The heroes of the Marvel Universe and the legendary gunfighters of the Old West are both larger than life figures that use their extraordinary talents and abilities to find justice outside of the law. Writer Gerry Duggan and artist Nicole Virella illustrated that fact in “1872,” which took readers to the “Secret Wars” Battleworld domain of Timely, a late 19th century town where Marvel’s heroes and villains were reimagined as Old West archetypes. One of the central figures of the story was a Native American warrior named Red Wolf who took up the star of Timely’s fallen sheriff, Steve Rogers, and used his cunning and formidable combat skills to bring justice to the town.
In the debut issue of “Red Wolf,” writer Nathan Edmondson and artists Dalibor Talajic & Jeffrey Veregge took readers back to Timely to check in on their title character. Things took a surprising twist at the end of the issue, when the attack of a mysterious, high-tech assailant transported Red Wolf across time and space to the modern day Marvel Universe.
â€¨So what comes next for Red Wolf? Where in the Marvel Universe has he been transported too? And what kinds of dangers lay ahead for the warrior turned sheriff? For the answers to those questions and more, CBR News spoke with Edmondson about his plans for Marvel’s newest modern day hero.
CBR News: In many ways, Red Wolf is presented very much as an action-oriented character like Punisher and Black Widow, the stars of your previous Marvel series. Is that what initially drew you to the character?
Nathan Edmondson: The real draw to Red Wolf was the opportunity to breathe life into a character who had been so long out of the canon. There are some similarities to some other characters I’ve worked on, but really, Red Wolf is his own experience. There’s more humor in this title, there are more characters interacting. I was excited for “Red Wolf” when I saw the opportunity to cook up something with the flavor of “Justified,” and in the Marvel Universe no less.
Of course, none of this meant anything without the right artists to tell the story, and Dalibor Talajic and Jeffrey Veregge and Miroslav Mrva and Jose Marzan are the real chefs cooking up something special.
In “Red Wolf” #1, we met one of the people responsible for the man your title character has become — his mother, Luyu. Will she play a role in the series moving forward now that her son has been transported to the Marvel Universe?
Luyu will play a part in Red Wolf’s journey beyond Issue #1, but to what extent and exactly how, I can’t say without spoiling any story. A good hero comes from a great mother, a fact true to life and true to our story.
Red Wolf shares some similarities with Steve Rogers, not the least is the fact that he’s a man out of time. His home reality of Timely is a place populated by Western counterparts to familiar Marvel heroes and villains. What can you tell us about how he’s initially affected by his time jump?
Our title is all about Red Wolf in Today’s World, and we more or less leave the fun and quirky fantasy of Timely behind. The past will continue to play a part in our story, but there’s no more exploring the alt-dimension counterparts of the Marvel U — we’ll be too busy with our teeth in the sand and the boots on our skulls.
Red Wolf’s battle with the mysterious time traveler and transportation to the modern day Marvel Universe at the end of issue #1 begs the question of how big a role the fantastic will play in this series. Will science fiction and supernatural elements regularly be a part of this series, or can we expect a more grounded feel now that he’s in our time?
Certainly expect a more grounded feel, but there is something wild and fantastic and dangerous brewing. Red Wolf may be more of a man out of time and reality than even he realizes in Santa Rosa.
What’s life like for the average person in Santa Rosa? How big a problem is crime in the city, and who will Red Wolf find himself teaming with and going up against as he deals with it?
Santa Rosa, New Mexico is a small city with a big problem, sitting right on a valuable drug corridor; there is a void in the drug business and some nasty folks are looking to fill it. This is a typical southwestern town in 2015, but here, something is brewing. The local authorities are in no way ready for the crime that’s coming their way.
Deputy Ortiz is a hard working and focused law woman who neither has time nor patience for whoever or whatever Red Wolf is. She works for and with Sheriff Knight, a laid back but effective arbiter of justice. There’s the mayor, and a criminal overlord known as Bly, and Bly’s nefarious henchmen Rattler and Boxy — these are just the names of the main players in the first few issues. That cast expands slowly.
Will we see some familiar Marvel heroes and villains pop up in the series? Or is your initial focus more on creating new characters?
Most Marvel heroes will be occupied elsewhere for much of 2016, leaving the trials and terrors of the South West to Red Wolf and whatever posse he can whip together. That’s not to say we won’t see familiar faces, but Red can’t count on them to have his back. For one thing, no one yet knows that he’s not a villain — he’ll have to earn that.
I imagine a big part of this initial story is the identity Red Wolf forges in his new surroundings and how he uses this identity to confront law breakers. Is Jeffrey Veregge’s “Red Wolf” #1 cover sort of sneak peek at the title character’s costume?
Red Wolf in the modern west has to do his best to fit in, so that costume is a little more of an idealized version of the hero than we get to experience for a while. But his “war paint” and other visual highlights will reveal important aspects of his past and his person as he continues to figure out his role in the world.
In addition to providing covers for the series, Jeffrey, who is a member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe based out of Kingston, Washington and is also of Suquamish and Duwamish descent, serves as designer and consultant on “Red Wolf.” What’s it like working with him? What type of input has he had on these initial issues?
Jeff has been an excellent guide and cheerleader. He’s been extremely helpful in guiding us as we walk the line between fantasy hero and real Native American representation. He has insights to the modern experience of a Native American that even the best book and Internet research can’t yield. Some of his input is simply related to visuals, and some goes to the heart of how someone like Red Wolf might interact with other cultures, modern and past.
Your other collaborator on this series is Dalibor Talajic, who showed in both “Red Wolf” #1 and his recent “Secret Wars” series “Master of Kung-Fu” how fantastic he is at depicting action scenes. What do you enjoy most about Dalibor’s style?
Dalibor shines in action detail like no else. Not just in the fight scenes; little bits of action like the flip of a wrist or the crushing of a coffee cup reveal so much about our characters when Dalibor does what he does. His design and world-building and attention to detail in setting bring you out of Timely and into our time with total immersion.
“Red Wolf” #2 arrives January 13.
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