Fridays on CBR mean Axel’s In Charge.
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 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!
This week, the full slate of Marvel’s 45 new #1s — the “All-New, All-Different Marvel” lineup scheduled to hit after the conclusion of the currently unfolding “Secret Wars” event — was revealed, and a little bit earlier than Marvel planned, thanks to online leaks.
Alonso gives his perspective on the strengths of the line as a whole, and how the leaks affected the rollout — plus insight into some of the highest-profile individual titles including “Amazing Spider-Man,” “Extraordinary X-Men,” “Uncanny Avengers,” “Sam Wilson, Captain America” and “Spider-Woman,” featuring a now-pregnant title character. Alonso also talks the recently announced departure of writer Rick Remender from Marvel, who announced this past week he’s taking a break after “Secret Wars” to focus on his creator-owned work.
Albert Ching: Axel, with more than 30 new series announced in the past week, clearly there’s a lot to talk about, and will continue be a lot to talk about in the coming weeks and months. Let’s start with the big picture — looking at the revealed roster of 45 new series, as Editor-in-Chief, what’s your biggest takeaway? What message do you see Marvel sending to the readership and the marketplace with these new and relaunched books, in a way that’s different than where Marvel’s gone in the past?
Axel Alonso: What’s exciting is the diversity of titles and sensibilities. Now more than ever, we have something for everybody, and a character for everybody — from Steve Rogers to Sam Wilson to Cindy Moon to Robbie Reyes to Miles Morales to Kamala Khan to Howard the Duck to the all-new Wolverine and totally awesome Hulk. I mean look at the roster for the “All-New, All-Different Avengers.” And don’t get me started on Brian [Bendis] and Dave [Marquez]’s plans for Iron Man.
Also, the lineup of new titles leaked online before planned reveals. On the one hand, a leak has to be disappointing; on the other hand, the massive response certainly shows there’s interest and excitement in what Marvel is doing. What’s your perspective on how the announcement took shape?
Alonso: Well, the official announcements are out now, and the response has been tremendous. Fans are excited and the writers and artists are pumped to talk about and show what’s ahead.
That said [Laughs], spoiler-esque information is always out there days in advance of an announcement. It’s like a loaded gun that only certain people choose to pick up and fire. The type of “journalism” you saw Monday hurts the entire industry because it can affect the strategic media coverage which drives new foot traffic into stores, and puts money in everyone’s pockets: creators — who were especially upset and angry this week — publishers and retailers. When news breaks the way it did Monday — with a hastily prepared barrage of spoilers that anyone with advance access to catalog could have provided to the public — only one party profits.
Let’s look at a few of the individual series that were freshly announced, starting with “Extraordinary X-Men,” written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Humberto Ramos. The X-Men titles are, of course, a source of a lot of interest in recent months, and now Lemire is taking on the new flagship book and the franchise for the first time — as former X-Men editor and current EIC, what made Lemire the right writer to lead the X-books? And what has you personally excited about what he has planned for the series?
Alonso: Back when we were discussing “Hawkeye,” Jeff mentioned how much he loved the X-Men, so I made a mental note of that. When he attended his first editorial retreat, things just kind of clicked into gear. Jeff’s got a rock-solid grasp on what the X-Men are about, a hand-picked roster that he loves — Storm, Old Man Logan, Nightcrawler, Magik, Young Jean Grey, Iceman, Colossus and Forge — and an incredible collaborator in Humberto Ramos, who’s flexing a whole new set of muscles on this series, so I expect this book to be huge. I don’t want to give away too much, but the relationship between Old Man Logan and Young Jean Grey is going to be especially touching — especially as she reconciles the legacy of her older self.
Also on the X-Men subject — Cullen Bunn and Greg Land are on “Uncanny X-Men,” but it’s a very different Uncanny X-Men than readers are used to, led by Magneto and with other characters primarily known as villains, including Sabretooth and Mystique. What inspired this change in direction in the return of one of Marvel’s longest-running titles?
Alonso: The X-Men find themselves in a unique situation after “Secret Wars.” They live in a world that not only hates and fears them, but — thanks to the TerrigenÂ Mists — is a lot more dangerous. The new Uncanny team is resolved to protect mutants by all means necessary, whatever the cost. What lines are each of these characters willing to cross to save their kind? Well, look at that roster. I mean, they’re even more hardcore than the X-Force.
And on the “Uncanny” subject: “Uncanny Avengers” is back for another round, this time from the team of Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman. The Marvel Universe is in a very different place now than it was when the series debuted in 2012 — how do you see the latest take on “Uncanny Avengers” fitting into the current Marvel ecosystem?
Alonso: The same way that “Uncanny Avengers” fit in initially — as the series whose cast and concerns cross “party lines” to encompass not just the typical world of the Avengers, but also the X-Men — only now, the Inhumans are a part of the mix, too.
The Ultimate Universe is done, but “Ultimates” is not, as it’s back with the team of Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort and appears to be the spiritual successor to what Ewing was doing in “Mighty Avengers.” How does this series fit in with the “Ultimates” tradition?
Alonso: As the tag line for the series says, the Ultimates are about big characters taking on big problems. Like the Illuminati before them, the Ultimates are going to take on large-scale challenges and situations beyond the bounds of most ordinary characters or teams. And the gloves are off; they play for keeps. And this is going to be apparent from the first issue. We are going to blow you away.
Warren Ellis is clearly very selective about the work-for-hire comics projects he takes on, and here we see him on “Karnak” with Gerardo Zaffino. This one wasn’t expected, as there hasn’t been a Karnak solo series before — what made this the right match for Ellis?
Alonso: [Senior Editor] Nick Lowe was looking to build the Inhumans line with a solo book or two and suggested Karnak as a character to spotlight. I didn’t need to be sold on Karnak, who’s far and away my favorite Inhuman — did I mention I’m a Kung-Fu movie junkie? Apparently, Warren Ellis felt the same way when Nick talked to him:Â A kung-fu mad monk hit him where he lives. And it shows in the two scripts he’s already turned in.
One of the biggest surprises of the eight-month time jump is seen in “Spider-Woman,” as the title character is now visibly pregnant. It can be hard to surprise in mainstream comics, but “pregnant superhero” still feels pretty fresh. What are you excited about for readers to discover here, which obviously has a lot left to be revealed?
Alonso: Well… [Laughs]Â the eight-month jump lends itself up to certain stories. [Writer] Dennis Hopeless took full advantage of that, and perhaps inspired by his new six-month-old twins — came up with this terrific hook that opens up a world of stories. If you’ve been reading “Spider-Woman,” you’ve seen that Jessica Drew has left the Avengers and has been simplifying her life in attempt to get something she’s never had: a normal life. What could have pushed her to have a baby? You’ll have to read it. What Dennis and artist Javier Rodriguez have in store is sure to make this a buzz book, and a great addition to the solo Spider-books that are topping the charts. At last count, we have six solo Spidey books featuring 3 men and 3 women, of all races: Caucasian (Peter Parker/”Amazing Spider-Man,” Jessica Drew/”Spider-Woman,” Gwen Stacy/”Spider-Gwen”); Asian-American (Cindy Moon/”Silk”); African-American/Latino (Miles Morales/”Spider-Man”) and Latino (Miguel O’Hara/”Spider-Man 2099″).
Slott Promises Global “Amazing Spider-Man,” Reveals New Designs
Speaking of Spider-characters: in the new “Amazing Spider-Man,” Peter Parker is now a global success with Parker Industries. Dan Slott has built quite a history with Peter since coming on board “Amazing Spider-Man” in 2008 — what’s intriguing to you about his latest take on the character?
Alonso: Dan and his incredible collaborators — Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Olivier Coipel, Adam Kubert, Stefano Caselli and a few others — have put “Amazing Spider-Man” consistently back in the top 10 while telling some of the biggest Spider-Man stories ever: from “Big-Time” to “Spider-Island” to “Ends of the Earth” to “Superior Spider-Man” to “Spider-Verse” to “Renew Your Vows.” It’s one of those situations where you want to get out of the way of your creative team and let them work their magic. “Worldwide” pushes Peter’s journey to the next level. Remember when Doc Ock took control of Peter’s body? Well, it turns out that the Superior Spider-Man actually did some things right and Peter’s decided to incorporate some of that into his game. You’ll see an innovative, inventive and invested Spider-Man all around the world.
Charles Soule and Ron Garney are taking on “Daredevil” after the long and very successful run of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. Other than the obvious (including Soule’s legal background), what made this team the right one to pick up the series?
Alonso: Charles and Ron come in with a vision for what they want to do with Daredevil. While this series definitely builds on what came before, they are going to leap headfirst into noir — delving into the darker corners of Murdock’s world without getting lost in it. And they are going to bring in a host of fascinating new characters that are going to make Daredevil’s job a lot more complicated. Oh, and Charles is a practicing attorney, so expect Matt Murdock’s closing arguments to be really on-point. And the rumor sites have one thing wrong — that’s not Gambit next to him.
And Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuña are taking on “Sam Wilson, Captain America,” continuing what Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen started in “All-New Captain America.” Given how closely associated Remender has been with Sam Wilson as Cap, how did Marvel land on Spencer for this spot?
Alonso: Nick’s done a great job with “Ant-Man,” in part because of how he grounded Scott Lang as a genuine everyman kind of a character. A guy with warts that you can root for. And Sam Wilson is the ultimate everyman — so there’s that. And Nick is an active political enthusiast, which should be useful in writing the adventures of a superhero that’s clad in the American flag.
Wanted to close by talking the aforementioned Rick Remender. After years of working on some of the very biggest Marvel stories, he announced earlier this week that he’s taking a break to focus on his creator-owned comics. What’s your take on the legacy he leaves behind?
Alonso: Rick will be missed. He brought big ideas to the table, and always gave a 200 percent effort to everything he did: from “Franken-Castle” to “Uncanny X-Force” to the “Uncanny Avengers” to Sam Wilson/Captain America. I think this move is the right thing for him to do, and I sure hope he sends me comps of his creator-owned work.
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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