Following up on the success of its “Lady Death” relaunch, Avatar Press announced at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo that several classic “bad girl” characters will return this summer in a June-debuting ongoing series from its Boundless Comics imprint. Written by “Night of the Living Dead” scribe Mike Wolfer with art by Pao Rodrix, “War Goddess” will star flagship Avatar heroine Pandora along with the returning Widow and Hellina. CBR News spoke with Wolfer about the series, the characters’ histories and the world he’s building.
Avatar Press’s first release in 1996 was “Pandora” #1 with “Hellina” soon proving another an early hit for the publisher. “Then there’s Widow, who was my self-published character with Ground Zero Comics in the early ’90s. I then brought Widow to Avatar Press and they published her for a while,” Wolfer explained. “But we haven’t seen seen anything in about ten years.
“None of the Brian Pulido characters are involved in ‘War Goddess’ — at the moment. Who knows what’s going to happen?”
Wolfer told CBR News the first challenge of “War Goddess” was figuring out how to bring the disparate bad girls together in a coherent fashion. “The interesting thing about the series is, we’ve got characters from all different backgrounds. We’ve got Pandora, the girl of myth. Her story always revolves around the pantheon of Greek gods. Widow, on the other hand, was more of an erotic horror story. Hellina was kind of a combination of the two,” he said. “We’re meshing them all together and we had to create a world where that was going to fit. We’ve done crossovers before, which were successful, but now we really want them to be interacting on a more regular basis, so it’s more than two characters meet, they fight, then go their separate ways. Now, they have to deal with each other on an ongoing basis, so we had to create an event and basically a new world order for them to have something totally in common where they didn’t really before.”
The story is set in the present with a significant time having passed since Pandora’s and the others’ last-recorded adventures. “There’s a big scientific disaster,” Wolfer told CBR. “There’s a supercollider, it does what it does and of course everybody was concerned with the Cern supercollider and what might happen — is it going to open a black hole in the Earth? OK, we’re doing something similar to that and we’ll see what happens.
“Pandora’s story picks up many years after we last saw her and her eternal quest. Her battle was to collect all the evils that she let loose out of the box and contain them once again within the ‘Pandora’s Box.’ She’s done it. It’s over and everything is good,” the writer continued. “Because of this supercollider accident — it was actually funded by Pandora’s corporation, so in a sense she’s responsible for it — when what happens, happens, it releases really bad stuff all over the earth. In a sense, Pandora’s Box has been opened again.”
As to how the other women fit in, Wolfer told CBR, Widow is now working in Pandora’s employ. “Of course, we’ll be exploring how she went from this outcast of society — a really scary chick, killing and eating people — how she becomes head of security for Pandora’s corporation,” Wolfer said. “Hellina has a totally new origin. Some characters that we’re bringing back will retain their past history, others will be totally new.”
Wolfer said he is “thrilled” to be bringing his own creation, Widow, back to life. “For years, people have been asking me, ‘when is Widow coming back?’ Of course, I’ve been bugging William Christiansen, who is Editor-in-Chief at Avatar, ‘Hey William, when are we bringing back Widow?’ He’s wanted to do it, but never really had the right platform and it didn’t really fit in with the Avatar company line. Now that we have Boundless and the incredible success of ‘Lady Death,’ we said we should really expand the Boundless line. There’s Widow, there’s Pandora, there’s all of these great characters that have been in limbo the last several years. It’s just a perfect platform to launch them.”
Artist Pao Rodrix is a relative newcomer to comics, but Wolfer sees “War Goddess” as the illustrator’s potential break-out book. “He’s done some stuff for the major companies, Marvel and DC. He’s done Wolverine, Justice League, so he does have some major credits. But he’s looking for that thing, that one title that will say, wow, this is what this guy’s about,” Wolfer said. “And his art is phenomenal. Oh my god, his women are absolutely gorgeous. He does monsters really good, he does blood really well — all of the requirements of ‘War Goddess,’ Pao meets all of them and surpasses them. Beautiful work.”
In addition to “War Goddess,” Wolfer will continue to maintain his busy schedule. “I’m writing ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ I also write ‘Lady Death.’ ‘Wolfskin’ is done, that series was six issues, but ‘Gravel’s’ coming back. I was the writer and artist on ‘Gravel’ for years. I’ll be back, but I’ll just be writing it. Later on this year, probably late summer or fall, there will be a new ‘Gravel’ series, too.”