Stephen Jewell talks to Ales Kot about his two latest Marvel projects
After meshing real-world politics with sci-fi-flavoured espionage fiction in his creator-owned Image series Ales Kot is set to explore the murkier edges of the Marvel Universe when he relaunches Secret Avengers in March.
Kot describes the new-look book as James Bond meets Arrested Development and first arc “Unbreakable” takes place in space, in the air and on the ground.
Hawkeye, intriguingly, is described as “on the fringe of being there/not being there” but Spider-Woman will definitely be joining Black Widow, Coulson and Maria Hill in the covert division of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – who apparently have to juggle dealing with their own personal problems while combating a new shadowy threat.
“There’s also a special character that I’m not going to divulge but I’m very happy about them being in the book,” reveals Kot, who is joined by artist Michael Walsh, who also drew Zero’s inaugural issue.
“We’re going for something between what I’m doing with Zero and Hawkeye,” says Kot. “There’s humour but there’s also genuine danger. And it’s funny because Hawkeye isn’t exactly the most responsible person, Spider-Woman has her own issues, and it’s easy to go Brazil on a secret superhero team working for a massive spy agency. The absurdity of it is quite visible. The cast is efficient, yet also all over the place – and that’s wonderful for the story dynamics.”
Also in March, Kot will take charge of Iron Patriot, chronicling the adventures of James Rhodes, Tony Stark’s right-hand man. “I’m using a simple Shane Black/Mark Millar/Michael Bay action-thriller three-act structure that I then wring through my head,” explains
It’s kind of like a very classic mainstream
Kot. “It goes in different directions but it’s kind of like a very classic mainstream action movie in the way that I’m approaching the writing.”
In contrast, Kot describes Secret Avengers as more of a layering process. “That’s not to say that Iron Patriot doesn’t have subtext as it totally does,” he says. “But there are ways of layering two layers of subtext and ways of layering 10. I’m going for a few more layers with Secret Avengers because I want to play with something that has a larger overarching arc.”
In Secret Avengers #1, two characters have a conversation that alludes to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias, the inspiration for Watchmen’s big bad of the same name. “That’s partially me tipping my hat to Breaking Bad” he says. “But there’s also an important storytelling reason. There’s a history to the poem that people are not aware of – something I’ve also thrown into the mix – and it all benefits the story we’re telling. At the same time, there’s also a lot of quite explosive nonverbal action.”
Snowpiercer the comic is reviewed on page 105, plus there’s a six-page taster in this issue’s Sidekick on page 146.