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

Written by Jess Harrold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mark Waid tells a new story with original artwork from Jack Kirby!

The main story in CAPTAIN AMERICA #700, by storytellers Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, colorist Matthew Wilson, and letterer Joe Caramagna, serves as a powerful culmination of this creative team’s run alongside the Sentinel of Liberty. But these all-star artists aren’t the only ones getting in on the landmark issue action! The Cap’s co-creator, Jack “King” Kirby himself, contributes to the action as well in a special bonus story written by Waid with colors by Wilson!

In the back of issue #700, Mark Waid took on the mammoth task of repurposing original Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia art from TALES OF SUSPENSE with a brand-new Steve Rogers story. To get the all the details, we caught up with the writer to ask how he went about creating this cross-generational collaboration.

Marvel.com: How did you come up with the idea for this one-of-a-kind story?

Mark Waid: I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long, long time. In the earliest days of the MARVEL ESSENTIALS black-and-white volumes, I came to realize just how many Silver Age and Bronze Age comics artists produced consistent and reliable work in an old-fashioned six-panel grid. To be honest, there weren’t that many who did huge, long, hundreds-of-pages uninterrupted runs in the 1960s and 1970s—John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gene Colan, a few others. But I’d always wondered what it would be like to redialogue their material to create new stories—especially if I could pick-and-choose specific panels to build brand-new pages.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us what your process was like?

Mark Waid: Way more complicated than you’d think.

STEP ONE: I had to pick a character, but that was a gimme seeing as how this was going to be for CAPTAIN AMERICA #700.

STEP TWO: Before I even began choosing the artwork, I had to settle on one and only one penciller/inker team for visual consistency. This immediately winnowed down the number of available Captain America pages pretty substantially—inkers like Syd Shores and Dick Ayers were fine craftsmen, but their work was either too sparse (comparatively) or too centered on very specific scenes (say, World War II battle scenes) that would be difficult to weave into a modern narrative. In the end, based on the volume of collaboration as much as anything, I opted to pull from the Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia stories from TALES OF SUSPENSE.

STEP THREE: I had to narrow the available Kirby/Giacoia artwork down even further, in search of panels that had word balloons and captions that didn’t hide important background art and thus wouldn’t require much if any retouching by the production department. I didn’t want to simply “white out” existing balloons and replace that dialogue—that would mean having not only to write dialogue but then to fit it within specific spaces on the page, with almost no margin for error. What I’d already set out to do would be hard enough. Moreover, I needed panels that would fit into a Silver Age-style six-panel grid—panels of wildly differing sizes would be impossible to jigsaw-puzzle together.

STEP FOUR: I had to look over all the existing pages and, while making detailed notes, get a sense of what kind of story might be told with the artwork at hand. There were a lot of pages of Cap simply fighting modern-day villains in the streets and buildings of New York City. Suppose Cap were racing across Manhattan, facing some sort of gantlet put before him by the Red Skull? If so, why? There were some panels I could use of scientists in a lab. Perhaps Cap was struggling to get something to them? How would the menaces he’d face connect to be part of a cohesive story?

STEP FIVE: All of this left me with roughly 150 pages of artwork from which I could choose panels. I’m pretty versatile in Photoshop and could have begun cutting and pasting on the computer—but at this stage, it was just easier and faster to stay old-school. I printed every page out with my inkjet printer, got out scissors, X-Acto knives, and a cutting mat and built a deck of panels to play with, moving them around constantly in search of building some continuity.

STEP SIX: A rough narrative began to take shape. Here’s a good sequence with Cap fighting the Super-Adaptoid, but I can’t imagine a way to put that villain in the middle of a story and not see him defeated; out it goes. Here’s a run of panels showing Cap fighting a soldier with a raygun back in World War II—is there anything specific in the artwork that locked it into the 1940s? No? Can those panels be incorporated and juggled?

STEP SEVEN: The selection of potential panels grows smaller. Repetitive action poses? Out. Random gunmen just appearing and then disappearing? Out. But I’m finally zooming in on around 50 panels that could tell a story about Cap racing across New York to get to an injured S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in a lab. Hey, look! Here’s the only usable panel that might show such an agent. It’s from much later in the Captain America run, meaning the linework was a little bolder but not uncomfortably so, that’ll fit nicely. Huh—I have a dozen Red Skull panels here—which two or three would make him a presence in the story without having to have him confront Cap directly?

STEP EIGHT: The rough-draft paste-up was done with scissors and tape to arrange the panels into a Silver Age-style grid. I scanned the pages for the Marvel production offices to use as a guide, providing them also with identification as to where each and every panel came from, specifically.

STEP NINE: Production’s ten dialogue-and-caption-free pages come back for dialoguing, and I finally get to work with The King.

Overall, the project took about three days—one to go over the material, one to think up a story, and one to do the actual physical production. It was much more difficult to do than I’d dreamed—but with the right artist (Steve Ditko? Jim Aparo?), it might be fun to take another swing at it down the road.

Read the full story in CAPTAIN AMERICA #700, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee—out today!

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Steve Rogers' former sidekick saves reality in Secret Empire!

 

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

In a way, it always had to come back down to the men who wielded the shield. SECRET EMPIRE kicked off when Steve Rogers revealed himself to be the head of Hydra, surprising everyone, but most of all his former partners Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. Wilson gave up the Captain America mantle to focus on helping people get out of America while Bucky played dead until the time to strike seemed right.

With Rogers revealing his new Cosmic Cube-powered, yellow and green armor at the end of SECRET EMPIRE #9, the time seemed perfect. Rogers displayed exactly how powerful he’d become by not only defeating the assembled Avengers, but also wiping them from existence and completely re-writing history.

Wilson, Barnes and Ant-Man hung back, or maybe part of Rogers didn’t want to see them go. Wilson handed over the last Cube fragment as well as Rogers’ shield, but that all proved a ruse to get a shrunken Bucky inside the Cube with Kobik and her memory’s of the real Steve Rogers!

Rewinding a bit, you might wonder where exactly Bucky’s been during this whole event. Well, in the pages of THUNDERBOLTS, Baron Zemo appeared to have killed him, but in reality Kobik saved the man she considered a friend and protector. 

Thunderbolts (2016) #1

Thunderbolts (2016) #1

  • Published: May 04, 2016
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 14, 2016
  • Writer: Jim Zub
  • Penciller: Jon Malin
  • Cover Artist: Jon Malin
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Playing to the advantage of his presumed death, Bucky made his way to Atlantis where he disguised himself as one of Namor’s advisors and eventually revealed himself to his fellow Invaders in SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD.

Back in the present, Bucky reached into Kobik’s consciousness and pulled his friend back into existence. He succeeded in saving his friend, where Rogers had failed with Bucky during World War II.

With the real Captain America standing in front of them for the first time in ages, Bucky and his friends simply watched as two sides of the same coin battled each other nearly to death.

In the end, Bucky’s faith in the goodness of his friend, Steve Rogers, proved the most important thing he, or any of his fellow heroes, could believe in. Thankfully, he and everyone else on the planet was rewarded for believing in a true hero.

The Empire Strikes Back

SECRET EMPIRE might officially be over with this tenth issue, but there’s still more to look forward to. As seen at the end of this story, Kobik sent the Legacy heroes through a Vanishing Point that will be more fully explored in the GENERATIONS one-shots. The aftermath will continue through some of the monthly titles, while SECRET EMPIRE: OMEGA will examine how, or if, Captain America can regain the trust of the people.

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The sentient Cosmic Cube begins to understand her role in Secret Empire.

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

It all started with a Cosmic Cube who believed it was a person. That’s the basic truth behind the events of Secret Empire, though far from the full story.

Kobik’s origins reach back to her first mention in MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1, though readers didn’t get a full look at her until AVENGERS STANDOFF: WELCOME TO PLEASANT HILL #1. In that crossover, we learned that Maria Hill put a plan into place that would use parts of a Cosmic Cube to re-write villains’ memories so that they would fit in nice and happy in a small town dubbed Pleasant Hill. 

Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill (2016) #1

Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In AVENGERS STANDOFF ASSAULT ON PLEASANT HILL ALPHA #1, Kobik’s origins were revealed. Initially, S.H.I.E.L.D. intended to use pieces of a smashed Cube to make their jail a reality, but the chunks joined together to create a kid named Kobik. That, of course, didn’t stop Hill and company from using her to achieve their goal anyway.

The Cosmic Cube prison idea started making the rounds in public early on in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON, though it took Rich Jones’ work as the super-hacker Whisperer to get the word out Pleasant Hill. Jones actions lead to heroes like Wilson, Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and eventually the rest of the Avengers to make a move on the prison as Baron Zemo and other baddies started regaining their memories.

During the conflagration, the then-old Steve Rogers found himself returned to his more youthful status thanks to a run-in with Crossbones that lead to him needing some healing from Kobik.

What no one knew at that time was that Red Skull had been influencing Kobik from the beginning. Upon gaining sentience, she desired to meet someone who loved her and no one loved their old Cosmic Cube like the Skull. Through their interactions, the Hydra leader indoctrinated the young woman in his ways of hate, even teaching her completely false news-laced history.

Even worse, Skull essentially programmed Kobik to not just rejuvenate Steve Rogers, but implant a series of false memories that lead to his “Hail Hydra” shocker in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1 and everything that lead up through this week’s SECRET EMPIRE #9

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After Standoff, Kobik spent time with Bucky Barnes in the Thunderbolts as well as some of the former villain pals she made in Pleasant Hill. She even went so far as to attempt to rewrite Bucky’s past to make him a Hydra agent, but he rebuked the very notion. When Bucky attempted to explain the reality of Hydra to Kobik, she flipped her wig and nearly destroyed everything in existence until Fixer blasted her, shattering her into the Cosmic Cube fragments.

The heroes have been looking for these pieces since Secret Empire began, but as we learned this week, Hydra attained all but one which lead to the souped-up version of Rogers seen at the end of the issue.

However, a glimmer of hope exists within Kobik herself. Another reveal in #9 came when Steve Rogers realized that he had been existing in a kind of ghost world inside her mind. Having regained much of himself, he seemed ready to jump back into the battle, assuming he could get his hands on a body, of course!

The Empire Strikes Back

If you’re wondering which of the many Cosmic Cubes used by Red Skull resulted in Kobik’s strange relationship with the madman, look no further than Mark Waid’s run on CAPTAIN AMERICA with Ron Garney which ran from CAPTAIN AMERICA #444448. Though presumed dead thanks to the Super Soldier Serum turning on him, Rogers soon woke up to the sight of the long-thought-dead Sharon Carter and the Red Skull. All three had to team up to save their own skins – reality itself – from a Hitler-infused Cosmic Cube. Upon succeeding in that task, the Skull gained control of the Cube itself and did some of his own historical re-writing, but Rogers broke free and used his shield to shatter the Cosmic Cube, slice off the Skull’s arm and blowing everything up. That seemed the end of that particular Cube until Red Skull revealed the true history in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #2

Captain America (1968) #444

Captain America (1968) #444

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Get a blast from the past in these preview pages from artist Nik Virella!

This July, the frontier gets a bit more marvelous!

Marvel is pleased to present 1872 #1, the debut issue from writer Gerry Duggan (DEADPOOL, HULK, NOVA) and artist Nik Virella (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL)! Prepare to see the Marvel Universe like you’ve never seen before as fistfuls of action, drama and suspense await you on Battleworld!

Welcome to the small frontier town of Timely. Among the grit and the gristle of everyday life, corruption runs rampant in this tiny settlement. Local Sheriff Steve Rogers is out to clean up his town – but casino owner Wilson Fisk has other ideas! But when a mysterious stranger comes to town from parts unknown, everything in Timely is about to change – for anyone left standing, that is! Who is this mysterious Red Wolf and what business does he have in Timely?

Find out this July, as 1872 #1 explodes into comic shops and on to digital devices. Saddle up, True Believer, it’s going to be a wild ride!


1872 #1 (APR150784)
Written by GERRY DUGGAN
Art by NIK VIRELLA
Cover by ALEX MALEEV
Variant Covers by EVAN “DOC” SHANER (APR150785)
And SKOTTIE YOUNG (APR150786)
On-Sale – 07/01/15

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Steve Rogers and Devil Dinosaur take on an army of Hulks in these preview pages by Marc Laming!

This May, embark on a desperate mission into uncharted territory as PLANET HULK #1 smashes its way into the Warzones! Be there when Sam Humphries and Marc Laming take you Greenland, Battleworld’s inhospitable northernmost territory. Teeming with an unchecked population of raging Hulks, their unparalleled destruction is the stuff of legend. Now, a battle-worn gladiator named Steve Rogers and his steadfast companion Devil Dinosaur must venture deep within Greenland’s borders in hopes of rescuing a friend. Only an army of Hulks now stand between them and their goal!

Plus, don’t miss a special back-up story this issue from Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa! Explore the untold history of Greenland. What secrets does it hold? What caused this untold outbreak of Hulks? Those answers and more lie in the pages of PLANET HULK #1 this May!

PLANET HULK #1 (MAR150672)
Written by SAM HUMPHRIES & GREG PAK
Art by MARK LAMMING & TAKESHI MIYAZAWA
Cover by MIKE DEL MUNDO
Variant Covers by MUKESH SINGH (MAR150673) & SKOTTIE YOUNG (MAR150675)
Blank Variant Also Available (MAR150674)
On-Sale – 05/20/15

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