Miles beneath the streets of Manhattan lurks a literal Monster Metropolis -- at least in the Marvel Universe. It's a strange realm of creatures from folklore and ancient legend, but like the bustling city above it's a diverse town populated by interesting characters like Jack Russell (AKA the Werewolf by Night) and its queen, the ancient succubus known as Shiklah, who recently married the Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool.
Starting in June, Shiklah and her subjects will have to deal with some preternatural phenomena of their own as their home is uprooted and becomes part of "Battleworld," the new patchwork Marvel Universe and site of the "Secret Wars" event. How they deal with the new reality and the steps they take to defend the Monster Metropolis will be detailed in the new "Secret Wars" series by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Salva Espin, "Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos."
CBR News spoke with Duggan about bringing Shiklah, a character he co-created during his "Deadpool" run, into a larger event like "Secret Wars;" the creatures that will compose the ranks of the Howling Commandos; and how this series serves as a sort of spiritual sequel to his Infinite Comics series "Deadpool: The Gauntlet."
CBR News: Gerry, the titular "Mrs. Deadpool" of this story is, of course, Shiklah, the succubus and queen of the Monster Metropolis who you introduced to the world in your Infinite Comics series "Deadpool: The Gauntlet." How does it feel to bring a character you created into a big event like "Secret Wars?"
Gerry Duggan: It's fun. We've been moving the story this way for a while I think. Shiklah's had some big moments in recent issues of "Deadpool," and we've seen her in some new ways, I hope. She's a compelling character who by design and necessity has been a supporting character, so this was a fun way to explore some things that make her tick in a lead position.
While she's got a definite agenda and plan in this story we're also pairing her with some fun supporting characters in the form of the Howling Commandos. They have a shared adventure that I think is real fun and I think spiritually feels like a sequel to "The Gauntlet." So this story is definitely an action comedy.
Does this story start off in the Monster Metropolis? Maps of Battleworld have shown that Shiklah's domain is part of the patchwork planet.
Yes, the Metropolis is buried deep inside Battleworld. So in this story you'll see some new places inside of the Metropolis. We won't just stay there, though. We're also going to be traveling to some far off places inside of Battleworld. There will be a particularly fun jaunt to Weirdworld.
Let's move from Shiklah and her domain to the Howling Commandos. Who will join the ranks of this monstrous incarnation of the team? What kind of relationship do they have with Queen Shiklah?
Well, Man-Thing is definitely the strong, silent type. Frankenstein is the strong, non-silent type who everyone would wish was a bit more silent.
The leader of the Howling Commandos is Jack Russell. He's a fun character to play with and he has some great interactions with Shiklah. They butt heads a little bit because she assumes she will be running the show while Jack is already the de facto leader of the Howling Commandos when they embark upon this crazy journey that they go on.
I also like the dynamic between team members Marcus, the Unbeatable Centaur with an alien symbiote, and the Living Mummy. In writing them I discovered that they were a fun pair to put together. It made for a cool, well balanced, action-adventure super hero team made of monsters. They all have different strengths and weaknesses, and they butt heads (and agendas) Anyone that liked "The Gauntlet" will enjoy the tone of this.
Who are some of the foes the Howling Commandos will clash with on Battleworld? You mentioned this is sort of a spiritual sequel to "The Gauntlet" and that story is where Shiklah's war with Dracula and the Vampire Nations began.
It was indeed, so I think it's safe to assume they will have a role to play in the story, but there's also a really fun beat that I don't want to spoil. It won't be just Dracula and the vampires. Another entity that I think people will be very very excited about will become involved in the conflict. I don't want to spoil the many fun surprises we've cooked up in this comic.
"Mrs. Deadpool" allows you to continue your collaboration with "Deadpool" artist Salva Espin. Does that mean this series will have similar tone to your work on "Deadpool?"
Yeah, I think it will. With this one I felt the need to really pick up the pace. It's going to feel like we're on a moving train again. So it feels like things are going to be rushing by and I mean that in a good way.
I've seen Salva Espin do a lot of good work over the years, but I think this is his finest work. He hasn't had a chance to draw too many monsters before and I think he's enjoying it. It really shows in his work.
You kick things off in "Mrs. Deadpool" in the Monster Metropolis, a town rife with stories and interesting characters. If sales and the shape of the Marvel Universe post-"Secret Wars" permit would you like to return and do more stories with Shiklah and the Howling Commandos?
Yeah that would be great. It is something that my editor Jordan D. White and the rest of our team are already talking about.
"Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos" #1 debuts in June from Marvel Comics.