The latest Marvel NOW! Next Big Thing call is on the future of Uncanny Avengers, and is starting right about — now. This post will be updated continuously, so keep hitting refresh; art from March’s Uncanny Avengers #6 is here.
Writer Rick Remender and series editor Tom Brevoort are both on the line, with Remender describing the upcoming story arc “Ragnarok Now,” starting with Uncanny Avengers #6, as something of a sequel to the “Dark Angel Saga” in Uncanny X-Force, though if you haven’t read that story, it’ll stand on its own. Issue #6, out in March, is also the debut on the book of new series artist Daniel Acuña.
The story picks up on Archangel impregnating Pestilence, and also draws in Kang the Conqueror. Remender also discloses that the story will tie into Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder series, particularly the axe that young Thor uses in that book.
“Anytime you take on a team book, the beginning is very arduous,” Remender says, speaking of the “fine line” between respecting continuity while not being slavish to it. “People have read these stories, and they exist. Things that happened to Havok in ‘Inferno’ might still be affecting him if he’s in a similar situation now.”
Marvel marketing’s James Viscardi asks Brevoort about new series artist Daniel Acuña. “He’s kind of a world-class talent that’s ready to pop,” Brevoort says, while making it clear that Acuña is ahead of schedule and that there should be no shipping delays during his run. “It’s like getting very stylized, fully painted art on a regular release schedule,” the editor continues.
“This is not easy stuff, and he just nails it,” Remender adds. “He’s a genius, no question about it.”
First press question, from iFanboy: Were there any specific directions given to Acuña for the arc? Brevoort says that the artist was basically told “go and excel,” and that is Acuña’s art is evolving, that’s either his own choice, or influence of what John Cassaday did in the book. Remender describes Acuña’s approach as “stylized realism,” and says the artist is nearing the “Mignola point,” where he “doesn’t need to mess around with a bunch of rendering,” and credits it to Acuña coloring himself.
Next press question, from CBR: Can readers expect to see more of an “interconnected” Uncanny Avengers arc, or is this a solely Thor story? “Thor is deeply, deeply involved in the inciting incident for this thing, but that doesn’t mean that every other character isn’t, as well,” Remender says. “Wolverine’s a big target. He’s got a lot of context for this story, as well. There’s also plenty of context here for Havok and for Rogue, and for Scarlet Witch, and for Sunfire. The story is intended to put a light on each of our cast members, to really develop them in the context of this story. Every single one of our heroes has somebody involved in this story that gives them more personal context than, ‘trying to stop what the villain is doing.’”
Next press question, from IGN: How much is the fate of Daken in Uncanny X-Force impact Wolverine in Uncanny Avengers? A lot, Remender says, and readers will see it starting in issue #5. “I don’t see Wolverine as the preemptive killer again,” Remender says. “I see him as learning that lesson. Is he still Wolverine? Are the claws coming out? I see him doing that less.” Remender adds that he thinks “Final Execution” had a major impact on Wolverine, as did the death of Charles Xavier.
Next question, from us: Will Cassaday return to the book at any point, or is is it Acuña’s book from this point? “It’s Acuña’s book regularly,” Brevoort answers. “In terms of John, it’s going to depend on what he wants to do. He’s always welcome to do more. Exactly what that will be, and when that will be is in the air.” Cassaday will stay on covers, as seen with issue #6.
Remender adds that he truly put Cassaday through the paces in his issues, and that he’s welcome to come back at some point, but Acuña will be on the book through “Ragnarok Now.”
Next question, from Marvel.com: Since Sunfire is a former Horseman of Apocalypse, how will the story affect him? Remender says that Wolverine is also a former horseman, and that Sunfire will definitely be important to the arc, as a character who symbolizes the damage of what Apocalypse can do.
Going back around, another question from iFanboy: What’s the Kang/Apocalypse connection? “When Apocalypse first became aware of his own mutancy, that was during the reign of Rama-Tut in Egypt,” Brevoort says, reminding that Rama-Tut is a past version of Kang, and that the “common era of origin” is significant. “And that stuff is so much fun,” Remender adds, saying that while they are doing something new and Marvel NOW! appropriate, it fits into established Marvel history.
“Uncanny Avengers #6 is something of an offbeat issue,” Brevoort says. “It’s a bit different than the five that have come before. It works as something of an overture to the ‘Ragnarok Now’ story. The whole issue takes place in the past, around the 11th century, I think it is, involving an encounter that Young Thor has with Young Apocalypse.”
Next question, from CBR: How much do the events of Uncanny X-Force bleed over to Uncanny Avengers? “The ghosts of X-Force are going to haunt Wolverine as long as I’m writing the character,” Remender replies. “The interconnectivity will be there for sure.”
Next question, from IGN: Will Red Skull be involved with “Ragnarok Now”? “It’s all one piece,” Remender says. “We haven’t seen the last of [Red Skull], and he definitely will be in the ‘Ragnarok Now’ story.” Remender adds that he’s looking to “ramp up” three of the “very best villains in comics, period” — Red Skull, Apocalypse and Kang.
Next question, from us: Is this story in anyway an incorporation of Uncanny X-Force ideas Remender didn’t get to use, or did they all originate from Uncanny Avengers planning? “It’s pretty different,” Remender says. “It’s context. It was important, and difficult, to take my notes, strip it down into what could connect over. And then to completely shatter what you’ve got, and rework it.” Remender says that this story was part of his motivation to add Sunfire to Uncanny Avengers. “There are three really big moments that bled in from [Uncanny X-Force ideas]. But this story gets to a much more satisfying place.” Remender adds that the story also speaks to the running theme of the book — mutants and humans working together to help the plight of mutants in the Marvel Universe.
Next question, from Marvel.com: Will Evan, from Uncanny X-Force and Wolverine and the X-Men play a role in the story? Remender says he doesn’t want to say too much without giving anything away, but he’s working together with Aaron to “make sure it all fits,” and that they’re working together towards a specific endpoint.
To wrap up: Uncanny Avengers #6, the start of the “Ragnarok Now” story from Rick Remender and Daniel Acuña, is out in March. Thanks for reading! We’ll have more all week.