Update: In a conference call with the comic book press, Uncanny Avengers writer Rick Remender revealed that along with previous established series antagonist Red Skull, Marvel villains Kang the Conqueror and Apocalypse also are set to play major roles in the book. Apocalypse has played a major role throughout Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force, and the writer stated that elements of that book will cross-pollinate into Uncanny Avengers, in a “grand, huge story that I’m wildly excited about.”
The call also revealed that the final lineup of the series — currently known to include Captain America, Wolverine, Thor, Rogue, Scarlet Witch and team leader Havok — will include about nine to 10 members, and that the team will be based out of Avengers Mansion.
Our full report, with plenty more details, is below.
Original story: Hello! Writer Rick Remender and Marvel senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort are scheduled to talk Marvel NOW! launch title Uncanny Avengers with the comic book press this afternoon, and we’ll be on the line. Keep reloading this page for updates!
As we’re waiting for things to get started, new images from the series are here.
Call starting! Marvel’s James Viscardi opens with the release date of Uncanny Avengers #1: Oct. 10.
What brings the team together? “A dance party,” Remender answers. “A sort of Footloose-style scenario where Red Skull makes dancing illegal.”
Remender says that Captain America is actively trying to build a bridge between the mutant community and the Avengers, and that chaos ensues, and at the end of the chaos, there’s a good reason or two that the team should exist. By the nature of the team, the members weren’t necessarily “vetted.” Remender continues, saying that Wolverine will be in an interesting place at the end of AvX and the current Uncanny X-Force arc. As far as Scarlet Witch, “she’s got a really interesting struggle and dynamic that she’s up against here.”
Cyclops’ “wacky business” in Avengers vs. X-Men has a major effect on why Havok is on the team, who will be in a leadership role. “Talk about a promotion,” Remender says, comparing it to the plot of last night’s Louie. “Rogue is not dealing with certain events very well,” Remender says. “She’s almost more the Wolverine than Wolverine in this book.”
Brevoort says that the six characters seen so far — Havok, Rogue, Wolverine, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Thor — are not the only members of the team, and more will be showing up.
“It’s not even quite a resetting of the Marvel status quo in the way of something of a Dark Reign or a Heroic Age,” Brevoort says of Marvel NOW!. “It’s about new guys in new places working on new characters and new books, and bringing an element of new excitement to what’s going on.”
Speaking of one of the major stated goals of Marvel NOW!, Brevoort says that readers will see a more “integrated” Marvel Universe than has been the case for the past 20 or 25 years, with the X-Men characters mingling with the Avengers directly, and Uncanny Avengers is the “harbinger” of that.
First press question, from us — how do the Uncanny Avengers fit in with the bigger Avengers picture, including Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers titles? “Uncanny Avengers is an Avengers team, make no bones about it,” Brevoort says. “They’re going to operate out of Avengers Mansion. They’re going to be a specific unit of Avengers, in the same way that under Brian [Bendis] we had Avengers and New Avengers. The particular goal and mission of the Uncanny Avengers is, on top of being a typical Avengers team that promotes the peace and saves the world, is that they’re also, in effect, an advocacy group. They’re there to promote the cause by example — that mutants are not to be feared. That they’re people like you and me. That they can integrate and be a valuable part of society, and that all this anti-mutant hatred and hysteria needs to go away.”
Remender adds that Uncanny Avengers hearkens back to the X-Men’s original goals and are acting as something of a “PR unit,” and when people see someone like Rogue out on Avengers business, that will help change the image of mutants. “Why are you OK with the God of Thunder behind me, and the super-technology man, but I’m somehow more offensive because I was born with my powers?”
Brevoort says that maybe Cyclops’ idea to relocate mutants on their own island might not have been the best move for their public image. Remender says it would have been a good reality TV show idea. Uncanny Avengers is something of the opposite of the Utopia approach, Brevoort says. “They’re very actively public PR-minded, because they have to be. Their actual mission, beyond beating the bad guys, is to change hearts and minds.” Remender says it’s a “return to [Xavier]‘s original dream.”
Next press question, from John Siuntres of Word Balloon – since it’s a public team, will Uncanny Avengers be a very different book from Uncanny X-Force? Remender says that it’s definitely a different tone, and that it’s nice to be doing something different from the “shadowy”/black-ops books like Punisher, Uncanny X-Force or Secret Avengers. “This is the same magnitude of threats, but this is very public.”
Remender says that the cast will end up at about nine to 10 characters, living together in Avengers Mansion and comparing it jokingly to Big Brother.
Next question, from Paul Montgomery of iFanboy, asks for more details on the initial threats faced by the Uncanny Avengers. Brevoort says that Red Skull has an anti-mutant bias, which is a direct reflection of the attitudes he had during World War II. “The Skull is sort of using that philosophy in the modern-day Marvel context. This is the Skull writ large, and this is where his larger plan and scheme is going to play itself out.” Brevoort says that Red Skull will be a “running presence” in the book, not just the first arc, and be a big deal throughout the Marvel Universe. “Some of the plans that we have for Red Skull are going to be pretty Earth-shattering,” Remender says. “You’re not going to see his ultimate goal for a year or so, but you’ll see it percolating.”
“Nobody is going to think twice that this is a guy that’s going to take on Rogue, Thor, or any of the other big villains in the Marvel Unvierse,” Brevoort says of Red Skull. “He’s going to once again take his place in that pantheon, and be really despicable, hopefully delightfully so.” Remender says that Red Skull is “the worst guy,” and liberating to write. “He’s kind of two-dimensional, and in the case of Red Skull, I think it works. ‘Hey, check me out, I am pretty much just evil.’”
Next question, from Steve Sunu of CBR: Was the book planned to get back to some of the “core beginning of the Marvel Universe” but in a modern sensibility? Remender says that’s something writers tend to naturally gravitate towards. “There’s also a lot from that core that just works,” he continues. “It’s going to look and feel like a classic Avengers or classic X-Men book, but in a modern setting, and mashed together like a chocolate-swirly cone.”
Next question, from Jesse Schedeen of IGN: Who had the most input on the new designs? Brevoort says that it was series artist John Cassaday. “With most of these characters, not every single one, John had a lot of influence. Really, the Thor doing here is the Thor that Esad has tweaked up for the Thor: God of Thunder book.” Similarly, Cassaday “massaged” the Captain America design from Jerome Opeña in Avengers. Scarlet Witch, though, was changed more dramatically, as her previous costume was deemed not practical for a superhero. Havok and Rogue’s designs are intended to be closer to classic looks from the characters.
Remender adds that he’s proud that the women in the book are not dressed in a way that “kind of makes them look like a stripper.”
Next question, from Marvel.com: Will Magneto show up at some point? Brevoort says he doesn’t want to spoil anything with Avengers vs. X-Men, but it “seems like it’s inevitable, assuming that he’s around.”
Next question, from us: Was the Remender-written Psylocke vs. Daredevil story in AvX: VS. #4, which mentions similar themes to Uncanny Avengers, intentionally written as something of a prelude? “I figured it was nice to pose some of the questions that we’re trying to answer, and reflect on the way those two clans view one another,” Remender replied.” I don’t think I went into it aware that’s what I was doing, but definitely halfway through, I realized, ‘Oh, I’m setting up the Uncanny Avengers stuff.”
Next question, from iFanboy, asked about the interpersonal dynamics of the book. “There is something between all of them, and it’s obviously not something I can hit with one paintbrush right from arc one, but into arc two and three, the interpersonal dynamics and those relationships will then start cross-pollinating with these plot beats.”
Next question, from CBR: Assuming Xavier survives AvX, will we see his reaction to this team? “I think it’s fair to say that Xavier is very important to Uncanny Avengers, but with all the AvX stuff that’s bubbling up, I don’t know if we want to go much deeper than that,” Brevoort answers. “You’ll definitely see him in the book. It’s tough to dance around that without giving away too much about AvX.” Remender adds that the characters’ relationship with Xavier, and Xavier’s current status quo, all play a “huge role” in the book.
Last question, from Marvel.com: Will X-Men villains show up? “We’re going to hit that balance pretty quickly,” Remender says, revealing that the second arc will feature a “big X-Men villain.” Part of the goal, the writer says, is to make sure every arc is A meeting X. “These things are merging, and it’s not just the heroes. By issue #7, you’ll have a real good idea the three big players that are on board, and I have no question that what we have cooked up will get people incredibly excited.” The other two villains, Remender reveals, are Kang the Conqueror and Apocalypse, with a lot of connective tissue from Uncanny X-Force carrying over into Uncanny Avengers, in a “grand, huge story that I’m wildly excited about.”
Recap: Uncanny Avengers #1 is on sale Oct. 10. Red Skull, Kang and Apocalypse are the major villains. Thanks for reading!