Mark Millar goes global with The Ambassadors
INTRODUCING a sextet of new superheroes from across the globe and illustrated by some of the best artists around, Mark Millar’s new miniseries The Ambassadors is his most ambitious yet – at least until mega-crossover Big Game arrives in the summer.
“Getting to do a project that’s set in loads of countries that I haven’t even been to, there was loads of research, as each one is set in a different territory such as Brazil, Mexico or Australia,” Millar tells Red Alert. “Everyone’s got their own individual story and it has to feel authentic, so I had to check in with the local people, such as, ‘Is this how kids talk in India right now and do they have the Americanisms that are creeping into the big cities?’ It was tons of work, and it actually took me four years, so I’m really glad it looks so good.”
The Ambassadors grew out of what Millar saw as a gap in the market. “I always like to do what I’m not currently seeing,” he explains. “It’s like Superman: Red Son was very simple because it was the antithesis of Superman, and Kick-ass was a superhero who had no superpowers. With this, I thought all the superheroes all come from America and they’re actually all in New York City, which is a bit odd. The rest of the world is completely unexplored.”
The series opens with an introductory issue set in South Korea and drawn by Frank Quitely. Millar recruited a host of top artists to work on the five remaining interconnected one-shots, including Karl Kerschl, Travis Charest, Olivier Coipel, Matteo Buffagni and Matteo Scalera. “I literally had my dream wish list and I never thought I’d get them all,” he says. “I never thought I’d get Travis Charest, who is doing France – which is quite helpful as he has lived there, so he knows it. When he draws Paris, it’s quite authentic, and a French train looks like a French train.”
That first issue centres on Korean genius billionaire Dr Chung, who sets out to establish her own global super-team. “I like the idea of bestowing superpowers on people,” says Millar. “It’s like the 21st century version of the [Willy Wonka] Chocolate Factory and the Golden Ticket. There’s six people in the world who are going to be given superpowers and you have to work out who really deserves it, as there’s all these people from around the world who just want to be famous, and one billion people apply in a week. You’re going to be an ambassador to your country, so you’ve got to be a good person and have a clean track record.
“I also look at superheroes as like a fire and rescue service – an international rescue squad who are almost like Thunderbirds, so if there’s a problem somewhere they basically put all these guys on a plane and drop them in. So if there’s a Fukashima-type situation, they can sort it out.” The Ambassadors issue one is out on 29 March.