Saving the world is just part of the job description for the Avengers, but sometimes the nature of that task is so massive, it's an all hands on deck affair. When these days “like no other” dawn, Earth's Mightiest Heroes have to be ready for anything including the machinations of mysterious entities, the return of an old threat, the rise of a new one, or the sudden appearance of a forgotten friend.
In Avengers #575-576, writers Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub along with artist Pepe Larraz kicked off their 16-part storyline, “Avengers: No Surrender,” by having all of those events happen one after the other.
In those two issues the Earth was stolen, a number of heroes and villains were mysteriously frozen, the Avengers were reunited with an enigmatic former comrade named Voyager, and they became obstacles to overcome in a contest between the cosmic marauders known as the Black Order and a new incarnation of the villainous team, the Lethal Legion. CBR spoke with Waid, Ewing, and Zub about Voyager, the creation of the new Lethal Legion, the return of the Black Order, and what fans can expect as “No Surrender” moves forward.
CBR: In Avengers #676, we learned a little bit more about the new character you guys introduced in issue #675 -- Valerie Vector, AKA Voyager. She's still shrouded in mystery for us readers, even though the Avengers appear to know much about her. What can tell us about the inspiration for Voyager and why you chose to make her a sort of forgotten character who played a role in past continuity like the Sentry?
Al Ewing: I feel like Mark or Jim might have a better grasp on how she came to be - my memory of the flow of events gets very fuzzy - but I think part of the why of it all is one of the big themes we were throwing around when we went into this project, which is... what actually is an Avenger? What does that mean? I think when we really dug into that is when Voyager started to emerge.
Jim Zub: Yeah, I don't remember exactly who struck the idea of adding a new character in this way, though I do know that Mark ensured that we weren't just retreading it the way it was done before with Sentry or [Justice League character] Triumph. We wanted to showcase bigger ideas about what the Avengers represent and the different kinds of people who have found themselves under the team's banner, but Voyager was different. She's a mystery plugged in to keep readers guessing, of course, but I don't know how to say more than that without heading into spoiler territory.
Suffice to say that at first I think she had a much more mechanical role in the way the story was built but, as we developed her further and put together scenes with her, I think all of us started to see how much potential Valerie Vector had. When it's all said and done, I hope she resonates with readers.
Mark Waid: We can't say too much without showing our hand, but as the guy who created DC's Triumph, the ultimate retcon, I can only say again that a good magician never performs the same trick twice. No theory I've seen online yet has nailed what's happening.
Voyager is just one of a number of mysteries you introduced in these first two issues, but I also feel like you answered a major question in issue #676 as well; why the Earth was stolen. From what we saw and heard it sounds like Earth has been chosen as a game board in a competition between two mysterious entities, the Black Order and Lethal Legion are their pawns, and the unfrozen Avengers are obstacles to make the game interesting. Is that a fair interpretation of the clues we've gotten so far?
Ewing: I mean, it fits with what's on the page. Is it a good guess? We'll see. I will say that I've had a ball writing a certain mysterious entity who shall for now remain nameless.
Zub: That's a fair interpretation. Lots of people are being played in all of this, that's for sure.
Waid: So far, sure. But we're barely into Act One, aren't we?