (Pestilence), Rogue (Famine) and X-23 (War)!

Fans who complete all the tasks in this Spec Op will get Iceman as their reward hero, plus you can also find the Horsemens’ costumes for their individual heroes in the character store!

Jump into Spec Op 16 now and join the millions of social gamers and Marvel fans who have already joined S.H.I.E.L.D. by playing “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” now on Facebook! The game is one of the top rated games in Facebook’s App Center. Fans can also play “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” at www.playdom.com.

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New mobile card game celebrates 50 years of X-Men stories and characters!

Marvel Entertainment has teamed up with developer Aeria Mobile to launch “X-Men: Battle of the Atom” for iPhone. Featuring gorgeous original art by Marvel artists and stories adapted by prolific X-Men writer James Asmus, the new free-to-play card battle game (CBG) stars everyone’s favorite Uncanny X-Men in a battle across time and space.

Relive 50 years of X-Men as they call on past and future allies to combat some of the most dangerous villains ever known. Building a roster from a staggering amount of characters including Wolverine, Storm, Iceman, Beast, Kitty Pryde, and many more, players will tackle more than 45 missions and experience upcoming events based on landmark stories like Schism, Messiah Complex, Age of Apocalypse, and of course, Battle of the Atom!

Join 20-player X-Teams to participate in epic 20 vs. 20 battles in real time. Multi-month story arcs will also feature raid events in which these X-Teams can square off against the most iconic and powerful villains in X-Men history, including Magneto, the Hellfire Club, Apocalypse, and Dark Phoenix. The real-time ranking system also stirs up all-out competition as players vie for recognition as the top super hero teams. Regular content updates will consistently introduce new characters, stories, and art, giving players an ever-expanding universe in which to play.

“It’s an honor for us to develop a game for such a storied and beloved franchise, one that is a personal favorite of mine,” said Lan Hoang, founder and CEO of Aeria Games. “‘X-Men: Battle of the Atom’ captures the amazing artwork and drama of the greatest comic book storylines, bringing them to life with exciting, dynamic battles between dozens of players in real time.”

“With the release of ‘X-Men: Battle of the Atom,’ Aeria Games has done a tremendous job of celebrating 50 years of X-Men,” said Andreea Enache-Thüne, Senior Vice President, Games and Digital Distribution at Marvel Entertainment. “We’re especially excited that the game will include hundreds of characters who have populated the X-Men universe over the years, spanning limitless timelines and alternate realities. Fans will be hard pressed to think of any characters not in the game–and if the characters are not there now, they likely will be eventually via one of the numerous classic story adaptations in store for players. It’s a great time to be an X-Men fan.”

“X-Men: Battle of the Atom” is available as a free download for iPhone. For more information, find the game on the App Store.

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The Beast gets unleashed in preview pages by Ed McGuinness!

This week, prepare for a Beast like you’ve never seen before in AMAZING X-MEN #3 from the creative team of Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness! Split between heaven and hell the X-Men battle supernatural forces unlike any other – and they’re in way over their heads! Now, to shut down Azazel and his army of demons, Hank McCoy must unleash his animal side! Plus, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the X-Men come face-to-face with Nightcrawler! Don’t miss the bombastic AMAZING X-MEN #3 on sale this week!

AMAZING X-MEN #3 (NOV130683)
Written by JASON AARON
Art & Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
FOC 12/16/13, ON-SALE 01/15/14

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X-Men Senior Editor Nick Lowe gives his thoughts on Cyclops, Jean Grey and the rest of the original team!

By Tim O’Shea

This September, when mutants from tomorrow journey to today to confront their predecessors in the 10-issue event X-Men: Battle of the Atom, things get complicated on many levels very quickly. With past, present and future versions of multiple X-Men in the mix no one knows just how complex and fascinating matters will become better than Senior Editor Nick Lowe.

To help gain perspective on some of the major players, Lowe reveals his insight first into the time-lost Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast and Marvel Girl from ALL-NEW X-MEN.

Cyclops

Marvel.com: Both young and present Cyclops are struggling to find who they are, changed and challenged by circumstances as they both are. What do you hope to reveal about these two very different leaders in Battle of the Atom?

Nick Lowe: You hit the nail on the head that they are both going through some identity issues. Young Cyclops is trying to decide who he is, really, in the stark reality of seeing his future spread out in front of him. Is his future what he wants? I’ll go out on a limb and say a solid no. And with adult Cyclops getting the opposite treatment, he has to define himself next to his younger idealistic self and ask the question: “Is this who I wanted to be?” The closest any of us get to this is finding a letter written to one’s self by our younger self or something like that.

Marvel.com: With Charles Xavier gone, Magneto has become a father figure for present day Scott Summers; but what kind of relationship, if any does young Cyclops have with Magneto?

Nick Lowe: The only relationship young Cyclops has with Magneto is a “I’M GONNA BLAST HIM” relationship. He still sees him, very much, as the enemy. That may be changing, though…

Marvel.com: What qualities about the two Cyclops come into play in Battle of the Atom?

Nick Lowe: The strategist skills are the qualities I most want to play up. These are two guys—one more green, for sure—who think tactically, so it’ll be amazing to see them go head to head.

Iceman

Marvel.com: Iceman’s powers in his early days were vastly different than his present day incarnation, what opportunities present themselves in terms of fight scenes and young Iceman’s powers?

Nick Lowe: You have to think that young Iceman sees what adult Iceman can do and take note.

Marvel.com: Which Iceman has more to teach the other: past or present day?

Nick Lowe: Definitely adult Iceman. He has to teach him how to properly toilet-paper a house or something…

Marvel.com: Both in the past and present, Iceman is best pals with Beast. Do you hope to explore either Bobby’s reaction to present day Beast bringing the original X-Men to the present?

Nick Lowe: We’ve seen that reaction in ALL-NEW X-MEN. Bobby’s not thrilled with Hank, to say the least.

Angel

Marvel.com: For present-day Angel, his life is a blank slate to a great extent—does that have any bearing in this story?

Nick Lowe: There’s so much going on in Battle of the Atom that we’re not going to have a ton of time/space to deal much with present-day Angel’s mental state and such in this story. But more on that is coming after.

Marvel.com: How much is young Angel a critical catalyst in Battle of the Atom, given that he is allied with Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men?

Nick Lowe: Angel agrees with the forces who want to send the All-New X-Men back in time. Heck, he’s been saying that since the get-go. He’d love to be back in his home time.

Marvel.com: Young Angel has learned a great deal about his past, while living in the present, how has that changed him?

Nick Lowe: IT FREAKS HIM OUT! It certainly makes him want to avoid Apocalypse, I’ll tell you that much.

Beast

Marvel.com: The events of Battle of the Atom would not be happening without the actions of present day Hank McCoy; how important is he to the overall event?

Nick Lowe: He is a huge part of all of this. Not only did he set this into motion with bringing the original five to the present, but he’s one of the few characters whose past, present and future are all here in the story. So you’ll see a lot of interplay between the three of them!

Marvel.com: Who do you think regrets the decision to bring the young X-Men to the present day more, young Hank or present day Hank?

Nick Lowe: To be honest, I don’t know that either of them regrets it. Both Beasts are pretty happy with the current situation, consequences be damned!

Marvel.com: Of the original X-Men, would you say Beast is the foundation that ties both the past and present teams together?

Nick Lowe: He’s often been the glue of the X-Men, but I’d say that the act of bringing the original five to the present has everyone questioning him more than ever!

Marvel Girl

Marvel.com: From the original X-Men brought to the present, is there any character other than Jean that has been thrown more in the metaphorical deep end of stuff to process? She arrives in the future to find out she is dead, and there is a school named after her, among other things.

Nick Lowe: I would say that Jean and Scott definitely had the most to deal with coming to the present. There is little crazier than the tumultuous history of Jean Grey and learning about that at such an early stage has to be really hard to deal with.

Marvel.com: In the heat of this battle, it strikes me that Jean is a character who is weighed down and conflicted by the expectations of people she cares about, given she can read almost everyone’s minds. Is that a fair assessment?

Nick Lowe: Oh yeah, especially considering she has barely had this telepathy power for a week and has little control over it. But she has also shown herself to be incredibly strong and decisive! That’s one of my favorite parts of Brian [Bendis] and Stuart [Immonen’s] run on [ALL-NEW X-MEN]!

Marvel.com: Much is always made of Scott/Cyclops’s role as a leader over the years, but would you agree that present day events will show yet again what a great leader Jean can be when she chooses to be, in her own unique and powerful way?

Nick Lowe: That’s been one of the things that Brian has been pushing hard in ALL-NEW X-MEN. She has, very much, started to assert herself as a leader. I can see why when you learn the guy she was just starting to trust as a leader grows up to make some very controversial choices.

Visit the X-Men: Battle of the Atom event page and pick up X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM #1 on Wednesday, September 4

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