However, a number of fragments that manage to survive will be pieced together to form the patchwork planet that will come to be known as Battleworld. Wildly different domains will exist side by side, with decimated wastelands neighboring high tech Metropolises, medieval nations bordering worlds of mystical martial artists, and peaceful utopias attempting to co-exist with power hungry dystopias.
Of course, this means certain areas of Battleworld will be in desperate need of Defenders — and in July, they’ll get them in writer Al Ewing and artist Alan Davis‘ “Captain Britain & the Mighty Defenders.” CBR News spoke with Ewing about the series, which combines elements from his past Marvel work with ideas from Jeff Parker’s fan-favorite “Dark Avengers” for an epic tale of two cities locked in a deadly struggle on the “Secret Wars” Battleworld.
CBR News: I think one of the most interesting aspects of “Captain Britain & the Mighty Defenders” is the line up of characters that you’ve assembled, starting with the titular Captain herself, Mi-13’s Faiza Hussain. I understand the Faiza you’re dealing with hails from the reality you explored in “Avengers Assemble” #15 AU, your “Age of Ultron” tie-in issue. When you ended that issue, Faiza was facing an uphill battle to reclaim her planet from Ultron. How much time has passed, and how has battling against Ultron and his forces impacted her?
Al Ewing: Well, the nature of Battleworld means that it’s hard to say exactly how much time has passed, but it’s clear that Faiza’s been through a lot. There are things she doesn’t remember, and things that she’s on a quest across Battleworld to recover and rediscover, guided by Excalibur and her own instinct to heal. She’s very much someone who doesn’t fit in the world of Battleworld as it’s set up, and is looking for a place where she belongs. We’ll see if she finds it in Yinsen City.
She-Hulk & the White Tiger, who are both Defenders here, played roles in “Mighty Avengers.” How similar and how different are these characters to the versions you wrote in both volumes of “Mighty Avengers?” What teases can you offer up about their roles in the story?
Both She-Hulk and White Tiger are from the Yinsenverse – the alternate world where Ho Yinsen lived and Tony Stark died [which appeared in Ewing’s Infinite Comic series “Iron Man: Fatal Frontier”], and the result was a utopian paradise. I didn’t think I’d ever use that world as more than a stick to occasionally beat Tony with, but it’s been a lot of fun working out what might have changed. One character I’m very sad we won’t get to see is The Pacifier — when Frank Castle’s family was murdered, he devoted his life to ending all violence, one peaceful solution at a time. I’ve always felt Frank could benefit from embracing non-violence.
Anyway, She-Hulk and White Tiger. Ava’s not as intense as she is in our world — we’ll be seeing in the “Last Days” issues of “Mighty Avengers” how grim things get for Ava, so she’ll be a lighter character than she is there, most likely. As for Jen — she represents the law in Yinsen City, when means she’s got a certain touch of Thor about her, but she’s a small-town Thor, happy in her jurisdiction. Anyone who’d prefer their She-Hulk unpolluted by too much Thor will be happy with how we handle it.
The series also stars Hobie Brown, AKA Spider Hero, best known in the Marvel Universe as the Prowler. What made you want to bring Hobie into the book, and how did he come to be using the nomme de guerre of Spider Hero?
In meta-context, for those who don’t know, the Splendiferous Spider Hero (no hyphen) was the identity Blade took when he helped form the Mighty Avengers as a mystery character back in #1. We actually explain how Hobie got to be Spider Hero in the book, but it’s no great spoiler to say that it’s fallout from “Spider-Verse” — the Peter Parker of the Yinsenverse got eaten, and Hobie decided to pay tribute to his fallen friend.
As for what made me want to bring him in — I think he’s the character I’ve been asked about more than any other as long as I’ve been writing “Mighty Avengers,” and there just hasn’t been room to do anything with him. Up until recently, if you asked me whether Hobie Brown was going to be in the book, my response was “probably not.” So this is a nice opportunity to at least turn my hand to a version of him.
You’re also introducing the armored teen known as Kid Rescue. What inspired her creation?
Originally, when the book first came to mind, Ho Yinsen himself wasn’t going to be in it, and I wanted his dream represented, to have at least some version of Rescue in there. Giving Yinsen a daughter, named after Tony Stark, seemed like a fun solution. Hopefully we’re going to see more of her in the future, but we’ll have to see — there may not be a future for Yinsen City!
In “Captain Britain & the Mighty Defenders” Yinsen City has been transported to Battleworld and has become the target of another realm transported to the patchwork planet, Mondo City One, which was introduced to the Marvel U by writer Jeff Parker in his “Dark Avengers” run. What do you want readers to know about these realms and the conflict between them when your series starts?
Yinsen City is an idyllic, green utopia, using solar panels, wind farms and vertical farming, among other innovations perfected by the brilliant mind of Ho Yinsen, to create a paradise on Earth–or on Battleworld, as the case may be. It’s small, quiet, and doesn’t give the power structures of Battleworld too much trouble. You’d think.
Meanwhile, Mondo City is not a million miles away from a certain sci-fi mega-city I may or may not be writing for as we speak — it’s essentially Marvel doing Judge Dredd, and it’s an opportunity to flex certain thrill-power muscles I don’t generally flex in the MU. Expect things to get fairly violent and dystopian while they’re around.
What kind of role will Captain Britain and her comrades play in the conflict between these areas?
For the Defenders — they’re denizens of the ex-Yinsenverse, so their city and their lives are under threat and their very way of life is in peril. They’ve been abandoned by the legal structures of Battleworld, and they’ve got nobody to turn to for help but each other — and Captain Britain. As for Faiza, she’s just passing through as part of her quest — but she can’t let injustice lie, and she won’t. And who knows, maybe Yinsen City is what she’s been looking for.
“Captain Britain & the Mighty Defenders” continues your collaboration with legendary artist Alan Davis, whose art is bringing to life your current “Ultron Forever” story. How does it feel to get another chance to work with Alan? What was it like watching him bring to life the worlds of these different cities?
I’ll let you know! But I’ve seen him bring the worlds of “Ultron Forever” to life, and that absolutely blew me away. Getting his art in the inbox is an indescribable treat — I never fail to be wowed by what he brings to the page, so obviously I’m over the moon to get the chance to work with him again, especially now I’ve got a better idea of what he might like in a script.
I’ve been told by other creators that each “Secret Wars” series has a little piece of the puzzle of what the Marvel Universe will look like after the big event. Would you like to revisit any of these characters or places again?
I can confirm nothing! But there are certainly elements that I’ll be very happy to write again if, or when, I have the chance.
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