A bit of a bombshell was dropped yesterday at Marvel’s WonderCon Next Big Thing panel: Thunderbolts is no more. Enter, instead, the all new, all deadly Dark Avengers, who will be taking over the cast roster and name from T-bolts in June with Dark Avenegrs #175. The book will be spinning out of current events in New Avengers that find a new team of evil doppelgangers – Dark Scarlet Witch, Dark Spider-Man, Trickshot, and Ragnarok – now being led by the one guy that hates them more than anyone: Luke Cage. Oh, and Skaar, Son of Hulk is in there somehow, too.
The good – nay, great news is that the same team that made Thunderbolts one of our favorite titles is still on board, with Jeff Parker handling writing duties, and Declan Shalvey and Kev Walker alternating on art. To find out more, we chatted with Parker about what’s going on with the roster, who they’re going up against, and how we might not be done with the Thunderbolts after all:
MTV Geek: Jeff! What have you done with my beloved Thunderbolts???
Jeff Parker: You mean DARK AVENGEBOLTS??? I don't know man, I went out drinking with Brennan and when I woke up, the Dark Avengers had jacked our book!
Geek: Okay, freak-outs aside, moving the title over to the new cast of Dark Avengers – what’s the pitch here? Is it still about villain redemption (or not)? Or are these newer characters beyond redemption?
JP: That remains to be seen, doesn't it? It may just be about ruining Luke Cage's life!
Geek: With Luke Cage leading the team, is this just going to be issues and issues of him kicking their butts for attacking his family?
JP: I think that's what Luke's hope is. This hangs on the Federal Advisory Committee to Thunderbolts, who simply don't believe that Luke can bring back the escaped (and lost in time) team. But for them to go and recruit the last people in the world he wants to ever see again, does seem like a particularly 'dick move' as some might say. It's almost like they WANT Luke to quit, right?
But even if that's where his head was at already, Luke Cage isn't big on doing what other people want him to do.
Geek: On Thunderbolts, it seemed like you were really drawn towards Ghost in a way, building him up as a unique character… Has there been a team member of the Dark Avengers who has spoken to you in the same way? Anyone you were surprised about liking?
JP: Trickshot is suprisingly fun to write. I'm just going to throw this out there to start a fight; he may even be BETTER THAN HAWKEYE. Yep.
Geek: If it hasn’t been mentioned already, what’s your take on Ragnarok? He’s mainly been used as a weapon, and that’s it – so I imagine the field is wide open on giving him a character now that he’s in an ongoing.
JP: Exactly. Thunderb- I mean, Dark Avengers, is a great place to start seeing what goes on in his cloney Norse head.
Geek: Who are we going to see this team going up against? Who are the villains for villains?
JP: The main character they are going up against I introduced with Patrick Zircher in Hulk: Dagan Shah, The Sultan Magus! They have to infiltrate his country of Sharzhad for the mission, which may put us in a wartime situation. Go read Hulk of Arabia to see the kind of power they'll be facing.
Geek: There’s a pretty interesting line through here, with Norman Osborn having led the Thunderbolts and these new Dark Avengers, and of course, Luke Cage having led the Tunderbolts himself… Are we going to see these two lock heads at all in the series?
JP: No, no Norman in this. It's Goblin-Free.
Geek: You’re working with Declan Shalvey and Kev Walker on this book… At this point, do you guys have a bit of a shorthand going? Are there things you know you can – or can’t – write in this book, knowing the team so well?
JP: I can practically write "something happens!" and either of those guys know me well enough now to start drawing. Really though, I feel we've got excellent dynamics going. It's become the kind of book other artists go out of their way to get. Kev and I get to a plot we've wanted to do for more than a year in this. And Declan you're about to see absolutely kill on the Thunderbolts Vs. Original Thunderbolts soon. I mean that kill in a non-metaphoric sense too, by the way.
Geek: Hey, it’s a question in the blurb, so I’ll just ask: what’s Skaar’s role in this new team?
JP: He's there.... to smash.
Geek: Lastly, anything you want to tease that’s coming up?
JP: THE RETURN OF THE MAN-THING!!! Oh and they run into a character that rhymes with Shockter Zoom.
Dark Avengers #175 premieres in June, with – we’re guessing - an appearance by Rockster Boom! Check out the full cover to the issue below: