New 'Avengers: Infinity War' Character Posters Spotlight Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Published Apr 4, 2018
By Christine Dinh
It’s all been leading to April 27!
There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more.
We’re nearing the April 27 release of “Avengers: Infinity War”! Last week, Marvel Studios revealed five character posters. Now, they’re back with 22 mighty posters spotlighting each of our impressive super heroes ready to take a stand against the threat that is Thanos!
Leading the gallery above is the first Avenger (and birthday boy) himself, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man! See the rest of the Avengers and their super allies — Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa/Black Panther, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing Rocket and Groot, Paul Bettany as Vision, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Dave Bautista as Drax, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, and Benedict Wong as Wong.
“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan Are Ready To Fight Side By Side in 'Avengers: Infinity War'
Published Mar 28, 2018
By Jenn Fujikawa
Cap’s pals are reunited and ready to take on Thanos!
The Avengers are back with more heroes than ever to face the biggest threat in the universe. To take on Thanos the team is going to need help from all sides, reuniting old friends and meeting colleagues.
Both Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) know what’s it’s like to be Captain America’s right hand man. The two actors sat down to talk with Marvel.com on the set of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War,” to talk about what this brand new threat means for the Avengers.
Mackie revealed that the characters went their separate ways after “Captain America: Civil War.” After going in to hiding, the heroes received their call to rally and were ready to assemble once again. “One thing about Falcon I’ve always loved since the beginning of discovering this character is his military background, his belief that his job in life to fight for his fellow man.” It’s this righteousness that Mackie finds so noble about Falcon’s bravery, “So when he hears about those in his overall idea of world destruction, he’s very disheartened and shaken by it. He’s eager to get into the fight against this super evil, this diabolical demon known as Thanos.”
If you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy reunion between Cap and Bucky, don’t hold your breath said Stan, “It went by fast. It felt pretty natural. We weren’t milking the moment or anything. It is what it is. I think the urgency of the circumstance that we find ourselves in kind of makes things go a little bit quicker.” [Note: We covered their ‘warm and fuzzy reunion’ here.]
Assembling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is an unenviable feat. Stan is apprehensive, “I don’t know. I’m sure it’s going to be challenging for sure because there’s so many different tones to these films and that all of these characters carry. So I think it’ll be interesting to see how tonally everybody fits into the same world.”
“It’s not like you see one person who is the lead of the movie. It’s truly and ensemble movie,” explained Mackie. “I would say if anybody is the lead of the movie it’s Thanos. And it’s all of us working around, orbiting Thanos because he’s such a big bad guy.”
The Mad Titan is a definite force to be reckoned with, “He’s the uber bad guy. He’s the worst bad guy of all bad guys of all time,” emphasized Mackie. “So you can’t like put them in three scenes down, then a fight scene at the end. You really have to give them just due. So, our relationship and our scenes are more ensemble based. Everybody playing with a relationship with each other.”
With an ensemble this big, confidence between the directors and the cast goes both ways. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo had faith in their actors, “We’ve been with these characters so long, I feel like they trust us. It’s not like you’re showing up to all new material. You come to it with a history, and that’s part of it also.”
The directors’ trust is something that is important to Mackie, “You know the great thing about their style of directing is it’s really actor-first. It’s really supportive of your craft and your process, and what you bring to the characters. The best thing about working with Marvel is they know what everyone does well, and what you don’t do well. So they put you around people who do well, what you don’t do well. So they put us in a position to win, every single time with every single scene.”
The universe is big and all these heroes from across the galaxy coming together is bound to be a sort of culture clash. As for the Winter Soldier’s reaction to seeing a talking space raccoon for the first time, Stan lamented, “As usual, I question my own stability, mentally and wonder whether or not I should have just stayed asleep. Things clearly did not get better.”
“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!
The Russo Brothers Give Us An Insider Look on How They Tackled 'Avengers: Infinity War'
Published Mar 15, 2018
By Christine Dinh
Get a glimpse on the storytelling elements from balancing tones to collaborations and more.
How do you approach the behemoth that is Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” — a film with ten years of baggage with different storylines, different visions, different tones, to honor? How does a storyteller divide screen time among 40+ major players who are at different stages of their journeys and continue to engage and surprise viewers? The challenge and weight of what this film means to many is not lost on “Avengers: Infinity War” directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.
The Russos entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as storytellers with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” joined by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The team went on to tackle higher stakes with “Captain America: Civil War.” Not to be outdone, they’re now tackling 20-some heroes, multiple locations, six Infinity Stones, and the baddest/most powerful villain our heroes have ever encountered—Thanos, with the next “Avengers” installment. The Brothers shared insight on their approach to the characters, the complications of putting together a project of this scale, and dropped some insights during our intimate set visit.
[Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.]
How “Avengers: Infinity War” Kicks Off
“Avengers: Infinity War” is two years following “Captain America: Civil War.” According to Anthony, “Infinity War” is a “direct corollary to the end of ‘Civil War,’ and our heroes will be heading into this film “with the ramifications of that film at the forefront of this film.”
Continuing, “[‘Infinity War’] is very much about how we move forward from ‘Civil War’ in a big way, and what happens to that division between the Avengers and how does that affect them. What does that mean when the greatest threat they’ll ever face comes to them.”
Despite the two years following “Civil War,” the Russo Brothers have a storytelling philosophy where make sure to “keep any big moments of the characters’ lives on camera.”
We know Cap’s team of Avengers find their way to Wakanda seeking aid from King T’Challa. Joe explained the fortified country is the most “logical place for anyone seeking refuge.”
Meanwhile, Tony Stark has to deal with the consequences of his choice to side with the Sokovia Accords. Our directors haven’t forgotten young Peter Parker. “They basically have a unique mentor/mentee relationship that continues to evolve as they move into this film,” shared Anthony.
With the Guardians, the directors acknowledged the film picks up 5-6 years following “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” The Guardians have had a chance to deepen their relationships with each other where the Avengers haven’t had that chance.
“They’re closer, and they’re tighter, and they’ve been doing it for a while,” said Anthony. “They’ve cemented their chemistry as a team. And they would stand in contrast with the other teams. Potentially.”
They’re thrilled at the chance to take on Thor and lean into his profound experience during “Thor: Ragnarok.” As for Hawkeye, the Russos confirmed he’s on his own journey in this film.
The Directors’ Approach to the Tone and Characters, and their Collaboration with Past Filmmakers
“It’s been a personal journey for us as filmmakers from ‘Winter Soldier,’ of a theme set in that movie that we then tried to expand upon in ‘Civil War,’ that then led to Infinity War,” shared Joe Russo. “It’s how we feel about the characters, as comic book fans, the story that we want to see.”
“It’s not only a culmination of the last ten years of Marvel storytelling, but for us, it’s a culmination of our journey as directors to the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “Having at our disposal all of those characters and allowing ourselves to re-filter them through the way that we see the universe, the way that we feel about the characters, the themes that we really want to bring to the forefront, that’s what these two movies are for us.”
“Everything’s always got to be character based,” proclaimed Anthony. “If we’re sitting in the editing room, watch the sequences for more than 20 seconds without a character having a point of view or moving the action forward, my brain just shuts down. The action for us, it’s always character based.”
In addition to screenwriters Markus and McFeely, the Russos credited the team there were able to work with the past films, including effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw, editor Jeff Ford, DP Trent Opaloch, and stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, to achieving the complex and ambitious nature of “Infinity War.”
It was important for the Russos to honor the journeys and approach the other MCU filmmakers took their characters on, but also make it work with the film they were creating. As Joe explained, the “Russo Brothers-execution” was filtering what others have done “through our very personal expression of them as characters.” Anthony acknowledged, “Everyone is interwoven in this plot in a way where they have an emotional connection to the story…. You can’t tell a movie with this many characters and not have each of those characters show up and honor them from the different franchises if they are not motivated to be there. If there are not in life or death circumstances. If they are not fighting to save their belief system or way of life.”
The Russos equated the MCU process as similar to how comic book stories evolve and involve several comic creators. “[We] found repeatedly that the best and only way for us to move forward is to receive that information, and keep what we like, and explore what we like, and exploit what we like, and tell the story that we want to tell. The same way you do in a comic run when you’re reading it, you go, ‘I want to see someone else’s point-of-view on that.’ That’s what Marvel’s done really well, bringing in a lot of different voices to execute the films.”
It’s safe to say everyone in the Marvel Universe had been involved. During the preparation and production of the third and fourth “Avengers” films, the Russos had the opportunity to collaborate closely with James Gunn, Taika Waititi, Scott Derrickson, Peyton Reed, Ryan Coogler, and producer Nate Moore. With the Marvel Universe progressing in different courses simultaneously and at the time, not yet completed, the Russos adopted a “real collaborative united artists approach” to ensure they were sensitive to the other stories and sharing those elements.
The Sources and Influences
Mark Ruffalo previously alluded to how THE INFINITY GAUNTLET informed the film, but there are clear deviations. Joe further elaborated on the comics source: “Certainly the Starlin book was our jumping off point. It’s a brilliant comic, and the ideas behind it are so large, it’s what pushed us to go for the scale that we’re going for on these movies.”
Joe continuing, “Anth and I love the post-modern comics. We’re also drawing from newer INFINITY stuff, and we’re kind of combining it all into…how do we see elements from each helping the story that we want to tell.”
In addition, the Russos were inspired by ensemble 90s crime films, and the two films that they look to for inspiration in relation to narrative imagery were “Two Days in the Valley” and “Out of Sight.”
“These movies are so complex you need a unifying peace, or a sense of cohesion, and that cohesion can come from a narrative construct that you can apply all the characters to,” explained Joe Russo.
Thanos (Josh Brolin)
True Believers, you’ve never seen a more formidable antagonist in the MCU like the Mad Titan, and he’s on a destructive mission to collect all the Infinity Stones no matter the stakes.
“This movie is catalyzed by Thanos’ decision and an opportunity for him to make a very aggressive move for the stones, a more effective move for the stones than he has ever in the past,” revealed Anthony. “When Thanos decides to do it, he really goes for it. He’s one step ahead of our heroes through the movie and he puts them through a lot of pain in the process.”
“Our job with Thanos is to make him the preeminent villain in the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “In order to be a preeminent villain, you have to do some pretty bad things.”
The Russos stressed that the Infinity Stones are the “bedrock of the film” — “the key driver.”
Prepare Your Hearts
On the subject of Thanos, several of our heroes wield/guard the Infinity Stones putting them in directly in the path of Thanos, elevating the emotional weight. When asked about the invincibility of our heroes, Joe quickly teased, “I’m sorry.”
Acknowledging that every character is someone’s favorite character, Anthony explained, “We like mature storytelling. We like dramatic storytelling. We like intense storytelling. We appreciate conflict, and we appreciate stakes. And without stakes, there really isn’t a lot of value to the story. If you look at the Marvel Universe as a whole, as a story that’s been told for 10 years, you can look at [‘Infinity War’] as the climax. The stakes will be higher in this movie than they’ve ever been, times ten.”
Once the dust settles, we can expect the Avengers to see major casualties as they protect the universe and all of existence from Thanos.
Topping the “Civil War” Airport Fight Scene
“We have an equivalent that’s like if you had a comic book, and you open it up to your double panel, and then you fold it out. And then you fold it out again and again,” said Joe Russo.
Anthony Russo adding, “And you have another comic book laid out next to it.” “So we have the equivalent of that in this movie,” continued Joe Russo.
Hinting at the Untitled Fourth “Avengers” Film
The Brothers on the new challenge of shooting two MCU films at the same time: “Our approach has always been how we look at the project. It’s simply the same thing in the way that the ‘Winter Soldier’ related to ‘Civil War,’ and the way that ‘Civil War’ relates to ‘Infinity War.’ These two movies will also relate…but at the same time, there’s an independence in terms of what the experience is or where the story goes. It isn’t a true two-parter…. It ended up being more of two singular expressions.”
“We always try to make each film different so they don’t get repetitive,” said Joe. “This kind of serialized storytelling…. You have to keep evolving who’s at the forefront, how you’re laying the story out because rigor mortis will set in very quickly. Each character…can shape and color and re-tone an entire film depending on who you’re following. We find them as exciting as complex and inspiring and heartbreaking, and we believe that there are real emotional stakes. This is exactly the kind of movies we aspire to and exactly the kind of movies we look for as film goers in a theater.”
It’s safe to say that we’ve never seen anything like “Avengers: Infinity War.” Closing out the visit, Joe remarked, “If you were to think of the Marvel Universe over the last ten years of the book, this is the ending of the book. There may be new books written, but this is certainly the ending of this book.”
“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!
The Avengers Reassemble on the Set of 'Avengers: Infinity War' to Take on Thanos
Published Mar 14, 2018
By Christine Dinh
Here's everything we saw and learned on the set of 'Avengers: Infinity War'!
True Believers, we’re inching closer to culmination of the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War,” in theaters April 27!
Last summer, Marvel.com had the opportunity to visit the “Avengers: Infinity War” set and now we’re allowed to share with you all the things we learned about the final chapter phase of the MCU. [Warning: If you want to head into the film knowing nothing, do not proceed ahead!]
With that warning in mind, let’s begin and peep some new photos while you’re at it:
[Updated Thursday, March 15]
 Source Material. “Avengers: Infinity War” will deviate from the source material. So don’t go in expecting THE INFINITY GAUNTLET, the 1992 six-issue run.
Mark Ruffalo, who plays Hulk/Bruce Banner, revealed during the visit, “It’s so different from the comic books. There’s elements that are clearly the same, but when you really start to get into the story, everything changes.”
He goes on to add, “[Infinity Gauntlet] is informative…but then again it just gets so off of the topic that it starts to become a little confusing.”
 Witness the King. Hot on the heels of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” our set visit was able to witness a scene unfold as our Avengers — a fully bearded Captain America, a platinum blonde Black Widow, a visibly-wounded Vision holding on to Scarlet Witch, Falcon, War Machine wearing STARK leg braces, and Bruce Banner — make their way off the Quinjet in the country of Wakanda. Our current roster of Avengers are greeted by King T’Challa, the Dora Milaje, and Bucky.
Some of our heroes have not seen each other in a very long time following the events of Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War.” Steve and Bucky embrace while Sam approaches with a quip, “Are you gonna snap and kill someone if they say bologna sandwich?”
T’Challa asks, “How big of an assault should we expect?”
“A pretty big one, sir,” Cap replies.
As seen at the end of “Black Panther,” T’Challa has brought Wakanda out of the shadows. Is the nation ready for Thanos to bring the fight to them? That’s left to be seen.
 Avengers (Re)Assemble. As highlighted in the scene above, some of our heroes will be meeting each other for the first time, while others haven’t seen each other since the end of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” or “Captain America: Civil War.”
For instance, our Avengers are meeting the healed Bucky, now known to his Wakandan allies as “White Wolf.” Banner has been missing in action on his cosmic adventure, and may know how big a threat Thanos really is.
Get prepared for tons of amazing pairings!
 Children of Thanos. The Mad Titan himself will not be operating alone. As we’ve seen in the trailers, Thanos likes to get his hands dirty but he also has those to do his bidding. Enter the Children of Thanos. While on set, we were shown maquettes of Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, Cull Obsidian, and Corvus Glaive. Get a glimpse of the Children of Thanos maquettes during our D23 2017 coverage here.
Maquettes of Smart Hulk, who we caught a glimpse of in “Thor: Ragnarok” and angsty Tween Groot, as seen in the end credits of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” made an appearance.
 Costume Upgrades. You can bet our heroes are going to look their baddest and sharpest versions as they take on the Mad Titan. We’ve already seen Bucky and Cap get some upgrades thanks to Wakanda’s source of Vibranium. Spidey has a pretty sweet revamp courtesy of Tony, while Rhodey has STARK leg braces to help him navigate the injuries he endured during “Captain America: Civil War.” We can expect these aren’t the only heroes who will leveling up their armor.
That’s all we can share for now, but keep it on Marvel.com as we start rolling out interviews with the directors, screenwwriters and stars over the next few weeks!
 IMAX. The Russo Brothers revealed the entire film was shot by IMAX Arri 65 cameras. With unbelievably larger-than-life characters, the IMAX cameras helped the directors frame the shots and capture the intricate beauty of the exotic landscapes. Not only that, the evolving visual effects technology will push what Josh Brolin can do as a performer.
The issue features Captain America and Winter Soldier attempting to track down a terrorist. However, they’re not the only ones and Iron Man soon shows up as well. The issue promises to offer plenty of first looks and surprises for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans.
We caught up with Walker to talk about the intimidation factor that comes along with a project like this, working with Pilgrim and playing in this different Marvel sandbox.
Marvel.com: How does it feel to be working on a book like this that sets up such a highly anticipated film?
Tigh Walker: How doesn’t it feel, TJ? Know what I mean?
I think in an early e-mail to [editor] Mark [Basso], I used the word “intimidated” about 73 times. He responded, asking why I’d sent him an e-mail that just said “intimidated” 73 times without any context and I told him that it’d make sense later on when I was talking with TJ, and not to worry about it. So he sent me back a GIF of an alligator making cupcakes and we both laughed and I wasn’t so intimidated anymore, but I was slightly obsessed with alligators making cupcakes from that point on.
Also, I was really excited and honored to be a small part of it all, I mean… it’s Avengers! Did I mention it felt intimidating?
Marvel.com: How was it getting an early peek at what the characters would look like in the film and translating that to the page?
Tigh Walker: How doesn’t it feel, TJ? Know what–wait–sorry, got my answers mixed up, let’s try that again. It was super cool getting to see a little bit of what’s to come for these characters.
And it was fun but challenging to translate them to the page, because you want something that’s representative of what they are and will be, but you also want it to be a bit of a different flavor because it’s not the same medium, if that makes any sense.
Marvel.com: Did any of the costumes or characters give you more trouble than others when figuring them out?
Tigh Walker: Yes, absolutely! Iron Man’s costume was tough to figure out from certain angles for sure and Captain America’s torso/chest design-y bits were a little tricky at first, but once you figure them out, it’s smooth sailing.
Really, the Winter Soldier’s beard was the toughest out of all of them. Is it a beard? Or is it more of a 5 o’clock shadow thing he’s got goin’ on? Is it a beard junior? Needless to say, I toiled over it, made lists, diagrams, apple pie charts and then I chugged three Cherry Coke Zero’s, threw a goat into a lake and said to myself “Maybe don’t think about it so much? Maybe it’s more of a feeling than a beard?” And that’s really when it clicked for me and I knew just what to do.
Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the way characters like Captain America and Iron Man react to one another in this story? They didn’t exactly leave each other on the best terms when last they met on the big screen.
Tigh Walker: Well, we start with a conflict you’ve seen in the recent films as a lead-in to some of the new status quo for our heroes.
I’m not sure what I’m allowed to reveal here (Mark?) but we do see a bit of (ahem, Mark?) Cap, Winter Soldier and T’Challa chatting about (Mark-I need you now more than ever!) y’know…stuff and things. And we get a glimpse of Tony’s mindset that leads us right into his actions for the next film.
Marvel.com: How was it working with Will on this gateway to “Avengers: Infinity War?”
Tigh Walker: Working from his script was a ton of fun! It was written “Marvel-Style” which was interesting creatively for me–being fairly unaccustomed to working that way–but I found that I really liked it. It gives you a bit of room to try things out that you might not otherwise have thought of because you’re sort of in a different head-space.
Like when I decided to start drawing all the characters as potatoes, but dressed in their proper costumes… Mark had to reel me in on that one, but having the leeway to turn characters into potatoes, if my heart wanted it, was quite freeing.
All Roads Lead to Thanos in First Official 'Avengers: Infinity War' Trailer
Published Nov 29, 2017
By Christine Dinh
In theaters May 4.
There was an idea…
The first official trailer for Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” has finally arrived. We began our Marvel Cinematic Universe journey together back in 2008. All roads lead to Thanos next year. Get your first official look at “Avengers: Infinity War” right here on Marvel.com above.
Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” the Avengers as we know it no longer exists. Lines were drawn; sides were chosen. The Avengers is nothing more than a team name without any team members. Can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put aside their differences and unite once more? Do they even stand a chance against the Mad Titan who delights in their failure and desperation? Can they stop his thirst for power and chaos as he begins to collect the Infinity Stones?
The trailer packs as many super heroes as it can in a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), and so much more.
“You can fight it. You can run from it. But destiny still arrives.” We know the trailer brought a smile to your face as much as pain and suffering put one on Thanos’ face. Now excuse us while we watch the trailer a thousand more times!
See the culmination of the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when “Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on May 4, 2018. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers and the rest of the MCU as it develops!
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.
Jim Zub traces this Kirby creation from boy sidekick to Winter Soldier!
1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.
Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.
Way back in 1941, Jack Kirby took on the Herculean task of penciling every single page of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1. Not only did that iconic issue feature the future Avenger slugging Hitler on the cover, but it also introduced the world to Steve Rogers, his pal Bucky Barnes, and their enemy The Red Skull—and that’s just the issue’s first eight page tale!
Many years later, Stan Lee and Kirby brought Captain America back for AVENGERS #4 and made him a regular player while also expanding on his adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE, which he shared with Iron Man. While some of the SUSPENSE issues focused on then-current adventures, many took a look back at Cap’s battles during World War II, which included his presumed dead partner Bucky Barnes, thus reintroducing readers to a character who had been off the radar for decades.
“Right from the start Bucky was shown as a fighter who never gave up,” notes writer Jim Zub, who handled a version of the character when he wrote THUNDERBOLTS. “His inner strength defines him, no matter what other things he has to endure as The Winter Soldier.”
In TALES OF SUSPENSE #63, Lee and Kirby expanded on the origins of both heroes. When taking on the responsibilities of writing the current version of Barnes in THUNDERBOLTS, Zub looked to this issue—by way of a reprint in CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #1—to get a sense of the character who, even without powers, decided to assist Captain America in the field upon literally stumbling on his secret identity.
“It would be easy to say that Bucky was naive when he dove into becoming Steve’s partner, but I don’t think that’s the case at all,” the writer opines. “Captain America represents an ideal, a call to service. Yes, the Super Soldier serum gave Steve incredible abilities, but the moral and strong-willed person he was started the whole chain of events. Bucky’s in the same boat. Deep down he’s a good person with a desire to step up and do what’s right.”
Of course, for decades, many believed the story initially told in AVENGERS #4: that Bucky perished thanks to an explosive drone created by Baron Zemo. During writer Ed Brubaker’s epic run on CAPTAIN AMERICA in the mid-2000s, though, we learned that, like Steve, Bucky fell into the water, still alive. Eventually the Russians fished him out, took advantage of his amnesia, mentally programmed him and turned him into The Winter Soldier.
Down the line, Steve used the Red Skull’s busted-up Cosmic Cube to give Barnes all of his memories back. Since then he’s taken over for Rogers as Captain America, ventured into outer space, and recently escaped death once again to assist Namor in Secret Empire. `
“In THUNDERBOLTS #11 we can see Bucky struggling with his memories of Steve and their close friendship set against the troubled assassin he will become as the Winter Soldier,” Zub relates. “The optimistic young boy shown in Kirby’s original story is still there, but it’s tempered with so many more traumatic memories.”
Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.
Jim Zub brings Bucky back to a key moment in his past!
Like all of us, Bucky Barnes has had some dramatic, defining moments; experiences that set off a chain reaction of cause and effect in his life.
In the upcoming THUNDERBOLTS #11 on March 29, Bucky will revisit one of those moments, and explore what led him to become the Winter Solder. He’ll also confront the truth about Steve Rogers.
We caught up with writer Jim Zub about what we can expect from this exciting story.
Marvel.com: The THUNDERBOLTS and CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS storylines have led to this point where it makes sense for Bucky to start to figure out Steve’s secrets. Can you tell us a little about the experience of bringing the story to this dramatic moment?
Jim Zub: It feels great to contribute to something that has been slowly and carefully built over such a long period of time. We really had the space to mold the relationship between Kobik and the rest of the team, especially with Bucky, and now all that will pay off with emotional intensity as Secret Empire kicks into gear. Through each part of “Return of the Masters,” our THUNDERBOLTS anniversary story that leads into [the event], we’ve got big revelations and payoffs.
Marvel.com: This issue takes Bucky back to one of his most infamous moments: when he jumped onboard a plane carrying a bomb during World War II that ultimately led to his assumed death and becoming The Winter Soldier. Why did you make that choice, and what can Bucky hope to accomplish?
Jim Zub: Once I found out that Kobik, a living cosmic cube, would be on the team and I learned about her abilities, I started thinking about the most intense thing she could do to “help” Bucky. Sending him back to World War II so he could try and change his fate stuck in my head, and I felt thrilled that we could make it a part of the bigger story. It brings James back to his roots and shows how far he has come.
Marvel.com: The truth of Steve’s past has become a huge issue lately, and now we’ll see Bucky looking at his own past and what led him to become The Winter Soldier. Do you see any significance in having Steve and Bucky’s stories parallel each other in this way?
Jim Zub: Steve and James have an incredible bond, but at crucial points in their stories they’ve gone down similar, but ultimately very different paths that define them. Exploring how those fit together and the decisions that made them who they are deepens our understanding of their heroism, or now, in Steve’s case, his role as a villain.
Thunderbolts #11 cover by Jon Malin
Marvel.com: Steve and Bucky had a recent run-in at S.H.I.E.L.D. And their friendship always seems to run into stumbling blocks. What do you think we can expect for the two of them in the near future? Will they ever get to just have fun being BFFs?
Jim Zub: I know where Secret Empire will go and I’ll tell you that we’ll head deep into the darkness before we’ll see any possibility of pushing through to the light. Cap and Bucky’s friendship—and their loyalty to each other—has never faced a test like this. Whatever happens, they won’t come out of it the same—if they come through to the other side.
Marvel.com: We can see Steve and Bucky as, in a lot of ways, mirror images of each other, with Steve as the perfect hero and Bucky as, in some ways, the black sheep that Steve could have become if things had gone a little differently for him. But lately, we’ve seen their roles somewhat reversed, with Steve as the one keeping secrets and Bucky as the “man on the wall” and the moral compass of the Thunderbolts. Has that played into this story at all for you?
Jim Zub: That contrast factored into our plan right from the beginning. The Winter Soldier has taken on a heroic leadership role, albeit with a group of sometimes-villains, and we see Steve now acting in a more clandestine way and hiding his true nature from everyone who has trusted him for years. We’ve got a fun bit of push and pull as we test what makes these characters so great, and we keep readers guessing where it all leads.
Marvel.com: Would you like to mention or tease anything else?
Jim Zub: I’ve had such a blast writing the Winter Soldier and the rest of the Thunderbolts because I see these characters as incredibly flawed people trying to find their way in the world. Like the best Marvel characters, their flaws make them more relatable and, even when they mess up, you can’t help but root for them to come out on top.
Relive a key moment in Marvel history with THUNDERBOLTS #11 by Jim Zub and Jon Malin, coming March 29!
Captain America's Wartime Friends! Watch A New Episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The--?!
Published Oct 5, 2016
Cap is reunited with one of his long lost friends!
With a little downtime, Captain America reminisces on the good ol’ days with his war buddies. It’s hard not having anyone from his past around. What’s Cap’s version of the best day out when he finally gets reunited with Dum Dum Dugan? Find out now in the latest episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?!