You and co-writers Mark Waid and Jim Zub have been working on "No Surrender" for several months. How does it feel to be collaborating on this story with Jim and Mark? Are each of you working on individual issues, or are you all collaborating on each of the 16 issues?
Every single issue has some of me in it - sometimes it's just a couple of pages, sometimes it's half an issue or more, and sometimes it's an equal third, but readers will have to guess for themselves who's writing what pages. You might be able to spot the occasional writing tic here and there, but we've managed to merge into a pretty seamless writing machine - in fact, I can reveal that every issue is now fully plotted and, barring any alterations for the lettering drafts, entirely dialogued as well, before the first issue of the weekly storyline is even out! That's probably the best sign of how well the collaboration has been working; that level of efficiency.
Between Jim's action storytelling skills and inexhaustible energy and drive, Mark's experience, expertise and deep character knowledge, Alanna Smith's problem-solving mojo, Tom Brevoort's uber-editorial ear and whatever the hell I've been doing, we've formed a writing Voltron that's stronger than any one of us alone. I've been in writing collaborations before, and they've always had more ups than downs, but this might be the smoothest yet in terms of the size and importance of the project and just how much we managed to achieve in the time. And it reads great, too! Avengers fans will not be disappointed.
What's it like writing your U.S.Avengers cast as part of this larger series? It seems the amount of growth and change Sunspot has gone through would make him especially interesting. Is Roberto in a leadership role in "No Surrender?"
Roberto does get to do one of his trademark Mad Plans, but the other characters get to be stars as well. There's nobody who doesn't get at least a moment. The General, of all people, gets his time in the spotlight, and fans of Toni Ho should be relatively happy with us too - she ends up taking a pretty central role in things, and those who were worried she might fade back into the background from whence she came now that she's no longer in armor can rest easy. The story goes where it wants to go, and it wanted to go to a place where Toni leads a last stand against an impossible threat. What threat? Now that would be telling.
What's it like getting a chance to return to some of the characters from your other Avengers-related books, like Sam Wilson? Will characters from The Ultimates like Blue Marvel and Spectrum be part of this story as well?
It's a little too soon for me to pick up Blue Marvel and Spectrum again - much as I'd like to write them again, I want to see what other writers with different perspectives bring to their story. As for Sam Wilson, while I've written a couple of beats for him here and there, it's mostly Mark who's been in charge of him, seeing as he's leader of Mark's Avengers team. That said, I got to write a nice moment for Hawkeye, and I had a great time writing Wonder Man again after that one issue of Avengers Assemble.
The other fun element of a story like "No Surrender" is, it allows you to write a number of Marvel characters that you have yet to tackle. Who are some characters that you haven't written before that you're especially enjoying writing?
Living Lightning comes to mind - just "Lightning" these days. He's back in the first issue, and we catch a glimpse of what he's been up to since the last time we saw him. He's got a character arc running throughout the sixteen weeks that's been a lot of fun to write, and hopefully comes to a satisfying end and leaves him in a place where he can move on to cool new adventures.
There's also a nice action-detective beat for Red Wolf that I got to help out with - that's connected to one of the Hawkeye beats I mentioned earlier, so fans of that particular team will be happy. And there's another character I won't mention just yet - but I will say I've been interested in writing him for a very long time.