Everything you need to know about Marvel Games, this week!

True Believers, every week, make your way over to Marvel.com for a rundown of all this week’s Marvel Games news, from console game releases to character drops to mobile event updates, and more!

MARVEL CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS BATTLEREALM

Coming soon to stores (and your tabletop) is Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm from Upper Deck! Channel your inner super powers with three to six players, with 13 different characters. 40 location cards, and six custom die. Available on May 23rd, there’s an added bonus for Marvel Insiders: If you purchase Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm, you’ll find a unique code that can will unlock in-game rewards for the digital Marvel Contest of Champions PLUS rewards on Marvel Unlimited. Order Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm today!

 

MARVEL CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS

The Marvel Studios’ “Infinity War” storyline continues in Marvel Contest of Champions — and now Iron Man will join the battle against Thanos! Tony Stark may be on a different path than the rest of the Avengers, but he still has some fight in him as well as some super-powered allies.

Iron Man’s abilities include his Model 50 suit, which can deflect a variety of strikes while keeping Tony safe from harm. The suit will also Auto Block when health is low. Iron Man can also stay on offense by incinerating and shocking opponents, and their attacks — including Captain America’s Debuffs — are easily deflected.

Here’s a look at Iron Man in action and all of Iron Man’s abilities below:

 

MARVEL STRIKE FORCE

If you’ve always wanted to have the powers of a time-traveling mutant, now’s your chance! Cable is now a playable character in Marvel Strike Force, and he’s bringing some powers that are sure to throw a wrench into everyone’s best laid plans.

One of Cable’s trickiest abilities is his manipulation of turn order, but he can also charge up attacks to blast his enemies with his Plasma Rifle. With every blast, his weapon is charged up more, increasing the damage he can cause. A highly-charged blast can take out not just the enemy in front of him but everyone else nearby. Cable can also employ his Psychic Surge, which teleports him behind his enemy where he can deliver a deadly blow without being seen. Another perk to being a psychic mutant: Cable’s ability gives him and his team a slight head start in combat.

Here’s a look at Cable in high gear:

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for Marvel Games news and interviews and follow Marvel Games on Twitter for more!

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Dan Slott talks about ending his Spidey run and moving on to Tony Stark!

By John Rhett Thomas

Didja hear the news? After ten amazing years, Dan Slott is leaving AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and joining rising-superstar artist Valerio Schiti for a Fresh Start take on a little title called TONY STARK: IRON MAN! If that sounds as cool to you as it does to me, read on!

Marvel: Before we get into Iron Man, it’s important to note that after ten years, you’ve left AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. So the question from those of us who loved your work on that title: Why? Why, why, why, why, why??? (Okay, that’s six questions. Take your time answering.)

Dan Slott: Ten years on the title and hitting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #800 were my last big milestones. I’d been aiming for those milestones for some time. Both of them hitting together in the same year felt like a good place to say goodbye to the ol’ web-head. Marvel’s been great to me. They told me I could stay as long as I wanted, but lo there must come an ending. I pulled the trigger and let everyone know about three or four Marvel retreats ago. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t moments after that where I screamed to the heavens, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” But, yeah, it was time.

Marvel: With you leaving Spider-Man, it seems you could have taken on any number of Marvel characters. Why Iron Man?

Dan Slott: They made some pretty sweet offers to me with others characters and big-name team books, and I let those buses go by. Just waiting. Hoping that one of the favorites on my short list would open up. The second I knew the Iron Man book was available, I lept at it, bellowing “MINE!” as loud as I could!

I love that we live in a time where Marvel Studios has been making mega-blockbusters for ten years. When I grew up, comics readers knew who Tony Stark was. The man on the street didn’t. That has completely changed. Tony is now the cornerstone of that Cinematic Universe — a character that everyone in the world knows. That’s astounding to me. When I was asked, “What do you want the new book to be called?” I totally knew: TONY STARK: IRON MAN.

Marvel: This new initiative is called “Fresh Start.” What things about the life of Tony Stark and Iron Man are we going to see renewed?

Dan Slott: We’ll see a mix of old and new IRON MAN characters: Bethany Cabe and Jocasta, to name a few. We’re going to see the return of specialty armors, because I love those — and it gives Valerio a chance to design all kinds of new and exciting suits. This book’s focus will be big on adventure, with massive action set pieces. We’ll be doing that while exploring high-concept sci-fi premises that lean in to the tech-based world of Tony Stark. It’s going to get wonderfully weird, and it will build to big secret-y things in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel: One of the things we loved about your Spider-Man run was your ability to keep the plates spinning on so many underlying plotlines and characters. Tony Stark’s supporting cast isn’t historically as intricate as Peter Parker’s, but I assume you’re going to maintain that broad coverage of the Iron Man universe in your stories.

Dan Slott: There will be fun soap opera, subplots, twists and turns. And some romance thrown in as well. When we get to Tony Stark’s love interest, longtime Marvel fans will be in for a treat. We’ll find a way to fit all this in between all the repulsor blasts and boot-jets.

Marvel: Any hints about bad guys we might see?

Dan Slott: No. Absolutely not. Read the book! But I can say you’ll see a couple of classic Iron Man baddies in the first few issues. Maybe an Avengers-related big bad in the near future. And a devious Marvel U. business rival for Tony who isn’t Justin Hammer or one of the Stanes. When people see who it is, it’ll be a big clue to where we’re heading — and I think Iron Man fans are going to freak out.

Marvel: I’ve been a fan of Valerio Schiti’s artwork since he first popped up at Marvel drawing Sif in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. He’s got such a way with faces. I guess now we’re gonna see how he does with armor. What’s your take on what you’ve seen so far?

Dan Slott: Valerio is killing it on this book! From his designs of all the armors to the new Stark Unlimited HQ and our all-new characters. He is going all-out on the tech — every gadget, gizmo and vehicle is gorgeous. You’re gonna want them all as toys! His storytelling is some of the best in the biz, the acting, the expressions on all the characters’ faces in every scene are pitch-perfect! And everything is just infused with FUN! If you’re having a bad day, the best thing for it is going to be to pick up this book, let Valerio’s art wash over you, get transported into these weird stories — and I guarantee you, you’ll come out the other side feeling great!

Marvel: One last question before we go: Care to tick off some of your favorite Iron Man runs from the past?

Dan Slott: For me it’s all about the Michelinie/Layton runs. As an Iron Man fan, those are the sweet spots. I’m actually one of the readers who liked their second run even more than their first: the Armor Wars and introducing in the Ghost! Those are my favorites!

TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 by Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti is on sale June 20!

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The writer details the new iteration of Earth's Mightiest Team!

Written by Jess Harrold

The old order changeth once again—for a bold new era! And it doesn’t come much bolder than the creative team of Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness putting together one of the mightiest Avengers rosters ever seen! Here, Aaron talks about his plans for the book—including building on ideas he introduced in MARVEL LEGACY #1.

Marvel: So with you writing, the incredible Ed McGuinness on art and a spectacular lineup, there’s no doubt about it: this is one blockbuster book! What can fans expect?

Jason Aaron: Coming into this, we wanted it to feel big and epic—like a huge Marvel event, every arc. So I wanted a lineup of all big, iconic characters. Some of them you’ve seen as Avengers—like Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Thor Odinson—but for the first time in years, the “big three” are back together. There’s also some characters we’re not used to seeing. Ghost Rider, I guess, is the big surprise, and it’s cool for me getting back to writing Ghost Rider again.

Marvel: And Captain Marvel and Black Panther make for a big five! There’s been a lot of conflict between these characters in recent years. How well are they all going to cope with working together again?

Jason Aaron: Well it’s not necessarily a “snap your fingers, and it’s done” kind of thing. The first arc is really about the hardships of putting that band back together. It’s very much a team drawn together for very specific reasons, instead of just Steve Rogers calling people in his Rolodex. The circumstances of this threat are really what bring these characters together. They are drawn into this battle for very specific reasons, which only become evident as that arc rolls on—and then continue to play a part going forward. Some of that clearly links back to the prehistoric Avengers introduced in MARVEL LEGACY #1. You will see them again in this arc, and they will be a part of the series going forward.

Marvel: Will you be adopting a similar multi-timeline approach to the one we’ve seen in your THOR run?

Jason Aaron: Yep, absolutely. In this first arc, the roots of the Celestial threat the Avengers are facing go back to those prehistoric days with Odin. But we will come back between arcs and do issues focusing on that group and those prehistoric characters. We will learn more about them as we go forward, get to see them in action in the past and see the ways their adventures connect to the present day.

Marvel: Another stalwart Avenger on the roster is Jennifer Walters—but is she She-Hulk or Hulk? And what can fans expect from her on the team?

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I’ve just been calling her “Hulk” in the book. It is the same Jen Walters we’ve seen in recent issues of her own series so we definitely continue on from that. But this story also changes things for her and takes her in a bit of a different direction. We switch around her powers a little bit and try to differentiate her more from her cousin. What is exciting me is to see Ed McGuiness draw the Hulk again!

Marvel: As for the new guy you mentioned—we know you know a thing or two about Ghost Riders, but what do you like about Robbie Reyes?

Jason Aaron: He’s a great entry-level character for the Avengers; he is still very much a new kid on the block. He doesn’t really know these characters and has not been a part of something quite like this. You know his life has been pretty crazy in its own right since he became the Ghost Rider, but this really takes things up a notch. We get to see him level up in terms of his power. He is unlike any of the previous Ghost Riders so we will continue to explore what that means and exactly what he is capable of. Also, the more I write it, the more I love the idea of having a guy in the Avengers who drives a car. He just goes driving into battle in the Hell Charger. I love that, and I love the way Ed’s drawing him.

Marvel: Another character you have history with is Doctor Strange, who is on the team at least to begin with, right?

Jason Aaron: He pops up initially in a different sort of team-up. He and Black Panther are investigating something that pulls him into this bigger mystery. Strange plays a big part of this first arc, but you kind of have to wait and see after that who sticks around. I don’t want to specifically have a cast too large, but I think we will have at least one slot rotating—have a character join for a couple of arcs, and then somebody else takes the pledge. There’ll be some old familiar faces and some we’re not used to seeing in the pages of an Avengers comic.

Marvel: You mentioned the Celestial threat, the ominously named Final Host—they seem like a great fit for Ed’s bombastic style.

Jason Aaron: Absolutely. We see a lot of different Celestials over the course of the story—some classic ones, some all-new designed by Ed, which look amazing. Ed is also so great at conveying the feel of something like this: our Avengers against giant space gods who are thousands of feet tall. How can the Avengers go toe-to-toe with characters who are that powerful? That’s the challenge they face right there out of the gate.

Marvel: And it all begins with a Free Comic Book Day issue featuring another stellar artist, Sara Pichelli, correct?

Jason Aaron: Yes, it’s sort of a direct lead in to AVENGERS #1. It’s mostly a story about Black Panther and Odin—a meeting of the king of Wakanda and the All-Father of Asgard, which again kind of stretches back to those prehistoric Avengers and plants the seeds for the Celestial threats the Avengers will face. And it’s free!

Marvel: And from there, the main series is set to really blow everyone’s socks off.

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I want this to be a book that issue to issue gives you a look at the entire Marvel Universe. So we will travel the globe, we will cross the galaxies, we will go to all the different hot spots of the MU. If you are only reading one Marvel Comic—not that you should just read one Marvel Comic—this book will give you an idea of what the entire breadth of the Marvel Universe looks like right now at this moment in time.

AVENGERS #1 by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness is on sale May 2!

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It’s all been leading to April 27!

There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more.

We’re nearing the April 27 release of “Avengers: Infinity War”! Last week, Marvel Studios revealed five character posters. Now, they’re back with 22 mighty posters spotlighting each of our impressive super heroes ready to take a stand against the threat that is Thanos!

Leading the gallery above is the first Avenger (and birthday boy) himself, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man! See the rest of the Avengers and their super allies — Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa/Black Panther, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing Rocket and Groot, Paul Bettany as Vision, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Dave Bautista as Drax, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, and Benedict Wong as Wong.

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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Big announcements at WonderCon 2018!

Marvel Animation panels are always a packed house thanks to continuing storylines for our favorite heroes, and new and interesting art styles that fans love to see. This year’s WonderCon panel was no exception, as fans waited excitedly to see what would be revealed during Marvel Animation: From Pencil To Screen.

The crowded panel room were welcomed by Cort Lane, Marvel’s SVP, Animation & Family Entertainment, who lead a panel featuring Kalia Ramirez, Director, Family Entertainment – Development & Partnerships; Harrison Wilcox, Senior Director, Television, Development & Production; Eric Radomski, SVP, Production & Creative Director, Animation; Jeff Allen, Supervising Director; Mairghread Scott, writer and story consultant; and Collette Sunderman, Voice Director, “Marvel’s Spider-Man.”

First up was big news for fans of “Marvel’s Avengers,” Lane described season five as a Black Panther story and is thusly titled, “Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest.” Along with the addition of this new hero comes a design change that simplifies the style and conceptualizes a brand new look. The new style reflects T’Challa’s sleek fighting style that sets a new tone for the production design.

James Mathis continues to voice T’Challa and the big reveal was that his sister Shuri will be voiced by Daisy Lightfoot. Recording as an ensemble to voice the Wakandan siblings reflects the core of the season where togetherness reigns as Black Panther must battle an old foe, the Shadow Council.

Fan-favorite “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout!” integrates the Guardians with the Disney California Adventure Ride attraction and the fallout of dealing with the Collector. Scott teased this season the Guardians will quite literally get to explore the galaxy even more, including further exploration of the Symbiote storyline. Expeditions into different dimensions also brings about the possibility of changing animation styles.

Marvel Funko Shorts have always been a hit with fans, and at the panel the audience was treated to the premiere viewing of the new short, “Rooftop Rock,” which features Spider-Gwen and Marvel’s most popular villain, Venom.

The Marvel LEGO collaboration brings toys and animation together and the panel was the perfect opportunity to announce the voice cast for “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda.” James Mathis III returns to his role as T’Challa/Black Panther, along with previously announced Daisy Lightfoot as Shuri. The cast is rounded out with Keston John (Killmonger), Yvette Nicole Brown (Okoye), Trevor Devall (Klaw), Mick Wingert (Iron Man), Travis Willingham (Thor), Roger Craig Smith (Captain America), Laura Bailey (Black Widow), Liam O’Brien (Doctor Strange), Issac C. Singleton Jr. (Thanos), and the ever popular Fred Tatasciore (Hulk).

The biggest cheer of the panel was the announcement of “Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors.” Fans were so excited, cosplayers already appeared on the show floor with fully detailed costumes, with little to no information to go on. The six four-minute digital shorts will be accompanied by a feature length animated film to be released later this year.

The content features an all-star lineup of voice talent, Dove Cameron (Ghost Spider), Chloe Bennet (Quake), Tyler Posey (Inferno), Booboo Stewart (Exile), Kathreen Kavari (Ms. Marvel), Milana Vanytrub (Squirrel Girl), Cierra Ramirez (America Chavez), Kamil McFadden (Patriot), Skai Jackson (Gloria), Kim Raver (Captain Marvel), Ming-na Wen (Hala), Steven Weber (Captain George Stacy), and Dee Bradley Baker who takes on the voices of Lockjaw & Tippy Toe.

Lane emphasized the inclusivity of Marvel, “It’s meant for all kids but we’re particularly excited to bring together these new and very exciting characters that have already sort of garnered big fan attention for years.”

“There are so many strong, interesting, and diverse female characters—body types, great personalities, individual strengths, so we’re so excited about that,” said Lane enthusiastically.

For all the Marvel Animation updates, keep it on Marvel.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Marvel HQ on YouTube for full episodes and more: www.youtube.com/MarvelHQ

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Get an exclusive look at the variant cover for Tony Stark's high-flying anniversary!

On May 23, world-renowned artist Olivier Coipel celebrates of the one of the most anticipated anniversaries of the year with a variant cover for INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #600!

Alongside AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #800, the issue marks two long-awaited landmark events in the comic book universe. In a story that writer Brian Michael Bendis has been building to for years, Tony Stark marks his solo title’s 600th issue—and 50th anniversary—with a tale unlike any other.

Get the first look at Coipel’s cover here!

Invincible Iron Man #600 Variant Cover by Olivier Coipel

In issue #600, Tony Stark is back…but in what form? Huge surprises await new and old fans alike as industry legend Brian Michael Bendis ends an era with this super-sized anniversary extravaganza! Featuring artistic contributions from a bevy of Bendis’ collaborators including Jim Cheung, David Marquez, Mike Deodato Jr., Mark Bagley, Leinil Francis Yu, Daniel Acuña, and a few other surprises, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #600 will be an unforgettable anniversary event!

Check with your local retailer for more information on this Olivier Coipel variant cover! And get ready for INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #600, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Jim Cheung, David Marquez, Mike Deodato Jr., Mark Bagley, Leinil Francis Yu, Daniel Acuña, and more, on May 23!

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Get a glimpse on the storytelling elements from balancing tones to collaborations and more.

How do you approach the behemoth that is Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” — a film with ten years of baggage with different storylines, different visions, different tones, to honor? How does a storyteller divide screen time among  40+ major players who are at different stages of their journeys and continue to engage and surprise viewers? The challenge and weight of what this film means to many is not lost on “Avengers: Infinity War” directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.

As we continue unveiling everything we learned during last summer’s set visit, we couldn’t think of two better people to get a look at the magnitude of the biggest cinematic production ever assembled than those who are helming the film — the Russo Brothers. Not only were the Russos tackling “Avengers: Infinity War” and the untitled fourth “Avengers” film simultaneously, they had to contend with the finishing of James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and Taika Watiti’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” with the concurrent production of Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” start of Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” and planning for “Captain Marvel.”

The Russos entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as storytellers with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” joined by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The team went on to tackle higher stakes with “Captain America: Civil War.” Not to be outdone, they’re now tackling 20-some heroes, multiple locations, six Infinity Stones, and the baddest/most powerful villain our heroes have ever encountered—Thanos, with the next “Avengers” installment. The Brothers shared insight on their approach to the characters, the complications of putting together a project of this scale, and dropped some insights during our intimate set visit.

[Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.]

How “Avengers: Infinity War” Kicks Off

“Avengers: Infinity War” is two years following “Captain America: Civil War.” According to Anthony, “Infinity War” is a “direct corollary to the end of ‘Civil War,’ and our heroes will be heading into this film “with the ramifications of that film at the forefront of this film.”

Continuing, “[‘Infinity War’] is very much about how we move forward from ‘Civil War’ in a big way, and what happens to that division between the Avengers and how does that affect them. What does that mean when the greatest threat they’ll ever face comes to them.”

Despite the two years following “Civil War,” the Russo Brothers have a storytelling philosophy where make sure to “keep any big moments of the characters’ lives on camera.”

We know Cap’s team of Avengers find their way to Wakanda seeking aid from King T’Challa. Joe explained the fortified country is the most “logical place for anyone seeking refuge.”

Meanwhile, Tony Stark has to deal with the consequences of his choice to side with the Sokovia Accords. Our directors haven’t forgotten young Peter Parker. “They basically have a unique mentor/mentee relationship that continues to evolve as they move into this film,” shared Anthony.

With the Guardians, the directors acknowledged the film picks up 5-6 years following “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” The Guardians have had a chance to deepen their relationships with each other where the Avengers haven’t had that chance.

“They’re closer, and they’re tighter, and they’ve been doing it for a while,” said Anthony. “They’ve cemented their chemistry as a team. And they would stand in contrast with the other teams. Potentially.”

They’re thrilled at the chance to take on Thor and lean into his profound experience during “Thor: Ragnarok.” As for Hawkeye, the Russos confirmed he’s on his own journey in this film.

The Directors’ Approach to the Tone and Characters, and their Collaboration with Past Filmmakers

“It’s been a personal journey for us as filmmakers from ‘Winter Soldier,’ of a theme set in that movie that we then tried to expand upon in ‘Civil War,’ that then led to Infinity War,” shared Joe Russo. “It’s how we feel about the characters, as comic book fans, the story that we want to see.”

“It’s not only a culmination of the last ten years of Marvel storytelling, but for us, it’s a culmination of our journey as directors to the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “Having at our disposal all of those characters and allowing ourselves to re-filter them through the way that we see the universe, the way that we feel about the characters, the themes that we really want to bring to the forefront, that’s what these two movies are for us.”

“Everything’s always got to be character based,” proclaimed Anthony. “If we’re sitting in the editing room, watch the sequences for more than 20 seconds without a character having a point of view or moving the action forward, my brain just shuts down. The action for us, it’s always character based.”

In addition to screenwriters Markus and McFeely, the Russos credited the team there were able to work with the past films, including effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw, editor Jeff Ford, DP Trent Opaloch, and stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, to achieving the complex and ambitious nature of “Infinity War.”

It was important for the Russos to honor the journeys and approach the other MCU filmmakers took their characters on, but also make it work with the film they were creating. As Joe explained, the “Russo Brothers-execution” was filtering what others have done “through our very personal expression of them as characters.” Anthony acknowledged, “Everyone is interwoven in this plot in a way where they have an emotional connection to the story…. You can’t tell a movie with this many characters and not have each of those characters show up and honor them from the different franchises if they are not motivated to be there. If there are not in life or death circumstances. If they are not fighting to save their belief system or way of life.”

The Russos equated the MCU process as similar to how comic book stories evolve and involve several comic creators. “[We] found repeatedly that the best and only way for us to move forward is to receive that information, and keep what we like, and explore what we like, and exploit what we like, and tell the story that we want to tell. The same way you do in a comic run when you’re reading it, you go, ‘I want to see someone else’s point-of-view on that.’ That’s what Marvel’s done really well, bringing in a lot of different voices to execute the films.”

It’s safe to say everyone in the Marvel Universe had been involved. During the preparation and production of the third and fourth “Avengers” films, the Russos had the opportunity to collaborate closely with James Gunn, Taika Waititi, Scott Derrickson, Peyton Reed, Ryan Coogler, and producer Nate Moore. With the Marvel Universe progressing in different courses simultaneously and at the time, not yet completed, the Russos adopted a “real collaborative united artists approach” to ensure they were sensitive to the other stories and sharing those elements.

The Sources and Influences

Mark Ruffalo previously alluded to how THE INFINITY GAUNTLET informed the film, but there are clear deviations. Joe further elaborated on the comics source: “Certainly the Starlin book was our jumping off point. It’s a brilliant comic, and the ideas behind it are so large, it’s what pushed us to go for the scale that we’re going for on these movies.”

Joe continuing, “Anth and I love the post-modern comics. We’re also drawing from newer INFINITY stuff, and we’re kind of combining it all into…how do we see elements from each helping the story that we want to tell.”

In addition, the Russos were inspired by ensemble 90s crime films, and the two films that they look to for inspiration in relation to narrative imagery were “Two Days in the Valley” and “Out of Sight.”

“These movies are so complex you need a unifying peace, or a sense of cohesion, and that cohesion can come from a narrative construct that you can apply all the characters to,” explained Joe Russo.

Thanos (Josh Brolin)

Thanos

True Believers, you’ve never seen a more formidable antagonist in the MCU like the Mad Titan, and he’s on a destructive mission to collect all the Infinity Stones no matter the stakes.

“This movie is catalyzed by Thanos’ decision and an opportunity for him to make a very aggressive move for the stones, a more effective move for the stones than he has ever in the past,” revealed Anthony. “When Thanos decides to do it, he really goes for it. He’s one step ahead of our heroes through the movie and he puts them through a lot of pain in the process.”

“Our job with Thanos is to make him the preeminent villain in the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “In order to be a preeminent villain, you have to do some pretty bad things.”

The Russos stressed that the Infinity Stones are the “bedrock of the film” — “the key driver.”

Prepare Your Hearts

On the subject of Thanos, several of our heroes wield/guard the Infinity Stones putting them in directly in the path of Thanos, elevating the emotional weight. When asked about the invincibility of our heroes, Joe quickly teased, “I’m sorry.”

Acknowledging that every character is someone’s favorite character, Anthony explained, “We like mature storytelling. We like dramatic storytelling. We like intense storytelling. We appreciate conflict, and we appreciate stakes. And without stakes, there really isn’t a lot of value to the story. If you look at the Marvel Universe as a whole, as a story that’s been told for 10 years, you can look at [‘Infinity War’] as the climax. The stakes will be higher in this movie than they’ve ever been, times ten.”

Once the dust settles, we can expect the Avengers to see major casualties as they protect the universe and all of existence from Thanos.

Topping the “Civil War” Airport Fight Scene

“We have an equivalent that’s like if you had a comic book, and you open it up to your double panel, and then you fold it out. And then you fold it out again and again,” said Joe Russo.

Anthony Russo adding, “And you have another comic book laid out next to it.” “So we have the equivalent of that in this movie,” continued Joe Russo.

Hinting at the Untitled Fourth “Avengers” Film

The Brothers on the new challenge of shooting two MCU films at the same time: “Our approach has always been how we look at the project. It’s simply the same thing in the way that the ‘Winter Soldier’ related to ‘Civil War,’ and the way that ‘Civil War’ relates to ‘Infinity War.’ These two movies will also relate…but at the same time, there’s an independence in terms of what the experience is or where the story goes. It isn’t a true two-parter…. It ended up being more of two singular expressions.”

“We always try to make each film different so they don’t get repetitive,” said Joe. “This kind of serialized storytelling…. You have to keep evolving who’s at the forefront, how you’re laying the story out because rigor mortis will set in very quickly. Each character…can shape and color and re-tone an entire film depending on who you’re following. We find them as exciting as complex and inspiring and heartbreaking, and we believe that there are real emotional stakes. This is exactly the kind of movies we aspire to and exactly the kind of movies we look for as film goers in a theater.”

It’s safe to say that we’ve never seen anything like “Avengers: Infinity War.” Closing out the visit, Joe remarked, “If you were to think of the Marvel Universe over the last ten years of the book, this is the ending of the book. There may be new books written, but this is certainly the ending of this book.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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MARVEL'S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PRELUDE artist overcomes the intimidation factor for this tie-in.

Sure, everyone’s excited about the holiday season we find ourselves in, but plenty of fans can’t help but look forward to May 4 when Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” blasts into theaters.

To help make the wait a bit easier, Marvel’s releasing a pair of MARVEL’S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PRELUDE issues with the first debuting on January 24. Written by Marvel Studios’ Creative Research Manager Will Corona Pilgrim and drawn by Tigh Walker!

The issue features Captain America and Winter Soldier attempting to track down a terrorist. However, they’re not the only ones and Iron Man soon shows up as well. The issue promises to offer plenty of first looks and surprises for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans.

We caught up with Walker to talk about the intimidation factor that comes along with a project like this, working with Pilgrim and playing in this different Marvel sandbox.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to be working on a book like this that sets up such a highly anticipated film?

Tigh Walker: How doesn’t it feel, TJ? Know what I mean?

I think in an early e-mail to [editor] Mark [Basso], I used the word “intimidated” about 73 times. He responded, asking why I’d sent him an e-mail that just said “intimidated” 73 times without any context and I told him that it’d make sense later on when I was talking with TJ, and not to worry about it. So he sent me back a GIF of an alligator making cupcakes and we both laughed and I wasn’t so intimidated anymore, but I was slightly obsessed with alligators making cupcakes from that point on.

Also, I was really excited and honored to be a small part of it all, I mean… it’s Avengers! Did I mention it felt intimidating?

Marvel.com: How was it getting an early peek at what the characters would look like in the film and translating that to the page?

Tigh Walker: How doesn’t it feel, TJ? Know what–wait–sorry, got my answers mixed up, let’s try that again. It was super cool getting to see a little bit of what’s to come for these characters.

And it was fun but challenging to translate them to the page, because you want something that’s representative of what they are and will be, but you also want it to be a bit of a different flavor because it’s not the same medium, if that makes any sense.

Marvel.com: Did any of the costumes or characters give you more trouble than others when figuring them out?

Tigh Walker: Yes, absolutely! Iron Man’s costume was tough to figure out from certain angles for sure and Captain America’s torso/chest design-y bits were a little tricky at first, but once you figure them out, it’s smooth sailing.

Really, the Winter Soldier’s beard was the toughest out of all of them. Is it a beard? Or is it more of a 5 o’clock shadow thing he’s got goin’ on? Is it a beard junior? Needless to say, I toiled over it, made lists, diagrams, apple pie charts and then I chugged three Cherry Coke Zero’s, threw a goat into a lake and said to myself “Maybe don’t think about it so much? Maybe it’s more of a feeling than a beard?” And that’s really when it clicked for me and I knew just what to do.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the way characters like Captain America and Iron Man react to one another in this story? They didn’t exactly leave each other on the best terms when last they met on the big screen.

Tigh Walker: Well, we start with a conflict you’ve seen in the recent films as a lead-in to some of the new status quo for our heroes.

I’m not sure what I’m allowed to reveal here (Mark?) but we do see a bit of (ahem, Mark?) Cap, Winter Soldier and T’Challa chatting about (Mark-I need you now more than ever!) y’know…stuff and things. And we get a glimpse of Tony’s mindset that leads us right into his actions for the next film.

Marvel.com: How was it working with Will on this gateway to “Avengers: Infinity War?”

Tigh Walker: Working from his script was a ton of fun! It was written “Marvel-Style” which was interesting creatively for me–being fairly unaccustomed to working that way–but I found that I really liked it. It gives you a bit of room to try things out that you might not otherwise have thought of because you’re sort of in a different head-space.

Like when I decided to start drawing all the characters as potatoes, but dressed in their proper costumes… Mark had to reel me in on that one, but having the leeway to turn characters into potatoes, if my heart wanted it, was quite freeing.

Get your first taste of “Infinity War” on January 24 with MARVEL’S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PRELUDE #1 by Will Corona Pilgrim and Tigh Walker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iron Man: Hong Kong Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Armored Avenger and a trio of Guardians of the Galaxy are all part of the fun.

Boasting the largest collection of Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains ever assembled on a cruise ship, Marvel Day at Sea offers heroic encounters of epic proportions.

The Marvel Day at Sea sailings from New York City this fall marked the first official appearance of Iron Man, Star-Lord, Gamora and Groot on a Disney Cruise Line ship. They’ll soon be back when Marvel Day at Sea returns on select sailings from Miami this January through April.

When Tony Stark isn’t promoting the latest Stark Industries technology, he’s greeting guests and showing off his Iron Man armor. Don’t miss the chance to shake his hand before his big gala that night.

You may even run into some of your favorite Guardians of the Galaxy around the ship.

Just know that Gamora may not be very amused if Star-Lord kicks off an impromptu dance party! But you’ll have another chance to see the dance-loving Star-Lord get his groove on later in the evening at Fathoms nightclub, which turns into a Ravager hideout just for adults.

Iron Man and Groot are two of the Marvel heroes you are guaranteed a time to meet and take photographs with during the cruise. Before you even step onboard, you have the chance to reserve time with these characters and more under the My Disney Cruise section of www.disneycruise.com.

Want to see more of the Super Heroes and Villains you can encounter during Marvel Day at Sea? Stay tuned for another inside look later this week.

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