Fridays on CBR mean Axel’s In Charge.
An editor with years of experience in comics receiving both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel’s Editorial department and since then has been working to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Community, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!
This week, fresh from Marvel’s latest creative retreat, Alonso discusses — well, to the extent that he can — how the summit went, which focused on the third act of the impending “Civil War II” event and how it affects the major players of the Marvel Universe, namely main characters (and leaders of opposing forces) Iron Man and Captain Marvel. With a number of notable creative shifts made public with this past week’s July 2016 solicitations, Alonso also gives insight into Christos Gage & Ruth Fletcher Gage coming on board “Captain Marvel,” Jorge Molina joining as the latest artist of the main “Star Wars” series and Mike Del Mundo taking on “Totally Awesome Hulk.” All that and more, including answers to your questions, direct from the CBR Community.
Albert Ching: Axel, Marvel held its latest editorial retreat this past week. Obviously we can’t get into specifics on long-term story planning, but let’s talk in at least vague terms about what was up for discussion — I’m guessing this was all post-“Civil War II”?
Axel Alonso: We discussed the third act to “Civil War II,” and its ramifications for everyone, in particular the key players: Iron Man and Captain Marvel. It was really one of our more fun retreats. There was a lot of debate, a lot of arguing, and we landed in a really good place.
Folks are always interested in who participates at these retreats — I know from social media that Brian Michael Bendis, naturally, was there. Were there any newcomers this time around?
Alonso: This was a smaller retreat than usual. Some of our regulars couldn’t make it — [Jonathan] Hickman and G. Willow Wilson, for instance — and Ta-Nehisi [Coates] had to be in Paris or he’d have been there, too. That said, the smaller room made for a more intimate discussion of the third act [of the event] and its ripple effects.
Late last week, Marvel announced a new writing team on “Captain Marvel,” with Christos Gage and Ruth Fletcher Gage taking the series on for a “Civil War II” arc. First, let’s get a bit of clarification — are they the new writing team going forward, or is it strictly for the “Civil War II” tie-in?
Alonso: Just the “Civil War II” arc, and we’re excited. We’ve been talking with Ruth and Christos for a long time, but the stars never aligned. When Michele [Fazekas] and Tara [Butters] had to bow out due to their swelling schedules, we reached out to Ruth and Chris as kind of a Hail Mary pass, and it worked out.
How did they in particular land on “Captain Marvel”? Obviously Christos Gage has done prominent work for many years now at Marvel, though this is Ruth Fletcher Gage’s first Marvel Comics work, though she’s certainly an experienced TV writer — including “Daredevil.”
Alonso: A combination of things. Ruth and Christos — individually and as a team — were on our short list for “Captain Marvel” a long time ago, but our schedules never seemed to line up. We have a lot of confidence in them. That said, because this arc is an event tie-in that requires a certain amount of knowledge about Marvel Universe relationships and connections, having Christos involved makes us breathe easy.
And it’s important to note that series artist Kris Anka remains on board for the “Civil War II” arc.
Alonso: Yes. He’s a crucial part of the new series so we are thrilled about that. And we are thrilled about Carol’s future in general. There were a lot of story developments at the retreat that will make her a buzz character long after the event.
In others creative team news that came to light over the past week, we’ve learned that Jorge Molina, most recently of “A-Force,” is joining writer Jason Aaron on “Star Wars” in July with the “Last Flight of Harbinger” arc featuring a new squad of elite Stormtroopers. That series has clearly had an impressive artistic legacy, starting with John Cassaday and continuing with Leinil Yu, Stuart Immonen and others. What made Molina the right choice for the next artist on this high-profile book?
Alonso: Stylistically, he’s a great fit for the series. There’s a level of realism we want to maintain in our artistic choices for this series, which is why we’ve stacked the deck with artists that work in a dynamic representational style: [John] Cassaday, [Stuart] Immonen, [Mike] Deodato and Leinil Yu. Jorge is going to fit in nicely.
Another artist moving to a different series is Mike Del Mundo, who is shifting from “Weirdworld” to “Totally Awesome Hulk” as of July. What are you looking forward to from Del Mundo as he joins Greg Pak on that book?
Alonso: Mike is one of my favorite artists — and great break-dancer, too; check out his YouTube video. He’s versatile, he has an energetic approach to storytelling, and he can draw big — which makes him a great fit for this series. Also, there is a sense of humor to Mike’s style, which is very important for this series because Amadeus Cho is cut from a different cloth than Bruce Banner. He has massive problems, to be sure, and they’re about to get bigger, but he navigates them with a style that’s very different from Bruce.
One more thing from Marvel’s July 2016 solicitations — noticed that there was no listing for the solo “Star-Lord” series. Is there any word on the status of that book?
Alonso: Star-Lord and the Guardians will play a big role in “Civil War II,” and look for him to return in his own series after the event.
This isn’t a Marvel matter, but it is major industry news: It was announced this week that after 23 years at DC Comics and Vertigo, editor Shelly Bond will depart from that company. I know your times at Vertigo overlapped and saw your tweet from this week — do you have any further thoughts on her legacy there?
Alonso: I’ve known Shelly for 20-plus years, worked the trenches alongside her at Vertigo. You won’t find a more passionate or meticulous editor – she breathes this medium. It’s hard to think of Vertigo without her.
Let’s wrap with a couple of questions from the CBR Community. First-timer Sinsect has a “Civil War II” query: “Will the characters who were heavily involved in the original ‘Civil War’ be influenced on which side they take, or even their attitude towards the entire scenario, based on that previous experience and the fallout of a hero-vs-hero war?”
Alonso: C’mon — I can’t answer that question!
We’ll call it a week with G.O.A.T. AIC question-asker Spidey616, who ponders, “Just occurred to me that although ‘Secret Wars’ is done, we still have yet to hear anything regarding the release of the last issues of Jonathan Hickman’s ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ series. Last we heard, artist Dustin Weaver had finished drawing the issues, but no news regarding a release date. Anything new you can reveal about when readers can expect it?”
Alonso: It’s still coming. Jonathan and Dustin just want it to be just right and worth the wait!
Have some questions for Marvel’s AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the AXEL-IN-CHARGE Q&A thread in CBR’s Marvel Comics community. It’s the dedicated thread that CBR will pull questions for next week’s installment of our weekly fan-supported question-and-answer column! Do it to it!
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