Fridays on CBR mean Axel’s In Charge.
Welcome to MARVEL A-I-C: AXEL-IN-CHARGE, CBR’s regular interview feature with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso!
An editor with years of experience who’s brought out comics to both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel’s Editorial department earlier this year and since then has been working to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Message Boards, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!
This week, Alonso looks into the seedier side of the Marvel Universe’s current mega event as we uncover the traitorous characters driving the twists of “Avengers Vs. X-Men.” Below, he discusses the role characters like Rachel Summers, the Protector and Tony Stark play in the main series and its tie-ins and teases how they impact the future of Marvel’s teams and the cosmic line. Plus, the E-i-C shares new details on the origins of Neal Adams’ incoming “First X-Men” series along with your questions on the Watcher, “SHIELD” and more. Read on!
Kiel Phegley: Axel, “AvX” had its fourth issue out this week, and as fast a clip as the main series has been chugging along so far, we’re also well into the tie-in issues in the regular books now. I wanted to talk about some of the supporting characters that have had an impact on both sides of the story. In the past, you’ve said how the “AvX” writing team centered in on who would be the main players early — Cyclops, Captain America, Wolverine, etc. Did you also immediately know the supporting characters and story threads that would work their way into tie-ins, or was the first goal just breaking out the main book?
Axel Alonso: The tie-in stories unfolded at the same time as the core event story. Remember, the beauty of this event is that our five writers [Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brubaker] all wrote core monthly titles. As the core story — told in “AvX” #1-12 — developed, we’d discover side stories that could be told in the monthlies. The story where Captain America goes to Wolverine to inform him that the Phoenix Force is headed Earth’s way — which occupies just one page in “AvX” #1 — was fleshed out in “Wolverine & The X-Men” because [writer] Jason [Aaron] said it made sense there and we agreed. The adventures of team that tries to intercept the Phoenix Force in outer space appears in “Secret Avengers” because Tom [Brevoort] suggested that would be a good place for it. There was no fuss or fighting about that stuff.
Looking at the characters who have had some impact, we’ve got Rachel Summers who in issue #3 became the first “turncoat” of the story who switched sides. Fans had been asking about her status from the moment this series was announced, and she was off the table for quite a while before then. Was part of Jason Aaron’s plan in making her a piece of the “Wolverine & The X-Men” cast getting Rachel ready to take part in “AvX”?
Alonso: There are pieces you need on the board before the event starts — characters that are a part of the larger story but aren’t at the foreground of the action. So yeah, that was Jason’s plan.
Like Rachel’s role, Wolverine has also found himself forced to switch allegiances so far — or at least he’s been forced to be a solo operative in this story. By the end of this story, do you see him lining up with one definitive camp or ideal, or is he just better as the man on his own?
Alonso: From day one, we knew Logan was going to be a wild card in this story — given his dual allegiance to the Avengers and the X-Men and his history with Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force. He’s going to remain a wild card throughout “AvX.” Whether he sides with the Avengers, the X-Men — or neither — is something readers will enjoy discovering for themselves. There are plenty of twists and turns in this event, and our recently released teaser image for Act 2 is just the tip of the iceberg. After people read issue #5, they’ll have a much clearer sense why Act 2 is really Round 2 of a three-round war.
Of course, that teaser read “No More Avengers.” Can we assume this is where the Scarlet Witch will reenter the fray?
Alonso: Ever heard the term “gun on the mantle”? That’s Wanda. [Laughs] We showed her — we better be prepared to use her.
Looking at fan questions on the week, Spidey616 is wondering to the ties between one of the Marvel Characters who’s never on anybody’s side who we’ve been waiting for since “Point One” when he asks: “Given the magnitude of AvX and since it’s not an official Marvel event until he shows up, when should we expect everyone’s favorite Watcher Uatu to pop up?”
Alonso: At this point, the Watcher hasn’t appeared in “AvX.” There must have been something especially interesting going on in Alpha Centauri or thereabouts.
is-it-just-me followed up on the Cosmic front, wondering, “If the rumors of the marvel cosmic line making a long overdue return are true is there any chance of a warlock and the infinity watch title?”
Alonso: Anything’s possible.
EarthOneComics stopped in to check on a fan favorite series, asking: “I’m a big fan of Jonathan Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D. series. If I recall correctly the second volume was supposed to run 6 issues but it’s been months since issue #4 came out. What’s the status of the last two issues?”
Alonso: Those issues are being worked on even you read this. Somewhere [artist] Dustin Weaver’s ears are burning.
Have some questions for Marvel’s AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the CUP O’ Q&A thread in CBR’s Marvel Universe forum. It’s now the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel Executive staff that CBR will pull questions for next week’s installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!