Plus: TWIM gets ready for the Red Carpet Premiere of Marvel Studios' 'Avengers: Infinity War'!

This week’s installment of This Week in Marvel is chock full of Marvel news from comics to video games to our biggest cinematic event to date — Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War”!

But first, we dropped some great interviews with some of your favorite comics creators including the announcement that Matthew Rosenberg will be taking Frank Castle from War Machine to the streets — and beyond! Find out where he and artist Riccardo Burchielli plan to go with the Punisher next and read the interview here.

Plus: Ryan and Jamie take deep dives into their favorite books of the week before Ryan leaves us all to go on vacation! (Which means that next week: Tucker is back!)

Wish you could be on the red carpet for the huge Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” premiere? You can tune in to our live coverage on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube at 8:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm PT for real-time updates. You can also stop by marvel.com/infinitywarpremiere.

Subscribe to This Week in Marvel on Apple Podcasts or download the episode from Marvel.com/podcasts!

With new episodes every Friday, This Week in Marvel delivers all the latest Marvel discussion and news about comics, TV, movies, games, toys, and beyond! Tweet your questions and comments about the show to @AgentM, @jamiefrevele, or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

Read More

Matthew Rosenberg discusses what happens after Frank Castle's romp as War Machine!

By Jess Harold

He put Frank Castle in the War Machine armor for Marvel Legacy — but that was just the start. Now writer Matthew Rosenberg discusses his plans to take the Punisher’s war on crime to the next level in a brand-new series!

Marvel: In the new Punisher series, Frank will no longer have the War Machine armor. Is this, then, a back-to-basics approach?

Matthew Rosenberg: In some ways yes, and in some ways no. We’re going to get back to Frank Castle with a handgun and a knife, stalking the streets of New York, and getting his hands dirty. But we’re also going to see a man who has changed from his time in the armor. He developed a taste for bigger game and larger targets, and he’s not going to give that up easily. So in a sense it’s back to basics — but on a bigger scale.

Marvel: What will Frank have learned from his time with the armor?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing for the Punisher is the knowledge that he can affect things in a more direct way. We’re going to have seen him travel overseas to overthrow a government and kill a world leader, and then come back home and go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful people in the Marvel Universe. He’s been able to do real damage, cause real change, in ways he’s not used to. They used to say that when a shark attacked a human they had to be hunted down because once they’d developed a taste for it they’d never stop. That’s Frank. He’s back on the streets, but he has a taste for the bigger game and he isn’t going to stop until he puts them in the ground — or they put him in it.

Marvel: And what have you learned in your time writing Frank? Has he surprised you in any ways?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing that surprised me about writing the Punisher was the ease with which you can find humor in him and the situations. I know Garth Ennis was a master at this, and others have followed suit. I think Jason Aaron and Becky Cloonan both had some real dark humor hiding just under the surface. But yeah, it’s fascinating. Frank lends himself to these uncomfortable situations where you just can’t help but giggle. There is this disturbing, awkward humor to him that doesn’t diminish the severity or the drama of the story. That’s been fun to explore.

Marvel: Obviously, Frank is not an overly loquacious character like, say, Spidey or Deadpool. He likes to do his talking with guns. What is the secret to capturing his “voice”?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank is direct and honest. He’s here to kill people, and he doesn’t need to spend a lot of time debating them or telling them why they’re about to die. But I think the thing about Frank that a lot of people miss, because it’s subtle, is his very dry sense of humor. He says a lot of things that are clearly just for his own quiet amusement. He is the ultimate comedic straight man. People think Frank is doom and gloom all the time, but if you dig through you will find these gallows-humor moments that are maybe a sliver of who he once was.

Marvel: What can you tell us about the kind of big game Frank is going to be targeting in his new book?

Matthew Rosenberg: I can’t say too much, but I can say that issue #1 has some of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe pop in. And that Frank still has his eyes on shaping nations these days. The classic Marvel villains are getting savvier. They aren’t thugs and gangsters anymore. They’re becoming mayors and CEOs and kings. But Frank is still coming for them.

Marvel: Frank has a complicated relationship with other vigilantes, such as Spider-Man and Daredevil. Is that something you’ll touch on?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank and the capes will most definitely be touched upon. More than touched upon. With Secret Empire, the War Machine armor, and what he has coming up, he has made himself something that means they can’t just look the other way. And he knows that. He’s operating in cape spaces these days, and he knows that puts a target on his back. But he also knows he’s willing to do what they won’t — and that gives him an advantage over the capes on most days.

Marvel: You have Riccardo Burchielli on art. He hasn’t done a lot at Marvel before, but he certainly knows his way around military combat, following a lengthy run on DMZ. Are Frank Castle fans going to like what he brings to the party?

Matthew Rosenberg: I am so excited to work with Riccardo. I am a huge DMZ fan, and his work on that book is really unparalleled. The sense of detail he brings to a city, to a war zone — and to the people in both — is breathtaking. I think those who aren’t familiar with his work are going to be absolutely shocked. There is just this sense of the world he conveys, this realism, that is so captivating. You can feel the buildings rise up around you and the bullets fly past your head. It’s going to be a real treat watching him drag all of us down into Frank Castle’s world.

Marvel: Finally, what’s your one-line pitch for the new PUNISHER book?

Matthew Rosenberg: With some of the biggest villains in his sights, the best heroes on his tail and every nation on high alert, this is Frank Castle against the world.

THE PUNISHER #1 by Matthew Rosenberg and Riccardo Burchielli is on sale August 1!

Read More

Watch a clip of the mutant reveal in this very special episode!

The latest installment of This Week in Marvel has no shortage of huge announcements!

Watch the clip above for some exciting X-Men news, then listen to the full episode below to get the scoop on a big update to the podcast, as well as the usual news on the latest comics, TV, movies, games, events, and everything else Marvel!

That’s right—on July 4, the Reavers are back, and they have a new weapon that only Havok knows about. It’s going to take a ragtag group of X-Men to save a world that hates and fears them! But after his villainous turn, can any of the X-Men really trust him? Can he blame them? Havok! Beast! Dazzler! Warpath! Colossus! It’s an all-new, all-different kind of ASTONISHING X-MEN story from the minds of writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Greg Land!

Subscribe to This Week in Marvel on Apple Podcasts or download the episode from Marvel.com/podcasts!

With new episodes every Friday, This Week in Marvel delivers all the latest Marvel discussion and news about comics, TV, movies, games, toys, and beyond! Tweet your questions and comments about the show to @AgentM, @jamiefrevele, or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

Read More

Get an exclusive look at the fight on its way in Punisher #225!

This May, Frank Castle becomes an antihero again. Literally.

Fresh off his noble outing as a freedom fighter in Chernaya, Castle makes his way back to the States to find that his War Machine armor is being tracked—and that Nick Fury is holding the leash. In “Target: Punisher,” Frank needs to stay one step ahead of Fury if he wants to keep a handle on his heavy artillery. And for what the Punisher’s got planned…he’s gonna need it.

Written by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Guiu Vilanova, PUNISHER #225 sees the heroes of the Marvel Universe team up to take on Frank Castle.

“Expect it to get ugly,” says Rosenberg. “Since we first announced Frank was taking the War Machine armor people have been asking us when we’d see him go up against some heavy hitters in the Marvel Universe. The answer is right now. Frank going over to Chernaya, decimating an army, and killing a world leader was just his warm up. Now he’s bringing the war to New York City and the list of people who don’t want that to happen is long. Frank Castle has leveled up and he’s going to be fighting in a whole new weight class.”

Series editor Jake Thomas portends a rough ride for all involved. “The Punisher stepped up his game with the War Machine armor, taking on an entire army single-handedly,” he explains, “But going after bigger enemies also means getting the attention of bigger heroes, and not everyone is thrilled with Frank Castle starting an international incident, particularly not while wearing James Rhodes’ old mech. Now Frank has a group of Marvel’s biggest heavy hitters coming after him, and he’s pulling no armor-enhanced punches. Get ready for one of the biggest knock-down, drag-out Punisher fights ever!”

Steel yourself for Matthew Rosenberg and Guiu Vilanova’s PUNISHER #225—out May 30!

Read More

Dead Souls writer Matthew Rosenberg on what to expect from the series!

On March 14, class is back in session with the release of NEW MUTANTS: DEAD SOULS! Writer Matthew Rosenberg joins artists Adam Gorham and Michael Garland for a six-issue limited series that finds Magik, Wolfsbane, Rictor, Boom-Boom, and Strong Guy diving headfirst into the creepier corners of the Marvel Universe. And to start, they’ll be fighting a horde of zombies after a hurricane…and that’s just the appetizer.

Before this team clashes with agents of the undead, however, we spoke with Mr. Rosenberg about his fondness for the underdogs contained within the group’s ranks, the challenges they’ll be facing, and their unique legacy within the pages of Marvel Comics.

Marvel.com: Characters like Magik, Wolfsbane, Rictor, Boom-Boom, and Strong Guy aren’t ones we see very often. Can you do a quick rundown of each member and the strengths they bring to the team?

Matthew Rosenberg: First of all, if you aren’t hearing about these five very often it means you aren’t hanging out in my house. Which is good. That would be weird.

The X-corner of the Marvel Universe is particular, in how rich and full all of the characters are. Even the ones who aren’t household names are really unique, fully-formed characters that people identify with and love. So these are some of my all time favorite X-characters, and I know they are a lot of other people’s too. But if you aren’t as up on them as you should be, here’s what I can tell you:

Magik. Illyana Rasputin. The team’s leader. Most known for being a member of the X-Men and the New Mutants. She’s a teleporter, knows some magic, is sometimes the demon queen of the realm known as Limbo, has a giant sword, is Colossus’ little sister, is way goth.

Rictor. Julio Richter. The team’s biggest weapon. Most known for being a member of X-Factor, X-Force, and the New Mutants. He makes earthquakes, has some problems with authority even though his heart’s in the right place, is in a relationship with Shatterstar. Very snarky.

Wolfsbane. Rahne Sinclair. The team’s scout and moral compass. Most known for being a member of X-Men, X-Factor, Excalibur, and the New Mutants. She’s a Scottish werewolf, has strong convictions, is incredibly loyal, is very religious, has some issues with Strong Guy, and has a great accent.

Strong Guy. Guido Carosella. The team’s Strong Guy. Most known for being a member of X-Factor. He’s very strong and can absorb kinetic energy and channel it into himself. Despite the way he presents himself sometimes, he’s quite smart. He lost his soul for a bit and did some things that he’s trying to atone for now. Loves his friends fiercely.

Boom-Boom. Tabitha Smith.The team’s firepower. Most known for being a member of X-Force, X-Terminators, Nextwave, and the New Mutants. She makes bombs out of mental energy, is basically a jerk (but a lovable one), is maybe the coolest X-member and all the other X-Men know it. Blows #$!% up. Looks good doing it.

Marvel.com: Without giving too much away, what kind of paranormal threats will the New Mutants be facing in this limited series?

Matthew Rosenberg: When the team starts out, they are in over their heads and facing off against some unknown dangers. The first issue has them facing down zombies in the wake of a hurricane. But as is always the case with this stuff, things aren’t quite what they seem. There is some supernatural stuff, some stuff from ancient realms. But as they go through their seemingly random encounters with these threats, a pattern will emerge. There is a big bad who starts to become clear, working behind the scenes. It’s someone with a very long, and slightly complicated, history with the New Mutants. I can’t really say much more. But folks who know their NEW MUTANTS history might be a little shocked.

Marvel.com: How creepy does the story get?

Matthew Rosenberg: It’s not really a horror book. When we started out that was a goal for us, for sure. But as we worked on it we realized that this team, they are full on super heroes. There is definitely a way to make it a horror book, go down more psychological paths, and we explore that a bit. But more than not it’s a super hero book about them dealing with the supernatural. We got some creepy stuff in there, but you should be okay. I think.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 Cover by Ryan Stegman

Marvel.com: How will these mutants deal with the challenges ahead? And, for you, what was the most challenging part about writing this title?

Matthew Rosenberg: Honestly? They won’t deal with them that well. This team has some issues to get through. Trust issues. Leadership issues. Honesty issues. They are going to be put through the ringer on this and they aren’t necessarily going to come out the other side better. They may not even all come out the other side.

As for the biggest challenge in writing this? NEW MUTANTS is a dream project for me. It’s one of my favorite series of all time. I think the biggest challenge for me was channeling that. I had so many big ideas, so many plans, and distilling that down to six issues was pretty tough. Also, I wanted a book that felt fresh and new, but paid tribute to the rich history of the title and the characters. I wanted folks who’ve never read a NEW MUTANTS book before to be able to pick this up and get it. But I also wanted the nerds like me who’ve read every issue to feel like this is a worthy addition to the legacy.

Marvel.com: What is the legacy of the New Mutants? And how did you look to honor what came before in DEAD SOULS?

Matthew Rosenberg: I thought about that a lot going in. For me, the New Mutants real legacy is three things. First, the New Mutants are the team that fights out of their weight class the most. They are constantly the underdogs, constantly in over their heads. They were the backup team when they started, and they fought a lot of fights they shouldn’t have had to. That often means fighting foes you can’t just punch. It often means confronting fears you keep a secret. All of that is key to understanding them.

The second thing I consider key to the New Mutants is how ever-changing it is. From the days of wide-eyed kids learning to use their powers, to a skilled X-team, to Cable’s soldiers, to teachers and elder statesmen of the mutant world, the New Mutants are ever-changing. Adding members, losing members, changing focus. That was a big part of what this book is about. What would the next step for the New Mutants be? Could they look forward or are they going to be dragged back?

And lastly, they are a family. They may not all like each other. They may fight. They may leave for a while or turn on each other, but in the end this is a book about how strong the bonds of shared experience can be. The New Mutants care about each other in a way that other teams do not. And maybe that’s a product of being young and growing up around each other. Maybe it’s a way to deal with the constant change in turmoil in their lives. Maybe it’s just who they are. But the strength of this team is each other. And we are going to test that strength. I hope this family can make it through.

Start the journey with NEW MUTANTS: DEAD SOULS #1, by Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Gorham, on March 14!

Read More

Matt Rosenberg reunites the X-Men's former pupils and injects some new blood!

When supernatural threats loom over the Marvel Universe, a new team of mutants emerges to stand on the front lines.

Beginning in March, writer Matt Rosenberg and artist Adam Gorham unite for NEW MUTANTS: DEAD SOULS, a six-issue limited series that has friends old and new coming together to contend with the paranormal.

“To me, the New Mutants exemplify everything I love about [super hero teams],” shares Rosenberg. “They are true underdogs, doubted and dismissed, but always ready to prove themselves. They’re the weirdos, the outcasts, the leftovers, and the misfits, but they are there for the people who need them.”

Each installment of NEW MUTANTS: DEAD SOULS features a standalone story with the offbeat group butting up against things that go bump in the night. Karma summons New Mutants alums Magik, Wolfsbane, Rictor, and Boom Boom along with X-Factor veteran Strong Guy–but does the mind-controlling mutant have more in mind than simply protecting the innocent from the forces of darkness?

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 cover by Ryan Stegman

“They’re constantly in way over their heads, but always rise above,” says Rosenberg of the team. “Our series takes all of that, collects some of the best New Mutants alongside oddballs better known for their time with X-Factor and X-Force, and throws them into a mission they aren’t at all ready for. We pack it full of nods to the history of the team and hints about their future, an enough creepy moments, epic battles, offbeat humor, and dysfunctional family dynamics to make a book worth of the title ‘New Mutants.'”

Starting in March, meet up with some old pals for a dive into darkness with NEW MUTANTS: DEAD SOULS from Matt Rosenberg and Adam Gorham!

Read More

Matthew Rosenberg’s Sinister plot puts the Warriors on the run!

It makes sense that a dude who has an obsession with evolution would go after the Inhumans. But that infatuation soon becomes an existential threat, forcing the Secret Warriors into hiding.

On December 13, writer Matthew Rosenberg joins artists Javier Garrón and Will Robson to deal the Inhuman squad an impossible hand in SECRET WARRIORS #10! So how will they play their cards? We caught up with Rosenberg to get a few ideas.

Marvel.com: What do you think makes Mister Sinister such a great antagonist for the Secret Warriors?

Matthew Rosenberg: First of all, he’s amazing. So there’s that.

I’ve always loved Sinister because he is the classic mad scientist of the X-universe. He’s smart, driven, and more than a little psychotic, and that can be such a great combination. And obviously we all know him as an X-Men villain, but here he gets mixed up with our little team. I think the idea of them getting mixed up with one of the most dangerous X-villains just makes sense. This team only works well when they are in over their head and can’t turn back.

Marvel.com: Sinister has a fascination with the science of human evolution, so it seems likely that he’d be interested in the Warriors and their Inhuman DNA…

Matthew Rosenberg: I think Sinister is fascinating because of his obsession with genetics and evolution. We spend all this time reading about the adventures of these super heroes who differ genetically from the average human, and he’s the villain that has as much of a fascination about that as we do. He doesn’t take mutations and Terrigenesis for granted. He wants to know how they work, to conquer them. It’s a logical idea, but also terrifying, because he will do anything to get his answers. He is a man ruled by obsessions and that obsession is now Inhumans.

For the Warriors, jumping in between Sinister and the Inhumans he’s after definitely won’t be good. But that might be what makes them heroes…or just dumb. I guess we’ll find out which.

Marvel.com: Sinister has a pretty complicated history with mutants. Does this inform his views on the Inhumans and the Warriors?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, I think Sinister really likes two things: figuring out the things no one else can figure out and preying on the vulnerable. Those go hand in hand for him. Mutants, as a group, have amazing powers but are hated and feared by society. That makes them easy targets for Sinister. The Inhumans, put into labor camps, having lost their leaders, with no chance to continue the species without the Terrigen Mists, seem just like the type of vulnerable that Sinister loves. So the shift in focus for him has been an obvious one. But, much like with the mutants, his relationship to the Inhumans isn’t quite what it appears. He hurts people and does unconscionable things, but he has a goal. And that goal might not be what people expect.

Marvel.com: As someone who values science and scientists, going up against Mister Sinister has to have an impact on Moon Girl, right?

Matthew Rosenberg: In a lot of ways this will be a real fork in the road for Lunella. She is a good person, no question. A hero and sweet kid, but she’s also a genius. She values science and exploring new ideas above almost anything else. In that way, Sinister looks like a cautionary tale for her. What happens when the pursuit of science and knowledge lacks humanity? It might be easy to see how Lunella could be seduced to Sinister’s way of thinking—she finds most people kind of annoying. But will she be willing to do what’s morally right to stand in the way of his quest for knowledge? I mean, probably. But read the book.

Marvel.com: Final thoughts?

Matthew Rosenberg: Mister Sinister has always been one of the great Marvel villains and I’m so happy to get the chance to throw our Warriors up against him. This will really be a test that will make or break them. Either way, there will be some crazy science, insane fights, and ice cream breaks along the way.

SECRET WARRIORS #10, by Matthew Rosenberg and artists Javier Garrón and Will Robson, drops on December 13!

Read More

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!

Read More

Matthew Rosenberg outlines Frank Castle’s Marvel Legacy mission!

The Punisher has never been timid with his firepower. Still, give the man a bigger weapon and you can trust he’ll find a bigger target.

So goes the premise of THE PUNISHER #218! On November 15, Frank Castle dons the War Machine armor and heads off to battle. Writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Guiu Vilanova introduce the legendary soldier to Marvel Legacy—and a classic character pulling the strings of war.

We found Matthew Rosenberg field-stripping his typewriter and asked him a few questions about the upcoming story.

Marvel.com: Can you describe both the challenges and opportunities presented by putting Frank in the War Machine armor?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the biggest thing—and maybe what makes this so fun—will be who The Punisher is at his core. Frank Castle, more than almost every other character in the Marvel Universe, does not change. He remains The Punisher when he fights Kingpin and The Punisher when he fights Daredevil. At the end of the world, in space, after death, as a monster, he remains a constant.

So taking his persona and what that means, and changing things around him—that feels exciting to me. There is no greater force in the Marvel Universe than Frank’s desire to punish people, and we’re going to give him the means to do that on a bigger scale. So doing that, but making it still feel like The Punisher, and feel fresh all at once, that’s the challenge and the opportunity. We have this idea, one that I think seems like the logical next step to Frank’s war, and we want to make folks feel comfortable and shocked by it all at once. Should be fun.

Marvel.com: How do you approach the symbolic nature of the War Machine being passed on? Does that carry any significance in this story?

Matthew Rosenberg: This won’t be a story about Frank becoming War Machine. One of the things I love about Marvel heroes in general is how the story is never about the suit or the equipment; it’s about the people on the inside. Everyone gets new costumes every few years, new powers, but their core humanity always counts. As much as they may have tried, when other people pick up the shield, they just aren’t Cap. Even without the bow, he’s still Hawkeye. Call her Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird, or Captain Marvel, it’s still always about Carol.

To me, War Machine will always be Rhodey. That’s War Machine, at the heart. He feels like this idealized version of what the armed forces can be. A hero, an Avenger, someone aspirational.

Frank Castle feels almost like the inverse of that. He received a little bit of power and took it to nightmarish extremes. I’m hoping that by giving Frank the armor, we can examine Frank’s legacy, but also Rhodey’s in a way. We have seen what this armor does in the hands of a true hero, now we see what happens when someone much scarier has it.  This is a story about how The Punisher part of Frank will infect anything he touches.

Marvel.com: How does donning the armor change things for Frank? Does it change his approach?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, that’s our starting point. Frank stands amongst the most dangerous men in the world with a bowie knife and a Beretta, so what happens when he has the power of a whole army at his disposal? There have always been some bad guys who he didn’t focus on—their scope seemed too big. That ends here. Nobody is safe. And we state that in a very simple way. Frank Castle goes to war with a whole country.

He won’t be reshaping the course of a neighborhood or a city, this man changes the geopolitical nature of the world through force. And what that means for the Marvel Universe could be major.

Marvel.com: This marks your first collaboration with Guiu Vilanova—how does his style aid the tone and storytelling of this book? What makes him a great choice for PUNISHER?

Matthew Rosenberg: Guiu has been amazing. His pages look so striking when the inks come in, and to me that always marks a great Punisher book—would it work in black and white? But yeah, he’s done an amazing job so far creating these epic settings and then putting this intense and intimate action inside of that. The quiet scenes feel moody, the violent scenes look crazy and explosive, and through it all he makes Frank Castle this unmovable force of nature. He has a real weight and presence on the page that I don’t think a lot of artists can pull off. I know folks will be blown away by what he’s bringing.

Marvel.com: For readers who might be considering picking up this PUNISHER series, why would you say they should follow through on that choice? For established fans, why should they stick with the book?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the book works on a few levels by design. We want it to really have something to say about who The Punisher and what his place in the world has been and will be. And I think even if you don’t count yourself as a fan, or are a lapsed fan, an interesting character piece emerges from under all this armor. We’re telling a story about nationalism, a nation’s role as citizens of the world, war, greater and lesser evils, moral relativism, and the legacies we create and honor. There will be a lot to unpack for people interested in those discussions, I hope. It’s also about a guy in a badass mech suit blowing bad guys up.

And for longtime fans, which I consider myself, I keep hearing the same two things. The first: “You better get who Frank is and what he is about.” I think I’ve read every issue of THE PUNISHER ever. I’ve loved this character since childhood. I feel pretty confident we are being very faithful to that.

And the second thing I hear: “This better be #$!*%@& epic.” All I say to that is give us two issues. Read two issues of our book and if it doesn’t feel sufficiently #$!*%@& epic, please tell me what comics you read that do, because I want to read those.

Marvel.com: Last thing: how would you describe the tone of the book? The setting?

Matthew Rosenberg: All-out war.

Matthew Rosenberg and artist Guiu Vilanova’s THE PUNISHER #218 launches on November 15!

Read More

Matthew Rosenberg sets the Warriors up against a classic Marvel Legacy foe!

In SECRET WARRIORS #8, something wicked this way comes. Or, rather, something sinister.

On November 15, Mister Sinister turns his torturous methods on the Inhumans! Marvel Legacy dawns as writer Matthew Rosenberg joins artists Javier Garrón and Will Robson to see the Secret Warriors combat this classic villain—and more discord within their own ranks.

We asked Rosenberg for a couple of hints about what to expect in the newest issue.

Marvel.com: Given the unique physiology of the Inhumans and how they develop powers, it makes sense that Mister Sinister would be interested in them. Creatively, though, what drew you to using him in your story?

Matthew Rosenberg: Besides me being obsessed with the X-Men? Okay.

I think he’s a fascinating villain because he can be a great example of the very simple—but very hard to pull off—idea that villains don’t act as the villains of their own stories. Sinister has a brilliant mind and, if pointed in the right direction, could be doing some of the most important work in the Marvel Universe. His desire to figure out how the world works and conquer it feels truly admirable in many ways.

But he is psychotic and sees no value in the normal morality of the civilized world. It has never been hard to imagine him as one of the Hanks, as a Reed Richards-type. But he has no interest, and that fascinates me.

Marvel.com: How prepared will the Warriors be for this new threat? What do they know about Mister Sinister?

Matthew Rosenberg: They will not be prepared at all. Daisy knows him simply because she studied her S.H.I.E.L.D. files pretty well. Karnak knows who him because crazy people all know each other. But the rest of the team has not prepared at all. And in issue #8 you will see just how unprepared for playing by his rules they will really be.

Marvel.com: From the cover of #8, we see Mister Sinister sporting an unexpected look. Can you describe artist Javier Garrón’s visual conceptualization of the character? How does it inform or compliment your take on Sinister?

Matthew Rosenberg: First of all, let’s just say this. Javier is brilliant and I love working with him. With that out of the way, one of my favorite things has been that he just really likes redesigning characters. I think his instincts and design sense are awesome, but more than that, I just love the idea that all these characters just change it up sometimes. I don’t wear the same thing every day. Actually, I kind of do. But I get that seems weird. But why should super heroes? I get that they have a brand consciousness and want to be recognizable, but even baseball teams have a few different uniforms.

I think Javier’s design of Sinister feels like a great update that really helped me realize who he can be in our story. Sinister, obviously a psychotic maniac, is also cultured, sophisticated, and smart. His grand designs may not be evident to everyone, but he tries to shape the future of the world and he has a plan. This isn’t some two bit villain in tights. Mister Sinister wants to reshape the course of the human race, so of course he’ll dress like a megalomaniac too.

But what do I know? I wear shorts 365 days a year.

Marvel.com: Unfortunately, in the midst of this, Karnak seems to be pursuing his own agenda away from the team. Can you offer any insight into what might be going on with him? What kind of dangers does he expose the team to when he leaves?

Matthew Rosenberg: From the start, Karnak has his own thing going on, as I think he always does. Only this time it seems like his plans might be working in almost opposition to his teammates. An alarming disconnect appears to the team as a result. But it’s Karnak, so he might be playing the game 10 moves ahead of everyone else. But he also has shown a willingness to allow suffering and hardships to befall the people around him in ways that many would find troubling. Those two factors combined put him somewhere between callous and evil. And that will be a big factor of what happens going forward.

Marvel.com: All things considered, what kind of odds would you give this team on being able to stay together and survive the battle with Sinister?

Matthew Rosenberg: 50/50.

Check out SECRET WARRIORS #8, by Matthew Rosenberg and artists Javier Garrón and Will Robson, on November 15!

Read More