INTERVIEW: Avengers Writers Welcome Conan Back to the Marvel Universe

What can you tell us about Conan's role in No Road Home? Who aresome of the characters he'll run into and afoul of as the series heads towards its climax?

Waid: His interactions with the Vision are really fascinating. Conan has very little idea what to make of him, and their relationship is bizarre in ways we couldn't have predicted.

Ewing: I've been in a similar position regarding Hercules -- on the surface, they seem fairly similar, both being shirtless fantasy types, of a kind. But their temperaments are very different from one another at the start, and especially at the end -- they don't have a relationship as such, but just putting them together in a room starts to make for a fascinating contrast. Though I guess that says more about our plans for Herc than for Conan.

Zub: As shown at the end of Issue #5, Wanda has found herself with the Cimmerian and the majority of Issue #6 is about their time together -- the barbarian and the witch -- on the hunt for one of Nyx's shards, running afoul of brigands, cultists and strange creatures. Conan's no fan of magic, so it's a fun pairing to write right from the start. Lots of moments here that all of us had fun brainstorming.

Obviously, adding Conan to the mix is something that will open up a ton of storytelling opportunities, but it's also a move that some fans are inevitably going to view as a sales stunt. How did he become part of the story, and what does he bring to the table that you couldn't have gotten from an established Marvel character, or even an all-new one?

Waid: We really wanted to reward the readers of this book with a "whoa!" curveball of major proportions, akin to the way Hulk was "reborn" in Avengers: No Surrender [Waid, Zub, and Ewing's first weekly Avengers story, which was published in 2018]. We're very lucky the stars and timing aligned.

Zub: I get that gut reaction, the feeling that it's not "right" to mesh bits from these different narrative worlds together, but it's been shown time and time again that comics are the perfect place to go crazy and attempt things that would give other stories pause. There's a reason why movies and TV have been rushing to catch up to the potential of comics and I think a big part of that is the fact that, as a medium, we take more risks and do stranger stuff.

The Marvel Universe has similar primordial ingredients to Conan's Hyborian Age: Ancient evils, aliens and elder gods leaving their mark on the land and its people in subtle or strange ways. Fantasy and magic are part of the Marvel Universe, just like horror, trippy cosmic calamity, or street-level crime. Conan is far from the strangest thing that has made its way through Marvel canon.

Ewing: We could have invented someone like Conan, or brought in an established Marvel character from another dimension or the deep past. But it wouldn't have the same oomph, the same power. People know the real thing when they see it. The real thing -- especially when you bring that real thing to a time and place they shouldn't be -- there's an energy to that. There's a crackle of excitement and potential, a tingle you can't replicate with analogues or stand-ins, or even fully explain. And I know there are readers who finished Issue #5 and felt that crackle, and they know exactly what I'm saying.

So yeah, if you want the oomph and the crackle, sometimes only the real Conan will do. Is it a stunt? Well... we are jumping a lot of buses with this one. We're jumping the Grand Canyon on a rocket cycle. You'll have to wait and see if we land it.

We know No Road Home won't be Conan's only interaction with the Marvel Universe. Does this series set the stage for his role in Savage Avengers?

Waid: In one of the most surprising ways possible.

Ewing: Yeah, how he gets from here to there -- I guarantee nobody's going to guess it.

Zub: All I'll say, is that like No Surrender, our final issue sets the stage for some great stuff coming down the line, not just Savage Avengers.

One Avenger, who I'm especially interested in is The Vision. Jim, in Champions you introduced the idea that the Vision is dying and No Road Home has advanced that storyline quite a bit. Can you talk at all about the payoff to that story in No Road Home? Will there be a definite resolution?

Zub: Short and simple answer: Yes. There will be a resolution.

Vision was severely damaged in No Surrender and we discovered the full extent of that in Champions, but No Road Home is where it's all resolved. No spoilers.

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