A new era for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes begins this December. New writer Jonathan Hickman and Editor Tom Brevoort revealed the future of the Avengers in today’s Next Big Thing on Marvel.com.
Avengers #1 kicks off a 3-part Avengers World story establishing the team’s mission statement with Jerome Opena on art.
“We will see the back story of how Iron Man and Captain America have been quietly building a contingency plan for the day that comes in issue #1,” Hickman teases of the huge event that requires a bigger team that will reflect our modern world.
“One of the first things we all agreed on is that the roster should look more like the world. So far we’ve seen the biggest and most iconic characters, but as we reach issues #7 and #8, we’ll see more new characters and characters we’re reviving or recreating. Eventually there will be 24 characters. 12 will be either female or minority characters,” said Hickman of the growing roster.
Hickman will be writing a new New Avengers - a new version of the Illuminati. This new secret cabal working behind the scenes will be Captain America, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Beast. Black Bolt will return and Namor will be involved.
”It’s about the guys who quietly, secretly run the world. It’s thematically much different than Avengers. The plan I’ve worked out is that the Avengers are the utopian Avengers, the ideal ones we want, whereas the New Avengers are real world, they live in the dark, apocalyptic world as it is,” revealed Hickman.
”The books will work in tandem. You don’t have to read both, but they are two sides of the same coin. Two different stories,” he added.
Wakanda was devastated by Namor’s invasion during Avengers vs. X-Men. Hickman says T’Challa’s home will be rocked again. In the original Illuminati stories Black Panther refused to join the inner circle but he will need them in the Marvel now.
”The catalyst is an event in Wakanda with Black Panther, the only man who told the original Illuminati it was a mistake. Something occurs so earth-shattering he sees no other course of action than to call on them,” Hickman teases, ”This event is so huge than even the people in the Illuminati who do not currently like each other are forced to put differences aside.”
Hickman recently sent the Fantastic Four to Wakanda. It looks like Hickman was planting the seeds for his upcoming Avengers run.
“Going into Fantastic Four, Jonathan hadn’t even wrapped up Secret Warriors. Going into this, people know from FF what a big thinker Jonathan is and how he plays the long game. It’s an even bigger canvas here,” explains Tom Brevoort.
“My Avengers pitch probably could have gotten approved as is on its own, but if I hadn’t done FF, I don’t think there’s any way my New Avengers would have gotten approved. I think it’s gonna be a sleeper hit. It’s so cool. I’m so jacked that I get to write it,” revealed Hickman.
Some of the most surprising and exciting additions to the new team are New Mutants Sam Guthrie and Roberto Da Costa.
”You’ll get an issue where Cannonball and Sunspot get to spend time with Captain America,” Hickman revealed, ”I’ve always really liked them. I wish it was more complicated than that. I pitched a Bobby and Sam in Mojoworld book, and somehow it got made.”
One reason I love Sam and Bobby getting this “promotion” is that they never got to rise up to true X-Men status.
“Cannonball and Sunspot are at least chronologically younger characters. It’s always good to have those types of figures in Avengers to bring a fresh viewpoint. That said, they’re also established Marvel characters,” Brevoort said, “When Brian Bendis brought Luke Cage and Spider-Woman into the Avengers, they weren’t the most popular characters, but they had legitimacy. I think it will be the same thing with Cannonball and Sunspot.”
”When we get to 24 characters, their will be several subgroups of characters, and one tier will be a group of younger, more idealistic people like Cannonball and Sunspot,” Hickman explained.
Hickman confirmed the logo with the Avengers A and the Omega symbol is the logo for the New Avengers.
“Avengers is the day book and New Avengers is night. Avengers is how we want the world to be, New Avengers is how it is. One book is about life, one is about death. The logos reflect all this,” he said.
The new era begins in the aftermath of AvX, bad blood and old rivalries between some heroes.
“I don’t think people will be surprised to learn that even as these guys go about their job, some will grow to hate one another,” Hickman explained, ”This is not a cheery happy story. This is the ‘Death Avengers.’”
I’m thrilled to see T’Challa as a central character in the Marvel Now. He’s a single man now. He’s the leader of a broken country.
”Black Panther is the lynchpin character of New Avengers. The central character. He’s very important to the Avengers franchise as a whole,” Brevoort explained.
“Black Panther is certainly the moral center of New Avengers,” adds Hickman.
Hickman explained the leadership hierarchy of this new Avengers.
“Cap is in charge, of course, and he has two vice-captains in Captain Marvel and Iron Man. For bigger stuff, it splits into three teams. There are other factions within that, but generally, that’s the command structure. In New Avengers, they all think they’re in charge and none of them are,” explains Hickman.
Hickman confirmed Avengers will start with the 3 big arcs then 3 stand-alone stories and he’s creating new villains. Mr. Fantastic and Beast will be on New Avengers. Hyperion will be part of the team. Eden Fesi of Secret Warriors will be in the Avengers.
Avengers #1 and #2 arrive this December. New Avengers #1 and #2 arrive in January.
For the entire liveblog here’s the link.