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“Civil War II” Tie-Ins Begin, New Marvel NOW! Looms

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“Civil War II” Tie-Ins Begin, New Marvel NOW! Looms

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 in comics receiving both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel’s Editorial department 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 Community, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!

RELATED: Marvel NOW! Kicks Off July 13 with Special Midnight Releases

This week saw the release of the first two “Civil War II” tie-ins — “Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man” by Christos Gage and Travel Foreman, and “Civil War II: Gods of War” by Dan Abnett and Emilio Laiso — and Alonso discussed those books and the general philosophy behind tie-ins for Marvel’s latest event, which aim to address some of the important questions raised but not fully explored in the main series. And on that subject, Alonso talks the Marvel future of “Gods of War” writer Abnett, who was announced a couple of weeks back as now under exclusive contract with DC Comics. Plus, discussion of the “Civil War II” #3 death and the new Marvel NOW! Previews Magazine — both on sale at midnight on the night of Tuesday, July 12 — actress Lea Thompson guest-starring in “Howard the Duck” and more, including answers to your questions, direct from the CBR Community.

CBR News: Axel, this week saw Marvel’s “Civil War II” tie-ins begin in earnest, starting with “Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man” and “Civil War II: Gods of War.” It feels like “Civil War II” will have more tie-ins than Marvel events have seen in a few years, if you consider how differently the bulk of “Secret Wars” operated — maybe the most since “Avengers vs. X-Men”? How did Marvel approach tie-ins for this event, since it feels a bit different than in recent years?

Axel Alonso: “Civil War” saw Marvel’s heroes divided by one core issue that served as a metaphor for a real-world issue — the “Superhuman Registration Act” standing in for the Patriot Act. In “Civil War II,” our heroes will initially be divided by one question — whether or not to use the power of Predictive Justice — but the application of this power and its actual ramifications in the Marvel Universe will open up a Pandora’s Box of new questions that also speak to the real world. That’s’ where a lot of the tie-in stories come in. While some tie-ins address the core issue of the main series, a lot of them address new issues that are raised — but not addressed — in the core series.

The “Spider-Man” tie-in was one of the first two out of the gates, and it also heavily focuses on Ulysses, the new character central to this event. What made matching him up with Spider-Man the right way to tell his story?

Alonso: This was just serendipity. A lot of our tie-ins address issues or development that haven’t yet been raised by the escalating stakes of the core story. In this case of “Spider-Man,” [writer] Christos [Gage] had a great idea to jump on at the ground floor.

Then there’s “Gods of War,” which is an extension of the recent “Hercules” series. That book’s writer, Dan Abnett, was announced as exclusive with DC Comics a couple of weeks back, so is this his last Marvel work for a while?

Alonso: Looks like it! [Laughs] I wish Dan the best of luck. He’s a great guy, we love working with him.

He definitely has a long history at both Marvel and DC. This week brought news of midnight sales next month for “Civil War II” #3, which clearly positions that as a very important issue, with what’s billed as a major character death. We talked a lot last week about War Machine’s death; given the early promotion around this upcoming death — including a Joe Quesada variant of the unnamed fallen hero — is it fair to say this is expected internally to have an even bigger impact?

Alonso: Yes. It’s a big character and his or her death is a major turning point in the story. And the scene in which they die — everyone will be talking about.

That same night, the new Marvel NOW! Previews Magazine will also be released, presumably unveiling a lot of the lineup of what’s coming after “Civil War II” — which, naturally, will only be up to #3 at that point. What’s the philosophy behind that reveal — obviously showing some of what’s to come, but not spoiling any of an event that won’t be half over at that point?

Alonso: The philosophy is to show just enough of the picture to get fans excited — kind of like what your typical movie trailer does. We don’t want to show too much. Remember, you’re reading “Civil War II” now, but we planned this a while back; once we knew the outcome of the story, we started planning its aftermath. So we’ve had a lot of time to plan what we want to reveal and when we reveal it.

Yeah, it depends on how the strategy behind what’s presented — there might be something in there that looks like one thing, and by the time it comes out, it takes a totally different meaning.

Alonso: Absolutely. Our goal is to be thought-provoking and entertaining, to get fans guessing.

Some fun news hit earlier this week — that Lea Thompson, who co-starred in the 1986 “Howard the Duck” film — I saw that movie as a very young child on VHS and was left somewhat scarred by the experience — will guest star in the comic book. What are your thoughts on this unconventional crossover?

Alonso: “Howard the Duck” is a unique book. Like “Deadpool,” you can kind of do whatever you want and kinda-sort get way with it. This is a little shout out to a movie that occupies a very special place in certain people’s hearts… and not so much in others’.

A new Disney Kingdoms series, “Enchanted Tiki Room,” was announced this week. I’m guessing a lot of Marvel fans are likely not yet familiar with the book’s writer, Jon Adams — how did the creator of “Truth Serum” and “Chief O’Brien at Work” wind up on this series?

Alonso: That was all a product of Editor Mark Paniccia with Mark Basso and the Walt Disney Imagineers. They were very taken with his unique pitch for how to bring that attraction to the page with somewhat of a different storytelling approach than other Disney Kingdoms titles.

Let’s look at some fan questions before we wrap. macroblaster1999, like many, is curious about the future of the X-Men line with regards to the new Marvel NOW!: “With a new Marvel NOW! relaunch on the way, can we expect some more X-titles in it — maybe focusing on solo and team characters?”

Alonso: What Jeff [Lemire], Cullen [Bunn] and Dennis [Hopeless]have cooked up for the next few months with is going to have a large effect on the the X-Men corner of the universe. With the “Death of X” on the horizon, you can expect some shakeups. How that affects teams, character and titles though? Wait and see.

Winterboy has a straightforward question: “Is there any plan for Shang-Chi?”

Alonso: Nothing planned at the moment. We did however just reprint the original “Master of Kung-Fu” series for the first time ever. If you’ve never checked out those original Shang-Chi stories, I highly recommend them.

AIC question-asker Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Spidey616 gets a bit philosophical with this query, about the recently revived Doc Samson: “Can we expect to see [Doc Samson] play an important role in ‘Civil War II’ and the Marvel Universe going forward? Moreover, do you think bringing back a dead character undermines the death of another character within the same storyline event, or is it just the cyclical nature of comic book deaths/rebirths?”

Alonso: There’s more to come for Doc Samson in the Marvel Universe. To answer your other question, no. Deaths and resurrections have been around as long as comic books have. The real question is always, “Can you use them to tell a good story?”

Have some questions for Marvel’s AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the AXEL-IN-CHARGE Q&A thread in CBR’s Marvel Comics community. It’s the dedicated thread that CBR will pull questions for next week’s installment of our weekly fan-supported question-and-answer column! Do it to it!

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