SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #3, available now.
Strangeness is such a big part of the Marvel Universe, over time, heroes can become accustomed to it, but even a veteran like Iron Man was unprepared for the unusual sight at the beginning of Rick Remender and Leinil Yu's "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #3. A cavalry of super villains and anti-heroes assembled by Magneto to help him save the world from the villainous entity known as the Red Onslaught and his robotic Stark Sentinels rained down from the sky, an unlikely band or rescuers for Stark, the Avengers and X-Men.
In the latest installment of ALL AXIS PASS, our series of post game chats about each issue of the titular event series, Marvel Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort joins us to talk about those villains, the Inversion spell they helped cast in the issue, and what to expect from the second act of "AXIS," which begins in Issue #4.
CBR News: Tom, let's kick off our chat by talking about the team of villains that Magneto put together for the battle with the Red Onslaught. Editorially speaking, why were these particular villains chosen?
Tom Brevoort: In the most basic sense, we used those characters because these were the characters that Rick wanted to use. Essentially, it's an assemblage of the biggest and most recognizable villains from across the Marvel Universe. Just about everybody is represented.
The one villain who was not actually at liberty to be in this when push came to shove was the Green Goblin, who was replaced by the Hobgoblin. Apart from that, though, if you picked up "Bring On the Bag Guys" when it was published in the late '70s, it's pretty much all the guys that were in that book. We've got Doctor Doom, Magneto, Loki, the Enchantress, the Hobgoblin, Jack O' Lantern, Absorbing Man, and Carnage. It's all well known, well remembered, big Marvel villains.
A number of these characters have appeared recently or have their own solo titles, but it feels like it's been a while since we've seen a couple of them. When's the last time the Enchantress and the Absorbing Man appeared?
The Enchantress recently appeared in Brian Wood's "X-Men." So it's not been that long since we've seen her. And with the Absorbing Man? I'm not certain off the top of my head when the last time the he appeared was. I'd have to go back and look.
As is typical for Rick, there was a longer list at first that got pared down to these guys based completely on how many pages we have to work with. I remember Sandman as being one of the villains we cut at a fairly late date, but I'm forgetting who else was on it. We went very deep initially, and then when it came time to actually write Issue #3, Rick realized that we really didn't have a whole lot of time for everybody, so we decided to pull some of the characters out.
Enchantress works her sorcery during the battle, but it's Doctor Doom who helps the Scarlet Witch work the Inversion spell that K.O.s the Red Onslaught and transforms him back into the Red Skull. What can you tell us about the spell and its impact? Were the heroes trapped inside the Stark Sentinels when the spell went off shielded from its effects?
We haven't seen anything yet, so we don't really know. Also, I'm not necessarily sure I want to answer that.
That having been said, most of the heroes there were stuck in the two Sentinels. So if that's the casem they don't have a whole lot to worry about -- and our event would be much shorter.
When the heroes come to, many of the villains have disappeared. Will the tie-in books pick up where many of the villains went after the mystical explosion of the Inversion spell?
To a certain extent, yes, but we'll also see some of that in future issues of the core book. I think it's enough to understand that they got out of Dodge.
So while characters like Hobgoblin and Carnage will appear in their own minis, but characters like Sabretooth and Mystique might not be done appearing in "Axis."
Even Carnage and Hobgoblin aren't necessarily done in "AXIS," yet. This series isn't like "Original Sin" where we have a moment and everyone goes off and does their own tie-ins. This is much more classic in its structure. The fact that those characters are going off to be in other books does not preclude them from coming back into the main book. In fact, I can tell you for certain that you'll see Carnage in Issue #4.
I know you're not always able to answer questions about the order in which stories happen, but the events of this issue are bound to have many readers wondering if this story takes place before or after the "Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy" miniseries.
Because "The Logan Legacy" miniseries is currently going on, as is "Axis," I kind of want to do my typical response and not give an answer to that yet. I know what the answer is, although, I'm sure there will be somebody online who will argue with me about it. [Laughs] I know what it's intended to be, but because I don't want you reading either of those books going, "Nothing important is going to happen to these characters they're going to be in that other comic book," that's a question I would prefer not to give an answer to at this moment.
We know that the Inversion effect will impact many of these characters' personalities, but will it affect any of them physically?
Again, we haven't seen very much of that impact in Issue #3, but at a cursory glance it does not seem to have impacted anybody physically. They all seem to look the same and are suffering no particular outward ill effect from whatever has gone down.
The reason I asked that question is the character of Evan, who went from a teenage boy to a huge hulking figure.
You'll likely see more of what is going on with Evan in the next couple of issues of "AXIS."
In the final pages of "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #3, we see an argument between the X-Men and the Avengers over the fate of the Red Skull. During the battle with the Red Onslaught a new spirit of cooperation was formed between the two teams, but after it ended, their ability to compromise just sort of disappeared.
Yeah that's a pretty fair description. What you need to know about that conversation is in "AXIS" #3, and you'll learn more in subsequent issues. I don't really want to comment on what's going on there.
With the heroes fighting over the Red Skull, I'm assuming his role in "AXIS" is far from over.
That's a pretty safe assumption, given that his big Red Skull head is the cover to Issue #9. [Laughs] I don't think you can count the Skull out as a factor in the remainder of "AXIS."
We're at the end of Act One and we're going into Act Two. Things are going to take a different direction than they have for our first three issues. We're going to ping pong ball around Act Two on our way to Act Three, which leads us to our climax.
Some of the action in Act Two will involve tie-in issues and at first glance it appears that there are more Avengers tie-in books than there are X-Men ones. Is that necessarily the case though?
I think the effects of "AXIS" are as immediate in the X-Men books as they are the Avengers books. It may be a question of just what titles. "Magneto" has been tied into "AXIS" since the lead up. It was part of the "March to AXIS."
Other books, like "Wolverine & the X-Men" and "Amazing X-Men," will have tie-ins, and I believe both of those hit in November. Other books are going to be going all along, though. So I don't think it's a case of of all of one and none of the other. "All-New X-Factor" is another series that has been part of "AXIS" pretty much since the get go. It wasn't part of the "March to," but it's right here at the beginning of the series.
There are titles from all corners of the Marvel Universe that are doing their tie-ins and getting into them when it is appropriate to the stories they're telling. As we do at the end of every issue of "AXIS," we have a page showing you all the tie-ins for that issue so you know what to look for at your local comic store.
Leinil Yu has proven time and time again in the past that he's an expert at drawing big event stories, but what made you want to tap him for this particular issue?
It would be very facile I think to have a good answer to that, which spoke to the particular contents of this issue specifically and why Leinil was a good fit for it, but the honest answer really is, we're at the point now where people were scheduled primarily based on their schedule and their time.
So Leinil is here doing #3 and #4 because that was when he was best able to fit into the rotation. That having been said, as you say, Leinil have proven time and again that he can draw anything from the biggest crazy crowd scene to the smallest most personal moments. So I didn't have any particular pause giving him the end of Act One and the beginning of Act Two.
In a perfect world it, might have been one artist per act, but that simply wasn't possible given the speed with which we are trying to put these out and the point at which we began. Leinil straddles the line between acts and then comes back later on for Issue #8. So he's on Issue #3 because this is where he fits, with no slight whatsoever meant to Leinil and [inker] Gerry Alanguilan's abilities. They're great. It's just here's where they can come in.
In this issue, Rick seemed to really enjoy writing the pairing of Iron Man and Deadpool, which was certainly no surprise. On the other hand though, he hadn't really written Iron Man a whole lot before "AXIS" and it seemed like he had a pretty good handle on Tony Stark's modern voice. That's was a fun discovery.
The second act is officially titled "Inversion" -- what sort of hints or teases can you offer up about it?
Yes, the second act is titled "Inversion." We will pick up with some, but not a lot of time having passed, and the immediate threat and danger seeming to be over. In fact, though, we'll see the ramifications of that final spell that Wanda and Doom cast and what effect it will have on characters moving into the future.
It's less centrally focused in terms of geography than the last three issues were. It jumps around and moves through the Marvel Universe a little more. I think you'll see that throughout "Inversion," there's not a single battlefield or location. We go far and wide to see the effects of what happened.
Will we see some characters that were not involved in Act One play a role in Act Two?
You'll certainly see more characters in this act; some of whom were in this first act but didn't get a lot of focus, and some that weren't in this act at all. We're not limited to just the guys that have been in the first three issues. It is the whole Marvel Universe that we're playing in, so people that haven't appeared yet will certainly be appearing over the course of the next couple of issues.
I'm not going to even tease this appearance for Issue #4 -- I'll just tell you! There will be like six people on planet Earth that really, really care about this, but they will care about it an awful lot. In "AXIS" #4, for the first time in a very long time -- apart from the OGN that Warren Ellis did we haven't seen him in a good long while -- Edwin Jarvis will appear. And I say this with absolute confidence: He will appear in a manner which you have never seen him in before! So look for Jarvis. He's one of the new characters coming in Issue #4 that you haven't seen up to this point.