The Marvel Universe needs Captain America. That’s something the Sentinel of Liberty’s longtime friend, confidant and crime fighting partner Sam Wilson (AKA the Falcon) understands. He’s seen firsthand how the symbol of Cap inspires people and encourages them to stand tall in the face of fear. When the now elderly Steve Rogers asks Wilson to pick up his shield and become the new Cap in October’s “Captain America” #25 by writer Rick Remender and artist Carlos Pacheco, he agrees to become the new Sentinel of Liberty.
Wilson will find out right away just how adept he is at facing and fighting fear that same month when he runs afoul of two of Captain America’s most frightening foes: the Red Skull, who the entire Marvel Universe will face off against in the pages of the upcoming “Avengers & X-Men: AXIS” event series by Remender and a team of artists, and the villainous Scarecrow, who Sam must battle on his own.
The Cap versus Scarecrow battle will be documented in the six-part “All-New Captain America: Fear Him” Infinite Comics serial, which will be released in its entirety on the same day. The digital-first title written by Remender and co-writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Szymon Kudranski was announced by Marvel at their “House of Ideas” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego. CBR reached out to Hopeless about the project, which bridges the gap between “Captain America #25” and November’s “All-New Captain America” #1 by Remender and artist Stuart Immonen.
CBR News: Dennis, let’s start off by talking about your protagonist, Sam Wilson, who is currently the Falcon, but as many people now know he will take up the mantle of Captain America this October. I believe this is your first time writing Sam, correct? What do you find most interesting about him and his new role as Captain America?
Dennis Hopeless: Yeah, this is all brand new. Before “Fear Him” I’d only written Steve Rogers for a page or two and I’d never written Sam.
My favorite thing about Sam taking up the shield is the new perspective he brings to it. In a lot of ways Sam and Steve are cut from the same heroic cloth, but they come from two completely different worlds. Sam is a modern man who has never really been in the spotlight like this before. He has a real respect for what Captain America means to people. He wants to live up to Steve’s example but brings his own personality to the identity. It’s been fun exploring what that means.
The story you’re telling with Sam will unfold in a format that I don’t believe you’ve written before, and I understand you collaborated with “Captain America” writer Rick Remender on it. What was it like penning your first Infinite Comic and collaborating with Rick?
Plotting with Rick is sort of like running that obstacle course at the end of “American Gladiators” only the tennis balls are ideas. The guy is a machine. Within the first 10 minutes on the phone we had the basic plot and a cool, old villain in The Scarecrow. After that we spent some time talking about the character work Rick has planned for Sam in “All-New Cap.” This story serves as a bridge between Rick’s current Cap series and “All-New Cap” #1.
As for the Infinite Comics experience, I love how collaborative the process is. I write these pared down action-focused plot outlines and get back cool, click-through animatics from our incredible layout artists Geoffo & Mast. It allows me to see how the story will function visually before I write the dialogue and lets me play around with the unique Infinite Comics structure. It’s a pretty cool way to work.
In terms of plot and themes, what is your “All-New Captain America” Infinite Comic about? What can you tell us about the significance of the title “Fear Him?”
Well, fear is one of our main themes. Everyone is afraid of something and The Scarecrow uses that fear as a powerful weapon. Add to that a legacy hero struggling to live up to his predecessor and you have a cool psychological thriller that’s also very much an “All-New Cap” story. This is Sam’s first big test as Captain America. It gets pretty creepy along the way.
Finally, Artist Szymon Kudranski is bringing “All-New Captain America: Fear Him” to life. What do you feel he brings to the story?
Szymon brings a gritty realism that couldn’t be more perfect for this story. A lot of “Fear Him” takes place in the dark where Cap can hear danger coming but can’t see it until it’s on him. Szymon totally nails the creep factor in those moments. There’s a bit with some killer crows in Chapter One that shows exactly why Szymon should be drawing this. It looks better in the comic than it did in my head.
“All-New Captain America: Fear Him” goes on sale in October.