Marvel Comics’ Next Big Thing extravaganza is back with live press conference calls throughout the week on Marvel’s latest projects. Last week was a veritable cornucopia of announcements including Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley and Tom Brevoort on “Avengers Assemble” as well as the reveal of eleven “Avengers vs. X-Men” covers, including the “Avengers” #26 cover by Walt Simonson. Today, Marvel continued its announcement slate with a preview of “Exiled,” a “Journey Into Mystery”/”New Mutants” crossover event with series writers Kieron Gillen and Andy Lanning.
“There’s a history between New Mutants and Asgard,” noted Lanning, who said Gillen had an “idiotic eureka moment.”
Gillen noted some of what’s happening in “Exiled” will hearken back to some of the things he’s been playing with for some time all the way back to his time on “New Mutants.”
“We really wanted to mess with that history and have characters travel to Asgard, so it is a little twist on how these stories have normally played out. We’re trying to play it that there are some really cool reveals and surprises along the way,” said Lanning.
The interior artist is Carmine Di Giandomenico, who both writers are excited to work with. His image of hell is “unlike any version of Hell I’ve ever seen in a Marvel book,” noted Gillen.
“It feels good to do this,” said Gillen, who previously wrote “New Mutants.” “In the interim between the two books, there’s a reason why I stole ‘Magik’ for ‘Uncanny,'” he noted of his time between “New Mutants” and “Uncanny X-Men.” According to Gillen, some of the events of “Exiled” spin out of the tie-in issues of “Fear Itself.”
“This is fun, we found ourselves dealing a lot with stuff as we were locking thing down with this,” said Lanning. “Kieron brings a great sense of fun with these heroic characters in an old-style traditional bardic sort of sense. There’s a tone that Kieron struck in that book that’s quite easy and fun to pick up with and have a laugh with. We’re basically just aping what Kieron does.”
“He’s got a very angular approach, and does the grayscale art that will look fantastic in color. His storytelling is absolutely spot on,” said Lanning. “His body language and drawing has made me giggle a number of times.”
In terms of crossing over “New Mutants” and “Journey Into Mystery,” Gillen noted “It seemed like a natural place to go,” saying he wanted to explore what the Dsir are really about. “I turned them from pure villains into something a little more morally greyer. The last issue of ‘Journey Into Mystery,’ Loki was a little distraught over betraying them. I have all this energy and that all came from the ‘New Mutants’ plotline. … It was a great place to resolve that story and bring the Dsir to their big apocalyptic climax. … The idea is putting the New Mutants into more of a protectoring role.”
Gillen also elaborated on the Dsir’s role in the upcoming crossover, saying the spirits are like “a ghost story to Gods.” “Where we’ve left them is deep in the pit of Mephisto’s hell. They’re trapped forever unless there’s old magic that nobody knew about. … Then, maybe there’s trouble for everyone.”
“I’d say look in San Francisco [for old magic,]” said Lanning.
Lanning also joked about the number of text boxes in Gillen’s “Journey to Mystery.” “Absolutely, that’s somehting that Kieron insisted we did,” said Lanning. “He also sent us templates and several words we had to use. It’s part of his rider list for the crossover. We’ve had lessons on how to do bardic and Norse verse.”
The crossover runs only in May as a five issue event, with a one-shot to start, then crosses from “Journey Into Mystery” #637, goes to “New Mutants” #42, followed by “Journey” #638″ and “New Mutants” #43. “New Mutants” will also play a role in “AvX,” being a part of the mutant population.
Lanning noted how the New Mutants will find the roles reversed from the times past when the mutants previously found themselves in Asgard. “That’s where we’ve played the games tight. It’s like Asgard coming into their backyard as it were. They’re the ones taking charge here,” said Lanning. Gillon noted the Asgardians find themselves in the position of being the younger ones in this particular instance.
“We’re the palette cleanser, we’re the light relief,” said Lanning of the tone of the event, mentioning how fun was the focus of the book. “You don’t get more fun than Asgardians and mutants running around trying to stop flesh-eating zombies in San Francisco.”
“We’ve repeatedly be repaid with awesomeness by the guys,” said editor John Denning. “They’ve managed to keep that tone by having these ghost villains and [having humor.] We couldn’t be happier.”
Gillen and Lanning have divided the writing chores, something Gillen noted as “casual and cool.” The two writers have been co-plotting all the way through. “It’s been a unique experience in my comic career,” said Gillen.
As for the other Asgardians in the story, the writers mentioned Thor, Hela, the Warriors Three and Sif would all be making appearances.
The writers also spoke to choosing the name of the series, “Exiled.” “The name of the series was probably the easiest thing we had to do,” said Lanning.
“None of the names we initially came up with felt like it had the larger context for the event,” said Editor Lauren Sankovitch. “The New Mutants are self-imposed exiles. They’ve gone out to live in San Francisco. For the members of Asgard, they’ll be coming to San Francisco and out of their element and will find themselves in precarious elements. … For the Dsir themselves, these cannibal time bombs, they’ve been exiled this entire existence. They’ve been these fringe elements as parts of the God world since their inception.”
Lanning also mentioned the old New Mutant crew, such as Cannonball and Wolfsbane, would not be joining this crossover. “No, unfortunately not in these issues. Once the story unfolds, you’ll see why that is, but no we’re just dealing with the cast that are living in San Francisco at this point in time.”
With that, the call wrapped. “Exiled,” written by Kieron Gillen, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with interior art by Carmine Di Giandomenico and covers by Stephanie Hans, kicks off in May with the “Exiled” #1 one-shot followed by weekly installments, finishing at the end of the month.
Stay tuned to CBR for more on “Exiled.”