Today, in the first of a week's worth of calls, Marvel announced some of the big changes coming to Secret Avengers with writer Uncanny X-Force writer Rick Remender and artist Gabriel Hardman on board starting with Secret Avengers 21.1.
With Remender and Hardman taking over Secret Avengers, Marvel's covert ops super team, Marvel held a conference call today breaking down what would be going down with the future of the book as well as some of the broad strokes for what Remender has planned for the series. Remender's is actually some of the strongest long-form work going on at Marvel right now, dredging up elements of 616 history without being too slavish to nostalgia (if that makes sense). So if he'll be taking over the company's big covert ops book (and sticking around on UXF), consider me curious.
Among today's announcements:
- Brevoort on the creative team: When he knew that Warren Ellis would be leaving the book, he had Remender in mind to take over, but before he could even reach out to the writer, Remender requested the assignment. As for Hardman, he was just a natural fit after his previous work and based on their enthusiasm for his work on Planet of the Apes over at BOOM!.
- Remender is using his Point One issue to start seeding and setting up long-term stories. His first issue will feature the new Masters of Evil setting up their own sovereign nation off of the Eastern coast of Africa.
- Remender says that one of his concerns is setting up and defining the team relationships, particularly between Cap and Hawkeye. The archer sees himself as Cap's equal, not his subordinate.
- Brevoort says that Hawkeye's introduction to the series is kind of its centerpiece as it shines a spotlight on the character who will be leading the team.
- For Remender, Hawkeye's presence on the team is a chance to explore some of the character's additional skills even if Clint doesn't necessarily have the temperament for covert, less direct operations. In particular, some of the interesting drama will come out of Cap dealing with Clint's temper.
- The big storyline will involve "the Descendants," headed by a character called Father who is responsible for creating a race of automatons. The Descendants are actually the offspring of the robots of the Marvel Universe. The robots share some of the traits of their antecedents, the core traits, prejudices, and programming ingrained in their identities.
- The first species we'll see from among the Descendants will be the Adaptoids, derived from the Super Adaptoid.
- Another group of the Descendants is the Sentinnauts (sp?), derived from Sentinels. Remender brought them up when asked how/if the X-Men might react to another evolutionary offshoot being out there going up against homo sapiens. Remender says that the mutants might not necessarily want to protect a new species evolved to hate them.
- Remender says that the key thing about the Descendants is that they aren't simply robots, they have consciousness and are alive. They live underneath the Earth in their own region called "The Core."
- Remender says that the Descendants see the Avengers as the villains, the ones who put down alien species as they crop up. He feels this gives them a bit of three dimensionality beyond simple mustache-twirling villainy.
- Hardman says the challenge for the series is finding visual personalities for all of the characters. Beast in particular presented some obstacles, given how many interpretations there are of the X-Man, opting in Secret Avengers to give the character a look similar to Lemmy from the band Motorhead. Hardman notes that he has to find new ways to work with a team made up predominantly of blonde white guys.
- Venom/Flash Thompson will be the human-level, almost POV character for the book. He'll also be someone that some of the team members look at with suspicion and will be featured prominently in the upcoming "Circle of Four" storyline.
- Remender says that over on Uncanny X-Force, he's going to be looking at the origins of magic via the Starlight Citadel which appeals to his inner D&D nerd. He says he could write Merlin sending out an army of Captain Britains out to protect the omniverse.
- From the way Remender talks about his take on Captain Britain (a serious, upstanding guy who snaps occasionally) it feels like a slightly more neurotic take on Cyclops.
- Breevoort is unafraid of Hawkeye in the 616 being too close to his Ultimate counterpart. To his mind, the character will be in front of more possible fans than ever over the summer with the release of the movie. He says the characters will essentially be the same in their respective universes with the 616 version lacking the level of angst of his Ultimate version. Brevoort kind of preemptively countered fan concerns about the change in costume to match the movie by explaining that the character is kind of known for his frequent costume changes. Remender interjected that the traditional Hawkeye mask and costume wouldn't fit with the function and purposes of the Secret Avengers as a team.
You can check out some of the art (including those sweet Art Adams covers) below:
Secret Avengers 21.1 is on shelves now and 22 will be on shelves next month.