Artist Juann Cabal draws Laura and Daken together for Marvel Legacy!

Family gatherings can get complicated. But when you’re the clone of a renowned X-Man dealing with your “dad’s” murderous biological son, they’re really complicated.

On October 11, Laura Kinney has to contend with exactly that—as writer Tom Taylor and artist Juann Cabal kick off Marvel Legacy with ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #25! When Daken gets kidnapped, Wolverine jumps into the fray to save him…but they soon find themselves facing off against the mysterious and deadly Orphans of X.

We caught up with Juann to hear more about carving up the visuals for issue #25.

Marvel.com: How would you describe illustrating the differences between Laura’s and Daken’s fighting styles?

Juann Cabal: To me, Laura fights with more subtlety and precision; she’s almost surgical. She’s also developed some fighting routines to include Gabby (and even Jonathan)! I think of her as a very intelligent, complete fighter.

On the other hand, Daken feels more direct, instinctive, and brutal. He shows no mercy. But this doesn’t mean he’s not smart—there’s a particular scene where he shows how resourceful and imaginative he can be. Can’t wait for the fans to see it. I’m sure they’re going to love it.

Marvel.com: In a roundabout way, Laura and Daken are family. Aside from all those claws, how do you convey that?

Juann Cabal: I think they share a certain “I’ve got your back” attitude that they don’t share with any other character. We’ve put so much effort into translating this mutual understanding into body language—and it wasn’t easy. You have to be very delicate, because the line that separates “awkward” and “cold” can be very thin.

Marvel.com: Along similar lines, how do these two relate to one another when they’re not in fight mode?

Juann Cabal: They’re distrustful, but more relaxed than usual in a way that says, “I know you, you know me.” It’s pretty funny because Gabby tries to include Daken into the “happy family” dynamic, but he’s not very comfortable with it and Laura isn’t either. But she shows real concern for him and Daken proves that—sometimes—he can be a cool guy and not the jerk we all know.

Marvel.com: How’s it been jumping on this book alongside Tom Taylor?

Juann Cabal: An absolute pleasure. I love when people stay long enough on a book to construct strong, homogeneous characters, relations, and stories. Tom shows lots of knowledge and respect for the characters, but also a great sense of humor and fun. He’s always open to suggestions—keeping the product fresh and dynamic. A dream come true for an artist. He’s a superstar.

Marvel.com: How did the Orphans of X come to life on the page?

Juann Cabal: It was hard! I mean, aesthetically, they’re pretty simple. But according to their own idiosyncrasies, they behave in a very specific way. A couple of times I’ve had Tom telling me, “That’s not the Orphans way.” I can’t tell you more than that.

ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #25, written by Tom Taylor with art by Juann Cabal, drops on October 11!

Read More

Brian Michael Bendis teases a story set to shock the Marvel Universe!

On October 11, the start of Marvel Legacy sees writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez add more fuel to the fire burning in the streets of New York.

With a power vacuum left in the wake of Wilson Fisk’s quest to go legit and Diamondback now on the loose—and on a rampage—defending New York City has never been more complicated. In response, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Daredevil join forces with someone who’s happy to shoot, slice, and bomb a path to justice. Someone with big guns and an even bigger mouth.

In DEFENDERS #6, the Defenders team up with Deadpool.

We spoke with Brian to learn more about this unlikely collaboration ahead of the new issue.

Marvel.com: Where do we pick up the story in DEFENDERS #6?

Brian Michael Bendis: Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil have joined forces as the city’s defenders. They have done so because lifelong criminal and ex-Luke Cage best friend Diamondback has returned to become the new Kingpin of crime. But there are so many other players vying for the title…Black Cat and Hammerhead among them.

Meanwhile, The Punisher ventures to hunt all of them, Elektra sneaks around, Blade hovers nearby…and Jessica enlists Deadpool. You heard me: Deadpool.

Mavel.com: Can the team manage the streets considering the deadly race to become Kingpin’s criminal successor?

Brian Michael Bendis: Its chaos. It’s the Wild West. People are being gunned down in the street. Crazy new drugs are out there. The Defenders are fighting back with everything they have.

Marvel.com: What brings Deadpool into the picture?

Brian Michael Bendis: Turns out Deadpool and Jessica Jones have a secret history! Who knew!? Well, okay, I did. The streets are getting so crazy that she calls in a favor and unleashes him into the wild.

Marvel.com: Does Deadpool present trouble or a welcome addition to the fight?

Brian Michael Bendis: Both. It’s Deadpool.

[DEADPOOL writer] Gerry Duggan and so many other amazing writers have already established the dynamic set to take place. I will be piggy backing on that. But, yeah, Luke can’t stand him.

Marvel.com: What kind of Deadpool antics can we expect?

Brian Michael Bendis: I got 11 jokes in on his first page. Good jokes? We’ll see. I love the Deadpool that knows he’s in a comic book. So get ready…

Marvel.com: Do you have a favorite scene from issue #6?

Brian Michael Bendis: There’s such a unique and intense fight scene between Elektra and Iron Fist. Also, to my shock, Iron Fist and Elektra have never done battle before! That’ll change!

Marvel.com: What might be in store for the team moving forward?

Brian Michael Bendis: The new Kingpin—behind all of the chaos on the streets—will send shockwaves across the Marvel Universe. Not just on the streets—everywhere.

We set the stage for a massive battle for the streets. I have been dying to tell this story for years and I am so thrilled that all the pieces finally came together.

And not all the players have revealed themselves yet.

Marvel.com: Anything else you can tease?

Brian Michael Bendis: The reaction to the DEFENDERS comic has been everything I’ve ever wanted in comics. The readers have been rabid and passionate and we’re all just having the best time. The story will continue to unfold. Cameos galore! And a huge surprise coming soon!

DEFENDERS #6, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez, drops on October 11!

Read More

Sam Wilson takes flight in his new ongoing series with writer Rodney Barnes!

Sam Wilson’s time as Captain America may be over, but he doesn’t intend to stop protecting the country and the world. After helping end the threat of Hydra dominance in Secret Empire, Sam has decided that he needs to embrace the identity of The Falcon once again.

And on October 11, he returns to the skies with Marvel Legacy in FALCON #1! Written by Rodney Barnes with art by Joshua Cassara, Sam Wilson engages enemies on the global stage and in quiet in Chicago back alleys alike.

Barnes took a few minutes away from writing the new series to tell us about the return of The Falcon.

Marvel.com: What’s it like kicking off the FALCON ongoing series on the back of the character becoming more high profile than ever before?

Rodney Barnes: It’s exciting, anxiety-creating, and an honor all at once! I grew up reading the Falcon when he teamed with Captain America so being a part of his adventures at this point in time ticks off a bucket list endeavor for me.

Marvel.com: How would you describe the essence of Sam Wilson?

Rodney Barnes: He’s a leader and a patriot; those two aspects of him must be omnipresent in any storyline. He’s confident, but realistic in regards to the task at hand.

The work comes in making sure there’s a human being behind the mask and not a “perfect” person. We all have flaws, but super heroes operate from a higher place so finding balance will always be the key.

Marvel.com: What role does Falcon play in the Marvel Universe as this story begins?

Rodney Barnes: This goes back to your first question. He’s at the highest profile of his career. Having been Captain America, leader of the Avengers, and having been front and center during the events of Secret Empire, the whole world has an awareness of him. He’s no longer the sidekick I knew as a kid.

Although he’s viewed as a prime time player by his peers and the public, in his own mind Sam doesn’t want the everyday problems of everyday people to get lost in the shuffle of the higher profile events he’s now associated with.

Marvel.com: Where do we find Sam’s state of mind at the start of this book?

Rodney Barnes: Sam feels a need to reconnect with the issues that moved him to become a super hero in the first place. He wanted to help people, so he’s taking a grassroots approach to doing just that. The new costume acts as a symbol of that desire. It’s a new look—not identifiable with the hats he’s worn as of late. He’s proud of his time as Captain America, but it felt like an act of duty as much as a goal he sought after. He’s most comfortable as The Falcon and reconnecting with his former persona feels like coming home.

Marvel.com: What can you tell readers about his new partner The Patriot?

Rodney Barnes: He’s a fun character. Having written the story where he began his career—SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD #2—Patriot captures the mindset of a current day hero. He’s motivated by the same desire to help people as any other super hero, but he sees the world from today’s fast paced, optimistic, millennial mindset. He’s not only learning to be a hero—he’s growing up at the same time. And his points of view are being tested by the trials and tribulations of the heroes’ journey.

Marvel.com: Your opening arc pits Wilson against Blackheart. What made Blackheart an appealing choice for this storyline?

Rodney Barnes: It felt different. I knew I wanted to discuss gangs and issues of race and culture, but I didn’t want to be predictable by telling a one dimensional story. Blackheart acted as the right choice because, while he’s not someone like Mephisto, he’s still more powerful than those trying to stop him.

He’s second tier on the dark magic totem pole, so he fit the role of antagonist I needed for the story I wanted to tell. Blackheart’s presence gives me the opportunity to blend genres—I’m not just telling a story of current social ills. I’m not straying so far from the Marvel Universe that the story becomes medicine.

Marvel.com: How would you describe the tone of the book? And how does artist Joshua Cassara help create that feeling?

Rodney Barnes: The tone feels both grounded and mystical. We’re operating in the hard scrabble streets of the South Side of Chicago. Then again, we’re in hell. So it’s not something I’ve ever seen before.

I can’t say enough about Josh. He’s fantastic! He blends worlds better than I could’ve ever imagined. He’s been the perfect collaborator. I’ve never worked on an ongoing comic before but I can’t think of a better partner in this venture. I had the pleasure of meeting him at San Diego Comic Con and we had a blast talking about all of the visual possibilities of our journey with Falcon. It’s been a highlight of this experience for me. I love the guy.

Marvel.com: Lastly, what would you say directly to fans to persuade them to pick up this title? What makes FALCON a can’t-miss?

Rodney Barnes: This adventure will be one of the most personal in the history of The Falcon. He’ll have to battle a demon set on conquering mankind as well as the demons that have haunted his own psyche. If you’ve ever wanted to see the Falcon tested beyond anything he’s ever faced, this book’s for you!

FALCON #1, by Rodney Barnes and artist Joshua Cassara, takes off on October 11!

Read More

Peek inside as artist Joshua Cassara gives Sam Wilson wings once again!

Secret Empire gave Sam Wilson a rough time—he gave up the mantle of Captain America and his best friend betrayed the country. Despite his hardships, Sam did not get deterred—and even returned to lift the shield when his allies needed him most.

On October 11, Sam enters the newest chapter of his story when Marvel Legacy takes flight with FALCON #1! Writer Rodney Barnes and artist Joshua Cassara oversee Wilson’s transition back to his classic winged identity as the hero takes on the role of mentor to The Patriot.

We met up with Joshua to talk about getting Wilson back in the air, working with Rodney Barnes, and bringing Patriot into the fold!

Marvel.com: Did working on Secret Empire give you a sense of Sam Wilson and where he might be after the event?

Joshua Cassara: Absolutely. I didn’t actually get to draw him in my chapters, but I followed the series very closely. The whole event took its toll on his psyche, and Secret Empire primed the pump for where we find Sam as he takes back the mantle as Falcon.

Marvel.com: Sam’s had a rough go of it ever since he took over as Captain America. How does that affect him in the pages of FALCON?

Joshua Cassara: As we start FALCON, we see Sam struggle with the fallout from Secret Empire. His foundations are still shaken as he reflects on his time as Captain America and his relationship with Steve Rogers—the person he trusted the most and would loyally follow into battle…only to find out he’d been lied to the entire time. It shattered his trust and he’s trying to make sense of it all while heading to the streets of Chicago to deal with some burgeoning chaos.

Marvel.com: What are the key elements to drawing this new Falcon costume? How do you balance the old and new?

Joshua Cassara: My favorite part about Alex Ross’ new design for Falcon was making the costume black with splashes of red. I think it reflects the darker tone of Sam’s headspace and where this series turns. I made sure to stock up on extra ink!

The wings are attached from his back and follow along his arms like the original costume, but they can also retract and be much shorter when he’s not flying or finds himself in tight quarters.

I love how Alex used the original designs and patterns on the shoulders, abdomen, and eye shield. He incorporated them so well into the new look, but kept that retro feel.

Marvel.com: The book also finds Sam training the new Patriot. How has it been putting your spin on this new character?

Joshua Cassara: I look at Patriot, A.K.A. Rayshaun Lucas, as the younger, idealistic version of Sam Wilson. While Sam seems disillusioned over the trials and tribulations he’s been through, the young Patriot acts as the beacon of optimism that keeps Sam from succumbing to his own demons.

It’s no accident that I drew Rayshaun like he could be Sam’s son.

Marvel.com: Falcon and Patriot will face off against Blackheart. What’s it like pitting these heroes against such a mystic threat?

Joshua Cassara: It’s what sold me on joining this series. I’m so excited to draw the mystical elements of this universe. I’ve never really been able to explore that before art-wise, so I look forward to the challenge.

I love the juxtaposition of the streets and violence of Chicago and then being whisked away to the dark, astral, celestial corners of the universe. Blackheart will be such a great villain; unlike anything Sam has ever faced. I’m really pumped to give my take on him.

Marvel.com: How has it been collaborating with Rodney on this project?

Joshua Cassara: Awesome. I love the direction Rodney’s taking this series—and again, that’s why I wanted to come aboard. He’s more than happy to incorporate some of the ideas or notes I have and he appreciates my contribution as I bring his script to life. He’s a true collaborator in every sense of the word. He comes from the world of film and TV, and while you see that influence in his style, he is one hell of a comic book writer. He’s legit.

Writer Rodney Barnes and artist Joshua Cassara’s FALCON #1 soars on October 11!

Read More

Brace for Killgrave's Marvel Legacy impact with Brian Michael Bendis!

The life of Jessica Jones takes on a purple hue with Marvel Legacy.

Now a loving wife and mother, Jessica has carved out a relatively peaceful existence for herself…but on October 4, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos reanimate her greatest fear as The Purple Man returns in JESSICA JONES #13!

To get a grasp on the situation, we spoke to Brian about the revival of this living nightmare.

Marvel.com: The Purple Man played a major role in your series ALIAS—can you talk about the evolution of the character as you got to know him?

Brian Michael Bendis: Like everyone else, I read him in certain issues of DAREDEVIL, but I connected most to a MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL by Frank Miller and Herb Trimpe. It’s a lesser work by those masters, but it stars Luke Cage and Iron Fist and Spider-Man and they’re fighting The Purple Man. My young mind read this and I got struck by the idea that he had the most terrifying power of anybody in the Marvel Universe—that he could take over someone’s life like that definitely felt horrifying. And seeing him do that to a hero—with no one even noticing the hero had disappeared—became the scariest story I could think of at the time.

Marvel.com: What are Killgrave’s motives for coming back into her life now? 

Brian Michael Bendis: That’s the thing. This guy doesn’t have the same moral code as the rest of us. He lives in a different reality because the concept of power and responsibility mean the opposite to him than they do for the heroes. So finding his motivation will take a couple of issues because it’s so dense and complicated. Jessica Jones finds herself in the perfect place to figure him out…but will she be in the perfect place to stop him?

Marvel.com: How has The Purple Man changed since we last saw him come up against Jessica?

Brian Michael Bendis: He’s had other stories happen to him. Other things have happened to him since ALIAS. And all of that will be reflected in the new story.

Marvel.com: What kind of threat does he pose to Jessica’s role as a wife and mother? 

Brian Michael Bendis: Complete. Everything. This will be a nuclear hurricane right in the face of the life that she has built for herself.

Marvel.com: How do you go about making Killgrave’s return traumatic and scary, not just for Jessica, but for the reader as well?

Brian Michael Bendis: Jessica actually describes this in the story. This will be scarier because the first time this happened to Jessica she didn’t know anything. She did not know The Purple Man or what he did to her. Now she knows. And when you add a child and a husband, it’s the scariest thing you could think of. It’s the scariest thing I could think of.

Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos present JESSICA JONES #13 on October 4!

Read More

Jim Zub reunites Beast and Wonder Man for Marvel Legacy!

UNCANNY AVENGERS writer Jim Zub takes the goal of the Unity Squad to heart: to unite people of the Marvel Universe regardless of status, power level, race, or creed. And even though the squad’s been technically disbanded, Marvel Legacy gets a kick start when he brings two old friends back together—Wonder Man and Beast.

On October 11, Zub joins artist Sean Izaakse with a new start for two of the Universe’s best pals in UNCANNY AVENGERS #28! We caught up with Jim to hear more about how one of Marvel’s greatest friendships will impact the Unity Squad.

Marvel.com: It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Wonder Man and Beast together—how did you first become familiar with their connection?

Jim Zub: I’m a big fan of Simon and Hank, absolutely. I grew up on ‘80s Marvel stories and read backwards and forwards at the same time—enjoying new super hero stories while also collecting back issues from the ‘70s—so their friendship acts as a central component to how I see both characters. It’s a classic friendship on the same level, for me, as Power Man and Iron Fist or Wolverine and Nightcrawler.

Marvel.com: Did you do any research to refamiliarize yourself with their dynamic? What’s key to getting that dynamic correct?

Jim Zub: I always read key issues for characters I’m writing, this story included. I dug through classic AVENGERS storylines where they both appeared and reacquainted myself with their antics.

There’s a playful honesty to Hank and Simon’s friendship that I really enjoy. I wanted to make sure I reflected that here in UNCANNY AVENGERS. They’re silly, but beneath that silliness exists a strong humility and the ability to admit when they’ve screwed up. Hank and Simon are truthful with each other even when it hurts. They know when to joke and when to dig deep into the heart of a problem.

Marvel.com: How did Sean Izaakse’s artwork help to nail the tone of their friendship?

Jim Zub: Sean’s an exemplary artist and the kind of collaborator who brings his A-game to every page. No matter what I write, he’s always going to deliver something even better than I originally imagined—it’s pure joy.

Sean’s a big ol’ Marvel nostalgia buff like I am and the instant he found out he would be drawing Hank and Simon tipping pints and kicking butts his enthusiasm drove the whole thing forward. He handles quiet moments of conversation and big action with equal confidence. I think readers are going to love it.

Marvel.com: What brings Simon and Hank together in issue #28?

Jim Zub: Both Beast and Wonder Man are heroes who have struggled to find their place and that’s a big part of what this issue of UNCANNY AVENGERS will be about. Sometimes you need to sit down with someone you trust and lay out what you’ve been doing so you can figure out where you should go and what you want to do next in life. These two friends are trying to find their way after difficult times and bad choices. It’s part confessional, part drink-up, with a side of super villainy that needs to be taken care of.

Marvel.com: What made this storyline the right way to open up the Marvel Legacy era for UNCANNY AVENGERS?

Jim Zub: Beast and Wonder Man haven’t been mainstays of the series, but their story symbolically reflects where the whole team finds themselves right now. Steve Rogers disbanded the Unity Squad in the lead up to Secret Empire, but they’re still around—out of shared purpose instead of a formal Avengers mandate. They’re looking for a new path and finding people they trust to stick with them through thick and thin.

Marvel.com: Besides Simon and Hank, who else can fans expect to encounter in this issue?

Jim Zub: The rest of Team Uncanny will be here as well—Rogue, Human Torch, Doctor Voodoo, Wasp, Synapse, Quicksilver, and The Scarlet Witch. These characters illustrate a Venn diagram of different parts of the Marvel Universe: human, mutant, inhuman, mystic—you name it. I’m juggling a big ol’ pile of super heroes and it’s a ball.

Marvel.com: For fans familiar with the Beast-Wonder Man buddy comics of old, what would you say to convince them to snag this issue? And for fans who may be less familiar, what’s your pitch?

Jim Zub: The heart and humor you remember from classic Beast and Wonder Man AVENGERS stories will be here—but we’re not just retreading the past. It’s easy to jump in and get a feel for where these characters are now and the decisions they’re making moving forward. We’re respectful of continuity without getting mired in it.

Marvel Legacy draws upon an understanding of what’s come before to take a confident step into the future. That’s what we’re doing on UNCANNY AVENGERS and across the Marvel Universe. I hope you’ll join us.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #28, written by Jim Zub with art by Sean Izaakse, hits on October 11!

Read More

Christopher Hastings previews a Marvel Legacy showdown with Doom!

On October 11, UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #21 sees everyone’s favorite comic-manipulating character meet her doom…Victor von Doom!

Written by Christopher Hastings with art by Irene Strychalski, Gwen joins the age of Marvel Legacy by coming head to head with one of the most iconic baddies in the Marvel Universe. Gwenpool brings her best—breaking fourth walls and fighting Doctor Doom—in chapter one of this two-part story!

We spoke with Christopher Hastings to get a sense of what Gwenpool gets herself into with issue #21.

Marvel.com: How does Gwen match up against Victor von Doom?

Christopher Hastings: Right now, Gwen’s greatest strength comes from her newfound ability to see and interact with the actual elements of the comics page. She can walk out of a panel and jog back through the gutter space to travel through time. She can tear up pages. She can grab word balloons out of the air. Basically, she’s learned to manipulate the reality that Doom exists in—as powerful as he may be inside of it.

Marvel.com: What are her limitations in this fight?

Christopher Hastings: As I said, she’s still learning these powers. She often gets surprised by their limits—and to Doom, she may appear to just be some sort of low-level reality manipulating sorcerer, while he’s a master of magic.

Marvel.com: Why does Gwenpool want fight Doom in the first place?

Christopher Hastings: Throughout Gwenpool’s series, she’s been dying to be on the same level as her favorite heroes, but she continues to get stuck in the trenches with those she perceives as third-rate—Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K., Batroc the Leaper, Vincent the old Doombot that wears a sweater vest. Gwen wants to prove she’s important in this world and she’s decided that means tangling with the biggest baddie she can find.

Marvel.com: What are the dynamics between these two like at the start of issue #21?

Christopher Hastings: Well, you and I know that Doctor Doom might be kind of a good guy these days! Gwen doesn’t know that yet, because his conversion happened around the same time Gwen landed in the Marvel Universe and lost access to the comics. So Doom wants to make amends for his legacy and grow beyond it—but Gwen wants the righteous baddie she thinks she deserves to fight. And with her new access to certain elements of comic book reality, she might be able to get just that…

UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #21, by Christopher Hastings and artist Irene Strychalski, drops on October 11!

Read More

Blue and Gold mutants join forces in Mojo World for their first crossover!

Mojo loves entertainment—and, frankly, he does not care who gets hurt when he decides to have some fun. As the era of Marvel Legacy begins, the madman has his sights set on delighting the denizens of Mojo World with the first team-up between X-MEN: GOLD and X-MEN: BLUE!

Beginning with X-MEN: GOLD #13 on October 4, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Mike Mayhew tag team with their X-MEN: BLUE counterparts Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina to return these mutant groups to their full-powered might. And when Sentinels, the Brood, and dark histories cloud the horizon, they’ll need all the help they can get.

We asked Marc Guggenheim how it felt to write the two teams’ opening interactions.

Marvel.com: What made Mojo the best villain for the first crossover between X-MEN GOLD and X-MEN BLUE?

Marc Guggenheim: A couple of things…we haven’t seen Mojo in the pages of an X-MEN book for a while, so he has a Legacy appeal. At this point, he feels like he’s been around long enough to be a literal legacy character, right?

And, thanks to the Mojoverse, he acts as the perfect guy to bring in all these “greatest hits” that we’re building the story around.

So, he’s not only a legacy character, but he also has the means at his disposal to let us walk down memory lane a bit.

Marvel.com: How would you describe your concept of Mojo as a character? What makes him tick?

Marc Guggenheim: You know, it’s funny—I work in television so I kind of have a fun appreciation for Mojo. For me, Mojo feels like the universe’s most egregious, most shameless television producer or executive. I, as a writer, treat him as over-the-top as possible.

He’s very much a character of a lot of indulgence. He’s pure id. He’s got no limitations. I guess he’s my worst nightmare.

Marvel.com: How does the Gold team view Mojo? What are their individual perceptions of him?

Marc Guggenheim: I love combining teams and combining characters—some of which have met our villain, some of which haven’t.

For the ones who haven’t, this feels like a slap upside the head because when you deal with Mojo, you don’t just deal with the character, you deal with Mojo World. It’s a scary, crazy, completely off the chain kind of place.

That’s a lot of fun to show and a lot of fun to have the new characters react to.

Marvel.com: How do the Gold and Blue squads interact?

Marc Guggenheim: Right from the beginning of this story, we basically combine the teams.

There are a lot of different ways to do a crossover—my favorite as a reader has to be when, instead of intercutting between two groups, we actually merge them. They are both teams of X-Men, so it seemed like a pretty natural thing to do.

We are getting a chance to see characters interact with different characters who are not their teammates. We have a big mix of Blue and Gold. And you’ll discover that they’ll actually end up dividing into three teams—with mixed members of both groups.

Marvel.com: So that gives you a chance to write for the Blue mutants as well.

Marc Guggenheim: Absolutely, absolutely.

That’s a real blast for me because, obviously, I’m such a huge X-Men fan and I love what Cullen Bunn does with X-MEN: BLUE.

It also makes for a very seamless crossover—I feel like, if you are doing a crossover, do a proper crossover and tell one big epic story. Cullen and I are writing off a single outline. I am writing the GOLD issues, he’s writing the BLUE issues, but we are telling one single story.

Marvel.com: Did any Blue members stand out as a surprise favorite to write?

Marc Guggenheim: I love what Cullen has done by making Jean Grey the leader of the Blue team. It’s interesting for me as a writer that she’s not the Jean I grew up with as a reader; she’s much younger. But the responsibility of being the team leader forced her to grow up quickly. She’s younger but, in a certain way, older. That’s very interesting.

I’m also enjoying the dynamic between Scott Summers and Rachel Grey. Rachel is obviously Scott’s daughter—but now this Rachel is older than this Scott. That’s a fun bit of business.

It isn’t just that two X-Men teams are meeting, it’s that these specific characters are interacting. For example, in X-MEN: GOLD #13, we have a moment between Jimmy Hudson and Old Man Logan, which serves a very unique situation and relationship. This guy—who replaced Wolverine—meets a person who replaced a different iteration of himself…and they’re also related. I tried to lean into their natures as Howletts—and, as a result, they are not prone to talking about feelings or giving warm familial hugs.

Marvel.com: You’re also working with artist Mike Mayhew, who has quite a history and an excellent reputation. As someone who first encountered his art as a fan, what has that been like?

Marc Guggenheim: Really great. I am a real fan of his work. I’ve always been a huge fan of Mike’s work. It’s very exciting to get a chance to work with him.

Mike interfaces with you a lot more than a lot of artists and he gives all this unbelievable thought to his pages. He sends you his pages in different stages—sometimes he sends you rough layouts with a very long email explaining everything he did already and everything he’s going to do. You just have to admire how deliberate and considerate he is. I think Mike keeps us all honest because he looks at things so carefully. He has a really great head for this.

Marvel.com: Does working with Mike drive you to write different story elements or action sequences?

Marc Guggenheim: I always try very hard to write to the artist.

In X-MEN: GOLD, I also write in a very specific style. I’ve been really challenging myself to write with as few panels on the page as possible; to keep that panel-to-page ratio as low as I can.

And if I’ve done my job correctly, Mike has some big panels that he can fill in with wide shots—which will be particularly important as we start to experience what we call the “greatest hits” moments of X-Men history. And I know that Mike can pull off the character moments as well as the action moments.

I’m a very spoiled person.

Marvel.com: Let readers know why they shouldn’t miss the first ever X-MEN GOLD/X-MEN BLUE crossover of this era.

Marc Guggenheim: A combination of several big things.

On the one hand, there are a lot of firsts—it’s their first meeting, after all.

On the other hand, it has a lot of fun callbacks to what we refer to as the “greatest hits.”

While X-MEN: GOLD has been big on nostalgia, that nostalgia exists for longtime readers, but knowing these hits will not be required, by any means, to appreciate the events on Mojo World. The X-Men are going to have a lot of difficulty dealing with Mojo and Mojo World, but the readers will have a lot of fun watching it all go down.

Worlds collide in X-MEN: GOLD #13, by Marc Guggenheim and artist Mike Mayhew, on October 4!

Read More

Sina Grace details the Marvel Legacy reunion of the original Champions!

He’s getting the band back together!

As Marvel Legacy begins, ICEMAN #6 sees writer Sina Grace and artist Robert Gill restore Bobby Drake’s other team…the Champions!

The super group—which debuted in THE CHAMPIONS #1 over 40 years ago—consisted of Iceman, Black Widow, Hercules, Ghost Rider, Darkstar, and Angel. And on October 4, as Iceman assembles a team to “protect those who can’t protect themselves,” a familiar foe returns to counter the Champions and all that they hold dear.

We met up with Sina to map out a Champion reunion four decades in the making.

Marvel.com: What about Iceman’s past made you want to revisit the Champions?

Sina Grace: Outside of the X-Men, the Champions are the most important team Bobby Drake has ever been a part of. Bobby also found himself in a unique place at that time—back then, Iceman lived in Los Angeles as a student at UCLA, considered the “kid” of the team. And when my editor told me Black Widow would be dead by the time my issues happened [due to the events of Secret Empire], suddenly all the stories synced up with his journey in ICEMAN.

Marvel.com: Of this group, Bobby and Warren Worthington have known each other the longesthow would you describe their relationship today?

Sina Grace: I would describe Bobby and Warren’s relationship as “bromantic,” to say the least. Readers will get to see the pair lean on each other as friends. For anyone reading ASTONISHING X-MEN, they’ll see that Warren needs Bobby’s comfort and guidance more than ever before.

Marvel.com: Darkstar’s probably the least known member of the Champions at this point. What’s her situation as this story picks up?

Sina Grace: I sort of play into her odd-woman-out vibe. She’s trying desperately to cling to some kind of normalcy—to be some kind of reliable—after Natasha’s death. And it’s a struggle. Darkstar plays into the concept that, “It’s easy to be a hero; it’s hard to be a human.”

Marvel.com: Hercules and Black Widow are well-established heroesdoes Bobby look up to them in some ways?

Sina Grace: We’ll get to see some new layers behind Bobby’s relationship with Black Widow. It’s interesting—in the aftermath of Natasha’s death, Hercules isn’t really able to play leader at the moment…which gives more reason for Bobby ending up front and center in this story. If anything, readers can expect to see Hercules as more of a wingman for Bobby (cue intense ellipsis)…

Marvel.com: How does Ghost Rider fit into these team dynamics?

Sina Grace: He’s got some great moments, and he really gets some cool bits in issue #7. Robert Gill and I had so much fun choreographing the fight scenes to not only play to Ghost Rider’s strengths, but also to the visual strengths of each of these insanely different characters. For as much as these characters grieve and struggle, they have a lot of fun too!

On October 4, Sina Grace and artist Robert Gill bring the Champions together again with ICEMAN #6!

Read More

Writer Victor Gischler details the resurrection of the classic series!

When an angel dies, the Spirits of Vengeance are the first to respond.

Ghost Rider has tried to manage the situation on his own, but it’s time to bring in some reinforcements. As Marvel Legacy dawns, Satana, Hellstorm, and Blade ride with Johnny Blaze once again…on October 4, writer Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeón heat up the cold war between Heaven and Hell with SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1!

We gave Victor a grilling to learn more about the return of this supernatural quartet.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about how this story begins?

Victor Gischler: The Marvel Universe is a huge place, but our story takes place in its own macabre little horror corner…The Spirits have entered into this eternal cold war between Heaven and Hell, and Earth stands as the battlefield.

There’s a constant struggle to nudge Earth and humanity toward good—or a little bit toward evil—but it’s an ongoing balance. When something significant comes in to try to tip that balance toward evil, our Spirits arrive to figure out how to stop it.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to reboot a series like SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE?

Victor Gischler: I don’t know! [Laughs] I mean, nobody really put it to me like, “We need you to reboot this series.” They said “Here are some characters that we can bring back and do some cool stuff together.”

I didn’t think of it as a reboot; I thought of it like, “These characters would be great in a certain kind of story.”

Marvel.com: What are the dynamics between these characters like?

Victor Gischler: They work well together because they’re professionals—but a couple of them will raise an eyebrow at one another. You know, Satana and Hellstorm are siblings, so they have a little friction there. But when it comes down to getting the job done, they can set that aside—they’ve got bigger fish to fry!

Marvel.com: Did you draw from the past incarnations of these characters? Or did you approach them with a fresh perspective?

Victor Gischler: A little bit of both! We have some of the past flavoring—you’re not going to see Ghost Rider turn to Blade and say, “Hey, this is just like issue #22! Remember that from the ‘90s!?” They won’t do that. [Laughs] The vibe of the past exists, but we’re refreshing them and updating them.

David Baldeón gave Hellstorm a makeover into the sort of super spy of the Spirits of Vengeance; he’s always dapperly dressed, but he’s also in his civilian clothes a lot. We’re also waiting for him to bust out with that pentagram on his chest, of course, but he covers a lot of mileage. It’s not just about his powers, but also what he knows and how he experiences everything.

Marvel.com: It seems like you’re bringing your own style while honoring what came before.

Victor Gischler: I think that’s the perfect way to put it. Maybe we tip the balance a little here and a little there, but we are trying to walk that line. It would be wasting an opportunity to forget everything that came before. Part of it feels like rediscovering treasure we already had.

We’ve also got a couple of bad guy characters and, in a way, they’re exactly what you’re saying—we’ve created a totally new villain but we’ve also reached back into the archives for one…and gave him a revamp. It’s the best of both worlds. When we were in the process of creating them, I thought about whether we should dig up a villain or invent a bad guy. If you invent a bad guy, you can tailor that person to be exactly what you need for the book—but on the other hand, the revamp gives you a chance to have some history and continuity. It’s so cool to have a callback! You know, some other writer—however many years ago—already put such hard work into making a character that I can reshape and update a little. Again, it’s about walking that line.

Marvel.com: How would you describe the art in the book?

Victor Gischler: I have a pretty poor vocabulary when it comes to art stuff…I tend to say that things look “neat” or “cool”…but basically, David’s pages are kickass.

Marvel.com: And how would you describe your characterizations in the story?

Victor Gischler: The characters have some edge but are still obviously good guys. These guys aren’t Captain America, but in spite of that edge, you know whose side they’re on. We tried to show that from the outset. When we introduced Satana, for instance, I wanted to remind readers of who Satana is—the kind of stuff she does. Yes, she’s one of the “heroes,” but she’s also literally Satan’s daughter.

Marvel.com: This is a Marvel Legacy title, so what does the legacy of Marvel mean to you?

Victor Gischler: Oh, man…where to start

Well, I remember when I started buying comics as a kid. You’d have to walk into a convenience store on the corner and they’d have these racks and there’d just be comics crammed in. Nobody thought these things would be valuable or collectible; we only thought about reading the stories and the characters.

But what a wealth. What a wealth of story and characters and history. I can remember being 8 years old and getting a copy of THE INCREDIBLE HULK at the store. So why wouldn’t we create a series that remembers what we have?

You know, when I first picked up a copy years ago, Johnny Blaze was my Ghost Rider. And now I get to write him. How awesome is that?

Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeón’s SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1 drops on October 4!

Read More