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!

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Marco Checchetto takes aim at an Old Man Logan prequel!

Clint Barton has unfinished business in the future. The accomplished archer may survive in the Wasteland, but he finds himself still dealing with his past in the pages of OLD MAN HAWKEYE by Ethan Sacks and Marco Checchetto. Set five years before the events of the original “Old Man Logan” story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, the 12-issue limited series will chronicle the Avenging Archer’s adventures as he tries to make good on his mistakes even as his eyesight fails him.

We talked with Checchetto about referencing McNiven’s original opus, working with Sacks, and coming up with all new denizens of the Wasteland!

Marvel.com: What was the process like for developing Clint’s look a few years before we first saw him in “Old Man Logan”?

Marco Checchetto: I drew Clint slightly different from the version seen in “Old Man Logan.” He still has sight and is still fit. He was a super hero. I’ve only filled him with scars, and one of them has the shape vaguely reminiscent of the “A” of the Avengers. I took off his glasses and then I decided to loosen his hair. As for clothes, I wanted to give them a more military and technical look. My intention, then, is to give him, as much as possible, a melancholy look. Hawkeye knows that the super hero times are over, but he does not accept it.

Marvel.com: Between the original “Old Man Logan” story and the current ongoing series, we’ve seen many aspects of the Wasteland. How has it been mixing the previously glimpsed with your own designs?

Marco Checchetto: For this prequel, I chose to stay close to what we saw in the [original] “Old Man Logan” [story] and the great work of Steve McNiven. I’ll be very respectful in regards to already known places. As for the whole “new” environments, on the other hand, it is a continuous challenge and it is certainly one of the most exciting factors in this series for me.

Marvel.com: Along similar lines, you’re dealing with old, new and re-designed characters set in this alternate future. How has it been working out those designs?

Marco Checchetto: In this case, also, for the characters who appeared in the original series, I will remain very close to what we have already [seen]. The most important part, however, will surely be the new characters. We will see the Wasteland versions of many characters known and loved by readers. I can only mention a couple of them for the moment: Madrox and Venom. The others will be a surprise along with many easter eggs that will awaken the memory of old readers and will stimulate the curiosity of the most recent readers.

Marvel.com: Have any of the new characters or design elements given you more of a challenge than the others?

Marco Checchetto: For some of these characters it was not simple. The one that has created [the most] problems is definitely Venom, because I wanted it to be different from everything we have already seen. I wanted it not only to be a black liquid, but a sentient organ, and so I created a real internal matter of flesh and viscera. It will be hard to draw it on all the pages, but I hope it gives an added value [where it appears].

Marvel.com: How has it been working with writer Ethan Sacks so far?

Marco Checchetto: Ethan is fantastic, the story is marvelous, and every time I get the script of a new issue I devour it to know what madness I will have to draw this time. Each issue is full of surprises, and despite being a very long [series]—12 issues—I’m sure I’ll miss it in the end. The script is clear and precise, but gives me the right space to express myself with the setting of the page that I prefer. Ethan is an enthusiast and that exudes from his pages. I’m sure you’ll love this series.

Return to the Wasteland on January 10 with Ethan Sacks and Marco Checchetto in OLD MAN HAWKEYE #1!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tale of Suspense #100 cover by Marco Checchetto

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

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

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

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

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, she’s dead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Artist Marco Checchetto breaks down the aged Clint Barton!

The sharpest shooter in the Marvel Universe dives into an uncertain era this January.

A different kind of coming-of-age story, OLD MAN HAWKEYE, written by Ethan Sacks with art by Marco Checchetto, presents a gray Clint Barton, losing his vision, undertaking what may be his very last hero’s quest.

We caught up with Checchetto to get the inside scoop on what Hawkeye faces during the upcoming journey.

Marvel.com: Tell us about the concept behind this series.

Marco Checchetto: It’s a 12 issue series, set five years before the events of OLD MAN LOGAN. We will tell the story of the aged Hawkeye fighting in the name of his fallen friends, the Avengers. And he’s losing his vision—so he has to accomplish his mission while he still can.

Marvel.com: What does this future world look like?

Marco Checchetto: Like OLD MAN LOGAN, our series takes place in a dark world where Marvel’s super villains have killed the Avengers about 45 years prior, leaving only a few survivors. It’s a wasteland.

Marvel.com: Hawkeye played a big role in the original OLD MAN LOGAN runhow does this series connect to that? Will we see Logan appear?

Marco Checchetto: Clint still has his vision—for now. And Logan lives as a pacifist, with a modest life and family. So, yes, we will see Logan in our series too. I’m very happy about that—I’ve drawn a lot of characters for Marvel Comics, but this has been the first time I’ve had the opportunity to draw Wolverine.

Marvel.com: How does Clint compensate for the impacts that age has on him?

Marco Checchetto: Hawkeye has no super human powers and now finds himself in old age—but hey, he still remains an exceptional fencer, acrobat, and marksman. It will be hard for him not to miss all his targets, but he’ll do his best. To show his age, I gave him some serious scars and weathering.

 

Marvel.com: What can we expect from the art in this book? Will it stay in line with the style of the OLD MAN LOGAN series, or can we expect some changes?

Marco Checchetto: I liked the fantastic job Steve McNiven did with the previous series, so I tried to stay close to his character and background designs. At the same time, I’m working hard to create something new and I hope the readers will be happy with it. In OLD MAN HAWKEYE, we will explore new corners of the wasteland, meet new characters, and discover Easter eggs throughout Clint’s journey.

Marvel.com: How does the art reflect the grittiness of this worldand the current state of Clint’s being?

Marco Checchetto: My style does not feel clean; it’s grimy and gritty. I like to draw dust, pain, and blood. I’m a dark side guy.

Marvel.com: Where do you draw influence from when working on these grit and grim stories? And how do you maintain a balance between the darker side and the funnier side of things?

Marco Checchetto: I do like humor in a series. My favorite comic book character is Spider-Man, who we all know to be fun and friendly, but my favorite stories with him tend to be the sad and obscure ones, like Kraven’s Last Hunt. So when I can draw something dark and evil, I do my best.

Marvel.com: What else can you tease about the series?

Marco Checchetto: If you like Venom, stay tuned.

OLD MAN HAWKEYE, written by Ethan Sacks with art by Marco Checchetto, takes flight this January!

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Legacy dawns as Kate and Clint take Los Angeles with Kelly Thompson!

Some friends get together and pose for selfies. Kate Bishop and Clint Barton get together and pose for mugshots.

Or, at least, so it seems in writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero’s HAWKEYE #13! Clint makes his way to the West Coast to drop in on his protégé and friend…though he might be bringing quite an agenda along with him. Luckily, Kate wants something from her mentor as well.

We grabbed a green juice, got our tan on, and asked writer Thompson a few questions ahead of the Marvel Legacy title.

Marvel.com: The cover for issue #13 reveals that the Hawkeyes ride together again—what can you tell us about their reunion?

Kelly Thompson: Clint will actually show up at the tail end of HAWKEYE #12 in November and when we see him there, they both reach out to one another for the same reason—because they need help and trust the other, above all, to be there for them. It’s a great little moment that shows their bond. It then immediately devolves into comedy and bickering of course—but for a whole minute it’s beautiful!

Marvel.com: Having recently handled Clint and Kate’s team-up in GENERATIONS, how does their relationship in this comic differ to that? How does it remain the same?

Kelly Thompson: I definitely had to put some thought into GENERATIONS initially—into finding a voice for Clint that felt accurate to who he would be as a younger character but still felt true to the Clint we know today. That became somewhat tricky.

I think finding the voice for Clint today might be a little easier as it’s been really well-defined by some excellent writers in the last few years—most notably Matt Fraction. So you just try to learn from what others have done and carve your own path a bit; make it your own. I think I found a really happy medium with Clint that feels true to who he is and what he’s currently going through. It continues that magical chemistry that he and Kate have together and that the fans love so much.

Marvel.com: In terms of tone, how does the book feel? And how does Leonardo Romero help you bring that to life?

Kelly Thompson: Leo and [colorist] Jordie [Bellaire] remain my rock…or, rocks. They have been simply the best art team a writer could hope for. They bring such energy and innovation to everything they do, and I think we have a lot of fun with Clint’s inclusion in the book. Adding new elements—especially a character as charismatic as Clint—can be dangerous in shifting the tone or upsetting an existing balance, but with the team we have in place, I have no worries. They have so much talent that every challenge you throw at them just makes their work shine all the brighter. And even though Clint will be a large element to add, he fits rather seamlessly into a Hawkeye world, obviously, and the ways in which he doesn’t fit into Kate’s new life turn into things we have a lot of fun with.

Marvel.com: Individually speaking, where do we find the two Hawkeyes’ states of mind as they enter the story? How do they feel about one another right now?

Kelly Thompson: They’re both actually in very emotional places and not really at the top of their game. Kate has been of course going through the wringer with her father turning out to be an even worse guy than she suspected, Madame Masque taking over her life, plus the revelation that her mother may have been killed by her father—or may still be alive…she’s turmoil central.

But Clint finds himself having an awful time too, after the events of Secret Empire and the tragedy of losing one of the touchstones of his life—Black Widow. I think that might be one of the reasons they seek each other out now, because they’ll find comfort, normalcy, and a whole lot of trust in one another. They’re family.

Marvel.com: Can we expect Kate to encounter any other familiar faces as she enters Legacy?

Kelly Thompson: This arc finds Kate trying to get to the bottom of what really happened with her mother while still trying to deal with Madame Masque, who has been upping her revenge game of late. There will also be a villain “new” to Kate and Clint on the scene, but it will be someone readers have seen before if they’ve been reading my work.

Marvel.com: For readers who haven’t picked up the book yet, why does this arc present a great opportunity to hop aboard?

Kelly Thompson: I think the answer would be the same for both potential new readers and old readers alike—Clint and Kate are simply magic together. They have a fantastic chemistry and things will never get boring when they team up.

Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero’s HAWKEYE #13 hits the target on October 4!

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The Avengers' archer will be onboard the Disney Magic!

The premiere of Marvel Day at Sea is just around the corner! Marvel fans will want to join us as we count down to this epic celebration on select cruises aboard the Disney Magic.

As we near the debut, we’re featuring some of the mighty Marvel Super Heroes you can meet onboard during the daylong event, giving you insights into who they are and how you can get some face time with them.

Today, set your sights on another sensational Super Hero – Hawkeye.

Hawkeye is the world’s most talented archer and marksman, possessing exceptional reflexes and hand-eye coordination. He is a natural athlete and formidable in unarmed combat, with extensive training as an acrobat and aerialist. A member of the Avengers and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Hawkeye is a highly capable and charismatic super-human.

Hawkeye is just one of many characters you can encounter during this epic event which will be the largest assembly of Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains ever at sea. You may see him traversing the ship or shooting an arrow with the most accurate precision, aimed at the bad guys, during the nighttime deck show. In the Marvel’s Avengers Academy youth space, Hawkeye will teach young recruits what it takes to become a mighty Super Hero.

Stay tuned to meet more Super Heroes assembling for Marvel Day at Sea, which premieres on select 7- and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from New York this fall, and returns on select 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in early 2018.

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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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Two archers. One-shot.

Artist Stefano Raffaele really hits the target with his art and designs for GENERATIONS: HAWKEYE #1, a fact you’ll witness for yourself on August 30 and when you see his words and sketches her in this exclusive behind-the-scenes peek.

Marvel.com: Stefano, we see some Romita Sr. in your take on Kate Bishop—who are your artistic inspirations?

Stefano Raffaele: As a child I grew up reading thousands of classics, and my top favorite artists have always been masters like John Romita Sr., John Buscema, Neal Adams, and Alex Raymond. I try to mix my love for modern and classic together in my drawing style.

Marvel.com: What kind of a feeling did you want to evoke from your presentation of Hawkeye himself here?

Stefano Raffaele: I tried to give Hawkeye a classic feeling, but also look very powerful at the same time. I wanted the reader to “feel at home.” with Clint. I tried to be very respectful of his classic costume, because I know he’s a character that every Marvel fan loves very much.

Marvel.com: We love this great series of pages that leads up to the big full-page confrontation splash. How do you get that sense of movement, like in a film?

Stefano Raffaele: Cinematic storytelling is always my first goal when doing comics. The drawings are important, of course, and they must be powerful, but the right shots are always my main concern when approaching a new page.

Marvel.com: What do you prefer drawing the most: People? Backgrounds? Mechanical?

Stefano Raffaele: People come first, but I give great attention to backgrounds, too, because I think it’s very important to work “around” the characters. I have a lot of fun going into details with backgrounds!

Marvel.com: And what’s your theory on the balance between lights and darks on a page? You seem to have a great mastery of it—is that a challenge for you?

Stefano Raffaele: I am a big fan of old black-and-white movies, from Hitchcock to Truffaut, so I try to put that into my drawings, always mixing modern and classic.

Kate Bishop, A.K.A. Hawkeye, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a battle royal between the world’s most skilled sharpshooters — including an inexplicably young Clint Barton, A.K.A. the OTHER Hawkeye with GENERATIONS: HAWKEYE & HAWKEYE from Kelly Thompson & Stefano Raffaele on August 30!

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Before Clint and Natasha go their separate ways, see how they first got together!

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

This week’s installment of SECRET EMPIRE by Nick Spencer and Andrea Sorrentino not only established Captain America’s potentially wavering relationship with Hydra and equipped the heroes with the information they need to find the Cosmic Cube pieces, but also drove an enormous, and possibly permanent, wedge between longtime friends—and more—Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Way back in TALES OF SUSPENSE #57, Hawkeye—who decided to go from expert circus performer to masked hero after seeing Iron Man in action—got wrongfully accused of a crime. Russian spy Black Widow then appeared to save him, filled his quill with fancy arrows, and set him against Shellhead, dangling the potential for love like a carrot before the archer’s nose.

The duo continued to work together in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE #60 and #64, but eventually Hawkeye’s patriotism overcame his lust for the espionage expert and he went straight, joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes along with the rest of Cap’s Kookie Quartet in AVENGERS #16.

Even though she too intended to defect to the States, Natasha found herself brainwashed and battling her former beau and his new allies in AVENGERS #29 and #30. However, she admitted that her love for Hawkeye helped break her from the mind control. The pair tried to make it work for a while, but ultimately, they went their separate ways.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #57

Tales of Suspense (1959) #57

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Natasha eventually became a full-fledged member of the Avengers herself and even led the team for a while. She also co-headlined the DAREDEVIL series for a time. Hawkeye moved on with Mockingbird, but still showed up in DAREDEVIL #99 to try and win the Widow back!

After enough time passed, Hawkeye and Black Widow figured out how to work together as friends and teammates. Most recently, Hawkeye came under fire during CIVIL WAR II for killing Bruce Banner at the doctor’s own orders. He then moved on to OCCUPY AVENGERS. Black Widow herself starred in her own acclaimed eponymous series.

So, what could cause such a rift between these two? A very clear split in ideology. Black Widow wants to assassinate Captain America for all he’s done, especially after the resistance lost so much ground trying to figure out if he was a clone or a Skrull or something else. Hawkeye, however, wants to wait and see if this Cosmic Cube plan can come together and fix his friend. In SECRET EMPIRE #2, Natasha made her position clear as she cold-clocked Clint and made off with her own agenda.

The Empire Strikes Back

If any two characters could understand the possibilities of a second chance, it’s Clint and Natasha. As you can tell from the above history lesson, both characters worked on either side of the law before becoming Avengers. A major reason they both got accepted into that organization’s hallowed halls lies with Captain America having faith in them. As Avengers and even agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., both have been able to at least try and make up for the bad they’ve done, which makes Natasha’s stance all the more troubling.

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