Announced earlier this year at Wizard World Chicago, December sees the debut of Top Cow and Image Comics’ latest ongoing series “Hunter-Killer” with a special $.25 cent zero issue. The creative team of Mark Waid and Marc Silvestri on their own raise eyebrows and sell loads of comics, but together they ensure that “Hunter-Killer” will be the next big success story for Top Cow. CBR News caught up with writer Mark Waid for a quick chat to learn more about the series and his plans.
“‘Hunter-Killer’ is grounded in the growing outrage we as a nation have against an increasingly corrupt administration, balanced against the idea that there really are people in charge ‘up there’ who do have a sense of morality and do want to do what’s right,” Waid told CBR News. “To that end, we’re revealing the existence of a fourth, secret branch of the U.S. Government that’s been in existence since colonial times: the ‘Failsafe Branch,’ charged with the responsibility of keeping our government in line. The old trope about ‘black ops’ stories is that ‘there are some jobs too dirty for the government.’ Yeah, well, anyone who’s read a newspaper in the past few years is probably with me when I say, ‘Really?’ The Failsafe crew is out to change that image and make America the good guys again–even if they have to do it in secret.”
Waid said that, at its core, “Hunter-Killer” is a buddy book, the two main characters of which are named Ellis and Wolf, both action heroes themselves.
“Ellis is more thoughtful and philosophical, while Wolf is more of a wild card. In no one story are you guaranteed to like them both; more often than not, one or the other finds himself in the unenviable position of having to make a hard, hard choice for the greater good of the country. There are no easy solutions for the Failsafe Crew.”
This project got off the ground based on a mutual friendship and one artist’s interest in spending some regular time behind the art board.
“Top Cow publisher Jim McLauchlin and I have known one another for years and have been eager to work together on something, and when Marc Silvestri announced his eagerness to return to regular-series work, Jim set up a project meeting between us where creative sparks really flew,” explained Waid. “I think we have similar outlooks on the kinds of things we want to say in these stories and excitingly different viewpoints on how to say those things that will challenge both of us to raise our skills.”
As far as influences go for “Hunter-Killer,” Waid said he tried to imagine what some of his favorite action/thriller movies, such as “Three Days of the Condor,” “The Conversation” or “The Manchurian Candidate” would look like had they been directed by the likes of John Woo or Bryan Singer.
Waid contends that fans of his work on books like “Fantastic Four” will discover a very different style of story coming from the writer in the pages of “Hunter-Killer.”
“I expect it to be as radically different from my ‘mainstream’ super-hero work as was ‘Empire,'” said Waid, “but I also don’t see why we can’t attract that audience; what readers seem to enjoy most in ‘Fantastic Four’ aren’t the specific plots so much as the very real, surprisingly complex character relationships, and ‘Hunter-Killer’ is built on character interaction. The most intricate, sophisticated action tale in the world is as hollow as a crossword puzzle unless it’s built around the stories of people who feel real.”
“Hunter-Killer” #0 debuts this December with issue #1 shipping February, 2005.