INTERVIEW: Rosenberg Pits Quake Versus Deadpool in Secret Warriors

In Marvel's currently unfolding Secret Empire event, the armies of Hydra enforce the orders of a treacherous, Cosmic Cube-altered Steve Rogers, who now rules the nation he once defended as Captain America. This means the heroes of the Marvel Universe are no longer crimefighters -- they're now fighting for larger concepts like freedom from tyranny, and for some, the right to survive. In the ongoing Secret Warriors series by writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Javier Garrón, a team of eclectic Inhuman heroes have banded together to battle for both causes.

So far the team -- whose ranks include S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Daisy Johnson aka Quake; the “Nuhuman” heroes Ms. Marvel, Inferno and Moon Girl; Moon Girl's faithful Tyrannosaurus Rex companion Devil Dinosaur; and former advisor to the Inhuman Royal family, Karnak, have fought well together. Especially considering the fact that the clashing perspectives of some members means that when they're not fighting Hydra, they're fighting with each other.

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Secret Empire is about to come a close though, which means the Secret Warriors will soon find themselves facing facing new enemies and searching for a new purpose to stay together. With September's Secret Warriors #6 approaching -- featuring Quake targeting Deadpool as retribution after Coulson's death -- CBR spoke with Rosenberg about those struggles, the team dynamic and what else awaits his cast as they move from the aftermath of Secret Empire to the dawning of the Marvel Legacy era.

CBR: One of the most interesting aspects of these first five issues of Secret Warriors has been the journey that Daisy has been on.  She started off the series having lost a team and father figure in Agent Coulson. Then through this arc she’s been confronted by both her monstrous biological father, Mr. Hyde, and the horrors of America under Hydra's rule. So what kind of emotional state is she in by the end of this arc?

Matthew Rosenberg: It has not been a good few weeks for Daisy, for sure. The thing I love about her is that she has always been on the edge of breaking. She is strong and smart, but she is using that to hold herself together at all times. There is always something rumbling just below the surface. And with the death of her squad, the death of Coulson, and the death of the idea of S.H.I.E.L.D., she is going to find it really hard to hold it together. That will be a big driver of the book going forward -- has Daisy gone too far?

Daisy has been sort of the spy perspective in Secret Warriors, while Ms. Marvel has been her superheroic counterpoint. How has it been playing Kamala Khan off of a landscape like Secret Empire and people like Quake? What do you enjoy most about their interactions?

It's been really fun to write because they are both such amazing characters. They both have such strong, persuasive perspectives. But something like Secret Empire, a world where everything is going wrong, is going to reflect badly on both of them. It just rubs off on you no matter how much you fight. So there is something so beautiful about Ms. Marvel's idealism, but in a world where evil is winning, some people are really going to question those who won't use every option to fight back. And the same goes for Quake. What is the value of winning if you had to stoop to your enemies’ level to get there? Exploring those ideas through these two has been the best part of the book for me and made me reevaluate some of my own beliefs a little.

Also, the fact that they can't stand each other is great. It doesn't come from a place of jealousy or pettiness. It's ideological and they move past it when they need to. I hope it's equal parts aspirational and admonishing.

It feels like Inferno is the reader's eyes and ear into the knife-blade edge of superheroics and superspying that the Secret Warriors walk. Was that you intention with the character?

Yeah, totally. Inferno seemed like the best character to examine the team with because on the surface he is probably the least well known. He has never had his own title. He's appeared in the least comics, probably. So readers follow him without any notions or bias as he navigates the tricky team dynamics. But more than that, this book is about the Inhumans. It's about these young characters roles as torchbearers for the Inhuman race. And Inferno sort of bridges the gap with the other cast perfectly. He was a normal human not long ago, like Moon Girl and Ms Marvel. But he has lived among the Inhumans and been trained by them, like Karnak. And he was part of their direct action team, like Quake has been with S.H.I.E.L.D. So in a way, he has a bit of an insider's look at everyone else's perspective.

The finale of this first arc showed that Karnak had a lot more information about what was going on that he kept from his teammates, and that he harbors a lot of secrets. What kind of role will he play in the series moving forward?

Karnak always knows more than everyone else. What Karnak knows, and what he is and has been doing, will be a huge thrust for this book going forward.

What’s your sense of team members Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur? What’s it been like for them to be part of the Warriors?

Well for Devil Dinosaur, I think a lot of it is just going where he can be safe and taken care of, and trying to follow his sense of right. For Moon Girl it's a little more complicated, but only a little. Up until very recently she was not someone who had ever traveled off of the Lower East Side. She has these dreams of doing great things, but she is also just a little kid. She, like the rest of the team, is in way over her her head. And as much as she puts on a brave face and helps out, there is a big part of Lunella that just wants to be home being that kid she isn't getting to be. Of course, being a kid for her is much crazier than it is for most people, but still.

The cast of Secret Warriors originally banded together to fight Hydra and their plans for the Inhumans, but what will the purpose of the team be in the aftermath of Secret Empire?

That's the question they have to answer as well. What is the purpose of the Secret Warriors? What did they accomplish? And I think we're going to see that some of the things that feel like they were finished have a way of coming back again.

What hints and teases can you offer up about the stories you have planned for the book as you move into the fall and the Marvel Legacy era?

I think the biggest thing I can say about what is coming up is that the end of Secret Empire doesn't mean that all debts are settled. Daisy specifically is on the hunt for the man who killed Agent Coulson. Issue #6 sets us off in a new direction, but I'm really excited about it. It's crazy and intense, and Daisy gets to be a true badass.

There is going to be some heroics and drama, with some humor. And the roster is going to change a little bit. I'm really excited for people to meet the newest Warrior. Although most Marvel fans have already met them.

Helping you deliver the fun and unique tone of Secret Warriors is artist Javier Garrón who is doing fantastic work on the book. What do you enjoy most about Javier's work? And will he be the only Secret Warriors artist you're collaborating with in the coming months?

Oh, man. Javier is a dream collaborator. No matter how much stuff I throw at him, how much I cram on the page, he handles it with ease and makes it look 1,000 times better than I imagined. He really gives all the characters so much heart and humanity. And he adds facial hair to all the X-Men and it makes us all laugh.

And to answer the second part of your question -- no, Javier isn't the only artist who will be working on the book. He's been working like a maniac non-stop on these books even before ours, with Death of X and IvX. So he took a little time up to catch his breath while we do a little mini-arc without him. The also amazing Juanan Ramirez is stepping in to do our story of Quake's quest for vengeance and it looks amazing. I think people will really be blown away by Juanan's work.

Then in our Legacy arc, Javier is returning and will keep drawing the main story. But Karnak’s got his own secret mission, and for those pages, we’re bringing on Will Robson, who did a terrific run on Great Lakes Avengers. His art is so unique, but it’ll play off Javier’s really well -- I can’t wait to see the two of them collaborate.

Finally, you've made wonderful use of both guest star heroes and villains in Secret Warriors. Will we continue to see a multitude of familiar faces in this book as you move forward into the late summer and into the early fall?

Yeah. One of my favorite things about working at Marvel is the chance to raid the toy chest and just grab as much as I can before they yell at me. I don't want to spoil anything but issue #6 throws a trio of unexpected faces into the mix and we only continue that trend going forward. We are getting away with using some real fan favorites and nobody has told me that I can't yet.

I'd like to conclude by saying thanks to all the folks who have been picking up the book. The Secret Warriors readers are some of the most passionate I've ever had and it's amazing to be a part of that. And if you haven't been picking up the book for whatever reason, issue #6 is a great jumping on point. It's one of my favorite things I've ever written.

Secret Warriors #6 is scheduled for release on Sept. 13.

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