A Uni­verse Re­born

DON'T CALL IT A RE­BOOT... STEPHEN JEWELL GOES BE­HIND THE SCENES ON THE BIG­GEST SU­PER­HERO EVENT OF THE YEAR, ALL-NEW, ALL-DIF­FER­ENT MARVEL...

Comic Heroes - - Contents -

Be­hind the scenes on All-New, All-Dif­fer­ent Marvel.

Fol­low­ing close in the wake of this sum­mer’s

cat­a­clysmic Se­cret

Wars cross­over event, All-New, All-Dif­fer­ent Marvel – the com­pany’s line-wide su­per­hero re­fresh – has been touted in some quar­ters as a rad­i­cal New

52-style re­boot. But while DC con­tro­ver­sially wrote off decades of con­ti­nu­ity when it re­launched its en­tire line in 2011, Marvel Ex­ec­u­tive Edi­tor Tom Brevoort in­sists that the House of Ideas is adopt­ing a more or­ganic ap­proach, de­scrib­ing it as another “pe­ri­odic re­fresh of our pub­lish­ing line” that fol­lows on seam­lessly from 2013’s Marvel NOW! ini­tia­tive.

“It would be a dif­fer­ent story if things hadn’t been work­ing, but on the con­trary, things seem to have been go­ing very well for a num­ber of years now,” Brevoort tells us. “The most any of the Marvel char­ac­ters has needed is the oc­ca­sional nip and tuck. Plus, there’s a value in that his­tory, even if we don’t ob­ses­sively re­fer to it all the time.”

With the likes of Doc­tor Strange, Scar­let Witch and The Vi­sion all be­ing granted their own ti­tles in the next few months, this “nip and tuck” ap­pears to be de­signed to align Marvel’s comic book line more closely with its cin­e­matic equiv­a­lent. But while it might seem like a nat­u­ral move to cap­i­talise on the box of­fice-record break­ing suc­cess of films like

Avengers, Iron Man and Cap­tain America, Brevoort main­tains that Marvel’s comic book out­put will very much con­tinue to pur­sue its own dis­tinc­tive path. “While our comics and our films do feed off of one another in a gen­eral sense, we’re typ­i­cally more fo­cused on just do­ing our own thing, which is

There’ s no need and no sense to rein­vent the wheel in an at­tempt to make it roll bet­ter Tom Brevoort, Marvel Ex­ec­u­tive Edi­tor

telling sto­ries and mak­ing them the best they can be,” he in­sists. “That said, if we know that a char­ac­ter or group is go­ing to be get­ting a huge amount of ex­po­sure in a ma­jor Marvel mo­tion pic­ture, we would be fool­ish not to take ad­van­tage of that as well.” Well, quite.

stark reign

Hav­ing amassed an im­pres­sive 200,000 in pre-or­ders for its first is­sue alone, Brian Michael Bendis and David Mar­quez’s In­vin­ci­ble

Iron Man is be­ing pro­moted as Marvel’s new flag­ship ti­tle. Bendis pre­vi­ously in­cluded Shell­head not only in his nu­mer­ous team line-ups dur­ing his al­most decade­long run on the var­i­ous Avengers core ti­tles from 2004 to 2011, but also in Guardians of the Galaxy’s first arc in 2013. De­spite that he had no im­me­di­ate plans to take charge of the Golden Avenger’s solo ad­ven­tures. “Tom Brevoort has of­fered me the book a few times over the years as I guess he has al­ways liked my Iron Man, and I’ve al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated that,” re­calls Bendis. “But I’ve al­ways had Tony Stark in my life, so I never pre­vi­ously felt like there was an inch to scratch that wasn’t al­ready been scratched.”

View­ing In­vin­ci­ble Iron Man as an op­por­tu­nity to take his col­lab­o­ra­tion with his former Ul­ti­mate Spi­der-Man artis­tic foil David Mar­quez “to the next level”, Bendis will also pen an as-yet-unan­nounced sec­ond Iron Man monthly. “Like the X-Men, Iron Man is like a fran­chise unto it­self, and it re­ally should be treated as such,” he says. “I’ve come up with a great hook for the first is­sue of In­vin­ci­ble Iron Man, which I’m not go­ing to tell you about now, but it sets up all kinds of new pos­si­bil­i­ties for his re­la­tion­ship with the world around him.”

Grad­u­at­ing to New Avengers, Ul­ti­mates and Con­test of Cham­pi­ons af­ter his re­cent spells on Mighty Avengers and Loki, Al Ewing be­lieves that All-New, All-Dif­fer­ent Marvel rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant shift in the cre­ative play­ing field of the Marvel Uni­verse. “It feels a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, and I’m get­ting to do a lot of things that feel new and in­ter­est­ing to me,” he says, cit­ing the case of Sunspot’s re­cent pur­chase of ne­far­i­ous sci­en­tific ca­bal A.I.M. in Avengers World, which he will carry over to New Avengers with the in­sti­ga­tion of the so-called Avengers Ideas Me­chan­ics. “I’m

get­ting to ac­tu­ally not re­turn to the previous sta­tus quo, which is a ma­jor plus for me, as I gen­er­ally like it when a big change sticks, and when Jonathan Hick­man did that [with A.I.M.] it re­ally caught my imag­i­na­tion. And as a mar­ket state­ment, I sup­pose it feels like a chal­lenge, a throw­ing down of the gaunt­let.”

Fol­low­ing Hick­man’s de­par­ture from Avengers and New

Avengers with the ad­vent of Se­cret Wars, the two core Avengers ti­tles will be writ­ten by dif­fer­ent au­thors for the first time since be­fore Brian Bendis’s day. While Mark Waid, Adam Ku­bert and Mah­mud As­rar helm All-New All-Dif­fer­ent

Avengers, Ewing col­lab­o­rates with Ger­ardo San­doval on New Avengers and Jorge Molina joins G Wil­low Wil­son on the all-fe­male A-Force.

“For the most part, Mark is do­ing his stuff and I’m do­ing mine,” says Ewing. “But there are email chains, and we make use of them. We have the abil­ity to link should some­thing come up, and we will, as time goes on. The same goes for ev­ery­one else in the Avengers of­fice, as we’re all able to dive into an email ses­sion at any time, should the need arise. At the time of writ­ing, we’re all work­ing on our own gar­dens, but pretty soon we’ll be meet­ing around our vir­tual Le­gion of Doom-style ta­ble again, to plot dis­cord and ruin!”

UN­CANNY AVENGERS AS­SEM­BLE

In al­most as daunt­ing a prospect as re­plac­ing Jonathan Hick­man on

Avengers, Gerry Dug­gan suc­ceeds Rick Re­mender on Un­canny

Avengers. Now of­fi­cially known as the Avengers Unity Di­vi­sion, the of­ten-volatile combo of Earth’s Might­i­est He­roes and Merry Mu­tants was in­tended to build bridges be­tween the two op­pos­ing camps af­ter the dev­as­tat­ing events of 2012’s Avengers Ver­sus

X-Men. The­mat­i­cally, it built on Re­mender’s epic Un­canny X-Force saga, which was renowned for its labyrinthine sto­ry­lines.

“Rick had such an amaz­ingly large scope for this book and it’s in­tim­i­dat­ing ev­ery time you in­herit a book with so many won­der­ful sto­ries,” says Dug­gan, who hopes that his ex­pe­ri­ence reg­u­larly writ­ing Dead­pool for the past sev­eral years will stand him in good stead on Un­canny Avengers. “One of the fun things I learned from Dead­pool was how to play the long game, and also to know when to pay some­thing off. Our first arc is 100 pages from Avengers

#0 to Un­canny Avengers #4, while #5 is a stand­alone one and done, which just felt right as we needed to de­com­press. So we’ll let the in­di­vid­ual sto­ries be as long or short as they need to be, and we just agreed on some fun char­ac­ter sit­u­a­tions that won’t present un­til at least year two.”

With the Merc With A Mouth sign­ing up for Un­canny Avengers along­side the Hu­man Torch, Steve Rogers, Spi­der-Man, Rogue, Quick­sil­ver and Doc­tor Voodoo, you can ex­pect Dug­gan to bring Wade Wil­son’s trade­mark hu­mour to the fore. “There are some re­ally big sur­prises in store for this book,” teases Dug­gan, who is part­ner­ing with artist Ryan Stegman. “I know

it’s hard for re­tail­ers to guess at a comic’s or­ders be­fore it launches, and num­bers al­ways fluc­tu­ate from the first and sec­ond is­sue. But you’ll want to give us the ben­e­fit of the doubt here, as you don’t want the last scene of #2 spoiled on the In­ter­net!”

When Brian Bendis bows out of his X du­ties af­ter Oc­to­ber’s over-sized Un­canny X-Men #600, script­ing the main ti­tles of the Chil­dren of the Atom will be split be­tween three writ­ers, with Jeff Lemire team­ing with Hum­berto Ramos on Ex­tra­or­di­nary X-Men while Cullen Bunn and Greg Land take on Un­canny X-Men and Dennis Hope­less and Mark Ba­gley are on All-New X-Men. “Brian is a unique ta­lent and his run has been ex­cel­lent,” says Lemire. “But in our case, hav­ing more than one voice is a good thing, as each book can have its own per­son­al­ity. With Ex­tra­or­di­nary X-Men be­ing the flag­ship X-book, we get to set the tone for the over­all di­rec­tion of Mu­tan­tkind, but Cullen and Dennis are very much in­volved in that as well. The three of us are work­ing closely to guide Mu­tan­tkind in the Marvel Uni­verse. We have a big plan in place and we’re all work­ing to­wards it.”

With the Fan­tas­tic Four ap­par­ently dis­banded, Johnny Storm bol­sters the ranks of not just Un­canny Avengers but also Un­canny In­hu­mans. While Reed Richards and Sue Storm’s even­tual where­abouts are cur­rently un­known, Ben Grimm heads out into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy. How­ever, that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily re­sult in Iron Man and his fel­low mem­bers of Earth’s Might­i­est He­roes as­sum­ing a sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced role in the Marvel Uni­verse. “Could the Avengers be any more prom­i­nent than they’ve al­ready been over the past decade?” pon­ders Brevoort. “I don’t re­ally think so – so they’ll con­tinue to be as prom­i­nent as ever, even though the stage is also now oc­cu­pied with the Guardians, the In­hu­mans and a bunch of other groups as well. But the Avengers books have al­ways been at the heart of the Marvel Uni­verse, the cen­tral cross­roads, since vir­tu­ally the be­gin­ning, and that isn’t go­ing to stop now.”

Dis­tinct voices, dis­tinct vi­sions

While Ja­son Aaron and Chris Bachalo tackle Doc­tor Strange, James Robinson and Leonard Kirk are re­launch­ing Squadron

Supreme and War­ren El­lis and Ger­ardo Zaffino are spin­ning off In­hu­mans strate­gist Kar­nak into his own solo se­ries, it’s busi­ness as usual for many other ti­tles, such

as Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man, All-New

Hawkeye and Howard the Duck, which are keep­ing the same writ­ing and artis­tic teams. “This was no dif­fer­ent than our method­ol­ogy for when we’ve done this sort of re­align­ment of our line in the past,” says Brevoort. “We sought out in­ter­est­ing voices who might be able to bring some­thing new to the ti­tles and char­ac­ters that they’d in­habit – both from within our cur­rent ranks as well as from out­side of them. And through­out the process, creators and ed­i­tors pitched projects that they felt pas­sion­ate about.”

With Se­cret Wars open­ing with Marvel’s nu­mer­ous mul­ti­verses vi­o­lently col­lid­ing to form the patch­work planet of Bat­tle­world, it re­mains to be seen whether any other re­al­i­ties, apart from the core

We sought out in­ter­est­ing voices to bring some­thing new to ti­tles

We need a greater diver­sity on the page and cre­at­ing the page

616 uni­verse, will be left stand­ing af­ter the Esad Ribic-il­lus­trated event se­ries concludes with an ad­di­tional ninth is­sue in De­cem­ber. For while Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli’s Spi­der-Man star­ring Miles Mo­rales and Al Ewing and Kenneth Ro­cafort’s Ul­ti­mates will both trans­fer to the main Marvel Uni­verse, Brevoort is not giv­ing any­thing away about how they and Spi­der-verse stal­warts like Spi­der-Gwen and Web War­riors will be in­te­grated into the big­ger pic­ture. “It’s pre­ma­ture to speak about that just yet, as those sto­ries are still to come,” he says. “But each sit­u­a­tion presents its own chal­lenges, and hope­fully we will meet them at ev­ery turn. And if not, then the fans will let us know about it.”

In­di­cat­ing that the Earth-616 Wolvie is still very much de­ceased af­ter last year’s Death of Wolver­ine, fans will ap­par­ently be able to en­joy the best of both worlds with Jeff Lemire and An­drea Sor­rentino’s

Old Man Logan joined by Tom Tay­lor and David Lopez’s All-New

Wolver­ine, which sees erst­while X-23 Laura Kin­ney as­sum­ing the adaman­tium-clawed legacy. “I don’t think that the All-New Wolver­ine is go­ing to sim­ply be a distaff Logan any more than Old Man Logan will just be a greyer Wolver­ine,” coun­ters Brevoort. “In oth­ers words, those char­ac­ters are their own in­di­vid­u­als, and while they will both have their sim­i­lar­i­ties to the clas­sic Wolver­ine, they’ll also each present marked dif­fer­ences as well.”

Orig­i­nally cre­ated by Mark Mil­lar and Steve McNiven in 2008 as a Dark Knight style dystopian fu­ture tale, then res­ur­rected by Brian Bendis for Se­cret Wars, Old Man Logan finds it hard ad­just­ing to life in the present day Marvel Uni­verse. “It throws a to­tally new light on the char­ac­ter, as you sud­denly see Logan sur­rounded by ev­ery­one he saw die, and ev­ery­one

he lost. It pro­vides me with an in­cred­i­ble amount of drama to mine,” re­veals Lemire, who as­serts that nei­ther he nor X-23 are standins for their de­ceased coun­ter­part. “They’re both unique char­ac­ters and they both bring some­thing dif­fer­ent. Old Man Logan is very dif­fer­ent from the dead Logan. He has lived a lot more and lost a lot more than Logan did. Those years and ex­pe­ri­ences changed and scarred him, but they also brought bless­ings too. He had a fam­ily, a wife and chil­dren. And while he lost them, his time with his fam­ily also tem­pered him in some ways.”

Work­ing to­wards diver­sity

Marvel is con­tin­u­ing its at­tempt to more ac­cu­rately re­flect in the pages of its comics the dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties and gen­ders that make up its read­er­ship, with the former Fal­con seem­ingly tak­ing up the Sen­tinel of Lib­erty’s au­gust man­tle on an in­def­i­nite ba­sis in Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna’s

Sam Wil­son, Cap­tain America, and with Ja­son Aaron and Rus­sell Dauter­man’s fe­male-led The

Mighty Thor and G Wil­low Wil­son, Takeshi Miyazawa and Adrian Alphona’s Mus­lim-Amer­i­can Ms.

Marvel both re­turn­ing for sec­ond vol­umes. “The proof is go­ing to be in the ex­e­cu­tion, but the re­cent em­pha­sis on diver­sity is more a case of right-siz­ing than any­thing else,” says Brevoort. “If the Marvel Uni­verse is meant to re­flect the larger world that we all live in, then it stands to rea­son that there needs to be a greater diver­sity of faces, both on the page and cre­at­ing the page, and that’s what we con­tinue to work to­wards.”

Hav­ing re­placed the Ul­ti­mate Uni­verse’s late Peter Parker in 2011 with Miles Mo­rales’s mixed-

Al­ways ex­pect the shock­ing, the thrilling and the mov­ing

race Spi­der-Man, Brian Michael Bendis be­lieves that there is still a great deal of progress to be made. “In the past few years, we’ve seen some pretty big move­ments in the comic book in­dus­try as far as how women and cer­tain cul­tures and eth­nic­i­ties are por­trayed,” he says. “Miles Mo­rales and Ms. Marvel are like the loud­est ver­sions of that, and now we have the ex­tra, added bonus of these new launches, as a lot of creators and ed­i­tors are look­ing at their ma­te­rial to see where they could do more. So you’re now see­ing a big pile of diver­sity com­ing out of the right places and in­ten­tions, and I’m very happy to be a part of that. Ever since I first came to Marvel in 2000, I’ve been do­ing my part in that, if only be­cause of my life and fam­ily dy­namic. I’m aware that there are holes, par­tic­u­larly in Amer­i­can cul­ture, where cer­tain types of peo­ple weren’t be­ing rep­re­sented very strongly. Two of my daugh­ters are African-Amer­i­can and, both as women and African-Amer­i­cans, there wasn’t much on TV or in comics that they could re­late to, and I would think about that as I went forth with my work.”

Na­tive-Amer­i­can hero Red Wolf has also been con­firmed to be get­ting his own book, spin­ning out of the Wild West-themed 1872 book, though it re­mains to be seen which creators will be re­spon­si­ble for chart­ing his new ad­ven­tures.

“We still have a long way to go be­fore we’re com­pletely rep­re­sent­ing ev­ery pos­si­ble group of read­ers to the de­gree where you don’t even think about it any more,” says Brevoort. “But that’s a jour­ney that we’re ded­i­cated to tak­ing. Be­yond that, the thing to ex­pect is al­ways the un­ex­pected – the shock­ing, the thrilling, and the emo­tion­ally mov­ing. That’s what makes Marvel Marvel!”

Above: Bruce Timm’s vari­ant cover for

In­vin­ci­ble Iron Man #1 pays homage to Gene Colan’s clas­sic cover for Shell­head’s first solo book in 1968. Makes a change from riff­ing on Jack Kirby, any­way!

Above: The new Con­test

of Cham­pi­ons isn’t about re­boot­ing Marvel’s very first cross­over, so much as bring­ing the spinoff game back into the Marvel Uni­verse – and no char­ac­ter is too big or too small to be in­volved!

Inset: Adi Gra­nov’s vari­ant cover for

In­vin­ci­ble Iron Man #1.

Above: Look, the Avengers ros­ter has al­ways been... let’s say, rather fluid. There have reg­u­larly been mul­ti­ple con­cur­rent teams, like Avengers West Coast. So the Avengers Unity Di­vi­sion, fea­tured in

Un­canny Avengers, isn’t go­ing to con­fuse any­one com­ing to the comics from the movies, right?

Top: The tagline for the new Un­canny X-Men is “Big­ger threats re­quire more threat­en­ing X-Men.” But log­i­cally, wouldn’t big­ger threats re­quire big­ger X-Men? Bring back the Blob!

Inset: The new Blade is the 16-year-old daugh­ter of the orig­i­nal.

Above: The breadth of the Marvel Uni­verse is ap­par­ent in Guardians Of The Galaxy, Old Man Logan, Ex­tra­or­di­nary X-Men and (inset) The

In­hu­mans. It may be the one uni­verse, but they’re pretty dif­fer­ent worlds.

Above: Although the de­tails are be­ing closely guarded at this stage, the Spi­der-verse too is in for some changes, as well as con­tin­u­ing to fly the flag for in­creased cul­tural diver­sity.

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