Author Archive for Dave Richards

Can’t Trust the Internet? Image’s Analog Explores What’s Next

Can’t Trust the Internet? Image’s Analog Explores What’s Next

The Internet is a useful tool for transmitting secret information across the globe — if you have the resources to truly secure and protect that info during its digital journey. The rich and powerful often spend a large part of their fortune to insure their many secrets are safe online — but what would happen though if there was suddenly no way for anyone to safeguard digital information? What if a cyber attack put transporting and protecting secrets back in the hands of cunning and capable couriers?

This April, writer Gerry Duggan, artist David O’Sullivan and colorist Jordie Bellaire will take readers to just such a world when they kick off their new creator-owned Image Comics series, Analog, which is set in a near-future, lo-fi, cyberpunk style world where special couriers must deal with danger and subterfuge to protect, deliver, and uncover global secrets.

RELATED: Gerry Duggan Discusses His Plans for the Infinity Stones & Their Wielders

CBR spoke with Duggan about the inspiration for the series, its tone — which blends action, comedy and neo-noir style intrigues — and its eclectic cast of characters that include a frequently beat-up protagonist, his mysterious and violent girlfriend, and even a bizarre representation of artificial intelligence.

Analog #1 cover by David O’Sullivan

CBR: Gerry, it looks like Analog is several things in terms of the overall genre, story and characters. One of the big elements, though, is speculative sci-fi, because you’re looking at a near future where our world and how we communicate has been changed by a devastating cyber attack. So what can you tell us about the status quo of the world when you kick things off in Analog #1?

Gerry Duggan: The world is a different place because nobody uses the internet to transmit secrets anymore. The internet still exists for adult entertainment, but corporations, governments and the folks running our kleptocracy would never trust their data to it. They turn to a more secure method to move information: Ledger Men. The era of armed couriers returns. Ledger Men are a Pony Express for the people that can afford it.

As a writer, any time you can get rid of current conveniences like mobile phones and computers it really helps your story. To be able to tell a future noir, and ditching some of the things that ruin stories like mobile phones, has been a lot of fun. It’s a hardboiled story. Armed men and women with briefcases cuffed to their wrists. This is what David O’Sullivan and Jordie Bellaire were born to work on.

At the center of Analog are the couriers you mentioned who have been dubbed “Ledger Men.” What can you tell us about them and their legal status in this world? And do other legal organizations that regulated crime and communication like the police, the FBI and the NSA play roles in your story?

Our story opens up in a pretty chaotic 2024. It’s been years since the cloud crashed to the ground spilling all the secrets, and a new normal has settled in. Ledger Men don’t have legal protected status, but they’re very good at what they do. One of the antagonists that our hero is going to run into is a woman known only as “Aunt Sam.” She’s trying to reconstitute the NSA, but by bringing back rooms around the world filled with copiers. They’re trying to snoop on the Ledger Men by getting peeks into their briefcases. It’s a good opportunity to have an old-fashioned crime caper, but set it in a cyberpunk style future.

It sounds very serious, but it’s been a lot of fun, too. We’re vaulting over the current political climate, but dealing with some elements that have been emboldened by it. The streets are filled with white supremacists and Jack McGinnis has a romantic interest that is also his partner in crime. Her name is Oona and she’s out fighting white supremacists in the streets. I wish that felt more out of left field.

Analog #2 cover by David O’Sullivan

The solicits describe your protagonist, Jack McGinnis, as a human punching bag. Reading that, the first thing that came to my mind was the classic television private eye, Jim Rockford. Was that sort of what you were aiming for with him?

Yeah, I think so. I was raised on a steady diet of The Rockford Files and Magnum P.I. That’s part of why the Shane Black film The Nice Guys resonated so much with me. I learned to write by reading all of Shane’s screenplays going back to his college days and un-produced stuff like Shadow Company. My friends and I would trade screenplays back in the day, and we still share screenplays today. I think Shane would count Rockford as an influence.

Jack’s not much of a hero, but he’s a character that is getting by doing what he does best, and he’s someone we can root for. He also has a secret. He was one of the people responsible for the doxing. It weighs on him, but he believes he did the right thing at the time.

It’s something that he carries with him. The human wreckage out on the streets has his fingerprints on it.

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The post Can’t Trust the Internet? Image’s Analog Explores What’s Next appeared first on CBR.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Jumps Eight Years Into the Future

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Jumps Eight Years Into the Future

In Marvel Comics Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, the title character’s list of responsibilities includes being a good father and husband as well as a mentor figure to heroes with less experience than him. The series follows the family-style super heroics of Peter Parker, his wife Mary Jane and their daughter Annie. And while the book’s initial twelve issues chronicled the Parkers’ harrowing adventures with a variety of villains while Annie was still a young girl, the next era will be even more difficult and dangerous as it takes place during Annie’s adolescence.

RELATED: Renew Your Vows Is The Married Spider-Man We Always Needed

That new era began in Renew Your Vows #13, where the series new creative team of writer Jody Houser and artist Nick Roche kicked off their run by jumping eight years into the Parker family’s future. What’s life like for teenage Annie? How are Peter and Mary Jane coping in their personal and heroic lives? And what classic Spidey villains are waiting in the wings for the Parker clan? For the answer to those questions and more, CBR spoke with Houser about her plans for the series.

CBR: In Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #13 you pick up the adventures of the Parker clan after the eight year time jump that came at the end of issue #12. What was behind this approach?

Jody Houser: I’ve always had a deep and abiding love of alternate universes, and I find teen heroes on the cusp of figuring out who they are and the shape of their life to be compelling. Throw Spider-Man into the mix (Holy crap, Marvel let me write a Spider-Man book!), and it’s just an absolute blast to write.

The glimpse we got of Annie May Parker at the end of issue #12 suggested she’s a pretty happy and well adjusted teen with a good sense of right and wrong. What’s your sense of the character?

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #14 by Nick Roche and colorist Ruth Redmond

She’s a good kid raised by good parents, but that doesn’t mean that life is always happy or easy for her. She’s at an age where she doesn’t feel her parents really get her and all she’s capable off. Not to mention that the fact her dad is Spider-Man just isn’t as cool as it was when she was little. She still wants to be a hero, but she’s starting to push towards doing it on her own terms.

What can you tell us about the personal life that Annie has sort of carved out for herself? What kind of peer group is she part of out of costume, and does she have any super powered friends her own age?

That’s actually going to be a big element of our second arc. Despite being in her second year of high school, Annie is still figuring out where she fits in, as well as how her civilian and superhero lives work together.

What’s sort of the status quo for Peter and Mary Jane when you pick up with them? How are they handling being parents to a teenager? And has Mary Jane found a way to get spider powers of her own? Or is she still employing Regent tech to borrow some of Peter’s abilities?


Peter and MJ are still scraping by in their civilian lives, and it’s getting harder. While they’re both close to Annie, dealing with a teenage temperament isn’t always the easiest thing. And MJ is still using the Regent tech for the moment.

What’s it like working with your collaborator Nick Roche, who’s probably best known for his work on IDW’s Transformers titles?

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #14 by Nick Roche and colorist Ruth Redmond

Honestly, my favorite thing is just how much fun it is to throw both the action and the character moments at Nick. He’s great at both and he’s always so excited about where the story is going. “You mean I get to draw _____?” There’s nothing better than working with collaborators who are having a blast.

It looks like the first villain you and Nick will be pitting against the Parkers is the Lizard. What made you want to bring that character into the book? What do you find most interesting about him?

It certainly looks like that! The Lizard is such an iconic villain, but also a sympathetic one, which is generally the case for most of my favorite villains. We’re going to be playing with both sides of that.

We really wanted to do a fun story that had a classic superhero feel, with a good dash of interpersonal interaction/drama. Basically, a story that felt like it made sense under the Marvel Legacy banner.

Finally, what kind of initial role will the larger super hero universe play in your Renew Your Vows run? Will we get cameos or full on appearances from groups like the X-Men or the Avengers? And see institutions like say S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Short answer: Yes, at least for individual characters. One of the fun things about books like this is you don’t have to worry about who’s dead or in space or depowered or etc. You have all the tools in the toybox to play with.

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #14 by Nick Roche and colorist Ruth Redmond

The post Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Jumps Eight Years Into the Future appeared first on CBR.

Old Man Logan’s Not Gonna Deal Well with Wolverine’s Resurrection

Old Man Logan’s Not Gonna Deal Well with Wolverine’s Resurrection

The title character of Marvel Comics’ Old Man Logan hails from a nightmarish potential future, a version of the Marvel Universe that’s been devastated by supervillains, which makes his current situation one that’s continually taking some getting used to. Not only has he had to fight side by side with the counterparts of heroes he was duped into killing in his home dimension, he’s also had to attempt to fill the massive shoes of the Marvel U’s younger (and deceased) Wolverine. Series like X-Men Gold and Old Man Logan have chronicled the grizzled, elderly Wolverine’s attempts to find his way in this strange new reality, and now, just as he’s found his footing, his world is about to shift in two tumultuous and dangerous ways.

RELATED: Marvel Teases Original Wolverine’s Return, More Infinity Stone Revelations

His first big challenge comes in November’s Old Man Logan #31 by writer Ed Brisson and artist Mike Deodato. The issue kicks off a Marvel Legacy arc titled “The Scarlet Samurai,” and will pit the former Wolverine against both foes and friends from his past. The other challenge will most likely arrive early next year when Old Man Logan finally crosses paths with his resurrected Marvel Universe counterpart, who was revealed to be back among the living in the recent Marvel Legacy one-shot.

CBR spoke with Brisson about the impact of Wolverine’s return, the inspiration for and identity of the Scarlet Samurai, and the role Wolverine’s old foes, the Hand, will play in this new arc.

CBR: Ed, let’s start with the big news in the world of Wolverine, the fact that the Marvel Universe’s Logan has returned. What can you tell us about the implications of Wolverine’s resurrection on Old Man Logan? What’s your sense of how your protagonist might react to Wolverine’s return?

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Deodato Jr. and Frank Martin’s art from Old Man Logan #31

Ed Brisson: I suspect he won’t deal with it well. This isn’t really Old Man Logan’s timeline, and deep down, he knows that. He’s a proxy Wolverine for the X-Men. And, while the original Wolverine was gone, that was easy enough for everyone to forget.

Now, with Wolverine back, that doesn’t mean that the X-Men are going to put Logan out. Far from it. There’s plenty of room for Old Man Logan in their hearts, but I do think that this is something that Old Man Logan is going to internalize and have a good amount of grief over. He may not talk about his feelings, but he’s still got them. He’s the kind of old codger who doesn’t want to get in the way, but would probably just wonder off so that he doesn’t feel like a burden.

In Old Man Logan #31, you kick off a new Marvel Legacy arc titled “Scarlet Samurai.” What can you tell us about this arc’s title character?

Scarlet Samurai is a new identity for an existing character. She’s someone from Logan’s past, which is all I can say on that.

The idea to bring this character back, to reinvent her, was inspired by the Legacy push. We wanted someone who was familiar to readers, but presented in a way that still adds to Logan’s story. Something fresh.

This new arc also involves the Hand. Obviously, they have a long standing rivalry with Wolverine, but what do you find most interesting about them as an organization? Which aspects of the Hand are you interested in exploring in this story?

To me, The Hand have always been, more or less, cannon fodder (claw fodder?) against folks like Logan. What I wanted to do in this arc is upgrade them, make them more of a threat. What happens when The Hand become unkillable?

What else can you tell us about the supporting cast of this arc? Will Old Man Logan run into some other familiar friends and foes?

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Deodato Jr. and Frank Martin’s art from Old Man Logan #31

You know it! Along with The Hand, we’ve got Gorgon (Tomi Shishido), who has, in the past, successfully led The Hand in battle against Wolverine. And you know if you invite one samurai to the party, you gotta invite them all, so look for an appearance from Silver Samurai.

Another element that I’m excited about for this new arc is the fact that Mike Deodato will draw it. I’ve been a fan of the way he’s drawn martial arts style action ever since his Shang-Chi arc of Secret Avengers. What’s it like working with Mike on this story?

Mike is dream to work with. Every day I wake up and there’s a fresh page in my inbox, I swear to you, it’s better than a morning cup of coffee.

I think the thing that Mike really brings to the story is the larger than life feel. We have a scene with Hand ninja invading a building and he drew literally thousands of them (millions maybe!). He doesn’t back down from any challenge — dude just gets in there and sells the hell out of everything I write. Everyone should be so lucky as to work with Deo.

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Deodato Jr. and Frank Martin’s art from Old Man Logan #31

Finally, what sort of hints and teases can you leave us with about how the first few months of 2018 will treat Old Man Logan? What kinds of stories can readers expect

Oh man. We have plans. I can’t get into it, but we’re starting to seed in a lot of stuff right now that will have long term consequences for Logan. Some of those consequences we’re going to see taking effect immediately after the “Scarlet Samurai” arc, and some will pay off a year down the line.

In terms of stories, I think we’re going to see more of Logan looking for a connection and, more importantly, trying to find his place in a world where this world’s Wolverine is back.

The post Old Man Logan’s Not Gonna Deal Well with Wolverine’s Resurrection appeared first on CBR.

Peter Parker’s ‘Sister’ Has A Big Role to Play in Spectacular Spider-Man

Peter Parker’s ‘Sister’ Has A Big Role to Play in Spectacular Spider-Man

When you live in the Marvel Universe, you never know who you’ll run into on a day to day basis — especially if you’ve got one foot in the superhero world and the other in the mundane. For example, look at New York’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, or as his family knows him, Peter Parker. One day, Spidey could cross paths with one of his offbeat but dangerous villains, and the next day he could reconnect with a superspy who may or may not be a long lost family member.

RELATED: Spectacular Spider-Man Delivers a Shocking Return from the (Recent) Past

In the opening issues of the new Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man series, by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert, Spidey has done both. He’s currently fighting alongside Teresa Durand, an intelligence agent who debuted in 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business graphic novel by Mark Waid, James Robinson and Gabriel Dell’Otto, where she was manipulated into believing she was Peter Parker’s sister. And to make things more complicated, it turns out that she just might, in fact, be Peter’s long lost sibling! But before they can figure that mystery out, the duo have joined forces with Spidey’s best friend, the Human Torch, to take on his two most sinister (and geriatric) foes — the terrible Tinkerer and the Vulture.

CBR spoke with editor Nick Lowe about Spidey’s senior villains, Teresa’s role in the book, and what kind of impact Peter Parker’s post Secret Empire Staus quo will have on Spectacular Spider-Man. We’ve also got an exclusive first look at one of Kubert’s art from upcoming issues.

CBR: With this initial arc of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man it’s obvious that Chip is really having fun with some of Spidey’s older villains like the Vulture and the Tinkerer. What was your reaction when Chip pitched you a story with these characters? What kind of potential do you think they have as villains?


EXCLUSIVE: Adam Kubert’s art from Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #297

Nick Lowe: Chip loves old people, so it was the opposite of a surprise when he pitched the Tinkerer and the Vulture and Aunt May elements. All three have great villainous potential!

Another interesting character Chip has brought back into the fold is Peter Parker’s possible sister, Teresa. What can you tell us about the role she’ll play in the book moving forward?

Quite a big one! I was so pleased when Chip wanted to include her in this story, I love the Family Business graphic novel!

RELATED: Does Spider-Man Actually Have a Sister or What?

In the most recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man Dan Slott introduced Peter Parker’s post-Secret Empire status quo. Will we see that status quo reflected in Spectacular Spider-Man soon? How will it impact the direction of the book? Will both Amazing and Spectacular be focused on New York-based Spidey tales?

You will! Not just yet, as this story is moving very fast and a big time jump like the Secret Empire stuff would require some down time. The books will continue to be very different, but very much about the same Spidey!

Finally, last issue saw a fill-in artist step in to tackle illustrating Chip’s story. Will Adam Kubert continue to collaborate with Chip on Spectacular Spider-Man for the foreseeable future?

Adam’s only taking a one-issue breather that Michael Walsh did incredible art for. Adam’s back with #297 (the issue formerly known as #7) all the way to #300!!!!


EXCLUSIVE: Adam Kubert’s art from Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #297

The post Peter Parker’s ‘Sister’ Has A Big Role to Play in Spectacular Spider-Man appeared first on CBR.

Interview: To Save Daken, Wolverine Must Battle the Orphans of X

Interview: To Save Daken, Wolverine Must Battle the Orphans of X

For Laura Kinney, being Wolverine isn’t just about being the best there is at what she does. It’s about honoring the legacy established by her “father,” the original Wolverine (James Howlett, aka Logan) whom she believes to be dead. That means family is very important for the clone formerly known as X-23, even those members who were estranged from her father, like his biological son Daken. And when Daken goes missing in Marvel Comics’ All-New Wolverine #25, readers will see just how important Laura’s brother is to her.

On sale Wednesday, the issue is the kickoff to an intense and violent Marvel Legacy arc titled “Orphans of X,” by writer Tom Taylor and artist Juan Cabal.

RELATED: 15 Reasons Why Laura Is the Superior Wolverine

CBR spoke with Taylor about the storyline, the relationship between Daken and Laura, and the next time she and her “sister” Gabby’s pet wolverine, Jonathan, will talk.

CBR: In All-New Wolverine #25 you kick off a new arc that brings Daken back into Laura’s life. What’s your sense of the character? How does he view Laura and her talking over their “father’s” mantle? And how does she view him?

Tom Taylor: What’s interesting about Laura and Daken is they are actually quite close. They got to this point in Marjorie Liu’s X-23 series. They are brother and sister, and we saw a lot of that in our “Immune” arc, where Daken shows up not because a city is dying, but because Laura needs him.

You’ll see a bit more of that in our Legacy arc, but it is a very fraught arc. I think these are some of the most violent comics we’ve done in All-New Wolverine, particularly the first couple of issues. I think what Juan Cabal and Nolan Woodward are doing on art is just amazing. We’re jamming really well together, and I’m very proud of this book so far. I think people are going to pay a lot of attention. That first issue should grab people very hard.

What can you tell us about the inciting incident that brings Daken back into Laura’s life?

The inciting incident is, basically, Daken is taken. We don’t know by who, but he’s taken at the very beginning of this arc. Then his arm shows up hanging from a bridge on Roosevelt Island, where Laura, Gabby and Jonathan, the actual Wolverine, live.

I can’t talk about what happens from there, but as far as inciting incidents go that’s the big one. [Laughs]

It seems like you almost set the stage for that with Daken’s appearance in the “Immune” arc, because there’s a scene in that story where Laura comments on how Daken regrew his arm.

That’s right. I think it’s pretty funny. We talked about exactly what was going to get cut off, and I was like, “You know what? He regrew his arm. Let’s cut it off again.” I like the idea that he has a tattooist on call to redo that tattoo every time his arm is removed. [Laughs]

It felt like with Issue 24 you opened up the door for some more fun and humorous scenes in All-New Wolverine by having Rocket Raccoon of the Guardians of the Galaxy give Jonathan the ability to talk. Will we see some of that in this arc.

Jonathan won’t talk all the time; we don’t have that universal translator. It’s around, but I thought about it, and the more I thought it, it would be super-creepy to have your pets talk. I can say, though, that we’ll probably see that universal translator again around Issue 31.

RELATED: Wolverine Goes On the Hunt For Daken in “Orphans of X”

There’s a real drive in “Orphans of X.” Nothing slows down for very long, but I promise Jonathan fans that you will see that translator again.

It sounds like, in terms of tone, “Orphans of X” will be an action-packed and deeply personal tale for Laura.

It is, for both her and Daken. It kind of questions everything, and it’s a very, very intense thing. I think it’s probably the most intense arc, we’ve done so far. That’s saying something after “Enemy of the State II.”

This arc brings up more from the past, and just the ramifications of who she was as a child. We’ll see that very soon.

It feels like in a way Laura has dealt with the horror of her past, but my understanding is that when you go through something as traumatic as what she went through, it comes back periodically throughout your life to haunt you. You deal with it the best you can, and try to move on.

Yeah, absolutely. We wanted to get Laura past a lot of the stuff that happened to her through her childhood and adolescence. That’s never gone, but we want to make sure she’s not a victim anymore. She fights against it, but to suggest what happened to her doesn’t effect her would be silly.

What can you tell us about the antagonists Laura and her allies are up against in “Orphans of X”? Are they facing new creations, or established Marvel foes?

They’re up against new things, but I can’t say anything else other than that. [Laughs] You’ll just have to buy those first two issues, and trust me you’ll want to.

One of the things I’ve loved about your run on All-New Wolverine is the way you’ve handled guest stars. They’re brought in via organic ways and used really well. Will we see any guest stars in “Orphans of X”?

Yes, and that’s all I’ll say. I’m a fan of the Marvel Universe, so any time I get to play with great toys, I’m always happy to. I know the characters well too. So hopefully that comes through in their voices and how I write them.

It does. I also like how you’ve brought in some of the newer versions of classic Marvel characters like the Unstoppable Wasp and Ironheart.

Yeah, I try to read as much as I can and I like to bring in those kinds of characters. With Ironheart, I loved those first issues with her. I thought she had a great, unique voice and we could really do something with her in this book.

I think there will be a fair amount of attention given to the Legacy issues of All-New Wolverine. So you’ll want to make sure you order them from your comic store. Our Generations special with the Wolverines did quite well, so there’s a lot of eyes on Laura at the moment. But I think these issues in particular will draw lots of people in because of just how well the art team has done on them. They are beautiful and really unique. So I’d urge everybody reading this to make sure they pick them up.

The post Interview: To Save Daken, Wolverine Must Battle the Orphans of X appeared first on CBR.

EXCLUSIVE: Greg Pak Talks Aiming Nukes at Weapon X

EXCLUSIVE: Greg Pak Talks Aiming Nukes at Weapon X

In Marvel Comics’ Weapon X, writer Greg Pak and his artistic collaborators have introduced a new iteration of the titular, top secret super soldier program. This take saw the Weapon X program create a new batch of living weapons and unleash them upon an unsuspecting mutant population. Standing in their way is a ragtag band of anti-heroes and villains, whose ranks include original Weapon X program test subjects Old Man Logan and Sabretooth, the mutant mercenary Domino, her former X-Force teammate Warpath, and the cyborg known as Lady Deathstrike. This winter, that team continues its campaign to protect mutants from genocide with a mission to a small South American country that brings them face to face with the ghost of another Weapon X subject: the super soldier known as Nuke.

RELATED: When Apocalypse Was In Charge of the Weapon X Project

It all happens in Weapon X #12, the kick off to a new Marvel Legacy arc by Pak and artist Yildiray Cinar titled “Nuke-Clear War.” The storyline pits Old Man Logan’s team against a platoon of mercenaries powered by the same red pills that energized Nuke, leading him on a rampage though Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen in the ’80s. In an exclusive first interview with Pak about the arc, the writer divulges to CBR information about the band of mercs, the established Marvel nation they’re working for, and what the arc means for the series moving forward.

CBR: In December’s Weapon X #12, you kick off a new arc titled “Nuke-Clear War” which sees your cast going global in their campaign against those who commit mutant genocide. What can you tell us about the country they’re headed to? Is it an established Marvel locale? Or a new one you’re introducing?

Greg Pak: Our heroes are heading to Santo Marco, the South American nation that Magneto took over way back in X-Men #4 (1964). Over the years, I’ve written a number of stories taking place in Santo Marco. In my War Machine and Storm books, we established that there’s a strong anti-mutant sentiment in the country that’s led to frequent repression and atrocities.

Most recently, during the “Weapons of Mutant Destruction” storyline [a recent crossover between Weapon X and Pak’s Totally Awesome Hulk series], the heroes of Weapon X discovered that a mutant named Jorge had been murdered by Stryker’s cyborgs in Santo Marco. Now things have escalated horribly and our heroes are returning to help Jorge’s family and neighbors.

When the team arrives in Santo Marco, they’ll have to contend with a mercenary platoon, but these aren’t your average run of the mill soldiers of fortune they’re enhanced by some of the same technology that created the super soldier Nuke. How dangerous are they? What made you want to bring the legacy of Nuke into the book?

Art from Daredevil: Born Again

One of my favorite Marvel storylines of all time is the Daredevil epic “Born Again” that introduced Nuke, the unhinged super-soldier with the American flag tattooed on his face. So when my editors pitched me the idea of Weapon X facing a platoon with Nuke powers, I couldn’t resist. There’s an excellent reason for the presence of Nuke-powered soldiers in Santo Marco, but I ain’t spilling just yet! Just know that every one of them is as pumped up as Nuke has always been, that red, white, and blue pills play a huge role in the story, and that you wanna preorder Weapon X #12 with your local retailer today!

What can you tell us about the emotional status and dynamic of your cast when “Nuke-Clear War” Begins? Will they have any new additions to their ranks, or guest stars assisting them in this story?

There’s a big surprise guest star at the end of the first issue of this storyline. I can’t tell you more for fear of spoilers, but it’s a character I’ve never written before and I’m thrilled to have the chance to feature.

Your artistic collaborator on “Nuke-Clear War” is Yildiray Cinar, whose recent Marvel work includes super soldier like characters Captain America and Cable. So it seems like he’d be a great fit for this arc in particular. What do you enjoy most about his style?

I love what Yildiray does. We worked together a few years back on a story about a young Clark Kent and a young Bruce Wayne on Earth 2, and he brought so much subtle emotion, humanity, humor and texture to those pages. The tone of our Weapon X story is a lot darker and a lot more brutal. But Yildiray is making every character feel human and real, which is incredibly important when you’ve got a team of badasses, killers, and criminals. We have to get a little under these characters’ skins, have to believe in them as real people rather than just stock badasses, for the story to work, and Yildiray’s totally delivering. He’s also just a phenomenal sequential storyteller, and everything from the naturalistic body language of the characters to the kinetic action is totally on point.

Finally, Weapon X going global in their crusade against Mutant genocide could lead to some very interesting and dangerous consequences for you cast. How important is this arc to the larger story you’re telling in the book? What kind of year will 2018 be for your cast?

It’s big. All throughout the series, we’ve played with this notion that Logan’s barely keeping this team together. He’s got semi-reformed criminals like Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike on the team along with a badass like Warpath and a wild card like Domino. There’s always a hundred reasons why the team should break up or tear into each other instead of any other target. So it’s kind of up to Logan to help find that one reason for them to stay together, fighting for a good cause at any given time. Exactly how long he can sustain that dynamic has always been one of our big questions, and things are about to get tested in huge ways. This storyline will set some things in motion that will have a huge impact on the huge challenges that will face the team in 2018.

The post EXCLUSIVE: Greg Pak Talks Aiming Nukes at Weapon X appeared first on CBR.

Interview: Miles Morales Web-Swings Into the World of Prose

Interview: Miles Morales Web-Swings Into the World of Prose

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about super heroic fiction is watching how the exploits of some costumed champions impact others. In 2011, Marvel Comics fans got a chance to see how the legacy of the company’s flagship hero, Spider-Man, inspired a Brooklyn-based teenager with special abilities of his own. In the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man, Brian Michael Bendis and Sarah Pichelli introduced the world to Miles Morales, an adolescent with spider-powers who takes up the mantle of Spidey after his world’s version of Peter Parker perishes. In the aftermath of 2015’s multiverse altering Secret Wars event, Miles was brought to the Marvel Universe-proper, where he continues his adventures as Spider-Man with the blessing of the still-living Peter Parker.

RELATED: Secret Empire #7 Reveals Whether Miles Morales is Destined to Kill Captain America

With his place in the Marvel Universe now firmly established, the time is right to bring Miles into other worlds and mediums like animation and prose. TAn animated film starring Miles is currently in development, while the recently released YA novel Miles Morales Spider-Man by award winning author Jason Reynolds, brings the hero to the world of prose. CBR spoke with Reynolds about writing the young character, the problems his protagonist faces in the book, and the new villain Miles confronts.

CBR: When did you first discover Miles Morales? What was your immediate reaction to him?

Jason Reynolds: Miles had been sort of in my periphery for a while. I’m definitely a Marvel fan, but I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore comic fan, though I grew up with an absolute fanatic. My older brother had been talking to me about him, and I remember the rumblings of the whole Donald Glover thing, but I hadn’t really gotten beneath the surface until I signed on to this project. Of course, the deeper I got into the character, the more excited I became, not just because of who Miles already was, but also because of the creative opportunities I saw in him.

What was it like delving into the character of Miles via the medium of prose? Which aspects of his character were you especially interested in exploring?

It was awesome! I mean, that’s my medium. It’s what I’m used to. So to write a Spider-Man novel was super cool because it gave me the space to really layer Miles culturally, and to explore the nuances of his interior self.

Miles lives in a part of New York you know very well, having written about it in several of your novels. His Brooklyn, though, is part of the Marvel Universe. What’s it like writing against that backdrop?

Miles is part of the Marvel Universe, but Brooklyn is Brooklyn. It’s a universe unto itself, as far as I’m concerned. As far as adding other familiar characters… I thought about it. I really did. But I also wanted to distill the story and zoom in as close as possible to who Miles is, without the distraction of any other names. I felt like he deserved that.

What’s your sense of Miles friends and immediate family? Which members of his established supporting cast do you find especially intriguing?

His friends and immediate family basically do what my friends and family do — they’re a grounding mechanism. It’s them that keep Miles, Miles. He’s from a tight-knit family that has expectations of him, as a teenager first. He has a best friend, Ganke, who sees the greatness in him that he sometimes can’t see in himself. So his inner circle serves almost as a satellite superpower.

I’d love to explore Ganke more. There’s just something about him that I really love, and I honestly don’t think he has to have any special power or anything. I just want more of him. Maybe his goofy regularity is what makes him great in this context.


One of the most interesting aspects of Spider-Man as a character is, he’s someone who’s forced to balance both the responsibilities of superheroics and everyday life. Can you talk about how that manifests in your novel? What sorts of obstacles and antagonists will Miles will confront as your story unfolds?

Miles is a junior in high school — that alone presents issues. I mean, he has to navigate insecurity, ideas around masculinity, accountability, first love, familial and community expectation, and on top of all that, education in an elite institution. From the very beginning we see him struggling with trying to figure out how to save people while not getting in trouble in school, because the salvation of an endangered stranger won’t go over well with his parents if he gets expelled. And, of course (teaser), there’s a teacher who likes to make Miles’s life even more difficult than it has to be. That’s all I’ll say.

We talked about established characters from Miles’ comics, but what about new ones? Do you introduce any new characters into Miles’ world with this story? And if so what can you tell us about them?

I don’t want to spoil too much, but I did create my own villain. All I’ll say is, I tried to take a huge issue in America and personify it as an old man. Yes, an old…very old man. And this dude is…wild.

Finally, one of the great things about comic book superheroes is there’s always room for more adventures. So do you have any interest in doing more novels featuring Miles? And do you have any interest in telling stories in the medium Miles originated in? Would you like to write a Marvel comic or perhaps an original graphic novel someday?

Of course. Definitely. And absolutely. But for each of these situations, the pieces to the puzzle have to be right.

I wish I had Miles when I was a kid. And I’m honored and grateful to be part of this new legacy. I still can’t believe it!

The post Interview: Miles Morales Web-Swings Into the World of Prose appeared first on CBR.

EXCLUSIVE: Rodriguez Unveils New Inhumans Designs for Marvel’s Royals

EXCLUSIVE: Rodriguez Unveils New Inhumans Designs for Marvel’s Royals

The title characters of the Marvel’s Royals are an eclectic group of Inhumans who are on an intergalactic quest to find the missing element that imbued members of their culture with superhuman powers. The initial leg of their journey has brought them to the devastated home world of the Kree, the empire that created the Inhumans, and soon they’ll head into the far reaches of space.

RELATED: Inhumans: How ABC’s Maximus Differs from His Comics Incarnation

Come October, artist Javier Rodriguez joins writer Al Ewing on the series with Royals#9, a Marvel Legacy arc that introduces the title characters to the Progenitors, a brand-new alien race with ties to both the Kree and the Inhumans. CBR spoke with Rodriguez about designing the Progenitors, their wondrous home world, and his love for the Inhumans and the legendary Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comics they debuted in.

CBR: In Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme, you got to visit a number of otherworldly locations and bring to life a diverse cast of human and fantastic creatures. It feels like with the protagonists of Royals embarking on a cosmic odyssey into the farthest reaches of the Marvel Universe, you’ll get the chance to continue to let your imagination run wild. Is that what drew you to this series?

Javier Rodriguez: Yes! Comics mean to me a constant dialogue with the readers. I lay down my visual input, the audience fills the gaps and connects the dots. Their interpretation builds their rapport with the comic. This is when the story comes to life. It’s the main reason for me to love this language; particularly the fantasy or sci-fi genre. I love Kirby’s Fantastic Four run — it might be my favorite comic ever. In my opinion, Inhumans are the best characters in it. I have no words to express how much I love them.

Two of the most prominent characters in Royals are Medusa and Maximus the Mad. They’re both in interesting situations in this series with Medusa apparently being ill, and Maximus having successfully swapped positions with his brother. What’s your sense, as an artist, of Medusa and Maximus? Which of their qualities did you really want to capture in your depictions of them?

Medusa is my favorite Marvel character. To me, she represents the terrestrial forces, unlike Black Bolt. He reigns in the sky with his infinite power. He is a king, Medusa is the ground, the rationalism versus the divine. She is the question, not the answer. Her power is tangible, visually speaking, connected with the earth. Her red hair evokes hot lava, whipping red veins moving under her control. I wanted to show an empowered Medusa. Knowing that she is not under the best circumstances, she goes through some predicament. The best stories emerge from conflict.

And of course, Maximus is capital to understanding the Inhumans. He has a Shakespearian antagonist role. In my opinion, he represents the Marvel foundation. The essence of the Lee and Kirby origins, where the bad guy could be grey. Not evil per se, often a victim of the environment. He can work with the heroes at times… I love him.

RELATED: Royals’ Marvel Legacy Arc Reveals Secret Origin of the Kree

What was it like bringing to life your other cast members? Which of these characters did you especially enjoy drawing? Were there any characters that were hard to get a handle on?

As a Fantastic Four lover, Crystal and Gorgon are special to me. I’m really enjoying the chance to do my own take on characters that I loved and followed since I was kid. On the other hand, the Nuhumans and Marvel Boy are fresh concepts. I wouldn’t say “hard” when I refer to the art. But it is true that they deserve lots of attention to detail. Their costumes and behavior were new to me, but it was interesting. I know by experience, that often, these kinds of characters, the ones with less background, all the sudden become a huge thing. It happened with Roger in Spider-Woman, and with Nina and Kushala in Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme. So let’s see!

One of the biggest elements you’ll be bringing to life, both metaphorically and literally, is the Progenitors. The designs I’ve seen indicate they’re a pretty diverse species in terms of appearance, but they all share a few common traits: they’re giant-sized when compared to humans, they have both mechanical and biological traits, and they don’t appear to have necks. What inspired you to give them these shared traits?

The background and clues come from Al. He gave me lot of info, character stories, and a lot of room for me to be creative. One of the most interesting features were the floating heads. It is random and seems out of place, but makes them quite interesting. Are they living beings? Artificial? They live in a hi-tech environment, isolated from the rest of the galaxy. Is their task to control the wild nature of space? Research the knowledge hidden in the coffins of the universe? Are they good? Evil? All of these elements were on my mind. That, and that I love to draw big characters, giants. Artistically speaking, you need ample spaces to show where they live. This allowed me to play around with a group of characters like the Royals.

What inspired some of the unique traits and looks of the Progenitors we saw on the cover of Royals #9?

Wil Moss gave me an idea. We are suggesting that the Progenitors are behind the Inhumans’ origin. Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam was an inspiration. That cover should show that the Progenitors are beyond the galaxy and knowledge; some puzzling space creatures doing their business. Black Bolt represents the Inhumans, looking for answers, pushing the wall of wisdom.

We have about five Progenitor designs, and each of them have a task, a reason to exist that affects the design.

ABC’s New Inhumans Posters Unleash Medusa’s Hair

Concept art is just a starting point. The way the story evolves. How to tell the story through panels effects a lot of the character design. I always try to keep them flexible, visually speaking. Same applies to the other characters. The mood and the narrative thread have a huge impact on the way that you reveal the characters. Using their appearance is a key. One of my achievements, is to show that character development when I have a chance to draw more than one issue.

Finally, the Progenitors are still shrouded in mystery at this point but we do know they’re capable of astounding seemingly technological feats like “The World Farm.” What was your reaction when you heard about that? What was it like bringing to life something so big and crazy as the World Farm?

When I read the script I thought to myself, “How am I gonna portray this astounding, mind-boggling world?” It is a big deal because the Progenitor’s world is fascinating. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s not only a task for me, the penciller. It requires lots of work by Álvaro López. Doing a detailed and clean ink job plus the wonderful color work that Jordie Bellaire does. You’ll see what I’m talking about in the last pages of #9.

It is a pleasure to work on a book with some of my most loved Marvel characters and all under the talent of Al Ewing. To me he’s one of the most interesting and brilliant writers in business right now. I love the way he build the characters. On the art side I’m delighted to have the Sorcerers Supreme team together again. I love to collaborate with Álvaro and Jordie, they make everything easy and beautiful.

The post EXCLUSIVE: Rodriguez Unveils New Inhumans Designs for Marvel’s Royals appeared first on CBR.

Stohl Charts the Flight Plan for Captain Marvel – And Captain Mar-Vell

Stohl Charts the Flight Plan for Captain Marvel – And Captain Mar-Vell

With powers that include flight, energy absorption and superhuman strength, Carol Danvers (better known as Captain Marvel) is super, but her abilities aren’t what makes her a hero. Carol’s heroism stems from things like her devotion to duty, perseverance in the face of great odds, and the inspiration she draws from the Marvel Universe’s other notable Captains, not the least of which is the Kree soldier Mar-Vell, who established her current heroic nom de guerre, and the original Captain America, Steve Rogers. The actions of those two heroes not only helped shape Carol’s past, they’ll have an impact on her present and future as well.

RELATED: The Captain Marvel Movie Doesn’t Need Nick Fury

In the current Secret Empire tie-in arc of The Mighty Captain Marvel, by writer Margaret Stohl and artist Michele Bandini, Carol and a band of heroes are defending the Earth against Chitauri invaders who have been lured to Earth by the treacherous actions of a Cosmic Cube-altered, HYDRA-affiliated Steve Rogers. Then, in the September one-shot Generations: Captain Marvel & Captain Mar-Vell by Stohl and artist Brent Schoonover, time travel will reunite Carol with her heroic namesake, allowing her a chance to reflect on how the actions of the Kree hero impacted and continue to affect her life.

CBR: “Band of Sisters,” the current Secret Empire arc of The Mighty Captain Marvel, is your first event tie-in story. What’s it been like writing this arc and connecting to the larger tale Nick Spencer is telling in Secret Empire?

Margaret Stohl: It’s been amazing. I love Nick’s big Marvel brain. He is fearless. He involved anyone he felt like. Because I go to the Marvel creative summits I saw that evolving in the room. So I watched as his big brain rummaged through the whole universe.

That’s a very particular skill set, and it was great for Captain Marvel because she’s originally from the Air Force. So she gets to return to military combat.

EXCLUSIVE: Art from The Mighty Captain Marvel #8 by Michele Bandini

Also, I was going to launch a group of Alpha Flight cadets anyways because I had wanted some teen voices in the series and that’s my wheelhouse. It was wonderful though to be able to watch those characters during a Chitauri battle. It gave us this great moment where those characters had to suddenly come of age. I love those types of moments. The role of the innocent in combat is always interesting. It adds a whole other price of war and reality to conflict.

In terms of overall tone “Band of Sisters” has reminded me a lot of the early episodes of the new Battlestar Galactica series in that it follows how a group of people weather wave after wave of alien attackers and keep on going. Is that a fair comparison?

Yeah, and it also has this ragtag band of survivors trying to keep it together in space. I’m a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica. Little known fact; I knew Glen Larson, who did the original Battlestar. I was friends with his son.

I particularly loved the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica. The beginning stuff is some of the strongest part of that arc. So I love that you see that. Battlestar Galactica meets Band of Brothers that’s the dream.

So with this story you’re telling a big, cosmic, action, epic, but you also want to keep things intimate since you’re showing how your cast are coping during the moments in between these battles?

Yes, and it’s also a great moment to work on the idea of a hero’s journey. As I said to some LCS guys yesterday, if you define a characters in terms of who or what they want, the flip side of that is what or who wants them. When you’re working with a real enemy like the Chitauri or Steve Rogers it takes the sort of emotional quest for a hero and gives it these real visceral stakes.

EXCLUSIVE: Art from The Mighty Captain Marvel #8 by Michele Bandini

So that’s actually a great set up for what we’re going to go into now with the Generations one-shot, and then what we’re going to go into with the small Legacy arc that follows.

How is Carol handling Steve Rogers’ betrayal? How angry and hurt is she?

She is hurt and angry, but she’s also a soldier. As is often the case for Carol, emotions and the price that type of damage exacts are generally not on her mind during combat. For now, she’s really engaged in getting back to Earth, in saving what’s left of Earth, and in keeping her cadets alive. She will do literally anything to make sure those things happen. What we’ve seen in recent issues and those ready to come out is her putting herself in harms way.

I like building character and I like down time and relationships, but I also really like to do things that I feel comic books do best like combat and epic, dramatic action.

I loved being able to do those massive two pages spreads with those huge panels filled with all the heroes Secret Empire gave us access to like the Guardians of the Galaxy and America Chavez. Those kinds of combat sequences are peak hero stuff and I love that

What’s it been like writing guest stars like the Guardians and America Chavez?

I love it so much. I live for bad Tony Stark jokes. So I loved putting the Tony A.I. in. I also love the ensemble banter of the Guardians and those specific characters that have these great, punchy dialogue moments. I live for writing moments with those characters. It’s fun stuff.

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Generations: Captain Marvel & Captain Mar-Vell, by Brent Schoonover

You already touched a bit on your Alpha Flight Cadets that you introduced this arc, but let’s talk a little more. These are new characters created by you, but I got the sense that Dante had appeared before in the Black Widow prose novels you wrote. Is that correct?

Yes, Dante, first appeared there. He’s sort of a segue way between my Marvel YA readers and what I’m doing now.

I love all the teen cadets. I love my Wakandan teen A’Di who has a drone as her best friend. Because most of my friends are dysfunctional writers, game guys, or comic people who have technology as their closest companion. That’s been really fun to play with and Michele, our artist, has just knocked it out of the park inventing these three characters in terms of their look as well as Itz the Drone.

Glory is a gay, Filipina, genius. My best friend, Melissa de la Cruz is a Filipina writer. She worked with me a little bit on that character. I also worked with Michele. I also have a gay kid, so that was a dream come true for me.

I really wanted to have a group of teens that were like actual teens. I also wanted to get everybody in there.

I assume the cadets will continue to play a larger role in this arc and in Captain Marvel moving forward.

Yes, I love teens. I identify with them and spend most of my time with them.

When I started writing Captain Marvel I began talking with my editor Sana Amanat, who also works a lot with teens and is the editor of Ms. Marvel. So she knew this was a priority for me.

These were characters I almost introduced in the first arc, but there was so much unfinished business left over from Civil War II that I wanted to be able to emotionally pivot Carol away from that impact and give her sort of a new start.

Issue #6 ended with the Cadets helping the battle against the Chitauri by getting a message through the shield surrounding Earth, and hindering it by distracting Captain Marvel and getting her K.O.ed. What can you tell us about where you’re headed next with this story?

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Generations: Captain Marvel & Captain Mar-Vell, by Brent Schoonover

We’re tying in very closely with Nick Spencer’s story. So you’ll see more of what happens with Earth and the shield, but this will roll into some larger issues for the Generations one-shot, which gives me the unique opportunity to pair up Captain Marvel and the original Mar-Vell. That’s so great for Carol because she’s such a classic hero in so many ways, but she’s such a modern woman.

If Steve Rogers is the Captain who falls when Carol is the Captain who rises in this, then we have this other touch point of going back to Mar-Vell, who is her most classic male hero inspiration. It makes a lot of sense for her to be looking at the male heroes in her life and asking, “How did you let me down? What did you teach me? What is my relationship to you?” That’s particularly interesting for Carol because if we’re all the heroes of our own journey Carol is not the hero of her own origin story. She was basically a side character in her origin story.

So for Carol to return to and confront her own origin is something we’ll be occupied with for a whole arc to come.

What’s it like writing the original Captain Marvel in your Generations one-shot?

It’s hilarious! We don’t talk too much about Golden Age comics, but the words that come out of his mouth are incredible. Every line just cracks me up. If you look back at his original series there was some incredible art that was super ambitious, and there was this way in which comics were so untethered from the realities that kind of birthed them.

You see a N.A.S.A. storyline with all these characters and details, but there’s also this feeling of, “Let’s just go with this” to an extent that I really valued it. I enjoyed working on this story so much.

I think it’s the funniest issue we’ve ever done. They are the oddest of odd couples.

What can you tell us about the adventure that Carol and Mar-Vell will embark on together in your Generations story?

It involves the Negative Zone. In that way it’s kind of a set up for some stuff.

I think everyone who is working on these Generations one-shots is using them in some way for a set up to the places they’re going in Legacy.

So, for you, Generations is both a new reader friendly stand alone story and a bridge to where you’re going in future issues of Mighty Captain Marvel?

Yes, I definitely want to direct new readers to Generations because it does this great job summarizing the general zeitgeist of the genre and legacy of Captain Marvel before we even get to Legacy.

I think the Generations and Legacy books are going to be setting the sort of state of the modern series for a lot of what’s going on at Marvel.

Generations pairs you with Brent Schoonover, an artist with a real knack for adventure stories who you worked with on The Mighty Captain Marvel #4. What’s it like reteaming with him for this story?

It’s fun. Brent is really capable. So we know we can give him a big arc and he’ll nail it. He’s really reliable. It’s been great to not have to worry about how it’s going to come in.

And upcoming issues of Mighty Captain Marvel will continue your collaboration with Michele Bandini, correct?

Yes, Michele Bandini is a genius. Working with him is just a joy. He magnifies everything I do and makes me look good. He’s the real deal. So that’s been amazing.

His action is great, but his character acting is amazing.

Yes! People don’t think about that all that much, but that’s hard to find in an artist. The character stuff is super important and I think it’s what sells the big stuff. It’s so much more effective when it’s relatable to these people who are feeling and experiencing things you can see on their faces, and who are saving the world.

Working with my artists has been great, but I’ve also had amazing support teams. From the very start I was working with Charles Beacham, my assistant editor. I love Sana, but Charles has been holding my hand as I learned how to write comics. I’ve been luckier than most in that I’ve had a really great team.

And we’re in a great place to bring in new readers and people who are looking forward to Captain Marvel’s big screen debut. I’m super excited about that and I think Marvel has made a lot of great choices with the women writing, helming, and starring in the film. So, as part of Carol’s team, I feel confident that she’s in good hands. I welcome the readers who are getting on board with her book in advance of her film debut.

The post Stohl Charts the Flight Plan for Captain Marvel – And Captain Mar-Vell appeared first on CBR.

Exclusive: Hopeless Details Jean Grey’s Psych War Against Emma Frost

Exclusive: Hopeless Details Jean Grey’s Psych War Against Emma Frost

Searching for truth and fighting evil can take the heroes of the Marvel Universe to some pretty strange locales — underwater cities, outer space, that kind of thing — but those with telepathic powers have access to an especially surreal and enigmatic environment: the human mind. Entering someone’s mind isn’t something a heroic telepath takes lightly. To protect a person’s privacy permission is usually given, but when the possible solution to saving the world and yourself from the destructive might of a cosmic entity lies in the mindscape of your archenemy, some psychic breaking and entering might be required.

That’s the situation the time-displaced adolescent title character of Marvel’s current Jean Grey series finds herself in. She’s desperately searching for info that will allow her to escape the Phoenix’s plans to transform her into a vessel, and she believes Emma Frost might have some answers. So in October’s Jean Grey #8 writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Victor Ibanez will kick off the Marvel Legacy era of the series with an titled “Psych War,” which finds Jean pulling a desperate heist in the mindscape of one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful and ruthless psychics.

Exclusive: Ewing’s Royals Meet Their Progenitors in Marvel Legacy

Hopeless spoke exclusively with CBR about bringing Emma Frost into the series, what Jean will find in Emma’s mind, the connective tissue between his work with Jean and Cullen Bunn’s work with with the character in X-Men Blue, and the Marvel heroes Jean will cross paths with before “Psych War.”

CBR: Dennis, let’s start with the big news. In Jean Grey #8 your protagonist turns to an unlikely source — Emma Frost — for help in her battle against the Phoenix. What’s it like bringing Emma into the book, and bouncing her off of teen Jean?

Dennis Hopeless: That’s my favorite thing about this book. Bouncing Jean around the Marvel Universe and up against various guest stars in preparation for the Phoenix’s return. We’ve been really focused on making every encounter unique and giving each teacher/foil/guest star a lot of room to shine. From a grindhouse desert gun battle with Hope to an undersea dragon slaying with Namor, Jean is getting a real education in Marvel Universe weird. We very much wanted to do the same thing with Emma for “Psych War”… and I’m really excited about what we came up with. It’s a sort of heist story with Emma Frost’s intimidating mind as the vault. Jean has to get in and get out without one of the scariest psychics in Marvel history catching her.

Jean Grey #8 cover by David Yardin.

So this isn’t a team-up story between Jean and Emma? Is Emma the antagonist of “Psych War?”

This is a sort of Inception story so, yes, at least at first, Emma is Jean’s primary antagonist. She has to figure out how to penetrate the crazy stronghold that is Emma’s mind, find what she needs and get out fast. This obviously isn’t a great plan, but it’s what Jean sets out to do. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s safe to assume hijinks ensue.

Emma has been through a lot in recent years, and is continuing to evolve in the current Secret Empire event. So what can you tell us about the encounters Jean will have as she probes Emma’s mindscape?

Well, Emma is sort of a sleeping dragon in issue #8. If Jean does her job correctly, her dynamic with Ms. Frost will involve tiptoeing out the door with a bag of gold under her arm. I’m sure we can all imagine what version of Emma Jean will encounter if she screws that up. That said, Emma’s mindscape plays a major role in the story. Jean will be bumping up against Emma’s memories, daydreams and nightmares while she’s in there… Which gives us the opportunity to play around with all different sorts of Emma Frosts.

Emma Frost won’t be the first X or Marvel Universe character Jean turns to in her quest to foil the Phoenix’s plans for her. So what can you tell us about the other characters she’ll seek out and adventures she’ll have with them in Jean Grey #4-7?

Issue #4 is a fun barroom Orc brawl with a drunken Odinson. In #5, Jean fights ninjas and claustrophobia with Psylocke. Doctor Strange shows up to perform a séance in #6 and in our seventh issue Jean battles some inner demons with Scarlet Witch. It’s a wild ride that has been so much fun to write.

Jean Grey #8, continues your collaboration with artist Victor Ibanez, who does especially great work with acting and big action. What’s it like working with Victor? It feels like he’s up for and can handle anything, since your plans call for him drawing important characters and settings from both the X-Men books and larger Marvel Universes.

Victor is a dream. He’s super collaborative, we text back and forth almost every day. He can pull off any facial expression which makes the quiet character moments jump off the page. Then he turns around and crushes the huge action set pieces. And maybe my favorite thing about Victor’s work is his world building and scene setting. The underwater sequences in issue #3 absolutely blew my mind. I thought I was giving him a lot of void backgrounds and easy pages… then Victor turns in this rich horrifying seascape with giant plants and sea life everywhere. It’s gorgeous and spooky and absolutely perfect for the story.

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Another collaborator I wanted to ask about is writer Cullen Bunn, who details Jean’s team exploits in X-Men Blue, and is also writing the one-shot Generations: Jean Grey and Phoenix. Over the next few months, how much connective tissue will there be between what you’re doing in the Jean Grey solo book and what Cullen is doing over in X-Men Blue and in his Generations one-shot?

Despite my near-constant claims that Cullen Bunn is a monster (he totally is), he and I are actually really good friends. I have a son named after Cullen. We’ve been discussing our respective plans for Jean from the very beginning. The three stories definitely run parallel and we’re all headed in the same direction, but we’ve made a concerted effort to tell different sorts of stories in the different books. We want readers to have a unique and enjoyable experience if they pick up one, two or all three of these.

Finally, Jean’s preparation for the Phoenix of course begs the question of when we’ll see the showdown between her and the massively powerful cosmic entity? Is that something we’ll see soon? Or is there still a lot of story to tell before you reach that point?

The Phoenix is absolutely where we’re headed. Our whole story is careening ever faster toward that ultimate showdown. But this is an ongoing series, so we get to build toward it at our own pace. The Phoenix is such an epic boogeyman for teenage Jean, we definitely want to make sure the encounter has gravitas. We need to earn it.

I’d like to conclude by thanking fans for reading. Solo X-Men books can be a challenge but the reception to Jean Grey has been overwhelmingly positive. I hear from fans every day. Readers are stoked Jean finally has her own solo ongoing and seem totally on board for the story we’re telling. The response has been equal parts humbling and gratifying. Stick around… Jean has a wild winding road ahead.

Jean Grey #8 is scheduled for release from Marvel in October.

The post Exclusive: Hopeless Details Jean Grey’s Psych War Against Emma Frost appeared first on CBR.