HYDRA forces our resident therapist to profile Miles Morales!

To begin with, I must renew my objections to this report. What is happening here is very nearly coercion and while this is not an ethical violation or illegal judging by current laws, statutes, or professional codes, it also does not feel necessary or oriented towards some kind of good outcome. While it has been made clear to me that my opinion on this matter has little weight, I nonetheless strongly urge this report be destroyed without review and that this practice end here and now.

Additionally estimating factors like future dangerousness, which is similar to what you are asking, are impossible without direct meetings with the subject. In other words, the information presented below is literally guesswork and may be more muddling than helpful.

The subject in questions is one of two individuals who identifies as Spider-Man and operates as a costumed crime fighter. This particular Spider-Man wears the black costume with red web markings.

The subject presents as male and, given his size and body type, is most likely a teenager. This matches the scant information provided to this writer by your organization, so I do expect it is accurate.

In the past several months, he has worked with the Avengers, the teen pacifist and recently discredited team known as the Champions, and on his own. He has engaged in a variety of conflicts including stopping so-called street level crime, super villain crime, and interceded in civil right issues in foreign nations. From this, it seems likely the subject tends towards idealism. It is possible, as well, that he may be amoral and just seeking conflict because of some desire for violence, but this would be highly unusual.

The subject does seem to have a preference towards teams and partnerships while acting as a super hero. This may indicate that he is seeking a stability in his “career” that he is not finding at home. There may be a variety of reasons for this including absentee or abusive parents, an inability to share his secret with his family, or a recent major loss in the family. Of course, it could also mean the subject has an excellent support system in his non-costumed life and therefore is drawn to similar situations while costumed.

To speak directly to the question at hand: does this writer think the subject is capable of the murder of Steve Rogers? I do not believe he is. Physically, it does seem possible; the client obviously possesses incredible strength and agility and reports indicate he might have some kind of ability to short circuit other’s abilities for a small window of time.

Psychologically, however, it seems unlikely. The subject has no recorded instances of using lethal force at any point, no matter the danger of the situation or the state of his physical being in that moment. The subject has not sought out conflicts in any active way—for instance, as The Punisher has been known to do—and has even, at times, attempted to defuse situations before turning to violence even when initially engaged violently by someone else. Finally, all his known alliances have been with vigilantes who else do not employ lethal force, limiting the potential for him to have a sudden change of heart.

Therefore, I would suggest HYDRA’s obsession with the subject—who, I stress, is most likely an adolescent—is unnecessary and ill-informed.

I have heard some individuals suggest that whatever report I deliver here is not to be trusted given my strenuous objections to doing it at all so I would also suggest reviewing Doctors Nick Spencer and Leinil Francis Yu’s report on Spider-Man. It is available on July 26 in the file marked SECRET EMPIRE #7.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who has never worn HYDRA green and never will.

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Find out how former Avengers feel about Captain America’s heel turn!

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

An A.I. version of a genius, a demigod, a speedy mutant, a shrinking thief, a scientist-spy, and a former Captain America might not seem like the most obvious team in the world, but they’ve joined forces to save Steve Rogers’ soul in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE: UNDERGROUND. Iron Man, Hercules, Quicksilver, Ant-Man, Mockingbird, and Sam Wilson plan on gathering up all of the Cosmic Cube pieces to restore their friend and teammate’s  personality.

The group formed in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #2 after A.I. Tony Stark realized that, if they gathered up the Cube fragments, they might be able to return Steve Rogers to his true self. They immediately set out to get help from Sam Wilson, who we now know gave up the shield in favor of ferrying people out of the Hydra-controlled United States as seen in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON issues of late.

Though reluctant to help, Sam agreed to get the squad out, but didn’t realize they’d all be heading right for Alaska and Hank Pym-Ultron as unfolded in SECRET EMPIRE #4. That issue ended with the good guys getting away with the fragment. Later, while watching TV they saw Namor not only give Captain America the piece he had, but also bow in fealty to the Hydra leader! The former head of the Avengers also revealed that he also had a mole on the inside, leading to plenty of motives being questioned during UNDERGROUND.

The one-shot, which came out today, found the team traveling to the Savage Land to get another Cube piece from Sauron, but they soon discovered that the energy-sucking dinosaur man had been unseated by Whiteout, Vertigo, and Lupa. After a brutal fight, the group flew away with the fragment, but also some heavy injuries that prompted them to head back to their base.

Expect this squad to play a huge role in SECRET EMPIRE moving forward, not only because one of their number works for Captain America, but because they’re the main group trying to save Steve Rogers instead of simply defeating—and possibly ending—him like Black Widow’s recruits.

The Empire Strikes Back

Each member of this team owes Captain America their life in one way or another. At various times they have all served as Avengers under his leadership, which surely brought them out of more than a few potentially deadly battles. For Quicksilver and Ant-Man, he also helped get their lives turned around as one of the people who backed them in their shift from their previous lives of crime. Of course, we must also keep in mind that Pietro’s concerned about his sister who currently serves Hydra thanks to a demon inhabiting her body. We’d bet that comes into play down the line as well.

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Quake and Mr. Hyde face off in the heart of Secret Empire!

The Secret Warriors have faced a lot of big challenges since their inception as a loosely-knit team. From battling the X-Men to fighting Hydra, they’ve got a lot on their plates. And things get even trickier in the upcoming SECRET WARRIORS #4—due out July12—as Quake leads the team into a confrontation with her dad, the Hydra commander Mr. Hyde.

We chatted with writer Matthew Rosenberg about the top five reasons why a run-in with Hyde is Daisy’s worst nightmare.

Marvel.com: At this particular moment, given everything going on with Hydra in Secret Empire and Hyde’s role in it, we wouldn’t expect this encounter to go particularly smoothly, to say the least.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, Hyde is scary to tangle with when the world isn’t falling apart and he isn’t your father. But yeah, Daisy is trying to end this takeover and Hyde getting in her way makes things very complicated.

Marvel.com: Daisy and Hyde have never had what we’d consider a super healthy father-daughter relationship. And that emotional tension will make this confrontation even more challenging.

Matthew Rosenberg: Totally. Daisy has spent a lot of time steering clear of Hyde. She doesn’t want him in her life, she doesn’t want to have to deal with him, and she doesn’t want to think about him. But Hyde has his own agenda and she can’t get away from it anymore. And deep down I think Daisy is afraid of learning that she is more like Hyde than she wants to believe.

Marvel.com: Daisy has pretty impressive powers of her own, and Hyde has gone up against characters like Thor—so who will win out?

Matthew Rosenberg: Hyde is definitely formidable. Daisy is powerful too, but at a certain point her powers go from being useful to just destructive. She is always toeing the line between super hero and natural disaster, and she can’t let Hyde push her too far. Luckily for her she has some friends with her. Or sorta friends. Regardless, all of the Secret Warriors vs. Hyde is probably a good brawl.

Marvel.com: We see some mistrust going on among the Warriors. Especially when it comes to Karnak, whom we’ve watched start to make his own plans for some reason. They don’t seem to feel as unified as they could, so it’s not really the best time to have to face someone like Hyde.

Matthew Rosenberg: No. It’s probably the worst time, actually. But that’s what this team is all about. Five people and a dinosaur who don’t necessarily see eye to eye or even get along that well. But they’re together because they need each other. They have always been reacting instead of acting, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. So Hyde definitely gets the drop on them in terms of preparedness, but I trust Daisy and the Warriors will put up a good fight. Hopefully.

Marvel.com: Hyde spent some time in Pleasant Hill; that had to have messed with his head, and can only make matters more complicated.

Matthew Rosenberg: At a certain point you can only scramble an egg so much. Pleasant Hill [was] probably not good mentally for any of its residents, but Hyde was further gone than many. But his time there has given him some new insight and direction for sure. He is on Team Hydra more than he was before, but he is also thinking about a longer-term plan in ways he never was before. Basically, once people start messing with other people’s heads, don’t ever trust anyone.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease or mention anything else?

Matthew Rosenberg: The next few issues of SECRET WARRIORS have more than a few fun cameos. Daisy vs. Hyde—the team vs. Hydra—is what people should come for, but I hope people are excited about some of the other folks who stop in to make our team’s lives more difficult.

SECRET WARRIORS #4 by Matthew Rosenberg and Javier Garron ships out on July 12!

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Discover the depths of Doc Ock with editor Nick Lowe!

Imagine Otto Octavius teaming up with Hydra; it sounds like a devious match made in comic book villain heaven—or hell—right? Well, you can stop imagining because that’s exactly what will happen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30, a Secret Empire tie-in out July 12.

Before Doctor Octopus joins forces with Steve Rogers, however, Spider-Man editor Nick Lowe helped us take a step back to appreciate this many-armed adversary.

Marvel.com: The early buzz on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30 teases that Doctor Octopus won’t be returning to his old ways. Can you elaborate on that in a spoiler free manner? Does this have anything to do with Hydra taking over the world?

Nick Lowe: It sure does! I don’t think that it’s a secret that Ock is working with Steve Rogers and Hydra. He’s on Steve’s Hydravengers team. And if you were Steve Rogers, and Spider-Man had a company that just successfully invaded a foreign nation, you’d want someone who can take them down, right? Enter Doc Ock!

Marvel.com: How would you characterize Doctor Octopus’ change and evolution over the last few years?

Nick Lowe: It’s been the most fascinating journey. [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN writer] Dan [Slott] and all the artists that he’s worked with over the years have done more with Doc Ock than I would have dreamed possible. They turned him into a horrifying and fascinating villain and then into SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN! And now into this new stage, whatever shape it takes! Suffice it to say, Dan Slott, now with Stuart Immonen, have big plans for Ock.

Marvel.com: Going back even further, how has he changed since his debut back in 1963? What attributes—other than his mechanical arms, of course—have stayed constant over the years?

Nick Lowe: The biggest constant is the ego and attitude. He’s such a delightfully jerky guy. If you ask him, no one’s anywhere near as smart as he is and that isn’t going anywhere. He just learned other stuff from being in Spider-Man’s body and mind.

Marvel.com: What changes do you like the most and what kind of changes would you like to explore in the future?

Nick Lowe: They’re all pretty great, to me. Putting a character with specific goals and a worldview all his own in situations that challenge it is the whole point of storytelling!

Marvel.com: Kind of going off that, as a longtime member of the Sinister Six, what mentality does Octavius bring to the villainous cabal? Has his role in the Six changed with time?

Nick Lowe: He’s taken so many steps from there since he was last part of any Sinister Six. What shape such a group would take and what role Ock would take are all questions for another day…

Marvel.com: Going forward, what kind of role can we expect from the many-appendage-wielding baddie and his place in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN series?

Nick Lowe: A big one that’s going to challenge Peter in ways he’s never been challenged.

The Superior Octopus joins up with Hydra in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30 by Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen, coming July 12!

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Assemble to learn the genesis of the latest team of Avengers!

While many of Marvel’s heroes have gone to ground, hidden themselves away to try and marshal a plan and the strength to carry it out to oppose Hydra’s new world order, not all followed this path. Some costumed adventurers have joined with the green clad rulers and Steve Roger to extend Hydra’s grasp.

We caught up with SECRET EMPIRE series editor Tom Brevoort as he helped clear the rubble to ask him why the people we largely know as heroes might align with this effort at world dominance.

Marvel.com: Even throughout his time as Unworthy, Thor has been striving to be a hero, however reckless and erratic. Does he view aligning with Hydra as heroic in and of itself or is this borne of a dedication to Captain America?

Tom Brevoort: As is going to be the case in a number of these instances, the answers are going to unfold in upcoming issues. With the Unworthy, you get a very good understanding as to where his head is at and how he feels about what’s been going on in SECRET EMPIRE #5 in just a few weeks.

Marvel.com: Similarly, with Deadpool, is his alliance based on the fact that Cap had put faith in him in the past in the formation of the UNCANNY AVENGERS team?

Tom Brevoort: Deadpool, for all of his irreverence, has always had a lot of hero-worship for Captain America, and their relationship has only deepened through their common adventures during the time that Steve was made older—in particular “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” arc over in DEADPOOL that Gerry Duggan wrote. So while he tried to hide it, it was a really big deal for Wade to be asked by Cap to be a part of the Avengers Unity Squad. He would follow Captain America off a bridge—and that’s exactly what he’s done here, as we shall see.

Marvel.com: We are aware from the Free Comic Book Day special that Scarlet Witch is not entirely in control of herself. How much of her actions is she at least aware of? Does she have any say at all right now?

Tom Brevoort: Again, this is a question that’s best answered by future issues, including SECRET EMPIRE #5 and also AVENGERS #10, the issue that focuses on this team. So there’s not much more I can tell you on this point at the moment, I’m afraid.

Marvel.com: Her former husband The Vision seems similarly compromised. How present is he in his decision-making?

Tom Brevoort: Same deal, I’m afraid—sorry I’m not being more helpful. But think of just how much readers will enjoy SECRET EMPIRE #5 and AVENGERS #10 when they’re released!

Marvel.com: With the exception of a brief appearance in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, this is the first time we’ve seen Otto Octavius as the Superior Octopus. What has led him to sign up with Hydra? Is he pursuing a more heroic path, a la Superior Spider-Man, or is this purely motivated by self-interest?

Tom Brevoort: There’ll be a lot of insight into this in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN tie-in issues, and also that popular AVENGERS #10. But Otto is ultimately interested most in what benefits Otto. He’s hardly a true believer in Hydra’s cause, and would likely throw them over in a hot second if his own aims and goals conflicted with theirs. Fortunately, at the moment, the rise of Hydra and the resources they command give him the means to take back the thing that he wants most at the moment: Parker Industries, the company that he built when he was Peter Parker, and that Spider-Man has usurped from him.

Marvel.com: Given Eric O’Grady’s history of being unreliable up to the moment he was turned into a robot, what does Cap see in Black Ant?

Tom Brevoort: Eric’s got S.H.I.E.L.D. training and has shown some great resourcefulness, but more than anything he’s there because Madame Hydra brought him and Taskmaster into the fold, rather than eliminating them when they stumbled onto Steve’s secret in Bagalia. Steve has worked with Eric before, back in the Secret Avengers days, so he’s got more of an appreciation of his abilities and potential than most others do, I expect. Plus, he’s not about to double-think [Elisa] and her predictive abilities.

Marvel.com: Long motivated by the almighty dollar above all else, how does Taskmaster see his alliance with Hydra? Is he planning to stick around or is this but a quick pay day for him?

Tom Brevoort: I think it’s a situation of convenience that’s become something more long-term. Like Black Ant, Taskmaster was brought into the fold by Madame Hydra rather than being killed by her when he discovered Steve’s secret. So all of a sudden, he’s an inside player where he’d mostly been on the outside before this. And I think that holds some appeal for him, for all that he’s also likely to cut and run and look out for number one if things begin to break bad.

Marvel.com: As Cap’s best friend, how does Baron Zemo feel about being included in this team? How does he feel about watching his friend realize their lifelong dream of returning Hydra to glory?

Tom Brevoort: Zemo is not actually on the team, though he has worked alongside them on certain operations, acting as Steve Rogers’ Chief of Staff. He’s in an odd place, in that he’s been told that in the history that was erased he and Steve had this brotherly bond, but he never experienced that himself firsthand. Nevertheless, he’s chosen to believe what Cap has told him, and has thrown himself into his new role. All through his time with the Thunderbolts, particularly towards the end, Zemo was vacillating towards walking a more heroic path, betrayed only by his weaker instincts. So Steve is giving him a second chance to be the man he wants to be, the man he thinks his father was.

The intrigue continues next week in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #4!

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Steve Rogers’ best friend finds his place in a post-Hydra world!

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

When Steve Rogers revealed his allegiance to Hydra, a wave of betrayal and sadness washed over the super hero community that he practically started during World War II. It crashed particularly hard on Sam Wilson. Back during writer Rick Remender’s run on CAPTAIN AMERICA, Steve passed the patriotic mantle to his longtime friend and ally. Since then, Sam’s been flying around, wielding the shield in an effort to keep the world safe, even with a seemingly endless mob of people calling for him to quit.

Even after Kobik returned Rogers’ youth and vitality—which we also know as the point where Red Skull had the living Cosmic Cube implant all of these Hydra memories—Sam continued wearing the red, white and blue—until his friend proved to be the biggest villain around. Conspicuously absent from the first few chapters, Sam finally appeared in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #2 hanging out in a bar in Montana.

After Black Widow split off with her group that planned on taking Steve Rogers out, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and a few others left their secret base to try and collect the Cosmic Cube fragments so they could repair Rogers. As it turned out, Scott Lang knew that Sam could help them move around without getting caught.

Over in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #22, Wilson explained that, after Cap revealed his true colors, the former social worker abandoned his costume and old life to spend some time out in the mountains to clear his head. Eventually, he headed back to civilization where he discovered that Hydra rolled in to take everything over. Just as he planned on going back into hiding, Sam stumbled into a gang of thugs harassing a woman and her Inhuman daughter and stepped in. When she asked, “If Captain America won’t help us…who will?” an idea started to form.

Sam called Misty Knight and Dennis Dunphy, otherwise known as D-Man, to help him figure out a way to sneak people like that woman and her daughter to safer locations. Soon, they’d set up a system that included a new take on the old Captain America hotline to get people out of the country, including Scott Lang’s daughter Cassie. When Ant-Man asked why Sam hadn’t tried to save Steve, the one-time Falcon said that if Tony Stark or Amadeus Cho couldn’t figure it out, what could he do? Instead, he decided to stay focused on this effort, which seemed to truly help people.

That, of course, set up the aforementioned SECRET EMPIRE #2 which itself continued on in the next issue with Wilson reluctantly leading Stark, Ant-Man, Mockingbird, Quicksilver, and Hercules into their next adventure in SECRET EMPIRE: UNDERGROUND.

The Empire Strikes Back

In an interesting twist of fate, Sam Wilson first met Captain America after The Red Skull switched bodies with him. The villain got the drop on Rogers in CAPTAIN AMERICA #114 and used the Cosmic Cube to take over the hero’s body in #115. By issue #117, Skull, still in Cap’s body, once again used the Cube, this time to teleport Steve from Avengers HQ to an island inhabited by his old cronies the Exiles who hated the villain for sending them there in the first place.

A young social worker by the name of Sam Wilson happened to also be there in an effort to help the locals. Realizing he’d been wearing a mask the whole time, Steve ditched the Red Skull visage and covered his face in clay so no one would recognize him. That’s how he looked when Steve Rogers first met Sam Wilson, who would become The Falcon later in that very issue. Given how things turned out, Sam’s got to wonder if maybe the Red Skull’s face proved more of a window into Steve’s soul than he ever thought!

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Jim Zub talks about his team’s attempt to save Manhattan from Secret Empire seclusion!

Manhattan has been trapped in the Darkforce since SECRET EMPIRE #1 and on July 12, the “Big Apple” finally seems to be buckling under the strain of it all. Even a city that prides itself on toughness and almost nothing interrupting its routine has limits.

UNCANNY AVENGERS writer Jim Zub, however, still has hope.

“Baron Zemo and Blackout have exiled Manhattan to a Darkforce-encased prison crawling with otherworldly monsters,” he acknowledges. “The Uncanny Avengers are trapped within, but they’ve got what it takes to save the city and themselves.”

In UNCANNY AVENGERS #25, Zub’s confidence in the team will be put to the test. Before it all goes down though, we gave him a chance to tell us why we must keep the faith with thoughts on how each member approaches the crisis.

The Human Torch: One of the Marvel Universe’s most experienced heroes, he has gone into numerous unusual realms—the Negative Zone, for one—and came back as strong as ever. Surviving a city ensnared in Darkforce cannot be all that different for him.

“Heat and light to combat the chilling forcing of the eternal night?” muses Zub. “Johnny will answer the call.”

Synapse: The Inhuman has tangled with tragedy and come out the other side if not unscathed, certainly unbroken. If she can help stop The Shredded Man—her grandfather—and not give up on being a costumed hero, what chance do monsters have at breaking her spirit?

“When crowds of people are tense and afraid, Synapse has the power to keep them calm and focused,” the writer points out. “Bolstering innocent bystanders and teammates alike against the oppressive forces trying to wear them down.”

Uncanny Avengers #25 cover by RB Silva

The Wasp: A founding Avenger who has remained bright and sunny during some of the most heartbreaking personal crises and devastating super powered fracas, Janet has even survived death to arrive at this moment.

“Janet’s one of the most experienced Avengers around,” Zub reminds. “Invasions, overwhelming odds, and heroes on the defensive? Been there, done that. Add in her ability to slip in unseen and take out opponents from the inside—Janet’s got this.”

Doctor Voodoo: A mystic capable of wielding great power, Voodoo has a secret weapon many might not recognize on first blush. That “Doctor” in his name is not a hollow honorific; Jericho Drumm earned it in Psychology, making him able to address the struggles within the people surrounding him, not just the battle raging around them.

“Supernatural monsters and spirits are Jericho’s specialty,” argues the writer. “He’s been Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, and those mystic skills and spells will serve him well against creatures from the Darkforce dimension.”

Rogue: Rogue has been a villain. Rogue has hurt those around her with her powers. Rogue has seen friends fall and ideals be dashed; mentors betray and teammates corrupted. But she has also witnessed acts of heroics both big and small. She has overcome her questionable past to become a defender of others. She has hit the brink and returned. Darkness—literal or internal—has not bested her yet.

“Rogue handled demons invading New York way back in Inferno,” concludes Zub. “She has super strength, flight, and an upbeat attitude to stick things out when darkness looms around every corner.”

See how the team fares in UNCANNY AVENGERS #25 by Jim Zub and Kim Jacinto!

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Cullen Bunn sheds some light on how mutants fit into Hydra’s regime!

The time-displaced original Children of the Atom make up the X-Men Blue team, with Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast, Angel, and Iceman working alongside their former archenemy Magneto. While it’s hard enough adjusting to a new era, these kids and their formerly villainous ally now also have a Secret Empire to contend with.

Where to even start?

We asked X-MEN: BLUE writer Cullen Bunn about issue #7, available July 12!

Marvel.com: First off, how has writing X-MEN: BLUE been different from some of the other X-Men projects you’ve worked on before?

Cullen Bunn: It’s interesting, because I was writing UNCANNY X-MEN and when I got the call that we were going to be shifting over to X-MEN: BLUE and it would be the original five time lost characters. I’ve been pretty honest with this—my first reaction was not overjoyed. Because as much as I love those characters, they’re not what I would consider my X-Men. Like, they weren’t from the era that I really got into X-Men. So I was a little hesitant! I wasn’t sure I was the right guy to write the book.

As I started writing those characters, though, and putting them through the stories I’d been planning on telling, I’ve become more and more excited about them. I’m glad that this is the team I’m writing, because they have a completely different dynamic and viewpoint on the world; I’m able to tell kind of “classic” X-Men adventures and “uncanny” adventures. I’ve come to really love writing these characters now.

Marvel.com: You kind of got to make them your own, then! So, now that we’re all nice and emotionally invested in these guys, how will the Secret Empire affect them?

Cullen Bunn: Well, without giving too much away…as we’ve seen in SECRET EMPIRE, California has been ceded to mutants as a new mutant homeland. On the surface, that looks great! It’s an opportunity for mutants and homo sapiens to live in peace together. But, as we’ll find in X-MEN: BLUE, that’s not necessarily playing out the way it’s supposed to. It’s definitely a situation where we have mutants in power and that power is sort of a corrupting force. It plays to X-Men Blue for a number of reasons.

First of all, Magneto—who’s acting as sort of a mentor for the X-Men—has said recently that he does not believe the idea of a mutant utopia works. He’s seen it backfire in horrible ways time and time again, and he keeps getting drawn back into that, lured into this idea of a mutant paradise; it is a dream [of his], but now he doesn’t think that dream will ever come true. He thinks that a place like New Tian is a disaster waiting to happen, and he wants no part of it from that perspective.

We have also seen, however, that Magneto and the X-Men Blue team have a beef with Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw and certain characters that are entrenched in this new mutant regime. And what we’re gonna see in X-MEN: BLUE is the new X-Men team almost as a rebel force at work inside New Tian.

Marvel.com: Will the Blue team take on the larger Secret Empire plotlines as well?

Cullen Bunn: There’s definitely some parallels with what’s happening in New Tian and what’s going on in the Marvel Universe as a whole, but I wanted to focus on it mainly from a mutant perspective. Again, without giving away too many spoilers, there’s a villain that shows up in these issues who I feel has a direct correlation with what’s going on with Steve Rogers and is cut from very similar cloth story-wise and we definitely lean into that to shore up those parallels even more.

Marvel.com: That’s so cool! It sort of unifies the different threads of the Marvel Universe narratively, like, a microcosm? Or even just winking at another storyline that’s happening.

Cullen Bunn: Yeah! The goal with these tie-ins for me is always that a reader can continue reading X-MEN: BLUE and not get thrown off too much by the events of the Marvel Universe. But this is such a big event! Things are changing in such monumental ways, there’s no way to [avoid it]. But I wanted to make sure that we’re seeing [that] story from a distinctively mutant point of view while not ignoring what’s going on in the world at large.

Marvel.com: So let’s talk Magneto. How is such a powerful character fitting into all this Secret Empire hubbub? Is he joining, holding back, fighting against it?

Cullen Bunn: We talked a lot about Magneto early on in the discussion about what’s going on in the world of Secret Empire and really, Magneto seems to be sitting this one out. For reasons of his own, he has struck a bargain that he’s just going to sit this one out and not interfere, and he’s agreed to that.

However.

The X-Men team is there in New Tian, and they’re obviously not just sitting back. Now, then the question will come—are they working on Magneto’s orders or against what Magneto wants? As the tie-in goes on I think there’s even a question posed like, don’t you think Magneto would have prepared for this? And we see some pretty big changes among the team itself as some of those contingencies begin to come into play.

Marvel.com: So it might be that he has something up his sleeve?

Cullen Bunn: Well, Magneto always has something up his sleeve. I think we’re gonna have come interesting interactions. He’s definitely taking a back seat in this tie-in and you don’t see him getting a lot of [face] time, but his actions are pretty important to the story and they’ll shape the X-Men Blue team after this event. And when we do finally see Magneto, I think we have an interesting interaction between Magneto and Steve Rogers in the arc that I’m pretty excited about.

Marvel.com: I know that you’ve been writing Magneto for a while, so I’m sure you’ll do him justice. After all, you know him pretty well—you guys are on, like, a first-name basis.

Cullen Bunn: [Laughs] I do kind of feel like I have a handle on where he’s coming from and how he would see what’s been going on in the world, but I also know that Magneto…he knows that, if he disagrees with this, it’s not something he can go into with guns blazing, so to speak, because that would fail. He’s got to be a little cagier about what he’s doing.

Marvel.com: How is the team reacting to this pseudo-utopia? Like, how are they taking it?

Cullen Bunn: Well, they’re not taking it well. [Laughs] It’s not going well for them. It’s a weird situation for them because here’s this place that should be a safe haven for mutants and yet they find themselves struggling against that very ideal.

In fact, I’ve often said that, to some degree, the world that they’re in right now? The New Tian mutant utopia is almost like their Days of Futures Past. They are seeing the world they’ve always been afraid they’d see happen, but they never expected these threats and these dangers to be coming from a mutant source to the degree that it is.

As well get into the first issue, we’re seeing the X-Men dealing with mutants who’ve been imprisoned and who are scheduled for psychic reconditioning because they don’t support the law of the land. That’s the kind of thing that scares the hell out of them, and they just can’t sit back and let it happen.

See how it all plays out this summer in X-MEN BLUE #7 by Cullen Bunn and Cory Smith, available July 12.

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Captain America sends Wade Wilson on a murderous mission!

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

Readers may have been surprised to see Deadpool still standing by Captain America’s side in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #1 wherein he and a handful of other heroes like Odinson, Scarlet Witch, and Vision continued to act as Avengers under Hydra’s ruling fist. The Merc with a Mouth’s not exactly known for towing the line or being much of a company man, so what’s the deal?

Well, Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli attempted to answer some of those questions in this week’s DEADPOOL #31, which takes place before the events of SECRET EMPIRE #0. The issue kicked off with DP remembering how he grew up as a huge Cap fan and felt honored when Steve Rogers asked him to join the Avengers Unity Squad.

Back when Steve was still running around at his actual physical age, he used his tactical genius to set up the Avengers as well as he could. In 2015’s AVENGERS #0, he tasked Deadpool with stealing a canister of Terrigen mist so they could use it to save Rogue’s life. Upon successful completion, Steve surprised Wade by handing him an Avengers ID card!

That, of course, led to Deadpool regularly appearing in UNCANNY AVENGERS as the squad took on the likes of Super-Adaptoid, Ultron, and The Red Skull outfitted with parts of Professor X’s brain. They also made their way to Pleasant Hill during Standoff and got in on the Civil War II action. As Wade so helpfully explained, Cap would send him secret missions writtenon small white note cards that he would memorize and burn. With those gigs came specific rules, especially the one about not killing anyone. He found himself engaged in one of those very assignments before the Sentinel of Liberty showed his true Hydra colors.

Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1

Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1

  • Published: October 14, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 18, 2016
  • Rating: Rated T
  • Writer: Gerry Duggan
  • Cover Artist: Ryan Stegman
What is Marvel Unlimited?

That mission involved tracking down another Cap-fan: S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson who admitted that he’d been a bit suspicious of Rogers for a while. As he sent out a transmission warning about Cap’s involvement in something big—including the business with the Chitauri queen—Deadpool shot a rocket launcher at him, sending Lola crashing into a forest. Knowing he couldn’t take the merc on directly, Coulson ran for a nearby safe house he intended to use. He got inside, but Wade jammed a hand in and got a gut shot off. As he passed out, Coulson understood that he could have stopped Rogers’ plans if Wilson had never shown up.

The issue ended with Captain America congratulating Deadpool on a job well done as they both watched Coulson’s safe house burn…

The Empire Strikes Back

For more background on the Wade Wilson/Steve Rogers dynamic, check out THE DEATH OF WOLVERINE: DEADPOOL & CAPTAIN AMERICA one-shot. After Logan died, his fellow super soldier science experiments made it their mission to destroy any trace of the mutant powerhouse so he could’’t be cloned or resurrected. That involved tracking down a knife with his blood on it that had recently been purchased by A.I.M. to Moscow. As they did, they remembered their friend and we got more of a look at why Cap believed in Deadpool so much. He’d seen what being created in a lab could do and also knew the potential those unique individuals had for creating good in the world. Then again, he turned out to be a mind-controlled despot, so who knows?

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Brave New World writer Magdalene Visaggio helps Starbrand find his way!

In SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD #3 on July 5, writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Sean Izaakse drag Starbrand back into the spotlight. In a world shattered by Hydra’s machinations, a being as formidable as Kevin Conner has the potential to truly change the balance of power. However, he might not want anything to do with Earth and its struggles.

Visaggio gladly agreed to offer some insight into Starbrand’s state of mind.

Marvel.com: As a writer, what draws you to a character like Starbrand as a POV in the midst of this massive crossover? What is it like to contribute to the stories of SECRET EMPIRE given its size of scope and possible consequences?

Magdalene Visaggio: So, the thing that really resonates with me about Kevin is his sense of disconnection; it’s sort of ambling through the universe as if it doesn’t concern him and he doesn’t entirely understand it. I’m autistic, so that’s basically how I roll on a day-to-day basis, anyway. It can get very hard to connect, to really inhabit the world and my body and my life, especially when things start to get heated or crazy or emotional. I sort of don’t understand human behavior or feelings a lot of the time, so the end result frequently turns out to be me standing in a room while everything happens around me, and I want to help, but mostly I’m in the way because I just can’t click with everybody else.

So in a real way, Kevin is grappling with all the craziness of SECRET EMPIRE the same way I would: by being totally overwhelmed but sincerely interested in lending a hand. And his process—look for the one thing nobody is doing and see if that works—is exactly how I operate.

As far as what it was like? I felt a lot like Kevin! This is my first time dealing with someone else’s continuity—it’s my first Marvel work—and they threw a lot of background material at me that I needed to quickly and systematically absorb and process and then turn into an original little story. I made a point of keeping my story small and personal, precisely because SECRET EMPIRE is so huge; when everything is big, it’s the small stuff that sticks the most.

Marvel.com: It is clear that Starbrand has some ambivalence about if and how to involve himself in events that have transpired. What’s going on with him as the story opens? What kind of emotional state is he in as he weighs his options? From his point of view, what does he believe and how does that inform his choice in the midst of this chaos?

Magdalene Visaggio: Kevin, at the start, is lost. He’s on the Alpha Flight Space Station, and everybody else seems to know what to do; Captain Marvel and Spectrum and Star-Lord are always working, strategizing, planning their next step. The people working on the station, the day-to-day crew, are keeping everything operational and providing support. And Kevin? Kevin is a living planetary defense system that can’t even get to his planet. He doesn’t know what purpose he’s even supposed to serve, and he’s so powerful he barely even knows what he brings to the table. Kevin’s whole [shtick] is that nothing in his life is clicking, nothing makes sense, and here he is in this giant mess, and he’s just in the way. So he wants to feel like he has a purpose up there.

Marvel.com: How does working with artist Sean Izaakse influence your creative process? How do you both work together to bring the story to life on the page?

Magdalene Visaggio: Usually, on my creator-owned material, it’s a super intense collaboration process. Here, though, they brought in Sean, and he started churning out these gorgeous pages, and I didn’t even really know what to add! He nailed the feel and the action, so there wasn’t a lot for me to bring into the process there once I turned in the script. I just got to enjoy the pages coming in and squealing with delight when I saw the Captain Marvel on the first page.

Marvel.com: Stepping around me to speak directly to fans, why should they snag the book?

Magdalene Visaggio: If you like awkward teenagers with superpowers feeling awkward about how super they are, boy do I have four pages for you.

Help Magdalene Visaggio and Sean Izaakse check in with Starbrand in SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD #3, due out July 5!

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