As announced at FanExpo Canada's “Pint O’CB” panel, writer Fred Van Lente and artist Kyle Hotz are bringing monsters back to the Marvel U… And the only ones that can stop the monsters? The DESTROYERS! Bringing together the little seen World War II hero with a host of monstrous Marvel heroes, the five issue mini-series won’t be kicking off until February 2012, but we chatted with Van Lente and Hotz about it now. Because that’s just how we roll:
MTV Geek: Hi Fred, let’s kick this off talking about The Destroyer… Ummm… Who’s The Destroyer again?
Fred Van Lente: A guy in skull mask. Or a goblin skull mask. Not sure what that mask is supposed to be. I do know it's not important.
What is important is that he's brought together all the A-list Marvel Monsters in a single team -- The Thing, The Beast, She-Hulk, A-Bomb -- and DEVIL DINOSAUR -- to DESTROY!!!
And by "DESTROY!!!" I mean punch giant monsters in the face as they explode out of the Earth around the world, knocking over skyscrapers and devouring tank battalions.
Eisner Committee, you've just been put on notice: This is the title to watch in 2012.
Geek: In my experience, the Eisner committee ALWAYS responds to threats. Other than a MAX series a few years ago, Destroyer has been a pretty low profile character… What brings him back now, both in the real world – and the comic book world?
FVL: My beloved editor Bill Rosemann is the world's biggest Destroyer fan -- he describes him as "The World War Two Punisher," and I think that's a pretty apt description: A death camp escapee hopped up on super-soldier serum and ready to empty his Luger into any goose-stepper getting between him and Berlin.
But the Destroyer made a huge mistake during World War Two, on a mission to a remote Japanese island filled with monsters (hmmm... what could that be a reference to...) which has brought about an unthinkable catastrophe today, the sudden eruption around the globe of gigantic destructive creatures that only our heroes can stop.
Geek: You’ve also got a pretty diverse group put together here, from a Deviant, to a Mutant, to two gamma creatures, to the Thing. Other than them all being “monsters,” what brings them together?
FVL: What... punching other monsters in the face isn't enough?
All around the globe, destructive forces that have been sleeping for millions of years have awakened and are laying waste to the fault lines than tenuously stitch our continents together. Unless the Destroyers can figure out who's behind this, and why, we're looking at an Extinction-Level Event -- these creatures may in fact be what killed the dinosaurs and brought the last Ice Age Event, and they're more than capable than doing it again.
And I should point out that these are all-new giant kaiju, more in the modern vein of The Host or Cloverfield, to name my two favorite recent films in the genre. We all love the Timely-era monsters, but sometimes it's more fun -- and definitely more of a challenge -- to come up with unique monsters who will awe and frighten you. One trashes New York City in #1 and I think people won't expect it -- Millions of New Yorkers walk across its back every year.
So our team of monsters must solve a millions-year-old mystery, uncover the longtime Marvel villain who's behind all of this, punch monsters in the face, and somehow not tear each other apart in the process.
Geek: They’re also characters that have very different views of how monstrous they are… Or are they?
FVL: What's interesting about this team is that all have very different relations to being a monster. Some, like Beast and She-Hulk, are very comfortable in their creature feature skins; A-Bomb and Thing continue to struggle with it.
And when it turns out the Destroyer may have in his possession a means not just to cure them -- but to destroy all monsters -- some might be tempted to take him up on it.
Geek: Kyle, for you, given the line-up, I’d imagine Fred has you drawing a lot of scenes of people sitting around talking, and not punching things or things exploding or anything… Right? (I mean, wrong, of course)
Kyle Hotz: The punching begins on page two, the exploding a few pages later.
FVL: Heroes sitting around talking? That's what TV is for! COMICS ARE FOR DESTROYING! DESTROYING!!!! ARE YOU LISTENING, EISNERS?!?
Geek: You know they can’t hear this, right? Anyway, Kyle: visually, what’s your take on this group? Are you amping up the monster qualities, the hero qualities, or does it vary from character to character?
KH: Well, the thing is, the 'stylized' nature of my art is not on purpose. It's just how stuff comes out. Whatever qualities get amped up are the result of my own subconscious. My She-Hulk isn't going to look like Byrne's. My Beast is going to be different. And for sure, my monsters will be different than how anyone else might have seen them. So, I guess the answer is; yes I'm going to be amping things up with these guys.
I can tell you She-Hulk's probably going to be a bit more muscular, my Beast may look a bit more ferocious and my giant monsters will be pretty sinister. But I'm not drawing in a vacuum. It is impossible to deny the influence of Kirby that permeates the characters in this story. It would be foolish to try to imitate Kirby, just as it would be foolish to try to block his influence on my take on these guys.
Geek: There’s been a few other “Destroyers” in the Marvel U, from Drax, to Alex and Jack Power, to the Thor villain… Are we going to see any of them play into the book? Or is it squarely focused on Keen Marlow?
FVL: WE ARE FOCUSED ON DESTROYING, ZALBEN!!! AM I NOT MAKING MYSELF CLEAR?!?!
Geek: Okay, okay! Destroying. Jeez. So lastly, tease us… What’s coming up in the series that fans can’t miss?
FVL: The opening scene of #1 is one of my favorites I've ever written, a mind-blowing battle between Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur and an army of Deviants led by Warlord Kro in the Valley of Flame in prehistoric times. That kind of Kirby craziness -- with a more modern, "realistic" bent -- is the essence of this series and Kyle is going to knock it out of the park.
FanExpo Canada 2011: Marvel's Fear Itself Panel Recap