Karnak proves his worth in SECRET WARRIORS #5

With most of the Inhumans Royal Family off-planet and the Secret Warriors made up of predominantly young heroes, Karnak is an Inhuman out of place—not with his natural peer group, standing amongst the next generation of his people.

However, just because he might not fit in, does not mean he does not have a place with the Warriors. This August in SECRET WARRIORS #5 with the forces of Hydra bearing down on the team, the time has come for the Warriors to come together or perish. Writer Matthew Rosenberg took a break from the bunker to explore with us what qualities Karnak brings to the table that might recommend him.

AN EXPERIENCED TEAMMATE: “Karnak hasn’t been so much a teammate in the past as a member of the Royal family,” Rosenberg disagrees slightly. “He was a valued counsel to the king and queen, he also served at their behest and took orders. Now his role is different and some of those dynamics that he is used to with the royal family don’t quite work so well on a team.”

PRAGMATIC: “What seems pragmatic to Karnak may not be for you or I,” points out the writer. “He sees the world in a different way. He understands the flaw in all things and can see things no one else ever will. Expecting him to act sensibly by our definition is limiting. It’s like we’re playing a game of checkers and he is playing every game of chess ever played, all at once.”

DETECTING THE FLAWS IN TEAMMATES CAN LEAD TO IMPROVEMENT: “He can definitely see the flaws in all his teammates, but Karnak isn’t a life coach,” states Rosenberg. “He helps people when it is part of his plan and helps the situation. There may also be times when they’re flaws can be of use to him and he will exploit that just as much.”

DETECTING THE FLAWS IN ENEMIES CAN GIVE HIM AN ADVANTAGE: “He isn’t most powerful on the team at all, but he is probably the scariest to go up against,” the writer concurs. “Karnak’s ability to see the flaws in his enemies makes him a worthy adversary of almost anyone. And the smart villains know that and steer clear.”

TACTICIAN AND STRATEGIST: “Karnak is a brilliant tactician and planner,” agrees Rosenberng. “Often times he’s going to be following more of his own plans than anyone else’s, especially with the royal family gone. He is a bit of a missile without a target right now, a great weapon getting him to go exactly where anyone else wants might be impossible. Mostly one has to just hope your goals and Karnak’s goals align.”

A MARTIAL ARTS MASTER: “He is a person who has spent years attuning his mind and body to be the most efficient weapon against weakness,” recalls the writer. “Even if he couldn’t see every weakness of his opponents, he would be a fierce martial artist. But his physical and mental training, coupled with his ability to find and destroy other’s flaws, makes him as deadly with his hands as almost anyone on the planet.”

AN EXPERIENCED MENTOR: “He is brilliant, bold, driven, brutal, unforgiving, callous to the point of cruelty, and maybe a little psychotic,” Rosenberg explains. “To the right person he might be a good mentor. But I wouldn’t want him as mine.”

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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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Artist Javier Garrón opens up about the earth-bound Inhumans team!

In the wake of Inhumans Vs. X-Men, the former group has decided to go a variety of different ways. While most of the ruling class heads out to space in ROYALS, some of the younger representatives will stick around in the pages of SECRET WARRIORS by Matthew Rosenberg and Javier Garrón, debuting May 10.

The group—consisting of Quake, Karnak, Inferno, Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl, and Devil Dinosaur—will not only find out what it’s like to be on a mostly Inhuman-less Earth, but also what they need to do to survive an evil Captain America as Secret Empire sweeps across the Marvel Universe.

We talked with Garrón about balancing these very different characters off of one another and working with rising star Rosenberg.

Marvel.com: SECRET WARRIORS features a lot of established characters. How is it putting your own design spin on them?

Javier Garrón: First and foremost it’s an immense honor! And right after that, it’s so much fun! On one hand, these characters are incredibly loved by the fans, so you have a huge respect for their legacy and what they mean to the readers. I’m a big, lifelong Marvel fan myself, so I hope I’m bringing all that love and respect into the mix.

On the other hand, looking at them with a professional eye, they’re such great characters by definition that it’s really, really fun to make them move, act, and interact. And on top of all of that, getting to add littles touches here and there! Making them your own, even for a brief moment, characters like Ms. Marvel or Karnak, [to] act through them, is a pure delight.

I’m always very weary of changing them, trying my best to respect the iconic designs the fans love, but also trying to make them mine, in a pure egoistic way, as long as I can play with them. And that usually comes from their facial expressions and their body language, how they express themselves without even talking. Or what they wear when they’re not in hero uniform. Or where they are. Lighting, hair design, art direction, panel composition. The art should express graphically and complement what the text says without being redundant, so even reading the panels without balloons you could understand what is going on. And that’s the moment when they become a little yours, not even needing to change a thing about their most popular design but speaking through all the details around them.

Marvel.com: The original Secret Warriors team had something of a unified look. Was there any intention of doing that with this group?

Javier Garrón: Not at least for the first story arc, but not because it’s something that didn’t cross our mind. You plan something for the characters, story-wise, and then you build on top and around that, to make it believable. You start to make decisions on a creative level that make sense with that and contribute to tell that story. And in our particular case, for the first story it didn’t make sense to have them all suited up in official hero uniforms. It totally made sense with the original group, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer and see what happens!

I love character design—in fact it’s a mix between pure, sheer fun with a [slight] flavor of fear that comes from touching previously loved designs—and I’m totally in for that, but it needs to make sense, the story kind of needs to ask for it. Our heroes need to go through a little learning curve to start being a team, to trust each other and work cooperatively before the official merchandise [arrives]!

But, Devil Dinosaur dressed with a tiny spandex uniform? Logistically it may not be the best option for him to operate, but oh my god! Can you imagine how cute would he be? I would totally buy that!

Marvel.com: Many of these characters are used to working on their own. Does it take them a while to figure out how to work well together?

Javier Garrón: That’s a great question! Our initial story brings our heroes together for the first time, amongst extremely difficult circumstances—that is, the Secret Empire event—and with very different personalities and backgrounds, in some cases I must say quite opposite! The great thing about the story we’re building is that it gives each character some room to breathe and show herself/himself as the main story moves forward, but also allowing them to interact; it’s an artful triple juggling art that Matthew Rosenberg, our incredible writer, is accomplishing with perfection.

In a natural way of developing the story, these heroes won’t make an instant team the moment they meet. They’ll have to figure out what it is that makes them need each other, why the world needs them both as separate heroes and as a team. We have an amazing cast of heroes for the team, but it doesn’t feel like a natural fit in the first place, they don’t seem like they’ve been best buddies for a long time. They look more like people who wouldn’t actually hang around with each other if they had to choose. But that’s when the magic of the scripts [comes] in, and these awesome dynamics between the characters start to happen. Things start to build up. And, in my humble opinion, I think that’s way more fun, to be able to see how things grow and happen, instead of be given things already done. It’s certainly more rewarding as an artist and I think it pays off in a more satisfying way for the reader—which is ultimately what we’re all here for.

Marvel.com: The book features everyone from a huge red dinosaur to the shape-shifting Ms. Marvel. How is it composing them all in the same panel or splash page?

Javier Garrón: Well, you have to use a lot of tricks and scratch your head quite a bit! One of the main tools we have as artists is the use of perspective. Small objects seem bigger when they’re close to the lens of the camera—I mean, the camera of the mind!—and big objects seem smaller when they are far from it. The thing you have to keep in mind is leaving enough visual references in the panel so the reader can easily get that people didn’t suddenly get shrunk or enlarged, they’re just at different distances from the point of view and from each other. That’s really useful for establishing shots in battles for many reasons, not only for picturing the big characters alongside the little ones.

We have here people with very impressive powers, and to show the true epic scale of that you need space in the panel, that way you kill two birds with one stone! Or you can go for the visual gag, and while keeping a regular shot with the main characters doing their thing, make Devil Dinosaur bend desperately and try to sneak the nose in the background at least! Like saying, you know, “Hey! Hey guys! Hello? I’m here too! Come on!”

Marvel.com: How fun is it working with Devil Dinosaur and Lockjaw?

Javier Garrón: It’s insanely fun! Let’s take Devil Dinosaur. I mean, seriously look at him: he’s a giant T-Rex! He’s scary! But because of his relationship with Moon Girl we have instead this kind of giant red puppy. As a character, he offers a huge range of possibilities, from loyal mascot friend to destructive rage force, so you can do a lot of stuff with him. It’s not just a background prop, you know? Also, not being able to talk gives him a whole new level of silent discourse. You have to force his gestures and facial expressions to make him express what he wants, and that’s just so much fun. I can’t stop thinking about those “sad T-Rex” internet memes with the poor dinosaur trying to grab things, make his bed, or play drums but epically failing because of the tiny arms he has. That kind of visual silent gag makes an instant connection with the character, you feel more for him in less time, it’s incredibly useful as a storyteller.

Also, you get to draw people on a regular basis, and both present day cities and futuristic ones, weapons of all kind and shape, but dinosaurs? Giant teleporting dogs? That’s incredibly fun! Everything that goes a little off the normal is both refreshing and rewarding [on] a creative level.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Matthew so far on this series?

Javier Garrón: Let me tell you, Matt is a genius! His scripts work on so many levels, and he manages to nail each and every one of them. As a reader I feel a bit disappointed when you finish your monthly comic from your favorite character’s series and you’re left with the sensation that nothing happened there, that those were 20 empty pages, and that’s something that won’t happen with SECRET WARRIORS. There’s so much going on! We have two alternate levels of main story, both present and past, set with a perfect pace; we also have the character’s own backgrounds and personalities plus the interactions they have. Plus all the people they find in their way and the villains they fight! Everything moves forward by the hand, so it is quite impressive. And the dialogue’ oh the dialogue! There’s so much fun in that.

I knew [Matthew] was an extremely talented narrator from reading his marvelous previous work, but he’s reaching new heights of awesomeness here!

There [are] so many great things about to happen in this series, but I can’t tell you! Because they’re warriors but, in the end, they’re secret! It’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotions, totally worth the ride, believe me.

SECRET WARRIORS #1 by Matthew Rosenberg and Javier Garrón sneaks out on May 10!

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Matthew Rosenberg spills the secrets behind this new group of Inhumans!

As Captain America’s big secret comes to light in Secret Empire, heroes will rise to the occasion and team up to stop this infiltration from within. But with most of the Royal Family headed into outer space, a group of younger Inhumans—plus Karnak—must unite to battle the threat of Hydra!

Launching in May, SECRET WARRIORS by Matthew Rosenberg and Javier Garron brings together Ms. Marvel, Quake, Inferno, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and Karnak to stand against an old friend now revealed as foe. With the “secret” out, we spoke with Rosenberg about how this new team comes together.

Marvel.com: In Secret Empire, Captain America’s full agenda as a Hydra operative comes to light. How does this affect the Inhumans and give birth to this new team of Secret Warriors?

Matthew Rosenberg: Well, Hydra aren’t the most tolerant of organizations, and the Inhumans are known to be a little “different,” so that puts them at odds. And really that is the birth of our Secret Warriors. Many of them are the Inhumans who are a little outside traditional Inhuman culture. They don’t all get along with each other, and they don’t all agree on how to do things, but they are forced together because of their common enemy. And I think that’s a key point to this book: it’s not about Inhumans, or super heroes, or anything like that. It’s about putting aside differences and trying to help people.

Marvel.com: As the Inhumans/Terrigen Mist story has unfolded over the last few years, the Royal Family has been front and center in protecting their people, particularly those just discovering they are Inhuman. What happens when most of them aren’t around to serve as that shield?

Matthew Rosenberg: You end up with a lot of people, especially young people, who are stuck trying to find their way on their own. Which I love, personally. These are characters whose heroes have left; their mentors have left and their government has left. And the question becomes, “Who are they on their own?” Obviously Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl, and Quake are all heroes on their own terms, but this still has some profound effects on them. There are opportunities for some of our cast to be the next great leaders of Inhuman society, and there are opportunities for some to cut those ties entirely. This is going to be a lot of big choices our Warriors have to make before all of this is over.

Marvel.com: One Royal who is sticking around is Karnak. What role will he play in the book?

Matthew Rosenberg: Karnak is much older, arguably wiser, and definitely crazier than the rest of the team. He assumes a sort of mentor/adviser role as we go, but things are never that easy with Karnak. But he definitely is good at breaking things and that will come up.

Marvel.com: With Quake and Ms. Marvel you have two young heroes with dynamically opposite experiences thus far in their careers—one has spent most of her time in the shadows as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, while the other has fully embraced the traditional costumed hero role, with a fresh “we can all make the world a better place” attitude. How do each of them react to the Captain America news?

Matthew Rosenberg: It’s funny because those two, their different life experiences, are the heart of the book in some ways. The spy vs. the super hero. But Captain America means so much to both of them that it is a real hard blow. It is the kind of thing that can make you question everything you believe in and even yourself. And how they deal with it, what they want to do about it, that is the challenge. Quake is always going to be a destructive force by nature. It’s who she is. And Ms. Marvel is a hero above all else. So watching them have their worlds rattled is a big part of the fun.

Marvel.com: Javier Garron has some experience with the Inhumans, coming off of Inhumans vs. X-Men. What’s it been like working with him on this next chapter in that saga?

Matthew Rosenberg: It’s been amazing! This book is really tricky in a lot of ways. We have a big cast of very iconic looking characters. We have a lot of crazy action and just as much real personal quiet moments. And Javier is just killing all of them. His work is so gorgeous, his characters feel so real, and his pages are so dynamic. There is a fight scene in issue #1 that I thought was pretty neat when I wrote it. Looking at Javier’s art, I think it will be something people really lose their minds over. It isn’t like anything I have seen in a Marvel book in a while. I’ll just leave it at that.

But yeah, this book is 100 percent the Javier Garron art show at this point. I just want to give him the coolest stuff to draw. Luckily for me, sometimes that is Quake sitting alone on the D train and sometimes it’s a dinosaur chasing Hydra agents through a forest. He makes all of it next-level cool.

Marvel.com: Finally, thus far at Marvel you’ve been working mainly on solo books like ROCKET RACCOON and KINGPIN, but now you’re not only getting to tackle a team, but one that’s playing a pretty big role in a Marvel Universe-wide event. What’s it been like for you, taking on Secret Warriors?

Matthew Rosenberg: It’s a dream come true. I know that is as cliché and cheesy an answer as it gets, but there is literally nothing else on Earth I’d rather be doing. Working with these characters, a lot of whom are the legitimate next generation of Marvel heroes, and getting to build their relationships and add little bits to their lives—it’s been amazing. Having Moon Girl and Karnak be weird to each other? Getting to make Quake and Ms. Marvel square off against each other? Helping Inferno become a true badass in the Marvel Universe? It’s the kind of job you hope to get one day if you write comics long enough. I am not taking a second of this for granted. I genuinely love these characters and I really hope that comes through on every page we put out.

It’s all out in the open this May when Matthew Rosenberg and Javier Garron present SECRET WARRIORS!

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